I made a last minute decision to run in the Brooke Hill Run for Awareness 5k in Decatur yesterday. A super big thanks to fellow Fleet Feet Racing teammate Jon Elmore for putting on a great event. Also thanks to Fleet Feet Racing teammate Eric Charette for encouraging me to run this event and congrats to Eric for taking the overall win. Congrats also to Fleet Feet teammate Kathy Youngren for her overall win.
Limestone County also had a strong showing at this race with fellow Athens Sunday morning 10 mile runners taking wins in the 30-34, 35-39, and 40-44 age groups! So, the lesson is this: Come run the Athens Sunday morning 10 miler and you'll get an age group win! Congrats to Danny Harrison for taking the 30-34 age group and Lance Perry for taking the 40-44 age group. I took the 35-39 age group.
Post-race, I had an opportunity to visit with some friends that I wouldn't know without running. Running has been a source of great blessings for me. I had a chance to visit with Dan Burleson, April, my Fleet Feet teamates, and my Athens running buddies.
So, the numbers... I ran an 18:46, which is an August PR. (Hey, don't knock my qualifying statements. It's hot and humid. In Alabama, you're allowed to keep separate PRs for July and August, at least in my rule book for PRs.) That 18:46 was good enough for 4th overall and 1st in the 35-39 age group. I was pleased with that time given the heat and hills on the course.
The First Mile
I felt really good and had some idea of aiming for 18:00 flat until I ran my warm up on the course. The course was just too difficult and the weather was just too hot for me to have a reasonable chance at that. Fellow Fleet Feet teammate Marty Clarke was there. I know he's faster and a much more experienced racer than I am, so I had no delusions of beating him. However, I wanted to stay as close as I could. Well, that lasted all of about half or three quarters of a mile. He ran that first mile probably somewhere around 5:40, and I just didn't hang. I was afraid that I would blow up if I kept that pace. I ran more like 5:54 in that first mile, and that may have been a bit too quick.
I looked ahead, and the race seemed to be settled already. Eric Charette took the lead and held it. Victor Brown followed a few seconds behind. Marty was a few seconds behind him. And I was keeping Marty in my sight. That never changed after the first quarter or half mile. There were a couple of youngsters who were around for the first three quarters or so, but they fell quickly off of the pace.
The second mile had the steepest hill on the course. It was draining. I could feel myself slowing. Marty had opened his lead on me by just a few seconds, but I sure wanted to keep him in sight. I could not hear the split callers at any of the miles and I didn't really look at my watch, so I'm just looking retroactively at the data now to get my splits. I was looking at Marty and not my watch. I took a cup of water at the aid station and dumped it on my head. It was a hot one. I ran this mile with the hill in 6:03.
I still was looking at Marty, but I could feel myself slowing down. No matter how badly I wanted not to slow down, I was still slowing down. But I noticed that Marty wasn't opening the gap, so he was slowing down, too. I wish I had more, but I just didn't. I ran the last mile in 6:11. I ran the last 0.1 in 0:37.
This course is no joke. There is a significant incline in every mile, with the first mile being by far the easiest mile on the course. I need more strength, speed, and hill training. So, I basically need to step up my all around training. Still, though, I feel very good. I feel fit and ready to attack some races this fall. My body feels as good as I remember in a long time. My mental outlook is getting better.
I am so thankful to God for my physical health. What a blessing it is to be able to join friends so often and be healthy enough to do something I love to do. Also, God has lifted some burdens from my mind in recent weeks. He gives grace and answers prayer. Every blessing comes from Him.