For my first race of the year, I decided to drive to Lake Bloomington and run the Lake Run 12K (7.47 miles). I've ran one other race (Dog Days 5K) that is a Lake Run Club owned race. They put on an excellent event and that was one of the reasons I chose this race plus how often do you get to run a 12K.
The morning started with me hitting the road at 6:00 AM. I figured it would take me 1 hour 20 minutes to get there and packet pick-up was only open from 7:00 to 8:00. Parking is available in the area but they advised to arrive early or you may have a long walk to the start/finish. I picked up my packet and headed back to the car for some relaxing. The race shirt was a short sleeve t-shirt... nothing fancy but a cool design.
After a short warm-up and some stretching, I ran into some other SRRC members (David, Nyle, Karen, Steve). Because this is a points race, the race had plenty of SRRC support. After the National Anthem (which was sung by the ladies winner), a LOUD cannon shot off and we were on our way. This event was chip timed but only when you crossed the finish. The start time was based on when the cannon exploded.
I was weaving in and out of people through the half mile. I wanted to stay with Steve Wagner. He told me he was wanting to run somewhere around 52/53 minutes. He was off with Nyle and Karen Rodgers and it took me everything to keep him in my sights. I was feeling good and hit mile 1 in 6:52. I backed off a bit and found a group of about 5 (including Steve) that I started running with. It was windy so I tried to let them do all the work while I sat in the back. I ended up running with most of the group for the next several miles. Steve eventually dropped off but I never knew how far. I kept my focus forward but I knew he had to be lurking somewhere behind me.
The scenery was awesome. You run around Lake Bloomington in its entirety. Other than the first mile (which is downhill), there isn't much flatness to the course. Nothing like the Lincoln Memorial or Abe's Amble but you notice all the rollers. And the last mile is a gradual uphill but we had the wind at our back. We stayed 4 or 5 strong from mile 2 through about 5. Mile 5 is where I got dropped. My breathing was all out of whack so I needed to slow down a bit and concentrate on my breathing. I was running solo but I kept my focus on a guy in front of me. My goal was to catch him by mile 7. With my breathing finally under control, I hit the point where the 4.37 mile race & the 12K meet. This motivated me since I was no longer running solo. I encouraged all the runners/walkers I encountered along the way and they did the same. I hit mile 7 and had caught the guy I wanted to catch. I picked up my pace for a strong finish and never looked back. As I rounded the last turn and saw the finish line, I gave it all I had left. Just prior to the finish line, I backed off a bit and Steve came flying by me. Damn!!! If only I would have run to the line! I can't complain about this race. I ended up 35th OA and 4th AG with a time of 53:49 (7:13 pace). Third place in my age group ran 7:07 miles and I knew that's where I needed to be but I couldn't hang today. Here are what my splits looked like:
6:52, 6:59, 7:00, 7:15, 7:21, 7:19, 7:20, & 3:30.
I hung around post race for the Avanti subs, granola bars, bananas, soda, and FREE beer. Gotta love a race that gives out free beer. After the awards, I headed back to SPI satisfied with what I had accomplished. It feels great to be back racing again after an injury plagued 2009. I would definately recommend this race or any race put on by the Lake Run Club.