MUM). I was kind of glad that the cramps hit at that time on this course because I knew I had some solid downhill miles coming up. But after about a half a mile they didn't go away. They just got worse and spread to both sides of my abdomen and the right side of my chest. When I hit the downhill, I just tried to remain steady because at that point, I was in 3rd overall. I figured maybe I could try to maintain my place, but the fourth place guy was right on my tail so I knew I couldn't give in to my discomfort at all without sacrificing my place. In the back of my head I knew this was only a training run so I didn't have to push too hard so I could be sure to avoid injury since I have the Boston Marathon and the Blue Ridge Marathon coming up in just a few short weeks. However my competitiveness made me think, "If the guy behind me wants third place that bad he's going to have to work for it."
Fourth place guy remained behind me until we got to mile eight and a half. Then when we got a turnaround, I got to see just how far (I mean how close?) behind me he was (100 meters and closing in) I was able to draw out my stride going downhill to try to increase my lead. I still had 4 and a half miles of uphill left. Normally I like to slow down uphill to catch my breath, and I usually let loose and gain speed on the downhills. A few minutes later at mile 10, I was able to hear his footsteps right behind me. I knew he was planning his strategy to catch up to me and pass me. At this point I felt like I was the little engine that could. I think I can, I think I can... stay ahead of him!
|Actual photo of me at mile 10.... jk of course|
|You can see fourth place guy right back behind me!|
I had to know how much buffer I had between fourth place guy and myself, so I asked my bro-in-law, very out of breath, "How... far... behind...?" and he proceeded to tell me "6 minutes behind," which is how far behind I was from first place, but I just had to know how far behind me fourth place was. I asked again, and he told me he was only about 100 feet behind me! So my heart sank as we were less than half a mile from the finish line. I was afraid he would be able to catch me in the last little bit. All I could do was stay steady and hope for a burst of energy close to the end. As I was less than a quarter of a mile from the finish, I saw a lot of 5Kers finishing up with the crowd cheering for them and for me, and that gave me the last little bit of energy to spring to the finish... in third place overall! Fourth place finished just 16 seconds behind me!