I was working out at the gym and had just finished 30 minutes on the elliptical and was just about ready to jump on the treadmill for about 5 miles but I knew that the Strider's had a scheduled 5K...The Pam Edwards Memorial Scholarship Run...that evening starting at 6:30 and I was itching to get back to racing...and...it was only 3:30. So I jumped on the stair stepper for 12 minutes and then headed out to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens for the race. The heavens opened up with buckets of rain on the drive over but it ended by the time I got to the garden gates.
I registered and got my bib and chip and then ran about a mile for my warm up through part of the garden trails. The trails that we will be running on are blacktopped but are narrow with lots of twists and turns with a couple of small bridges to cross. A couple of places in the trail was covered in water from the passing rain storm but overall it wasn't bad. The storm had cooled the 90+ degree weather some but as the sun came out the humidity started to climb but I planned to run the race easy and try not to race it too hard. My expectation was to maintain a nice easy pace early and slowly pick it up during the later part of the race. The last time I ran this trail in the garden was in the cool of December and finished around 19:34. It's not a place to expect a PR because of the many twists and turns so I was hoping for a time around 20 minutes or less. The warm up wasn't too bad...my right shin did complain at first but settled down a bit as I finished my warm up and came back to the start line.
The walkers started off at 6:00 and we got our race started at about 6:35. I found a spot about 5-6 rows back from the start line...I didn't want to rush out fast and starting back in the crowd of runners would ensure I would start out slow and steady. But it was a mistake because when the race was started, the initial surge of runners had me about a 70-80 runners back and I had to weave through a lot of slow runners on the narrow, twisting trail and it was difficult to find a nice easy pace that I had hoped for. Slowly I gained speed and started passing groups of runners and finally got to a point where I had running room. By mile one I noticed that I had forgotten my watch. It would have been nice to check my splits but it really didn't matter to me today and I just concentrated on catching and passing the runners ahead. By mile two the runners ahead of me had thinned out a lot and instead of passing groups of runners I was picking them off one at a time. I came through the three mile marker wishing I had my watch to see what my splits were but pushed on trying to catch a fellow age grouper that was about 20 meters ahead. We race to the finish and he beat me by a few seconds and the clock read 20:40.
There were 26 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 282 total finishers
Overall finish place was 40 of 282
Age group finish place was 6 of 26
Time: 20:40 for an overall pace of 6:39 per mile
Overall...I was happy to be racing but my leg was not feel too good at the end. There were a lot of very fast 50-54 AG races in this race...one finished in the 17's, one in the 18's, two in the 19's and two of us in the 20's. I wish I had been a bit more competitive in this race but there will be other races and some of those guys are going down! :-)
Happy racing you all!