I had the opportunity to run a race this past Sunday. I learned that my brother Greg was running the Rhody 5K, and he talked me into joining him. It seemed like a good chance at a sub 20 minute time, as I had some good speed workouts recently. The 9:30AM start had me believing it wouldn't be too hot, but as I pulled into the parking lot at Twin River, my car thermometer was already at 80, the sun was out, and it was extremely muggy. I had still had high hopes, knowing that I do most of my runs in the mid-day heat, and I was only going 3.1 miles today. I was a little overwhelmed by the scope of the race. There were people everywhere. I looked around for my brother's bald head/goatee and the CMS jersey he'd be wearing. No luck. I figured he was out doing a 6 mile warmup or whatever good runners do. I registered and then decided to try a warmup of my own. I felt loose, and not nearly as nervous as I usually do at races. I decided to head back to my car for water as the sweat poured off my body. With 10 minutes to go before start time, I jogged over to the starting line, hoping to run into my brother (pun intended) there. Lots of runners were hovered under some trees for the shade and chatting about how hot and slow this race would be today. Finally, with 2 minutes before the start, my brother appeared. We got to talk before we needed to take our places. I lined up next to some kid with my same Nike Free Run's.
The horn sounded, and we were off. I tried to not go out too fast. I typically do, and I also wanted to avoid overheating. For the first half mile I was getting passed left and right. Then we approached a slight uphill, I picked up my pace as others slowed, and never got passed again. I reached the first mile marker (with a large timer) in 6:48. Way too slow! I picked up my pace slightly and continued to quietly pass the runners in front of me. Unfortunately, the course is not shaded, and it was full sun exposure. I felt okay though. I knew that I was in way better shape for the elements than the runners around me. What this probably meant is that I was running too slow. 13:38 at mile 2. It took me a while to figure out that this meant I hadn't gone any faster in my second mile. The course here was on a road that cut through a large parking area - probably the antithesis of where I'd like to be running - give me a wooded trail with a stream crossing please. Another hill and I surged, passing mostly middle aged runners wearing different team jerseys. The course then passes the start area, where the women were waiting for their start and cheering us on as we ran by. Mile 3 - 20:14 - my exact time at the Chariho 5K back in April. I turned one last corner and headed into the finish area. I heard my brother call out my name, saw one more guy I could possibly catch, and decided to put on a good kick to the finish line. My total time was 21:06. At least the guy on the loudspeaker complimented my finish. Body-wise I felt great. I definitely think that I ran too conservatively. I shouldn't have worried about the heat, or should just accept that running in this weather will produce slower times. Greg was disappointed in his run - 16:09 - good for 4th place for CMS.