Well, this morning I got up at 5AM with no electricity. I had to run looking for my flashlights and matches. Not a good way to start your day. I had to turn on the laptop to get some extra source of light in the house. A big windy storm with lots rain hit this area. When I left home around 6AM it was dark and I could not see a thing.
So I drove to catch the shuttle bus to take me to the start line. I did not receive my bib number in the mail, so I had to meet this person by the shuttle stop to issue me a new bib number. So far,so good. I got my bib number and there I was sitting on the bus shuttle waiting for a few more runners to fill the bus. Around 7:20AM or so, we left to the race start location. I got off the bus and there was large crowd of people walking to the start. I got there around 7:45AM. I waited until around 8AM so I could start my warm up. I changed my clothes and put on my running shorts and t-shirt. There was wind and cold but no storm or rain. It was turning into a good day.
As I started to warm up with an easy jog, I start to feel my quads and hams a little tight and sore. Last year I was feeling very light and loose but this year things were quite different. Maybe I am just getting old. So I jog for a few minutes up and down this hill at start, and then I did a few strides, not feeling very confident about my overall condition.
All runners were at start line, ready to go, by 8:30AM. At 8:30AM or a little after, we took off. There is a slight down hill by the start. Easy to lose your mind and start too fast. I just held back and tried to get on a good easy rhythm. After the downhill, the course became flat and I tried to focus ahead on a known runner that I raced before to have some idea about my pace . I was already feeling the pace. First there was a flat section, then a long steep hill. I tried to hold back and run smooth. My legs were in really bad shape and I did not know if I could manage any surges or a fast pace. Usually I don't have any problems with the hills and last year I did not even feel this hill, but this year things were quite different, I just had to try my best to hang in there.
After the steep hill was over we hit the bridge. I was concerned about the wind and cold. But things were not so bad. I was able to keep the same pace. Only two people passed me and I was able to catch them and stay with them for the entire bridge section. After we got off the bridge, we ran down this hill. It is easy to speed up on the downhill and kill your quads for the flat section ahead. I just held back, even that I was feeling like I was running a little slow. I dropped one of the runners that I was running with. So there were I and another tall guy, that did not look like a runner at all. By the three plus miles mark we hit the long flat section. Last year I literally bonk in this section because my right quad gave up. This year things were a little different. I brought a gel. So by the mile four or so, I took this gel and it really revived my legs. I felt more energy and picked up the pace to drop the runner that was running with me. It was a long flat stretch of three plus miles, where it feels like no man's land to run by yourself. I just tried to stay focused and get this race over without any majors problems.
I finished the flat section well, nobody passed me but I was not able to pass anybody. Actually I did not even try. There was a young kid ahead of me. I could have passed him but I played it safe. I reserved my energies for the last hill. Last year I cracked speeding up this hill. But this morning I just went up the hill easy and relaxed followed by another runner, the tall guy. We got to the top of the hill together and started the last short downhill together, about 200 meters from the finish line. When we hit the flat area, I realized that I had a lot left in the tank, and took off like a bullet, passed the finished line in a very mediocre time of 44:02(12K distance). But I was happy knowing I could run faster if I was in better shape and my work did not get in the way. I was third in my age division,first race of the year, and it was OK. Spring is not my season having a hard time with allergies and work getting in the way.
So after the race was over and I got home. I found out why we did not have any electricity. A huge Oak tree fell just across the street from where I live and hit the power line. They called a tree company to clean up the mess this afternoon. It took then a few hours of work. One of the roads was closed all day.