What better way to start of 2011 than with a race? The race took place at the Hendersonville YMCA and Hendersonville Running Club was a sponsor. Last year I won the 5k in 17:36 but since they also added a 10k this year, I decided to go with that. After Rocket City, I really didn't take much down time and got in 21.7 miles the week after the race. A couple of weeks before the race, I ran over the course with some of the Hendersonville Running Club people and like the 5k course, it had a ton of hills and very few flat sections.
My goal for the race was to run this as a somewhat hard tempo and try to run around 5:25s. I really didn't want to have an all-out race so early in my training cycle but if someone there was ahead of me, I wouldn't back down. Low and behold, Micah Tirop showed up. Since this was a pretty low key race, I didn't expect a 1:05 half marathoner to show up and I debated dodging him and entering the 5k. I always talk about accepting the challenge and being a competitor to my kids, so if I dodged him, I'd be a hypocrite. If you're going to lose, you better at least go out on your shield.
Micah led from the gun and I hung just off his shoulder for the first mile. We hit the first mile in 4:58, which was way faster than I wanted but it was mainly downhill and felt ok. The next mile was like a mini roller-coaster and I started to fall back very slowly. I split 5:20 that mile and because I had a 22 second increase, I tried to get refocused so I didn't start running 5:30s. The 3rd mile was when Micah really started to break away but at least I kept my rhythm and split 5:19.
In the fourth mile, there was an 180 degree turnaround and those always kill me. Even though I probably l0st several seconds, my next mile split was something insanely fast. I knew it wasn't legit, so I didn't split my watch and after splitting at the next mile, my watch said I ran 9:53 for the last two, which I knew wasn't correct. At that point, I knew I had a little over six minutes of running left, so I really tried to grit down and push hard. When I was about a half mile from the finish, there was a super steep 300 meter or so hill. The hill couldn't have been in a worse place on the course and I completely died running up it. When I got to the top, I just kept a steady effort and ended up with a time of 32:11.
I was happy with the time but after talking with other people, they had the course being a little over 6.1 on their Garmin's. Garmin's usually measure long in races, so I knew this was probably was worth over 33:00 on a more legit course. Micah finished about a minute ahead of me and it was a little frustrating getting whooped in my own backyard but what more can you do?
On a positive note, a lot of the Hendersonville Running Club members ran