Tough race for our team at Applefest. Curt blazed at sub 6s for the first 4 miles, then tore his plantar fascia and limped in the last 2.5. Sheer guts. We still ended up running the third fastest men’s master’s relay time, fifth fastest overall.
I avg’d 6:39s over my climbing 6.7 miles. (The race is essentially first half downhill, second half uphill with some real bruisers. Here’s a link to the elevation map. Hills from miles 2-4 were non-stop, culminating in some real beasts! I caught the guy I was running against for second place just a 100 feet after the transition area. We ran together for a while, I led for a couple of miles, but he caught me after four miles, near the end of the hill section, just as the drizzling rain turned into a torrential downpour. When we went around a corner and found – big surprise – another hill, he kicked and passed me, looking strong. I didn’t have the legs to go with him. I managed to keep him in sight for the rest of the race, and even drive my pace back toward its pre-hill speed, but never came near reeling him back in. Another steep hill at the end of the race put the nail in the coffin.
And that’s how we ended up third today. I was happy enough with my run – but felt awfully for Curt; hoping he heals well enough and soon enough for the marathon on his calendar this fall. This race was really just a tune up race as we near the end of the marathon training cycle. Consolation? Third place still gets each runner a Mile High Apple Pie to take home. That and the finisher’s medal is a bottle opener – perfecto for a couple of post race bottles of Guinness.