Sunday, January 30, 2011

1-30-11 Geoduck Gallop Half Marathon

Last year I ran 40 races, three in the month of January. I have no intention of trying to better that mark, yet somehow I find myself lining up for my sixth race this month. Every weekend there has been a good local option and I have had no trouble finding the time to run. Yesterday was the Run For Tina 5K. I ran well and my legs feel fine. I did not plan to do this race today, but my training plan calls for me to run 11-14 miles at a decent pace. I am trying to build up the mileage on these runs that I do at my hoped for marathon PR pace (3:45). More miles at 8:35/mile and longer and longer runs at that pace too. I usually go off well under 8:00/mile in the half, can I get comfortable and hold the 8:35 in a race situation? I'm confident that I can despite racing yesterday, so I will relax and enjoy the event.

Last year this race was in February and had some issues. I ran the accompanying 10K with Jody. There were more day of race registrants than they could handle and the start was delayed a long time. The course may not have been marked perfectly, as some runners took a wrong turn in the half last year. Word is that part of the course overlapped with the Friendship Run course from the day before and some of the chalk marks for that race lead runners in the wrong direction. We have a new course this year and have been promised that it is well marked. Sign in is in the heated gym with heated restrooms a huge improvement over last year. The race was not advertised as much in advance and numbers are down. But this eases the process and we start off right on schedule. Cloudy and cool but its dry and no wind. Great running conditions. I have shorts, long sleeves and a hat that I can toss if I warm up.

Start - Tammy is here and hoping to run an 8:30 pace to PR. She has some friends with her and this is great. I'll tuck in with and behind this little pack and make sure that I don't go off too fast. I plan to stay with them until mile ten or eleven and then run hard for the last part. Its a smooth start and away we go.

Mile 1 - GPS is off some and will continue to read short for the whole race. Either way we are going a little too fast but soon back down to the goal pace.

Mile 2 - Aid station water is warm. Unexpected and not a problem, just a little weird.

Mile 4 - Enjoying the quiet rural roads. Rolling hills the whole way but nice blacktop. My last couple of races have been on trail or rough pavement so its good to not have to think about where each footstep goes. Comfortable pleasant running. Steep downhill and then a steep uphill. That was the worst of what will be on the course. Jenny walks part of the hill and drops off pace some. She will go on the set a PR however.

Mile 6 - Out to Mud Bay road and turn onto the paved nature trail.

Mile 7 - One of our pack starts to tire and slows a little, another (Martinho) had been holding back and now picks up the pace. Our little pack is shrinking. Kristi and I focus on Tammy and keep the steady pace.

Mile 9.5 - I really like this course. We are now at a two mile out and two mile back that will get us to the finish. I can see all the fast runners coming toward us. Tammy is struggling however. I have gotten ahead of her and I stop at an aid station to drink and let her catch up. She does not look to be in good shape. Kristi will stay with her and she gives me the signal to press on without them. I was going to start running hard at mile ten, I might as well go out now. I have been watching Ruhama gradually extend her lead from us for the last three miles. She has been getting faster and I want to catch her, but she is almost a half mile ahead by now. I drop the hammer and take off at 7:30 pace.

Mile 11 - Passed Judy Fisher and am gaining on Ruhama. Get to the turn around, staffed by Bill Herzog. For such a small race it has been fun to know so many people. Even the President of the Half Fanatics Club is here. Finally catch up to Ruhamma. She is running so fast but is also struggling mightily to hold her pace. She wants to PR and asks me to help her. A PR would be 1:52 I think, for her and that will be easy. Now she says, between gasps and groans, that she would love to beat 1:50. I am doing the math in my head but with my watch not reading spot on, I can not say for sure how much farther we have to to. Down a hill and we are really flying, last big uphill and then I know that the last mile will be flat. Encourage her to relax and not let this hill wipe her out completely. I am sure that she will beat 1:50 now. Back on level ground I still have some energy left. I tell Ruhama to enjoy the moment and I set off to catch Martinho.

