When I hurt myself last fall I made my goal to be healthy by the time Nookachamps came around. In that sense I succeeded. This wasn't a fast race, but it was a good run and I felt healthy. Not completely out of the woods, because my groin did stiffen up following the race, but overall very encouraging.
It was a wet and windy day, and coupled with Nookachamps' relatively difficult course makes it always more of a race to gauge winter fitness rather than do something fast. (Which wasn't the point anyway.) I started back in the crowd with my cousins Eric and Alicia, who were running the 5k. My first mile was likely in the 8/min range, I really focused on an easy start and didn't rush out. My warm-up wasn't long, so I needed the time to get into it anyway.
After two miles the crowd was strung out, and other than a fierce headwind when we turned south off Swan Road and up the hill through the dairy, things were ok. I consistenty passed other racers, keeping a good pace but certainly in control rather than "going for it." One young guy passed me at the 5-mile mark (which is on the last hill), so I settled behind him maybe 10 yards for the final mile. We picked up one racer, and I probably could have surged to beat him. But I was feeling sporting, since he didn't know the course and kept shouting questions back at me on the last few turns that weren't marked well. I caught him and kind of pointed him through the last little loops, but then relaxed so he could beat me by two or three seconds.
At the finish the sky really opened up, so I just jogged right through and straight back to the gym. Grabbed a quick drink, found Eric and Alicia and we drove to my parents' house (a mile away) for showers and pancakes. I felt a little worried without a cool down, but nothing cramped up too badly. So all in all a decent day and it's good to have a race under my belt. On the way to being healthy for 2014.