I get to the race parking and not 60 seconds from stopping I see Anthony Kunkel, my coach and an awesome friend, right there. We talked briefly as I was still getting unpacked from my truck and rolled out a bit since I did not have time to roll out before leaving. I was not feeling so hot with the cold still there so I jogged 1/4 of a mile to grab my bib and shirt and then back with a compression sleeve on my leg. My tibia was still throbbing and I found out I had a blister on my foot from the 13 miles I did on Saturday. Being who I am I looked at the bright side that no matter how I ran what matters is that I run. So I found some packing tape on my car and taped up the blister then finished off my mile warm-up by running about a ½ mile around. Once I was done with my warm-up El Grito was getting ready to start. John Perez, the race director and a friend, started out with a speech regarding what El Grito was and since today is 9/11 thanked the police officers who were on scene and offered a moment of silence before his daughter sang the national anthem. The National Anthem was a thing of beauty, she sang it well with no auto-tune, no extras, and with a passion that was easily seen. I would later learn that she decided to do this improve and was even more impressed. I love it when people can just sing the anthem as a real person and no-show boating.
Now that the anthem was over the race started. I started out maybe a touch faster than I wanted to, knowing the over-pass ‘hills’ that were to come and the state I was in with my cold. The breathing was hard since my nose was plugged up. Had a few people pass me (aside from the fast stout runners ahead) but I knew what my pace should be. Starting at mile 1.5 I passed two of the three who had passed me at the start. Once we started up the backside of the over pass, after the turn around, I passed some extra people (I think I passed 5 in total). Finally at the top around mile 2.25 I passed the last runner I would pass. With it being all downhill from there I tried to pick up my pace but now my hips were screaming at me. With just about ¾’s of a mile to go I pushed through it hold my pace till the final 1/15th of a mile. At which point I did have enough in me to stride to the finish. I think I ended at around 21:10, but I am not sure. If I did that would be a PR from last year, which was 21:19.
This 5K enlightened me about how no matter what you do as long as you run the race you can never fail. I was expecting to be 23:00 miles, given how my body was feeling. Ending up with a potential PR I am very pleased with myself and this makes me feel like the training I have been going through is paying off, as if I can PR feeling like I was today who knows how much faster I could have ran if I would have been 100%. There are always what-if’s but when all is said and done I ran the race at my 100% for that day and I am pleased. Next time I am hoping that I am not so down on myself even if I am not healthy and hold my head up high to be thankful I can run.
After the race I went out with Anthony and a few other runners, who hopefully are on Strava so I can follow them. We did a route that took us out 5K and back for around 6.2ish miles. If I thought the 5K was hard that was nothing to these extra miles, especially with the elite runners I was with. We started off around 8:40’s, then each mile ended up being about 10 seconds faster if not more.
By the end I was in the back of the group but did not realize that the last 2 miles were sub 8 minute miles. No regrets running with them, getting the extra miles in, and just enjoying the company. Especially Anthony’s dog Winston who is extremely well behaved. If you ever need a 5K to run this time of year with awesome competition (I did not even place in my age group) lookup El Grito 5K and come run it next year. Thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors, especially Runners Roost in Lone Tree, CO as I won a $20 gift card from the raffle there! A big thanks to Altra Running Shoes (the shoes I ran in for this race), Epic Bars, and my wife Lyndsey for allowing me to do a running weekend!