The name of this race needs some explaining. The Pints Pavement Pounders Running Club (P3) has been very successful since being established here a few years ago. ( http://www.thurstontalk.com/2012/10/10/pints-pavement-pounders-p3-get-fit-be-social-and-enjoy-a-pint/ ) . They get quite a turn out for their weekly runs. Members earn points by group running and by running races. So many points earns you a club shirt and I have been seeing more and more of these shirts at the races. The club takes a break in the winter and some folks were so close to earning their shirts. Terra decided to host a race so that they could earn a point before the season is over. Since I am on the "need people less" end of the spectrum, a weeknight group run followed by beer does not really appeal to me so much. But call something a race, have it on a Saturday, and I am likely to be there.
Cold morning at Marathon Park in Olympia. Thick frost on the wooden bridge could be icy. I do a mile warm up. I have not been here since the Transcendence 12 hour race and the memories come back. I'll keep the hat and gloves on but stash the jacket and long pants before the start. Thirty minutes before the start and Terra is here, offering me a still warm fresh baked muffin. I had timed my breakfast to be more or less digested before the start, but I can not resist the muffin. With the cold weather, somewhat tired legs from workouts this week, and now a muffin in me, I don't expect to be so speedy today. I get my number and continue to warm up, gradually picking up the pace before the start.
Start - 40 people in the run. I know at least a dozen of them and it is nice to see them. Ron ran here from his house, three miles away. Joe put in 7 miles before getting here. I may be the only one who came here to actually race and/or run hard. Martinho is here and we elbow each other at the start line like we always do. He can beat me if he wants, but when we go out he says something about saving himself for a race on Thursday. Everyone falls back and I am in front.
Mile 0.25 - Since September I have run quite a few small races and each time I have looked at the competition and wondered if just maybe I could beat them. I am very used to seeing a couple of people ahead of me and one or two rabbits string out way in front with no chance of me getting them. At this point in the race I usually focus on someone ahead and gradually try to catch up, while listening for footsteps behind me. This is different today. I am in front and I do not sense anyone right behind me. Strange.
Mile 1 - 7:09 - Decent pace. I will slow down on the second lap I am sure. And I expect Martinho to come roaring up to me at any time. There is a guy, not in the race, running around the lake in the opposite direction and I am sure that he is going faster than me. No wind but it is quite cold. A few walkers with dogs but it is not hard to navigate around them.
Mile 1.55 - First loop done. There is a sharp right turn here and I can not help but look back. No one behind me, but as I turn my head back I catch a flash of neon that could be a racer not so far back. I have won two races previously, both somewhat dubious achievements. The last time was ten years ago at a Bob Green "Odd Distance Race". Multiple races started at the same time, so I did not know who all was in my race. One guy was dogging me and at the turn around of the 8 mile race he was feeling so good he decided to upgrade to the 11 mile race. Two starters, I was the lone finisher. In 1998 I won the Melody Miles fiasco race. Multiple issues with that one, including having to ask where the finish line was and finding out that I was already past it. But I did place first of 30 that day. But what am I doing! I need to focus on today. Bring the mind back to this race. Mild discomfort I acknowledge and push aside. Keep bringing the mind back to the form and threading the line at a sustainable level of discomfort.
Mile 2 - Another sharp turn and a chance to look a ways back. Nobody gonna catch me now. Memories of me watching winners come in and I tell them to relax, enjoy the moment. I ease up just a little but press on.
Mile 2.5 - That cold spot again. Right where it is hottest in the T12. Jody is meeting Niki here at 9:30AM for their run together. I hope she is here to see me finish. But alas I make the final stretch and cruise in without much fanfare.
Mile 3.1 - 3.06 on the GPS. 15 seconds slower than three weeks ago, with a marathon two weeks ago. Pleased with my time, how well I felt, and that no one faster showed up or tried very hard today. Nice event RD Terra. She even had some raffles and coffee with the muffins. Fun group of people.
1st place of 40
Race#311, 5K#83 Win#3