Every year I seem to do a race that is really badly marked and ends up being really short or really long. I don't have a Garmin so I can't back this up but yesterday's It's Better Than Mentor 5 miler seemed to fall in the latter category. Someone did mention that the race started further back than previous years even though it finished in the same spot. I know my pace really well from consistent interval and tempo workouts down to a few seconds either way, and knew right away something was off when I hit the mile mark in 6:18, running all alone in third place. Two youngsters already had a big gap at me by this point. I went out in a very conservative 6:05 back on my Labor Day race when it was really hot and humid and this felt much more aggressive. It got stranger as we veered off the roads and hit a dirt trail where I came up to the 2 mile mark in 13:45! WTF? I did lose a little ground in the second mile when I missed a marker and had to back track a bit but at most that was maybe 20 seconds (As a side point they could have had a few more volunteers on the course to guide people). Coming off the dirt trail I hit a normal bike path and a pretty big climb leading to the 3 mile marker and suddenly I was at 19:05. So I'm supposed to believe I did a hilly mile in 5:20 right after a flat 7:00 minutes plus mile. In any case, I felt like my effort was pretty consistent throughout and I felt very strong on the hills and trail segments. My overall time was 31:26 (6:17 pace) for 3rd overall and first in my age group. I ran alone the whole times as the top two guys were way ahead of me and 4th place was more than 2 minutes behind me. I'll file this under a good strength workout since I certainly got that and will have to wait and see how my 5K goes in 2 weeks to get a really good gauge of where I'm at fitness wise.
It's been awhile since I've posted. Work has been busier than usual but my training has been solid. I seem to be doing well with two stress workouts each week and three or four short and easy runs for recovery. I had a solid race on Labor Day Weekend in very humid conditions, running 30:15 for 5 miles. Looking at the results, a lot of runners I know ran as much as 45-60 seconds slower than normal so hopefully that's a good sign for things to come. My pacing was especially even. Next up is another 5 miler on September 23 in Mentor. I've never run this race but the course description of rolling hills and scenic paths sounds appealing. After that I have a 5K on a very fast course on October 6, a 2 mile road race while we're in New Orleans for the premiere of the NOLA Bound documentary my wife is in, another 5K at the end of October and then, most likely, the very hilly Twinsburg Turkey Trot (Nov. 17?), a 5K tune up and, finally, Club Nationals cross country in Lexington, KY on Dec. 8.