Short version: Time of 58:00, beating my PR by over a minute and a half.
Long, painful version:
Weather: Windy with occasional rain showers. Cool and very humid. The temperature is about perfect for racing, the humidity is a little high and the wind sucks.
Encounters: I missed Dick Decker. I looked for him at our meeting place but didn't see him. I looked for him at the start and didn't see him. I didn't look for him on the course since he would be WAY ahead of me.
I did happen to run into Todd Byers however. That was a treat. I was
just going to find a friendly bush and then warm-up when I almost ran
right into him. He looks great as usual. Todd gave me a brief
rundown on his back-to-back marathons last weekend. Todd was wearing
a green number (Green wave is first) and was surprised that I was
wearing a yellow number (Yellow is for expected pace times of
7:00-8:00 min/mile). I had to convince him that I was a slow-poke.
You would think he would know that considering all the times he has
run right by me in races.
Race: I started about the right location in a field that was much smaller than in years past. This was the first year they charged a $9:00 registration fee and I think a number of folks decided not to run. The weather may have kept some of the fair-weather folks at home as well.
The race starts downhill and continues downhill for 1.5 miles, loosing 260 ft. of elevation. I tried to keep my pace scaled back since I always start this one too fast. The first mile was 6:49. After reaching the bottom of the hill you then start up hill again. Between the 1.5 mile point and 3 miles, you go up 100+ ft, then down 100+ ft. then back up 100 ft. again. Mile 2 came in 7:38 and mile 3 in 8:25. That third mile is usually one of the slowest for me on this course. During the second mile both calves started to hurt. It started out as a little tightness, then to a dull pain. This just kept getting worse as the race went on.
Mile 4 is another dip. You drop 70 ft in the first 1/2 then clime back up those 70 ft by the 4th mile marker. I ran this mile in a pathetic 7:48. I was trying to take it real easy on the uphills because of my calves and relax on the downhills.
Mile 5 is another tough one. It is almost all uphill, climbing 120 ft. I was getting passed on a regular basis by folks that run hills a lot stronger than I. This was a slow 8:20 mile. I hit mile 5 at just about exactly 39:00. I tried to figure out if I could run the next 2.45 miles in 20 minutes to make my goal of 59:00. At this point, I was really dragging and didn't think there was any way I was going to be able to do it.
I decided that I would try to make 59:00 so as one guy went by me and I tucked in behind him. We were in the trees, but we still were running into the wind. I stuck with him for as long as could then dropped off and would either stick with another runner passing me or would try and catch a runner ahead to use them for a wind break for a bit before moving on. My HR was way too high for an hours race, about 94% of HRR. Mile 6 runs gradually downhill for a little over 1/2 mile then you run a short, steep hill for 200 meters then you hit THE DIP
The beginning of mile 7 gives a final respite before the final hill. There is a 350 meter very gradual downhill before the course turns back onto the same street that the race started on so long ago. I tried to pick up the effort on the downhill and started to pass more folks. There is a water station here and this one, like the other two we passed on the course were getting few takers. I was sweating like a pig however due to the humidity. One guy commented to the volunteers "No thanks, I'll get my own", and then proceeded to turn his head to the sky and open his mouth. The poor volunteers who were standing out in the wind and rain loved it. At the turn, you have a 1.1 mile climb, gaining 160 ft. Mile 7 comes about 3/4 of the way up this hill just after a particularly nasty steep stretch.
I was still trying to find folks to draft since the wind was right in our teeth at this point. One big guy charged passed me and I clung to him for about 400m until I couldn't hang on anymore. Then I was back trying to come up as close behind folks as I could before I had to go around them. These are the only times that I don't like being 6'2" in a sport dominated by short people. Mile 7 came in 8:01 awfully slow considering how hard I was working. I was really worried at this point about making 59:00. I pushed hard the last 400m up the hill and hit the turn. From here we get to run a short downhill before turning into the park where we finish. I charged down the hill and passed a number of folks that slowed down in the short slalom turns before we the grass. One young guy was about 10m in front of me holding both arms up in the air in victory then started to kick. I caught him, challenged him to race me to the finish and kicked for all I was worth. All that track work must have paid off because I was able to barely out kick him those last 100 meters.
Aftermath: Both calves hurt like crazy and I have one blister from my Adidas Cairos. But I was very happy to beat my time from last year by a decent margin considering that I beat myself up pretty good at Newport last week.
My son ran the 5k. This is also a difficult course with the first half being downhill and the second half uphill. He Ran a 27:13. Not bad considering he missed school the last three days because of an ear infection. Last year he ran a 28:19 and a 29:50 the year before that.
I'm anxious to know how the other Deads did that ran this race. Sorry I missed you Dick.