I really wasn't prepared to enter this race, but my employer sponsored employees and their family members, so I couldn't resist entering myself for both the 10K and the 5K and my son for the 5K. I did the same thing last year and I wanted to keep the streak alive. After all, it's a local race. I really wanted to run the 5K together with him again and he is usually ready to run anything up to a 5K just because of his soccer training.
I headed downtown to the race start around 6:15AM to meet up with my usual running buddies as well as my corporate teammates. Anya was kind enough to agree to shuttle my son to the race start to meet with me around 8:30AM, giving me ample time to recover from my 10K effort before lining up again for the 9AM 5K race start.
I finally found both James and Richard and we started discussing our race strategies, which ranged from beating last year to making it under an hour. Today's race was an extremely hot one and as a result, not all of us met our goals. I certainly did not. In the end I was about 70 seconds slower than last year. Minimal training over the last 4 weeks coupled with an extreme heat and ridiculous humidity levels made for a tough race. I stuck to my original race plan for the better part of the first three miles. I also managed to run the hill...although shuffle would be a better description. I would later receive anecdotes from coworkers who decided to rest in someone's yard for a few minutes before continuing the hike up the hill. I guess the "Rocky" theme can only do so much to push runners up this hill.
It had been my plan all along to try to make up ground coming down Bankhead Parkway, but I was gassed when I reached the top of Mountainwood. I managed to recover just enough to maintain pace, but making up time seemed out of the question. My pace had slowed and it was now my goal to not slip too far and to try to maintain this slower pace. As I approach the start banner, signaling the final 200-300 yards of the race, I started sprinting to make sure that I finished strong, almost cuasing me to trow up at the finish, not a pretty sight. Thank goodness I was only dry heaving. Anyway, not pretty. I managed to max out my heart rate at 195 bpm over the final sprint. Not sure what that means, but it is pretty high for a 40 year old guy.
I followed the 10K with a nice 5K run with my 12 year old son, who was very much surprised by the heat on this day. As a result, we dialed back the pace quite a bit to allow us to enjoy the run as much as possibly in this heat. We finished somewhere in the middle of the pack and I realized once again how much more fun it is to run with my son and to cross the finish line together with him rather than racing by myself or chasing another PR. Thanks Mace.