Loop the Lake 8k

Saturday was a new event for me, an 8k race called Loop the Lake. It is sponsored by the Capital Striders, a great running group in town. Since I have belonged to the Striders for a year now, I thought it would be nice to participate in a club event.

The Friday before the race was the packet pickup, which was at the Confluence Brewery. I sent my wife a text asking if she wanted to go after work, and have a beer after getting the packet. She agreed, and then suggested that we ride our bikes there instead of driving. What a great idea! It was a beautiful afternoon and a great day for a short ride. It totaled 18 miles round trip, and took just over an hour ride time (we did stop to grab some water, but only for a minute).

Race day was beautiful! It was a great morning with clear skies and perfect temps to run in. I was still taping the calf that I had trouble with, but after a 10 mile run I figured the tape was merely a precaution now. There were several hundred runners that were running, so I hoped for the best and was determined to run my own race and not the other persons.

We started off and I got off to a fast start, 7:57 for the first mile. I was aiming for 9:00 or just under, so I was concerned about holding that pace for the entire race. I settled down (excitement usually gets me running faster to start) and got into a groove. Miles two, three and four came in at 8:23, 8:26 and 8:48. Mile four is a mystery to me: I’m not sure why I slowed down, except I was in a open area where the faster runners were way ahead and other runners were a bit behind. I don’t know if that had any effect, but I was 20 seconds slower than the other miles.

I gained the time back on mile 5, as I was able to pick up a good pace runner and then kicked it in another gear when the finish line got within view. Mile 5 was clocked at 8:16, by no means fast but fast enough for me! I recorded 41:56 for the race, something I was extremely happy with.

As I drank some chocolate milk and ate a banana, the initial postings came out. The elite and master runners put up amazing numbers, in the 20’s and low 30’s. It must be amazing to literally fly through the course like that! I looked further down the list and got a nice surprise . . . I finished in first in my age division for regular runners (50-54 age group). That was a quite a surprise, and received a medal at the post race ceremony.

Now it’s time to prepare for the Mayors Bike Ride and then the Hy Vee half marathon at the Drake Relays. It’s going to be a great year!

Live healthy, be happy!

Travis

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