August 15, 2009
Never Without Incident
After a loooonnng week at work, I wasn't really feeling the racing mood when I woke up this morning. My bed felt so good, but I got on up anyway. K and I picked up Michelle, and we drove 35 minutes to Monroeville (home of To Kill a Mockingbird). I knew this would be a small race, but chose it over a race that would be 3 times the driving time. Michelle and I tried to find the course and see how it was marked, etc. We were still a bit confused and worried when they said there would be no lead police car. The weather was 77* w/ 91% humidity at start time. Prior to starting, I saw 3 h.s boys that looked really fast. They were from a h.s. about an hour away and were preparing for the their first XC race. They said they would run between 17 and 18 minutes. I told myself I would try to stay w/ them. I know you're thinking this is a pipe dream for me, but I know how h.s. boy embellish their accomplishments, so I was thinking of adding at least a minute to EACH of their times, especially considering the weather.
We took off WAAAAAYYYY to fast, just like I always do. I was feeling pretty good, though and the first mile was 6:03 (oops). The 3 h.s. boys were in front of me, but already spread out a bit. I was running w/ 2 other men. After the first mile, I left the 2 men and eventually passed the 3rd h.s boy. This is where it really gets good.
There was, in fact, a lead police car, but no one was blocking the intersections. Hhmmm. I knew this after the first turn, so I was carefully watching the road the whole time. There weren't even cones to warn vehicles we were there. At about 1.4, I approach the 'main' intersection the was right before the water stop. I looked left and right, then proceeded to cross. It all kind of happened at once, but I saw one of the ladies at the water station like jump up towards me. (She was sitting in a chair and the water was sitting on the table.) Then the h.s. boy behind me yelled something like "whoa!" He was right behind me at this point. Right then, a gray Tahoe speed directly in front of me, seriously one foot from my body. I actually had to stop running and jump back. The ladies at the water stop were yelling at me, asking if I was okay. I just went on trucking (haha, pun intended).
The sun was beaming and mile 2 was 6:16. I was starting to fade a bit, plus I was shaking from the near-death experience. The course had way too many turns, too. We seriously turned like 10 times within 3 miles. I made lots of ground on 3rd h.s. boy and I could see 2nd ahead of me. First was out of sight (b/c of all the turns). The road were marked w/ white chalk. I would run the rest of the race alone. Mile 3 was 6:22. The last portion was straight ahead, and I finished 0.14 in 44 seconds.
Final time 19:26.
In summary, I am quite pleased w/ this. I know it's no PR, and considering my marathon goal, i should be running much faster. The thing is, I'm not really a 5K runner anymore. It's just not my thing. I like them every once in awhile, and good in the summer b/c a race any longer than this is like a slow suicide. It's just too darn hot to race down here. I am pleased b/c I am 5 seconds off my PR that was set in early fall last year. This is a sign of progress. Scorching hot/ humid weather, a strong race w/ zero competition, and I still did pretty well. I'll race another 5k in late September. By then, the humidity will be down a bit, so that should help. Also, who starts an Alabama race at 8:00 in August? That's just dumb.
Michelle did awesome, too. She broke 24 minutes and won the female master's division. K ran, and I'm really proud of him, even though he didn't run the time he wanted. He's been so busy w/ football that he hasn't been running. I was proud of him for just getting out there.
Besides the Tahoe experience, it was a good day. I feel like I am right where I should be with my training. I wouldn't say I'm overjoyed, but satisfied is a good word to describe how I feel. I cut back this week to 75-80 (depending on how far I go tomorrow), but next week will aim for 90-100. I've got lots planned, so it is going to be a challenge to get the miles in. I've decided a mileage RANGE is easier for me to deal with than an exact number, too. Above is a pic of Michelle and I with our awards and another before the race.