Looking at previous years' results, I knew I would get smoked but this year had exceptionally fast front-runners. The women's 4 mile race broke a course record set in 1999! The leading lady won in around 23:35 minutes (5:54 pace)! (We got the impression she runs for UW or WSU?)
I wish I could have seen her run, that is so very fast and exciting. Instead, I was huffing & puffing a full 6+ minutes behind her.
The park setting (Lake Wilderness) was quite nice...
It was strange running a 4-mile race. I wasn't sure how to pace myself at all. As usual, I went out too fast. The first two miles were HILLY. VERY hilly. Fortunately, the last two were fairly flat but the terrain was a bit tougher (loose gravel, potholes, grass, etc). All this crazy mixed-up stuff made the course a lot of fun and the distance went by fairly quickly.
During those first two miles, there was a young girl running near me (i.e., ahead of me) who powered up the hills. She was doing great. Then, at the third mile she started to struggle. I caught up to her and encouraged her to take some deep breaths, told her she was doing great. She eventually took off and won her age group (0-12 yrs). AWESOME! I'm sure I was witnessing a future high school cross-country star.
Then, in the last mile, I caught up to two young boys. One I ended up passing and the other would run hard then walk...run hard, then walk...staying ahead of me the whole time. With about 0.5 mile to go, I caught him and told him to just take it easy, take deep breaths. We ran together a bit. When we turned into the park, he stopped! I encouraged him to keep up, take it easy then 'go for it' when we could see the finish line. Boy, that kid ran right with me until we saw that finish line and as I yelled, "Go, go, go!" and he was OFF! Like Speedy Gonzales! I sprinted to the finish too but there was no way I could touch that little guy! He ended up placing second in his age division (0-12 yrs).
I finished in 30:35 (7:39 pace), which was pretty close to my goal of 7:30 (splits = 7:21, 8:02-HILLS, 7:38, 7:29). This was my first 4-mile race, so it was an instant PR AND it got me first in my age group (30-39). I won a bear from the bear run!
After the awards were given, we had a photo session for those who won their age division. I noticed the winner of the "70 and Better" age group had a 2011 Boston Marathon shirt on. I couldn't help but LOUDLY comment on it. Sorry for the race director, but that made our little photo session unravel as everyone had to congratulate the Boston runner. A celebrity!