ORN: 6 miles, 4/1. Then 5 mile race; 48:58, 9:53/mile
After reading Rob’s account of The Epic 24 Summit Run he and Eric did last weekend, I feel a little sheepish reporting a mere 5 mile race out here on the flatlands. Suffice it to say, I’m in awe of those two guys, their friends and, of course, their den mother.
I hadn’t planned on racing this weekend but I was an “invited runner” to this race. Never have had that happen before. The race was a fund raiser for one of the local HS cross country teams. The daughter of friends of ours is a freshman on the team and she wrote me a nice letter asking me to please, oh please help out the team and run the race. So, hey, how do you say no to that??
The schedule called for 11 miles on Saturday with 5 one-mile intervals at 9:15. So I figured I’d run six miles early and then see if I could string 5 9:15s together in the race. At least, that was the plan.
I followed what has become my default summer race plan. I umpired a fantastic baseball game on Friday night (more about that on a separate post later). I got up early and did 6. Grabbing a dry shirt I headed across town to the race. While driving over, I continued to push the pre-race nutritional envelope by downing fast-food cini-minis chased with Accelerade. Arriving at the start area, it was evident why young Angela had pleaded with me to run the race. Only about 50 people got the message and showed up. Further, runners had the option of running either 5K or 8K. I opted for the longer race, not knowing what awaited.
The race was a first for me. We ran on the cross country course this school uses. I’ve never in my life run on an actual cross country course, so this was kind of cool. The course snaked in and around the extended grounds of this large high school. We ducked in and out of trees, around buildings, over sidewalks, down and up drainage areas and through the middle of the long jump pit next to the track. 8K runners ran 3 loops, 5K runners only two.
So out we went. I set my Garmin for a 9:15 pace which put me at the back of the pack early. Mile 1 went by at 9:04, but faded to 9:22 for mile 2. Somewhere in the next mile, 8 innings of tense baseball plus the 95% humidity plus the 6 early miles plus the cini-minis got to me and I faded. Mile 3 hit 10:23 and sagged further in mile 4 to 11:02. I recovered somewhat and did mile 5 in 9:06 and felt OK at the end.
And it was the end. The very end. On the third lap of the CC course I noted that I was Very Alone. Turned out only about 15 people opted for the 8K race and I was dead last, also a first for me. It was funny, in that at one point on the third lap I could see the Guy At The Water Table walking out to get a view to see if there were any life forms left on the course. When I got to his station, I let him know I was last and his work was done. It’s always nice to bring pure joy to someone. I got a similar reaction at the finish line. About 10 seconds after I crossed the line, they had the cones loaded onto a cart and were heading out.
So, to be invited is not to be elite. Just hope I didn’t hurt Angela’s chances of making the JV team by her being associated with a slow plodder!
Persevere. On the summits or in the long-jump pit.