|Michel, Stephane, Hiroko, and I before the Race|
Both of them had planned on running in the race with Hiro and I, but after a tense night of driving Stephane had a splitting headache and decided not to run, but Michel did run in what would be his first 5k. We arrived at the race very early because we needed to get Michel registered and figured that we could take some time to show them a little bit of the downtown area. The weather was so perfect, 68° with clear blue sky, that it was difficult to imagine that the weather had been so deadly just the day before. After our tour, I tried to loosen up a bit and see how my legs were feeling. Surprisingly, my legs felt much better than they had before the Cary Road Race last week. I felt none of the stiffness that has plagued me since my misadventures in Umstead two weeks ago, but my legs weren't as springy as I had hoped.
Regardless, I didn't have any real complaints going into the race and was pretty hopeful that I might be able to challenge my PR. I felt very comfortable with the course, which was flat for nearly the entire first mile. The second mile consisted of two long slow inclines with a short decline between them and the turnabout. The remainder of the course was on a decline except for the short decline of from the second mile was now a slightly steep little rise.
The race started of well and there was very little jostling at the start and since this race was part of the Second Empire Spring Race Series, there were more experienced runners in the field, so most people seemed to have lined up appropriate to their level. There were no costume runners to deal with, and few people sprinting out at the start and dying a half a mile into the race, so it was a nice start to the race. I got out well and was right on the pace that I set for myself. We ran east on Hillsborough Street towards the state capitol building. Michel went past me just as we took the first turn to go around the Capitol building and Hiroko was still running just over my shoulder as we completed out loop of the Capitol building and head back onto Hillsborough street. The first half mile had gone by quickly and we were now preparing to pass by the start/finish area again. The crowd gathered there gave us a good cheer as we went by. Michel was still a little ways ahead of me, but I could tell that I would be catch up to him soon. Hiroko was still over my shoulder, and Iknew she was going to pass me pretty soon, which she did just after we caught Michel at the mile marker. My first mile was nearly exactly where I had wanted it to be. 8:07.96. I had felt a little soreness inside of my pelvis around the 3/4 mile mark, but I wasn't worried or effected by it at all and it soon passed.
We began the first incline just at the mile mark and a soon as we did were hit with a strong headwind that would last until the turn around at the traffic circle just in front of the NC State bell tower. Hiro was in front of me and pulling away a bit as we came down the decline. I was only shocked by this because she hadn't been running at all prior to this race. I am well aware that as it stands, Hiroko would easily smoke me at every race if she only trained more (or at all). But, as we began the second incline, I was fairly confident that I would pass her at some point in the third mile. The front runners came past us heading towards the finish line as we were passing the mile and a half marker. A guy running somewhere around fifth bonked right in front of Hiro and I. His knees went all wobbly, and I thought that he was going to hit the deck, but instead he just puked and staggered on. I turned my head a kept running on toward the turn around. This wasn't the first time I had seem someone puke in a race, but it was the first time I had been face to face when it happened.
I tried to just focus on my race because I knew that I was off my pace and wasn't sure why. The incline on this portion of Hillsborough street is deceptive, the wind was fairly strong, but I wasn't sure if they accounted for my being off by so much. I did the second mile in 8:57.61, which was nearly 45 seconds off my goal pace.