I got through the third annual Grandview Gallop four-miler today without the assistance of any EMTs.
My time was 28:08. (Don't believe it if you see a slower time in the paper, as race officials had some trouble straightening out the results.) That was good enough to win my 50-54 age group, though well off the 26:43 I ran to win the group two years ago. A year ago, coming off a winter of inactivity due to knee problems, and demonstrating poor strategy, I ran 28:19 for second place.
If you care for any details, read on. Otherwise, this is a good place to stop.
Knowing that I am not in top shape, and painfully recalling paying the price for starting too quickly last year, I convinced myself to take it easy in the first mile. I passed the mile marker in 7:05 (after giving up about 5 seconds to reach the starting line) -- probably a little fast, considering there is a little uphill in there, but FAR better than the 6:47 I turned last year.
I dropped off that pace in the second mile (7:16). But it didn't feel that bad -- probably because I was passing a few other runners. Better for the mind to pass than to be passed.
I managed to pick it up somewhat in Mile 3 (7:10), and entering the last mile I found myself closely trailing a couple of guys who had been side-by-side. They appeared to be in my age group (yes, kids, I mean old).
With about 1,200 yards to go, I passed them both -- squeezed between them, actually, in a minor breach of running etiquette. I figured I'd better stay up-tempo for a while to break contact with them. That worked, and I managed to pass a few others in the final 500 yards or so, for a final mile of 6:37.
This race was a decent test for me, not only for my conditioning but for my competitive edge. I haven't run the last half of a race faster than the first (14:41-13:47) in quite a while. So that tells me I had something left in the tank, and something to build upon while training for the Labor Day 5K.
First, however, I'll have to see if I can get out of bed in the morning!