Monday, April 28, 2014

Skyline 5k 4/26/14

Racing last Saturday morning in Charlotte was really nice, and seeing some familiar faces made it even better.

Much has changed about the Skyline 5k since I last toed the line. They moved the registration area and post race festivities. A long with it, there was a big change in the course design. No longer would we be looping around the Memorial Stadium on the start or the finish.

Now, the course starts and finishes on Kings Street. This gives the runners a nice long downhill stretch to the finish. Pretty much giving runners no excuse for not having a strong finishing kick.

Tim, from RFYL, gave the wheelchair and baby jogger divisions a one minute head start over the main field. As he was counting down the final seconds before we were to go, the thought crossed my mind why am I doing these short races. In some ways, they seem to hurt more than the longer races.

Then, Tim said “go”, and the thought disappeared. Time was now to get on with the racing. The first mile is slightly up hill. My legs are trying to respond. Cory was perhaps 30 yards in front of me.  I didn’t see Spada’s red singlet but assume that he was lurking close behind.

By the mile the distance between Cory and I had stabilized – 5:41. There was no one else between Cory and I now, so I focused on Cory’s red singlet. The course tops over and we get a nice downhill along 7th street. I seem to be closing the distance on Cory. My breathing is labored. All week long the pollen in the air has been messing with my sinuses. Breathing normally was a struggle before the race. We make a right turn and then another right return. The race is about ½ over and yes, I am closing the distance on Cory. The course is slightly uphill now.

At the 2 mile point, my Garmin flashes a 5:44 split, and I have closed right up behind Cory. I have been pushing hard to close the distance on the uphill, but now that I caught Cory, I had a decision to make. I could try to push past him while we were still climbing or wait for the downhill then make my move.

Once you “poke the bear” there is no taking it back. I decide to push past him. As sometimes happens in a race, passing someone tends wake them up. It helps bring back their competitive drive. Cory responded and passed me back as we topped over the hill. He was digging hard. I tried to maintain contact, but while the mind was willing, the legs were not. He was slowly opening a gap on me.

We are out on the final downhill and the home stretch. Cory’s led grows, and then Spada flashes by me. Spada has run a smart race and is closing hard on Cory. Possibly, he could catch him.

At this point, I can do nothing but watch the race unfold in front of me. I hear Chuck calling splits at 3 miles. My Garmin says I just ran 5:40 for the last mile. No time to think about it, I have to push hard to the finish.

Hitting the stop button on my Garmin, I finish with a time of 17:49. I finished 12th overall and 3rd among the Masters’ runners.

My overall assessment of the race was good. I had a solid race and finished with my fastest mile being the last one. Although, while we were racing, I thought I was slowing down. The thought never occurred to me that Spada and Cory just ran faster last miles. Hopefully, we get more chances to race together this summer.  

On the news and notes front, Skyline 5k has a team competition. The team aspect creates great conversation piece along with some extra fun and bragging rights. Of course, I created a Charlotte Running Club team for our members.

Later at the team awards, our Charlotte Running Club didn’t win either in the mixed or the open. I thought it strange, but then again, I didn’t know who might have registered on our team. No one is required to be on a team.

Here’s the strange part, I remember them calling out that the “Fort Mill Fast Feet” won one of the team categories. I don’t remember which one but I just remember how excited all of the women were while picking up their awards.

Later Saturday, I was checking out the results online and decided to wonder down to the team awards. Usually, they list the top 3 finishers for each team. Yep, there was the “Fort Mill Fast Feet”, but the names listed underneath were off. I knew them as CRC members. Hey, just because you are a CRC member, we would never say that you couldn’t run for another team.

However, the dead giveaway that something was wrong with the names came when I saw the 3rd name listed. It was my name. I distinctly remember signing up for Charlotte Running Club team because I created the team. I have no idea what happen between the registration and the race results being posted. Someone clearly got something off along the way. Oh, well.



Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner





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