Ada Jenkins Fire 5k ) when I might have been able to win the 8k, especially frustrating because the 8k has great prizes. The second reason I was itching to race was because I had a mediocre 4 miler (and poor stair climb) and I needed a confidence boost going into Boston. At this point the physical work is all done, but it is very important to be in the right state of mind.
By Friday I still did not know of anyone really fast racing and Danielle was on board with me racing so long as I set conservative goals and was very careful. By the afternoon we had decided that we would both race (of course once I registered I heard rumblings that John Compton might be a last minute entry). I went back to the Charlotte Running Company and registered Danielle, we had decided to incorporate the 8k into our long run and kill two birds with one stone.
Race morning we did a longer warm up, 4 miles part of which we got to do with Stephen Spada, running with him is always a treat. Spada informed me that he had already seen Compton, we would be racing (hopefully each other) for second. I was thankful that I convinced Danielle to run to still give us a chance at the sweet prizes. I do think it is a little silly that first gets three gift certificates and second and third get squadoosh, oh well, not my race.
I figured my honest goal would be to break 28 minutes, but that I would be happy with 28:30 if I ran under control and kept myself feeling good. It was actually a relief to see Compton because it took away any pressure of trying to win. If I am going to lose to someone, Compton is a great person to lose to, extremely talented yet unassuming and friendly, not to mention I don't have to worry about it being close. I did worry if I would be able to see John and the lead bike/car on the confusing course.
Danielle and I switched our shoes, said hello to our friends and One2Tri Racing teammates, did a couple strides and got lined up. The world's worst and most annoying Elvis impersonator sent us off. For about 8 seconds I was in the lead, then John took his rightful place and the battle for second began. I was in a pack of 4 with Spada, and two other guys. The plan was to try and relax as close to 5:35 pace as possible, get through the hills in mile four and then push in the last mile. After a couple miles the other 2 disappeared and it was just Spada and I. He is great to run with because he runs very consistently with great effort and is terrific competitor. As of recently I have been able to nip him in the shorter stuff and I consider that quite and accomplishment. I broke loose from Spada in the hills in the fourth mile and hit the 4 mile mark very close to my goal pace and feeling very good. I picked up the pace was shocked to 27:2x on the clock as I crossed.
Compton won in 26:02, thankfully Tom Patch on the bike dropped back to guide the rest of us through the twisting course. Spada was third and broke 28. I quickly exited the finish chute and ran back out the course to go look for Danielle. I did not have long to wait, she was coming on strong not far behind me as the first female. I cheered her on to back to back Liz 8k wins. Her time was 31:16 with was about 15 seconds slower than last year but considering that she is coming off an injury and very limited running/speed work we were both very enthused. She was happy to be able to race, feel pretty good, and put up a decent time. Winning a 90-minute massage and $50 gift certificates to the Customshop and RedSky Gallery certainly didn't hurt either!
It was another good day for One2tri Racing, coach extraordinaire Nicole Gross had a great race and finished as the 3rd female in 32:46; Keith Mrochek continued his great running season finishing 7th overall and third in a crazy fast 35-39 AG in 29:25. Tom O'Donnell notched second place AG in 32:30. Full results found here.
After the race we did the best we could to drag ourselves through a few more miles for a cool down. It is always so difficult because there are so many people to talk to and food/drinks/massage to enjoy post race. We managed to get in about four more miles before giving in to a beer a Hawthorne's Pizza and collecting our awards. It was a great morning, Danielle felt good and got the win, I felt great and came out of that race feeling confident for Boston, we got to see a ton of friends and drink a beer, the day could have ended there and it would have been great. But it didn't...
Then we headed over to Chris and Sarah's, Danielle had to return the tri suit Sarah had generously lent her for Cool Breeze. Of course we happened to show up just in time for chocolate chip banana pancakes and mimosas. After breakfast and relaxing we convinced that crew to join us at Inside Out Sports for the customer appreciation day which was a lot of fun. We bought some more Honey Stinger Waffles (amazing) and some gu's (much less amazing) and I got a sweet deal on a tri top for the bike. We also scored more free food for lunch. Right before leaving we were hanging out with the King and Queen of Charlotte running: Larry and Kathy Seavers, they truly are the best people ever. As we are getting ready to leave Larry and Kathy won a pair of Castelli bike shorts and an underseat bike bag. They don't ride so they generously gave them to us, which was extremely nice but also funny because they are things we definitely needed. Our bike gear is still very much a work in process, just like our riding.
I won't embarrass Danielle too much by posting all about her birthday but lets just say that it included at least some of the following: flowers, Vivace (amazing) cupcakes, midget strippers, shrimp tacos, champagne, Dandelion Market, juice-plus+, amazing friends and a trip to Diamonds Direct. Although I will say that I think she found the single cheapest piece of jewelry (also on sale) at DD. All and all it was a great weekend and we are ready for another epic weekend next weekend in Boston, stay tuned.