While trying to come up with a race plan, I briefly glanced at the epic fail what was my last 8K.  Since I have plenty of negativity without assistance, I decided to put that race out of my mind.  I’d already made the adjustments from that race (primarily fitting in a couple of training runs outside in the humidity).

Instead I tried to focus on doing my best and not giving up on myself.  Carpooling with the standard crew, we got to the hotel early (it was an out-of-town race) then had plenty of time at the expo.  Although it wasn’t very big, I found my shoe (1/2 size bigger – perfect for marathon training this winter) for $25!  I snatched those suckers up before we headed back to the hotel to get ready.

Once the sun went down, the weather felt incredible.  The temps were in the 70s and the air didn’t feel humid.  Until, of course, we warmed up.  Thankfully it didn’t seem to be a huge factor in the race.  For sure warmer than I’d like, but nothing crazy hot like last race.

As we lined up, we positioned ourselves just in front of the 9 m/m pacer.  My (seemingly ambitious) goal was a 45 minute time.  I didn’t expect to reach it, but it was the number in my head and I wanted to go for it. 

The first mile was crowded but I tried to keep a fast/even pace. 

Mile 1 –  8:50

The course was pleasant.  Some of it was in the town, other parts went through neighborhoods.  On the roads with no street lights, they had placed candle luminaries to light our paths.  The crowds also were a big help, with their porch lights on, and water hoses going to help us cool down.

Mile 2 –  9:04

The course profile showed 2 hills, but relatively speaking I wasn’t sure what they would be like.  The first proved nothing too intimidating.  I ran up it and was on my way.

Passing the half way point, we had finished the first “8” loop, and were headed up the big hill of the race.  More slow and gradual than the elevation profile made it seem, I really felt myself slowing. 

Mile 3 – 9:06

After the hill, I’d counted on the good downhill to follow, only it seemingly never came.  My lungs were hurting and I wanted a break.  Thankfully it at least flattened out and the breathing problems went away. 

Mile 4 – 9:10

“Pick it up” I told my running buddy because he was lagging a bit.  Once we hit the 1/2 mile to go point, he really picked it up – passing me and the 9:00 m/m pacer in front of us.  My energy was really lagging but made myself keep pushing.

Mile 5 – 8:42

There was a bit of an uphill into the stadium, then it was a flat turf finish.  I managed an 8:14 final kick, finishing just shy of my goal.

Chip time: 45:10
Age group: 32/181
Overall: 986/2779

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