Competition is a beautiful thing. That was a race....A RACE - and it was golden. With a finish I've imagined 100 times in my head...
Had a good feeling at the start of the night. Rocco (the dude who beat me by 2 seconds last month) was there again, and said he was definitely shooting to crack 5. Then there was this girl (high school senior? college freshman?) whose mom I overheard tell the RD was looking to crack 5. Then late Spencer Sass shows up (6th at New Milford 8 miler in 42:50). So we had ourselves a little band.
First 2 little kid heats went off. Warmups during, the usual stuff. Then they called the third race - 18 to 29. I bolted up and said "I'm 36, but I'm running with these guys". Okay...
Horn started us, and we fell into position as I thought, Sass, Rocco, me and the girl, 1,2,3,4. First lap was good, heard the splits called out 68,70,71,72. So a 71 first lap.
Second lap held together pretty well, same order, distance grew a little up front, maybe a couple of yards. RD wasn't calling splits anymore, but I caught a glimpse of my watch - 2:26 - this is good. I don't feel nearly as bad as last month.
Third lap, more of the same, just hurt a little more. 3:42.
On the final lap, Sass had built a pretty good gap, I was still in touch with Rocco, but now I could feel the girl right on my ass. All up the back straight she was hanging on my shoulder. Then, on the far turn, she started to pass - I could almost hear Denton shouting at her...NO!!!!. She was too early. About 5 meters from the straight I passed her back. And now I was flying. I wasn't just gonna beat her, I was going for Rocco.
Those last 50 meters were run in almost slow motion. I can see him slowly getting closer to me. I hear someone say "You got company Rocco, push it!!". And then I'm with him. And then we finish. Together. Now, the official results will say he finished 4:52.18, and I finished 4:52.40. Between you, me and RA nation...I outleaned him. I know I did. But no matter. I mean, really, this isn't a Timex laser finish, this is some old guy pushing a button and making a call. Either way, it was awesome. It was fun. So much friggen fun.
Sass ended up 4:47.19, and the girl was 4:53.x, just behind us.
This will sound dumb, but I had a mantra for each lap. I think it helped. Lap 1: get out fast. Lap 2: cover ground. Lap 3: stay alert. Lap 4: scald the dogs. Obvious reference, and maybe a little cheesy, but whatever. Got me through the race.
So, splits of 71, 75, 76, 70. Hells yeah. And a honest to goodness friggen race. I won't soon forget that one.