Today was the last race in the Kalamazoo Area Runners racing series for the 2013 season. The Run for the Son last year is where I set my PR running 20:25. Since then my PR has been set at 19:08. My race times recently have been in the low 20s due to my lack of having a long run and running a hard workout during the week. This has been due to the fact of my busy work schedule, so next year I want to make sure I can get a long run and a hard workout during the week because I would like to run consistent times in the 19 minute range next year.
Anyways back to the race. This year they moved the race to downtown Kalamazoo from Celery Flats in Portage. The Kalamazoo Deacons Conference decided they wanted us to see the work they doing in the community as we ran a 5K race. The race started at Versluis/Dickinson fields. After I got my gear and warmed up, we had a prayer before the race. I also saw hot air balloons in the air before we started. After the prayer, we were off. I ran out with Brandon for about the first half mile and then backed off his pace otherwise I would have worn myself out too fast. At this point I was in fourth place.
Their were a few people out on the course cheering for the runners and walkers as we went by them. The first mile was almost completely straight, but we hit the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail before the end of the first mile and then after a short run on it we were back out on the roads. Brandon was starting to pull out in front of me by about 30 seconds. Around about the half way point of the race a group of three runners passed me, so I fell to seventh overall. I hit the two mile mark and they called out my time at 12:56.
It was going to be tough, but I could still get a time in the low 20s if I could begin to pick up my pace for the last mile. We hit the trail one more time and then we ran back toward the start/finish line tracing the same path back we started out on. I could see I was starting to catch Brandon, but it wasn't going to be enough to get him. However I was able to turn in a 6:30 last mile and came across in 20:06 good enough for seventh overall and second in my age group, so I did a good job picking up my pace.
After I recovered I got a post-race snack of apple cider, Gatorade, fruit snacks, and a Nature Valley bar. Then I collected my medal.
Even though the KAR racing season is over, their are still plenty of other races to run. Next Saturday I run my first cross country race since 2007, a few months after I graduated from high school at Gull Lake. The race is the Open Race at the Portage Invitational.