Temp 30 (21) Wind 7 mph. Gusts to 15 mph.
Team MO Run Co-Cape starts in Block #14. Myself with Hammer, Jay-T, Joe W., Coach Hahn, Paul S., Doug A., and Schmiz. Total of 127 at the starting line. We will make four loops, all approximately 2K, of the rolling course in Forest Park in St. Louis. Not terribly windy, but gusts are nasty, and we get one at the gun...but lots of cover in big field.
"A" Goals today are (1) score for team, (2) run sub-32, (3) hope that gets me top 75 OA, and (4) top 12 in AG.
Loop 1 -- Fall towards back of pack at start. As expected, lots of traffic. Come around ball fields at west end of course, loop and head east. Think about checking pace, but still lots of traffic to navigate, recognize enough people around me to know my placing is fine, and feel very comfortable. Carry on. Passing people every few seconds and trying keep even smooth effort as I go around. Runners have AG bibs on their backs, so know I passed at least three in my AG in first mile. One also passed me, but I went back around him a short time later. Also moved past two teammates. Hit first mile split and again think about checking pace. Feel relaxed and running smooth, so decide why bother and mess with my psych if it is not a number I like. Turns out that was a good idea as I was out about 15-20 seconds hotter than planned with a 6:08. Laps are not exactly equal, but clock is at approximate 2K splits. When it first comes into focus, see 7:3X and think "good".
Loop 2 -- Whole thing breaks into mini-race with about 8-10 other runners. Primarily, I end up jousting with STL Track Club's Andrew K. Would normally match up well with him, but he has two HM times this year that blow my PR away. Not sure it is him at first. Kept hearing "Go Andy" but did not pick up the club name on his singlet until early in third loop. One other guy in my AG in group. Also hearing "Go Donnie", so must be KC Smoke runner Donnie D. that I saw on entry entry list. Mile two split was about right at 6:18. Catching Donnie D, but he comes back or moves on ahead. Pass the clock the second time at 15:4X. Slowed, but think that is a longer loop and I am sub-16, so just hold this pace. Next two mile spits will include both hilly part of course (which is now starting to get muddy in spots) and headwind at the ball fields.
Loop 3 -- All caught up in racing within my group now rather than racing the field. In hind-sight, that was probably my biggest tactical error of the morning. Mile three spit slows to 6:27 and I am so focused on Andrew K. and Donnie D. that I lose track of everyone else during this time. Well under 24:00 (23:50) at the clock the third time and think the fourth loop is a little less than 2K, so feeling real good about sub-32. Teammate Paul S. has fallen out the back of our middle pack, but he still has what appears to be too much distance to close in 2K. Passed Donnie D. in the hills, so do not want to lose whatever current AG place is.
Loop 4 -- Here we go. Relax through the headwind and Andrew K. eases past me one more time. Mile four split 6:34. We pass one other runner in his AG on the south side of the course and there is one more that appears to be coming back to us. Head north through the east side leg, then left and head west. Go by AK, nod at next guy, and say, "You've got one more to pick, let's go get him." Get him in the hills. Approach last short steep climb. AK passes me again. We top the hill and it is a six-man mini-heat. 42-YO Atlanta Track Club guy goes and none of us respond. AK is leading the other four of us. 46-YO Unattached runner passes me, then AK (he was right on Hammer's heels just past the 2K split, so the fact he is here now means he has had a very unpleasant last 15:00 minutes). Garmin graph shows I took off from the top of the hill and was at 6:07 pace with 400 meters to go. With about 200 meters to go, had worked it down to 5:10 pace and held that through the finish line. Surge past AK and cross 60th OA at 31:43.6, with fellow-RunningAHEADer Andyman68 less than one second behind at 31:44.4 (did not even know it until looking at pics after the race). AK at 31:44.9. Garmin had 5.00 miles, so full last mile split 6:16.
Did not score for team, but blew away other three goals. 60th OA and in top 50% of field. 57th OA Age-Graded (77.01...and actually move up two spots on my team). 8th in the 50-54 AG. Most pleased with Top 10 AG!
Mo Run Co 5th in five team 40+ field, but overall very solid performace from small-town crew with most guys closer to 50 than to 40. Hammer leads with 29:51 / 35th OA and 5th 45-49. Two top 10 AG finishes for CBEM!! Jay-T channels the ghost of his collegiate team national championship days and runs way above his recent 5K times. 30:29 / 45th OA / 10th 45-49. JW 30:54 / 53rd OA / 13th 45-49. Coach Hahn 31:03 / 55th OA / 14th 45-49. PS 31:12 / 56th OA / 30th 40-44. DA 32:14 / 66th OA / 34th 40-44. Schmiz 33:44 / 80th OA / 18th 45-49.