We got the team together for the second time is as many months, though the weather tried to spoil our plans. After weeks of the tamest winter ever recorded in human history, a pair of storms rolled in over the weekend. We lucked out, though. Except for some predicatable delays, we had no problems getting over the hill in either direction. Par for the course we hit up Noodles and Co. at the Galleria for dinner (about a minute walk from the starting line) & stayed at the Hyatt Place a mile up the road. I don't think Amber likes N & C as much as Dave & I, but maybe she'll give em another chance :)
Turi, Amber, & myself would be running the 10k, & Dave the 5, all on slightly different courses than last year. Unfortunately (for your time anyway) they replaced the only completely flat part of the race (save for the first 200) with the hilliest. The forecast had called for wind & rain, but we got pretty lucky. It was windy (& as Murphy's Law states, there was a headwind for 82.6% of the course) but I've been in worse, and the rain mostly held off until after we'd adjourned back to the hotel for our "recovery beverages". I took off at the front, feeling good about the pace, but I didn't recognize anyone at the start, & don't have as good a sense of pace as I do when things are really rollin. Since the first mile was a net drop in elevation (though into a stiff headwind - funny, no tailwind the last mile) I was hoping for a 5:30ish to have a shot at 5:40 pace for the race, but no dice. Just a hair under 5:40 for mile 1, then things got fun. We dropped down onto the bike path along Miner's Ravine, which is a nice running path. Rolling hills, water, a little less exposed to the wind. We did about 4k out before the pace bike dropped off & I turned back against traffic. Mile 2 had been a 5:47 & I felt like I could hold that, or close to it. Hard to tell how big the lead was as we'd passed enough halfers that it was hard to tell who was who on the way back. I did spot Turi & Amber around the half-way point, though.
Mile 3...18:00. What?! It sure didn't feel slower. What the cake? So much for a 35, right? Well, that would have been all she wrote if that was actually mile 3, but it was at least a couple hundred meters long, with mile 4 being a couple hundred short. The 6:33 was followed by a 5:06 (5:49 average, that'll work). Lots of weaving in and out of all 3 distance runners the rest of the way. Didn't see mile 5 in the hills, but noticed the 2 and 12 mile-markers for the 5k & half (which suspiciously were NOT right on top of one another as they should have been). Hmmm...I'm going to have to hustle up this last grade to break 36. O look, there's Dave (I got a ten minute head start. If I punked him he was SUPOSSED TO find the cutest girl in Whole Foods and ask her where the homeopathic Vagasil was)...some cursing and maybe a finger (the Georgia State bird!) as I went by with a minute or so left...35:55, (5:47 per mile) for my first real win since summertime!!! Turi measured the course 6.21 on his GPS which mans it was at least that far. They determined the half was really 13.4, so the times in that one are really a little faster than they seam. I tried to get heavier shoes on and get back on the course to run Turi & Amber in, but they were less than half a mile out when I finally caught up to them, with Amber on her way to running a 50:39 10k pr(!) in far less than ideal conditions (and with Turi as a pacer). Way to go you two. They ended up 39th & 40th out of 276 in the 10k, and Dave finished in 26:16, 77th/407 in the 5k. I was hoping to be a little lower in the 35 range, but I was also counting on getting my @#$ handed to me, so I guess it balanced out.
We adjourned to the hotel for a nice beer tasting with Mark Hicks & Andy Harris, & headed back over the hill in time to see the GMEN set up a rematch of their epic Superbowl with the Bellecheats...er...Patriots. Our nect race will be Superbowl Sunday in Davis, CA for the Stampede. I've got 8 weeks or so to knock 92 seconds off my time on a faster course to have a chance at matching or beating my Elk Grove 10k time from last year. That's the goal anyway...let's see if the Achilles et al. choose to cooperate :)