Ean and I got up this morning and got ready to jog down the street to the park for the FCRC T&H 12K. As soon as we opened the front door, we knew we were over dressed. It was definitely spring today in Fort Collins with the sun shining and birds singing. We jogged down to the park at 7:30 am in shorts enjoying the warm feel of the morning sunshine.
This is the longest of the T&H series so the starting stagger is quite big. The first runners were heading out as we jogged up to the starting line a few minutes before 8:00. We signed in and got our start times from Mr. "Conditions Were Too Bad to Run the Trudge this Year" Ean's start was to be 8:13 and I would start at 8:33. Ean got ready to run and I went for a couple more warm-up miles. I was feeling pretty tired from yesterday's "run" so I decided to just take this race easy. Maybe run it like a tempo run, or maybe start out easy and try to run negative splits. Whatever, it was just nice to be out running with a bunch of friends on such a nice day. Nick gave me the go at 8:33 and I took off at a comfortable pace out of the park and on to the Spring Creek Trail. First mile was 6:53-- perfect-- I'll just run each mile a couple of seconds faster and try to make the last mile the fastest. Then I heared another runner coming up fast behind me -- the very Speedy Nicole C. I should have just let her go by and continued with my plan, but . . . you probably already know how this is going to go. I picked it up a bit not wanting to let her go by so easily (mile 2 clicked off at 6:42- I could still do negative splits- maybe), but the pace was getting faster than I could maintain and she breezed by me with some encouraging words. I was still feeling pretty good as we cruised through Rolland Moore Park and Nicole was now holding her position about 20 yards ahead of me. Mile 3 was 6:37. We started to pass some of the earlier starters who were on their way back towards the finish. As we ran past the Gardens at Spring Creek, I knew that the turn around was coming up. I was feeling the pain now, but I figured if I could make it to the halfway mark, then it would just be a matter of keeping it up for the trip back. Ean came by looking good and we high-fived as we crossed paths. Nicole was still just ahead as we made the U-turn and once I started heading back west, I saw Sarah H. was less then a minute behind. Mile 4 was 6:26-- only 3.5 miles to go, but it was all uphill. I was feeling it now, but I was also making ground on Nicole, so I kept pushing. I passed Nicole just before the Shields tunnel and I hoped I could just hang on for a bit longer. I was slowing down going up the hill past the tennis courts at Rolland Moore and sure enough, my watched beeped mile 5 with a split of 6:34. Mile 6 was painful and Nicole was right behind me the whole way- the split was 6:46. We passed a few other runners in the next mile, but I was really fading and glances at my watched showed a pace in the 7s. I kept pushing, but there really wasn't much left and mile 7 beeped with a disappointing 7:01. I passed Ean, who was having a tough race now too. I just needed to hold on for another half mile. I struggled in to the park and did my best to kick it in to the finish. My finish time was 50:42 and I came in just seconds ahead of Nicole, who still ran a faster race than me since I had a head start. My time was 10 seconds faster than the same race last year so I am in at least as good shape as I was a year ago and maybe a bit better. Ean came in a minute or so later with a smile. We cheered in the remaining runners and then jogged home.
Yesterday's Trudge results here