Tiadaghton Run 10K. Jersey Shore PA, my hometown.
Rose and I and my brother Vince leave Chambersburg around 4:30 am for the 8:30 start.
My goal was to average 7:30 miles and I managed to do just that with a finish time of 46:40. I was the 11th finisher and 1st in my age group. My 2 classmates were also age group winners. One female in the 10k, one male in the 5k. Hurray for the class of 1973.
This is a small town race organized by the YMCA.
The 10K had 52 finishers, 44 finishers for the 5K, half of them walkers.
Lower 70's and sunny at the start. Warmer very soon.
At registration we discovered there were no open restrooms and no porta-potties. The event that normally has the porta-potties is a week later this year and no one thought of this. Hmm. Ran by the public pool - not open yet. Ran the half mile to the YMCA and used the restroom there. Some others drove to the Y. Some went into the bushes.
The course is hilly and uses streets and country roads where I rode my bike and delivered papers as a boy. Two of my high school teachers were race volunteers, a former coach was there watching. Two classmates raced and I saw two others who watched. My sister-in-law's neices and their husbands ran too.
The course starts with 300 yards of slight upgrade which becomes a steep hill for another 100 yards. Then it levels out before going downhill the same amount all this in less than a half mile. I saw my pace was too fast before the steep part started and after the downhill flattened out I was still 5 or 10 seconds ahead of pace, so I eased up a little more. There were more hills to come. Mile 1 finished right on pace. A man there was spraying his garden hose where runners could go through it. No thank you.
By this point I was settled into my goal pace and was alongside the eventual first place lady. She was wearing the race shirt from 2 years ago when I last ran this one. We talked a bit about the race and our goals for it as well as other running things. I told her a story about riding bikes here as a kid. Around 1.5 miles is the start of the next hill that is a quarter mile long. My plan was to keep my effort steady here and let the pace come from that. Mile 2 took 8:00 and finished just coming off the downhill. The lady slows more than I do on the hill and I run alone. My Mom's ashes were spread on the other side of the creek from here.
Now a mile and a half of flat running along Pine Creek (the Indians called it the Tiadaghton.) Then would come the big hill - 1.5 miles of steady climbing back into town. Mile 3 was at 7:24, mile 4 at 7:33. Stopped at a water table to quickly drink a cup of water. Passed a farm that was one of my Mom's childhood homes.
Now I am increasing the effort trying not to lose much time on the uphill. More than a half minute behind my goal and breathing hard through this hill stretch. Doubting I can make my goal. I tell myself to think of some stories - and I remember a time we went swimming near there and got into stinging nettles. Even the water didn't give relief. Another time we walked onto a yellow jacket nest and had to run from them.
Two men ahead looked grey haired enough to be in my age group. They were more than 100 yards ahead and looking ok. Probably I can't catch them. Mile 5 took 7:43. So now some blocks of flat running before a nice downhill and then the finish stretch coming back up the street we started on. Thankfully the finish is just before the steep part. Just before the downhill starts I stop for water again, drink half and dump half down the back of my head and back. It gave me chills. I pass near where Rose's Mom used to live.
The two men ahead are no longer together and I am gaining some ground with about a half mile to go. This part goes past my Dad's childhood home which later was my Aunt's house. I make the last turn for the quarter mile slight up hill to finish at my high school. Maybe I can catch one of those guys. Gradually the gap closes and I come beside him with 100 yards to go. I am really breathing hard, so there was no sneaking up on him. Trying to pump my arms and run faster. I can see his shadow for a little while after passing and check whether he will race me to the finish. He does not. Bend left into the bus circle and run through the finish. Mile 6 was at 6:56 pace and the last fraction at 6:17 pace. My watch showed a total distance of 6.25.
The finish line worker takes my name tag (no numbers here) and based on color coding says I am first in my age group. The man I passed was 2nd, 4 seconds behind me. The other grey hair guy was 5 seconds ahead of me but in a different age group. Maybe his hair was blond.
Wow. That was hard. But I am happy to make my goal.
I was told that I look pale. I go for recovery food and drink before coming back to watch other finish.