Granville Firecracker 5 – July 2012

I think I summed up my feeling about this race in my post from last year’s attempt… It is like an itch I have to scratch. I don’t really look forward to this race (the heat, the course, the inevitable feeling I could have done better), but I just can’t keep myself away. Ditto for this year.

Of course, this year was further sweetened by the fact that we had lost power 4 days prior during a bizarre wind storm (a derecho, I am told) and the temperatures during the intervening days had steadily risen. So, no refrigerated food/beverages, no air conditioning (especially brutal during the nights), and I was relying on my watch alarm to get me up for the race (and the race started 30 min. earlier than past years)… Not ideal, but I did make it to the registration on time. I laced up my Altra Instincts – possibly not the most performance oriented shoe choice, but I was not planning on attempting any speed records – and hung out at the back of the start pack with Sean and Meredith, just chatting. My plan was to run easy for the first couple of miles and then see what happened. This was my first official race since more or less completing my second round of physical therapy for some hip/hamstring issues – so I had not been running a lot of miles, and I definitely had not been training to race. Just to run, and I kept telling myself that over and over again so that I would not get carried away once the race began.

Once the race began, I felt good. Because I started at the back of the pack, I was passing folks like crazy as I settled into a groove – probably around 6:40 mile pace. The race unfolded fairly uneventfully, although I was surprised at how far up the pack my pace got me – I think the combination of the heat, the earlier start time, and the power outage had kept some runners from showing up. As we churned through the second mile, and made our way up the rolling hills on Burg Street, I began to feel some hamstring discomfort, so I dialed it back a bit. I walked through the water stations and doused myself with an extra cup of water to ward off the heat. I saw Joe running just ahead of me, so I caught up to him and prodded him along – he seemed to be slowing and I told him I wouldn’t let him beat me… Not exactly my most competitive decision, but it seemed to me he was having a great race and I wanted to help out if I could…

I was a bit disappointed with my finish time – despite taking it easy, I thought consistent 6:40 miles would be no problem… I finished in 32nd place in 34:11 (6:51 miles). Once again, I finished just behind the guy who snagged the last age group award – if I had just started the race with a bit more fire (and closer to the front of the pack) that trophy would have been mine. Oh well. Given that I have had trouble getting consistent miles in because of my injuries, I was ultimately just happy to run. Next year, I’ll train to race this thing…


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