First time event sponsored by the Lutheran church in Elma. Barb Johnson is the race director and I know her from many years of local runs. Fliers were posted at the running store so I hope for a good number of runners, but expect it will be small. I have been resting and tending to a tender Achilles heel this week. I had to abort a run on Monday after half a mile due to pain and then rested for two days. I eased back into running on Thursday and although the pain is gone, there is still a little ache in there. Today I opt for the 5K race instead of the 10K, so as to not overwork the heel. Jody, Bill and I make the 30 minute drive to Elma together and with a 10AM start I even get to sleep in a little. The weather is perfect. 46 degrees, dry and no wind. We find the church in plenty of time and get registered. $25 day of race includes a long sleeve T-shirt. I see some regulars and a couple of folks from the church who will walk the 5K but other than that it is a very small event. Bill and I do a mile warm up. I meet a newcomer to the area, moved here recently from Alabama. He looks fast and I am glad that he will run the 10K. As Barb is giving us directions she asks to see who is doing which race. There are only 4 in the 10K. About a dozen in the 5K. Other than the Lindberg twins and one unknown, I am sure I can beat everyone else in the field. Well Bill is here and I will have to work to beat him, but although he has been getting faster, I have confidence, as long as the Achilles does not nag.
Start - Out the parking lot and right onto Main Street. Bill and Joseph (Alabama) are in front and I am right behind. Eventually Erik Lindberg passes me and runs with Joseph, they pull away just too quickly to keep up.
Mile 0.5 - Onto the quiet back road, I catch Bill and run along with him.
Mile 1 - 7:07. Running with Bill. I feel good and know that I can not catch Erik so I settle into a comfortably hard pace. Through the school parking lot, through some gates, then right on Third Street.
Mile 1.5 - Bill had gotten ahead and I caught up to him. Now at the turn around he is ahead again. We are going back up and over the highway. I am feeling tired and if I let Bill get too far ahead, that would not be good. I put on some speed and get even with him. Nice to make that turn back onto the less used road. Out and back course, so I can see Jody and others.
Mile 2.0 - Nice flat section of good pavement. I decide to speed up and see if I can put Bill far enough behind me that he will not catch up. I can see Erik still far ahead, but the gap may be narrowing a bit. I find a new, faster gear, knowing that I will not be able to hold it for a long time. Intersection ahead. I blow through it and see a truck coming towards me. I wave at it trying to signal that another runner is behind me. The truck continues on and I know that I have put some space between us.
Mile 2.5 - Dog barks in yard. Silence for a few seconds. Dog barks again. I know how far back Bill is, without having to look. He is actually very close. I need to keep working hard. Right turn. I want to look back but I know that is a sign of weakness, plus what is the point? I know he is right there behind me. Up a little hill after the turn and I can feel the tiredness in my legs. I can feel the Achilles with every step but it is not painful. My stomach feels fine and breathing is OK considering. I am having a decent race, my finish time will not be outstanding, but maybe is better than expected.
Mile 2.8 - On Main Street heading toward the finish. I see Erik turn in for the win. I keep up the pace, all the while listening for Bill's footsteps. I can not hear him so I relax but finish strong.
Mile 3.1 - Done. Stop. Turn off my watch. Turn around and there is Bill. He has run a PR by 22 seconds and is thrilled. I'd like to think that my running with him and his having to chase me helped him run such a fast time. So I will take some credit for his time.
Now it is spectate and wait for the others. I congratulate Erik (58 years old) and then I realize that with only 4 runners in the 10K, if Jody comes in ahead of Ruhamma she will be the overall female winner. She is and gets a trophy. Lots of food at the awards ceremony. Barbara Olafson (in her 70s) is female winner of the 5K, and yes there were at least three other female participants. Very enjoyable race that I plan to do again. Next race, as long as the Achilles is OK, will be the Pigtails Lake Youngs 50K on January 23.
2nd of 11 runners and walkers