It's been an amazing two in a half weeks of rest and recuperation leave and now it's time to head back to Iraq for the remaining 5 months of this marathon deployment. My leave was wonderful as I was able to visit family & friends both in hometown Guam and in NC. To make things better I was also able to run 3 awesome races in 3 weekends: Army 10-Miler (DC), Guam Ko'ko' 20K, and the American Tobacco Trail 10-Miler (Apex, NC) this morning. Oh, I can also say that I've won two of the three races.
Of the three races I've ran, the American Tobacco Trail 10-Miler wins the prize for best race. Reasons include: trail race, nice flat course, excellent competition, perfect weather, and good race performance. I went into the race with the mindset to have fun and run a sub-59 since the race was on trails. The race started and I immediately found myself in 3rd place. The two runners up front took off and I had no intentions to follow. They were wearing their running club racing singlet so I knew they had to be pretty good. I came thru three miles in 17:23 (5:44, 5:49, 5:50). The first guy had about a 100 meter lead and the second guy only about 25 meters in front of me. At the 3-mile mark I was feeling too comfortable and I told myself that I'd better put a little more effort into the race. I caught the 2nd runner with a 5:29 4th mile and was still feeling very good. At that point I knew it was going to be a good day. The course is out and back so I knew I'd get a good look at how far I was from the lead runner at the turn around point. I came across mile 5 in 28:27 (5:36). I could now see the lead runner coming back to me and it was only a matter of time before I'd catch him. My 6th mile split was 5:32. A half mile later I caught the lead guy and ran with him for a few seconds. Still feeling good I took the lead and kept pushing never looking back. I came across the 9th mile marker in 50:48, at which I knew a sub-57 was well within reach. I slowed in the last mile (5:47) and finished with a 56:35. The 2nd place runner ended up almost a minute back. I did not know until I got home that my PR was sitting at 56:35. It was a kick in the butt knowing that I definitely could have broken my 10-mile PR. It was my best race this year as I ran negative splits of 28:27 & 28:08. Mile by mile splits were 5:44, 5:49, 5:50, 5:29, 5:36, 5:32, 5:39, 5:31, 5:38, & 5:47. I was awarded a gift certificate which was used to get some new shoes (Saucony Progrid Trigon 5 Ride). It was a good day to end R&R leave.