Team HillRunner.com: 2018 Al’s Run

Team HillRunner.com (minus Andrea – behind the camera) after the 2017 Al’s Run

Teammates (and anyone who would like to become a teammate),

We still have some time before the 2018 Al’s Run but there is a registration deal going on right now so I’d like to get this out there for those of you who want to save some money by signing up early.

If you sign up by this Friday (May 11th) you can save $10 on your registration.

This year’s Al’s Run is on Saturday, September 15th. I hope to see you there!

Again, here’s the sign up link: 

Note: I’m not going to inundate you with reminders for this. This is your early bird registration reminder. I’ll resurface this post with a different message one or two more times before the registration deadline.

Team HillRunner.com: 2016 Al’s Run

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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I feel like I’m running behind this year but it’s that time again! Al’s Run is just around the corner!

Al’s Run will be on September 17th this year. The start is on the Marquette campus in downtown Milwaukee at 10:30. After the race, I will invite all team members to my house as has become tradition to have a cookout and celebrate.

As has also become tradition, anyone who joins the team can get a HillRunner.com t-shirt or singlet. I may have a second color option available but, if you don’t already have the traditional blue (as seen above), I hope you will select that so it can be our team uniform on race day.

Just register here to join Team HillRunner.com and I’ll get more information to you as race day approaches.

Personal and team race report: 2015 Al’s Run – battling adversity

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

Al’s Run is, of course, always the big Team HillRunner.com event of the year. This is the 13th year we’ve entered a team under the HillRunner.com banner. As always, I’m very touched and honored by the great group of runners who agree to run under the HillRunner.com banner.

This year was a struggle from the start, though. Due to injuries and other issues, a handful of recent Team HillRunner.com members were unable to make the race this year. While this hurt the team’s depth, I still felt we were fielding a solid team. Unfortunately, we had another runner bow out after registering due to not being race ready. Before I go any further, first let me wish all those who couldn’t run this year well on your recovery efforts. I hope to see you at Al’s Run next year not just to solidify our compeitive pursuits but because it’s always sad for me to see team members missing.

To further complicate things, my personal registration got messed up somewhere along the way. I was given the wrong bib (I believe it was a walker bib which means it didn’t even have a timing chip) when I picked up our team packet a week before race day. I reported this to the people there and one of the individuals told me she didn’t have a replacement bib on hand but could either leave one at the registration table on the day of the race or overnight one to me. Due to everything I have going on race morning, I requested it be overnighted to me. My understanding was that it would be issued Monday and I’d have it by Tuesday. When it didn’t arrive, I called Wednesday morning and was assured it should be arriving that evening. When it didn’t arrive by Thursday evening, I called again and left a voicemail. Friday morning, I got a call and was told to go to the registration table and request a replacement bib. Great but two problems. First, that’s what I was trying to avoid because I’m just too busy on race morning. Second, last time a team member had to do this, he never showed up as a member of our team. I pointed this out to the person who called me and she assured me I would be counted as a member of the team. So, on race morning, I asked the guys I carpooled in with to take team packets to our meeting spot and I headed straight to the registration table.

This is when the pre-race fun began. I went to the "problem solver" table and told them of my situation. First, I was told that I did receive a bib. Right here, it says you received bib number 15. One problem. I never received it. They didn’t want to believe me so argument #1 started. Finally, they either believed that I never received it or just gave up and issued me a new bib number. Then I asked if they could ensure that this bib number get properly added to our team. Argument #2: you can’t be added to a team on race day. You need to register with a team. I did! You guys screwed up my registration! After another argument, they took down the team information and repeatedly ensured me that I would be included as a member of the team.

Then it was off to our meeting spot to catch up with the rest of the team. As I arrived, I saw that the crew was there except for Peter and our one new recruit for this year’s race, Peter’s son Mike. I pinned my newly issued bib on my singlet, hoping to no end that I would actually be included as a member of the team but not counting on it based on past experience. I then chatted with the guys while going through my usual pre-race routine. Just before warmup time, as I was preparing to leave Peter and Mike’s race packets behind, they arrived. I said hi to Peter, we caught up quickly, then I introduced myself to Mike and we had a quick chat. Then it was warmup time.

