Race Recap: Lake Country Challenge – 8 Mile

Every few weekends, Skelly schedules me to run a “Long Run Workout.” I absolutely hate doing these since it’s basically a long run, plus speed, that is required (almost) to be done alone. The. Worst.

When I saw the 8 Mile option for the Lake Country Challenge, it seemed like a good compromise. I would get to run with other people, and I’d get a quality workout somewhere around Goal Half pace and Tempo pace.

Of course, coming into the race, I always like to be competitive, and with only an 8 Mile and a Half being run, I thought there was an opportunity to grab a top finish in the 8 Mile. But do that while running my race.

I had more or less told those who would listen that I was hoping to sit on 6:25-30 for most of the race, and kick it in if possible at the end. That…sort of worked. But I’ll get to that.

At the start, I ran into my buddy Lawrence, who I thought would be there. Our conversation at the start line was super brief, but I did learn he was also there for the 8 Mile, which meant any chance for the outright win for me went out the window. Fine.

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And we’re off

As the gun went off, Lawrence and another dude absolutely took off. Very quickly, two small packs formed in back of those two. There was a group of three a little ways up the road, and then a pack of four, which included me, only a few meters behind them.

I crossed the first mile in 6:26, which was about perfect for what I wanted. A crisp morning, and a flat mile, helped and I was thrilled to hit the first mile perfectly.

The second mile continued down this straight shot before going up a hill, and turning into a neighborhood. I made a couple passes back here, and churned through Mile 2 in a 6:25. Perfect.

Mile 3 ran us next to Lac La Belle (which the course looped) which made it a fairly flat mile, with one incline hidden in there. A fairly uneventful mile ended up as a 6:27 for me.

The fourth mile took us up a big hill, and around one of those bendy country roads. Coming around the bend, I found myself in 5th across the board (Lawrence and the other guy way in front) but didn’t know who was in the Half or 8 Mile. Mile 4 was another 6:27.

Almost right after the fourth mile marker, the races split. The Half went out for an out and back to add the extra 5 miles, while the 8 hung a left to do an immediate rolling hill.

As quick as the turn was, I instantly found myself completely alone. No one in sight ahead of me, and no one in sight in back of me. Before getting back to bigger roads, I made a quick pit stop to use nature’s bathroom, before carrying on. Because of that, Mile 5 was a 6:37.

Mile 6 was the first really tough one for me. I didn’t see a soul the entire mile, and we were getting into some rolling hills on the west side of the lake. At this point, I was thinking that I might as well have just done a long run workout since that would have been the same thing. Cleared Mile 6 in a 6:35.

Mile 7 brought more of the same, but a few less hills. It also brought an aid station. Had literally any runners been around me, I probably don’t stop there. But I did, took a quick breather, and was back at it. The AS slowdown yielded my slowest mile of the day, which is fine, at a 6:44.

The final mile was on a sidewalk back to Oconomowoc Beach. I made a concerted effort to pick up the pace, but stay in control of form and breathing. Other than one slowdown to make sure a delivery truck didn’t plow me over, this was a very efficient mile, my best of the second half. That last mile was a 6:32.

Finish

That was good enough for an overall 6:31 pace, and a third overall finish. Turns out, I had almost a 3 and a half minute buffer on either side of me. In other words, no one was anywhere close.

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What am I looking at?

Overall, I was happy with this result. Sure, I wish my pacing had been a little better in the second half. And I’m sure it would have been with other runners. Or if I had eaten more than a Cliff Bar at 5:30am. It’s a good point to see where my fitness is at with about two months before both Winter Series start in earnest.

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