So way the heck back on August 19th I ran the third race in the NERC fall XC series. With a 20:18 and 19:57 the two weeks before I was ready to drop that a bit more and see how fast I could go on this course. I wanted to target my pace between 6:07 (18:59) and 6:14 (19:23) and see if I could run faster than my PR, maybe go sub 19 if I had a brilliant night. Unfortunately I got out of work late and ran into some traffic so I got to the race without much time to spare. I had to "warm-up" by jogging to the restroom and sign in and do about 2 strides before throwing on my flats and tossing my warm ups in the car. JK was on the line so I knew a win was out of the question. I just wanted to see if I could run faster than last week despite the lack of a real warm up.
Once again the race starts and the high schoolers go out like bullets. I don't pay attention to any of that at least until I am in the woods where I start to take down the girls (and a lot of boys) one by one. I wanted to be in front of a particular girl before the mile since the two previous weeks I had passed her a little after the mile I figured I would be about on target pace if I ran through the mile a hair ahead fo her. Mission acheived as I came through the mile a hair fast at 6:00. There was another female just behind me who looked to be my age and seemed strong so I tried not to let up over the next mile. JK was likely already over a minute ahead of us by the mile marker, girl is fast! So it was a race for second.
I wasn't feeling stellar but I felt like I could hold onto the same pace as I had last week for the last two miles and knew that would get me in around 19:30. I heard David cheer for me a bit before the 2 mile and was surprised he got out of work in time to catch me, I waved but apparently it didn't look like a wave and he didn't know I had heard him. Gotta work on being able to smile even when running at all out effort. I was extremely grateful that he was there even if I couldn't show it, it meant a lot to me that he got out of work early just to see me race. Mile 2 was just a hair shy of last week and was 6:29. I knew I had to dig in if I wanted to get a fast last mile and hold onto that 19:30.
I didn't hear the other girl behind me and that gave me hope that I would definitely come in second. Given that I had run that mile almost 30 seconds slower and she wasn't with me I knew she had dropped off the pace more than I had and I wasn't planning on dropping anymore. The advantage of running this all three weeks is by the third you know where to expend your energy. I took advantage of the slight decline and the flat section of the last mile before heading up the last quarter mile dreaded hill stretch. I didn't feel stellar on the hill but still strong enough to come through 3 at 6:24.
And I kicked it in to yet another 38 second finish. Apparently that is my limit. I think All 6 times I have run this race 38 has been my fastest kick at the end. I never was great at that even in high school. That brought me in at 19:32 and 2nd female. JK ran a blazing 17:14. Nothing like having a serving of humble pie despite running your best time on a course :) I was really pleased with my effort and the result, especially considering that I didn't get in a real warm up. This is only 11 seconds off my PR at Reindeer Run which is a super fast course so I have high hopes that I can get even faster on the roads :)
My husbands college buddies happened to be at the park so while he chatted with them I got in a nice cool down with EH and B. It was downright chilly by the time we did the awards, bizzare how August was actually nicer than September has been so far. The weather this year for the series was absolutely perfect, reminds me of why I was always so in love with cross country. I guess this is the closest I can come to getting those days back for now though and I am happy to take it, even if I am the old lady at the start line ;)