Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chick Fil A 5k in Athens

Posted by Eric Patterson
WOW!!! The Chick Fil A 5k blew away my expectations. This was a very successful inaugural event! Congratulations to the city of Athens and thanks to the key sponsors,Chick Fil A, Fleet Feet Huntsville, and Athens Limestone Wellness Center. I hope this generated a good income for Jessica Elkins Meningitis Awareness.
This was my first race as a member of the Nike Fleet Feet Racing team in Huntsville. It was my first race in Nike shoes, and I really liked the ride. I ran today in the LunarElite, which is the lightest shoe I've worn to date. I'm working toward running 5ks and 10ks in the LunaRacer, but I figured it wasn't a good idea to jump to such a light weight shoe with minimal support just yet. I'll graduate to those.
I love leaving the door of my house and doing my warm-up run on the way to the race! Athens needs more races! I am directing the Duck and Run 5k on September 18, so come join us then! I ran into Fleet Feet Racing team mate Madelyn Patton and we did a warm up. She smoked the 5k in 21 and change and won her age group.
The Race
There were the usual kids and beginners in a race this size who jumped out to a sprint start. They were off the pace soon enough and there were just 8 people in front of me. Two were Brandon Mader and Fleet Feet team mate Donald Bowman who finished second overall. The others I caught and passed before the first turn on Bullington. Then, Justin Pruitt passed me just before the turn and I settled into 4th place, where I would remain for rest of the race. I had no idea what was going on behind me. I never looked back.
I ran on Justin's shoulder for most of the race. We hit the 1 mile split in 5:46, my fastest mile ever. Apparently, that's just a tad too fast because I wasn't able to hold that. After the turn on West Hobbs Street, there is a very slight incline. I was sure to stay close to Justin on this incline. I even made a surge to attempt to pass him, but he covered it, so I stayed behind and waited for another opportunity.
We hit the 2nd mile in 11:50, which was too slow for that second mile. Just past mile 2, I made another surge to pass and pulled even, but he covered it and pulled ahead. While even with him, I got a good look at him and knew he wasn't in my age group! He was way too young to be competing with me for the free chicken!
As we reached the courthouse square, he made a surge and pulled ahead by about 5 seconds. I did not cover and I don't know why. I have much to learn about racing. I was planning to surge on the downhill on Washington Street between Jefferson and Houston. I did, but so did he and I lost more ground on him. As we started up the hill, I was pushing, and I could tell I was losing my ability to maintain this pace. I should have pushed harder earlier. I should have covered all of Justin's surges. This isn't a difficult hill, and I run it multiple times per week. However, it sure seemed harder today!
As we turned into the parking lot, I had no idea where the finish was. I never saw the clock! But I was in the finishing chute, so I assumed I was finished. After the race, I met Justin and Brandon and confirmed that they were younger than me. :) 18:50 earned me a PR, 4th of 414 overall, and 1st of 40 in the 31-40 age group.
The weather was perfect. The Nike shoes and clothes felt great. Thanks to Fleet Feet and Nike for inviting me to join their racing team. What an honor!