9th annual event and my 5th year doing this race. Last year I ran it in 22:37 and had two issues with this race that I otherwise enjoy very much. First problem was getting all boxed in with the crowded start that narrows down and slower runners starting in front. The other issue was being stopped by a policeman at a road crossing with just a quarter mile to go, so he could let a few cars through. Both problems were fixed this year. There were numerous announcements at the start about letting faster runners be in front and I was able to position myself just behind the front row. At the one road crossing, the cop was replaced with a volunteer and there was no traffic when I passed by, so I did not have to stop.
I ran a 50K last weekend, but recovery went very well. Way better than usual. By Wednesday I felt totally fine and I pushed a hard workout on Thursday. For the first time in many months I feel like I have zero injuries or problem areas. I have not done any real speed work lately but I am confident of beating last year's finish time.
1.6 mile warm up in the cold but sunny weather. Just a couple of icy spots on the paved trail. About 30 degrees at race start. No wind.
Start - Much better for me than last year. I positioned myself well and there is little crowding from the get go. That does make me go out faster that I should however. Pass Bob Martin at about the half mile mark. He has beaten me in every race now for many years. But he is only a couple of weeks out of wearing a boot due to a stress fracture and is just getting his speed back. This may be my only chance to beat him ever and I will wonder and worry that he will pass me for the rest of the race today. Everything is going very nicely until the steep uphill to the overpass. Just like that it becomes a struggle.
Mile 1 - 7:11 Now more paved trail. Keep up with a guy who is just ahead of me but I just can not catch him. I'll be 5-20 feet behind him until the last quarter mile and it makes me move faster trying to keep up with him. No dead zones today for me, where the motivation sags due to lack of competition.
Mile 2 - 14:20 (7:10 overall pace) Heading back on the road now with a long slight gradual uphill. Then back on to the trail and overpass. Sidewalk back to the finish. I get passed by two runners including one guy pushing a baby jogger. I don't not feel too bad about it though as my pace is still good, they just really saved something for the end. Dave blows by me on the final uphill but I run well to the finish line.
Mile 3.1 - Finish (3.08 on the GPS). Lots of baked goods and coffee inside at the school. I win a raffle (5 passes to a rock climbing gym) and a ribbon for second in my age group. We all got stainless steel water bottles instead of T-shirts this year. Really fun time today. Now its rest up for tomorrow's race.
19th place out of 223
2nd in age group