The other day, I found a well-worn white T-shirt with a faded orange sun on it. It was my 2004 Virginia-Highland Summerfest 5K race shirt, one of my favorites.
Race-wise, there really wasn't much glory from that 10-year-old race. I had qualified for Group I for the Peachtree 10K that February with a nice run of the Charles Harris 10K. After that, I proceeded to not run at all until June, when I decided to run in the Summerfest.
I told a friend at the time that I was running in the 5K "to see where I was at."
It turned out, where I was at wasn't really that good. I did well for the first two miles but then hit the wall after that. My showing the next month in the Peachtree 10K wasn't that much better. I still beat an hour for the race but paid for it afterward with having two huge calf cramps at the same time. Not fun.
This year, it's hard to say what my motivation was for the Summerfest. My mileage is down for the year, even though the streak continues strong. Most days, I push more than 45 pounds of extra weight with my son and his BOB stroller. I don't run fast but I enjoy running.
But at least we were starting this race in better condition than last year, when I was coming off my end-of-work party and the related hangover.
This year, I felt pretty fresh. I knew the course pretty well, after running it a few hundred times as my regular training course and scoring a PR for the time in 2010.
They improved this course this year by moving the race start a little farther back on Virginia Avenue so there isn't the crazy log jam. Part of the reason is that they have chip timing this year and need everyone to start from the same spot.
This resulted in a decent and not very crazy start. We were actually able to run, even with a stroller.
It felt like I floated up the first hill. Then we made it past the turnaround and onto the Rosedale hill. A lady at this point said there were only two more hills to go. But I knew better as you end up climbing three huge hills by the time you end on Lanier.
In the past I would have been totally gassed at the end of the three hills and trying to find some kind of way to finish. But the run felt effortless (luckily I wasn't pushing the stroller!) and I ran side-by-side with my wife to the finish.
It was nice to run this race as it should, as a training run with a T-shirt and snacks waiting for you at the finish. It was also great to participate in a long tradition in my neighborhood.
And now comes the Peachtree. I feel extremely good going into this race, knowing that I will be ready for the July 4th reward for running.
Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees (humid)
Gear: T-shirt, technical (Charles Harris, 2009), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+/29A.