I don't think I've ever run a Fourth of July race. Well, technically, this was a third of July race but I guess you get the point. This race took place on the greenways around Hendersonville, which is literally right up the hill from me. Not to mention, one of the the parent's of a kid on my cross country team was helping put it on, so I decided to give it a go.
The race took place in the evening, which meant it was going to be hot. About an hour before the race, I ate a light dinner of a big bowl of spinach with some chicken and Italian dressing and I was on my way. Because it was 95 degrees, my goal was to run around tempo effort and click off around 5:10 per mile. The greenway only has a couple of hills without many turns, so I knew it would be easy to get in a groove.
Because they changed the venue the week of the race, I knew the distance probably wouldn't be exact, so for the first time ever, I wore my Garmin in the race. I use the Garmin for almost all of my training but I don't use it on a marked path or race because the difference in measurement between the watch and course would drive me crazy. I wouldn't know which one to believe, so it's much easier to use my old faithful stopwatch.
About 100 people came out to brave the heat and finally, we were off. Early on in the race, you get some nice downhills, which got me rolling a little too fast, a little too early. I went through the first mile in 4:52, so I slammed on the brakes a bit. The second mile contained some small inclines that you really don't notice at first but definitely slow things up. I got to the turnaround and ended up splitting 5:15 that mile. On the third mile, the uphills become downhills, so I was able to gain back some time and went through the next mile in 5:05.
I was feeling strong and controlled and because the course was going to measure a bit short, I debated trying to break 20 minutes. It wasn't meant to be because right when I started the fourth mile, I started to get a killer side-stitch. No matter what I did, it just became worse, so I had to slam on the brakes and just wanted to finish without making it worse. I crossed the line in 20:23 with the course probably being about 15-20 seconds short, which meant I covered my last mile around 5:30 pace.
Overall, it wasn't a bad run because I felt really good through three miles before the spinach salad started its attack. I can definitely tell I've lost some fitness over the month, but that's a good thing. This was a fun, low-key race that I think I'll most likely run again next year.