For the second year in a row on New Year's Day, I ran the Capitol Mile. This is a one mile, out-and-back race in Wallace Marine Park in West Salem. Last year it was a little icy...I ran 5:15. This year, with how I was running, I thought I could be close to 5:00. Well, I've got a couple excuses...this year it was pretty windy and rainy and I felt like I got off to a bad start. I kind of got boxed in by a bunch of guys right from the start...at the time I felt like I would have started a little faster. I ended up running only 5:11...I was a little disappointed. All I could think afterwards was how quickly the whole thing was over and that I was really looking forward to the 13.1 miles of the Cascade Half Marathon.
OSU Eat and Run 5K - 17:49 - It was the day after Halloween...let's just say, I ate too much candy...my stomach didn't feel real good that morning. I think I ran the first mile in about 5:33, but I was still probably at least 10 seconds behind the two frontrunners and not feeling very good...I slowed down quite a bit in the next two miles. I will say that the last mile of the course is a little tough in that there are quite a few sharp turns that really slow you down. I had run this race in 18:33 two years ago, so I was pretty happy with my time, but it was my first non-PR with the Lunaracers. I feel like I let my shoes down...but I did win a nice Beaver hat and gift certificate for lunch for my third place finish.
Oregon Mid-Valley Road Race - 21:16 - I've found that getting up early and running a race on Thanksgiving Day is really a great way to start the day. For the past 3 years I had run in the OAC Turkey Trot 5K in Corvallis. Unfortunately, they've had some trouble getting the course the right length...and based on this year's results, I'm guessing it was short again. Mainly for this reason, I decided to give the OMRR a shot. It was the first year for this event in Albany, and instead of the normal 5K/10K options, this race had a 3.75 mile and 5.2 mile race...there was no chance to get the distances wrong because they're based on the length of the roads! I do like the traditional distances because I do like to compare times from race to race...in the end, I decided to run the 3.75 mile race since it would fit in better as a tempo run for my Cascade Half Marathon training.
Everyone started together and I took the lead pretty much right from the start...I couldn't really tell how fast I was going because it was so cold. I did a good job of not looking back, but the race wasn't even half over and I was already running scared. I would say that I'm a frontrunner, but I felt a big difference being all alone in the front. Finally when I hit the turn-around, I could see that I was maybe 10-15 seconds ahead of several guys behind me, but I didn't know which race they were running. Although I ran the "easy" course, it was not exactly flat...there were some rolling hills and it felt like I was slowing down a little on the way back...I was afraid someone was going to catch me. Well, it turns out everyone that was close behind me at the turn-around was running the longer race because I ended up winning by over 3 minutes. The race organizers were good-naturedly giving me a hard time when I finished, saying I should have run the tougher course. The win felt pretty good...I even got my picture taken shaking hands with the main sponser of the race. The organizers of this race did a really nice job...I'd definitely go back next year...the question is, which race to run...defend my title or run the tougher course?
A couple sidenotes...I raced with headphones for the first time and didn't really like it...I think this was part of the reason why I couldn't tell how close the competition was. And a friend of mine who works for Albany Police was driving the tail car for the 5.2 mile race...so I got a police escort for my cooldown!
Beaver Fun Run 5K - 17:13 - I was feeling real good after a couple mile warm-up with the Pain Train. We ran most of the course for the warm-up, so I knew how it was marked. Early in the race, there were a couple spots where the marks went up onto the sidewalk and made some sharp turns...I was following them, but a few other guys near the front weren't...this pissed me off and really fueled me. I caught up to them, took the lead, and then proceeded to really mess with them...doing things like letting them catch up to me then putting on short bursts of speed to pull away...it was fun. Then we hit the first mile in 5:23...whoa...the only guy who was still with me started to put a gap between us...bottom line was I slowed down a bit and he didn't. But I did run the next two miles in about 5:40 and finished the race off feeling pretty darn good. Another PR...thanks Lunaracers! The Pain Train also PR'd in 17:42. Now the question was, could I beat him when there was a bet on the line?