Race Recap – American 4 Miler
Hi. It’s Paula. Remember me? I had a blog once? I apologize to my handful of readers (Hi Mom), but lately I have been entangled in yard work…I planted another garden at my new house, and I’ve been battling all the weeds and grasses that have been overtaking my beds this spring. I was never crazy about using RoundUp, but after my sweet golden retriever got diagnosed with malignant melanoma (Yes! Just like her Mom!) and I saw a recent news story on the cancer dangers of the grass killer, I’ve been experimenting with organic options. So far, the pots of boiling water that I’ve dished out aren’t exactly paying off…
Thus, while I’ve been busy slaying away in my yard, I’ve subsequently allowed my blogging duties to slip. Ooops! But, to be fair, I really haven’t done anything worthwhile to write about…Running has been rather slow. And I mean that literally! I took a bit of a break after the Know Your Craft 5K in late March to allow a nagging knee injury to heal. Coming back, I’ve focused almost solely on getting some miles under my feet. I’ve just reached forty miles a week, and 99% of those miles have been at a super easy pace.
Despite the fact that I’m not yet back in training mode, I was a last-minute add to the annual Fourth-of-July American Four Miler. The patriotic race started and finished at a nearby restaurant that is located less than a quarter of a mile from my home. The convenience-factor outweighed the fear of posting a not-so-spectacular time. My goals were to 1) Not quit (the course passed my house twice so it would have been easy) and 2) Run at an average pace of sub-six minutes.
Hands down, the hardest part of the race was standing on the starting line. I was nervous and had no confidence in my ability. I’ve been doing a lot of running in the heat of the day recently and found myself struggling to run eight-minute miles. I wondered how I could sustain a sub-six-minute pace for four miles in warm weather and high humidity when I hadn’t even run one mile that quickly in months.
But, as almost every runner has experienced, it is amazing how much easier the pace feels in a race. And I really have all the guys that ran around me to thank. We had a nice group going from the start. At no point in the race did I feel all alone. It also helped that my bf ran with me most of the way and had my back. Well, he did until he tried to outkick me in the end, but we’ll get to that…
The race started with an uphill climb that took us in to the historic Dilworth neighborhood. The stretch was a bit of a grind and a few steep sections made it the most challenging part of the course. Fortunately, it was early in the race so we were able to tackle the terrain with fresh legs. On mile two, we were rewarded with a long, slow decline down East Blvd where we were able to catch our breath and easily hit our pace. The third mile, however, was at a slight uphill. It didn’t seem overly difficult, but it was sneakily slow. I think it was everyone’s slowest mile that day, but we didn’t realize just how much it threw us off until we reviewed our Garmin data. The last mile of the race had us returning on the same road we started on, but this time we got to coast downhill.
Overall, I was extremely happy and relieved that my body seemed to have stepped up to the plate. For the first three miles, I felt like I ran at a pace that was very much within my wheelhouse. It was a quick, but comfortably-hard effort. I was leading the women’s race, but around mile three, I realized that there was another girl not too terribly far behind. I was afraid I was getting lazy, and I would have been disappointed with myself to lose the race in the last mile. I started to push a bit and drop down the pace. In the last mile, I was running around a 5:47 pace. I figured she needed to be running at least a 5:40 or faster to catch up.
As I approached the finish line, the woman behind me did not catch up (she would finish about 30 seconds back) but my bf did. I had left him earlier when I tried to put some distance between the second-place female and me, but he evidently gathered some Batman-like strength from somewhere to close the gap. As he pulled up beside me, my first thought was “Aww, he wants to finish the race with me.” But then, he started to kick. (In his story, he claims I looked like I was about to kick so he kicked first. Hmmm.) So, of course, I started kicking too.
As I crossed the finish line, I really thought he had edged me out. And it’s possible maybe he did. Gun time showed a clean tie of 23:46. However, the real kicker was the chip time. Official results that were posted online later (and will forever be searchable), show me with the victory…by one second. 10th Place Overall: Me at 23:45. 11th Place Overall: Him at 23:46. I can’t brag too much though…Greekfest 5K is just around the corner, and I have a feeling there may be a rematch.