Race day weather was bad. It was storming on and off all day and waiting for the evening race to start at 7:30pm made the day seem like it was taking forever to go by. I've ran great races in bad weather so the threat of a thunderstorm and pouring rain didn't bother me. I just hoped they didn't cancel the race.
My friend Jarrod decided he would pace Melanie to the women's course record. Melanie was at a wedding for most of the afternoon and came to the race in her dressed up attire and changed into running gear. The female course record was 19:12 and I knew Melanie wouldn't have a problem getting that. Her PR is 18:32 but more recently she had ran a 18:51 on May 4th on another flat course in Greenville.
Jamie and I arrived at the race shortly after 7pm. I met up with Jarrod and Melanie and we did a 1.5 mile warmup with some race pace surges towards the end of it. When we arrived back at the start we discovered the race had been postponed for 15 minutes due to lightening. It was not raining when we finished our warm-up. I've ran in thunder and lightning before, even in Beach Runs where the runners were the highest thing on the beach. I was frustrated the race was delayed because it threw off my warm-up routine.
A lot of kids lined up on the front of the staring line and I told them to move for the faster runners. Some moved, some did not but Melanie, Jarrod, and myself were now at the front of the line. Kids on the front of a staring line is a big pet peeve of mine. They go out really fast for maybe thirty seconds then suddenly stop and you have to dodge them. Parents, please tell your kids to line up in the middle or back of the pack. They have no business being on the front of a starting line.
The gun went off and I was out fast, leading the field already. I felt good and just focused on hitting my splits and trying to pace off the police car leading me on the course. I noticed I had a runner on my butt for the first half mile. I later found out it was my friend Nick Gingras.
For some reason the police car leading me around the course was not doing a good job. He was way too far ahead of me and later pulled over to the side and just stopped. As soon as we turned onto Queen Anne's Road a car came close to hitting me. I kept running hard until a second car almost hit me. The second car made me mad. They came the closest to hitting me and they had the nerve to blow the horn at me. I hit the side of their car as hard as I could with my hand hoping I left a dent in it. Melanie and Jarrod would have a close call with a car later in the race as they were finishing. The traffic control on the course was horrible!
The course was as flat as you can get but it had a lot of turn. The rain wasn't getting any lighter and there was standing water all over the course. I was trying to run the tangents on all the turns but that took me through ankle deep water. I ran the second mile in 5:52. Slower than what I wanted so I knew I had to pick it up for the final 1.1 miles.
I hit a long straight stretch after 2.2 miles. I was still alone with no sound of anyone near me. I passed an aid station and my friend Jessi said Go Tyler! It's always great hearing your name in a race instead of just generic cheering and clapping. I kept pushing hard to the finish line. I ran the final 1.1 miles in 6:32, 5:40 min/mile pace so I did pick it up after the second mile. I finished 1st Overall in 18:04 out of 417 runners.
Jarrod paced Melanie right at 6:00 minutes for the first mile but then Melanie got tired. She kept putting forth the effort and won the women's race and broke the course record. Melanie and Jarrod finished in a tie for 2nd Place overall in 19:07.
After going out with me for the first mile, maybe a little less, Nick finished 4th Overall in 19:24 I had several other friends in the race as well. Bob Patterson finished 8th overall and 1st in his age group in 20:27. Troy Wilkie, Bethann's husband, finished 9th overall and 2nd in his age group in 21:03.
I was glad I won but disappointed in my time. It's harder to push yourself all alone on a flat course than one with some hills. The conditions were less than ideal but I still should have been faster. I received a $100 gift card to Overtons for winning. I've gotten less money from winning a half marathon. I was very surprised I got so much for a 5K.