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So the alarm goes off at 5:30 AM (don't all race reports start this way?) and I get up and shut it off and go back to bed. This is an afternoon race and I don't have anything planned except relaxing this morning.

Nerves are killing me, I wasn't this nervous when I got married. Kick around the house all morning then go out for a little warm up run. Grabbed by Gatorade, printed out directions to the race and headed out the door.

It was at the GA International Horse Park where they had equestrian events during the 1996 Olympics. I must have missed the part of the race application that said this was a cross country run and not a road race. Rolling hills, my foot; steep and short for all of them.

Anyway, I get there and it looks to be a smallish event, probably 100 runners tops. Poke around, get a t-shirt and bib, do some stretching and make small talk with the other runners. I was thrilled about the course from the looks of it. It looked dead flat. I didn't realize we were going to leave the park and run through the woods. 8O

Lined up at the front of the pack because the starting line was w--i--d--e. Gun goes off and we're off. Pack thins out quickly and I'm just behind the fast group. About 1/3 mi. into it, I'm sure I'm going to DIE. Chest is about to explode and my heart is pounding out. I'm really going to die, I hate running 5Ks.

I toned the pace down a little bit because my family is too busy to come to my funeral this week. First mile split was 6:23. Hey, I can live with that pace, I'll hit my sub 20:00 goal time for sure if I can keep it up. Too bad though, because after we came out of the woods for a few minutes we went right back in and the trail was steep. I did pass a guy while we were out of the woods for a little bit and that was the only passing or getting passed that I did the whole race. 2 mile split was 12:53. Wasn't able to quite maintain my pace through those tough little hills.

3rd mile was more of the same with the hills except for the last 1/4 mi. of the race. It flattened out to just a slight downhill towards the chutes. Excellent way to finish.

I was only about 10-15 yds. behind the guy in front of me for most of the race and just tried to hold my position when he finally kicked in towards the end. He kick, I kicked and the guy what was behind me kicked in too. I heard the guy that was behind me gaining on me so I pull some extra speed from who knows where and maintained my position.

Finish time of 20:3?. I missed my time, but the guy that was right behind me finished in 20:35. Missed my sub 20 time but the XC coach that was the RD said that his guys that run that course usually do it 1:00 slower than they do when they run a 5K road race.

I finished 2nd in my age group and 5th overall. The guy that won my age group ran a mid-17's race and the guy that won overall (probably in the 25-29 AG) ran a course record with a 16:54 (I think) time.

Everyone agreed that it was a tough course and it was the first time I'd ever run cross country so I was pretty happy with my time.

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Nice job John. Glad you are pleased with the effort
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Nice job John. Good effort.
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good work, john...your improvement has been steady and impressive...sub 20 is right around the corner for you buddy:

:cheers:

---
megawill
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Good race, John! And hardware too!
:thumbsup: and :banana:
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Excellent race, excellent report...felt like I was there! Congrats! Trail racing...at least a minute can be added...and you haven't been training on trails! How are your ankles after running off road?

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: 8)

Shelly
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Great time! I love your reports also, I felt like I was there
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Great race. You should be more then happy. The surprise of xc and placing. :thumbsup:
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Ankles held up pretty well. I've got a weird little popping going on with my right knee though. I'll know a little better how it's going to affect me after I run today.
Thanks for the support everyone!
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Excellent race, PH, smokin' time! As it was said before, sub 20 is right around the corner (I think your next 5k).

Congrats! :thumbsup:
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Way to go Ph!!!! :thumbsup: Nice race! :D
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Congrats on your race! :thumbsup:
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Great report, Purple.

You did a great job, but more importantly, glad you are happy with your performance. :D

So how is that knee?

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PH.. Nice! Definitely you're in sub-20 shape. Aren't the trails great?! Did a lady really push a stroller on the trails?
2nd in the age group.. gotta like them apples! You did avoid the apples in the horse park though, didn't ya?
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Yup, I'm not sure how she got around the muddy spots (they were little but the way around was pretty narrow). She and her husband both ran the race.
I didn't see any horse apples, just a bunch of hoof prints in the ground.
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