This article was originally posted by Ed at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
The weather for race day seemed like it wouldnât be very promising to set a PR. Ryan and I had discussed this and I decided that, like Ryan said, we donât need to worry about time just place. I figured I would do my best to get and stay ahead of as many people as possible and then pass as many as I could while gutting it out to the end.
My wife Debby came out to support me and that was nice to have her drive (and be there for me) so I could refocus my race day nerves and anxiety. She has an amazing calming effect on me that I really appreciate. We pulled in right next to Coach Hill. It was raining lightly as I went to get my packet. I was thinking, last year it was rainy and cool and I PRâd then, so maybe . . .
I asked for my packet and got one of the biggest compliments ever. The lady running the event said she was waiting and waiting to see me register and was excited when she saw that I registered. REALY â me?! That was a little boost of confidence.
Got back to the car and the rain was picking up a bit. I pinned the bib on, relaxed a little bit more and asked Ryan if he was ready to warm-up. We headed out for a very easy paced warm-up of 1.32 miles at an 8:37 pace. We stretched a little and changed into Race Gear. Then like in Ryanâs race report we headed over to the bleachers under the press box for some final stretching and warm-up. We did some strides on the track and I was unusually calm.
We lined up at the starting line and when they counted down â we took off. I immediately found myself in very odd territory. I was just behind Ryan with no one else ahead of us â I was in second place. I checked my Garmin to be sure that I wasnât blowing myself up to die in the end and I was out a bit quick with the 1st quarter mile in 1:24 or 5:36 per mile. I didnât have to worry about slowing it down because Ryan did as did the two guys behind me. I got through mile one in 5:57 â I was hoping to be a bit quicker but this is good because I was conserving energy with the two guys not dropping off from us.
I contemplated trying to catch Ryan who wasnât but a couple of seconds ahead of me to let him know that we needed pick it up or the two guys behind us might make a move and catch us but I decided against it. That was good because we had indeed picked it up a little bit finishing mile two in about a 5:53 pace. I was hurting a bit but knew that 1.128 miles should be easy and that was all I had left to go. I pushed on trying to slowly gap the guys behind me. I started looking behind me at turns to try and gauge how the two threats were doing. I saw that one of the guys had dropped off and now I had to fight to keep second as one guy was about three to four seconds behind me.
I knew that there was a good downhill portion coming up on which I could open up and hopefully put a bit more space on him. At this point I quit checking on him because I didnât feel like I was going to fade. As I reflect a little, I wasnât even thinking of getting second place just staying ahead of the guy behind me. I was in such a tunnel vision that I donât recall even seeing Ryan just ahead of me. I was trying to listen to race volunteers that cheered for us as we passed to hear how close the guy behind was. But I couldnât tell.
As I made the tight turn and headed onto the track I knew I had about a quarter mile to go â that is short no matter how much I am hurting at this point. The third mile (I didnât know it at the time) was run in 5:36; my fastest mile ever. I pushed as hard as I could around that track unaware of anything other than the finish line and my inability to breathe anymore. I turned to go straight up the football field toward the 50 yard line ready to collapse. I saw the clock in the very low 18s and thought âthis is a new PR!â I ran through the finish line and fell to the ground dizzy, light headed and gasping for air.
Ryan, being a good coach, wouldnât let me lay on the ground. He helped me up and got me walking. We figured I came in somewhere just under 18:10 another PR and my highest ever finish â 2nd place!
I ended up running 18:06 which is 24 seconds faster than last year at this same event and a new PR by eight seconds! Very happy with these results –
Event page – http://www.honoursinc.com/#!results-and-photos-2015/ybyri