I warmed up over the course with the Huppster and he showed me the ins and outs of the neighborhoods. The first mile has got some up and down but very slight. There is a long ever so slight uphill for most of the first half (the same stretch as the start of the Reds course but longer) and then some nice flat sections for a while. The second mile has got some flat and up sections with maybe the longest hill but still not anything like last weekend. The third mile has got some twist and turns and the steepest up hill and down hill section of the course right near the end. There is also a bike path/rail trail section at about 2.75 or so. I did notice that the starting line and finishing line were exactly the same. That caused me some concern right away as I was curious as to how they could map out exactly a 5k (or whatever they need to be officially certified 5k...like 3.17 or so) course to start and finish at the exact same timing mat. I figured it may be a tad long if anything. I also heard they moved the course start / finish (or one or the other) over a street from last year...so I'm not sure if that had any bearing...
The race went off and I bolted out to the front. Took the first immediate right turn and dropped down a nice slight downhill to the police station and then hooked a right and then another right back on to Central St. Then it was a long slightly uphill push for a half mile or so. It was also into the wind but no where near as bad as Paddy's was. I had Nate and another guy (Greg Englehart) close behind. I kept tabs on my watch, closely monitoring my pace. Despite the wind and slight uphill nature of that stretch, I was under 5 min pace and holding. I finally dropped over another couple of left/right turns and went through the mile in 4:56. I had gapped Nate and Greg looked to be falling back a bit by then.
|Photos by Melissa Garfield... Myself w/ Nate and Greg in tow...|
The second mile was the windiest. We had a headwind seemingly the entire time. It seemed to get worse as I was climbing the hill but again it wasn't anywhere near as bad as a few weeks ago. My pace dropped and I knew I was possibly in slight trouble time-wise. I finally turned onto the street with the 2 mile mark and went through right around 10:10. I knew I was going to break 16. I was positive. I felt good now that I was free from the wind and the rest of the course was twisty and slightly rolling (with the one last hill at the end) but I figured that even if I ran about the same as I just did, I could break it. I was even thinking 15:4X-15:50. I was well clear of the field and started working the turnover.
I hit the bike path after another couple sharp turns and another section of wind but not bad. I dumped out the other side and took a quick right again and glanced at the watch. I was hovering right over 5 minute pace. I knew I'd finally get the monkey off my back. Well...not really....because I dropped down, then started the last sharp climb up to mile 3. I worked the hill, took the left and dropped down. I went through 3 miles with a 5:03 split. I was pumped that I was able to run that with the last mile the way it was laid out (7 turns in the last mile, a bike path, and a short steep hill). The last mile does have a net drop so it kind of evened out. I was smiling, knowing I was going under 16...well...not so fast. From 3 mile mark to the finish took me 59 seconds! I was mortified (and not because I was running a Millenium race ;) )....get it? 'Morti-fied'... anyways, I was really disappointed. I rolled through the finish in 16:07. I was positive I was going to break 16 and couldn't believe it. It kind of only came to me after I hit three and saw how much further I had to go. It was really deflating.
I won, so I couldn't be too upset in the grand scheme. It's only April still...and I know the times will come. The effort was there...and I was 15:41 through exactly 3.1 on my watch so I know the effort was there. I got a cool $125 cash for the effort and was about 43 seconds up on Nate who ran to a strong 2nd. 3rd place was a photo finish for Matt Garfield to round out the prize money winners.
I cooled down with Nate again on part of the Red's course, then collected the cash winfall and headed out. 729 strong showed up for the race, which was pretty amazing. It feels real good getting out to these races again. I feel like a real runner again...like old times. Maybe it's just because I'm old though....
Top 10 Overall:
729 Total Finishers.
|Me with The Huppster - Mary Ulinski photos...|
|Myself and Nate with the legendary Andy Schachat - Mary Ulinski photos...|
|Top 3 Overall - (L-R) - Matt Garfield, The Huppster, JJ|