Not having been running "distance" races (okay, a 5K is only 3.1 miles) I did not leave home with a great deal of enthusiasm. I had signed up for this event out of loyalty to the originator (sponsor) of the event: Second Empire Restaurant in Raleigh. I did not run it last year when it changed location from Hillsborough St downtown Raleigh (a wonderful uphill from the restaurant to NCSU area and return) to what at one time was the outer edge of Raleigh, Baileywick Rd. The race started and ended at Trinity Academy of Raleigh.
The day was bordering on miserable. Dreary, damp, and cold. We'd had rain, it seems, daily. This morning, clouds threatened and it was downright chilly. Nonetheless a good crowd showed up for the event. I had heard that it was somewhat hilly (well, that's Raleigh!) from running pals who ran it last year.
The race started within the circular drive into Trinity, with a slight downhill on a curve, folowed by the upwards path to the exit onto the road. Though I had said I would start slowly, I found myself pushing to keep up with those in front, at least until the road, where there would be room to scoot to the side and let others pass. The road was downhill and would be uphill on the return. Yep. Enjoy the down when one can.
The area was rural, small homes and woods until we turned right onto Wildwood Links. This signalled a chamge in demographics and income, as is obvious by the name. A recently? sprouted golf community with large homes on manicured plots. And a golf course along the way. I jogged at between an 8 and 9 minute pace, slower at times when the effort to breathe wore me down. A few turns, a few up and downs and we were on our way back. My nose was running and I was out of fresh tissues. Poor planning.
Surprisingly, I came up on my main competitor. Usually she is well beyond visual range -- as she had been at the start (I usually start about midway in the starting lineup). She is a very consistent, no walking, runner. Wind her up and she steams along. Whereas I chug, walk, then sprint only at the end if there is any energy. Twice I got close but had to back off, having used up energy reserves. Until the very end. Just prior to the turn into the school drive, I came up on her again and passed. I did not think I would hold out to the end as I could feel the energy just seeping away.
And, indeed, I did run out. Right at the left turning circle I had to drop to a walk for three or four steps. How could I let this happen? So close. Expecting her to come up and pass, I gave it one last shot at running and rounded the curve to see the Finish just ahead. I sprinted and gasped my way to it. A six second difference in a 3.1 mile race. Gun Time 30.26, chip 30.18.
The Garmin doesn't lie. I walked 14 times! The elevation gain and loss was 132 ft gain and 133 loss.
She wins 99% of the time. This was my 1%. And it did not rain until later.