DV drove MQ and I over to the race Saturday morning. While we were in his truck, we heard a real 80's hit by Rod Stewart. I was a little tired but knew that once we got to the race, I would feel better. Wishful thinking. I never quite felt it in the warmup and was getting very concerned about the rising temp's. Fifteen minutes before the start, I jogged over to the stream near the highway and sat in the water to try to cool off. I tried to relax and told myself to run smart and hang in until the end.
I positioned myself on the far right side about 3 rows back and was near teammates Ernest Brake and Tim Mahoney. This seems to be a recurring theme each year and it helps to see familiar faces as we try to fire each other up. Dracut's Joe Donnelly (Gate City Striders) who has been tearing up the Good Times 5k's was asking me what I wanted to run and I said my first goal is to get to the top but I wanted to run 1:12:30 but cautioned that the heat was going to be a factor so anything under 1:17:30 would be satisfying. The cannon finally went off and I looked for DD. I found him before the first hill and basically shadowed him for the first mile. I felt okay but was feeling the heat. I really wanted to get to the first water stop. I hit mile 1 (.9 miles) in 7:13 and was probably 3 seconds behind DD but he seemed to be having an easier time than me as I never really matched his stride. I could see the large mass of runners up ahead and spotted MQ as he must of hit mile 1 in 6:45.
Mile 2 is long and difficult and I just focused on DD. He was probably about 15 seconds ahead of me as I went through 2 in 16:13 (9:00). This was pretty quick for me and probably about 1 minute ahead of last year's pace. As we started mile 3 I could see MQ walking on the left side of the auto road right around Raymond's grade. He had gone out too quick and his first time experience was going to be a long, hard fought struggle to the finish. He is a tough dude who hung in there. Although he is disappointed, he is determined to come back and try to run better.
Mile 3 was tough for me as the quick pace and heat slowed me down to a 10:07 mile split as 3 miles was reached in 26:20 (1 minute and 13 seconds ahead of last year's 1:14:26). Halfway was reached in 35:35 and I took a lot of water and poured a cup over my head. I hit the 4 mile mark in 36:36 and was starting to find a rythym and was focussing on the climbs ahead. I was expecting cooler temp's at this point but, save for a light wind, the sun was still quite strong and I continued to take water all the way. My split for 5 miles was 47:20 (10:44) and 6 miles was 58:00 (10:39). I got to the hairpin turn and really felt that climb as I power walked for about 50 yards. This has got to be the most difficult stretch of the race as you approach the Cow Pasture where it seems to almost level for a bit before the final stretch to the finish. Mile 7 was reached in 1:08:52 (10:51) and I managed a 6:51 final .7 to reach the finish line in 1:15:42.