Born in the USA 4 miler – July 4, 2009

: I raced in my first non-5k yesterday – the “Born in the USA” 4 miler. It was a good day for racing – low 70’s at race time of 7:49. This is one of the more prominent races in my area – it tends to attract some pretty good competition and weeds out the casual runners because of the holiday. About 250 runners in all.

I was unsure about how to run this race, as everything in my running brain is geared towards the 5k. I was worried about bonking in the end given the longer distance. I knew the pace should be pretty close to 5k. I chose to play it safe and shoot for a 7:15 pace. I knew I wouldnt age group in this race given the competition, so I didnt have any pressure. Garmin was on board this time to help. There was also a 2 leg, 2 mile relay going on at the same time, so it was impossible to tell if you were getting passed by a relayer or not.

The course is a modified 5k course, so I was familiar with the layout – pretty flat for the most part.  I felt pretty tired before the race, having to get up at 5:45 or so, which is early for me. I jogged a half mile to warm up. Its always hard for me to get going in the morning, and I swear I always have a moment in the first mile of my morning races where I just want to stop

I laid back from the first few rows of runners and let the crowd be the governor on my running engine, as I always tend to start too fast. The first mile felt kind of rough, but I was concentrating on form and pace. The race had clocks at each mile, which was nice. I hit the first one at 7:14, right on pace.

The second mile felt slightly better, though I was worried because the pack I was running with had some regulars that were usually a couple minutes behind my 5k times. Hit mile 2 at 7:12, pretty consistent, especially since I hadnt hardly looked at the Garmin. I actually made use of the water station (which I never do in a 5k) and was able to choke a few sips down.

Third mile had some hills, but I was feeling increasingly strong. Passed a lot of people and left my pack behind. Mostly alone after a half mile. Hit the marker at 7:13. At this point, I saw the clock as about 21:40 and I felt really strong, so I decided to push the pace. I think my body finally had decided to wake up, and everything felt smoother.

Turned the last corner and saw the clock flip to 28 minutes, sprinted the last 100 meters (at 3:58 pace per my Garmin – lol) and finished in 28:24 . My last split was 6:43.  Finished 39th of 260, didnt place in my age group (though would have finished 2nd if I was 5 years younger, strangely). Overall I was pleased with the time, and guaranteed PR!

I guess I need to be more aggressive in my pacing, though this distance is pretty rare. It was fun to try a different distance, and I’m looking forward to my first 10k (September).