Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter Flight 8k

Until Wednesday, I had been kicking around the idea of running the Winter Flight 8k in Salisbury. My training has included lots of long tempo runs but nothing short or intense. In fact, the last time, I did any type of short tempo run or race was back in November.

On Wednesday, I finally landed on the side of running the 8k. With my Myrtle Beach half looming just over a week away, I really needed to jump start my leg turnover.

Looking around at the start, there are a number of runners that I didn’t know and the thought crossed my mind that any one of them could be a Masters’ runner. With the RRCA-NC 8k Masters’ Road Championship on the line, I wondered how deep that I might have to dig for it. Then, I saw Milton. Milton and I are roughly the same age, and Milton always races hard. I figured I  had my work cut out for me.

Having run Winter Flight many times over the years, I know the course well. The first mile has some climbing in it. The second mile has some rolling hills. Nearly the entire 3rd mile is uphill. The forth mile is about half flat and half downhill. The fifth mile is about half downhill and the rest is rolling. The last 300 meters is on a track inside of the Catawba College Stadium.

Within a quarter mile or so from the start, I had settled in to 4th place. Two lead guys were starting to pull away from the rest of us, and there is a guy running about 30 meters in front of me.

My instincts told me that I needed to catch up to him now. However, I am not absolutely sure of my fitness so I decided to maintain where I was running.

We pass the first mile, and I am not feeling totally winded. Unfortunately, I am feeling good enough to go after him anymore.

 We started climbing and then some rolling hills. I hear the 2nd mile split. My Garmin beeps just before the 2nd mile so I know I am about spot-on for distance. I am just not happy with the split. I feel like I am running hard. The split just didn't showing it.

I can see the police car and the lead runners well up ahead. The hill is pretty much straight up. I know I will be climbing until I can see the signal light. This is the point where the course flattens out, and then the downhill follows.

I finally make the right. I force myself to not look back. Thinking someone is right behind me is more motivation for me than knowing someone is behind me.  

By the way, the 3rd mile was my slowest split of the race.

I have to charge to the finish and I know it.

I am pretty much in “no mans” land now. I pass the 4 mile point. I hear the split being called. I have to keep pushing. I have no time to spare.

We cross the bridge and head up the final hill.

I can feel my ITBs tightening up. My breathing is labored. Cresting the hill, I have only a short distance to run now. I surge trying to find another gear.

Now, I am on the track. The track feels so different from the asphalt. I push again. I can see the elapse race time on the score board.

My time is going to be slower than I hoped but it is better than I expected after hitting my 3rd mile split.

I crossed the finish line, and slapped David Freeze’s hand.

Still I am happy with it.

I finished 4th overall in 29:28 and won the RRCA Masters’ 8k Road Championship. Better yet, I blew the rust out of my system.

Now, I have just a few more solid workouts before heading off to Myrtle Beach and the ½ marathon next weekend.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

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