Running a race at the same location with the same race director can lead to complacency and the opportunity to overlook important changes such as start time or course changes. With Bob Green races I know the questions to ask as I arrive. Is the race I am planning to run actually happening? Which course are we running? When will it start? Today's races include a sprint distance triathlon, a duathlon, a 10K, 5K and 2 mile race. The registration page included a 15K which is what I wanted to run but is not being offered. So I will run the 10K. Typically we turn right out of Vance Creek Park for shorter races and when there is a triathlon. Bob says that we will turn left out of the park. That is the route used for the marathon and half marathon I have done here. I prefer the "right" course as it is a very deserted scenic road. Left is busier, but either way is much better that racing out of Millersylvania State Park. We will do the 5K out and back twice. All races will start at the same time. Weather is nice but breezy as I do 1.5 miles warm up then a few strides before the start.
Start - We line up and I survey the small group. I actually have a chance of winning one of these races (in fact I did win the Odd Distance Run 8 miler some years ago) if nobody fast shows up. I have learned that it is impossible to tell how fast someone is by looking at them. One guy does look very fit and he and I are in front at the start line. Brian from Montesano and yes he is doing the 10K. I mention that as we are running the swimmers will finish and start biking and will be passing us on their bikes and that could be distracting. Some guy behind me disagrees, stating that we are turning right out of the park and will not see the bikers. I start to tell him that I am fairly confident that we are turning left when - bam - unexpectedly the start gun goes off down by the swimmers and that is our signal too, so off we go.
Mile 0.1 - Three people in front of me and we all turn left. There is a chalk arrow and I am sure we are going the right way.
Mile 0.5 - At 7:15 pace and Brian is pulling farther ahead. No way I can catch him if he holds that pace. Teenager behind him and next to a woman.
Mile 0.6 - Bikers passing us. Wait how can that be? Nobody could swim and transition and catch us in 6 minutes. 5th biker goes by and I see that he looks all dry. But if they started at the same time as us, they should have not been behind. Mystery.
Mile 1.0 - Aid station and something written in chalk on the ground. I see the woman stop and ask something, then look on the ground before moving on.
Mile 1.1 - Woman has turned around and asks me if I am doing the duathlon (run/bike/run). Too bad, she overshot her turn around by a tenth of a mile. That does put me in third place. I have no idea how many are behind me.
Mile 1.55 - Aid station and turn around. I will not catch the front two unless they totally fall apart.
Mile 2.5 - Turn onto the road to the park. Strong headwind and even a little drizzle. Hey if both of the guys in front of me are doing the 10K, I could just quit here at 3.1 and win the 5K. No I signed up for ten I better do that.
Mile 3.1 - Watch says 3.2. The teen runner is done, he was only doing the 5K. I have a lock on second place.
Mile 4.1 - Stop at the table for some gatorade and I place my cup in the trash bag so that it will not blow away. Feeling good. If I can hold this pace (about 7:26) I will be pleased. Turkey vultures swooping low.
Mile 5.5 - Second time turning into the headwind. One spectator yells for me and I start to dig it in when a strong gust almost knocks me over. Stagger on, regain my form, then get blown back again. Push on and finish well.
Mile 6.2 - Done. Congratulate Brain. Cheer for number three who is a ways behind me. Bottle of water and Swiss Rolls. My time seems slow for the pace I felt like I was running and the GPS reads 6.4 miles, so I am not going to feel bad about the finish time. Good relaxed run today.
2nd place of 3