After so many races being canceled because of cold weather, it was great to be able to run two races this weekend. I was looking forward to returning to this race in Fletcher, hoping to vindicate myself after last year’s dismal 9th place age group finish. Last year’s Frostbite 5k in Fletcher was Race #20 for me, and the last 5k that took me more than 25 minutes to finish. My time last year was 25:29; this year I managed to slice about four and a half minutes off that to finish in 21:02, first place in my age group. I do realize that at my age (I’ll be 58 next week) I might start going the other way before long, but for now I’m enjoying the increasingly better race times.
I had the good fortune to talk to a couple of great senior runners after the race who had both begun running in their fifties. Jim Grodnik is now in the 70-74 age group and ran today’s 5k in 22:02… only a minute behind my young whippersnapper time. Jim said he continued to improve for ten years and ran his fastest 10k about that time. Charles Dotson told me that he also improved for around ten years after he started running. He’s slowed down a bit, but is still finishing in the middle of the pack at the age of 87!
From what I’ve heard, this weather has always been cold for this race. Last year at race time (2:30 p.m.) the windchill was 24 degrees. This year was an amazing turnaround in the temperature department — around 60 degrees at race time, perfect for running.
After yesterday’s race I learned the lesson about eating right and dressing right, so today it was a healthy lunch and one fairly light shirt. Again I wanted to race at about 95% of my Maximum Heart Rate. It takes about a mile to hit that point, and in contrast to yesterday’s first-mile misery, I felt great. Before the race I ran a little with Dennis Duffy, the Carolina Runner, who showed me a big mud hole to avoid. That helped because I was planning on wearing some of my older training shoes, not wanting to ruin my racing flats on the short dirt road I remembered from last year but wasn’t sure how muddy it was after all of the recent snow. I went back to the car and put on my racers just in time to get to the race before it started. The race went well and I felt good throughout. Although my time was only 26 seconds faster than the Valentine 5k yesterday, the difference in the way I felt was huge, so it was a good day.