Mile 12.5 - This last mile seems long as we do not turn where I thought we would. I am not gaining on Martinho, but I feel good and run hard to the finish. Really pleased that I have felt comfortable the whole morning, no aches or pains. Wait for Ruhama, Tammy and Jenny who all get their PRs. Kristi must have worked some magic on Tammy, because I did not think she would make it. Way to tough it out. I don't stay for results. A quick towel off and change of clothes and I make it to church on time.

Results pending
6th race of January - new monthly record

Saturday, January 29, 2011

1-29-11 Run for Tina 5K

Tina Griswold was a Lakewood Police Officer who was murdered along with three other officers as they sat in a coffee shop a year ago. Both Jody and I work in Lakewood and Jody knew Tina from her work on the DARE program at the middle school. A year ago I stood outside in the freezing cold for hours as the funeral procession passed by. I still can not see a Lakewood Police cruiser on the road and not think about the tragedy and my profound respect for those who serve. Today's race is a "fun run and walk" that will raise money for scholarship funds to help women seeking to enter law enforcement careers. More of a community event with lots of walkers, than a typical race. But with over 600 signed up I'm sure that there will be enough fast people to keep me in my place.

I have raced in Steilacoom many times but never at the Fort Steilacoom Park. Mostly paved trail but some long sections of gravel and dirt. I actually do not know the course at all. I'll just follow the leaders and hope to not take a wrong turn. This is a first time event and not a high stakes competition, so I will be patient with the organizers if anything goes wrong. I do arrive plenty early and have no trouble getting my bib and T-shirt. Someone announces that we should not rip off the lower part of the tag "in case you collapse halfway out there and we need to identify you" Yikes!! Unfortunately it is raining. Not windy and not too cold but it is wet and I am pleased that so many have come out in the rain. Two local news stations are here. I do my usual warm up and feel pretty good despite last weeks 50K race.

Start - They have us start on a super wide section of grass that will narrow down and pass between two barns. This may be the course that is used for cross country meets here, the start anyway is typical of that. Walkers and slower runners do a great job of lining up behind the runners. I only see a couple of people that I recognize. I thought for sure that the start would be delayed due to getting people registered and I am amazed when the horn blows right on schedule. We fly across the field, kicking up mud and water onto the backs of our legs and the people behind us. Between the barns, right onto the roughly paved park road, then onto a path.

Mile 0.5 - Going too fast as usual, I'll never hold this pace. But we are spread out nicely for such a large group. Plenty of room on the paved flat trail along the main road. Up ahead I can see runners making a turn, then again like a big horse shoe. I am able to count those in front of me. At the turn I realize that I am in 19th place. OK, enough counting. Focus on maintaining pace.

Mile 1 - Now onto a dirt trail and up a hill. Its not too steep but it does make me slow. Two guys pass me. I hope that I am able to regain some speed at the top. Right turn with volunteers to point the way, but I see two of the lead runners had gone straight and are way off course, at the bottom of the hill. I look to the right and see those in front of me along with a course marker so I know that is the way I am supposed to go. More uphill and finally a turn and a chance to go downhill. I just pass a guy wearing Vibrams. It is a wide enough dirt road with ruts, but with all the rain it is a little slippery. His shoes have zero traction and he slides and falls. It was not a bad fall and he is up very quickly with no harm done. In fact he goes on to pass me. Must have been a nice adrenaline surge.

Mile 2 - Back to pavement and around Lake Waughop. Flat pavement for a while, just have to watch for bumps. Eric Barnes sighting. All the way around the lake and back toward the barns. I'm holding pace OK and not getting passed, but I am not gaining on anyone in front of me. Last stretch to the barns and the finish. There is a lone, young Girl Scout directing runners but she is yelling to some others off to the left that no one is listening to her, "they keep going straight". I realize that we are supposed to turn left here but no one is doing that. I make the turn and hope that those behind me will follow. I pass other Girl Scouts, one of whom says "finally someone is going the right way" Between the barns and I reconnect with the runners in front of me. They are about twenty feet farther ahead than before the turn so it did not make much difference. Hey maybe they should all be disqualified and I should be the winner for running the proper course:) Back on to the grass and I can see the clock at the finish still reading in the 20:xxs. What did I run that 5K in two weeks ago? 21:13 I think. Can I beat that time? I sprint hard and just make it.

Finish - No one is taking tags or recording our finish times so there will not be any official results. Overall winners get a free pair of shoes. GPS reads 2.91 and with that finish time I am sure that the course was a little short. Still a good run and a nice event. Well organized for a first time event and a great cause, I would run it again for sure. I jog around and take some photos of the course. I'm glad that the rain was not worse and that the event was a success.


about 20th of about 600 including many walkers


5K# 59

5th race of the month with one more tomorrow


Saturday, January 22, 2011

1-22-11 Pigtails Lake Youngs 50K

My second time at this race. I had a good run last year and hope to do so again. My time was 5:17 last year and my 50K PR is 5:14. Been running well and feel good, but I have not done a long run in 5 weeks. Chances are probable that I will run out of energy early and have to shuffle in too many miles at the end. I'll try to eat more in the early miles in order to stave off the wall, but if it comes I won't beat myself up about it. Its been very rainy and there will be mud, but today is dry and not so cold. Its cool and cloudy but will warm up to 40 or so and we should get a little blue sky later on. I'll be comfortable in shorts two shirts and a light jacket and a light hat but no gloves needed. I described the trail with photos last year.

Loop 1 - Last year I ran the first loop in 1:37:06, timing myself as I left the one and only aid station. Its 9.8 miles around the lake, so I have my fuel belt with 20oz of Gatorade to get me through. I remember the steep downhill that hits us just after the start and I am determined to carefully negotiate my way down. Starting farther back than usual and not trying to pass anyone, the hill is not a problem. Two guys do go blazing past me near the bottom, but I give them plenty of room. The trail widens some and gets more sure of foot. Runners get all sorted out, I find my pal the Rogue Wave and we find our comfortable pace. The strategy of walking up at least some of the rolling hills worked well for me last year and we do that again, but I am going faster than last year and way faster than PR pace. It is interesting to revisit a place that I was at only once before and that was a year ago. Around every turn I suddenly remember the scenery and have some expectation of what is to come. Knowing a course should give me some advantage. It would be interesting to compare my times for all of my races in which I have done the course twice and see if I have improved most times. We enjoy the easy pace. The mud is there, but never so bad. I probably should be going slower as I head out for lap 2 at 1:32:11, five minutes faster than last year.

Loop 2 - Race Director Pigtails had said that if we wanted to and were not in the position of maybe winning the race, we could run the second lap in the reverse direction. I remembered that Robert Lopez did that last year and it was fun to see him as we went past in opposite directions. Otherwise, although there are over a hundred runners here, you don't get to see anyone because there are no out and backs and we are all spread out after a couple of miles. Most of my friends think that I am a little crazy to run so many marathons and ultras. They may be right, but there are other crazies out there and I get to see them and feel at home with them on race day. Even if I do not know them well, there is a certain bond when I see the same face at race after race. So the Rogue Wave and I do this loop in reverse and I enjoy seeing my friends. A couple of hand slaps, Betsy tells me that I am disqualified from winning (ha ha) and lots of "good jobs". With more distractions, the time goes by quickly. At mile 3 there is a Terry Sentinella sighting. At mile 4 a deer jumps out of the woods and startles us. At mile 6.5 there is another Terry Sentinella sighting!! He is flying around the lake. Now on his third loop, its is my first time actually seeing him running, he is always so fast. I am doing well at my own pace. The Fig Newtons that I carry are digesting well. I try a gel and get a little upset stomach right away. I'll stick with the Newtons for the rest of the race. I finish the loop in 1:34:12, two minutes faster than last year.

Loop 3 - The Rogue Wave has mentioned trying to run all of the uphills for the third loop. Getting that PR is more important to me than trying to stay with or beat her today, so I am happy to let her go on a little faster. If I can just keep going like I have been, if my energy reserves can hold out, I could have a really good day of running. Soon I catch up to Maniac Guy Yogi. He is always 10 to 15 minutes faster than me in marathons and we run a lot of the same races. He is moving along alright and I think that it would be nice to just run with him and talk for a while. We run together for about a mile but I feel like I could be going just a little faster so I pull on ahead. At mile 26 I start to tire. My pace slows some and I start doing the math in my head. The GPS is off some with distance and I just can not quite figure out how fast I need to keep moving. Mile 27 - Left hamstring cramps up and then releases. I am used to slowly building discomfort at various body parts, but these sudden cramps or pains do not happen very often to me, it is always a surprise. It released immediately, but will reoccur every half mile or so. Not real painful, but disconcerting nonetheless. Still struggling with the math as I near the last mile of the loop. I know that the final out and back section is 2.2 miles, so if I can start that leg with 25 minutes to spare it should be doable. If I have less than 20 minutes I will never make it and I'll just relax and ease on in at whatever time. I make a plan for a quick turn around at the aid station. I will ditch my jacket and throw off this fuel belt that bothers me after so many hours. I have a half bottle of Gatorade that I can carry in my hand. I'm sure I could go without the fluid but I am thirsty and know that I could use the drink even in the last half hour. I pull into the aid station with 28 minutes till my PR time is up. I can run 13 minute miles for the last bit and get that PR. I am optimistic and happy!! Loop 3 complete in 1:37:45 compared to 1:39:10 last year.

2.2 mile out and back - Oh crap, somehow I managed to drink from the bottle, toss it on the ground, and leave my fuel belt on with practically no fluids. O well, its just two miles, I'll manage. Last year I did this bit in 24:27. This year I can do it in 28 something and not only beat last year's time but also my best ever time of 5:14 from the Mt. Si 50K. Now comes a dilemma. This will be my fastest 50K yet and who knows about the future? Maybe this will be my last PR at this distance. I should go as fast as possible and get that final finish time as low as I can because I may have to live with it forever. However I find myself thinking about my sponsorship from Brooks Running. I get to participate in an annual race series with all of the other Brooks athletes. Points are awarded for fast times based on an "age graded V-dot system" but also for races entered and for PRs. I'll get one point for racing today and another point for my PR. Last year I was the regional winner for the "most races entered" category and won a nice gear bag. My speed is not very competitive but because I race a lot, I was 52nd of 1,018 athletes in the 2010 race series. I am registered for Mt. Si again this April and I could perhaps get another PR there. That would be easier if I do not smash my PR today and make it so much lower. This is what I am thinking about as I finally get to that turn around. In the end it is my left hamstring that makes the descision for me. The cramping is becoming more frequent. Still not really painful, but I would never try to run fast or work it hard with the condition it is in right now. I split the difference between doing my absolute best and preserving my body to run again soon. Have to walk up that steep hill but when I see that I am at 5:08 at the top and near the end I am thrilled. Super fun to run in to the finish and enjoy the accomplishment.

