This race has gotten pretty big, and usually attracts some of the top runners because of the prize money. About 350 runners. Race time was 8:30 and it was already getting hot, only mid 70’s temp wise but pretty humid. I wasnt feeling great this am – we had a party at my house which resulted in me getting to bed late and eating too much, and somehow 3 beers was enough to leave me a little dehydrated. I only ran a mile for warmup and was fearful of a total disaster of a race. I decided to lay off the first mile a little because I was hurting big time last 5k when I went out in 6:06. Lined up a couple of rows back to try to make me stick to this plan. I left my Garmin at home unintentionally, so I would be flying blind in this one.
I was not feeling it in the first mile – my usual urge to want to just stop was stronger and my legs felt pretty heavy. Luckily the first mile was almost completely flat, and it was nice there was a clock – crossed right at 6:15. A group of 3 friends that I usually beat by about 15-30 seconds seemed pretty strong at this point, and they actually all passed me in the first part of mile 2. I guess I was slowing down – the heat was getting to me and my breathing was harder than I like at this point. Csab also passed me at this point, and I could see a whole group of 20:xx runners ahead of me that were starting to build a gap. I tried not to panic, but I was fighting some pretty negative self talk at this point, and wondered if I should just pack it in. The second mile clock was around 12:50, so I definitely hemorraged some time there. On the upside my breathing had calmed down some and my legs hurt less. The rolling hills that started in the second mile continued on to the 3rd. There was a particularly nasty incline right around the 2 mile mark which actually gave me some hope, because I felt myself nearing the pack in front of me. Because I ran the race last year, I knew when the last of the major hills were done after this. As we turned on to the straightaway I decided to just redline it the rest of the way. The pack was definitely starting to fall away at this point too. Passed Csab and my 3 other friends with about a half mile to go. I saw a known 35-39er about 50 meters ahead and figured I had to get to himto have any chance of getting some hardware. He must of been hurting bad, because I gained on him quickly and passed him with less than a quarter mile to go and the finish line in clear view. Saw the clock roll over to 19:30 and was able to bust it to the finish at 19:52. I was really spent with the finishing kick but it felt great to come from behind like that. Finished in 16th place, and got 3rd in AG, so it was really fortunate I was able to catch the age grouper (Eric). Awesome hardware – large, heavy medal. Finally some cold water at the finish and a nice spread of fruit, bagels and cookies. Did 2 cooldown loops of the course with some friends to finish with 10 miles for the day.