The weather was perfect for a race this morning. Upper 40s and a slight overcast. While the forecast predicted rain for the afternoon, I would encounter a light occasional drizzle during the race. I kept going back and forth between gear choices for the race and finally opted for a long sleeve tech shirt, shorts and a cap.
The "Over The River And Through The Woods 5 Mile Race" was held for the first time this year to celebrate and officially open the Flint River Greenway in the Hays Nature Preserve. Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle was in attendance to officially open the Greenway before the start of the race. The race start was conveniently scheduled for 9 AM, which meant I was able to sleep in until 7 AM;-) Being the first running of this race, attendance was rather small, with around 80 runners toeing the startline at 9 AM. After a short speech and a quick blast with the horn, we took off.
I started out just a little too fast, running the first mile in around 6:40 minute pace. My goal was not not try to race too hard but to stay just under 7 minute per mile pace. I haven't been doing any speedwork lately, so there was really no good reason to try to push for a PR. Instead, I wanted to try to stay relaxed and keep a good steady pace. With a little help from an unofficial pacer, I managed to keep the pace. Kathy, thanks for letting me run with you for most of the race. I don't think I would have been able to maintain a steady pace otherwise.
At the 4 mile marker, I still felt pretty good. I decided to try to pick up the pace a little bit, trying to ensure a sub 7 minute pace for the race. I even managed to pick off one more runner with half a mile to go to finish eleventh overall. I am usually too spent to pass anyone on the final stretches of short distance races. This was a fun race and I am sure it will just keep growing from year to year. Hopefully, the city will continue its commitment to expand and extend the already existing greenway system. Events like this race are certainly a great way to promote and utilize their existence.