Today was the 30th running of Ray’s Race, which is put on by “The Running Psychologists” of Division 47, sports psychology. This is a race that I have always wanted to do for obvious reasons but something on my convention schedule has created a conflict every year to date. Well, not this year baby and you could have predicted that if you combine me with free time with some race entry money burning a hole in my pocket then I am going to be there.
It is weird to think that this was my first ever stand alone 5K. Previously the shortest distance I have ever run as a stand alone is a 10K. I know that I am absolutely not trained for distances as short as 5K but I really wanted to see what I could do so I got a good night sleep and had a nice light breakfast in plenty of time for everything to settle. Much to my surprise also running in today’s race was someone who I consider to be my best friend from Graduate School, Stephan Schulenberg…now a professor at Old Miss. Ok, sorry I don’t know if that is Mississippi State or The U of Mississippi or either for that matter I just know it’s Old Miss. Anyhow it was great to see him again and to see that he still has the same dry sense of humor.
So as far as the race goes what can I say? It was 5K and there really wasn’t a lot of time for much to happen. I ran until I felt like my heart was going to explode and then backed off just a little so that I could make it the whole 3.1 miles. I started out running with the lead group of runners and then backed off a bit and fell in behind a guy who appeared to be about my age. I ran behind him for most of the race since he was running strong and at about my pace. I thought I would try and ride him most of the way in and then try and pick him off at the end.
I ran behind my pacer until around mile 2 when I noticed he was falling off the pace and I felt like I had more left. There were two guys ahead of us that were possibly within my striking distance so I decided to make my move and see if I could catch them but about that time we turned a corner and had to climb up and over a bridge. At the kind of pace we were running I didn’t want to try and pass going up and over a bridge especially considering how much weight I was giving up to the guy I was getting ready to pass.
As soon as we hit the apex of the bridge I made my move on the downturn and started trying to close the gap. I was running at top speed and gaining ground but there was still .7 miles left and the oxygen didn’t seem to be as plentiful as it was at the beginning of the race. I was closing the gap and probably came within 10 yards of the two runners but then with about .3 miles left they started their kick to the finish and I lost a couple steps on them and could not gain any more ground.
I crossed the finish line in a time of 21:11, a 6:50 per minute mile pace…not bad for someone who has done nothing but train for ultra endurance racing for the past year. I ended up winning 3rd in my age group and was 14th overall out of a field of 138 running psychologists. The winner ran it in just over 15 minutes!
So here is the coolest thing, I beat Bill Rodgers…THE Bill Rodgers who is the only person to with both the Boston and New York Marathons 4 times each. Ok, so he is over 60 now and, well, probably wasn’t running quite as hard as he is capable of running…he has a Boston PR of like 2:09:27, but still!
Oh, and yes, I got him to autograph my bib number! I’ll post a pic when I get home.
Ok…NOW there is no more races between me and Lean Horse.