Great race at the Norwood Turkey Trot on Sunday. Not just for me but for the whole club. A slew of PRs were had; the ladies not only swept the 40-49 age group, placed in several other age groups, but also managed to capture the top team prize. Don and Dave also went home with age group awards and I was content at having run a great race.
Going into the race I was not at all confident about my abilities. Since before BayState I haven't really done any speedwork (a few tempos and hills but nothing demanding) and my performance in my last 5K left me wondering what I could do. Part of the problem was the psychological factor. As I have mentioned, I had a nefarious plot going into the race. Well it really wasn't much of a plot and it certainly wasn't nefarious. I just like to use that word whenever possible.
With the Norwood Hospital 4 miler being officially short and disqualified for any PRs that meant that my only other 4 mile race was the standard I had to beat. Luckily I had run that over a year ago and I was confident I could beat that time of 26:07. All I had to do was run a 6:30 pace or better and I would pick up 3 extra points for the Grand Prix. If I could do that there was a good chance that Don would either not gain any points on me or there was even a possibility that I could pick up a point. That would pretty much seal my win. So naturally this was all going through my head before the race and getting me all sorts of messed up. I kept coming back to the idea that my fate was entirely in my hands. Run fast and I win. Screw it up like the Canton Fall Classic and there is no one to blame but myself. Too much pressure!
Of course it turns out that my fate was not entirely in my hands. After managing to maneuver myself from behind the two 14 year-olds who seemed more interested in their iPods than racing (one wasn't even wearing running shoes!) I got a decent spot at the start. The cowbell clanged and I put the pedal down. No more time to think, I was going to get that PR if it killed me. I hit the first mile at 6:07 and I was smoking. The long uphill sucked but I was feeling good. Hit mile 2 around 12:26 which means I was still more than ten seconds faster than my minimum mile pace. I kept pushing it and started to pass more people.
I have no clue what I hit mile 3 at but I still wasn't hitting the wall so I focused on keeping that pace fast. Turned onto the long gentle uphill stretch to the finish and began to hear a heavy breather behind me. No big deal, I was sure that I was going to PR so they can pass me if they really want to. But they didn't. All the way up the hill I continued to feel good. Tired, naturally, but none of the pains and tightness that sometimes flare up. The crest of the hill arrived so I figured I might as well pick it up and fight off this person; mostly because their heavy breathing was annoying me. Turns out that person was Joann Mathews, who is quite a good runner I am told. Lit the afterburners and cruised in to the finish with a time of 24:55. A new PR by over a minute.
That means that since Don finished one place ahead of me I picked up two points on him! The Grand Prix win was in the bag!
No it wasn't. Remember when I said that my fate was not entirely in my hands? Turns out Don PR'd as well. Which means that he picked up a point. Damn. What does a guy have to do to get a break around here? So we head into to the final race of the series only a few points apart. Oh, the drama.
One quick question: for a course that is billed as "challenging" how come so many of us managed to PR on it? I guess we all came out to play that race.