This was my 3 time running at the Lilac Festival. My first time I ran the 5k in 17:31 and finished 8th, my second time I ran the 10k in 36:14 and finsihed 33rd, this year it was back to the 5k. The 5k has a family team competition and that was the only reason I did the race. I have been sick for a few days and if it was just on me I would have skipped the race, but Lisa has been wanting to run as a Husband and Wife team so I neti potted the crap out of my nose and gave it my best shot. The first time I ran this race, my parents were town so my dad and I entered the family competition and won, I was hoping for another family victory but it was not to be.
We got to the race about 40 minutes before the start and found our friend Jerry who was going to watch Hazel during the race. I did a very slow warm up trying to not stress my lungs which were already aggravated from allergies. By the time I got around to doing my strides I was starting to at least feel human again, although I did not have a lot of bounce in my step. The race is basically an out and back, it goes down for a mile, flat for a mile and up for a mile with the steepest part of the hill in the last 400 meters. My basic plan was to go out and close to 5 minute pace or faster as possible then hang on. Generally this would not be my kind of race strategy but I knew with how I was feeling I would not be able to run very hard up the hill even if I took it easy the first mile.
There was a solid field for the 5k this year, normally it isn’t that deep of a race because all the fastest people are running in the 10k an hour later for the big money. Standing immediately to my right was Steve Strelick who has won the last few years also on the line were a bunch of youngsters I didn’t know but who looks fast. The field size of over 1200 runners was announced as a record and then we were off, charging down the first big hill.
The first mile went as expect; it was very fast. I went through the mile in 5:02 slower than I wanted but already struggling to breath. I was in 6th place as we hit the flat middle mile. As we wound through the neighborhoods I heard alternating calls of “Go Chris (Hine)” or simply “Alright GVH” so I knew at the very least Chris Hine, if not Dave and Tom were close behind me. I tried to maintain my speed but knew I was dropping off the pace quickly and came through 2 miles in 10:24. It was now time for the long slog back up the hill.
I was doing my best to chug up the hill, knowing Lisa was depending on me, and Hazel would be watching her daddy right near the finish. It was those two thoughts that brought me to my senses as I was passed with .2 miles to go. I was on the verge of just letting go and cruising in the last .2 when I got passed by a heretofore unkown runner. Over the next .1 miles I struggle to find the motivation to make a push to reclaim 6th. Just as I passed Hazel (who probably had no idea I was running by) I found another gear and ran down the guy who had just passed me. I staggered across the line in 16:32, feeling utterly spent, but just as pleased to have not given up the hunt.
In the end Lisa and I finished 2nd in the family division behind the Bischoff’s. Lisa is determined to improve her time for next year so we can bring home the best Husband Wife crown (or small medal). I hope some day to be able to enter this race as a Father Daughter team with Hazel, but that day is still a few years off.