This year I rolled out from the starting line for a prerace warm up with some of my Hoka Teammates and few others. Even thou, I have run this course 4 times; I still like to see the course on race morning to remind myself of each and every turn.
As for the race itself, I couldn’t have asked for a better morning. Temperatures were in the mid 40s and there was no wind. For a runner, this is like hitting the lottery.
Seems like every year, I feel like I am stuck in mud getting away from the starting line. People are passing me on both sides. This year was especially bad. My hamstring didn’t like the cold temperatures. I did my best to compensate for it by wearing my compression shorts. For most of the first mile, my breathing was more labored than usual. I couldn’t get comfortable.
Of course, having Corey and Donny up front surging a head me didn’t really help how I was feeling either.
When my Garmin flashed up a 5:45 first mile, I knew that I was at least 15 seconds off of last year.
A couple of hundred meters after the mile, I caught up to Donny. I expected him to go with me when I passed him, and he did. At the crest of the hill, I caught Corey and pulled in behind Andrew.
Andrew was pushing it hard down the hill. It was all I could do to hang on.
I hoped my second mile would be faster. I felt like I was running faster yet the clock showed an 11:31 at the 2 mile or 5:46.
Thinking back to last year, I was nearly 30 faster during that race.
Andrew and I took turns pushing each other over the last mile. We caught up to another guy, and he joined in with us.
I lead them through the last 3 turns. Then, they took off sprinting toward the finish line.
Remember those comic representations where the guy has the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other shoulder. One was pushing him to be reckless while the other was screaming for him to take the safer course of action.
During the faction of second while they were passing me this was exactly what was happening to me.
One was telling me to go sprinting after them while the other was telling me remember the big picture. Don’t spend another six months waiting on my hamstring to heal.
With a heavy sigh, I watched as they slowly pulled as away from me. Another day, I might have chased after them. Today, the wisest decision was to let them go.
Finishing with a 17:26 and 23 overall was still a great effort for me. In fact, the entire morning was spectacle for me.
I won my age group.
My Hoka Race Team buddies and I won the Corporate Division of the Team Competition. If memory serves me correctly, this was my 5 winning team award at the Big South 5k.
I count myself luck to have some great fellow runners to help me chase after this team goal.
They are the best ever.
The Cool Down Runner