Back to Rochester for my third running of the Swede Days 5K. Well organized event by Thurston County Parks and Recreation. Rich Brown is doing the timing, but I do not try to bribe him. Warm and a little muggy but not too bad. I introduce myself to Ron Burford who has been beating me for years in my age group. He is significantly faster than me, so there is no competition there. I do two miles easy to warm up, followed by some strides and am all set to go five minutes before race time.
Start - I am ready but the sheriff is not. We have to wait for the lead vehicle and road closures. At least Margaret, the race director, lets us know what is going on and says that we can do some strides if needed. This gives me a chance to talk more with Ron. It also lets the sun come out and I think the temperature raised 5 degrees while we were standing there. After a 10 minute delay, we are off.
Mile 0.5 - On a 6:45 pace but almost gasping for air. Very slight downhill, things feel good overall.
Mile 1 - 6:52. I am even with a woman runner and we run side by side for a short bit. There is a corner coming up and I do not want to take the outside too far. I decide to slow a bit and cut in right behind her. Then I change my mind, I feel like I can push a little faster so I turn on the speed and get a few steps ahead of her before the turn. I fully expect her to catch up after the corner, but I do not see her again.
Mile 1.5 - Pass another guy, then catch a younger runner and stay even with him. No one has passed me.
Mile 2 - Grunting a few words with the kid. We are feeding off each other and I am glad for his presence. I am still at 6:54 pace by the watch, not slowing much. I realize that my right achilles tendon that had bothered me a little this week is doing just fine. Good of me to take a rest day yesterday. In fact, nothing hurts and I am so blessed and grateful to be out here doing this.
Mile 2.25 - We turn a corner and I can no longer see Ron, or anybody else up ahead. The road forks just ahead and I think we are supposed to go to the right, but I am not entirely sure. I say something about this to the kid who is still with me, but just ahead I now see a cone and we know that is the way to go.
Mile 2.8 - Hanging on for the finish. Very small dip in the road and the minor uphill is just enough to throw off my stride. Takes a few seconds to get back in the groove. The kid starts sprinting as fast as I did last week and leaves me behind.
Mile 3.1 - Cross the line in the exact same time as last year. I am very fine with that. Cheer on the finishers after me. Then a one mile cool down jog. They are awarding the one mile runners their ribbons. I am so sweaty I decide to go to the car and change my wet yellow singlet that I wore in honor of Swede Day for a T-shirt. I get back to the ceremony and they are asking all those who wore yellow and blue to come forward for a picture. Well I don't need to be in that, but then they start giving out big bags of Swedish Fish and/or ball caps to everyone up there. Darn it!! Next up is the raffles and I quickly win a two pack of very nice socks which more than makes up for not getting the Swedish Fish. Results are not ready yet and I have to make an airport run later in the morning, so I leave rural Rochester for another year.
21:13 13th place of 98 runners
Race #138 5K #44 Swede Days 5K #3