Christmas came early this year and Santa gave me a fifth place finish at the GNRC HO-HO-HO 5K. Well, I actually had to work hard to get it but everything felt great during the race so I won't rule out benefiting from a little help from the big guy in red. I also snagged the top male 30-39 so I got to take how a nice medal. I managed a 6:05 pace for a time of 18:53 which is only 13 seconds off my PR. Not too shabby for a race whose last mile is almost entirely uphill. All that and the rain actually held of until after the race
Once again the race proved to be one of the better run events in the area and everything went off without a hitch. We started off by lining all of the kids up for their race across the lawn. I was going to run with Catie and Jen would trail Jackson. Michael got us all ready and blew the air horn to start the race. Jackson took off like a cheetah with his mother trailing behind him; he's really been enjoying these races and it's nice to see him have so much fun doing it. Meanwhile, Catie heard the horn, looked up at me, and promptly broke down in tears. She has yet to embrace the sport like her brother has. So I dutifully picked her up and trundled our way down the course. Just before the finish I gave her one more chance to run but she was having no part of it. Oh well, some day she'll finish a race without being carried.
The main event went off without any glitches. We lined up, the horn went off, and away we ran. At the turnaround I was pleasantly surprised to see Michael already heading into the roundabout so I could tell that he was pushing it. After waving to everyone from the team as I passed them on the way back, and there are a lot of members to wave at now, I made the turn onto the long uphill stretch. I began to hear some heavy breathing behind me and realized I would need to keep up the pace to stay ahead. The lessons of Mt. Washington filled my head and kept my legs going strong. With about a half mile to go I heard someone call out to the runner behind me, "Go Meaghan". Aah, it was a girl! I better not let her beat me, how embarrassing would that be?!
I'm kidding, I've been beaten many times by many females. Good runners are good runners. But it still spurred me on to make sure that I was faster than her, after all I gotta look good for my family waiting at the finish. So as I came down the hill into the parking lot I lit it up and gave it all I had to hold on to the fifth spot. I cam in just behind fellow GNRCer Don Burke (although it was 30 seconds behind him) and was really pleased with the race.
It seems like everyone had a great day. Andy easily took first, Don and I were fourth and fifth, and then a big block of members filled out the 14th to 18th spots as Michael, Keith, Jeff, Maureen, and Maria all came in one after the other. Judging by the amount of awards won by fellow GNRCers, everyone had a great race, especially the ladies who once again swept the 40-49 age group. A good time was had by all.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. As the last race in the GNRC Grand Prix series I officially won by a mere four points. I'm really happy about that and it is a great way to cap off what has been a phenomenal year for me. I'm definitely not the best runner on the team so I must be one of the luckiest because the competition was tough right up to the end. It's nice to know that I can hang in there with the likes of Don and Michael and I look forward to next year.