A little work and a little luck. That’s what it took to earn my first 1st place award in a race.
This race season has been so hot my times had not been as fast as I had hoped. But I kept working at my times doing speed work and intervals in my morning training runs when it was cooler. I knew that the training would help in races eventually.
A couple of weeks ago I ran the Grand Prix Shakedown on Belle Isle in Detroit. This Tuesday night 8k race is a low-key event but well-organized and fun. Looking at the total field of over 200, it seemed like there were several guys that could be in my age group but it’s hard to tell for sure. So, with the temps in the high 70’s I decided to push myself more than other races this summer when I was running in the mid to high 80’s. An 8k is an odd distance so I didn’t really know where I was when hitting the mile markers but I felt if I could run a sub-8:00 minute pace I’d have a chance to place. I was on pace for the first three miles so not knowing exactly how many miles were left I decided to keep the pace. At the four mile mark I asked a race volunteer how far we had to go and he yelled “just under a mile” which surprised me a little. I thought an 8k was just over 4 miles but it’s actually 4.97 miles.
About 50 yards from the finish line I was approaching a guy that could have been in my age group. I started my kick and came along side him. He looked a little surprised when I said “Let’s do this!” and we both kicked into an all-out sprint through the shoot (with me a half-step ahead).
When the times were posted about 15 minutes later it was fun to see my name listed first in my age group. At that point there were nine finishers in that group but with several runners still on the course I’m guessing there were more in our group. I felt good for my effort and also lucky when I saw that the first two finishers in the next age group had better times than me. A little luck never hurts but you still need training and work to make it work.