I arrived in Corpus Christi really really late. I had to pick up my "On The Run" (The running store that was sponsoring us) singlet and bib from Brett Riley @ 10:30 PM. I eventually arrived at my shared hotel room @ 11:30 PM and went to bed @ 11:45. This definitely was not the way to be mentally and physically ready for the race the next morning, but we had a pretty good team. The team was made up of:
- Me (Yours truly)
- Brett Riley (2:32 marathoner)
- John Yoder (2:35 marathoner)
- Gerardo Mora (One of the local elite masters runners, HARRA Masters runner of the season, 2:4x marathoner)
- John Hedengren (The strongest runner, PR of 14:xx in the 5k)
- Alan Hedengren (16 minute 5k guy, good runner)
So as you can see, we had a pretty strong team. I could go into how each leg went down but I believe you will get a better description from Gerardo himself. I'll just give a little description of how my leg went.
My leg consisted of a bridge that was basically like a hill that went up for about .25 miles. But then it was downhill for another .25 miles. My strategy was to put a modest effort of about 5:45 pace going up, but then go down at 5:05 pace. I wanted to average 5:20 pace for my leg. When I got the baton we were probably between a minute and a minute and a half behind the second place team. The first place team seemed to be at least 3 minutes in front of us, but more about them in a second. Slightly discouraged I ran up the bridge, but to my surprise I was going about a low 5 minute pace. That was a no no. So I slowed it down to 5:45 pace going up. Eventually I reached the apex of the hill and then I just blasted it downhill as fast as I could, no brakes. Looking ahead, the 2nd place runner wasn't visible. Mile 1 completed at 5:26.
By Mile 2 I was dripping in sweat and was realizing it was very humid. The singlet I was wearing would not let the sweat evaporate from my chest area and mentally I was starting to get uncomfortable since I'm so used to going shirtless. I plugged away and finished Mile 2 at 5:23.
By Mile 3 I could slightly make out a figure in front of me. It was the 2nd place runner. He was coming back to me. That was good news because I was beginning to think that this leg would be by myself. I finished Mile 3 at 5:18.
At Mile 4 I was really moving. My pace had picked up considerably, but by no means did I feel comfortable. As a matter of fact I felt tired, but for some reason my legs were running faster anyway. I was able to see the 2nd place runner a lot more clearly now. He was fading and fading pretty bad. But wait, what is this? The guy stops. He stops and looks back at me. Wow, what a huge sign of weakness. This only emboldens me because now I know I can really put my team in a good spot. I finish Mile 4 at 5:15.
Only about .36 to go now and I might be able to actually catch this guy. There isn't a good chance of it happening but it is possible if he is totally broken. I pick it up and I am only 10 seconds behind as I hand the baton to Brett Riley. I ran the last .36 at 5:14 pace. Wow well what do you know? I ended up negative splitting again. My total average pace was 5:21.
|Total Average Pace||5:21|
We ended up finishing 2nd overall. Our time was 2:24 which is about a 5:30 pace. The 3rd place team finished 30 seconds behind us. No doubt the guy on my leg played a major part in them losing to us. The first place team finished almost 6 minutes ahead of us with a 2:18 for a 5:18 pace. We really had nothing to be ashamed of. The first place team was made up of a 3 time NCAA national champion at 5k and 10k twice, Shadrack Songok. The other 5 guys were NCAA college runners of a pretty good caliber as well. Speaking of Shadrack, I got to speak with him for a little bit after the race. Actually my friend Mahta spoke and I listened to what Shadrack had to say. Basically he gave us a ton of tips of what he did when he was training and competing in college. He is a pretty down to earth guy and spoke to us for a good 20 minutes.
Well, the race was a success, here are a few pictures.