Back in February, when I thought I'd be in Boston the weekend of the Southpark Racefest, I signed up for the Elizabeth 8K. I did this race a few years ago and I remembered the course being beautiful. I didn't remember it having rolling hills and I didn't remember how long an 8K is.
Saturday morning I woke up at 5:50am to start getting ready. Adam had agreed to take care of a friend's pets while he was out of town so we had to tend to them before heading to the race. I put on my race ready shorts, my Sharksbite singlet, my Herculisa socks and tried to wake up. After tending to the dogs and the cat, we headed to the race. We found a parking space right at the finish line in a lot where only one other car was parked, then walked to the Community Center to get my packet.
WE SAW ELVIS!!! Well, we saw a guy dressed as Elvis. He was the same guy who'd been dressed as Cupid at the Cupid's Cup 5K in February. He was outside the Community Center entertaining the few people who were standing around.
I got my packet and was pleased to see that they've started giving out tech shirts. We headed back to the car. Adam is still recovering and was there to do a run in the area during the race. He stretched and took off. I went in search of the three friends, Mindi, Jay and C.A., that I knew were running the race. I found Mindi, Jay found me and I didn't see C.A. until after the race. Mindi is married to a friend of mine from college. She recently started running to lose weight after having her fourth child. This was the second race she was running since high school. She had signed up on my recommendation. She was in a great mood and said she may try and pace with me in the beginning. I told her that my legs were tired and I didn't know how I was going to do. We seeded our selves about 5 feet behind the start line and chatted before the start.
I had run a short 2 mile route the night before the race on very tired legs. I hoped Saturday I'd be in better shape. Nope. Still very tired legs. But I pushed along. Mile 1 contained 8 turns taking us on mostly residential streets lined with houses and old apartment buildings. It was beautiful. Mindi was right with me during this mile. I was energized by the crowd and carried along with their momentum. Into mile 2 the streets began to get longer and there are fewer turns. I spotted Kathy Seavers ahead of me. Kathy Seavers and her husband Larry are an institution in Charlotte's running scene. At 65 Kathy is an "oncology nurse who has posted age-group wins at several recent local races..." (Theoden Janes' blog) I've seen her at almost every race I've run in Charlotte and over time, my times have caught up to hers. Of course, she's slowed down some over the years. She and her husband are very nice people and in addition to seeing them at races, I've seen them at The Neighborhood Theatre enjoying a concert. I'm not their only fan, though. To quote Scott Dvorak at the 2006 Dilworth 8K awards ceremony "Who doesn't love the Seavers?" I made it a goal in this race to pass her. At the water stop close to the mile 2 marker, I caught up to her. Shortly after the water stop, I did. But then I had to hold her off. Which wasn't easy.
At about 2 1/2 miles I saw Larry Seavers and made it a goal to pass him. I crept towards him and was gaining ground when just after the 3rd mile marker the course turned onto Dotger Ave and headed up the largest hill on the course. After the hill, we continued climbing for about half a mile as we looped around Deacon/Emerson/5th streets. I noticed Larry taking peeks over his shoulder. I would get closer, but then fall behind him. The course began to descend at the turn back onto Dotger Ave and then flattened with the turn onto Kenmore Ave. I passed Larry and as I did, he said "Go Sharksbite!" in labored speech. "Oh" I said in equally labored speech. "Go Lary Seavers!" I added.
Having passed Larry I now had to work to stay ahead of him. We soon passed the 4th mile marker and I began wondering "How long is an 8K again?" Math and running don't mix. I knew a 5K was 3.1 miles and that we were passed that, "so if 1K=.71 miles, then we have..." Actually 1K = .62 miles. I really should have looked it up before the race. I did know that an 8K is less than 5 miles so I knew we had less than a mile to go. I also knew that Greenway Ave was one of the last streets of the course. So shortly after turning to go up Cameron Ave I saw "eenw" on a street sign and new the end was near. We turned onto Greenway Ave and then finished on Park Dr.
I finished with a chip time of 41:28(8:24/mile pace) 138th place overall and 4th in my age group. Larry Seavers was 4 spots behind me with a time of 41:48 and Kathy finished at place 159 with a time of 42:40. So I beat people more than 20 years my senior. But they're fast, so it was a tough victory.
Adam was cheering at the finish and was surprised at my fast finish. I joined him in time to cheer for Mindi and C.A. who finished neck and neck. C.A. finished 166th with a chip time of 42:18 and Mindi finished 167th with a chip time of 42:29. Jay, who was wearing a knee brace at the start, finished 331st at a chip time of 48:39.
Speaking of knee issues. At some point in the race, my left knee started hurting. I think with my legs really tired, I either locked out my knee or hyper-extended it when landing. After the race, it really bothered me, but not as bad as it did Sunday morning. I took 2 Aleve before yoga and made the sad and hard decision to not run on Sunday. I decided it wasn't worth the risk of further damaging or seriously injuring my knee. So the first running streak of 2011, ended at 99 days. My goal is to run as many days as I can this year, so my goal is still in play. My knee isn't swollen and it only hurts when I put pressure on it, so I don't believe it is a serious injury. Today, Monday, it is significantly better. I can still feel little twinges of pain, so I plan to take today off too. This was a hard decision, but I know it is the right one. Better end the streak than end running period.
Total Days Run: 99
Longest Running Streak: 99 Days
Longest run: 8 miles
Longest week: 32.6 miles
Shortest run: 1 mile
Shortest week: 20.6 miles
Number of races run: 5
Total Miles Run: 374.35
Next Race: GBS 5K