On Saturday, I ran the Jared Coones Pumpkin Run. After still having problems with my knee last week, I drastically cut back mileage this week. I only had 15 miles for the week before getting to the race. I also tried doing some lunges before my run on Thursday night -- thinking that I need to work on strengthening. The lunges were not for this race in particular. I had thought to wait until after my races for this fall are complete before incorporating some strengthening exercises into my training, but with my knee giving me troubles and my training disrupted, I decided that there was no point in waiting. Though I only did 20 lunges (10 to the front and 10 to the sides -- alternating legs), I was sore on Friday and still sore for the race. But, my knees did feel much improved and I felt ready to run a decent race.
I had a good warmup running the last mile of the course backward and forward. I like to warm up over the last part of the course to gain familiarity with the finish. I think that it helps if the competition is tight near the end of the race. I saw a few friends before the start, but I was not seeing any of the fast runners that I recognize. I began to think that I might compete for the overall win. But, shortly before the start, the winner from last week's race showed up at the starting line, so I knew an overall win was not to be.
When the gun went off, there were more people in front of me than there had been last week, but they also faded faster than they had last week. Soon there were just three people in front of me. The lead vehicles were a police car and two civilian motorcycles. At least one of the motorcycles had nasty smelling exhaust, so it is just as well that I was not leading the race. Before the first mile, it became clear that all three runners in front of me were for real and they were pulling away faster than last week. They were reading splits at the mile. I went through in 5:27. (Garmin users reported the mile as slightly long.) Though I didn't change my race, I calculated my ETA as around 17:00 if I could maintain pace. Soon after the mile, I began to lose sight of the leaders at times and at some point it became permanent. The sound of competition behind me also began to fade and when I looked back around mile two, I could not see anyone behind me either. Though I wasn't in the lead, I thought that my situation was similar to Ryan's from last week. I tried to keep pushing the pace, but I still slowed some over the last two miles. My finishing time was 17:20. The leaders finished in 16:01, 16:07, and 16:08. Fifth place was about 50 seconds behind me.
In the results, they show me in fifth place due to chip timing. I will comment on that under Ryan's "Screwed up Race Results" post.
I was happy with my result. Though I haven't clinched the grand prix title I am chasing, I solidified my position in front and made it unlikely that I will be passed in the last two races. The next grand prix race is a half marathon. Although I am underprepared, I am much better prepared than last year when I ran it after a two month injury layoff in just under 1:30. I look forward to seeing how the race plays out this year.