As usual, we warmed up down Wisconsin Avenue, over the opening portion of the course. At one point, I swung off to drop a gear bag at my car. As I rejoined the team, I just kept thinking how cool it was to see the line of blue HillRunner.com singlets going down the road. That will never get old and it will always give me chills. I rejoined the group and we continued on our warmup.

On the way back, I again stopped at the car to change to my race gear. Then I ran by myself back to the starting area. After a few strides and a bit of loosening, I went inside and found the team and we headed out to the starting area together. A little more warming up, then we were lining up. In a classic Double move, he saw someone who shouldn’t be toeing the line of a large race like this and shouted something like "Alright, big guys in pairs, small guys in bunches!" You could hear a pin drop in the moments after that but the "big guy" didn’t take the hint and ended up toeing the line.

As the race started, I got out well. Quick but comfortable. The wind was a little tricky, generally a tailwind but at every intersection swirling around the buildings and creating cross winds and even headwinds. The gradual downhill almost to the mile marker, though, left me feeling like I was just in cruise control while going pretty quickly. I found myself in a gap so, when the crowd stayed to the left as I knew we were approaching a quick jog to the right, I went to the right. I wasn’t in position to pick up a draft anyway so I might as well take the shortest line. Nothing much happened from then through the mile mark, which I hit in about 5:31. I was targeting something around 5:30 so I was feeling good about this.

I know my best races at Al’s Run always consist of a relatively slow mile 2 as we climb from the river toward the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. I’ve learned to not fight this slowdown. When I do, I end up running poorly. So I didn’t push when we started climbing, actually just before the mile mark. Nobody was getting away from me, though. There were some swapping of positions but nothing major. By the second half of mile 2, I had my mark. Two Marquette uniforms put a PRO guy out the back and he was struggling to hold on. I knew he was my next victim and I was working on gradually bringing him in. I was closing in at the 2 mile mark, which I hit in about 11:32 for a 6:01 second mile. Not spectacular but within range of what I wanted.

Early in mile 3, we ran past a spot with a particularly strong gust of headwind and the PRO guy as well as the second Marquette guy both did not handle that gust well. It also hit me hard but not as hard as them. Shortly after that gust, I made the double pass. PRO guy was a little back of the Marquette guy but fought to stay with me. As I was approaching Marquette guy, I actually thought for a split second I could rub PRO guy off using Marquette guy but I’m not that kind of runner. I left room for both of us to get past without incident (or I hope I did at least, I was trying to). Near the end of mile 3, we head down Lafayette Hill. I always let loose on this downhill. In doing so this time, I gained on the Marquette guy ahead of me. Surprisingly, though, someone caught me. As we leveled off and cruised through the 3 mile mark in about 17:24, a disappointing 5:52 mile, I held with him and thought we might be able to work on two Marquette jerseys ahead.

Into mile 4, this is typically my "drop the hammer" mile. It’s a mile that can be very demoralizing if you’re not in the zone along here as you’re running a flat, relatively straight mile, staring at the east side of downtown Milwaukee the whole way. If you’re struggling, it can crush you. I like to attack, partly to keep my mind in the right place and partly because I know passing someone along here can help crush their spirit and prevent them from coming back on you. This time, though, the guy who caught up to me going down Lafayette Hill began edging ahead of me. I tried going with but just couldn’t. I did my best to focus in on this mile, ignore the city skyline off in the distance and just focus on the guys ahead of me. I did that well but I just couldn’t get my legs going. I didn’t pass anyone in this mile, which is the first time in probably at least a few years that has happened.

