i took off pretty fast at the beginning of the race in an attempt to get ahead of the mob. i didn't want to be dodging people for a long time. there were several runners who shot past me, but more were behind me than in front. i ran for a short time with ryan k and travis p, my dailymile friends, then let them go. they were running way faster than my goal pace and i didn't want to die before the finish line.
running along the south side of town, i made my way to the first of the two cross country sections. having walked this part of the course earlier with my family, i knew the northeast wind was going to hit me hard when i rounded the barn. it was faithful and did exactly as expected. i ran across the grass and up the hill back toward town at a slightly dampened pace. this was not a hill i was willing to die on.
rounding the corner back onto the streets of haviland, i got to the first aid station, took a sip of water, then doused my back with the rest of it. i was well hydrated going into the race and didn't want to get waterlogged.
a few more zig zags got me to main street where we had a little down and back. i ran down, circled the cone and started back north. that's when i passed the other guy in my age group going south. it was good to know where my friend, donnie, was. i waved and kept going as donnie and marshall b, another DMer, ran on.
a block or two more north, there was a change in course. the map had shown a straight shot back up to elm and the finish line of the 5K, but we were diverted east a block, then north and west a block. i guess they figured out that their distances were off a bit.
i completed that detour, then ran north and east through the finish line. my time at that point was around 25'23". i was pleased. that meant i could lose a little time on the back half of the race and still beat the skinny kid.
sycamore plunged down a steep, short hill and ran along the north edge of town, then it took a couple of curves to get around the sewage pond. not so great smells hit my nose as i started the second of the cross country sections. this segment had tall grass and deep double tire ruts. it was crazy! i was right behind two runners at that point. both younger than me. in fact, everyone ahead of me was younger than me. no respect for their elders! grrrr!
we turned north onto a sandy road that google maps doesn't even bother to name. i passed one of the runners ahead of me, shouting encouragement to him as he stopped to walk. "i know it hurts, but you can do it. i was puking at this point last week. just keep going!" he started running again.
we took that sandy road north to the corner and turned west on a second road that was even more sandy. for almost a mile we trudged up one hill, through a small dip and then up and over another slight hill. on the second incline i had to count steps to keep my mind occupied.
after cresting the final hill, i ran a bit faster down to the paved road back into town. i had just passed the 5 mile marker at around 44'21", so i knew i needed to keep going to beat the skinny kid. no negative splits here, folks.
i rounded the corner and looked back to the east. i could see two runners coming down the hill - the kid i'd passed and someone that looked somewhat like donnie, my age group nemesis. i picked up the pace.
when i hit the 6-mile mark on the edge of town, i glanced at my watch. i had to pick up my pace or risk losing to the skinny kid. i willed my legs to turn over faster. my youngest daughter who had finished her 5K some 20 minutes earlier, ran me up and over the last little hump and around the corner where the finish line came into view.
the flags flying and the people yelling and clapping gave me the energy i needed to cross the finish line twenty-two seconds before the skinny kid crawled in gasping for breath. considering i probably weigh 30 pounds more than that high schooler did in 1984, not bad.
my wife, second in her age group in the 5K, got apple bread! our eldest daughter got first in her age group and third over all in the women's division of the 10K. our youngest was second in her age group in the 5K. only the middle daughter didn't get a prize. she probably could have placed, but she was loyal to her mother and pushed her in to the finish line instead of running ahead. pretty special!
after the awards, all the dailymile runners who were still around gathered together for a group shot. pretty fun to meet up with all of them.