Archie Post 5 Miler

Since January we had a planned trip to the USA and being the way I am I couldn't resist the temptation to see whether there were any races I could enter.  As luck would have it I found a 5 mile race in the middle of my trip in Burlington, Vermont.  It is labelled as the oldest race in Vermont (2016 was the 44th edition) and as far as I could tell I was the first ever international entrant excluding Canada.

My build up to the race was far from perfect - I had to have most of the week off following Race the Train to recover and then relatively little training whilst in the USA combined with mostly eating food that is bad for you.  In addition the temperature was hot and humid and in the days preceding the event I was probably walking 5-6 miles a day touring various sites etc.

On the morning of the race the guest house I was staying in forgot to leave any breakfast so I had to settle for a handful of peanuts.  After a 45 minute drive I arrived at the race centre, did a quick warm up before hopping on a school bus to the start as it was a point to point race.

The school bus I was on

The race started at 8am, presumably to avoid the heat of the day (high 80's in the afternoon) but it was still on the warm side for my liking.   We lined up on a fairly non-descript street in a nice suburban housing estate.  Just before the start I realised that I had already made my first error - when being given my number there was a tear off strip at the bottom which I promptly removed.  I had wrongly assumed it was to attach to luggage or something but it was clear that it was supposed to be torn off as you cross the line - oops!

As we started I was probably about 4th and going at a reasonably fast pace due to the short race distance.  Fairly quickly I moved into 2nd and was just a couple of metres behind.  By all accounts the course was flat but lots of twists and turns and deceptive small ups and downs all over the place.  I went through the first mile in about 5.11 - far too fast.  After a mile my position was pretty much the same but noticed the leader had one of his shoes undone.  Not long after he suddenly stopped to retie his lace and I was leading.  To be honest this must be the first and only time I really didn't want to lead  - course markings were limited in an unfamiliar country and as a result I eased off a little.  I could also tell that my legs didn't feel great, a sort of sluggish feeling probably as a result of the combination of factors I described above.

After the second mile the person who by now had retied his shoe had caught me again and we ran together for the next half a mile with a third runner about 8 seconds further back.  I really didn't feel good at all now, just nothing in the legs, my pace dropping off rapidly not helped by setting off too fast at the start.

About to cross the line

The last couple of miles were a real grind and I lost touch with the leader but even feeling the way I was I was still clear of 3rd.  It was now also ridiculously hot and humid and I really wanted the race to end!  I crawled over in 27.50 in 2nd place, 30 seconds down on the leader, and 40 seconds ahead of 3rd place.  The time was frankly appalling and was some way down on what I can do in a 10k, despite being a shorter distance.  In reality I know that it was due to the factors I have mentioned earlier in this post but it is still difficult to hide my disappointment.  On the plus side it was a well organised local event, my first race outside of the UK and for coming 2nd I won a prize - an Apple and Raspberry Pie!  There was also Ben & Jerry's ice cream given out to the participants along with Watermelon and bagels!

Me with the huge pie I won!

Unusually for me I have a slew of races coming up.  On the 18th September I have another 5 mile race just that goes past my house so it would be rude not to do it.  I then have a further two races in October - a 10k followed by a half marathon the following week.  To be honest I could just do with a few weeks of solid training to get back into things but I've already entered the races so will just see how things go.


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