Today's race was the Silver Lining 5k for the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County. Got to the race with plenty of time to check-in and get in a good warm up run. Ryan (my coach) was planning on being there which would be great for those few quick reminders and pre-race advice. My wife and children were there which was great for me. Although when we got there I realized I forgot my Garmin. Time to race by feel and gut instinct.
I lightly jogged to check-in from the parking area (maybe 1/3 mile.) Got my race packet, pinned on the race number and lightly jogged back to my family at the car. I dropped off my bag and talked with my family for a little bit then headed back to the start area for my warm-up.
I did a light and easy 2 miles or so making sure to run the first and the last 1/4 mile of the race route for some familiarity. I stretched a bit and then did a couple of strides at a fast but semi relaxed pace. I was feeling great but nervous about running without the Garmin to keep me honest with my pace in the first mile and not go out too fast.
I milled aroud for a while getting myself a bit of focus and ran into my family and ran into coach Ryan. My family wished me good luck and Ryan gave me some race advice. I lined up right behind all of the high school and college cross country runners (they had team jersey's on.) I was focused on not getting out too fast but pushing a good hard pace. The countdown began and the start horn blared - we were off and running.
The start of the race is uphill and was into a headon wind about 12-15 miles per hour. I decided not to worry about time but to focus on placing higher this year than I did last year. I was up and running with a small group of highschool cross country runners who were chatting while I was breathing. I was thinking "crap, this is going to get tough." I was hoping to hear a time at the first mile mark but there was no mile mark that I saw and no one calling out times. "Dang it! Now I have to wait until 2 miles. I hope someone is there!"
Plenty of turns and lots of uphills (only 2 short but steep downhills) that I was sure was taking a toll on me as my legs were starting to feel the race. There was some one there at mile 2 calling out times. She called out somewhere between 12:47 and 12:50 for me when I passed her. Ok somewhere around a 6:25 or slightly faster pace. I thought that was pretty good for this course. But with 1.1 miles to go - it was time to punish my body.
I was starting to remember this section of the course and felt I could push it and try to pass a couple of runners or more and avoid getting passed. Only runner has passed me that I have not passed back yet. I was focused on the jerseys ahead of me and worked my way up to them and passed them. I felt like I was starting to fade so I kept glancing back not wanting them to catch me and pass me back. I held my lead on them and fought towards that last 1/4 mile.
Ryan was at that last turn again like last year and was telling me to go for it. Something was different in his voice that told me to really crank it. So I did. I was so focused on the finish line that I didn't bother to look for the finish clock. As soon as I crossed the line I headed to the grass and fell flat on my back. I was dizzy and fightling to catch my breath. My wife and a paramedic helped me to my feet. My legs were wobbly but I was catching my breath and not too dizzy.
My wife joked with the paramedic that she knows where to find me at the end of a race - a few feet passed the finish line on my back. Haha realy funny honey. Ryan came over to me and showed me the finish time - I was shocked - 19:29! The final 1.1 miles was in 6:39. Not too bad for this tough course.
I placed second in my age group which is one higher than last year but I was only 3 seconds from taking first in my age group so almost a 2 place jump. I place 16th overall which is an improvement of 8 places over last year. I apologize in advance for this somewhat sexist comment but no females beat me today - that is a first for me.