Turns out things weren't as bad as I was afraid they might be. I was a little slower than in that last 5k in October -- by about 45 seconds -- but that's not surprising considering I'm 8 pounds heavier than I was for that race.
I ran this race a couple times in the past (I think 2009 and 2010) and remember it mostly for it being so cold that the 20-foot sub sandwich they had for the post race fare actually froze solid. This time around the weather was much more agreeable, and although there was some light drizzle an hour or so before the race, all of that stopped by race time and there were some wet roads during the race but not a drop of rain. Since there was a threat of rain I skipped wearing my newly-repaired video glasses since they're not waterproof.
In local races it seems like there's always one of my friends from the Gaston County Runners who's gunning for me, and this week it was Chris Waldt, who just keeps getting faster and faster each week and has gone from being quite a distance behind me to being way too close for comfort. He was actually not "gunning" for me, but he was looking to run under 22 minutes and get a PR, and that's right around the area where I run so I figured it would be close.
After the turnaround it's a straight shot back to the finish line but it's on a little series of rolling hills that seem to be more uphill than downhill. I didn't look back, figuring that if Chris or anybody was back there and they were able to pass me there really wasn't much I could do about it since I was running as hard as I could without blowing a fuse.
After the heart rate issues I had in the Hawaii race with my heart rate averaging a whopping 174 beats per minute, I thought it was interesting that in this race my heart rate was back down to what had been normal for me, and average of 162 bpm with a maximum of 173. I'm not sure why it would vary from one race to another but I seem to be able to adjust to it as it occurs one way or the other and so far it's working okay.
In the end I finished a few seconds ahead of Chris. He won his age group (35-39) and managed to get an all-time PR of 21:51, and I won 2nd Masters (that means I was the 2nd fastest runner over 40).
I really enjoyed the race and thought they did a great job. It was a huge improvement over the last time I ran it three years ago. I'll be back next year!
Click Here for Race Results
Age Group: 1 of 6
Overall: 12 of 250
Average Heart Rate: 162
Maximum Heart Race: 173
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 16:55 (76.27%)
* RACE RATING *
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
2 - Course Scenery: (0)bad (2)pleasant (5)extraordinary
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
5 - Finish line: (0)mediocre (2)not bad (5)very good (7)spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no
2 - Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 - Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes
2 - Posted promptly online: (0)no (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website: (0)no (1)yes
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes
2 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals
7 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average) **Free Coffee/Hot Chocolate**
6 - Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 - Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes
0 - Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
2 - Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!
0 - Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes
0 - Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x - Prices: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (2)yes (5)lots of free pics!
2 - Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 - Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 - Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no (2)yes **Facebook**
2 - Results or link to results posted on website: (0)no (2)yes
0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
5 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes