I started the summer with this in mind as a goal race.  Then Kelly chatted with Joe…and it quickly dropped back into a “for fun” position.  Not sure in who’s mind “fun” = running in almost 90* heat with some of the toughest hills this area has to offer. 

Okay so I confess – I was in it for the post race beer.  Sure I could sit at home in the comfort of my a/c and drink 24 bottles of my pricey imports for the cost of the race.  Pesky little details.

Kelly & I attempted speed work outside on Wednesday – she partially completed hers.  I ran/walked trying not to die.  I knew at that point it wouldn’t be a stellar race, but I’d already dropped the $$$ so what was I to do?

Then I heard via twitter there were dogs on the course.  I’m afraid dogs.  I was bit as a child.  My dad has a scar on his face.  My cousin got bit pretty badly just a few years ago.  I tend to shriek and run when they come near me.  Big, small, it doesn’t matter.

Over the years my running buddies have helped out.   Lisa actively positioned herself between me and any dogs we would encounter training for Covenant.  I’ve jumped behind Bob.  I’ve pushed Kelly toward the dog.  Racing, I knew this wouldn’t be an option.  I wanted to bail.  I’m thankful I did not.

I felt decent the first couple miles.  A gradual uphill registered in the first mile, only because I knew we’d be returning and I could enjoy it as a downhill in mile 5. 

Mile 1: 8:59

I had my headphones in, but I heard a dog just past the 1st mile marker.  I couldn’t see it, so I had no clue what breed.  The bark didn’t seem like a “how awesome – runners” but rather a “grrr – strange people I don’t know” kinda bark.

I started reciting one of my life verses.  Out loud I think.  Or at least as a mumble.  “For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.  power, love, and a sound mind.  power, love, and a sound mind.  power, love, and a sound mind.” 

Victory #1 – I didn’t get bit by the dog.

Victory #2 – I didn’t quit because of fear.

Victory #3 – I didn’t cry (Although this was a close one.  Thank God for sunglasses)

Mile 2: 9:52

Due to the out and back nature, I knew the 2nd portion contained a difficult hill – dubbed “puke hill” by racers.  Someone had even spray painted a bull’s eye on the road with “puke here” or some such written. 
*Next time I do this race, I’m going to carry my camera/phone.

Mile 3: 10:10

The scenery for this race is gorgeous.  We saw horses, pasture fields, and Natty Ice cans in the ditch.  Okay so maybe the beer can liter isn’t pretty, but you get the idea.  The major problem with open grass/hay is pollen.  I could smell it the whole time and it did a number on my breathing.  Not that my un-heat trained lungs would have functioned well any way, but this made it extra rough.  Worth it though, for the prettiness and the shade of the trees along the way.

Puke hill did a number on my average pace (I was walking up at at a 17:XX) and for my mental game. I checked out and didn’t bother to push through the discomfort. I forced myself to run at the top of every other song, although I didn’t make myself run the whole song. 

Mile 4: 11:52

Around the 4 mile marker, I finally saw the source of the barking.  It was a little yappy dog (unattended) on the side of the road.  He neither looked friendly nor scary, and at this point I didn’t have enough energy to freak.  I just kept pushing, without letting him out of eye sight until I went up over the hill.

Finally I got back on the downhill and I knew I was almost done.  Beer just around the corner!!

Mile 5: 10:41

Finishing Time: 51:16 (chip)
Age Group: 12/21
Overall: 104/176

I love the 8K and 10K distances.  They are each long enough to not be a sprint the entire way, but short enough to post some fast times.  While this definitely isn’t a race or PR course, I enjoyed it.  Next year I’ll know what to expect.  Until then, I’ve got a couple of other 8K races in my sights for the summer.