8th Annual Great Pumpkin Run

(Tegan to my far right, Jeff and me in the center, Christine to my immediate left)

Date: October 17, 2009
Time: 18:38
Pace: 6:00
Place: 7th
Place Age Group 40-49: 1st

Jeff and my friends Tegan and Christine talked me into signing up for this race—even though it was 6 days post Chicago. I knew it wasn’t going to be one of my best races, as I was still quite sore, but it was for a good cause, and I would get to run in Jeff.

I wore 2XU compession shorts, Moeben compression sleeves, my BRC shirt, a skull cap, glove, Yaso compression socks, and—of course—Mizuno Ronin shoes.
It was a brisk and cloudy morning, and it rained on our way to the race start. We arrived, and Tegan, Christine, and their friends were already there. We picked up race packets, and I ran the course and an easy 7:30 pace. I’m glad I did, so I knew what to expect, and could also let everyone else know.
The first 1.4 miles are generally downhill, and that particular morning there was a nice tailwind. The next 1.5 miles are generally uphill, and there was indeed a headwind—a cold and damp headwind. I knew the best strategy was to go out fast, as I was going to slow down on the second half. And that’s exactly what happened!
There were 3 male and 3 female runners from the UNC track team. At the gun, all 6 took off. I managed to only be passed by 5 of them. Ha! I was also passed by the man who came in 4th place, who finished in a time that I could have typically easily finished, particularly given how easy the course was. Each race is different, though, and I was happy for all of the runners who finished ahead of and behind me. Including Jeff! Jeff let me know ahead of time that he wanted to finish under 30 minutes.
The course was a long, thin loop, with two sharp turns at about miles 1.4 and 2.9. Thus, we ran past the start on our way to the finish.
I ran the race, and kept running through the finish. I saw Christine, and then Jeff and Tegan running together. There were just past the 2-mile mark. I didn’t run to them, but instead ran ahead of them. I shouted what I hoped to be words of encouragement, such as, “You’re looking strong,” “I’m the rabbit, so try to catch me,” “Pick up the pace just a little,” etc. I didn’t know how long they had been running, as I stopped my watch at the finish. A runner ahead of them let me know that they were reaching 22 minutes.
With about a ½ mile left, Jeff asked me how far they had to run. “About a quarter of a mile.” I’m so mean! I was able to look at the finishing clock, and it read 25 minutes. I knew that if they pushed it they could run that last ¼ mile in under 4 minutes, so I pushed them. “You’re really close! If you want to finish in under 30, you’re going to have to pick it up. When I say ‘go,’ run as hard and as fast as you can!” With less than .1 mile left, I yelled “Go,” and go they both did! Jeff finished in 28:12, well below his goal time.
The UNC runners were not eligible for prizes. I wasn’t paying attention when they were announcing the winners. They announced the name of the 4th place finisher as 2nd place overall, and then announced yours truly as the winner! I tried to tell them that I wasn’t the winner, but to no avail. I did make sure to exchange awards, so that the true winner got the $25 gift certificate to TrySports. I got 2, $20 gift certificates, one for 2nd place and the other for 1st place male 40-49. There wasn’t a Masters category.
A fun run, and I enjoyed running with Jeff and friends!

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