Friday night I ran in the 6th annual March Against Meth in Hiram. The race proceeds benefitted the Meth Alliance of Paulding (http://methpaulding.org/), which is a local organization that is combating meth addiction in our area. This is the third time that I have run this race. This was the race that I initially started training for when I began running over two years ago. It was held on my 40th birthday that year and has proven to be a very life-changing gift indeed.
Back to last night… This was the first time in the last 3 years that they have held this race in the evening (7pm) which definitely altered the mood of the race. It was pretty warm and humid (although a friend reminded me that we set a record high on this day last year, so the 82 degrees starting temp really wasn’t all that bad). This was also the second year in a row that the race organizers changed the course. The race was initially an out and back on the Silver Comet Trail. Last year they moved the 5K out onto the streets around Hiram and then allowed the 10K runners to finish up on the trail. This year they rerouted the street portion, seemingly to make sure that we ran up every hill in Hiram! Seriously, this was a pretty hilly 5K, but luckily what goes up must come down on a loop course, so there were some great down hills as well.
There were about 75 runners in the race, with a few of them going on to complete the 10K. The race was timed, but we did not have timing chips, so we were responsible for recording our own finishing times.
The first mile was mostly flat to down hill. The starting pace was a little quicker than I had been planning to go out, but the flat terrain helped me stay close. My first mile was in 6:38 (a new PR) and about 40 seconds faster than my plan. The second mile brought the beginning of the hills. The runners had definitely thinned out by this time, and I thought that there were only a dozen or so runners in front of me. My second mile was in 7:23. As I came down the hill towards old Hiram and the loop around the Olive Tree, I saw the lead runners coming back up the hill towards me. As I completed my run around the block, I lost sight of the runners in front of me, so I really had no idea how I was holding up against the group, or how many of them there were up there, but the heat and the hills were definitely taking a toll on me. I finished mile 3 in 7:48.
During mile 3, I could hear someone tracking pretty close behind me, but I never glanced around to see who or where they were. As we were running down the hill towards the finish line, one of the lead runners had walked back up the course and was yelling “pass him” to whoever it was behind me. I really tried to push my pace and extend my strides during the closing .1 and ran that portion in a 6:13 pace. I ended up finishing in 22:27 (PR). It was great to see the the speedwork over the last month or so had paid off. I improved my PR by almost a minute and dropped below 23 minutes for the first time. I finished 5th overall and took first place in the 41-45 age group. I found out later that the guy who was tracking me at the end was also in my age group and ended up finishing only about 5 seconds behind me.
Overall it was a great race!
Takeaways from this race:
1. I have got to run MY race in the 10K at Peachtree. I don’t want to go out so fast that I can’t maintain the 7:50 pace that I plan to run.
2. I need more hills training over the next two and a half weeks. Hills are still a weakness for me.
3. I am capable of more that I ever thought. I have now cut my 5K PR from 27:00 to 22:27 IN THE HEAT at the end of a workday. I can definitely see myself running a sub-22 on a nice cool fall morning. Hey, you gotta have goals, right?
Thanks to my family and friends for coming out to support me and cheer me on. My next race is the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th (with about 60,000 of my closest friends), and then marathon training begins.
Time to get started.