I finally got myself to the 4 mile mark but can’t remember the split. I think it was a low 23, probably around 5:50 again. At this point, I just told myself give it all I have. The guys ahead of me were pulling away but I could tell there were guys close behind. I was going to do all I could to have enough of a gap on them to be safe in the kick. This final mile has several turns. Right, left, right, left, left, finish. I did all I could to prevent myself from looking over my shoulder on any of those turns. I didn’t want to show any sign of weakness. Right, left. No looking back. Guys ahead are pulling away. Right. They are already going left. Have to gap the guys behind me. Left. Don’t look back, don’t look back. Go, almost in. Left. I see the finish line. I can’t see the clock, though. This year, the speakers are above the finish line and the clocks are off to the side. I can’t see them until the time is ticking past 28:40. One of the photographers is directly in line with my shortest path to the finish. Playing chicken with him. Eventually, he takes a couple steps to the side and I pass by without incident. Is anybody coming on me? I don’t know, I’m not even thinking of looking back. Drive through, every second counts.

I end up crossing the line in 28:52. 25th place overall. Not what I was hoping for but far from a disaster. Given the fact that I let myself waste energy by getting more worked up about my registration mix-up than I should have, combined with the fact that I was coming down with a cold, I’m not going to complain.

I then backtrack to catch my teammates. First, Cameron coming in just under 31 minutes. Then Double and right behind him Ed about a minute behind Cameron. I walk around the last turn and see Josh coming. I give him some words of encouragement. In retrospect, I should have been telling him the finish is just around the next corner so he knew he was close. We have two more runners coming. So I can catch everyone shortly after our last runner is in, I begin walking back toward the finish line, frequently looking over my shoulder to watch for the blue uniforms coming. Somehow I almost missed Peter as he went by but he called out and told me Mike was right behind. I hung around for Mike, gave him some words of encouragement, then went back around the corner to find my teammates. Unfortunately, we missed Peter and Mike but the rest of us chatted a bit, then went out to my place for a little (or not so little) unhealthy food and healthy war story swapping.

Final results for Team HillRunner.com:

25) Ryan Hill, 28:52.0 (2nd 35-39)

53) Gerald Cameron, 30:52.0 (2nd 40-44)

78) Dave Dehart, 31:55.5

81) Edward Pankow, 31:59.2 (3rd 40-44)

238) Josh Jackett, 36:46.0

324) Peter Diamond, 38:13.4

867) Mike Diamond, 44:32.1

For the record, there were 2,560 finishers listed in the run and total participation, run and walk combined, was reported to be over 16,000. Very solid results all around.

Also check out our cleaning house in the middle-aged male age groups. Nice job guys!

It took them two days to get some team scoring issues worked out but I believe the final result is in and, battling all the adversity we faced, we still hung tough for a top 5 team finish with an overall team time (top 5) of 2:40:24.9.

Team HillRunner.com: 2015 Al’s Run

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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Teammates,

I’m terribly sorry for the late start. It’s been a hectic summer and I simply let this slip through the cracks.

I won’t waste anyone’s time on this. Most of you probably know the details. If you don’t, here’s a quick run down.

Race: Al’s Run 8K

Date/time: September 19th, 10:30AM race start

Location: Downtown Milwaukee, starting at the Marquette campus and finishing near Summerfest grounds

Post-race: Cookout at my place

Register here to join the team

Sign up before Wednesday, September 2 if at all possible. If we have 10 people signed up before 5pm on that date, we can get a cool HillRunner.com logo on the backs of our shirts.

I hope to see many of you there. It’s always a fun event!

Personal and Team HillRunner.com race report: 2014 Al’s Run

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

As always, this is one of my highlights of the year. The great people who are willing to sign up to run as members of Team HillRunner.com always amaze me. While our numbers and depth were down a bit this year, the greatness of the people I was surrounded by on Saturday never disappointed.

