Monday, October 10, 2011

Great Pumpkin Run Race Review!

And number 22 on the EPIC 2011 countdown was the 21st Annual Great Pumpkin Run, 10k or 5k, depending on your state of mind. And although I didn't come away with a new 10k PR (Doh!), I did pick up a first place in my age division...yeah, there weren't a whole lot of runners in this race.

So anyway, as we huddled in one of the buildings at the Benton County Fairgrounds, the rain came down and down and down. It wasn't a heavy rainfall, but it was a steady mist, to be sure. I lined up next to Payton's former 5th grade teacher, Mr. Joseph Williams, while we listened to some quick instructions from the Race Director. Basically, he only had one: finish in the correct chute! There was a 5k finish chute and a 10k finish chute; he was very clear on which was which, and said they'd be yelling out the same at the finish (this is called foreshadowing - please pay attention!)

Ready, set, go! And Mr. Williams was off like a shot. I mean, I knew he was fast, but about half the time, he runs pushing his daughter in a stroller, which brings him back closer to my pace. Not today. We ran out of the Fairgrounds, out to the road, then right back in on the Midge Cramer path toward Bald Hill.

The group spread out fairly quickly, which was good, because the first part of the Midge Cramer is a bit narrow. No issues though and we quickly got into the rolling hills, which we would have for the first five miles of this one. I probably went out a bit too fast. I was shooting for around a 7:45 pace in the first mile or two, then wanted to hang on in miles three and four and speed up to around 7:30 for miles five and six. Except for the "hanging on" part, that's pretty much what I did. But I looked at my watch a little before a mile and noticed that I was hitting a 7:10 pace - way too fast for me in a 10k. I pulled back a touch, but who knows, that may have been the start of my troubles, right there.

Coming out of the other side of Midge Cramer, we headed west on Oak Creek Drive. Now, there really wasn't any issues with traffic, but this just is not my favorite road to run on. First, it's got some serious rollers. Nothing steep, but constantly up and down. Second, and worse in my opinion, this is a 50mph speed limit road, and as such, the corners are canted. I absolutely hate running on sloped roads. If there's one thing that can mentally take me out of a race, that's it. I don't know why, but it just throws me. So needless to say, miles three and four were really tough for me.

So my pace coming out of mile four was not good. I knew I was really going to have to pick it up on the last two miles to have a shot at my PR of 48:57. And I felt like maybe I could do it. After the turnaround, I started to feel a little better mentally, and once I got past the rollers for the second time, I thought maybe I had a chance. Coming back by the Midge Cramer path, we 10k'ers got mixed in with the back end of the 5k race. Even though most of those people were walking, there's still a slight energy boost when you're passing up a bunch of people, no matter how slow they're going!

So swinging back onto 53rd, I took a quick glance at my watch, knowing I would either have to make an all-out sprint for it or just forget about it...and I just forgot about it. I eased up just a touch and came in at 49:39. The Garmin measured the course a little long at 6.28, but we were crossing roads and paths back and forth, so maybe I just didn't take the right line on everything. The awesomely named Seven Richmond took the win. Check the results right here. And here's Seven himself.

Oh yeah, the foreshadowing. This guy right here, one Thomas Weller, did not beat me. Although the race results would tell you otherwise.

I didn't see Mr. Weller at any point in the race until about 10 feet from the finish line. Yeah, I'm guessing he's one of those folks that the Race Director was warning us about. So Jay, yes, Jay Sexton, I believe you actually took second in your division, not third. Hope you didn't lose out on a bunch of prize money.

And the shirt!

No time for resting. Up next Sunday, as the EPIC train rolls on, is the Mighty Oaks Acorn Run 5k.

See you there!

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