After we arrived and checked in, Ian and I went for a warm-up that previewed roughly half of the course. Nice to scope it out and get a taste for the hills. It was definitely a hilly course, and to add to that the heat was already starting to build as well as the humidity. But fortunately, this has been a step-down week for me, so my legs were feeling pretty spry for once. A 5K was a perfect way to give them so work to do without taking much out of the bank.
We also met up with Kate's friends, Ben and Jana. Kate went to high school with Ben, and he's a very fast runner. They're visiting from Seattle and after the race, we were going over with them to their camp in Belgrade Lakes to hang out and stay the night. This plan was concocted a few days prior, and I ribbed Kate for inviting a runner faster than I was to an event where I had a chance to potentially place very well in. However, Ben was quite gracious during the race. ;-)
We're off! The race followed the track for roughly 200M before veering off on to the roads. About a 100M in, I had the lead and was a bit surprised that I still had it when we had joined on to the roads. Ben was right behind me and I said "I don't like being out in front." It was true. I didn't. It felt weird being in the lead, knowing everyone was behind me. Ben assured me I was good and to keep up the pace and we trucked on.
We came upon a sharp left turn on to a paved path that would connect to some neighborhood roads and I was able to glance to see what the scenario behind me looked like. Ben was still right with me, just a few feet behind, which I knew, but we had actually increased our lead a little on the pack. Cool. We hit the first mile in 6:03.
This mile was pretty much all one uphill climb of about 90 feet, sans a short reprieve in the middle. Tough work, especially in the heat and humidity, but I tend to run hills like this very well and a few glances over the shoulder verified we were comfortably ahead for now. Meanwhile, Ben continued to give encouragement.
Ben and I had never discussed running together and knowing he was a stronger runner, I expected him to pass me. In fact, I had urged him to do so before. But it became obvious now that he was content on just running with me and I of course was fine with that. He was a great push and super company. It was pretty awesome to have a pacer for a 5K. Split for this mile was 6:19.
|Photo courtesy of Greg Viger|
This mile was all downhill to flat. In other words: fast. And while it may have been fast, I didn't run it as fast as I should have. Split was 6:07. I'm kind of scratching my head at that. It's not like I was feeling dead tired either. In fact, I remember feeling pretty good. I feel weird saying this, but I think because I knew I had the lead pretty comfortably (aside from Ben), I wasn't pushing as hard. I'm not used to running up front, so this was a new experience.
I urged Ben ahead again, saying something to the effect of that he was the stronger one and he should take it, but he said something to the effect that he was good.
For the last half mile, the course was on some twisty paved trails going through a shady park. Ben and I cruised along and we soon came out to the track, which we would run on for about 300M to the finish line.
Last .11 and Post Race
We kicked it in around the track and I think I may have urged Ben ahead again here...I can't remember, but I know I at least thought it. But in the end, I crossed the finish line in first place with Ben right behind me. A win! Sweet!
Final official time was 19:03, a slower than expected result but as several friends reminded me, a win is a win. It was a great time and I appreciated Ben's impromptu pacing. More importantly though, it was awesome to be able to participate in an event that will help a friend through what must be a trying time. Steve, by the way, looked great. I talked to him before and after the race and he looks healthy and was in his usual great spirits. It's obvious he has a wealth of support from family, friends and community and I know he's going to lick this thing.
We hung out and watched the others come in. Kate, Ian, Val, Rick and Mindy all did great and seemed happy with their results. Mindy was actually third woman, which she didn't realize until the award ceremony. It was really funny hearing her snarf in surprise when they called her name. Gourmet cupcakes were the awards for the top three, and I thoroughly enjoyed mine!
|Approaching the finish.|
|Receiving the winner's award: Gourmet cupcake!|
|Ben, myself and Mindy with our bounties.|
Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day, and this was one of those occasions. This was only the second time I've ever won a race, so it was a great feeling. Obviously, there are way more talented runners in Maine and abroad, but it's still really nice to have the opportunity to come across the finish line first.
I don't really like running in the lead though. I think I run much better when I'm in the front pack and things are spread out, and I can lock in runners ahead of me and try to reel them in. With that in mind, it may be why my time was slower than expected. I figure even on a hilly course like this and with the humidity, I should have been capable of running it in 18:4X. Maybe that :14 faster to get me there would have happened with someone in front of me to hunt down, but I can only speculate. Still, I won, which was fun. Regardless, it's left me feeling like I need to really concentrate on speed work now in these final four or five weeks before I taper for the marathon.
And afterwards, Ben and Jana's camp was a great way to cap off the weekend. We swam, we ate, we drank, rode in a boat across the lake to get ice cream and had a great time hanging out. Great little last hurrah before the school year starts!
w/u Ran 1.9 miles @ 7:43/mile pace.
c/d Ran 1.1 miles @ 9:52/mile pace (half was barefoot).
Race: Ran 3.1 miles @ 6:08/mile pace.
Official time: 19:03.
Official place: 1st out of 201.
Upper 60s, sunny, humid.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, singlet.