Yesterday’s run was pretty brutal. I showed up at about 6:30 pm for the 7 pm start, and it was 92 degrees according to my car. Typical SC summer high humidity too. The race was at a horse racetrack in Camden,SC (Home of the Carolina Cup). The first thing I notice, as I’m walking around (this would have to qualify for warming up, because I was sweating just doing this) is that the course is all grass, and its about shoe to ankle height. I was thinking it would be a dirt track like Churchill Downs. I really started to worry about the race then, because just walking through this grass required some effort.
A horse led the field and we were off on schedule. Right away I could feel I had to adjust my gait just to get through this race. I started lifting my knees more and overstriding just to wade through the grass. This seemed to work as I passed a lot of people on the first mile. I was wearing my Garmin for the first time, and it was very nice for this race that had few landmarks. The mile markers were pretty in sync with my watch. First mile was in 7:18, which felt pretty fast for these conditions, though I felt pretty good.
Caught up with a pack of 3 and surged past them in the second mile, though we were all starting to slow a bit with the heat. Caught another guy at the end of mile 2 as he was just spent. All this passing by running a blistering 7:52 split.
I really started to feel the heat in the third mile, and really started to worry about it becoming overwhelming and having to stop. I was running free and clear of everyone until I started hearing footsteps behind me as I neared the 3 mile marker. Split was 7:49.
The guy behind me caught up to me right at mile 3 and he surged ahead. I told him he had it, but about 20 seconds later I saw him start to slow. I decided to kick it with everything I could muster. He heard me as we were within about 20 meters of the finish and sped up. We hit the line almost in tandem, but I thought I might have just pushed past him with that last lunge.
Finished in 23:45, almost 3 minutes slower than my PR, but I was happy with the run considering the conditions. The results showed 8th place, identical time as the guy who finished with me but I did apparently outkick him by a fraction of a second, as they had him 9th. This was good for 2nd place in my age group, though they only had awards for the winners. This was OK with me since this was an inaugural race and there were only about 60 runners (20 or so walkers). Times were super slow across the board, even some regulars had to walk some. The winning female finished in 26 minutes.