This year, we definitely had some turnover on the roster. I counted 5 team mebers from last year who were not on the roster when I picked up packets a week before race day. Woody and Laura made it to the race and Woody attempted to get himself on the team but we’re not sure if he succeeded. Regardless, it was great to see them and thanks Woody for the attempt. Other holdovers from last year were Tim, Jerry, Ed, Charlene and of course myself. New to the team this year were Peter, who is a team veteran who had not run with us for a few years, and newcomer Josh. Josh is an interesting story. He actually came across HillRunner.com when he found my Al’s Run report from last year while searching for another runner.

I felt we would log a team time that was slower than last year’s team time but likely not enough to affect our place in the standings. Unfortunately, I got a little concerned when Tim informed me that he strained his hamstring. My first concern was of course his health but I knew that had the potential of affecting our team time even further as I was expecting him to be running neck and neck with me as first or second runner on the team, much like we did last year. Any time you replace a #1 or #2 runner with a #6, your team time is going to take a hit. That said, I still had confidence in the team and of course Tim’s health came first.

On race day, I carpooled in with Charlene, Josh, Jerry and Peter. We had a good talk on the way in and everyone seemed relaxed and ready to go. As we got to the team meeting place, Ed was there ready to go and Tim arrived shortly later. The word from Tim was that he’d warm up and see how things went. Everyone else seemed ready to go. Personally, I was feeling good. The weather was favorable. Probably about 50 degrees with a northwest wind. On this course, a northwest wind is pretty favorable as the finish is southeast of the start. Still, I figured I was in shape to run about the same as I did last year. That meant hit 5:40 pace, give up some time in mile 2 and see if 28:20 is in the cards.

During the warmup, I was feeling pretty good. As with last year, I found myself at one point being 3 team members seeing those HillRunner.com uniforms in their full glory and I got a chill. How cool is that? I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling that way when I see a group of people willing to represent this site.

The whole team this year lined up on the north side of the starting area so I was able to give everyone one last greeting before finding my position for the start. I also saw Woody and Laura and that’s when Woody informed me that the Al’s Run people seemed receptive to adding him to the team. I also heard from Tim that he was going to give it a shot but ease into it. I said one last time to him to be careful out there and then it was time to go.

At the start, I quickly realized that the sides were more even this year. Typically, the top runners line up on the south side and the north side offers more of a clear path. I would say the sides were about balanced this year. No big deal, just an interesting observation. I settled into pace, reminding myself that the first mile was a long, gradual downhill with the addition of a tailwind this year. That means keep it nice and relaxed. Let the downhill and wind take care of the first mile and save my legs for later. As it turned out, as soon as we hit the big buildings in downtown, I realized the wind was going to be a little more tricky. Every block, the wind was swirling around the buildings and creating a headwind. That didn’t change my strategy, though. I just eased through mile 1. I was honestly surprised to find out I hit the mile mark in about 5:28.

Into mile 2, a climb away from the river and toward the bluffs overlooking the lake and turning north more into the wind. This mile is always slow and I realized my best strategy is to accept that I’ll give up some time and not fight it. Surprisingly, I was still passing a few people even with this strategy and I don’t recall anyone passing me. Not too much happened along here. Reeling in a few guys but not getting crazy. I cruised through the 2 mile mark in 11:24 for a 5:56 mile. A little slower than I expected after opening up with 5:28. However, I’m starting to think I could try to break 28 minutes. Get back on 5:30 pace and I’ll slip under. I start pushing harder in mile 3, working my way past guys and through the field. I kept doing that until the downhill into the 3 mile mark. I’m usually good on downhills and I made a solid move here last year. This year, though, I felt like I ran it well but the 2 guys who were around me actually gained on me. I must have in the "good downhill runner" pack this year. No worries, though. I’m heading into mile 4, the make or break mile for me, now. Through 3 miles in 17:05, a 5:41 mile. Not bad for a mile that had some headwind and is probably the second most challenging mile of the course regardless of weather. Also, 5:30 pace over the last 2 miles would still give me a shot at sub-28.

