I had a good lunch run (7 miles at 6:45 pace) but my hamstring had been constantly sore all week. The last month of PT hasn't really improved it, and Cranmore was probably the worst thing I could have done for it. Anyway, I got to the race site with just enough time to preview the course. I'd mapped it out and the 3.6 (+) mile course had 250' of climb and descent. That didn't sound too bad. It seemed like a lot more when I was out there! The first 1.2 miles was mostly downhill with a little bit of rough footing, not really technical but very uneven. After that we had a 1.2 mile flattish loop around the lake then returned coming up the first 1.2 miles. I ran the course in just over 30 minutes then changed into racing flats. A couple of strides and I was ready to go. Tim Cox,who recently turned 40, was racing and he looked good warming up. He warned me that a couple of guys usually went out hard and then we were off.
I went to the front for the first 400m or so then a guy went flying by, soon after Tim went by along with one of the local High School kids (Lucas Fisher). I tried to keep them close but lost a fair amount of ground on the one steep downhill that we had. After that we hit the lake loop and I glanced back and could see two guys right behind me. Tim was now leading the group of 3 and they were 8 seconds up on me as we hit the lake loop (7:09). I felt a lot better as we looped the lake and slowly (very slowly) reeled them back in. Just before we finished the loop I caught the early leader, I think we were 14:15 with the final part to go...but now it'd be almost all uphill.
I was now 5 seconds back and worked the first steep uphill. Lucas took off, breaking away from Tim. Right after the climb I went by Tim and concentrated on closing the gap. With 800 to go I moved into the lead and tried to break away. I couldn't gain any ground on Lucas and knew that I needed something of a gap when we hit the final 200m straight. As if on cue he flew by me in the last 200 and scored the 3 second win. We were both under the old course record!
I went out for a slow 1 mile warm-down then grabbed some ice. My hamstring was absolutely SINGING to me at this point. Congrats to Kristina and Ryan for putting on an excellent race. I'll be back next year!