Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rocket City Marathon

Finally, it's time for the race that motivated me back into running. I've been terrified of racing the marathon for a long time and I spent the last month before the race doubting myself and being completely nervous. With the shorter races, you can have a strategy and know what to expect and know how each mile should feel. With the marathon, the Grim Reaper can call your name almost anytime he wants, and that's what concerned me the most. You can't plan when you run low on carbohydrates, aka: hitting the wall. I've always feared the unknown and like to know exactly what to expect. With the marathon, all bets are off.

The course at Rocket City is pretty fast. There are only a few small hills with the only downside being that there's over 70 turns. This is actually a good thing because I zone out on the long straightaways, while courses with a lot of turns help me to focus on smaller segments. The race is also pretty inexpensive (just $65), hotels are very reasonable in the area (I think I paid $75 for a nice suite) and the people in charge of the race do a great job. A few weeks before the race, they mail all of the competitors a detailed information packet with all of the information you could ever want to know about the race and course and after the race, they mail you a free picture of you crossing the line. Probably my favorite thing about the course is that at least 75% of it is run through neighborhoods, which I tend to really enjoy.

My plan for the race was to stick with Ted Towse, who I did a lot of my long runs with, for the first 13.1, which we planned to hit around 1:14:30. I felt like I was very fit about six weeks ago, but my training the last three weeks wasn't very good and I had two recent workouts go badly. However, all that was in the past and I was really focused on the race. The top five runners got prize money and I thought with a really solid race, I could maybe sneak into the top five.

The weather seemed to be perfect. Temperatures were in the lower 40s and would heat up to the upper 40s by the end of the race. I had Maureen Manning from the Athletes House handing me my race fuel (Vanilla Gu dissolved into a water bottle) every other water stop until about 20 miles, which would be four times. Ted and I ran for about five minutes around the hotel and then did some light drills. When we got to the race, we ran for another mile or so and after several strides, it was time to race.

When the gun went off, a lot of people shot out. Ted and I settled into around 15th-20th place and hit the mile together in 5:34. I freaked out because I wanted to keep the miles no faster than 5:40, so I put on the brakes. We ran 5:48 that next mile and I didn't want to slow down, so I picked it back up and ran the third mile in 5:32. Like a creature of habit, I made the acceleration-deceleration a habit because I ran the next few miles in 5:48, 5:35, 5:46, 5:30, 5:40. The first few miles were pretty windy and Ted was probably getting tired of my bad pacing, so he told me to go ahead and I left him in the 6th or 7th mile.

When I went off on my own, there was a pack about 30 seconds ahead of me that I wanted to try and catch but I made myself be very slow and methodical about it. The thing I love about shorter races is that you can make moves and attacks but I still had a ton of running left and increasing the pace too much would burn off some extra carbohydrates that I would need later. There was a guy falling off the pack, and I caught him and dropped him shortly. When I was around 10 miles, I caught Josh Whitehead and ran with him a bit. He would randomly surge really hard and back off and I would catch him on his "slow" parts. I didn't go with him on the fast parts because I wanted to keep things in cruise control and not eat up my carbs. I didn't understand his thinking with these pick-ups but you're responsible for your own actions. And if you're wearing a neon green outfit with neon shoes and Oakleys, I really don't understand your thinking...

He left me and caught the next pack about 12 miles into the race. I was now alone and tried to figure out what to do. After fighting a strong headwind for a while, I debated in my head and decided it would save more energy to surge and catch the five man pack and then draft off them, than to fight the wind alone the next several miles. I ended up catching up to the pack and stuck with them for a few miles. I hit halfway at 1:13:59, which was faster than I wanted but I felt really strong and relaxed.

Shortly after the half, Kameron Ulmer branched off by himself and a mile or two later, David Riddle, Sammy Nyamongo and I left the two other guys. To save as much energy as possible, I tried to run in David's wind shadow even though I was feeling really strong. Someone said we were 5th and 6th, which scared me because I thought David would have a better shot at the last money spot than I did. And to make matters worse, no one else was in sight, so I wasn't sure if we would be able to catch anyone else.

