My race today was through the streets of my childhood neighborhood, and my parents (who still live there) came out for support, so that was fun. My memory of the area was apparently pretty spotty though, because I had the idea it was pretty flat. This was definitely not the case. Mostly rolling hills, though only a couple of significant inclines.
The race was much bigger than I had assumed, with about 200 participants. There were cash awards too, so this brought out the local “elites”. This included some of my age groupers, so I knew an AG award would be difficult at best.
I lined up behind the known sub 20’ers, and did my best to lay off the sprint everyone seems to engage in after the gun. It worked well- I didnt get passed the whole race after the initial 100 yards, and ended up passing several people in the first mile. I ran most of the race fairly isolated, which tends to be the case recently. I seem to have improved past the main group of casual runners, but not good enough to join the truly competitive. It at least allowed me to run my own race, though I didnt feel that push to go faster from competition. I did catch a 13 yr old kid in the last mile, which sounds dubious, but he actually has finished with some low 20:xx times this year, so I felt good about that. I kept my eye on one of the top females as a pacer, knowing she usually also runs in the low 20:xx range. Unfortunately she was slower today than usual!
The course ended with an unpleasant hill, so I couldnt muster a good kick, plus I was all by myself and didnt feel the pressure to really put on the afterburners. This was particularly true after I realized I couldnt PR when I saw the clock. Because of my separation from the pack, the event photographer took a ton of ridiculous pics of me dying across the finish – see here and push the next button for the full inglorious montage:
I finished in 21:36 , which I was OK with. Not as good as last week, but I’m pleased I can consistently get below 7 minute pace. Missed my age group – there were 3 sub 20 times for 30-34 yr olds. I did finish 4th though. My last race for about a month now – the summer is starting to kick in, and the heat has and will continue to be a factor now. (almost 80 degrees by race end today)