Monday, May 09, 2011

Race Report: Fredonia 5-Miler 2011

This past Saturday, I ran another local race. I know! Two races in as many weekends! But when the race is right here in town, I can't pass it up.

This weekend, it was the Fredonia 5-Miler, a five mile race that starts downtown by the historic Fredonia Hotel, winds through the college campus where I work (I sped up when I passed my building) and loops back for a downtown finish. The best part about this race is that after, all the runners, organizers and volunteers enjoy breakfast burritos, coffee and orange juice on the hotel's poolside patio. Because 50-odd sweaty and smelly runners are classy like that.

Runners begin to gather at the start line.

This was my second year running this race. Last year, it was very hot and humid and I finished in 44:22. This year I've been running slower overall (not counting the marathon) and my training the last few weeks had been spotty. I didn't expect to PR, but I wanted to try and run nine minute miles - a 45 minute finish. The weather was about 70 degrees when we started at 8:00am with low humidity. So far, so good.

And then: I ran five miles. It was a fairly uneventful run - pretty course, one steep hill at the halfway point, two well placed water stations. This part of the report would be more exciting if I had action photos, but alas. (Side note: I read a lot of race recaps and I'm always envious of these bloggers who have a million photos of themselves running their races. Who is taking these photos? Do they have friends and spouses placed at strategic points throughout the race? Do they set their cameras on a timer? How do they posses the coordination to hold out their camera and take an action shot of their own face while they are running? When I'm racing, I'm racing. And I generally don't have an entourage of paparazzi waiting to get the perfect shot, unless it's a marathon because that's really special and exciting. So: no mid-race photos. I hope the post-race shots make up for it.)

Here's one funny thing that happened during the race: for most of the five miles, I was neck and neck with a girl who looked to be about high school age. I pulled in front of her; she pulled in front of me; back and forth we went. At the three mile mark I had a pretty good lead on her (maybe 100 feet) and I held that until we were about a half a mile from the finish line. At that point, her father jumped in the race and started running beside her, egging her on. "Come on, you got this, a little faster, you're almost there." And suddenly, the girl was passing me! I started clapping and managed to gasp, "Nice job!" And not only did she pass me, but she finished a good 30 seconds before I crossed the finish line. It's inspiring to see someone dig deep and push it in the final stretch.

I didn't mind being passed because we obviously weren't in the same age group. Which is good, because during the breakfast burritos and awards ceremony, this happened:

Oh hey! That's a nice surprise!

That's right. Despite feeling undertrained and not competive, I beat least year's time AND placed first in my age group. My new five mile PR: 43:59. Not too shabby.

The couple who places together stays together.

Nathan placed second in his age group, but only because he now shares an age group with our friend Chip, who is a very speedy and talented runner. If you have to lose to someone, you can't go wrong with losing to Chip. :)

All in all: a fun race, a great morning and a lovely slice of Nacogdoches hospitality. Thanks to the Hotel Fredonia and the Nacogdoches Rotary Club for hosting the event!