5:09:07 PR

28th place of 84

50K #7

Race #224

Saturday, January 15, 2011

1-15/11 Run For Faith 5K

Back to Elma for the second running of this event. Faith Lutheran Church. Proceeds to benefit a missions trip to Africa. This race is small enough that there is a chance that I could win. Last year I came in second place out of eleven, a little behind Erik Lindberg. I was nursing an Achilles tendon then and I know that on a good day I can beat him. Well hopefully he won't even be here. Jody and I pull into the parking lot and there is Bob Martin. Oh I am never going to win now.....but wait, he is running the 10K race. Looks like a larger crowd than last year and some runners look quick so who knows? Now I see Dylan Miller, the ten year old that I raced against last week. It took me 3.5 miles to catch him last week; he may be my toughest competition here.
It was a poor week for running last week. My head cold got real bad and I just had to take a few extra days off, with no quality work outs since the race last week. I did start feeling better by Thursday and with the lower mileage this week I realized that today I will hit 15,000 life time miles. I ran a little yesterday just so that after today's warm up I will be just under 15,000. This race will be a nice way to celebrate that milestone. Jody ran and won the 10K last year. She is back to repeat that distance. We were all wary of the predicted rain, but it is dry although the roads are wet and it is very cloudy. Temperature about 50 degrees with no wind, so very nice for running. I do my usual warm up and am ready to go.
Start - For some reason we are starting right near the main road this year. If the turn around is at the same spot this will make the course about 40 yards shorter than last year. I can not actually remember the exact placement of the turn around, except that we have to go over the highway overpass, so there will be a little uphill to start out the way back. RD Barb gives us directions and then we see a car pulling in with Erik Lindberg. We give him time to pin his number on, but no time to warm up and then we are off.
Mile 0.5 - Dylan takes off like a shot, really fast. I have to go faster than I want, but a 5K is pretty much go all out for me anyway. Bob Martin and Dylan are together and I am about ten feet back. I see that I am holding pace with them. I might as well surge and catch them and run with them. I am able to do so and it is a fun way to celebrate my 15,000th mile. I see Bob all the time but we never get to run together. Since he is doing the 10K, our paces are about the same here and we run together.
Mile 1 - Negotiate the back of the school area and through the gate. At one intersection a car approaches and stops at their stop sign. We run through. Next I hear the car proceed and this tells me that there is no other runner too close behind us. It just may be me and Dylan going for the win. Yikes I am at a 6:48 pace!! Last year I ran the race at 7:15 pace.
Mile 1.4 - Volunteer tells us to cross Third street and turn right. Last year we made the turn before crossing and ran over the highway on the right side of the road. Now the three of us are on the left side. Up and over and down. I can see the aid station that must be the turn around on the other side of the road. But wait, here is a big 5K with chalk turn around arrow on the ground on our side of the road. Dylan overshoots it, hesitates and turns around just as I get to it, as I had been a few feet behind him. Bob goes on for the 10K and I make the turn just even with Dylan.
Mile 1.6 - On the uphill I can hear his labored breathing. If I was breathing like that I would not be able to last much longer. I get a sense of confidence that I will be able to pull ahead for the win. I make a short surge but he matches it and we are side by side. Other runners coming toward us, on both sides of the road, but none are close enough to worry about.
Mile 2 - We are slowing just a little. Right when I get feeling comfortable I decide to break him and put on a super surge. I can only hold it for a few steps and he has no problem charging past me and settling in a few steps ahead. This happens three times and then I know that I will probably not win.
Mile 2.6 - Up the little dirt road and hill to the main street. Dylan starts increasing his lead. I do my best and feel good, realize that I will crush last year's time, but I just can not beat the kid.
Mile 3.1? My GPS says 2.99 with a pace of 7:06 and a time of 21:13. Even that was a fast super pace for me. If the course was really 3.1miles that would put me at a 6:50 pace per mile and that just does not seem realistic. I think that it was a little shorter than last year, but still I ran very well. I congratulate Dylan and hope to run with him again. Always fun to have some close competition that makes me run better. It will be fun to watch this kid in the coming years. Cool down jog and go out to find Jody. She is doing well and feels good, but is in second place of the women as a faster one came this year. Turns out that she would have won the 5K had she entered that race. We run the last mile together. Then we wait for results. With 24 runners in the 5K and 7 in the 10K it should not take long to tabulate the results. They do some raffles and Jody wins a pie. But there is some confusion with the results and Barb is trying to figure it out. After and hour of waiting we really need to leave, and do so before the ribbons are awarded. Other than that wait, and the experience of coming so close to winning, but not quite getting it, it was a nice event. Rain started falling just as we were leaving. Pigtails LakeYoungs 50K is next week. I have not done a long run in five weeks, so it will be a good slow endurance training run and possible mudbath.

