My last blog was somewhat of a half race report, but The Gear and Training Triathlon Team wants a full race report for each race, so that is what I'll give them! Sorry, this one is a little long.
The Joe Cain 5k
For those of you outside of Mobile, Alabama, Joe Cain Day is a day full of craziness. He is the man widely credited with bringing Mardi Gras to Mobile after the civil war. And of course, everyone should know that Mardi Gras actually started in Mobile and not in New Orleans! So every Sunday before Fat Tuesday, it's thrown down time, in honor of Sir Joe Cain! Somewhere along the line, a few nuts decided that in their drunken/hungover stupor on Joe Cain Day, they should run an early morning race, and that is what had me out in the cold this past Sunday.
I used to live in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and the moutains of North Carolina. It is not Minnesota cold in those places, but I can say that I have experience with cold weather. However, I consider Jacksonville, Florida home and I do not do very well with cold weather. I would rather have it be 95 degrees than 55 degrees. So when I woke up Sunday morning, and it was cold enough that I had to consider wearing sleeves to race in, it was too cold for me! But, my company is participating in something called the Corporate Cup. It is city wide contest between various businesses that pits us against each other in weird divisions and scores us with rules that are only slightly less confusing than the Calvinball rules from the old Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Somehow I was nominated the Team Captain, and we are kicking butt, so we keep running.
However, it was cold, it was wet, and it was oh, so windy!
Let's Run... and spill beer and puke
Gregg Johnson is my training partner and my boss. He is old, almost 50 now and fat... and hopefully doesn't read this... But the guy is fast. I have not beat him in a running race yet. I always try to hold on to his wheel as long as I can but it never works. So on Sunday I decided I was just going to let him go and shoot for my sub 21 on my own terms.
I toed the line next to a guy with a camel back full of liquor and a beer in each hand and the gun went off! The crowd quickly thinned out and I decided to push my ego away and let everybody pass me so that I wouldn't burn my legs at the beginning. I knew that to run my 21 I needed to come in to the first mile marker at 7 minutes and when I hit, I was standing good at 6:56. Ok, time to pick up the pace.
About 1.2 miles in I saw a familiar stride, it was Gregg. This might be my day! I stayed a little bit behind him as we circled the course, then we turned North and the wind was terrible! At the turn we began to see everybody in the back of the back and I swear, at least half of them had a beer in hand. Crazy. Well, I pulled up next to Gregg and we agreed to work together. We drafted off of each other like we were hammering out a long Saturday ride. He would draft me as I ran up somebody's back and passed them then I would draft him as he did the same. And it worked. We made it through the two mile mark at 7:07, not good. That meant to hit 21 minutes I was going to have to haul butt in the last mile and the wind was not getting any easier.
I turned west on the final stretch with a pack of about 6 people. We were pushing harder and harder and picking up others along the way. It was no longer about making my time, but about beating Gregg and the other people in this group. Since I'm not a sprinter, I knew my only chance would be to break them mentally, so as soon as the starting line was visible, I took off as fast as I could. I had a long way to go and it hurt. I didn't want to look back and show I was worried about where they were so I just kept digging. I didn't think any of them were anywhere close. I came up on the line just as another guy crept past me! I never even heard him coming! And no one was yelling at the finish line! Not cool. But that guy immediately went to the curb to puke out his guts and all of last night's gin (guessing by his smell when we were running side by side) and I beat Gregg (even thought it was 2.5 minutes slower than his worst 5k of the year and he had done his long run the day before). I came in at 21:54 officially. Only good enough for 5th place in my age group, but hey, I'm getting faster and this is the first race this year where I did not completely burn out and fade at the end and was able to give a good sprint.
I went back to the finish line to wait for my girlfriend Anna, who was not far behind at 24:13 and 3rd in her age group! We then headed to the post race party which was well under way. The line on the beer cart was packed out and the dj already had people dancing in the streets. Yeah.... it's like 8:35 right now... going to be a long day for some people! We got Anna's award and headed home for a long run!
It was a fun race and a good day.