The evening started with a surprise. There I was doing some final strides before the race, minding my own business, when I hear a voice, "Captain!". I look to my right and there's Budic striding out getting ready to toe the line himself. Complete surprise, brilliant!
Anyway, five minutes later and we were off. As expected this was a tough one! The first mile was harder than expected because of the headwind that was gusting. In contrast to the Skyline race Jordan gunned it from the start and took Ryan Bender, Chris Bailey and another guy with him. This was too fast for me so I ended up running solo, which didn't help. The other three guys who had beaten me at Skyline were not there tonight.
Hit the first mile in 5:18 but was already working hard, which wasn't the plan! Second mile I felt I was pushing hard when really it should have been an 'easy' mile- 5:16. So I hit the hill on Cedar knowing the last mile was going to be hard. I gained on 4th place guy and took him coming up Trade. This was the only overtaking manoeuvre I was involved in the whole race! As we hit Stonewall I literally felt I was crawling up the hill and my form went all over the place but I held it together to finish pretty strong in the home straight. Immediately I was very disappointed with the time but I was pleased with the effort and the racing aspect as I ran this solo. I was way behind the top three but 'won' the second race. Jordan smoked the field in a very impressive 15:30 on a tough course and in tough conditions- windy, sunny, humid, high 80s.
A couple of days later to reflect and I've got to admit I'm not that happy with the race. The problem (and benefit!) with running the same race year after year is that you've always got something to compare your latest race against. I've run this race three times previously and this was by far my slowest effort. This is when the doubts creep in, especially as you're getting older in your 30s (!), "will I be able to run that fast again and even faster?". That is certainly the goal so it's just a question of getting back to work and seeing what comes of it.