|Harold, Alan, Patti and me Harold Dravenstott photo|
This would be the second week in a row for a large and prestigious five-miler. This time the race was the Canton Football Hall of Fame Five-Mile. I met up with Patti Tomasello and Harold and Alan Dravonstatt for the ride down to football-land. Like last week, it's a fur piece. Unlike last week, the weather actually did decide to cooperate. As we arrived, we all noticed that it was relatively cool, and, more importantly, not humid.
Like last week, my goal was to keep the miles under seven minutes. This really shouldn't be such a big deal for me; I do my weekly tempo training runs at this pace. As it turned out, the first mile was fine, and the second mile, very downhill-ish, was screaming fast. Even mile three was okay, but mile four was uphill, and it was my first over seven minutes. Could I hold it together for the fifth?
This race is in the Ohio-Subway Challenge Series. Since I used to participate in the series, I was familiar with the race and the competition. It's the same old group of arch-nemisises: Ron Legg, Al King, and, in my very own age group, Don Cassidy, Vince Russo, and Doug Hradek. We all pretty know the general pecking order, and where we each fit in that old food chain. (Like that? Doing my best to mix my metaphors here.)
I thought that Alan and I would run pretty much together, but I didn't see him after the first half-mile. I also didn't see Don after the first half-mile; he was moving fast, and was well up ahead by the first mile mark. I did see Vince for pretty much the entire way. I caught up with him around the McKinley monument - mile three - mumbling 'hey Vince' as I went by. That was about all the conversation I was capable of.
Vinced passed me back a short time later, saying, 'you probably have another thirty miles to run when we're finished.' My brain tried to say something like, 'no, I'm no longer running so many miles.' Unfortunately, this came out of my mouth something like this: 'noarghh!' I noticed, however, that Vince was breathing very heavily as he tried to maintain his slight lead.
Not that I wasn't doing the same thing. But it was good to know that I was making him work. I passed him once more around the four-mile mark. It felt like I was pouring it on for my final mile, but in reality I was only maintaining that seven minute pace. Then came what's known there as 'Heartbreak Hill': a short but very steep hill leading to the finish,
Trying my darndest to stay ahead of Vince, and also to keep my overall time under thirty-five minutes, I somehow managed to (barely) do both. I finished in 34:49 by my watch (34:55 on theirs). That was good for second in the age group, well behind Don, but just ahead of Vince.