Friday, July 04, 2008

Four on the Fourth

I've been missing the road racing circuit lately, as I've been concentrating on Saturday long runs with the Galloway Training Group. So, today being Friday, July 4, I had a couple of races (at least) to choose from in the Triangle area, and opted for the Four on the Fourth in Carrboro, put on by the Cardinal Track Club.

The weather was really pretty, though a little hot and humid. The course was fairly flat, which was nice too! We ran through some neighborhoods near the start and finish lines at McDougal Middle School. There wasn't a lot of crowd support, but the people who were out were very nice. While I appreciated everyone who was out clapping for us, I especially liked seeing parents out with their kids, encouraging even us back-of-the-packers. What a cool way for parents to model good sportsmanship to their children!

I finished the four mile race in an unoffical (Garmin 205) time of 51:16. The Garmin actually showed 4.02 miles for that time, a 12:46 min/mile average. I did a run/walk combo, and was hoping to finish in under an hour. I'm thrilled to have an average pace below 13 minutes for the 4 miles. I ran more in the earlier miles, walked more in the later miles. I ended up finishing the race with a nice lady whose name I didn't even get, but I enjoyed talking with her as we ran/walked a good portion of the race near each other.
The only odd thing about the morning was having to do with the timing chip. As I was walking toward the registration area this morning, I noticed nobody with race numbers had timing chips on their shoes. I was suddenly a little disappointed, and was surprised at myself for missing the detail that timing chips weren't going to be used for this race. (It's okay if races don't-though most do these days--I just like to know, one way or the other.) When I registered and got my race number, it turned that the chip was in a pouch on the back of the race number! Interesting! The volunteers said there would be a place at the end of the race to put the pouch with the chip. Once I crossed the finish line, someone pulled out a yellow piece of paper that was in the pouch, but he missed the chip. I spotted a box full of the pouches with the yellow sheets (and chips) still inside beyond the finish line. I pulled the pouch with my timing ship apart from my race number and asked the nearest official-looking person about it. He hesitated, but put in it the box I'd spotted and said they'd work it out. I hope so! ;-) If not, at least I have my Garmin time.

This was my first 4-mile road race, so I'm excited about having this PR of 51:16 to break in the future.
UPDATE: Official results are in, and my chip time is 51:17:34. I finished 400th out of 411 finishers. The age group posted results only went three deep.

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