I headed up to scenic Grantham for a 3k road race this morning. Long time friend John Mortimer and his wife were putting on a first year race and I knew they'd do it right.
The ten dollar entry fee and the unusual distance were both attractive to me. I headed up a bit early to scope out the course, driving it before running it.
I went to the school and got my number then headed out for a longish warm-up. I guess the biggest drawback of a short race (besides my lack of speed) is that it is harder to get the day's mileage in. I did 4 miles including the course then headed back and changed into racing flats before doing another mile with some strides.
Funky art at the school
130 lined up for the race and we were off. I went to the front right away and tried to really keep the tempo fast on the first downhill. I was surprised to be passed about 1/4 mile in and recognized Neal Graves who I'd raced a little over a week ago at the Delta Dental 5k. He was motoring! I stayed with him through about 1/2 mile then lost a little ground. By the turn he had a couple of seconds on me. I worked to keep the gap from growing and with about 200m to go I thought I might have a shot. Boom! That was when he started kicking and the race was over. I crossed the line in 2nd place in 9:48 with Neal a good 5 seconds ahead of me. The effort really hurt, I just can't get going any faster than that.
I headed out for a 3m warm-down and then blasted south. It was a good effort so I'm happy with the result. I hope that when I drop my mileage down (I'll be about 100 this week) that I'll feel fresher and be race-sharp.