I was looking forward to returning to this event and joining me was my cousin Sam, Uncle Don's son, and his mom Deb. I had one goal for this race. I wanted to beat my time of 17:57 from 2013. I hadn't done a 5K since January 1, 2016 when I won the Beaufort Resolution Run.
I arrived at the race at 7am for the 8am start. Parking near the start/finish was easy in the big lot off of Anderson Street and they also had all levels of the parking deck available too. It was warm and humid already and not much of a breeze. I did my usual Generation UCAN about 40 minutes before the start and then started my dynamic warm-up routine. I then headed off for an easy 15 minutes, 1.82 miles on the course. Once I got back I grabbed a small cup of water and drank some and poured the rest on my head before lining up for the start.
I passed some runners as we stayed left onto Campus Drive which was a downhill section before we turned left again on Alexander Ave. The first mile marker was just ahead and I ran it in 5:39; maybe a little to quick. There is a steep uphill right after the first mile marker and it doesn't stop until you make the right turn onto a bike path. The hill is around 200m but it's steep and took the momentum right out of me although I did manage to pass a few more going up the hill. I remembered it from 2013 but it felt worse this year probably due to the heat and humidity. The 2013 race had a starting temp of 48 degrees, which I loved!
I kept my focus on regaining what I lost on the hill once we turned right onto the bike path and right again onto Oregon Street. I increased my effort down Oregon Street and then we took a left back onto Alexander Avenue and then a right onto Duke University Road. I kept looking at my watch waiting for it to catch up to my increased effort because surely I was running a faster pace than what it was telling me.
We turned right onto Chapel Drive and headed for the Duke Chapel. This is a very pretty stretch to run on and the pavement on the road is smooth. You have the beautiful Chapel ahead of you the whole time. Mile 2 was right at the round-a-about and I ran it in 6:03; 11:43 total time. It felt like I was running back in the 5:40s though. My legs just felt heavy and tired. I knew I needed to run the final 1.1 miles in 6:12 to beat my time from 2013. I tried to dig deep and not get passed.
I had nothing left to catch Tyler. I was trying but I was running at top end and wasn't gaining on anyone ahead of me. There is one last uphill right at the three mile marker then it's downhill to the finish line. I ran mile three in 6:11. I managed a little bit of a kick to the finish but it was mostly due to the fact it was downhill. I finished 8th Overall out of 566 in 18:34 and 2nd in my age group, males 30-34. 10 year old Tyler ran 18:22 to place 6th overall and 1st in his age group. The winner of the race was Jared Evtcheson in 16:56.
I still had fatigue in my legs from the the week before where I spent three days in the mountains and had two hilly long runs at Moses Cone Memorial Park. One run, was 11 miles with 5 miles straight up from Bass Lake passed Cone Manor and up to the top of Flat Top Tower which included almost 1,000 feet of elevation gain. I averaged about 7:36 pace for the 5 miles uphill. I ran that with my friend Jason's dog, Lucy, and she loved it! It helped having her pull me up the final mile to the top because that is the steepest of the whole run. She's a German Short Haired Pointer and I love running her. Coming back down the mountain was fun and Lucy wanted to fly and stretch her legs. I didn't want to pound the downhills and tried holding her back but that was a losing battle to her and gravity.
I'm still glad I ran this race and supported the cause. It is a wonderful event and it was great seeing Sam and Deb too. This race is very well organized. They have a ton of food and gift vendors as well. The course is tough and hilly but it's a pretty course. The weather just wasn't in our favor this year. This is a must do event in the Triangle and state of North Carolina.
Socks: Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light low cut
Shoes: New Balance 1400v4 road flats
Shorts: Nike 3" Race Short
Singlet" Duke Singlet by Adrenaline Promotions
Road ID Wrist ID Slim
Watch: Garmin 920XT
Sunglasses: Rudy Project Rydon