Mile 4 for me is hammer time. This is a stretch along the lakefront where you’re running back toward downtown. Not much is going on around you there, there aren’t many spectators through most of this mile and it can really wear on a runner. A lot of runners fade in this mile and it’s a great chance to make an early move. I always try to hammer this mile and this year was no exception. I had two guys in my sights ahead of me. One, wearing a UW-Milwaukee shirt, who pulled away from me on the downhill and another, wearing a hoodie. No way I’m just letting a guy racing in a hoodie beat me. First up is UWM guy, though. I close on him and, just before I catch him, he surges. I had nothing to surge so I just held pace until his surge faded out. Then, as I pass him, he surges again. Again, I had nothing to respond to the surge so I just held position until the surge was over. Then it was on to hoodie guy. This guy was tougher to break than you’d think a guy wearing a hoodie in a race would be. It was tough enough to bring him in but I managed that just before the 4 mile mark. Once I did bring him in, I couldn’t break him. He just clung to me and even attempted to repass me. Man, this guy just wasn’t giving up. We passed through the 4 mile mark together somewhere in the 22:30s I believe. I kept pushing to challenge him, knowing I didn’t want to let it come down to a kick. I got ahead of him but I could never drop him. He just kept hanging right there on my left shoulder.

As we made a right turn, he made his move. He was ahead of me and I had nothing to respond with. Shortly after, we took a left turn. Showing how hard I had run and how dead my legs were, my right knee actually buckled going around the turn. I didn’t hit a bump in the road or anything like that, I just had a momentary loss of strength. I was able to correct, though, and get back on track. I couldn’t gain on hoodie guy no matter how hard I tried but I sure could try as hard as possible. Around a couple more turns, then a longer stretch into the final turn. Coming off that final turn, there was James Daul, who always seems to be around me in results, flying past. No response. I tried but my legs were spent. I then watched the clock tick through the 27:40s, then the 27:50s. Then it hit 28 flat. There goes that but I did get across in 28:02 to overperform my expectations.

I then looped back to catch the other team members coming in. Tim looked healthy (most important thing) and crossed the line in the mid-29s. Jerry was shortly behind, just over 30 minutes. Woody came through in just under 31 minutes and Ed was just under 32 minutes. Charlene was in the mid 33s, Josh came through in the 34:40s to slip under the 7:00/mile target he had. Peter, who twisted his ankle on the course, managed to finish on his banged up ankle in the mid-36 range.

As a team, we finished second to the always strong PRO team in our division, third overall including community teams (Marquette Running Club was a few minutes ahead of us, Marquette University was 4 seconds behind us). We also scored 3 age group medals. It was a disappointing day for a few runners, most notably Peter who came out injured. However, I think it was a good day in general for the team.

After the race, once we got everyone rounded up and back to their cars, the entire team except Woody and Laura were able to make it out to my place where Lisa was gracious enough to treat us to some excellent homemade Asian food. As always, it was great to sit back, relax and talk running as well as whatever else came up (anyone up for a stair climb?). Again, I’m always amazed by how great the people on the team are, both as runners and as people.

I’m very proud of everyone. Thank you all for representing HillRunner.com and for making Saturday such a fun day. I look forward to doing it again next year.

Individual results

Team results

Team HillRunner.com: 2014 Al’s Run important dates

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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Teammates,

The time has come again! Most of you probably have already heard through some form of communication that team registration is open. We already have a strong team of 6 members registered. I’d love to see that hit at least 10 by the close of registration. Please see the important dates below so you register in time.

As usual, I will be inviting all team members to my house after the race. It’s a great chance to socialize with your teammates away from the race course.

Important Dates:

Tuesday, August 19th: I will again be offering a free singlet or t-shirt to everyone who runs on the team. This year, I will be adding long sleeve t-shirts. I would like to place the order on this date. Get registered and let me know what you would like by this date to make sure I have what you want.

