I also brought my family along this year. I know how they enjoy getting up before 6am on a Sunday so it was the least I could do. It really is a great race to bring your family to. The start/finish area (aka 'the Grove') is very active with tons of runners passing by (3 races going on at the same time), music, food and various runner support activities. The overcast skies were appreciated for most of the race but the humidity was a bit much. It really does a number on my hair.
|Start of the race|
I desperately tried not to line up near the front. I didn't want to get sucked into a faster-than-I-wanted-to-go pace. This was actually hard to do. I was probably 10ft from the start line and I was still second row. How the heck does that happen? Of course I lined up behind the only person in front of me who didn't go out fast and was already frustrated after 25 ft of running. Thankfully things settled down within the first 1/4 mile and I motored along at a fairly relaxed, easy pace. The course had kilometer markers so the 4:16 1st kilometer didn't give me any idea what pace I was running so I waited until the 5k point to find out if things were going according to plan. 21:09 (about a minute slower than last year) felt good, but I was a little nervous watching some of my competitors creep out of sight. The 2nd 5k section is probably the toughest but with fresh legs all it really ends up being is slower than you'd like. I still didn't feel like I was pushing the pace at all but I was catching some of the guys who went out a little quick. I wasn't gaining any ground on my competitors, in fact I had all but lost sight of Denis and Jeff way before the 10k mark.
|Water bottle swap!|
I never really felt bad during the race but I do remember feeling sluggish, especially during the 3rd and 4th 5k sections. I felt like I was working pretty hard but it wasn't translating into any speed. I was drinking plenty from my handheld and dumping water on my head at the aid stations but the humidity was wearing me down. It's amazing (to me anyways) how slow I actually ran during the 3rd and 4th 5k sections compared to last year. I ran that section nearly 9 minutes slower....in a 10k stretch. Ouch. I can't honestly say what went wrong other than the sauna-like conditions just wore me out.
|5k||5k Time||5k Pace|
|5k||5k Time||5k Pace|
As I came through the Grove I grabbed a fresh (cold) water bottle from my daughter for the last 9k loop. Even though I had apparently crashed over the last 10k I was still passing people and surprisingly don't recall many (if any) runners passing me since very early in the race. Generally I ran alone but I did go back and forth with Christin Doneski (1st female o/a) for most of the race. I came up on Scott Hornney around the 20k mark and apparently put a spark back into his race (and mine). He had been running alone for a while and probably relaxed a bit too much. As soon as I caught up with him his pace increased. Then my pace increased. Well how about that? I was racing again! I made a couple of surges hoping to drop him but he stuck to me like glue (the bum!). Finally, on the last little climb before entering the field I made one last surge and opened up a small gap. Thankfully it was enough to get me to the finish, slightly ahead. Strangely I ran the last 5k nearly 5 minutes faster than last year (even though I ran the previous 10k 9 minutes slower?). I have no idea what that means...I must be some sort of schizophrenic runner or something.
Good news, I placed 13th overall out of 325 finishers. Bad news, almost everyone ahead of me was a masters runner! (results). Next year will be different (I hope).