I didn’t initially intend to run this race, but the race director was kind enough to comp my entry for winning the previous year. I knew I’d be less fast than last year at this time, but it would be a good shock to the system. A reminder of what it’s like to run fast. Yes, I know I did the Steeplecross 5k a few weeks ago, but that wasn’t an all out 5k.
Yesterday’s weather was cold and rainy, so I was happy to see blue skies. I had a feeling that the women’s field would be more competitive this year and didn’t expect to run very fast, so I was a bit dismayed to find out I had been given the bib number of 1. Goodness… don’t think I can live up to that today. I just saw Joan Nesbit Mabe and she could jog her way to a time I couldn’t match. Then I go for a warm up jog and a girl wearing blue looks at me like she’s going to beat me silly in the race which I figure she just may unless she’s wildly over confident.
Eventually the race starts. The first mile is down hill and always fast, so I go out quick to try and test my downhill legs. I feel kind of clumsy. Then I get that wet noodle feeling during a few foot plants. Uh oh. Awfully early to get that feeling. I don’t even seem to be able to push as hard yet. Must have something to do with lactate clearing ability that hasn’t been trained lately. Just keep going, girl. It’s the effort, not the finish time that matters today.
Several ladies float by and I’m in 5th place by the mile marker which I pass in 5:48. This is 8 seconds slower than last year and seems more difficult. I know that this day’s time will likely be slower than last year’s 19:09. Hang in there. Just before half way, I’m slowing and Suzanne Whitmeyer comes by. “Go get her!” I tell her referring to the girl in blue (yes, from the warm up run) that’s just ahead. The course heads uphill for the last mile. Generally, I’m pretty good at uphill running usually, but by this time I’m cooked. Keep it up, keep it up. Keep the effort up and finish as strong as possible. I tuck in behind a guy as the pitch steepens and we catch some headwind. I start to come around just before the finish, but he answers with a surge and I can’t go with. That’s OK. Finish line is close. I see the clock, 19:17, 19:19,…I figure the finish time is somewhere around 19:20, but the final results say 6th place female in 19:26. Only 5 seconds per mile slower than last year when I was in the final stages of marathon preparation and running pretty fast. And this after losing several months of running in late 2005 due to injury. A good result.
The take home for 6th place is a $25 IOS gift certificate, plus some socks, shoelaces and a cool t-shirt in the schwag bag. And did I mention I got a heck of a workout? Ten miles including warm up and warm down. Not a bad pull for a freebie race.