Maybe the biggest difference was the weather. Usually, heat and humidity make this race a struggle, but Friday, the humidity was down and the temperature was in the high 60s at the start time. For a runner in the middle of summer, this couldn’t have been better conditions.
Then, there was the lead police vehicle leading us the wrong way around the block. In the previous 3 years, we go up by the Y and make this loop around a block before heading to the finish. Running marked route, we hit two up hills and one sharp downhill, but running this section of the course in reverse, we have two nice down hills with one short step uphill. Peter asked me about it after the race. Honestly, I like running it in this direction and hope Peter makes it a permanent change.
Recapping the race, I got out slow as usual and spent most of the race trying to make up the distance. A lot of local high cross country runners use this race as a tune up so the first mile is usually insanely fast. Everything starts to equalize once we hit the first nasty hill and realization sets in that they have gone out too fast.
At the mile, I was barely in 3rd place. During the 2nd mile, I slowly reeled in the 2 place runner. As my luck would have it, the lead guy jumped out to a huge lead during the first mile and I could never chew into it.
By mile 2 I was a few seconds in front of 3rd place. With the major hills behind me, I leaned into the downhill and tried to push the pace.
I made the right turn on the greenway. As I crossed the 3 mile point, I could see the leader crossing the finish line. He ran 16:58. I ran 17:36.
My Garmin recorded my splits at 5:41, 5:37, and 5:35.
As with any of Peter’s races, I always enjoy my trips to Albemarle. He, his crew, and Uwharrie Running Club do an awesome job with this race. Elvis being the theme of the event, there was plenty of pizza, jelly donuts, and banana and peanut butter sandwiches for the runners to consume afterwards.
If my luck holds, I will be back for the 5th running of this event next year.
I highly recommend this race to everyone.
Sharing one thought at a time,
The Cool Down Runner