This would be our second time running this race. Last year when we ran it, Tif had a killer run and as hard as I tried, I could not keep pace with her. For this year I had hoped to have a redo and tick the miles off along side her.
The first half of the race went well, each keeping a solid and increasing pace. But once again, I could not hold onto my wife and she began to pull away slightly. She is definitely a force not to be reckoned with in short distance courses.
She stayed within sight so I was able use that as fuel to drive me to the finish line. Also, there was one participant I was running near that I was guessing could have been in my age group. I feel as though she thought the same as me and we tried to hold each other off. On the final stretch I surged on her but she returned with her own, breaking the line just feet ahead of me.
It turns out we were in different age groups but it still help push me to a 10k PR.
The annual "Team Saunders I-35 Craft Beer Drive" is a thing now. Last year we made our way from Austin to Oklahoma City, via I-35, of course, to try an assortment of craft breweries along the way. We couldn't resist doing it again this year. And just like last year, and in the trips we take, we always look for an opportunity to race. We stumbled on the Pumpkin Spice run last year, which offered a 15K distance. This year, the distances changed a bit, so we dropped down to the 10K (also, giving us a chance to get on the road to OKC sooner).
We spent the night with friends in Dallas, then made our way to Fort Worth for the run. One note about this race is that, although there is plenty of parking, getting in to park takes some time, so get there a bit early!
I made sure to stretch and prep - knowing I wanted to take my shot at the podium and possible PR. I really enjoyed the course last year and was able to give a good effort, even though I wasn't in top shape at that time. This year would be different.
Caitlin and I worked our way around to the start line, just a row or two behind the front group. It was funny, a woman behind us took a look at us and said we must be fast. We chuckled, thanked her and said we're getting there.
Once the gun went off, I wanted to find a good pace and settle into my breathing. I hoped to establish a nice pace which would allow me to build on as I ticked off the miles. It's a mostly flat course, aside from a bit of incline in the second mile.
The first mile came and went in 8:31. It felt good, but I wasn't sure if I would be able to build on that or not. That's part of my struggle learning how to race - getting the early pacing down just right.
The second mile, with the incline, took 8:37. I was ok with that, but hoping it didn't impact the final miles ahead.
I settled back into the groove and logged the next miles at 8:23, 8:18, 8:14. Perfect! As the race winds its way back toward the finish, the course merges with the 5K runners/walkers. With the trail being a bit narrow, I had to run around the walkers and make the best of the situation. This probably slowed me just a bit as I was trying to push more in the last mile, but knocking out another 8:14 pace was good.
A new PR to claim - 42:15 - better than the previous best by more than 2 minutes.
Of all the races I've done, I would have to say this one was the best execution of them all. Hopefully I'll remember the lessons of this one and utilize it in the races to come.
While the plan was to do the 10K instead of the half marathon in order to get on the road sooner, the plan was derailed just a bit when we checked the results and saw I got FIRST!
So, alas, we would have to stay for the awards ceremony.
We waited. And waited. And got in the long line for beer. And waited.
Not sure what was happening, but there was a bit of a delay. Turns out, there must have been an issue with the timing/results that affected my age group, because I checked the results again and had dropped to second.
Oh well, still the podium and achievement of a great goal. We grabbed my pie server prize, toasted a beer to celebrate, then in full Team Saunders race attire, hit the road up I-35 to OKC to continue the celebration with more beer!