If it is the second week of June on a Friday night, then the runners of Charlotte must be headed to China Groove for the “Main Street” 5k.
Hard as it is to believe, several years have passed since my last nighttime “Main Street” experience. Needless to say, I was looking forward to it.
Rather than go through all of the prerace stuff, let’s jump right into the race recap. Sarah and I talked briefly about working together. Both of us were shooting for a sub 18 minute efforts. Once the horn sounded, I “willed” my legs to surge forward. The start is about a quarter mile back from the finish so we run through the finish on our way out to the turn around. Out of the corner of my eye, I looked to see if Sarah had joined up with me. I thought I saw her jersey. However, it was getting dark so I couldn’t be sure.
A half mile in to the race, the runners were breaking to smaller packs. My pack consisted of me, another guy, and the lead woman. ¾ of mile into the race, I guess the fire department thought the runners might want to run through a shower. They had rigged up one of their hoses to spray water. Guess, they didn’t realize it but there were two problems with their efforts. First, it was not a light spray but a torrential down pour. Runners wouldn’t be just wet they would be soaked. Everyone I saw looked to be avoiding it. The second problem had to do with where the water was going. The road slanted from right to left. The meant that the right lane of the road was being showered with water while the left had a 2 to 3 inch deep run off of water from the shower. There was no option but to go through it not only going out but coming back. I hate getting my race flats wet for no good reason so I wasn’t happy with this part.
Ok, moving on, by the mile, the lead woman and I dropped the other guy. We kept going back and forth. She would surge in front, and then I would.
We did this all way to the turn around. As we were coming to the barrel, I veered slight right so I could make an arc around the barrel. She was probably 2 steps in front of me. We got the barrel, and she simple ran right past it. The coarse monitors were yelling for her to turn. I made my turn, and within 50 yards, she came right up beside me.
I gave Billy a shout out as he passed me on his way back. Then, I yelled for Sarah, as we passed. She was well back of me.
Over the next half mile, the lead woman and I shared pushing the pace through 2 miles. On a slight incline just after 2 miles, she looked to be opening up a small lead on me. However, once over the hill, I charged back to her.
I could already see how this was going to play out, and I hoped I could do something to change it. With a ½ mile to go, I surged past her, but my surge was short lived. She seem to easily match my pace, and pushed back in front.
We turned the final corner, and with the finish line in sight, she sprinted away from me. She beat me by about 3 seconds. All of it came in the last 200 meters of the race.
My goal going into the race was to run a sub 18 minute. This I did with a 17:58. However, I felt that I didn’t give my best effort. After the first mile in 5:39, I ran 5:49 and 5:50. My legs wouldn’t turn over any faster even with my breathing not being all that labored. They just felt tired.
My time garnered me a second place in the Grand Masters Division behind Jim M. He ran an awesome time of 17:28. I never even saw him. Of course, it was dark, and he was way too fast for me.
Over all, this was an awesome race. Much of the credit goes to David F for making this event one of the best in the area. Race Directors, if you want to see a well run race, run one of David’s races. He sets the bar high, and because he does, runners tend to come back year after year.
The Cool Down Runner