2nd of 24
Run for Faith#2
race #223

Saturday, January 8, 2011

1-8-11 White Elephant 5 miler

Race around Capitol Lake. $10 entry day of race, plus bring a wrapped gift for the exchange. I bring two running books. I think it is obvious from the weight and size that it is books and that someone will take it and be pleased. Been suffering from a mild cold. Went skiing all day yesterday with the family and it really wiped me out. I'm not a good skier and my quads take a hammering, but at least I did not fall at all during any of the 12 runs we did. With the cold I probably should not race, but sometimes it does not affect me much. And I am not concerned with my finish time. I am in the middle of a four week training plan with short races every Saturday and some tougher than usual mid week runs. No hint of injury so I have been pushing it more than usual and hope it will pay off with some faster marathon times in the Spring. For now, these short races are my speed work and the 50K I have planned for 1/22 will be my long training run.
Fifteen minute drive to the start at South Sound Running. Icy though. The roads are very icy in some places. I skate/jog for two miles and then register for the race. Back in the car for a bit I feel very tired/sick. Maybe I should not run. I think of Portland where I decided to not race about a minute before the start and The Lost Dutchman where I was very close to not running because of a cold/flu but did go and survived a tough one. Well I do not feel that bad, it was just a wave of weakness. I sort of expect that I will get halfway through the race and have to walk or slow dramatically. Won't know unless I try. I go jog a little more and actually feel fine. Do some strides before the start and know that my legs feel fine and I should go for it. I just will not be disappointed if I have a horrible race. Shorts, long sleeve shirt, headband and gloves. Cold but sunny and not nearly as cold as last week.
Start - We gather at Boston street and right on time the race starts. Problem here is that it is a fairly significant downhill first mile. Like the Sound to Narrows race I ponder the wisdom of holding back or taking advantage of the downhill while I have it. Mile 3-4 will be all uphill. There is little hope of a negative split. I am all warmed up and it is easy to get sucked into running fast. I do not go all out however and I feel good about the start. I see a young boy go out with the fast guys, at least those faster than me. He looks like a young version of Caleb, my son. From behind he looks really young and he must be going way too fast. I am sure that I will catch him real soon. With Tammy for the first half mile, and Ron Frederick for the whole first mile. Bit of ice on one corner. Some pedestrians walking the inner part of the sidewalk as I run around a corner under Interstate 5. I tell them that there are many more people coming this way, they do not seem to care.
Mile 1- Hit it at 7:12 which seems just about right. Not too fast, not too slow. I pass one guy and one runner passes me. Then we are fairly well sorted out. The kid has a nice lead on me but is not that far ahead. I'm surprised that he is running so well. Hey and I feel good. I Forget that I have a cold. On to the main road around the lake. I mostly run on the gravel to avoid any ice. Pass one runner. Dodge some walkers with dogs.
Mile 2 - Warming up. The gloves come off as I near a covered bus stop. I could try to stuff them in my shorts pocket, but instead I throw them into the bus stop, hoping that someone will find them who can use them. The dollar store is a good place to shop for cheap cotton running gloves.
Mile 3 - Sharp right turn at Water street. I can see ahead and Bob Martin is not that far away. I try to not look back during a race but when I make the turn it is so easy to just look to my right as I am curious as to where Ron is. Oh good he is back a bit, maybe 10-15 seconds. Nobody right on my tail for the big hill. Here it is; a really steep long hill to the Capitol where it will flatten out some, then rise more gradually. The hill is tough and I am slowing but not so bad. I need some inspiration. Oh this will be such a short time of suffering compared to some of the things I have put myself through. Its a light and momentary trouble. Light and momentary trouble, that is biblical....what is that verse? "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" 2 Corinthians 4:17. Well I do not expect eternal glory from today's race, but the thoughts have taken me to the top of the hill. I slowed but I still have energy to run strong as I crest the end of the steep part. Turn right and see that the runner ahead of me is now walking. As I pass him I see another runner off to the side, stopped with head down and apparently vomiting. There is a race volunteer nearby so I keep moving and see that I have gained ground on the kid.
Mile 3.5 - Pass the kid (later I find out that he is ten years old) and try to encourage him. He will finish about a minute and a half behind me and really is an excellent runner. On through the neighborhood and feeling good.
Mile 4 - Course has been well marked. Good thing because I have no one just in front of me anymore to follow. At one point I think that I am supposed to go straight but it is clearly marked to turn to the left, over a patch of icy grass and onto Capitol Blvd. I was not exactly where I thought I was, but I have stayed on course. Now it is a straight and flat route back to the South Sound Running Store and the finish line. Just have to watch for ice and bumps on the sidewalk.
Mile 4.3 - Hey I am having a really good run. Pick up the pace and the legs cooperate. Glancing at my watch now and then as I really speed up, I can see the overall pace drop from 7:39 to 7:38 to 7:37 to 7:36. It won't be a negative split but definitely a strong finish. No one will come close to passing me and I cruise on in trying to beat the clock to get under 38 minutes. Just make it. Very good run. Now to the presents table. I go for a small box and am pleased with a gift of three pairs of socks. Happy with that exchange. Cool down jog with Tammy and watch more runners come in. A little slower than last week's 5 miler, but given the icy pavement and my cold, I'll take it. The skiing had no noticeable effect on my legs. Next up: Run for Faith 5K in Elma next Saturday.

