Great race today!
Cold for the start time, somewhere just about freezing. It was pretty hard for me and the other relay anchors to stand around for over an hour after race start and then wait another hour at our checkpoint, but it was well worth it.
To recap, the race is 4x5 miles with a 6.2 anchor. My team is mostly comprised of 7 minute pace runners, so I was expecting them to show up at my checkpoint sometime around 9:30. We heard at the start that there were a total of 19 teams participating in this inaugural event! We had no idea though, who had what level of training and fitness. It appeared that many who got on the bus with us were new to racing, or had little expectation other than to have fun. This was my primary goal, but still, I was curious. Of course, the results almost completely hinged on the arrival time at our final exchange point. Unless a couple of teams had very similar cumulative times to that point, the results would largely be set already.
So, about 9 AM, I shed a layer and ran a quick mile warmup. Felt good and before I realized it, I was doing 6:45 and ready to roll. At 9:30, I shed the rest of my layers, now the weather was in the 40's and I felt pretty warm in the sun. Moments later, my 4th teammate crested the hill down the course in a bright yellow top and I moved into position. By this point, the clear winners had long since passed their 'baton' and were a good 20 minutes ahead of me. Far enough ahead that they were almost across the finish by the time I started my leg. The ankle strap came off easily, I cinched it down and took off. The energy and caffeine driving me to finish the first mile in 6:00 flat. I backed off a little bit figuring that even for 10K, I would not be able to maintain that pace.
I ended up passing three people, and felt a little bad about it. I hope they realized that I was running the relay and was fresh, and that was the only reason I had the speed to get around them. 6.2 miles never went so fast, but I was huffing and puffing by the end. The 10K distance gets you into the anaerobic range if you are running full tilt. Marathons are all about endurance, and so it is invariably the legs that give out, but I could feel the burn in my windpipe trying to get as much air as I could. Mile after mile ticked past. I had to jump a few obstacles where the rain had left puddles of mud, and the race course jumped over medians and curbs, but it felt great!
I crossed the finish with our team time of about 3:11 (official results not yet posted). They did not have timing mats at each transition, so my unofficial 10K time on the Garmin was 39:45. A new PR for me and a 67.9% age grade result!
Awesome race, had a blast, and the relay added a great new dimension.
Oh, and by the way, the first place team? It was a local high school track team, and they finished in something like 2:38. They were great sports about it; at the awards ceremony all shaking hands like the 'good game' ritual after every baseball game I played as a kid.