After missing two months with the stress fracture I really looked forward to getting back. This week will be my fourth week of running. I've been feeling pretty decent, so why not see where I'm at with a race?
I picked up double-j at the River and we headed to Wakefield. When we arrived temps were right around 20 degrees and the wind was blowing 15-20 mph. The race was a pretty good deal, $18 day of entry and you got a long-sleeve shirt and a goody bag. We signed up and then headed out to check out the course.
It was very uncomfortable out there for the first mile. The wind was right in our faces and it HURT. Once we turned the corner at 3/4 of a mile it wasn't so bad. Jim had run this loop many times and I'd done it 10 times in the SRR 24 hour race a few years back. The worst part of the course is that you can basically see the finish line from the 2-mile mark.
We finished the warm-up and quickly changed into race shoes and jogged over to the line (doing a couple of pick-ups along the way). We definitely did not want to spend too much time standing around, so timing was important. We hit the line as they were giving final instructions. A minute later we were off.
Jim was gone right from the start and I settled into second place. Three other guys hung right behind me as we worked into the wind. At about 1/2 mile the other guys went by me and I tried to hold on. When we turned out of the wind at 3/4 I picked it up a bit and one of the guys fell off. The other two quickly moved back into the lead as we hit the mile in 5:53 (the timer called out 6:13?). I tried to stay with the two guys but couldn't quite keep contact. At 1.5m there was a little section where you could see well ahead and that was the last time I saw Jim.
We turned again at 1.5 miles and now had a (mostly) tail-wind. We hit 2 miles in 11:46 (5:53), which was a bit of a disappointment as we were no longer running into the wind. I was working as hard as I could but the two guys slowly gapped me by a few seconds. In the last 1/2 mile they moved even further ahead. I pushed right to the line, hoping to break 18 minutes (my pre-race goal) but missed with a 4th place 18:10 (last 1.1 in 6:24).
Jim had a nice run, especially for basically doing a workout on his own. He cracked 16 minutes with a strong kick to take the win in 15:56. We went out on the course again before we cooled off too much and ran most of it with 3rd place finisher (and top 40+) James Goodberlet. After the warm-down we hit the awards where they had a nice post-race spread that included the biggest donuts I have ever seen. They had a bunch of raffle prizes and went three deep in all age groups. Pretty sweet deal!
Jim and I headed out to a late breakfast at Brother's Deli, which was packed and the food was great. Not a bad end to the first race back. Now I just need to drop 1:30 off my time.
Pics from the Crystal Mountain hike on :Photobucket.