This is not an easy course in the best of weather, so when it dropped to 40F and started raining this morning after perfect weather all week, I knew that the best strategy going into the race would be to race smart. By racing smart, I mean starting at a pace that I know I can handle and keep passing people throughout the race who went out too hard. The first mile in this race is FAST. It begins with a 200 meter or so downhill where most people sprint out like they’re getting chased on the TV show Cops. After the initial insanity it stays flat through the mile mark, though this year the mile mark was WAY off. 6:20? right. After that I knew that this was going to be a terribly mismarked course so I treated it like a cross country race and focused on my effort instead of my splits. I picked off a lot of people in miles two and three. The second mile had a long gradual nasty climb, while the third mile had a shorter but shittier ascent. One thing you can say about this course is that it’s easy to focus on the competition. Scenic it ain’t. The Flats area of Cleveland is an industrial wasteland reminiscent of some of the sketchy bombed out looking areas of Detroit complete with several grated bridges. Anyway, on to mile 4. This mile is usually super fast as there’s a gradual downhill for much of it, but this year it went smack into heavy winds. I seem to remember getting a sweet tailwind on this stretch in prior races on this course, but not today. The last mile is flat until a gut wrenching uphill quarter mile finish.I was really gaining on one guy at the end and just missed catching him.
As for my result, I ran 29:39 for 1st place in the 45-49 division (I won my age group by 55 seconds) and 17th overall out of maybe 2,000 runners. I feel like I was in shape to run about a minute faster as I mentioned in my contest post, but the race gods weren’t really on our side today, but I’m happy with my race and I’ll certainly take it. Nice to get out there again after 3 months away from competition.
Matt McCoy was the winner of the prediction contest, so let me know what CD you want Matt!
As you can see from the photos, I’m wearing the ever so colorful Brooks Green Silence racing flats. What an amazing flat! Lightweight, but just enough cushioning for all the tough hills on the course.