AM- Today was the second in the Greenville Corporate Shield races- the Milliken Earth Run 5k. I was looking forward to this one because it is a cross-country race, run around the grass/fields of their campus.
I felt my training had been going well but was worried because of my very long, tiring day yesterday, combined with only a few hours sleep (I love it when you are exhausted but still wake up at 4 am). Plus I had to dig around tons of boxes to find my racing gear. I never found my race shoes, so made due with a trail pair. Ran 3 miles warmup. The course looked great, to me. It was rolling hills over mowed fields/weeds/grass. Very lumpy, bumpy, and rooty- not a fast course. The course had lots of small rollers with lots of twists and turns. My legs unsurprisingly felt dead during the warmup. Temps were a bit warm, in the low 60's, with a high later that day of 84.
Lined up with the ~500 competitors near some of my coworkers- it was a true cross-country style start, with the runners lined up all along a 100-yard starting line, then funneling down to a 10 ft wide mowed section a few hundred yards later. I found myself in 4th place by the half mile mark after having to pass the typical people who started way too fast (maybe I'm biased, but I automatically assume I will beat anyone wearing an iPod on an armband who is ahead of my 50 yards into the race- anyone else feel that way?). The course was definitely slow due to very uneven footing throughout, though I always think those rough courses work to my strengths.
Mile 1 was 5:24- I was 15 sec back from the 2 leaders and 4 sec back from 3rd place, with someone 4 sec back from me (it's easy to tell when the RD reading times only calls out numbers when people go by). My initial energy/adrenaline from the start was gone, and I started to draw on my training miles to sustain and push myself. I caught up to 3rd place (who ended up being a co-worker Tim Hawkins, though he wasn't wearing a GE shirt) and put in a mini-surge to put a few seconds on him around the halfway mark. He surged back a minute later, but then I passed him again just after mile 2, which was a 5:55 (note- mile 2 was about the same difficulty as the rest, but all the runners had it 30-40 seconds slower... so we are calling it long). I pushed harder and harder to put some distance on him, especially up the biggest hill of the race leading up to mile 3. Mile 3 was a 5:25, which was great considering the climb. Finished the .1 in 36 sec for a total time of 17:22. Winning time was 16:49, second place was Jim Harper, my coworker who recently ran a sub-34 10k. Tim finished 15 seconds behind me (he beat me by 18 sec in the Jan 5k). I would say the race went well, despite tired legs, and was satisfied. The general consensus was that the course was ~30 seconds long in mile 2, plus slow. I'm guessing I could set my road 5k PR right now, if I wanted.
At the finish, my old running teammate from college cross country at Mines, Grant Scott, recognized me and we spent quite a while talking and catching up. It was great to see him, and very surprising- he is here on short-term assignment from St. Louis, but will likely be back occasionally. That was a nice surprise. Finished with 2 miles cooldown, watched the awards ceremony (GE swept top 3 team places in the open division), then spent the rest of the day unpacking boxes and fighting with AT&T to figure out why my DSL is not on- despite ~8 phone calls and many hours on hold as I got tossed between sales, technical support, and service, it appears last night that they somehow completed my transfer of service to NO new address. In other words, no internet and no timeline for when I will get it (hence this late post). Grrr- I definitely have not been impressed with AT&T's ability to properly turn on or transfer service and would not recommend them.
High mileage week for the year so far, with plans to continue building. Next week features the unofficial Bad Creek 50k (a race that didn't get approved for environmental reasons) with ~15 other runners in the remote mountains between NC and SC. Having a long Sat run of 33 miles will make it much easier to get my mileage than this week when I crammed 70 miles into 4 days. Now I better head home- I posted this sitting in a parking lot, using the wi-fi of a nearby coffee shop! I definitely hate not having internet and not knowing what is happening in the world (i.e. apparently BYU won, Pitt lost, we are now bombing Libya, and I have dozens of waiting emails).