Sammy would fall back, catch up, surge and fall back again, so I knew he was about to die off. My old teammate, Jacob Rotich, would call this the last kicks of a dying horse. I also noticed he had a pretty killer wedgie, which I mentioned to David but he was in no mood to speak. I was still feeling strong at this point but at around 18, my brain felt a little but foggy and my legs started to ache. David must have read my mind because he dropped the hammer the next mile with a 5:27 split but I hung with him. I really wanted to try and counter with a move of my own but I was too scared of hitting the wall, so I was patient. We then had a couple slower miles and I thought he could be tiring out, so in the 21st mile, I decided to finally make a small move and split 5:31 that mile which made him fall back. I saved a Gu in my pocket and took it, which was my fifth Gu of the race, just to be safe. I wanted to make a hard push at 22, but I didn't want to blow-up and lose to David, so I just kept my pace and was clicking off around 5:30 a mile.

A little while later, I saw a Kenyan guy sitting on the curb, which made me happy because that meant I was in 4th place now. In the distance, I could see a guy about 30 seconds ahead of me and it looked like he was running well over 6:00 pace, so I decided to go after him. I could tell he was hitting the wall pretty badly, so I knew if I went by him, he wouldn't be able to fight. I ended up catching him within a mile and kept on with the rhythm in case anyone else hit the wall. I felt good at the 24, and at the 25 marker, I debated pushing the last mile and trying to break 2:27 but I just wanted to maintain pace and enjoy the the finish.

When I hit 26, I was really proud that I got through it and just relaxed the last .2. After crossing the line, I felt really good and didn't have to sit down or walk around or anything even though I collapsed at the end of the Moon Pie race and had to lay on the ground after the Middle Half. I wish I would have moved with Kameron earlier on because I think I could have run a high 2:25, but I'll definitely take 2:27:08. I was also really happy because I finished in third place, which gave me a little bit of a payday.

On another positive note, I ran my last 5 miles faster than I ran at the Indian Lake 5 Miler last Thanksgiving. I was really, really happy with this race because I could have seen myself running 2:37 before 2:27. The two main reasons for my good race are: making sure I took all of my Gu's, even if I didn't feel like it and being very patient with my moves and always thinking about how things would affect me late in the race.

My main mistakes were taking so long to find my rhythm and not learning how to drink water. Having Maureen hand me the Gu water bottles every other stop really helped me because that was close to 40 ounces of fluid I could take in. At the other water stops, I would always take a water cup but would only get down about two ounces at each one with the other several ounces flying in my face and nose. All in all, it was a pretty good day of running and I'm glad to have my first marathon under my belt. I'm not sure if I'll try one in the spring but I will definitely run one next fall.

Splits: 5:34, 5:48, 5:32, 5:48, 5:35, 5:46, 5:30, 5:40, 5:34, 5:39 (56:26 10 miles), 5:35, 5:44, 5:38 (1:13;59 1/2), 5:42, 5:42, 5:34, 5:47, 5:27, 5:37, 5:40, 5:31, 5:30, 5:32, 5:29, 5:34, 5:32, 1:09

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nashville Half-Marathon

I picked out this race because it was four weeks from Rocket City, which is the closest to a marathon that you should race an all-out marathon. The Middle Half beat me up for a few days and took nearly a week before I was able to do any productive workouts. I'm currently in the middle of my marathon specific phase, so I really don't want to have to sacrifice my training too much.

My ideal goal was to just get a feel for the marathon...take a GU during the race to see how my stomach would respond and to try and take a cup of water or two. Ideally, I wanted to run my first 10 miles at goal marathon pace and my last 5k run as fast as half marathon effort. I didn't really know who would show up, so all that could drastically change.

At the line, I saw Alex Moore, who is a pretty tough runner. I knew he would run pretty decently, so my goal of running 5:43s the first 10 miles was out the window. I also saw Dan Mueller, who is also a solid runner, and Bradley Chronister, who ran against me at the Middle Half. Bradley told me he wanted to try and break 1:12, so I agreed to help him with the pace.

It was kind of an awkward start. Normally, they will start with a gun or something else but the race director tried to be funny and just said "go" in a really calm, monotone voice. No one knew if he was serious or not, so we just stood there, so he said it again. I got out with Bradley, Dan and Alex with one of Dan's friends pushing the pace for the first mile. We hit that in 5:14, which was a lot faster than I would have liked to go out but it felt somewhat relaxed. We then passed Dan's friend and stuck together for the next couple of miles. Around 3-4 miles, the race moved to the greenway and Bradley and I started to pull away from the pack.

We were clicking off a lot of sub 5:30 miles and I felt really good. Bradley was having a little bit of trouble with the pace, so I was trying to talk him through it. We built about a 15 second gap on Alex and Dan but shortly before six miles, Alex made a really big move and at one point, was only a few seconds behind us.