17th place of 85

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1-1-11 5 Mile Resolution Run

Sixth consecutive 5 mile race in Steilacoom on New Year's day. Rang in the new year while in the parking lot of SeaTac airport, just back from two weeks in warm and wonderful Maui. Home by 1AM and the 6:30 wake up was especially tough with two hours of jet lag. Easy day of race registration. Super cold out. 21 degrees and bright sun. I bundle up, even wearing my Pigtails beanie.
Start - Good two mile warm up with some striders a few minutes before the start. Awful cold on my face, the rest of me is covered. I hear an announcement that says we will start in five minutes so I amble over to the start area. Chat with Brett and Dawn, then I see Julie and Mike and go over to say hi to them. We are just greeting each other when all of a sudden, with no announcement, the race has started. I am not facing in the right direction and I am a little farther back than I should be, but I get moving and relax knowing that we will sort out soon enough.
Mile 0.8 - A slight change in the course. We will run behind the library instead of in front of it, not cutting the hypotenuse. This will add a small amount to the distance and I do not know why we are doing this but I better stay with everyone and not cut the corner. Soon we are back on the traditional course.
Mile 2 - I ran a 7:15 first mile, but now I am slowing. Tough to breathe this cold air, legs not entirely cooperating, but nothing hurts and I am enjoying the race.
Mile 2.25 - Gary Cooper sighting
Mile 2.5 - At the turn around. 18:56 The return trip will be more of a downhill, hopefully I can hold it together and maintain this pace. Anything under 37:52 will be a negative split.
Mile 3 - Back and forth with a woman. We keep switching leads or running together. Great competition.
Mile 3.5 - Mel Preedy sighting.
Mile 4.5 - Still battling with this woman. No one has passed us and we have not passed anyone. I think there is a smaller crowd here than most years. I have my negative split and feel very good about just maintaining this pace as the woman pulls ahead for good.
Mile 5 - On to the track and around to the finish. Decent way to start the year. So happy that I feel well with no nagging injuries despite an increased intensity of mid week training lately. I have family commitments and can not stay long after the race. A short cool down jog and then I leave, hoping to race again next week.

37:22 watch time
55th place of 125
race #221