I ran this course seven times between 2000 and 2007. Then it was called the Ghostmuster and was put on by the Thurston County Parks and Recreation. Too bad they got out of the community fun run business. I have fond memories here of battling it out with old rivals, one child of mine locking the car keys in the car, Jody running the 10K by mistake, fun T-shirts of which I still have a couple. Six years later I am back. It is the Pumpkin Dash now and a fundraiser for the PTA. Same course as previous years.
6th race in 6 weeks. Probably a first for me, I will have to check.
I arrive shortly after 7AM for the 8AM start. Uh oh, no one is here. Soon a couple of cars join me in the parking lot. Eventually we learn that although the web site says that the event starts at 8AM, the race is not scheduled until 9AM. Better to be early than late and by 8:30 there is a decent crowd and the people in charge know what they are doing.
Another cool, cloudy, and calm day. Perfect running weather. I have plenty of time to get my warm ups in. I will wear the Brooks Launch shoes since they make me feel fast and my feet have been fine lately. Nice to see Paul and his daughters, Mike, and Craig and Rachael. Timing by Guerilla Running.
Start - The 10K race goes out first. Now I can look around and assess the competition. Looks like a couple of speedy guys, but plenty of room for me to start at the front. Last time I raced a 5K with Coach Mike, he coached me all the way through, then beat me at the end. I should just stay behind him this time, but as we start I find myself ahead of him and I am not going to look back. I can see one young guy go out way faster than the others.
Mile 0.5 - Maybe four guys ahead of me and two women. One of the women is Rachael and I watch her pass the other. Fun to see her enter first place. I feel good and keep up the pace.
Mile 1 - (7:05) Way ahead I see the turn off for the 10K and I see the 5K leader take that turn. He is too far ahead for me to yell to him. He will go on to complete the 10K and come in second overall, despite the head start that everyone else had. Meanwhile Rachael is holding her lead on me but it is not growing. I push hard to catch up to her. Now we run together. Nice time, but its not like we can talk or enjoy the scenery. I think that I am more excited than she is about the good chance of her winning. We stay together for about a half mile. I still feel pretty good and am able to go ahead a little bit. One guy comes storming past me though.
Mile 2 - 7:11 overall pace. This is going to be a good one if I can just hold on. Some crunchy leaves make me think of Jody. Back to focusing on form which is falling apart. I would like to have a strong kick at the end, but I am losing it.
Mile 3.1 - Finish OK. 21:24! Way better than expected. But only 2.98 on the GPS. Another finisher's watch reads 2.99 miles. I do not recall this course being a little short, but maybe it is. I would have been happy with anything under 22:30 and I would have had that easy on an accurate course, so whatever I am pleased with the run.
I feel even more satisfied when I compare my finish times from the same course in previous years:
I was just three seconds off my best time here.
A short cool down. Run Paul in the last bit of his 10K Craig does a valiant job of getting the results in quickly. On the web registration they forgot to ask gender or age, so Craig had to find that out and manually input the data for many runners. I am sure that having two timed distances start at different times must make it more difficult too. Nevertheless, results are posted quickly. Age groups are given on the print out, but there are no age group awards. There are some raffles and I win a case of Poweraide, enough to get me through the Winter.
Fun to be back at the "Ghost of the Ghostmuster"
5th place of 71, 1st in age group