There I was getting all psyched up to write a post about my passion for running and recent race and I get sidetracked with a discussion on one of my other great passions, personal liberty and federal government abuses. I will now try to recap yesterday’s race without too much muttering on cover-ups and unlawful domestic spying…
I raced a fun 4-miler in New Hampshire on Sunday; the course is slightly challenging with some quick, steep hills and a few rolling hills as well. The competition was solid due to the race being part of the NH Gran Prix series. The weather was a little muggy, but quite cool, low 60’s, close to perfect for early August.
I started on the line and took off with a group of 10 or so, that quickly became 5 by the first turn 2/10’s of a mile in. There was a tall young guy to my right and a group of three in front of me for most of the first mile, we were all within a stride or two of each other and firmly in the race. The second uphill of the race and first steep one, is right at mile one and either before then or about that time I surged slightly and drew ahead of the guy I had been next too. He looked legit in splits and a singlet, so I was a little worried that he might have eased off to save some for a later surge. But I quickly settled into a comfortable stride after seeing that despite two hills I had clicked off mile one in the exact time I was hoping to hit it (5:25) I opened up my stride on the short downhill and focused on the three runners strung out ahead of me as mile two went began. Left to chase down were; basketball shorts-shirtless kid, the old guy and a BAA runner. I figured that I could reach the basketball shorts dude and possibly the old guy, so I made a plan to surge on the next longer uphill (the longest of the race, I believe) Sure enough, at the base of the hill I caught the older guy and drew past b-ball shorts kid who sounded like he was really working after trying to keep pace with the BAA guy. I even started to close the gap on the blue and yellow clad runner and somehow still had oxygen to breathe after the effort! I kept working hard up to the turn around at mile two and drew within 10 feet of the leader (mile two was run in 5:30) By then the old guy had dropped b-ball shorts though and was hot on my heels. Soon after the turnaround the old guy’s quick, shorter strides started sounding louder and I moved closer to the edge of the road on my left out of courtesy. I was not looking for placement, but a specific effort level and hopefully hitting a goal pace. Sure enough, that move was all the motivation he needed and on past me he flew. I tried to focus on breathing and form and having fun, because it really was fun! At the top of the steep short hill at the three mile mark I did a quick watch check and saw that I was at 5:25 pace again, that really gave me some good vibes as I expected mile three to be the slowest. I started to work hard again after a complacent couple of tenths on the hilly bit at the start of mile four, I knew that I had only a long flat downhill left before the short uphill and crappy pavement of the finish. As my stride became longer and I was working all out I drew even with the older guy and then eased past him before the final downhill, a half mile out. From there until the end it was a max effort of restricting puke while still running hard. I did start to fade a little as I ran up over the messy bit at the end of the race, just as the leader started to surge too, he ended up beating me by a full 18 seconds or so as I covered the fourth mile in 5:31.
My goal pace was 5:22-25/mile and I ended up with a 5:28 average. With the moderate difficulty of hills on the course though, I think my fitness level was right where I thought it would be at. I did feel recovered as soon as the race was over and put in a tiring but easy paced 9 mile run later in the day, for total mileage of 17+. I finished the week with close to 80 miles, so it wasn’t a tapered race by any means, and definitely not with two track workouts in the last 5 days on my legs going into it. I am looking forward to another hilly course at the Level Renner 10k this weekend, I will attempt to run a similar pace of just under 5:30 and sustain it for two more miles. I think it should be doable and I should have plenty of fast people to chase down on the way, too.