After not being able to do that Tolland race several weeks ago, I started to scope out some other nearby races to do. I like the 5 mile distance, but there wasn't one around so I decided to run a 5k. The issue was that there were two 5ks on Saturday, April 14th, one in Hebron and one in Salem. I settled on the Hebron race for three reasons, it was 20 minutes closer, I've run it before, and it started a hour earlier than Salem. I also wanted to get back fairly early so that I could take Calvin for a short run. He looked a little disappointed when I headed off to the race without him.
The weather was nice. The temperature was around 56 degrees, the sun was shining, and it wasn't hot at all. I left my house around 8:10 am so that I would have enough time to register and warm up. I got to Rham High School at 8:30 am, parked the car and walked up a series of steps to the school lobby to register. I was pleasantly surprised when the guy who was registering me asked what size shirt do I want. I thought only preregistered runners were getting them so that was nice. I walked back to my car and put my stuff away and locked things up.
At the end of the parking lot, I could see the finish line, which was about twenty strides into the school entrance. There were the usual runners walking and stretching all over the place. A tall, young guy ran by me who looked particularly fast, as I walked down to where I thought the starting line was located. By this time, it was about 8:45 am. I did some stretching myself against a tree. I overheard a father tell his son to be careful to not stretch against the trees with the poison ivy vines. I was okay because the tree I was using didn't have any such vines on it. I then did about 6 -20 second strides of quick running to get my legs warmed up. My legs felt okay. While doing these strides, I started talking to this one guy, who was running in a nearby parking lot. He said that he was going to try and do 5:50's or so. I told him if he does that he would have a very good chance of winning the race. I also ran into an old high school friend who was doing the race too. Before we knew it, the national anthem was being played and the race was just about to start. I wished them well, shook their hands and we lined up for the start.
The Hebron 5k course, as I said in a previous post, is not a PR one. The beginning is flat and a little downhill, but the last 2 miles are hilly. As I ran along, I didn't feel that good. The pace was perhaps a little fast, but some people were still passing me so I pressed on. At the 1 mile mark, I was at 6:56, which was good in my book. Just after that point the rolling hills started. Don't get me wrong. There were a few downhill sections, but it was mostly up. I hit the 2 mile mark in 14:36. The hills had started to take their toll. But I dismissed
any negative thoughts by thinking to myself, "This is my first race of the year. Lighten up".
At around the 2.5 mile mark, a really young kid passed me. He was about 4'4". I was impressed. This was after I tried to catch an older guy down to no avail. As I neared the finish line, I could see both the older guy and and young kid going stride for stride towards the line. I picked the pace up and did my best to get home, but ended up ten or so seconds behind the two of them. As it turned out, the older guy was 60 and the kid was 9. Wow! They did great for sure.
The fast guy I talked to earlier was right at the finish and cheered for me and others. After finishing, I caught up to him and we talked for a while. He had actually won the race in a great time (17:50 or so). The funny thing was there wasn't an ounce of conceit in him either. You'd think he finished in the middle of the pack. As we were talking, they started the awards so we headed over. As it turned out, I finished in 37th place out of 133. But the cool part was that I ended up in 3rd place for my division, which meant I got a medal. Wow, a shirt, a banana, water and then a metal-not too bad, I thought. It was around 10:00 am, so I congratulated my new friend on his victory and headed home. Oh, I almost forgot-I finished in 23:23, a 7:32 pace.