Monday, June 16, 2008

Hayfever Run

The 4 mile Hayfever Run will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first race I ever won. Last year, a massive field of 7 runners took to the mean streets of Belle Fourche and I conquered all (impressive, I know). So, of course I had to come back this year to defend my prestigious title (never mind that I had just run a marathon six days ago).

Well, it became clear very early (as in before the race even started) that I wouldn't be defending that title. The local cross country and track stud showed up this year, guranteeing that 2nd place was the best I would finish. The field swelled to a whopping 13 runners this year and surveying the field, I felt pretty sure that I could get that 2nd place, despite the fact that my legs didn't feel all that speedy. At 8:45, we were lined up and off. I kept up with the cross country kid for, oh, 100 feet or so and then watched his orange shorts disappear into the distance. But, I also stopped hearing footsteps behind me after about 3/4 mile, so knew I was pretty secure in 2nd place.

The Hayfever course isn't a fast one. Belle Fourche is situated at the confluence of two rivers and a creek, with hills dominating the north and south ends of town. Consequently, any route that covers more than a mile or so ends up including hills. This race starts at the Community Center, loops through the south hills and then back to the relatively flat center of town before going back uphill to the Community Center.

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.

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