This used to be the "Dollars for Scholars" race but now it has a new name and course. Still put on by the Tumwater Chamber of Commerce. Now a very flat course on roads near the airport. Although I did receive a flier with course map in the mail, this race was not advertised very well. That plus the variety of local options this weekend leads to a very small turn out today. Looking around at the start I do not see anyone that I know can beat me. Well, Craig is here, but he is not racing. Guerrilla Running is doing the timing and as usual they will have accurate and quickly posted results. The course is certified, so my two requirements (accurate distance and timing) for a good race are met. It is sunny with some clouds, not too warm. I drove in from Hood Canal this morning and managed to remember everything that I need, except sunglasses. I will manage without them. No real time goal since I have not done a 5K since February and I am coming off 3 marathons in the last 4 weeks, plus the Sound to Narrows race. Today is about getting back to some fast running and starting to train for half marathons that I will run later in the Summer.
Start - Still no not see anyone that I know is super fast. Erik is here and we are usually very close, he still beats me more often than not. I did a good 1.5 mile warm up, then some strides. Right foot feels fine. Everything feels good. Ready to run and off we go.
Mile 0.5 - Three runners are ahead of me on this long flat straight road. Erik is right at my side. I am going way too fast, but it feels OK. I probably should slow down a little because I will never hold this pace. But I see that the three in front of me are not getting any farther away. The lead two are about 40-50 feet ahead and now we are running at the same pace. If I could go a little faster, I could catch them and then go back to the slower pace and maintain with them for a while. I should not do this, but how often do I have a chance to win a race? I step it up a little, break from Erik and try to gain ground.
Mile 1 - 6:45 - Way too fast, I am supremely confident that I can not maintain this pace. But I have caught up to and passed the third place guy and I am much closer to the lead two. I had meant to focus on form but instead I am grinding this out as fast as I can and I am not thinking about form at all.
Mile 1.5 - It is such a short time from the one mile mark to 1.5, where the race is almost halfway over. Still flat with long straight aways. Blow through the aid station and douse my head, try to get a small drink but spill it all on my face. Overall pace now at 6:52 and Erik passes me.
Mile 2 - Guy with toe shoes passes me. He remembers me from the Capitol City Marathon where I helped pace him. He thanks me for that and I tell him that he should let me beat him today, but no, he eases on ahead.
Mile 2.5 - Pace is slowing. I can still see the lead runner, who is now extending his lead. I am not within range of catching anyone. At a turn I look back and see that no one is close behind me. After some great competition I will run the last bit of this race in "no man's land". The pace slows a little more.
Mile 2.8 - I am closing the gap on one of those ahead of me but there is not time to catch him. This is a fast course for sure, however at the very end we turn left, then take another left and immediate right into a parking lot where the finish line is. Not able to sprint at the very end, but still a good course.
Mile 3.1 - Finish OK and I am pleased with my time. I should not have gone out so fast, but I knew the gamble I was taking, and I did not fall apart so badly. Legs felt very good and I am pleased with the effort. Chamber of Commerce races have really good raffles and with the small turn out I am sure that I will go home with something. Unfortunately my number is not called. I do get a blue ribbon for earning first place in my age group. Nice little event that I would do again.
5th place of 35