Until recently I had never even heard of Louisville, Ohio. Apparently it's pronounced Lewis-ville not Louie as in the more famous Kentucky city. A friend told me the course was pretty fast so I drove the hour and twenty give or take to the Canton-area town to redline on a day when most sane people were already drinking. Some observations on the way in. I saw a drive-thru party store called Butts & Beers and a very mean looking bar called Deuces Wild. Tough town. I was also about to find out that they had a pretty tough 5K course.
I learned that the 2011 race was run on a flat course due to snow, which forced the organizers to change things up. That was not the problem this year. At gun time it was already mid-60s and very humid. I almost opted to race shirtless. The first mile was quite challenging and I made the mistake of going out a tad quicker than I probably should have in those conditions and the heat. The race started with a very gradual uphill through a residential neighborhood before hitting a small hill in a cul-de-sac. We got a gradual downhill after that before hitting another climb that led to a park. The park entry had yet another hill and I was surprised to hit the mile in a fairly quick 5:36 given the elements. I felt pretty good though and I was able to pass people who went out too hard. After the mile no one would pass me but the other people ahead of me were too fast to pull in, so pretty much a no-man's land run. Mile two was in a scenic park along a path. We hit another hill at about the half way mark and then a very long stretch on blacktop. You could really feel the heat there. I hit the two mile in 11:30 (it didn't seem like I had slowed down that much - maybe the mile was short) and at this point it was just survival, trying to lock my eyes on the guy who was ahead of me.
I ended up hitting the line in 18:02 (5:48 pace). Slower than I wanted to but I felt better after talking to other people I knew. I was 7th overall and first in 45-49. Everyone seemed to run about 30 seconds slower than they expected to based on recent workouts and races. Next week I'm running a 5K in New Orleans. It's a 5pm start and it will probably be 80 degrees so I'm not expecting anything blazing. There's supposed to be a fun after party with beer and jambalaya. Report forthcoming -- I'll be there from March 21-28.