After entering my race data from the ultra last week onto the Brooks Running website, I saw that I had moved up ten places in the 2010 race series. I now stand at 79th place of 850. I had planned to try to grind out weekly mileage record (65 miles) for marathon training purposes, but now I'd like to race a short one just to see if I can move up some more in the standings. Points are awarded for speed and just for attending, so my 25 races so far this year has me even with some super fast runners who do not compete so often.
Small mention in the Northwest Runner race calendar about this event, no website to check. I do call the phone number for more info and find that it will only cost $15 day of race entry, with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity. Nothing else planned for this Saturday morning so it is a go. First race for me in Lewis County, about 45 minutes from home. 8AM start but it will be a small event so no need to get there too early. I find great parking and a nice building for registration. Powerful smell of farm animals as we are just outside that part of the fairgrounds. Volunteer asks if she can pin my number on for me, how sweet, but I think I can manage.
Warm up - This will put me at over 50 miles for the week, I did run 33.5 miles just six days ago. Legs feel OK as i do 1.5 miles warm up. Nice weather, no wind, course looks very flat. Bob and Marci are here as are two other Marathon Maniacs, but it will be a very small event. 1.1 mile race will start at the same time. A couple of young cross country looking kids who are probably very fast, otherwise Bob might have a chance for the win. Not crazy about doing a small event on roads that are open to traffic, I'll just have to watch for cars.
Start - About 25 of us. Wait for a break in traffic, then take over the road. Smooth start and soon we are all on the shoulder. Very long very flat start. As I gradually crank up the pace I can see Bob with two others sharing the lead. After about a half mile I pass the two lead women. One more young guy in front of me, then the group of 3. That puts me in 5th place.
Mile 1 - I have never run here before. There was a printed map of the course that I actually stuck in my pocket in case I take a wrong turn. With such a small group I expect to be mostly alone. The race seems well organized but there will not be volunteers at every turn. Follow the orange arrows painted on the road.
Mile 2 - My legs have had enough. I should be able to run faster, I just can not get into a better gear. If I can just maintain this pace I will be satisfied. I have energy and my breathing is OK, I just feel like I have already run 50 miles on these legs this week, which I have. Guy in front of me is at least a tenth of a mile ahead but seems to not be gaining any more on me.
Mile 2.5 - Concentrating on form and holding pace. I'm not slowing. In fact the number 4 guy is ever so gradually coming back to me. I try not looking at him for a while, then when I look yes he is a little closer. If this trend continues I may be able to catch him near the end of the race. I am working very hard to do so and I know that I would not be running as fast if he were not there as a target.
Mile 3 - Volunteer points the way to a turn. Now a couple of quick turns through a neighborhood. Number 4 is about 50 feet in front of me. We get to a turn and I am 95% focused on catching my prey. The other 5% of me notices the second orange arrow that is pointing us to make a very sharp, almost u-turn, where number 4 had followed the first arrow and taken a 90 degree turn. I am proud that I am able to say I did the right thing without even thinking about the consequences for my finishing place. I yell "HEY, THIS WAY!!" and see number 4 do a quick turn around. But now I am number 4 and he is somewhere just behind me.
Mile 4 - The predator is now the prey. It was more fun when I had someone to chase, now I just wonder if/when he will catch me. It's a long straight flat road to the finish. No chance of catching any of the first three. Just try to keep moving and in fact I am running a little faster here in the second half. Looks like a slight negative split.
Finish - Not looking back, but also not hearing any footsteps, I have a lock on 4th place. Sharp left turn and whoa, there is the finish. Course appears to be short. Two of us have 4.77 miles on our GPS (an 8K is 4.98 miles). Close enough, I'll call it an 8K. At least I did not PR and have to struggle with that. Last runners are in soon enough and results are tabulated quickly. Nice little event. I enter my race on the Brooks site and move up to 61st place!! It will drop down as others enter their weekend racing. That's fine. I just enjoy racing so much. This month I have had the mid sized 10K Race Against Crime, the big event half marathon, the 12 hour endurance run and the little 8K road race. Each one with very different vibes, but fun in their own way. Next up - I plan to finish the month of diverse racing with a return to the Redmond Watershed Preserve for the trail marathon.
4th of 17
1st in age group ribbon