|Cool winter themed t-shirt, a gift card and a medal...success!|
Jason picked me up at 7AM and we headed to Decatur to give ourselves enough time for race packet pickup before the 8AM race start. While it was a little on the cooler side this morning, it was nowhere near as cold as the last time I ran this race two years ago. I did some dynamic stretching before the race start but decided against any actual warm-up running just as I have in the past.
The race got underway at 8AM sharp. I decided to tuck in behind a couple of runners, who I fully expected to run under 20 minutes, but not under 19:30 minutes. My plan worked early on. I started a little slower than usual but by no means did I not run hard right away. Because I remembered running a fairly decent race here two years ago (in fact, I falsely believed that I ran my previous 5K PR of 20:08 on this course), I also thought I remembered the course as being fairly flat. I was wrong. While it wasn't necessarily a hilly course, it did have its fair share of hills requiring effort.
I was feeling pretty good through the first half of the race. When I approached mile 2, I started to feel a light burn in my quads. My heart rate was climbing as well. I didn't check my pace, but I knew I was slowing down. After mile 2, Jason was leaving me behind for good and I was struggling to keep him and other runners in sight. I had no plans to drop off completely. When I approached the final .1 miles of the race, the race clock showed 19:30. No way was I going to break 20 minutes.
I finished the race with an official time of 20:13, thoroughly exhausted and spent. When I saw the race results, I was pleasantly surprised. I had finished 10th overall out of 150 or so runners and 1st in my age group.This was my third consecutive age group win even though I did't PR. Jason had won his age group as well. He decided to do a cool-down by running the course again, so I joined him. Six of us ended up running together and I got to meet some fellow runners, all of them extremely strong racers. All in all, this was a great race and I'd like to thank Jon Elmore and the team of volunteers for putting on another great event.