Race report: Red Hot Rocket 5K

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    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I’m badly behind on race reports. I have run 4 races since my last report, this summer simply got away from me. I’ll try to turn around 4 race reports fairly quickly but they will be short. Partly due to lack of time and partly because I honestly don’t have a lot to say about them.

    Back in July, I was looking for a tune up race. Something low key but to get the legs moving in a race atmosphere. I ended up finding the Red Hot Rocket 5K outside of Watertown. I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into at this race but I knew it wouldn’t be a big event like the Sausage Race in Milwaukee and there was a good chance I could slip by under the radar, with nobody who knows me there. Just what I was looking for. I was originally thinking of getting a team together for the Hank Aaron 5K but the team thing wasn’t happening and I already was looking at a schedule with 3 races in 4 weekends. I wanted to go with July so I could spread out the schedule a little more instead of having 4 races in 6 weekends. So this is where I ended up.

    I warmed up over the last about 3/4 mile of the course. Two things jumped out to me. First, a long, gradual climb to the finish. This isn’t going to be a fast last mile. Second, the course crosses a railroad. Wouldn’t that suck if you got to just over a half mile to go and a train came along? That’s about all I knew about the course, besides it starts on a bike path alongside the road. Not a lot of room to maneuver early.

    This not a lot of room to maneuver did come into play at the start. A lot of kids were lining up at the front so I ended up on the grass just off the trail. Not a big deal. I knew that, within 100 yards, I’d have fairly clear sailing.

    That’s how things worked out at the start. The kids took off hard but, within 50 yards, I was on the trail and, within 100 yards, had taken the lead. I led the race into the small town of Lebanon at a good clip, then took a left back out of town. Through some hilly terrain, down a good hill, then into the mile. I hit the mile at a solid 5:44, maybe a little better than I was expecting but solid without being ridiculous.

    Shortly after the mile mark, the course turns right and there was an aid station. I tried to grab a cup of water to pour over my head but the exchange was missed. At the same time, the pace vehicle stopped. For a moment, I thought of making some joke about jumping on and getting a ride for a while. I think the combination of the missed handoff and the bad joke kind of took me out of my focus and I paid for that. My pace slowed and never really recovered. The mostly gradual uphill last 2 miles didn’t help but the main issue was that I took myself out of the game.

    Regardless, I kept pushing. I gave a couple high fives and had a good time but still wanted to push through. I didn’t have that same killer drive as the first mile but I held things together.

    I ended up first overall in 19:21. Not a great race but not a bad way to tune up given the fairly hilly course and heat and humidity.

    Garmin data: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2887781339

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