Got up at the butt crack of dawn to head down to Wausau in hopes to "race" a 5K. I put race in quotes because when I first started running again in January, it was all about making sure I would finish with the knee problems i've had over the last 10+ years. I would get to the venue and get out of the Aztek greeted by gusts of cold winter like air that almost crystalized my lungs with ever inhalation.
I walked the first thousand meters of the course which felt like a lot of rolling tight and twisty terrain, I had to make sure I left the bike shoes and mountain bike in the car as it felt a lot like singletrack. The course then opened up just before the 2K mark which looked a lot like the picture above for the rest of the race. I would jog the 2K to 3K, walk, and then jog the 4K to finish line for my warm up. After registration and many stops to the porta-john, I pinned on the number, put on my spikes (yup I wore cross spikes as it was pretty slick out there) and did a 200 meter acceleration with 10 mintues to go to the start. I felt loose and fast and was ready to bring the metal.
After The Gun:
At about 9:00am the gun sounded and the race was off and I got a great jump, in fact, I had a gap of about 10 seconds going into the trails which was less than 300m. I gotta tell you though, that this was far from my strategy, I thought maybe since the first mile was so challenging that I would sit on the leader's shoulder and then attack at the 1 mile, but I never got that chance and had to switch to "Plan B". Plan B was to stay in front and attack every hill like I was being chased by wolves and I was being chased by a damn fast wolf in Chris Borchardt! I get to the 2K marker and realized that I have a guy that's really trying to bridge up this gap and so then it became a race. First, he would gain some ground and then around the corners when he can't see my pace I would go into a 200m burst to extend it back out again. Same thing would continue on the flats for the 3K and going into the one last little hill on the backside just before the 4K mark I kicked it hard up the hill, but he was still coming and managing to stick around 5-10 seconds back. I was starting to wonder how I was going to do in a sprint finish as I was starting to get sloppy on form, but as soon as I seen the 4K banners I took off and just gutted out the last 1000 meters which felt like forever, but then I see the clearing, I look back and 2nd place was still just as close as he has been the entire race. I give one final kick and cross the finish line first overall with Chris Borchardt from Wausau taking 2nd 10 seconds back according to the results, but it felt like he was much closer. Time wise, I felt like this was a seasonal best time, but the course was further than the 5K as advertised, probably a full 1/4mile if not more, as we knew that last mile was just a hair over 6 minutes and our first two were much faster. Felt more like 17:50's. What a fun course and great people, I'll be back for sure as long as cross doesn't conflict next year.
It was great to get my first overall victory in the 5k of which I can't honestly remember the last time I won overall or if I even did, but this was definitely a huge achievement and against quality talent. Chris was a UW-Oshkosh Alum and has won many 5k's and part of the Wasuau Area Runners club which produces some damn fast runners!
Buck Rut - Minoqua (Another Trail Run - very hilly) This is my Peak and maybe last 5K of the year depending on the Tomahawk Turkey Trot date.
Till then Cross Country Practice!!! Go HATCHETS and I gotta give mad props to Bryan Tomek on his Win this week. Smartest race I've ever seen him run, cool watching him break through to that elite level. Soon he'll be posting 15min 5Ks, and soon you'll be hearing more and more about his results.