Saturday night I was in Winston-Salem, NC for the “Beat the Heat” 5k. This is a race where you can count upon four things: heat, humidity, a tough course, and a good field. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Even with a light, easy warm up, I was soaked. They were using the exact same course as last year. This is the USAT&F-NC 5k State Championship so it always tracts a strong field of runners.
This was my third running of this race in the last four years. I have never run particular well in this race, but I keep coming back. Each time I hold out hope to have one of those magical days where everything clicks.
Before the race I chatted with a few people. I saw Mark Hadley and asked how things were going.
But soon it was time to race.
Like I said, the course was the same as last year. The first mile is decently hard. The second mile is nearly all up hill. The third has a combination of uphill, flat, and downhill. Although, I have to say that I have never had the opportunity to take advantage of the downhill. I am usually pretty gassed at this point in the race.
They fire the gun and we launch off the line. Runners are sprinting passed me. I quickly settle into a nice pace. Last year, I think I hit the first mile in around 5:12. This time I still went through faster than I expected 5:25. I am racing with this other guy and he is breathing pretty hard. We make the loop around the baseball stadium, and we run up behind a runner that looks familiar to me. I don’t realize it at the time but it is Matt Jaskot.
I rounded the end of the lower parking lot and start the uphill climbing. It isn’t bad at first. I don’t push the pace but I am picking off a few people. My second mile is covered in 5:41 and I still have another quarter mile or so uphill to run. There are a couple people pushing the last part of the hill hard and pass me. I finally turn on the downhill section. Mentally, I want to push but my legs feel spent. I hit the third mile mark in 5:43.
The last .16 miles took a whopping 55 seconds for a finish time of 17:46. Even thou I ran nearly 10 seconds faster than last year, I was disappointed. Like any competitor, I was feel like I should have run faster and wonder why I couldn’t.
Post race activities were awesome. There was plenty of music, food, and drinks. The awards started with the USAT&F-NC awards and then the race awards. In previous years, Beat the Heat used age graded awards, but this year, they actually did two different races in one. Those of us that ran for USAT&F-NC awards were scored in one race and everyone else was scored in the other race.
While I didn’t run the kind of time that I wanted, I did score a second place in the USAT&F-NC Masters. This moves me up the rankings for the USAT&F-NC Long Distance Champion. With half and full marathon events still to happen later this year, I like my chances.
Now, I am off for more marathon training. Wine Glass gets closer every day.
Sharing on thought at time,
The Cool Down Runner