So I ran a 4th of July race, the Firecracker Four Mile in Fairport, New York.
Got up early this morning. Gun time was 8 AM, I wanted to be there at 7 so I could do a course preview as a warmup. After the conversation on a running group about sodium replenishment, I took a pillbox with some S-Caps with me. Good call.
My weather app said the dew point was 62° F. That felt about right, it might have gone up a bit from there. Garmin says it was 71° F for both my warmup and the race. That sounds about right for the warmup, but it got warmer for the race.
I creaked pretty bad at the start of the warmup. So I took it easy, and refreshed my memory of the course. Major hill in the first mile, another one in the second mile, and after those two nothing else that looked like a real hill. There was a long gentle upward grind in mile 3, and the famous hill (speed bump, really) just before the finish line. I figured out the big deal with that late speed bump: You can't see the finish line when you're going up the bump, then you turn the corner at the top and it's right there. Maybe less than 10 meters more to run.
At the end of a hard 4 mile race, when you're tired and going up one last bump that feels like a hill, it's really important to know that the finish line really is right there at the top.
Felt pretty good after the warmup. In the humidity, I was covered with sweat. Bearing in mind yesterday's incipient cramp that cut my easy run short, I took an S-Cap. That, and my pre-race Sport Beans were enough to get about 18 ounces of water down my throat between warmup and race.
Other than that, I tried to run the race as a race, but not for a killer time. Noticed I was running a 6:10 pace early; tried to back off, not sure I succeeded before the first hill. That hill made it really easy to cut back the pace.
Three water stops. At each, I got a tiny sip and dumped most of the cup over my head. It may have helped, didn't hurt. About 2.2 miles in, I turn a corner and know the hard part is over. I pass a lot of people on the upward grind, and hang on through the last mile. Announcer tells me I could break 27 minutes. I push a bit more, and do.
Ended up finishing 20th of 561 overall, 1st of 15 in the M 60-64 age group. That's an average pace of 6:44 per mile, compared to 6:26 per mile 2 years ago; but I was running for a killer time 2 years ago, and was in better shape. Today's mission was to run hard, but no so hard that I would be compelled to just run the last mile easy.
Garmin gives my mile splits as 6:43, 6:51, 6:36, and 6:38, with another 10 seconds beyond where Garmin thought I'd run 4 miles. Gun time had me 2 seconds faster than Garmin did.
Made sure to take another S-Cap after the race. Stretched, and hung around to see what the age group awards would be; that resulted in the addition to my pint glass collection.
It was a long wait for the awards, but at least it was in a pleasant park on the Erie Canal with lots of shade. Of course, I didn't think about taking any pictures to post online until after I got home.
Feeling pretty good right now. I'm not in the shape I want to be in, but I'm right about where I should be at this point in the process of getting back into shape.