Wednesday, August 27th: Our deadline for getting 10 runners on the team. It doesn’t look like I have to submit the team so we can still add runners to the team after this date but, if you want the HillRunner.com winged foot on the back of your shirt, you and at least 9 others need to be registered by 4pm on this date.

Saturday, September 13th: Race day!

Register as a member of Team HillRunner.com now!

Personal and Team HillRunner.com race report: Al’s Run

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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What a good looking team!

As most of the regulars here already know, Al’s Run in downtown Milwaukee is the big event for Team HillRunner.com every year. In fact, in recent years, it’s been the only event. I always get very excited about this event. Especially since I left Waukesha, it’s often my one chance a year to see many of the great members of the HillRunner.com community who live in the Milwaukee area and throughout south and east Wisconsin and even north Illinois.

This year was no different. In fact, if anything, I was even more excited than usual for this year’s event. As well as seeing familiar runners like Double, Cameron, Woody and Ed, there were three new team members (Laura, Steve and Tim) I was excited to welcome to the team and there were team veterans who couldn’t join the team last year but who were returning (Charlene and Rick) who I was happy to welcome back. Of course, I was also there to run. In addition to this, though, everyone on the team had requested a team uniform and I was very excited to see the new team uniform debut 10 strong near the front of the field at Al’s Run. I was also happy to see some discussion of pack running. We seemed to have two primary packs forming. One would be four strong looking to run in the mid-28s and the other would be three strong looking to run between 30 flat and 31 flat. Not only do I love team running, teammates feeding off each other’s energy, pulling each other along and battling it out together, but how cool would it be to see teammates wearing the blue to be packed up together along the course? That had me really excited to not just be running but to see teammates to run with during the race and to see pictures later with teammates working together.

After a team warmup, I got to my usual starting place on the line (on the left side of the median) and saw Woody. Everyone else seemed to be on the right side of the median. I prefer the left side because it’s less crowded and a slightly shorter route if you run your tangents right. Woody took off to the right side, saying he was going to let people know that the left side would be better but, just after he went, the one minute warning was given. It was time to line up. I felt there was nothing I could do at that point but take care of myself. With about 10 seconds to go, we got called up to the line, I toed the chip mat that was serving as a start line and listened for the countdown. I was feeling good, some foot and lower leg problems I had been experiencing weren’t even a thought, and I was ready to go.

As the race started, I got out well and was leading or in the top 2-3 on the left side of the median. There was a pack out ahead of me on the right side. Pretty much the usual situation. I took extra care to make sure I just eased into mile 1. This mile is mostly made up of a long, gentle downward grade toward the Milwaukee River. After the river, you go up a little before hitting the mile mark. It’s also right through the middle of downtown Milwaukee so you’re pretty sheltered from both the wind and the sun, making it a pleasant feeling mile. The one catch I’ve found to this mile is that it’s easy to go too fast. You’re amped up for this large race, there is a good number of runners ahead of you and that gradual decline lulls you into running faster than you realize you are going. So I was focused on being quick but very relaxed.

Late in mile 1, I had Rick on my right and Tim on my left. I couldn’t help but think how cool is this. Three teammates in uniform running shoulder to shoulder or in a slight V formation near the front of a large race through downtown Milwaukee. That is just awesome! I also found myself thinking about Steve. I didn’t see him around but I was hoping he was right with us. I would find out later he unfortunately wasn’t but it was still great to have three of us cruising together. We did cruise together right through the mile mark. I don’t have an exact split but I heard a split of 5:35 called just after we passed. Probably 5:33-5:34.

Into mile 2, we start the gradual climb away from the river. In the past, I’ve tried hard to maintain pace in mile 2 and that usually came back to bite me in miles 3 and 4. This time, I decided I’m just going to settle into a good rhythm and take what mile 2 gives me. I’d save the big efforts for the last 3 miles. Shortly after turning toward the north at the east end of Wisconsin Avenue, it felt like Rick wasn’t there anymore. Not too long later, up an incline that I just had no interest in pushing, Tim gapped me. I just let him go and figured I’d try to catch up with him in miles 3 and 4.

