Today started off way too early as usual with a 5:00am wake-up. I hit the snooze while the walrus jumped out of bed to hit a quick shower as he always does to wake up. I pulled myself out of bed a few minutes later, dressed chowed down a Special K bar and grabbed my gear.
The plan was to get to the race an hour early as we were not pre-registered and still have plenty of time to warm-up. We were the first runners there. However, warm-up was short that morning as the people at the race were a little slow to process our registration and packets. I also as usual had to make 2 stops at the portapotty. Uuugggghhh, will this never end. I began my warm-up in my new Mizuno shorts and after about 10 minutes decided for luck to wear my Pearl running shorts. The course was said to be very hilly, but I thought I might still be able to pull out a PR since my running was improving this year. So I jumped in the "bad Scandavian auto," as the Walrus so lovingly refers to it and made a quick wardrobe change before finishing my warm-up with an easy jog to the starting line.
The race was not chipped and there were only about 50-70 people there (mostly men), so I still got a good postition near the front of the start ing line. I had signed up for the Columbus Marathon and acknowledged I would not wear headphones or risk disqualification, so today would be my first race without my crutch. I was needless to say a little nervous. Why did I not start without them on a 5K? The race director had an easy RSG and away we went.
The first mile was fairly flat. Most of the field was already ahead of me even though I thought I went out hard for me. We soon turned off the first road and there was a hill in the distance. I saw JB just a bit ahead of me and figured I would try and stay with him. I hit the first mile at 8:00 minutes and realized I was running a bit faster than JB and would be held back if I paced with him. I looked around for some women but there were none to be found. There were however 3-4 guys ahead. I guess was just going to have to chase the boys today.
The second mile had some hills and one of the guys I began chasing was more of a wrestler type than a runner type. His footfalls were very heavy and very loud. He seemed to be struggling at his current pace and I knew I would get him early on. I passed him right before a downhill, but what do ya know. He picked up his pace and sprinted down the hill by me and started his ascent with me right behind him on the uphill. He once again started to slow and about a quarter mile later I passed him and pulled away. Other than that mile 2 was uneventful at 8:35.
Mile 3 the rode flattened out and we entered a cemetary, yup a cemetary. I passed another guy with a Hermes 10 miler shirt on, but then some short guy passed me. We switch backed through the cemetary 3 times. There they had set-up an aide station and as I grabbed water and continued on I heard a guy yelling behind me, "outta the way, can't slow down, come through fast." I started smiling and turned around and sure enough it was the wrestler type barrelling down the path like a bull. I saw him grab a cup of water and splash himself in the face before I turned back and refocused on my running. Too late, the guy in the Hermes 10 miler shirt came back on me and passed me. Damnit!!! We were about to exit the the cemetary when the 3rd mile marker came up 8:53. Geez, am I slowing like a car running out of gas or what!!!
Mile 4 started with a huge downhill. I forced myself to lean forward and relax. I told myself here is my chance to recover, but keep up a good pace downhill. I knew what goes down must come up. When we reached the bottom of the hill it turned to the right and the uphill began. It was only a short distance but the grade was steep. A volunteer was pointing into a park indicating we were to run on the path. As I was coming up the hill to make the turn I saw the Walrus coming out and going up the steepest part of the hill. Yeah!!! Inspired I made the turn and started focusing on the Heres 10 miler shirt in front of me. We wound around the park with a few up's and down's and time just kept passing. I looked for the 4th mile marker ahead but no such luck. WTF, where was it? I did not want to check my watch as I knew this would by far be my slowest mile, except I was holding form and did not feel I had slowed much. My PR seemed to have flown the coop, but then there was the caution truck and a man was standing there calling out the times..."35:58!" What??!!! How could that be it took me 10:41 to run a mile. I yelled to him, "is this 4?" "Yeah," he said. Then he added "well a little bit farther than 4." What does a little passed 4 mean 4.1, 4.25, almost 4.5? How much farther do I have to run. UUUUGGGHHH!!!
I kept on running and grabbed a water at the next aide station not knowing where the hell the end was. I made the turn to attack the hill where I had seen the Walrus coming out. Man was it steep!! I began wheezing and I debated if I should slow or continue on this pace. I decided to continue on. Boy did it get bad. I sound like I was in an oxygen depraved room. I crested the hill and saw the Walrus running back for his cool down. He yelled at me to get moving and finish strong. I was already gasping, no chance to regain my breathing without stopping so I picked it up and tried to run the guy in the 10 miler shirt down one last time, but without success. He beat me by about 8 seconds. Mile 5 was a 7:51 NOT, it had to be short.
Turns out the course as per a Garmin was 5.3 and my unofficail time was 43:51. That was good enough for 2nd place in my AG, even though there were only 3 of us and TD had won 3rd OA. Not a bad way to start my Sunday morning. Now I just needed breakfast, a shower and a power nap in that order.