This last weekend I headed down the mountain to Winston-Salem to run the Beat the Heat 5k. Every year it is the USATF NC 5km Championships, so many of the best runners in the state show up. Among the competitors this year were Donnie Cowart, 8th in the steeplechase at the Trials, and Brandon Hudgins, Semifinalist in the 1500m at the Trials. With these two in the field I knew that it was going to be a good race.
As the name of the race suggests, this year was all about how one handled the heat. At the time of the race (8 pm) the temperature was around 90 degrees and 60% humidity. It was hot to say the least, and it affected the race. Coming in to the race I had not run anything faster than 5:10 for longer than a stride, so I knew the race would be a shock to the system, but that was the purpose of the race. The first mile was around 4:45 and the second 4:50. Just after the second mile, we headed up a long half mile hill and where Donnie and Hudge began to pull away. I quickly realized that my lack of training had caught up to me, and I just wanted to hold my pace. I slowed the last mile and finished in 15:09.
Even though I did not win, the race was a step in the right direction. After eight weeks off, it will always be a long road back. Overall I am content with my effort on Saturday. It was about what I expected given my training. Now I am back to the daily grind of training in the mountains before another race in a few weeks. I do not know what that will be, but I will keep updating every few weeks or so.
Before I change the subject, I would like to thank all the people at Beat the Heat 5k. Er Ralston, the race director, put on a fantastic event. There was so much support for the race! The fans were excited to see a high level race take place and extremely enthusiastic. The volunteers did a great job making sure the race ran smoothly. I know that all of us elite runners are appetitive of the time and effort that goes into putting on a race.
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With one race under my belt, I figured it would be a good time to announce my fall marathon. I am excited to say that I will be running the TCS New York City Marathon! This will be my first World Marathon Major, and first time running a marathon against some of the top competition outside the US! But that does not mean there will not be some great American talent there. Dathan Ritzenhein is the headliner for the Americans, having run 2:07, which is the third fastest for an American ever. Also Matt Llano (6th at the Trials), Ryan Vail (2:10), and Christo Landry (Road ace extraordinaire) will be racing. Running against such a strong field makes me excited for my upcoming marathon build up. I know that in the 14 weeks to New York, I can get into just as good shape, if not better, than I was at the Trials. If I can do that I can be competitive against anyone in the field, not just the Americans.