After being on the greenway and smelling stale beer for several miles, we branched out onto some really long, boring road. As I mentioned earlier, I really didn't want to run those all out. I knew if I stayed with Bradley, he would be able to run a good bit faster than if I left him because it's much easy to fight for the win instead of trying to not get third. We were almost at 10 miles and he was under 1:12 pace, so I pushed hard for about a mile to build a gap on him to make him try to forget about me and worry about Dan and Alex behind him. During that move, I probably ran around 5:10-5:15 pace and still felt pretty strong.

After gaping him, I was able to back off the pace a good bit. There was a pretty decent sized hill towards the end, which hurt but I just cruised the rest of the way. I crossed the line in 1:11:32, which was a minute slower than my half marathon last month but the effort was tons easier and I felt really strong after the race. I really believe that I could have broken 1:10 today, which is a motivation booster for my marathon next month.

Mile splits: 5:14, 10:49 (two miles), 5:24, 5:29, 5:28, 10:53 (two miles), 5:23, 5:21, 5:42, 5:36, 5:33, 41 (.1)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Middle Half

Oh snap. It was time for my first half marathon and I was really nervous. I feel like I've developed some half marathon specific fitness with some of my workouts but other than the 10 mile race this summer, I've never raced over 10k. I also had a pretty big training hiccup a couple of weeks ago and had to back off the training for about a week. Like a woman getting ready for an evening on the town, my biggest dilemma was what shoes to wear. I was debating wearing either my Asics Piranhas, which weighed about 4.5 ounces or my Saucony Kinvaras, which were about 7.5 ounces. I wore my Piranhas in a 3x5k workout a few weeks ago and my legs felt fine in them. However, I've only worn them a couple of times since then, so I decided to play it safe and wear the Kinvaras,

The weather was a little chilly but almost ideal...just under 40 degrees without much wind. I wasn't sure what the competition would be like but I had a "B" goal of under 1:12 and an "A" goal of under 1:11. My race plan was to go out and try to hold 5:30s for as long as I could and then press the last 5k with whatever I had left.

When the gun went off, I ran right behind the eventual 3rd place finisher. About a half mile in, I could tell the pace was too fast, so I backed off into 3rd/4th with the eventual winner who asked me to help with the pace. I knew if I obliged to his request, it would quickly turn into an ugly day. I hit the mile in 5:19, which I knew was too fast. Shortly after that, I saw Randy from the running club and I even told him that I was running too fast. I knew I needed to slow down or pay for it later.

After a couple of miles, the top three guys were a good bit ahead of me with no one pushing me from behind. Even though the first mile was too fast, I stayed in a groove and ran the next five miles in 5:18, 5:18, 5:19, 5:19, and 5:17. If my math was correct, I was running well under 1:10 pace, which would be an awesome race for me. However, I was all alone and when you're starting to die, it's hard to fight by yourself. It's much easier to fight to the end while battling against someone else instead of just "committing suicide."

After about seven miles, I could tell I was beginning to get tired and shortly before ten miles, fatigue really started to creep in. Miles 7-10 were: 5:24, 5:26, 5:24, 5:23. At 10 miles, I thought I had a shot at sub 1:10 but really didn't believe I would get it fighting by myself. The last two miles, I started wheezing (which I've never really done before), I was tired and just wanted to be finished. Once I hit the track for the final 200m, I felt a lot better but just jogged it in.

I finished in 4th place in a time of 1:10:37, which I was really pleased with. The top three guys finished a few minutes ahead of me, so I guess the time is pretty decent being that it was for the most part, a solo time trial with random crowds of people cheering for me.

Afterward, I was hurting and had to lay down for a couple of minutes. Muscularly, my calves were the only thing really bugging me and I can't imagine how trashed they would be if I would have worn my Piranhas. After Moon Pie, I was absolutely trashed but I felt better here. During the race, my chronically tender right achilles hurt off-and-on and my right arch felt pretty tight for a few minutes. This was a good confidence builder for my marathon in eight weeks and I think 2:30 can now realistically be a possibility that I shoot for.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Franklin Classic 10k

I've been away from the racing for a while but it's time to get back at it. My last race was a disappointment but I've gotten in some good training since then, along with some really tough speed workouts. Chris Herren told me the course was pretty tough, so my "B" goal was sub 33:30, with my "A" goal being under 33:00. Based off my last race, I didn't think sub 33:00 was very realistic but if I broke that time, I would get free entry into the Rocket City Marathon.

I knew Jeff Edmonds would be there. We've actually ended up running together for a few long runs along with some other really solid Nashville guys. Jeff seemed to be in pretty good shape, so I was looking forward to the battle.

