Our family has done this race many times. We use it as a training race for the Bolder Boulder. This year the boys used it as their only run before the Bolder Boulder (update: they both did one other run, just around the neighborhood). I guess that's still a training race for them. For Sheri it was her first road race in about a year. Same for me. Last year I trained hard for a fast Bolder Boulder and discovered I can no longer run as fast as I could before. I wasn't that broken up about it. It was bound to happen. I was never very fast to begin with, so I wasn't losing that much anyway. This year my target events are much more varied than just running. I have been running consistently, but almost all trail running and I've done zero speed work. Knowing that I decided to start at a conservative pace of 7:00/mile. If I could hold that, cool. If not, that would be disappointing, but what can you expect if you don't do the work? Ideally, I'd drop the pace and run negative splits.
I warmed up with a couple of miles of easy running and then joined the family to head over to the start. The race was huge this year and had a ton of race-day sign-ups, probably due to the absolutely perfect weather - a rarity this spring. We staged near the front. Even though this is a big race, the talent is not very deep. As evidence to that assertion, I won my age group last year.
I took out the first mile a bit over 7-minute pace and pressed a bit going down the hill. I went a bit too hard and my pace fell to 6:38/mile at one point. I eased up a lot and then the course turned uphill I made sure I was hardly working. That worked nicely and when I passed by the first mile mark, the woman their called out my pace: "7:00". Nice! Sheri and the boys were so close behind me that Sheri heard the lady call out my pace.
I felt good and started picking up the pace a bit; nothing radical, just turning the screws a bit. There was still a long way to go. I climbed up over the overpass and then dropped down on the underpass. My second mile was 6:40. With just a bit over a mile to go, I gradually ramped up the effort, pushed the pain a bit. I entered the ballpark to make my loop around the warning track and gradually closed on two runners in front of me. I got them both before I exited and with no one close in front of me, I figured to just press to the finish and not have to kick. But the last guy I passed started kicking and came up on me. I wasn't having any of that and burst into a full-on sprint, holding him off. I finished in 21:01, quite pleased with my pace, effort, and time.
Sheri came in at around a 7:15 pace and Danny was only nine seconds behind her, having run the first two miles right with her. Derek was about forty seconds further back. He kicked pretty hard at the end and hurled in the chute. I view that as a badge of honor. He ran as hard as his body would allow and kicked so hard that his stomach rebelled. I used to be able to push hard enough to hurl at the finish, pretty frequently. Nowadays I'm not mentally tough enough to hurl.
I ended up getting second in my age group - out of 169 in my 5-year age group! Like I said, the field isn't very deep...but it is wide. Sheri also got second in her age group out of a remarkable 195! Danny was 17th and Derek 21st in the 15-19 age group, out of 128. Results here.