I wasn’t sure what to expect on this race because I am normally exhausted by 10 p.m. and staying up for a race at midnight was questionable. I convinced Melinda Aaron from the FastRunningBlog (I have had the occasion to work with her through my job) to run with me and we met part way through my warmup.
I started with a 1.5 mile warmup. I was wearing a new headlamp my sister gave me that clipped onto my bill cap and it worked well for checking my Garmin. They had 300 people signed up this afternoon and I think there were about 350 total entrants. Between injuries and sickness I didn’t expect a PR – I wasn’t really planning on racing – just staying sub 30 minutes for the race.
Lost a few seconds at the start because we didn’t hear the start and then had to pick our way through the pack. We split up quickly because Melinda is younger and faster than me. I was a bit ahead of pace the first quarter mile because I knew it was a gentle uphill – looking back I wish I had pushed that first quarter mile more. After the second corner, I realized the gently uphill was followed by a long and not so gentle uphill. I kept passing other runners and lots of walkers, but was frustrated because my pace was above 11 mm pace at times. (OK – the guy pushing the double stroller that blew past us on the uphill was pretty annoying). Finally at .95 there was a bit of flat and then another small uphill.
Passed one mile at about 10:22 and knew I had some ground to make up. I was also a bit concerned because my right achilles tendon was still very tight. A little after the 1 mile mark the course flattened out for a couple of blocks and then started the downhill. I tend to be conservative on downhills, but was feeling the racing bug and started pushing myself relatively hard. I passed about 30 or more people in mile 2 and didn’t get passed by anyone. The tendon loosened up sometime during this mile and finished mile 2 in 9:18. (7:37 best).
Mile 3 was a combination of flat and about a quarter mile of gentle uphill before a final downhill section. I was passed right after the downhill ended by about 5 other runners, but managed to pass them back and about 15 more in the final mile. Caught one guy I had been chasing down most of the race at about 2.5. The last several blocks were on a paved path that had a lot of weeds and ruts and I had to try and speed up to shoot gaps and pass runners. Finished the mile in 9:12.
Two teenagers caught me right near the end, and I was not able to get enough of a kick to gap the final runners about 1/4 block ahead of me. Final time: 29:10 (59th place, 4th in my age group)
Melinda high fived me in the chute and was excited that she had finished 4th in her age group, but mentioned that she wished she had pushed a little harder to get a prize. I was shocked and pleased to find that I was 4th in my age group and also wished that I had pushed a little harder to get an age group prize.
It was a nice, but tough course and I think I am going to train on it some during the day time in order to come back next year and really race this course.