The weather was slightly cool and pretty decent for racing. When the gun went off, I tried to be patient and didn't want to lead from the gun but the pace felt pretty relaxed. I took my time finding my groove and ran right near Jeff. I also saw a Kenyan guy out of the corner of my eye but wasn't sure how legit he was. After three or four minutes I ended up taking the lead and pressed on.

I hit the first mile in 5:20, which is a little over 33:00 pace. That first mile had a couple of rolling hills but I didn't want to start dropping 5:30s, so I made myself turn up the effort some. I covered the next mile in 5:06, which really shocked me. Chris told me the third mile would be pretty tough, so I slightly put the brakes on and split 5:25 there. I again got scared 5:30 miles would soon be a reality, so I really focused on finding my groove and seemed to find it. I covered my next two miles in 5:10 and 5:10. I was happy to see my four mile split was faster than my Moss Wright race just a few weeks ago and knew if I could keep on pressing, I would break 33:00 and make a run at sub 32:30.

My stomach was hurting some but I tried to turn it up over the last mile. Luckily this mile had a lot of long straightaways without many hills, so it was easy to find my rhythm. When I got close to the finish line, I saw the finish clock wasn't even over 32:00 yet. I was really happy and finished the race without kicking it in with a time of 32:12. My 1.2 miles was at 5:01 mile pace and I felt really aerobically strong. I definitely feel I could have run a couple more miles at sub 5:10 pace, so that's definitely a great sign and shows my body is adapting to the training.

Overall, I really liked this course a lot. It did have some rolling hills but it had that country road type feel, which I really enjoy. I think I'll most likely be back next year and may attempt the 5k/10k double.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Goodlettsville Classic 4 Mile

I was excited for this race because it's where I do a large chunk of my training. My "A" goal was 21:20 with my "B" goal being sub 21. I'm still in base training mode, with some 10 mile progressions and a tempo once every other week or so and on those, I've been averaging around 5:40 pace. Jef Scott normally comes down for this and while he will smoke me, I'd like to see how close I can get to him so I can see if I can maybe take him out next year.

The race took place at Moss Wright Park in Goodlettsville. The course was honest, if not a little bit on the fast side. You run the first mile around a circular loop, before heading down to the start of the trail, which turns into cinder. After running on the trail for about a mile, you branch off into the "road" inside the park, go up a short, steep hill and then run down back onto the cinder for a little bit over a mile.

When the gun went off, Jef and a former Belmont Kenyan took the lead. A kid from Station Camp was also up there and I hit the mile marker in 6th place at 5:16. There was some guy right ahead of me and over the next quarter mile or so, I reeled him in. After passing him, the course went on the cinder trail and when I hit that, I tried to keep a hard effort to mentally break the guy. Jef and the Kenyan were only about 10-15 seconds ahead of me, so I tried to stay close in case I could pull something out late in the race.

I hit the two mile in 10:29, which gave me a 5:13 second mile. I figured I could make a run at sub 21 if I kept a conscious awareness of the effort and then hammered the last few minutes. We came off the trail and took a right through the parking lot, towards the dog park. I've run this "hill" tons of times and it's normally pretty simple...just about 100 ft. without too steep of a incline. However, I've never run the hill under such oxidative stress and I really felt it, which temporarily killed my pace. Luckily the course went back towards the cinder trail, which took me down a decline. I saw Jef start to make a move on the Kenyan and when I hit the trail, I tried to push the pace in case the Kenyan got mentally broken and got close enough for me to make a run at him.

I hit the three mile in 15:51, which gave me a 5:22 for that mile. I knew the last mile would be flat, so I tried to do a long, extended drive for home to see how close I could get to breaking 21. After being on the trail for just a couple of minutes, I had to run against the people who were about to hit the two mile mark. This messed up my rhythm some because I had to focus on maneuvering around people instead of just focusing totally on pressing down the gas.

I wasn't gaining on the two guys ahead of me and finished a little hard but didn't have a killer kick because I knew I was over 21. I always feel pretty dorky when I run towards the finish line all-out, especially if no one is near me. I crossed the line in 21:16, which gave me a 5:25 last mile. Jef Scott finished in 20:33, with Charles Magut in 20:50. The time was pretty bittersweet because the McMillan calculator only equates it to a 16:16 5k and 33:47 10k. I was really hoping to be in 16:00, 33:00 shape by now and was hoping to make a run at sub 33 on Labor Day at the Franklin Classic, which is a pretty tough course. Luckily this race signifies the end of my base phase and I'll now transition to some hard, fast workouts, which should build up my engine and result in some faster racing.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence 5k

Even though it's only been two weeks since the Moon Pie race, I feel like I am much more fit. I feel stronger in my progression runs and my body is adapting to the mileage. My main goal for this race was to win. I'm still in base training mode and I have two races in late July, so I would prefer not to run this all-out. However, if I have to race to win, I'd like to run close to 16:30.

