The week of the 4th of July (I know, I’m way behind on posting these) was a busy one.
With the holiday (and therefore it’s races) falling on a Wednesday, it was a prime opportunity for a double race week.
The Firecracker 4 is a local staple in the Milwaukee area. Over 1,000 participants, and some serious speed, show up for this one. Plus the Badgerland Striders always put on a well run event.
The word of the day was HOT. It was about 82 and 75 dew point at the start, and the temps continued to go up during the race. Knowing this, I told myself to dial it back a bit, and hit this one more like a 10k pace. Best intentions, right?
The gun went off, and as with many bigger races, I found myself boxed in a little bit. After some negotiating, I worked my way into the open road and found myself a couple meters behind the chase pack. Feeling good, I checked my watch at the 1 mile mark. 5:49. Shit. So much for taking it easy.
On a cooler day, running an aggressive first mile might have paid off. On a super hot and humid day, there was some suffering in store.
Telling myself I had to dial it back, I let the chase pack go and settled in for a 6:10 second mile.
Then the heat and humidity obliterated me. My heart rate soared and my pace went the other direction and I dropped like a rock. Two very slow miles later, and I hit the finish in 25:58. Not a bad time by any means, in fact it was a 4 Mile PR for me. But poor racing by me made this not feel great.
And so I turned my attention to Saturday and the Country Possum Chase. A 10k in White Lake, WI that had only a $10 registration fee. How could I not? It was an opportunity to run a race about 20 minutes from our family cabin.
Knowing it was the 4th of July weekend, I knew this race would either have super fast dudes, or no speed.
It had super fast dudes.
We arrived to pick up our race bib and watch the Mile race. A guy (one of my ISU recruits actually) dominated in a 4:38. And he was running the 10k as well.
At the start I could tell there was some speed here, but I’m confident in my 10k abilities and racing tactics here. As the gun went off, a lead pack of 6 shot out of the gates, and I had no interest chasing them. I learned from another runner that they hit the mile in 5:40. Woof. They pulled me along too fast, hitting the first mile in 6:09.
I let one of the pack come back to me for an easy pass at mile 2, and began to settle into my 6:2x pace for the rest of the way.
I could see the lead pack splinter, and I began reeling in the 5th place runner. The last mile of the race sees some hills, and I thought I could get him there. Nope. With about a half mile left, he looked over his should, and kicked his way into the finish. If you’ve read my other race recaps, you know I don’t have a finishing kick.
I came in at 39:58 and a 6th place finish. More importantly? Pie. The top 10 finishers got a free piece of pie, and that’s what really matters.