Yesterday marked the second installment of the 2012 Striders Winter Running Circuit in Ogden, UT. It is so marvelous doing a series that is practically in our backyard! The low-key race mornings are awesome---I could get very used to this. Start time was 8am, so we woke up a little after 6am to have a quick breakfast, walk the dogs, and take care of the usual business before hopping in the car and driving to the Dee Events Center. Packet pick-up was a breeze and we were able to get in a nice 2+ mile warm-up before the gun went off.
It was an overcast morning with a pretty stiff wind that initially was coming from the south but that at some point during the race miraculously changed directions, so we ended up having a "friendly" wind both ways. The 10K course starts with a short uphill, then is mostly downhill for the first 3 miles. It's essentially an out-and-back course on parallel streets, meaning that the second half of the race is mostly climbing. What goes down must come back up! There's a really nasty hill around the 5 mile mark that would have been absolutely defeating if there had also been a headwind---thank you to the weather gods for that little piece of luck! It was tough enough as it was, but I felt strong and was able to conquer the hill and have some left over to kick it in at the end. The overall times were not very fast (thank you hills) but it was a good effort and I can see an improvement from the 5K two weeks ago. I took 3rd place among the women; overall results have not been posted yet but I think I'm doing pretty well in the cumulative series too.
Albert also nabbed 3rd place, but went about it in an entirely different fashion. Despite knowing how difficult the second half of the course was going to be, he decided to take it out HARD and see if he could drop everybody from the beginning. He ran the first two miles in less than 10 minutes (!!!)---but unfortunately the strategy did not pay off for him as another runner was able to hang onto that pace and then turned the tables on Albert and dropped him when he began to struggle on the uphills. Apparently the "nasty grade" was something of a death march for Albert and kicking at the end was out of the question. Oh well, live and learn. The 10-Miler in two weeks starts with the exact same course for the first 6 miles and then goes on to climb some more, so hopefully he learned his lesson and will be more conservative in the opening miles next time around.
All in all, it was a really solid morning of training: physically, mentally, and strategically. Money in the bank, as we like to say around here!