The course takes place down the White House Greenway with the first half being mainly downhill, then after an 180 degree turn, right back the way you came. I felt really sluggish on the warm-up and was just feeling a little bit lazy in general.

When the gun went off, some kid who just graduated high school and will be running for Bethel College shot out. Another kid, who runs for a college in Kentucky followed him, so I just hung behind the young-ans. We probably covered the first 1/4 mile under 5:00 pace and hit the mile together in 5:13. The effort felt tougher than I would have liked and for a brief moment, I got scared I would lose to one of those guys. Shortly after the mile, the guy who took it out hard started falling back. I then ran side-by-side with the other guy until the turnaround. After the turnaround, you only have about 100 meters before starting the hill that stole my soul in 2008.

I was a little nervous but maintained the effort and dropped the guy while running up it. After hitting the two mile, I was pretty sure I had the win, so I relaxed the last mile and won by over 30 seconds in 16:55.

I'm pretty happy with the effort because the course was pretty tough and I wasn't running all out. I'm pretty certain I'm in sub 16:30 shape right now, so I'll take that as a good sign.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

R.C. Cola Moon-Pie 10 Mile

It was time for the famed R.C. Cola Moon-Pie 10 Miler. I didn't know much about this race except that it's very hot and hilly and takes place in Bell Buckle, TN. To me, it sounded like a brutal race experience but yet, a lot of the people in the Hendersonville Running Club absolutely love the race. I guess they are gluttons for punishment...

My only goal for this race was to break 60:00, which is 6:00 pace. That's my goal pace for the Rocket City Marathon in December and even though 10 miles is a lot shorter than 26.2, I feel that whatever I can average for the Moon Pie race, I can average for Rocket City in December. A few weeks after the Goodnaz 5k, I had a shin injury and lost a few weeks of training. I wasn't too sure on my fitness level but I averaged about 60 miles a week over the last six weeks. During those weeks, I got in a couple four mile tempos around 6:00 pace and some 10 mile medium progression runs. I almost decided to skip the race because I was at the beach in South Carolina and wasn't feeling like leaving a day early.

However, I decided to take a stab at it. I didn't know the race started so early, so Mary and I woke up at 4:30. The drive was a little bit over an hour and we got there a little under an hour before race time. That gave me some time for a 10 minute warm-up with some strides thrown in for good measure.

I started in a pack of about 10 or so guys. Mary thought it was funny because no one in the pack said a word and looked totally serious while people further back were chatting it up. I hit the mile marker in 5:41 which was fast but felt controlled. Warren Adler started to break up the pack some, which got things rolling. I hit the three mile mark in 17:29 and the fourth in 23:27 in 6th place, right behind Jeff Edmonds. I was a little nervous because Jeff ran a really solid 15:48 5k a few weeks prior, so I was hoping I wasn't going out too fast.

Before the fifth mile, there was a really big, steep climb. I'm a terrible hill runner and had a side stitch right before the hill, so needless to say, I lost a lot of time going up it. Matt Pulle passed me right before it, which moved me to 7th place. At the top of the hill was the five mile marker, which also meant I was halfway done. I hit that at 30:00, which was right at my goal pace, which was a motivating sign. However, my last mile split was 6:33 and it was getting hotter by the minute and I wasn't sure how I would respond the second half because the longest race I've ever done in my life was a 10k.

I tried to reel in Matt but I couldn't get any closer to him. I hit the next mile in 5:53, which put me back under 60:00 pace. In the 7th mile, I caught Peter Woerner, who runs at Tennessee Tech with Steven Bretz, a runner I used to coach at Beech. My 7th mile split was 5:51 and despite the increase in speed, I still wasn't having any luck catching Matt. Lipscomb runner, Geoffrey Musick was now in sight, which gave me some motivation to chase. I went by him and split 5:47 that mile, which was the fourth mile in a row I increased my pace.