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Mile 2: Nice teamwork! (courtesy RunningInTheUSA.com)

The rest of mile 2 just played itself out. I found a nice rhythm and watched the runners ahead of me, Tim included, planning to pick the effort back up in mile 3 and bring them back. I hit the 2 mile mark in 11:35 for a split of about 6:01-6:02. Wow, that was a bit slower than I expected. As soon as the math registered in my head, I told myself heck no and picked up the effort. Ever so gradually, I began making up ground on Tim and some other runners. To be honest, other runners more than Tim. We both were moving through the field a bit in that mile.

Mile 3 ends by going down Lafayette Hill. For those who don’t know Milwaukee, this is a hill that leads you down the bluffs from the residential neighborhoods overlooking the lake down to lake level. It’s a fairly steep and not extremely short downhill. I’ve always been a good downhill runner so I set my sights on all 3 runners who were ahead of me at this point, the last of whom was Tim. I made quick work of the first two, who started down the hill just steps ahead of me. Then I set out for Tim, who was a little further ahead. Near the bottom of the hill, I caught him and tried to say something encouraging, "Let’s go, hammer time" or something along that line, as I know mile 4 is one that can be really good if you’re aggressive or really bad if you let it wear on you. I wanted both him and myself thinking aggressive.

I rounded the corner and hit mile 3 in 17:12. Back to 5:37 for mile 3. That’s some good work in a somewhat challenging mile. Now, time to do some more good work. This mile for me is the time to lay it all out on the line. I always will find a way to get through the final mile but, if I’m not attacking and really pushing to my limit in this mile, it can get the best of me. The field is pretty spread out by this point but I just go to work, one runner at a time. My memory is a little fuzzy on this but I probably passed 2-3 guys in this mile and found myself gaining on a guy with a black and white singlet as we approached mile 4. I was getting really close to him but he seemed to be responding to some extent. He was not going to be an easy pass.

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Late in mile 4: Did I mention I laid it all on the line in mile 4? (courtesy RunningInTheUSA.com)

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One more from late in mile 4: This is fun, right? (courtesy RunningInTheUSA.com)

I completely missed the mile 4 split as this guy, apparently a UW-Milwaukee student, was passing some walkers with UWM shirts and they were cheering him on. He riled up the crowd on the pedestrian bridge that goes to the art museum and I stole a little of that energy to feed off of as I pushed ever so slightly closer. Around a right turn, then I caught him and gave it everything I had to put him away immediately so he couldn’t come back in the kick. He gave me an encouraging word, I was already breathing so hard I was grunting for at least a half mile at that point so I couldn’t respond. I just poured it on. There was another guy ahead but he wasn’t that close so I kept pushing to get as close to him as I could even though I knew I wouldn’t catch him. Around a left, a right, then another left, I kept reminding myself to not look back. I wanted to look back so badly to see if I had built up a suitable lead but I didn’t want to show any sign of weakness so I kept my eyes forward and kept driving, harder and harder, not wanting this guy to pass me back in the kick. One more left turn and I can see the finish line. I’m trying to read the clock but more focused on just driving as hard as I can. As I approach about 100 yards to go, I try to sprint. Drive the arms, push off as hard as I can, get the turnover as high as I can. My pace changed ever so slightly but it probably looked less like a kick than like the flailing final effort of a guy who was incapable of sprinting. Pure coincidence I’m sure. I got myself to the finish line without letting anyone pass me, then after stopping turned back to see Tim already across the line. It turned out he put up a good battle with that UWM runner but came up just short. Still, he ran tough and finished very well. It was great to have a teammate right there with me essentially the whole way.

