This will be my 8th time running a race on New Years day. My 6th time running the five mile race in Steilacoom. My 19th Resolution Run of either 5,10,15 or 20 miles. Each course is out and back on the same roads, so I have the route down well. It is always fun to finish on the track, but the rest of the course is getting a tad boring. Jody, Billy and Tammy are here. We rode up together and it is always nice to spend some time with them. Gusty winds with on and off rain.
Start - I socialize a bit with many regulars. Fifteen minutes before the start I do my four laps around the track. Legs feel good and I get into the groove easily. Couple of faster strides and I am ready to go. Meet Maniac "B" just before the start. Billy asks how fast I plan to run. I reply that I will probably do a 7:30 first mile, then see if I can go faster after that. I have no expectation of beating last year's time.
Mile 1 - 7:30 on the nose, without even trying. Well I am trying, just was not that concerned about the pace. This feels like the proper effort for the distance. Just try to get comfortable. Oh, look who comes up on my left side, none other than RW. "What took you so long?", I ask. Just hoping for a little laugh. I knew she was back there and knew she would catch up soon enough. Foot starts to hurt.
Mile 2 - Running hard with RW. Too much effort for pleasant conversation. Windy. I think I am borderline going anaerobic. Not going to be able to hold this pace. Both lungs and legs are having difficulty. Am I letting her go ahead, or am I just not able to keep up any more? Got to slow down just a bit to try to recover, there is too much distance left to go.
Mile 2.5 - Halfway there. Top of a little hill, just where I remember it. Fun to see everybody. Bill is not far behind at all. OK, mostly downhill with a few up bumps for the way back.
Mile 3 - Overall pace is at 7:33 so I am not slowing that much, but this sure is not easy. RW ever so slowly getting out of reach. Behind a guy with a Sound To Narrows shirt who sounds like he is struggling. Stick to him, but not too close. Wind in my face again? How can that be? Rain has let up though. Feeling warm like I should take off my jacket, but I am almost done. Doesn't matter. Hat goes into jacket pocket. Foot hurts worse.
Mile 4 - Pass the guy I was sticking too. Then I get passed by a large pack of guys who all look about my age. No ribbon today. Quick calculation says that I can beat 38 minutes if I keep working hard. That is acceptable to me.
Mile 4.75 - Down the rough gravel patch to the track. Jody and Tammy are screaming for me but I ignore them although I do turn on the speed. Around the track. See a photographer and put on my best "this is very difficult" face.
Mile 5 - Finished!! Beat 38 minutes but I am two minutes slower than last year. I'll blame it on the weather and the lack of training/speed work recently that went with my injured foot and 13 marathons or ultras in 2008. I am fine with that time and look forward to the next race. We socialize some more and some of us enjoy post race chili. I am not ready to eat yet, but it is good to dry off and get warm.
67th place of 121 runners, 12th of 23 in age group