Saturday morning I drove up to Natchez Trace State Park for the Race on the Trace 5-mile race. It was a repeat from last year, so I knew the course was incredibly hilly. It kinda put a hurtin’ on me last year, but I wanted to do it again for a few reasons. 1) It’s cheap. 2) It’s close to home (an hour away). 3) I like to do repeat races occasionally just to see what kind of improvement I’ve made on a given course.
I wasn’t sure the race would even go down as scheduled. We got some snow here a couple of days ago, but I emailed the race director and he had driven the course that day and gave it the green light.
I left my house in just enough time to get there, get parked, pee, stretch, and walk the half-mile to the start line in time for the 11:00 gun time. Who am I kidding? There was no gun. But at 11:00 sharp, the dude yelled “GO!” and we went.
It started off by going out a mile and then turning around and coming back. I liked that because it gave me a chance to scope out who was in front of me. I was watching for chicks that looked to be in the 30-34 age group. It was kind of hard to tell since everyone was so bundled up (It was 27 degrees when I got out of my truck.), but I was pretty sure I saw two early-30s girls running together. I was pretty certain at that point that I was in 3rd. And I hung on to that position until right before the third mile marker. It was then that a girl that looked to be about my age came from behind me and passed me. She didn’t blow by me or anything, just kind of inched ahead. I was okay with that right then. I just told myself I’d hang with her and try to pass her later. But she just kept creeping ahead a few inches at a time. At about the four-mile mark there was a monstrous hill. I was struggling up it, and that’s when I saw it. She started walking! I tried so hard to kick it in and pass her on the hill, but when I made it to within just a few feet of her she started running again. DOH! As much as I wanted to chick her in the final stretch, I just wasn’t able to do it. She had me. She crossed the line I would guess 15-20 seconds ahead of me.
When I crossed, they handed me my card with the #76 on it. I put my info on it and turned it in and then went to change into some warm, dry clothes. When I came back out I looked at the board, and card #75 was in the 3rd place spot for AG 30-34.
Dangit. So close.
Mile 1 – 9:28
Mile 2 – 9:36
Mile 3 – 9:38
Mile 4 – 10:20 (The Hill)
Mile 5 – 9:34
Total time 48:37, average pace 9:44. Considering my time on the same course exactly one year ago was 54:40, I’ll take it! And it’s good enough for a new PR anyway!