Then I scanned for Rick and Steve. We were expecting them to also be in the 28 minute range but there was no sign of them. Tim and I started walking back up the course some to cheer our teammates in. Rick came along just as the clock was ticking toward 30 minutes. I had him right about 30 minutes flat. Then came Jerry shortly after him with Steve right behind. Our top 5 were all in by about 30:30. Next in was Woody, just over 31 flat, with Double close behind. Ed came in just under 32 minutes for another nearly 30 second PR, then Charlene came in about 30 seconds behind Ed. Laura rounded out our finishers with a very solid effort 6 days after running a draining half marathon in the heat and humidity and we began grouping up just past the finish line.

As several of us were cooling down together, chatting about the race, I couldn’t help but think about how great this team was. While a couple of us went home disappointed, from top to bottom, we all were top level competitors and I was proud to see these 10 people wearing that cool HillRunner.com singlet and representing this site so well. I still get chills thinking about this. These 9 people were willing to wear the blue and represent this place that I started so many years ago and has evolved into such a great online community. I’m truly blessed to have these people around me who are so willing to represent this site with so little given back to them in return.

The team as a whole got 3rd in the community division, only 1:43 behind the first place team. Seeing as we got moved to the more competitive community division, I think this is a great result. I also think it gives us a goal for next year.

The final results for the team are as follows:


3. HillRunner.com
1 28:23 Ryan Hill
2 28:24 Tim King
3 30:01 Rick Smith
4 30:24 Gerald Cameron
5 30:33 Steve Tietz
================================== 2:27:45 ( 29:33)
6 31:08 Marc Woodcock
7 31:21 David Dehart
8 31:54 Edward Pankow
9 32:28 Charlene Larson
10 38:41 Laura Walsh

I can’t thank the team enough. This was a very special year for me, to see such a great group of people out there, all wearing the blue, having fun and running hard meant a lot to me. I still get chills thinking about some of the moments from Saturday.

Afterward, some team members were able to make it out to my place for a cookout. That was the least I could offer for all they did for me that morning and it was great to sit down, not wearing our running gear, and just have a casual chat with such a great group of people.

I think most team members went home happy with their performances at the end of the day. A couple were disappointed but I believe still put up great efforts in the face of adversity. I hope all can make it back again next year and maybe we can even expand the roster. Once again, thanks to these 9 wonderful people who were willing to represent HillRunner.com and did such a great job of doing so! I hope everyone here is as proud of them as I am.

If anyone else wants to share their own stories or pictures, feel free to either add them to the comments here or create a separate blog post.

Team HillRunner.com: 1 day and 1 week notice

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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Get a Team HillRunner.com singlet or t-shirt FREE for joining Team HillRunner.com at Al’s Run

Team HillRunner.com, this is the final post I’m going to make this year for Al’s Run. Team registration closes at 5pm on August 28th, a week from today. Please don’t forget to sign up at events.chw.org/goto/HillRunner_com!

Also, I’m placing the order for HillRunner.com singlets and t-shirts tomorrow evening. If you want to ensure you get exactly what you want, please let me know what size and style you would like. I’ll be getting some extras but the only way to be sure you get what you want is to let me know what you want before I order.

I hope to see everyone signed up and letting me know what they want soon!

Team HillRunner.com: Al’s Run

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

It’s that time of the year again! Time for Team HillRunner.com to make an appearance.

I have two goals for our team this year.

1) We won our division last year, I want to defend that title.

2) In recent years our roster numbers have been down. I’d like to see a roster at least 10 deep.

Details:

Al’s Run

Location: 12th & Wisconsin, downtown Milwaukee

Date: Saturday, September 14

Time: 10:30am

Post-race: All team members and families, if they wish to join us, are welcome to a cookout at my place in Slinger after the race.

Go to our team page here. The site is a little broken so it’s a little hard to find the register link but I tried to make it as easy as possible.

I hope to see many of you there. I also hope some of you can make it to my place after the race for what is becoming the team’s traditional cookout. It’s always fun to share a little BS with Double and crew.

Sorry, no other blog posts this week. With this and some other things going on, things just got away from me.