This article was originally posted by Ed at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
My reports are not nearly as good as Ryan’s are but here goes.
I made sure to get to the race early – I like being very early so I can be relaxed. After getting my race packet I went back to my car and ditched my warmer clothing. The weather was very nice and the winds very light – I was happy with the weather conditions. I pinned my bib on (glad I brought my own pins as they only provided two) and the turned on my Garmin to go for a 2 mile warm-up run.
I ran at about an 8-8:15 minute per mile pace for the warm up and was sure to run the final half mile of the race to end my warm-up. I noticed they were setting up timing pads at the start/ finish line and I checked my bib. There was no chip! I went to the check-in area and they directed me to a spot behind day-of registration where they were handing out the timing chips. (I wish he told me that when he gave me my packet at check-in.)
I strapped the chip to my ankel and did some light stretching. As race tiome drew near I did a few strides at about 10 MPH – just a bit faster than I planned on racing. I lined up near the front and had the usual flashy dressed folks that looked like big time runners but I knew they were not – but that didn’t stop them from lining up at the front. They started counting down to the start from 10 but said go on what would have been five. Not cute buddy!
I jockeyed around the wanna bes and the "I led for 2 seconds" people and found a nice place to lock in my pace. I kept checking my Garmin (bad habit and bad to do) but I would catch the pace dropping a bit and I would push it a bit to stay in the 9.5 MPH range or better. I held well through the first two miles passing a couple people here and there.
Right around the two mile mark some guy pulled up right next to me and was very close – I mean close! Like in my personal space close. I shaded right a bit and he followed – I slowed a tiny bit and he did as well. I turned my head slightly towards him and then kicked about a block before a turn. I gave it a pretty good kick thinking I would leave this guy with a hint of stay away from me. As I went into the turn I looked and saw the guy had fallen WAY behind. Mission accomplished but at what price?
I had planned on trying to pass as many people as possible in this last mile and then give it my all for the last quarter mile. There were not to many people ahead of me but I worked my way up on one guy but he was fading becuase the guy ahead of him was pulling away from him (but not me.) I passed him with very little race course remaining and was about 10-15 seconds behind the next guy. I started pushing it very hard trying like mad to catch the guy in front of me but needed another 30 feet to do it.
He got me by 4 seconds – dang it! I might have been able to gain those seconds earlier in the course but I don’t know. I worked very hard for this one. 11th overall and 3rd in my age group at a 6:15 pace. Not too bad for an April race!