I really hadn't planned to run this race this year mainly because I didn't think it would be too smart to race a 5k just a week after the Flying Pig Marathon. However, after a couple of easy running days and a day off for a massage, my legs have actually felt very good this week so I began to consider maybe going anyway. Other than feeling good I actually had a couple of other good reasons to go. Number one is that the race is held 2 miles from where I grew up and Mom and Dad still live in the same house so it is convenient for me to come race, and then go to church with them for Mother's Day. And two, I get a free entry since I work part-time for the sponsor giving out the awards cards, The Athlete's Foot -Cameron Village.
The race is three years old now and I have run each year. The race has been lucky to have nice weather each year. Just yesterday we had a very warm muggy morning but today was in the mid-50's and lower humidity, perfect conditions for racing.
I arrived in plenty of time to get in my usual warm-up routine so I was very relaxed. I have had several of my usual running friends here each year but none of them showed up this time around for various reasons. I did get a pleasant surprise when I saw that Susan Karnatz was running. She has been mostly out of the sport the past 2.5 years due to having two fine sons with husband Tom but she has been training and getting back into shape. Also Gavin Coombs one of the very fast young men I work with at TAF and winner of the Tobacco Road Marathon was there to go for a fast time in the 10k.
About 166 of us lined up for the start of the 5k and since there weren't too many fast looking runners I lined up right near the front. Once we started Sue,took off like a rocket. I felt I was going fast enough so I let her go and stuck to my plan. I couldn't believe how good I was feeling in the early going. It is flat and slightly downhill so you can really get a good start. I never saw a sign or mark when I got to the area I thought should be the one mile mark, and when I checked my watch I saw nothing that looked right and I thought I must have pushed the wrong button at the start. Oh well , I would just have to run by feel but I doubt it would have made a difference. I run by feel anyway but like to have some feedback on my pace. I had passed Sue just before this and she wished me luck.
Just after the one mile mark the course climbs a little hill and the next mile is gently rolling. About halfway , I looked down at my watch and then I realized I just had it on the wrong screen and it was actually working. My overall pace there was about 6:57 and I still felt great. Mile 2 is at the top of a little hill and at that point I was at 14:00 so I had slowed down just a little over the hill. The last mile is mostly flat with a couple of small rises which slowed me just a little but as soon as I hit the top I was pushing hard again.
I passed several people in that last mile and was able to go strong to the end and held off a late challenge from a 32 year old guy, unlike getting out kicked two weeks ago in Asheboro. When I saw my time of 21:33 I was very happy to see more improvement over the past year. This was the 2nd fastest time I have run a 5k since the 1980's and the fastest since Oct. of 2005 when I ran 21:12 in the Selma Railroad Run. Despite coming in 10th overall and running this fast, I was 2nd in my age-group. That's OK though, I'll take the time and be very happy with it.
Sue was the overall womens winner and Gavin was the overall men's champion in a smoking time of 30:16.
So what's next? Well the plan is to hit the hills and get ready for the Boogie 50 miler next month. Strange to go from 5k to 50 miler? Well, it seems that most of best ultra times have come during marathon training and when I was running well at the shorter distances so we'll see. And maybe, I could jump into another 5k between now and then if the urge strikes me.
Here is a link to the race results