Sunday, September 18, 2011

Good Samaritan Challenge Race Review!

And PR, baby!

OK, so stop number 19 on the EPIC 2011 quest for greatness, or at least, goodness! The Good Samaritan Challenge 12k and 5k. I've been trying hard to man-up and take the longer distance whenever possible, which meant I'd be running the 12k for this one.

And for the first time in four years, the race started with no rain in the recent past or future. So under dry skies, about 30 or 40 of us lined up in Sunset Park and toed the start line. The course had a slightly different start than when I last ran it two years ago. This year, we ran what has to be the oddest starting quarter mile I've ever done in a race. From the paved path in Sunset Park that heads out to the softball fields, we ran out toward the parking lot, took a quick right after about 100 yards, turned another sharp right after about 30 more seconds, moved past the playground and waiting 5k'ers, and circled back onto the path that we just left minutes before.

Yes, the first two minutes of the race was the herd running in a small circle! Odd.

But then we were out and on the course that I remember from 2009.

This race is tough in that there are so few runners, it's difficult to find someone, anyone, to run with, especially if you're looking for someone with a similar pace. By mile two, I had passed a couple of people that went out too fast and fell behind a woman about 15 seconds in front of me. I would eventually pass her, but that's it. I wouldn't get by anyone else, and no one passed me. It's just that kind of race.

So after the 6H Trail Half Marathon from last week, you could hardly call this one hilly, but it does have some ups and downs and one short, but very steep, hill in Philomath.

I knew that if I could slog up that hill without stopping to walk, I'd have a good chance to PR. Since I had one previous 12k finish in my entire life, that's not saying much, but at 44, you take any PR you can get. I caught the woman in front of me just before the top of the hill and tried to put a little quick distance between us going down the other side - there's nothing worse than getting re-passed just after making a good pass.

It's nice coming out of Philomath on this course because then we get on the bike path that goes right by my house, which I've run, literally, hundreds of times, and I know exactly what's coming the rest of the way.

I could see from my splits that I was going to be close to pulling it off in under an hour, but I just didn't quite make it. Still, I hit the finish line in 1:01:17, over six minutes faster than I ran the same race two years ago. So that's a PR I'm very proud of. Plus, I got the first place blue ribbon in my age group. Of course, I may well have been the only one in my age group, but hardware is hardware. You never turn it down!

Next week, the EPIC train rolls on at the Corvallis Fall Festival 10k and 5k. I'm running the 10k there and I'll be looking for my second PR in as many weeks! I need to bring it in under 50:41, so if you see me out there, cheer me on!

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