Race for Life 5k RR
This is the first year for this event, and it was tacked on to a huge (6000) “Walk for Life” to support breast cancer research. Despite its first year, there were 430+ runners. Course was totally new to me and I didnt have a chance to do a dry run on it. Temps were almost perfect, high 50’s – low 60’s at race time. Ran only about a mile in warmup with a few strides. I saw a few local elites but turnout was scarce among the top guys in our area.
My strategy was to go out in 6:15 and see what happened. I also wanted to make sure and beat my main competitor (eric) in my age group, who was also there. The first mile felt pretty good. The field quickly thinned out and the course was decently flat. A few rolling hills but nothing to seriously slow you down. Eric went out super fast, as he often does, and I had to remember not to try and follow too closely because he always severely positive splits his races. I was helping the top local masters female pace herself in the first mile, as she has been trying to get back under 20 again after coming back from an illness this year. I hit the first mile almost exactly – 6:16 per the Garmin. My breathing was surprisingly contained at this point and my legs still felt pretty strong, so I was pleased with that. I decided to just try and hold the pace. I was already quickly gaining on Eric. The woman I was pacing fell off a little bit and I didnt see her again. We made the turnback on the loop course and all of a sudden hit a substantial steep hill. I decided to really bust it up the hill, which helped me pass several people (including Eric) but unfortunately it took more out of me than I had hoped. I was sucking a lot of wind at the top and never completely recovred, though the relatively flat mile and a half to follow helped some. I hit mile 2 at 6:24/12:40, which I was OK with given the hill had really slowed me down for a good quarter mile. I tried to nudge up the pace a little on mile 3, but my legs were starting to complain a little and my breathing was too ragged to really push it too much. I knew the last 2 tenths or so were screaming downhill, so I was trying to save some for that too. I started to gain on a pack in front of me, and towards the end of the mile we were pretty much together with me in the back. There was a mild hill near 2.7 or so, and then the downhill started right over the crest. The front guy pulled away some, and as I let the hammer down I was able to push past the other guy in the mini pack. Breathing pretty hard by then but I knew the finish was so close. Let the hill pretty much destroy my quads as I was desperately trying to hold off the other guy. There was a sharp turn midway down the huge hill as we entered a grassy area in a park with the finish about 100 yards in. Kicked it as hard as I could, but then realized there were two mats with the second for the runners finish. I eased a little bit in between the mats (maybe 20 feet) and the guy behind me almost clipped me at the line. Luckily he didnt – must have been a few microseconds. The lead guy in our pack faded a bit, and I almost caught him during my kick but came up just short. Official time was 19:47, 6th overall, 1st in age group. I was happy with the result, though hopefully I can be smarter next time about the course. Thought I might PR about halfway through. Still, I’ll never complain about a sub 20 or getting 1st in AG.