My 300th race, but after the hoopla of six days ago, lets just keep it low key. First time event. I had not planned to race today, but found myself with free time this morning. The race benefits military and their families. It was not largely advertised so I expect a small turn out. It looks to be pretty well organized with Rich Brown doing the timing. The porta-potties do not arrive until after the race is over, but luckily it is not a problem for me. Day of race entry is $30 and I get what I believe to be my 131st race T-shirt.
How are the legs? I ran 50.2 miles six days ago. I took three days off and did and easy 2.1 miles on Thursday. That run included walk breaks. No real stiffness or soreness just tired. I am just here to get in a couple of miles and have fun. Small race with good raffles. I was going to run a few miles anyway, might as well join the fun here. I expect a 25-26 minute finish time.
My arches are fully recovered from the plantar faciitis of last winter. It was a year ago that they started acting up. One cause was too many miles in a different shoe. I love the feel of the Brooks Launch, but it does not have the arch support that I need. I have not worn them since the disastrous Portland Marathon of last October. But I wear them today for this short race. I promise that I will never wear them for long runs though.
When I arrive at the site, the flat roads near the airport, I see that the Army has sent a large force. Good thing they are not in my age group, I think. I am worried that it will be a jam up and a much larger event, but only a handful of soldiers will be registered runners. Most will start in the back and stay in formation, all coming in right at the 30 minute mark.
I see Tammy. Third race in a row where I have seen here. She wants to do a warm up mile or so. We have a half hour to the start and we set off at an easy pace. Wow, my legs feel much better than expected. I warm up easily and I love these shoes. I am able to get in some surges and sprints before the start. Everything feels great. I don't have a single part of me that is nagging or worrisome in any way. This is very rare. I might as well run as fast as I can and dial it back if anything comes up.
Start - We all line up and start right on time. Thanks to the city of Tumwater we should not get lost. Just follow the cones.
I am behind Mike Henderson. I am running way faster than I should. Small race with plenty of room to do my own thing. At about 0.75 miles I pass Mike. He stays right behind me though.
Mile 1 - 7:16 Mike has coached High School track and cross country for many years and now I am one of his students. He is encouraging me and advising me to relax my arms. "Don't slow down, just keep tapping away...tap tap tap".
Mile 1.5 - Aid station. I think about some water and decide that I probably do not need it. But then I see that my friend Tina is handing out cups. I take one, sloshing most on my face and shirt, but a little goes in my mouth. Gentle headwind and starting to slow. Gasping for air.
Mile 2 - Legs are fine, I just do not have breath. Mike still coaching me. Ugh, I did tell him about the 50 miles I just ran. Why won't he pass me and leave me alone! Then I could just ease back.
Mile 2.5 - I wish that I could just slow down, this is so hard. Nothing hurts and I am not quite at the pace where I think I will vomit, so I push on. In a way I am glad that Mike is with me as I know that I will slow if/when he does get past me. In fact he soon turns it on for a sprint to the finish and I try to go faster but simply can not. Another guy comes zooming past me and then it is the final turn.
Mile 3.1 - Finished. 3.08 on the GPS. 22:54 on the clock. Quite a bit faster than my last 5K in June, I am ecstatic about that finish time. It is so much fun to run fast, I really felt like I was flying for the first part anyway. Very unexpected. It makes me want to work harder to get faster and with my next marathon more than six weeks away, I do have time to work on faster paces.
Great raffle prizes but alas I do not win any. I do get a first place in my age group medal. So does Tammy. Strange age group groupings. There is a 31-33 age group. Mine is 45-50. Great to see Richard Olafson take command of the 80+ age group.
Next up, I hope to run the Over the Narrows 10 miler in two weeks.
13th place of 105