We ran the race backwards from last year, so that big decline in the second mile this year was a big incline in the third mile last year, which probably helped a little. Really, it didn't matter though because after the first mile I was shot. I knew it was going to be a rough day when I hit that big decline and did not get any faster at all. Going back uphill in the final mile was rough too. The cross country punk actually had to stop and puke at the top of the last hill, but still beat me by exactly 3 minutes. I cruised in in 26:52, exactly 1 minute faster than I ran it last year (not sure if I'm that much faster or if it's because of the backwards course). An indicator of how spent my legs were is my average pace, which was 6:52. That was also my average pace for my half marathon PR last summer. Logic would say that a 4 mile pace should be significantly faster than a half marathon pace, but that wasn't happenin on Saturday. In any case, I did win my age group (which isn't saying much) and got a pretty cool water bottle for that.
Next up is the only other race held annually in Belle Fourche, the Roundup 10K on July 4th. This is a bigger race (about 70 runners last year) on another tough loop course around town. Hopefully by then, I'll actually be able to run at something akin to 10K pace. The best part about this race is that it literally starts right outside my front door, so I can basically just wake up, throw on some running clothes, stumble over to the park with my $10 (yes, just 10 bucks) and start running. Oh, and the last two years Rupert of "Survivor" fame has been there. Don't ask why, cuz I don't know, but that's about as big a celebrity as we get around these parts.