This article was originally posted by Ed at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
Was not planning on this race at all it came up as a last minute opportunity so Coach Hill and I fit it into the schedule. Had a little something to eat about 2.5 hours prior to race start time as that worked very well for the Hootie Hustle last year and the Deer Run this year. The family and I left early as it was a long drive from Port Washington to Kenosha. I tried some meditating to ease my pre-race anxiety and nerves.
We got there in plenty of time, I registered and eventually warmed-up for two miles at an easy pace. I felt like I was almost walking yet it was at a 7:34 per mile pace – that gave me some confidence going into the race. I ran over the end 1.2 mile of the course so I knew what I was in for at the end. I stretched a bit then did some strides. I should have held the strides down to the goal pace of between 10.2 and 10.3 MPH but I ran them fairly hard.
Lining up for the race which tried hard to have a corral system it was apparent that folks were not listening. At the start lots of people took off hard and fast and I had to weave through those that didn’t listen about the corral system. I didn’t let that fast start group pull me out too much but I did realize I was still a bit too much over the pace I knew I could maintain.
I went through mile one in 5:47 – very close to where I wanted to be – maybe a bit fast. I was with the lead group of folks some of whom were running the 10K and they formed an echelon so I tucked in behind center and let them break the air for me. During the second mile I was wondering how I was going to hold the pace. The sun was very warm and I was sweating pretty hard. I was considering trying to grab a water but decided against it since I have never tried to drink at this pace. Hit mile two at 11:39 so the second mile had slowed too much to a 5:52 pace. I then knew that mile three would be a mental battle.
Going into mile three the pack was broken up and I was hanging with some really young guy who was doing the 10K. We chatted a tiny bit (it was pretty tough to chat at all.) The sun at this point felt very hot and I was afraid of the wheels falling off and my crashing. I kept thinking that my wife and children were at the finish line waiting for me and I wanted them to be proud so I fought hard.
Right around 2.75 miles I was again in no-man’s land. Too far behind the guy in front of me to catch him and enough of a lead on the guy behind me that I just had to maintain and not blow up to beat him. If I had a greater lead on the guy behind me I may have pushed harder sooner but I didn’t. At mile three (17:34) I had slowed even more to a 5:55 pace – not happy with that at all and knew that a sub 18 was out but I was determined to make a hard final kick.
I made the final turn and people were cheering nice and loud. I could hear my wife cheering for me and I surged as best I could – it wasn’t much but it was what I had. I hit the final .128 miles in a slow 40 seconds.
Not a bad race at all. Took fifth overall once again and again won my age group. I won my age group by an impressive time of 4:43 which is huge for a 5K!
The announcer even stammered a bit when he read my time – that made me proud!
Thank you Coach Hill for all your guidance you are helping me achieve some great results!