Why would anyone drive three hours round trip to run a 4 mile race just 5 days after a grueling marathon, knowing full well that his performance will not be as good as it could? 1) Tradition - this is what I do on the 4th of July, this will be my 8th running of this race 2) Races are fun - someday soon my times will start declining, should I just quit racing then? Some people do, but I enjoy the competition both against others and with myself too much to let it go. Some people in the back of the pack are working just as hard as the front runners and there are many rewards to be found back there. 3) Who says that I can not run fast 5 days post marathon? Won't know unless I try.
Staying at the Hood Canal house adds 2 hours round trip to my drive, but getting up at 5:30 still seems like sleeping in compared to last week. Weather is cloudy and a little warmish, but will not be a factor today.
Start - I see at least 20 people that I know by name. All of the regulars plus Coach Kehoe has brought the NCHS team again. Try to relax and not go out too fast.
Mile 1 - 6:49 which may be a little slow for the long downhill. I know that I have done this much faster in year's past, but I am holding back and holding position.
Mile 2 - Seth volunteering at the water station. Turn around and realize that I am much closer to the front than the back. Runners of all different speeds at this race. Micah passes me looking very comfortable, I comment on his excellent pacing. Hoping to see the Rogue Wave, but she is not here. I am at 6:55 overall pace.
Mile 3 - Slowing but not by much. I expect to get suddenly leg tired, but I am hanging on just fine. Pass Steve with a grunt. Pass Clinton who seems to be struggling, I better not say a word. A younger runner looks back and I scold him for doing so. I catch up and we talk a little bit, but this is not a time to talk.
Mile 3.5 - I am in the middle of a nice little pack and headed up the hill. After Bellevue, CCM and Tacoma this hill seems like nothing. I can see the top and although in years past I cursed this hill, today I would call this a flat course. I am right on 7:00 pace and now in front of the pack. Crest the hill and no one very close in front of me. Instead I know that there are at least 5 people right on my tail and I expect a couple of them to go sprinting past. I do not have much kick left but I manage to stay in front and enter the chute without getting passed. It almost felt like winning the race.
Mile 4 - Cross the finish and veer off to the side in case I am going to vomit. Feeling passes and I walk back to watch a few folks come in. Want to get back to my family and Hood Canal as soon as possible so I head off quickly to my car. The tradition continues and I learned that I can put up a respectable time in a short race less than a week post marathon.
28:06 63rd of 256 runners
race #140 July 4th at Steilacoom race #8