It was a cold start to the morning. Low 30s and +/-10mph wind, but sunny. Perfect for running. Awoke early to eat and soak up race morning excitement. I live for these days…yes it’s an addiction. At least it’s a healthy one…shut up “old man knee”. Ok, that out of the way…on to the race.
Took my secret weapon with me, my daughter. My own personal cheer squad. She and a few of her sorority sisters were volunteering at the race. Saw a few friendly faces. Waved high to Joann, who is the race director and a member of our triathlon club. I didn’t run this race in 2011, its inaugural year. I was excited to be free to participate this year and support the Decatur Library and some of their programs.
I ran a 2 mile warm-up and noticed the south wind was pretty strong. Got back to the start line after a couple of strides to wake up the legs. I settled at mid front. Race started fast with Josh W. going out like he was running the 100m sprint. Guy’s a freak. He routinely runs 15min 5Ks. Needless to say, I did not catch up with him. I just ran steady for the first mile which includes a difficult 180 degree turn (hard to turn fast running 6:00min mile…small dissent). Unusual for me, but I didn’t look at my watch at the first mile splits..probably because I didn’t know where they were or hear my Garmin beep. I finally looked down a little pass mile 2 and saw 12:58. Admittedly, I was a little discouraged. I did the math in my head and realized the first 2 miles were above PR pace. Mile 2 was downhill to flat but into the wind. I slowed about 20 secs on that mile split. My heartrate was steady, pace just slower. I’m blaming the wind..HA!
By mile 2, I was running 5th. I was behind a 10year running phenom, Noah. I was mesmerized as he just floated across the road. I’d pull up behind him and he’d pull that rubber band a little farther. He could have been walking, I’m not sure…Seemed so effortless. Wished I ran at his age. So, I had a running partner for the last half of the race. We talked a little…mainly me encouraging him. That always helps me in races. We had to make another sharp turn and came to complete stop as a car came flashing by…volunteer at that corner wasn’t controlling traffic well. I put an arm over Noah’s shoulder so he wouldn’t run in the intersection. He just had his head down and was running blind.
We get back up to speed and have 1/2 mile back to finish line. Saw my #1 cheerleader at that point and waved back to her. Noah pulled a little ahead and I told him to run hard. We came by the 3mile clock at 18:51. I knew I wouldn’t get a PR but satisfied that I’m running at Fall, 2011 speed. I finished in 19:31 for first Masters. That was my first Masters road race win. Stacey L. was behind me about 30sec. He is usually a 18min 5k guy. Glad he was running slower that day.
I did a 3 mile cool down, looping the course again and stopped to thank my daughter for coming. I did a little stretching then jogged the one mile fun run with Matt H. He’s another Tri buddy. He’s been rehabbing a bump foot/ankle. But he ran well, glad for him to be close to full training speed again. Good day!