This morning was the Track Shack Winter Park 10k in Park Avenue. It was the final race in their race series that started back in August.
I got there about an hour early and grabbed my packet and hit the portapotty. Then the 2 mile race went off at 7:00am and I jogged a couple miles to warm up myself. Then, I headed to the start line. I was tied in the race series and I looked around for Estevan, the guy I was tied with. But, I didn't see him. If he didn't show up, then all I had to do was run the race to win it!
The horn went off right at 7:30 and we were off. This course was pretty familiar to me, I do long runs most Sundays with a running group in Winter Park and we run most of these streets. I tried to run a little smarter for the first mile then when I ran the Best Damn Race 10k two weeks ago. My pace during that first mile was 5:30 and I think it made the whole race a lot harder. This time, I was around 6:10 pace for my first half mile. And I went through the first mile marker in a little over 6 minutes.
It was easier to pace myself during this race, because there are a lot of runners faster than me, and I can find someone around my pace to hang with. I also like Track Shack races because a lot of people start off too fast trying to keep up with the really fast guys. So, throughout the race I was slowly reeling in one person after another. That always feels good, and it makes the miles go by a little bit easier because I can focus on the guy in front of me.
There was a pretty big hill around the 3.5 mile mark. That was a tough one, it's a street I'm real familiar with, but normally we're going the other direction and running down the hill... and I had forgotten all about it until I saw it. I knew after the hill would be a pretty long downhill stretch, so I pushed up the hill as best I could knowing that I could coast for a little ways after that.
The last couple of miles were pretty uneventful. I caught a couple more guys and then I was turning onto the final stretch at 6 miles onto Park Avenue. A guy caught me and was pushing pretty hard, so I picked it up and kept up with his surge for the last bit. I pulled ahead of him at the very end, but we pretty much crossed the line together at 37:19. And, I found out afterward he was 49! What an animal! Anyways, it was a 3 second PR for me, and I was pretty sure I had won the race series.
This 10k felt a lot better than my 10k 2 weeks before. I attribute that to my better pacing early on. I ran a negative split, my first 5k was 18:42 and my second 5k was 18:37. And, my last mile was my fastest at 5:55. My mile splits were:
Splits: 6:02, 6:02, 6:02, 6:01, 6:02, 5:58, 5:30 (0.2 miles)
And when the results were posted, I was second in my age group.
But, Estevan didn't show up, so I won the race series also! I won the race series without ever winning a race outright in any of the six races. But, I was consistently second place, so I guess that counts for something. I got a cool plaque, a race series cooler, and a $50 gift certificate to Track Shack (my first ever winnings from running!). Here's the final standings for the race series in my age group:
Afterwards, while waiting for the results to be posted I ran into Paula and Michelle. Paula had an amazing 6 minute PR, and I've seen a bunch of pictures of Michelle on Paula's blog before but this was the first time I've actually met her. I also ran into a couple of the runners from the Sunday Winter Park running group: Atif and Jen.
And here's a pic of all the swag I got from this race and winning the race series:
Next up is a 10 mile race at UCF next Sunday. I've never run a 10 mile race before, so that should be interesting. And running on the UCF campus is always good fun. I think this may be my last Track Shack race until the race series starts again at the end of summer. I guess my goal next time around will be to actually come in first place in my age group in a Track Shack race.