Ok, so the morning started off with a mildly early wake up call, and i popped right up out of bed (usually a rare occurrence). It was a chilly 29 degrees, but I relished the conditions because they were frigid for the locals in Dallas, but more than comfortable for a northern boy from the mitten with thick blood. I felt right in my element.
After a quick bite to eat I jumped in my car and headed to the race site. The race was about 30 minutes north of me in McKinney. I had run multiple races in the area before and knew the terrain and more or less each block very well. Ehh, maybe I take that back, maybe I didnt know every block very well, I got lost on the way to the race and ended up in some 1700s half broken down shed, with no other athletes around...I couldnt be in the right spot!
After a quick GPS adjustment I realized I was only a couple blocks away. I pulled up to the race site about 40 minutes before the start of the race, and for a little local 5k, that usually gives me plenty of time to get in a little warm up, stretch, and put on the racing flats.
I haven't run a 5k in quite some time, probably close to a year, so i was excited to see what I could bust out purely on Base Ironman Training. I have been throwing in some solid intensity, but it is nothing that prepared me for a 5k, more like hour long tempo runs. But regardless of my preparation, I was still excited.
As the race director lined us up on the starting line and wished us good luck, she gave a quick schpeil about the first annual Rooster Run 5K. The race benefited The Texoma Emmaus Community which is a community that has sponsored an annual Walk. This walk is a movement intended to strenghten local church members for Christian action in their homes, churches, and daily lives. I have never been big into devoting myself to a religion, but have always enjoyed doing races that benefit a cause, and try to schedule my races based on that.
After the briefing about the cause we were off. My goal in the race had been to get out strong, and just keep pushing the pace as long as i could until I dropped. I wanted to see what I was capable of in a 5k, and thought there was no sense in going through the motions out there. So I stuck to the plan.
Coming through the first mile in 5:26 I was a bit disappointing because i had thought that a sub 5:10 first mile was reasonable and more or less expected. I felt like i was giving a good strong effort, but the time wasn't there. Sometimes the race doesn't go as planned, even from the beginning, so i had to adjust and keep focused, keeping the pedal to the metal until i crossed the finish line.
The next mile was pretty windy and through a very nice neighborhood/golf course. I found myself peeking at the course and staring at the nice houses that lined the course, but before long I realized I was there to run, not sight see! So I kept my eyes on the road, focusing on my turnover, keeping the pain of the race as high as I could. Came through the second mile just over 11 minutes, and realized hey, not too bad for consistency! 5:26, 5:35, and with the bulk of the course coming home a false flat downhill, Im setting myself up for a solid race!
Once I got out of the neighborhood, and came around the big swooping bend before repeating the last 3/4 of a mile home, I realized that there was nobody in sight. Knowing that I had the race locked up, I convinced myself to take it deeper and deeper.
As I rounded the final curve and closed the last 200 meters on the finish line I realized that my hope of running sub 17 was all but a hope at that point. I pressed hard down the final straight and finished in a time of 17:10. After looking at my garmin to see how far it clocked the race at (3.15 miles) i realized that i really ran a strong last mile! I closed the last mile equally as fast as I had taken out the first mile, if not slightly faster! Even though I didnt break 17 minutes, I was very pleased with the consistency of my splits, and can tell that all the long miles I am putting in for Ironman are really paying off. They are allowing me to hold on late in races even when the wheels feel like they are falling off.
Shortly after finishing I see Iris coming around the final curve and heading home down the straight away...She is in first overall for the women!! I didnt quite know her time, but was super excited for her to be first woman overall!
After we caught our breath, recovered, and put on some warmer clothes, the award ceremony was about to begin. The race director called up the male and female overall winners, and presented us with our big gold (olympic sized) medals, and then told us we had a second award for winning overall...A CASH PRIZE of $50!!!! I had raced countless races in my days, and almost every time found myself the first runner up to the cash! I thought I was never going to crack the code! But I had finally done it! I was so pumped to finally hold a cash prize in my hand, but knew that I didnt truly "NEED" the money, so I decided to donate it back to the Texoma Emmaus Community. It wasn't easy giving away my first Cash Prize, but before the race I knew that the overall winner got a $50 cash prize, and said to myself "If I win the race today, Im going to donate it back" and that I did :)