Born in the USA 4 mile and 4 mile relay
This is a nice size race, one of the bigger summertime events, directed by the main running store in Columbia (Strictly Running). I ran it last year as my first race over the 5k distance. I had a decent time for my fitness at the time, around 28:27 or so, and it got me interested in doing the 10k, 15k and eventually the half marathon. The distance is a little awkward, tough to gauge pace. This time around I’ve been looking to do some shorter races, mostly because I view these as my potential strength. So, I decided to do the 2 x 2 mile relay option with a friend this year. Were at similar abilities in the 5k, so I figured we would be ambitious and shoot for 12:00 a leg (6 min flat pace). I agreed to do the 2nd leg.
I got there about 45 min early and found out there was no transport to the exchange zone, so I just did the first leg as a 2 mile warmup, actually with Mr and Mrs Sig (who were doing the coed relay). When I got to the zone there were quite a few people there, more than I remember from last year. 17 relay teams in all. They had a clock at the zone and race started at 7:30. Weather was amazing for Columbia at this time of year, high 60’s I think at race time, with a breeze. Low humidity. It was nerve wracking seeing the clock start and all of us waiting around. The police car and lead runner came by at about 10:30ish. Its amazing to me to see these guys burning low 5 pace and looking so smooth doing it. A few more passed by and 12 minutes hit without my friend (Tyler) in sight. Finally he showed up just under 13 minutes – he later said he went out too fast and died. As I tagged him and took off, I realized that I was the first to leave the exchange zone. I knew there was at least one super fast guy (low 18 5ker) at the zone, but he hadnt left yet.
I decided basically to run like a bat out of hell and see what happened. There were quite a few rolling hills in the first mile, but I had the sense I was flying because I was passing a lot of the people doing the whole 4 miles. I was breathing pretty hard by the first mile, which I saw was almost exactly 6 minutes. I was a little dissapointed, because it felt even faster. The course evened out a little after that, and I knew the rest was mostly flat with a nice downhill at the end. (the 4 miler is just a lengthened 5k course that is used by 2 other races during the year). At this point I felt a little better, having gotten a little accustomed to the crazy pace. I decided to just redline it the rest of the way. Passed a high 18 5ker who was doing the whole race and was nearing in on another when I saw the downhill finish ahead. Burned down the small hill and straightaway at an absolute sprint (Garmin shows low 4 minute pace in the final 2 tenths or so). I felt kind of pukish, but in the back of my mind I realized no one had passed me. Saw the clock and finished in 24:48, 2nd mile split in 5:50, total 2 mile leg in 11:50.
I waited around nervously for the computer results thinking surely we couldnt have won the relay. As it was, my chip time was only 10th overall among the nonrelayers . Maybe someone left the zome before me that I hadnt noticed. After about an hour wait, after all the age groups were announced, they had the relay results. Sure enough though, we took home first overall in the relay, 50 bucks, a watermelon (!), a medal and a race patch. Pretty cool! It was also a 2 mile PR for me, my only other 2 mi race was almost a year ago at 13:07.