Making all of the passes mentally tired me out a good bit and not catching Matt frustrated me some, so I was losing some motivation. What made matters worse was that there was another big hill coming up. Luckily I saw Warren Adler, the early leader, walking up the hill. This gave me a revamped my motivation because if I passed him, I would be fourth place and have a shot at finishing in the top three. That sounded a lot better than me to fourth or fifth, so I went after him and made the pass.

With Warren behind me, my next focus was catching Michael Peters. Michael is a very tough runner for Montgomery Bell Academy who just finished his junior year. He is a sub 2:00 800m guy, as well as sub 9:40 3200m runner and he has a good chance of being the best runner in TN next year, regardless of division. I knew he was physically in much better shape than me but I figured he would have trouble late in the race. High school track makes you a little ADD because your races are so short and you only have to focus for a small period of time. Racing ten miles is a whole new ball game and I knew it was only a matter of time before he got mentally distracted and tired out. After passing him, I continued to press the pace because I knew if he stayed close, he would outkick me. I also really, really didn't want to get beat by a high school kid, especially at the end of the race.

My split that mile was 6:02, which was my second slowest of the race so far. However, it was up a decent sized hill, so I didn't worry about it. There was just one mile to go and I was getting really tired. When I race 5ks, the pain is very intense but you can fight through it because you know it won't last long. In this race, I was hurting but it was a different kind of hurt...I was flat out exhausted and just wanted to be done.

I thought about trying to catch Matt this mile but realistically, he was just too far ahead. I was also really drained and was for the most part, racing in "survival" mode. I crossed the line in 3rd place in 59:13, which gave me a 5:47 last mile. Jeff raced a very smart race and had an easy win in 57:41 with Matt in 2nd place in 58:48. I didn't realize he was so close but Geoffrey ended up also catching Michael, finishing in 59:24, with Michael 10 seconds behind.

After the race, I was by far the most tired I've been in my life. Normally after a race, I like to cool-down for a couple miles but after this race, all I could do was sit on the ground and whine to Mary. I was debating cooling down with Jeff but after jogging a couple of steps, I knew I was done. With the race over, it was time to celebrate with some R.C. Cola.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Goodnaz 5k

After almost three months without racing, it was time to race again. One of my running club friends, Dawn Harrison, was putting on this race through her church, so I decided to run it. However, I wasn't too sure about my fitness level. I decided to not coach Beech during the track season this year and was just going to hang loose and get in my token daily afternoon naps. During the winter, Vance Pounders, a runner from JPII tracked me down to help him with his training some. That ended up turning into a coaching job for JPII, so bye-bye naps.

Anyway, I was running pretty consistently with the JPII kids and got in a few hill repeats sessions with them that Vance would totally smoke me on. I wasn't sure what kind of time goal to set but thought I could break 17 with a good race. I knew where the course was, so I ended up scoping it out and it turned out to be one of my worst nightmare courses...primarily uphill for almost the first two miles, with the last mile being downhill. I absolutely hate hills because I'm so bad at them (I guess most people hate what they are bad at), so I wasn't sure how to race.

Dawn said there was guy running who had a goal of around 16:30. I didn't want to lose, so I had to devise out a good strategy. My plan was to hold back somewhat the first part of the race and hope the guy wasn't familiar with the course, went out too hard and then died the second half. Of course anything can happen in a race, but that's what my plan was.

I met the guy before the race and he turned out to be David Hudson, a coach for Brentwood Academy. We both went out a little bit cautiously, so my plan was to run with him, without pushing the pace and wait to make my move. I don't remember the first split but I definitely remember it being in the 5:30s. That's over 17:00 pace but it was right on the money for me considering the course conditions. The second mile was the toughest of the race and at one point, I attacked a hill to see how David would respond. He gave me about a three second gap, which gave me some confidence, so I slowly backed-off until he caught up.

We hit two miles in around 11:20 and with the last mile being primarily downhill, I decided to make a long push for home. Over the next couple of minutes, I built up a 5-10 second gap. However, the pain was definitely coming in and I was hurting pretty badly and was hoping I could hang on for the next three or so minutes. Shortly before the finish, there was a steep 100ft. or so hill and I knew if I could hold my lead until then and then attack the hill, I could probably take the win. I did my best to hang on and after attacking the hill, I finished the race in a time of 16:50, which meant I ran the last mile under 5:00 (it sounds impressive but gravity made it possible) with David finishing in 16:58.

I was really pleased with this race because David is a legit mid 16s guy, so with a little more consistent training, I could maybe make a run at 16:00 in the Purity Moosic 5k in about six weeks. I feel this effort was around 16:30 or a tad faster on a more flat course.