I race around Charlotte as the mood hits me, but I enjoy getting out to race in other communities. See some new faces. Make some new friends. Check out some new areas.
Over the weekend, I drove up to Winston Salem for the Beat the Heat 5k. Having run numerous races organized by the TCTC, I know their races will always be top notch and attract a strong field of competitors.
Saturday evening’s race was no different.
There were plenty of runners competing which had participated in the Olympic trials. There was one runner which had just wrapped up competing in the PAN-AM games earlier in the week.
Skipping forward, the “Beat the Heat” course is one you either love or hate. For spectators, it is great. Runners pass near enough that they can be seen several times. For runners, for me personally, the course is a tough one. The opening mile is okay. There is a small climb but it has ample downhill to make up for it. Roughly, around a mile and quarter the course turns up hill. There are a couple of false flats over the next mile or so but runners are essentially running uphill the entire way.
Perhaps it is poetic justice or perhaps it is the race organizers way of playing a joke on the runners but when I passed two mile point, I noticed this grave yard to the right of road. How appropriate was it? I would say extremely appropriate. My legs were dying. My lungs were gasping for air. Oh, yeah, my glut and hamstring hurting badly.
Yet, I would not allow myself to give in to the temptation of slowing down nor dare shall I say that ugly four letter word – “quit”
Once we topped the hill, the last half mile consist of a set of gentle downhill rollers to the finish. If a runner has any mojo left in their legs, this is the section to use it. The guys around me throw in surge while I do my best to pull them back after each surge. My glut and hamstring provided no help by sending a constant stream of pain impulses to my brain. At three miles, Joe throws one massive surge and goes flying back by me. There is nothing left in my legs today. Throw in the glut and hamstring complaints and I am ready for the finish line.
I cannot explain it but doesn’t the last .1 of mile seem to take forever. Life moves into slow motion between 3 miles and 3.1 miles. Too bad race clocks don’t slow down to match.
I finished 36th overall. This placed me second in the Grand Masters’ division for the USAT&F standings. I ran 18:13. Joe, who surged past me in the last tenth, finished in 18:09. He won first place in our Grand Masters’ division. So close yet so far.
Helping out runners this year was the weather. Normally, July gets plenty of hot and humid evenings. This year the temperature was in mid 80s with a nice breeze blowing. I cannot say if it improved times overall, but at least the running was bearable.
The Charlotte area was well represented. Chad ran in the 16:20s and scored an age group award. Alana had a great race to finish 2nd overall among the ladies in 17:20.
TCTC, the Beat the Heat 5k organizers and volunteers did a fantastic job putting on this race. Their efforts keep this race on the top of a runner’s must do list year after year so kudos to them.
Enjoying an evening in Winston Salem,
The Cool Down Runner