This week and last week I have done the Howard County Striders' weekly race series races. Last week it was a 10k; this week it was a 5k. They were both hot.
The course was through housing developments and through the grounds of a school. It was hot out. I started out running with a friend from work, just behind two women and behind a handful of men. I passed one woman right away, but the other stayed ahead of me. After a mile or two, my work friend dropped back, and I put my sights on this woman. Once I caught up to her and passed her, she repeatedly surged to get ahead of me and then slowed down, and I passed her again. Each time she passed me, I said "good job." The third time I said "good job," she said, "we're both inconsistent, aren't we?" Now, I am not always fast, but I am always consistent. I made some sputtering remark, and she conceded that perhaps it was her that was inconsistent. It was about 23:30 at the halfway mark. I stopped to drink water, and then passed the woman about 100 meters later.
The course ended with a long uphill. I passed one man on this part, the man I had been following because the course was confusing and not marked. At the end I nearly caught another gentleman, but I tripped over a curb as I cut a corner too close, and so he ended up ahead of me. I finished in 47:12 on the race clock, 47:15 on my watch. The second female was about 48:30. When she finished, she asked me my time, and when I told her, she said, "oh, so you sped up a lot in the last half, didn't you?" I did not feel it necessary to point out that I had evenly split the race (especially considering the last hill), which is, you know, known as being consistent.
Today there was a 5k. Three guys from work and I went over to run the race. But when we got there, it had been canceled because it was a code red heat advisory day, which is dangerous to run on. But the four of us decided to run it, and three other guys decided to run it as well. The three "random" guys wanted to just do a jog, but us from work had already decided that it was going to be a race to see who was on top, so we were going to race it no matter what. So the others decided to race it as well.
The first mile was downhill, so it was fast -- the three guys in front at 6:20, and me in 6:30. Then we started going uphill. At some point the guy in front disappeared, so then it was just one guy from work and one random guy in front of me. It was like this all the way uphill, until we turned around and headed back to the school for the finish. Then I passed the guy from work and set my sights on the other guy. He stayed in front of me until we were on the last hill with the finish loop in sight. Then I surged ahead of him. But it was not to be! He surged ahead of me, and we were not yet at the finish loop. When we turned into the finish loop, I surged ahead of him, but he surged back. Now it was less than 100 meters. I gave it one last push and ended up passing him convincingly just before the finish line.
So, in a race of 6 men and me, I won. I just thought I'd point that out, for anyone that thought 21:50 was a slow time, even with 90° heat and dense humidity.
Afterwards, three of us went to a pool and swam around for an hour or so, and then went to a playground. It was quite fun.
Now I am doing no more races before our big race in a week and a half. I am going to do about 20 more miles before that race. I hope that I will be in good shape with no injuries in the next couple of weeks.
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