Today was the annual Lake Havasu High School 5K Cross Country fund raiser. I’ve done this race most every year since they started doing it 6 years ago. It is run on a golf course and is not an easy 5k. There are a lot of ups and downs, turns, and the worst part is all the sandy areas you have to run through. I looked back at my times and I had never broken 20 minuets on this course.
After a couple mile warm up on the course, the race got underway right on time. As I looked down the line me there were a lot of runners I didn’t know. Dan was there and on a road 5k he can run right around 16 minutes, so I knew the best I could hope for was second. They shot off the gun and everyone took off. I counted 10 runners who got out ahead of me before it narrows tightly at the first turn. One was Dan and the others I didn’t know. They all looked young between 18-22. After the first turn there is a climb for a few hundred yards through some thick sand. I’ve learned to run that part easy because it can take a lot out of your legs. Then it moves onto grass for a while. At that point I started passing everyone. Within a half mile of the start I was in 3rd place. Dan was well ahead and runner 2 was already a good 100 yards ahead. I settled into a nice pace and just gradually worked with n closing the gap with 2. Ever so gradually it got closer and closer. A little short of 2 miles in I could tell he was starting to crack so I closed a little faster before a hill that was coming up and when we hit the hill I accelerated past him trying to look as strong and smooth as possible. I even in a nice controlled breath told him he was looking great as I went by. I wanted him to think I was feeling great and he didn’t have a chance to stay with me. To his credit he hung on about 20 yards back for a couple more minutes until he finally blew up. At this point Dan was too far ahead to see so all this had left to do was hang on to my pace and try to beat 20 minuets. I ran strong all the way through the finish and was delighted to finish in 19:45 and second place overall.
After cooling down and chatting a bit with some of the local runners I headed out for some more running to get in my long run for the week. I had some time to kill anyways before my son had his race. He is on the middle school cross country team. I was able to get in another 12 miles before his race for a total of 17 miles for the day. He ran hard and finished in the middle of the pack for his race. He always is very optimistic and happy with his races. I’m just glad he is out there enjoying running.