Mid-December weather can be unpredictable in Michigan. I knew that when I registered last month for the “Run Like The Dickens” race up in Holly. ( www.runlikethedickens.com ) But frankly I hadn’t considered 17 degrees with a cold wind an option. But that’s what we had this morning. So most of the 700+ runners in the 5k and 10k kept their fleeces and wind-gear on the entire race.
After my October marathon I was in the mood for a nice short 5k so this Holly race sounded fun. No extra prep needed. I could just do my normal training runs and not worry about water on long runs, gel packs or interval training. Just show up at the race and run. The only real pre-race decision to make was how warm to dress. The wind made it feel much colder than the 17 degree temp my car showed. I went with Under Armour Cold Gear top and leggings plus a lined wind-breaker, hat and gloves.
As we stood at the start waiting for the train to move through Holly so we could start, I was thinking I would just run a fairly easy pace. Nothing too fast in these conditions. I had done a few warm-up laps around the parking lot but certainly didn’t feel limber. So as the gun sounded (actually one of the race organizers simply yelled “GO!), I started at what felt like a comfortable pace. Not knowing the course, I didn’t know our distance until I spotted the “1 Mile” sign when my watch read 7:53. Not great but not bad. I was loosing up some so I decided to push the pace a little. At the “2 Mile” sign I was at 14:32 so I just kept that pace. As I turned the corner at the “3 Mile” sign I could see the finish line straight ahead and a guy just off my left shoulder. From a quick glance he looked to be about in my age group and I think he realized the same thing because at the same instant we both kicked it in to high gear. Two 50-something year-old guys racing all out. That could be dangerous. He hit the mat a step ahead of me at 23:51. For a casual race on a cold, windy December day I was satisfied. That is until the results were posted inside the gym about 30 minutes later. Of 17 guys in my age group I was 4th. Crap. They were giving awards to the top 3 places in each division. My time was 20 seconds behind the 3rd place guy.
As the awards were handed out I watched to see who was 3rd in my division. Yep, it was the guy I raced to the finish. He must have started a little behind me but with the timing chip he had 20 seconds on me.
It was a nice race but next time I’m going to train and take it serious.