Finished ninth (9th) out of 110 timed runners; first overall top-10 event finish; finished 3rd in age group (fourth overall age group podium finish).
Established a new Personal Record (PR) for the continuous 4-mile distance, eclipsing a 34:05 event performace at the 2010 C4 Miles race (May 2, 2010) by 3 Minutes, 11 Seconds. 30th event PR all time.
4.o miles @ 7:44 pace; 30:54 overall timing.
I hadn’t run in this event since 2010; it didn’t fit schedule-wise in recent years.
However, when you’re on the comeback trail and trying to “find it” again, one often returns to the proving grounds that once fostered success.
The 2010 race was held near Montrose Harbor on Chicago’s Lakefront, less than a mile from my house, so I ran to the race venue to warm up and get some blood flowing; arriving about 15 minutes before the starting gun.
After the event’s first mile, there were 3 packs: the 5-8 minute pace runners who sprinted to the front at the beginning of the race; pack two populated by 8-10 minute runners; and pack three being the rest.
I was in front of pack two most of the second half of the race; got off to a decent start with an 8:30 opening mile pace; followed by 8:10 in the second mile, but didn’t even look at my pace time for mile 3, it was nowhere near 8:10.
So my real race in 2010 was the closing mile; glancing at my backup watch and seeing 26:22 flash onscreen; knowing that I had to complete the final mile of the race in 8:07 or less to achieve a PR for the event.
I made it with 25 seconds to spare.
Within seconds of closing the race I looked for a place to sit down and gather myself, but over the next few minutes several runners came over to me and told me that they were on my heels the entire race, but couldn’t catch me; explaining why only 2 runners passed me the entire second half of the race; one of them in the closing leg.
Less than 4 months earlier, I had been sitting on the couch eating Cheetos, and now I was the “rabbit” for several competitors separated only by seconds in the overall standings.
I didn’t realize it in May, 2010, but this event probably shaped me more than 90% of the races I’ve ever run. I simply didn’t “have it” that day, having raced three weekends in a row, but still set a new PR anyway and never looked back.
That is until now.
Fast forward to 2013 and what was old is new again.
Last night, I washed my race outfit and completed my race equipment checklist. This morning, I consumed steel cut oatmeal that cooked overnight in the Crock Pot and ran to the race venue just like I did 3 years ago.
However, race organizers moved this year’s event to Lincoln Park and I generally don’t run well there because most course sections aren’t paved or have a gravel surface.
My pre-race “recon” confirmed my suspicions that the gravel and dirt was still wet and tacky from the rain we’ve had in recent days.
So I kept things “real” and decided to start out conservatively and see if any openings would occur during the race.
My opening mile went according to plan with a 7:55 split; somewhat concerned that I wasn’t “feeling it” yet, despite already having run 3 miles both in warmups and the actual event.
However, that changed around the middle of mile-2 when a runner in a purple shirt practically glued themselves to my “six” and never relented.
The purple runner’s determination kept me honest, because I sped up in mile-2 registering a 7:47 split, followed by a 7:30 split in mile-3.
By the beginning of mile-4, reality struck me and I realized that I must be somewhere in the top-10 of the event as no one had passed me at that stage of the event.
So I made a calculated gamble and decided to make a move around the 3.25 mile mark, passing the 8th place runner in gray who I used as a rabbit for most of the event and briefly putting some distance between me and the runner in the purple shirt.
However, my “move” backfired as the gray runner woke-up and decided to reclaim 8th place and the runner in purple found their kick, passing me and the runner in gray for 8th place; relegating gray to 9th, and me to 10th.
I gave it all I had to close mile-4, but simply couldn’t catch the runner in 7th place and the inspired 8th place runner in purple; so it was down to me and the runner in gray to close the race.
This time, I waited it out until the 3.75 mile mark, before officially slamming the door on the runner in gray for 9th place overall.
The patented “Flyin’ Brian” race close is still in business.
After finishing the race, I had a chance to meet “Georgia,” the runner in purple, who pressed me most of the event; besting me by 22 seconds for 8th place overall.
Georgia thanked me for being a great target and setting a good pace for her to rabbit on the road to winning the women’s overall title for the event.
Race organizers were awesome and awarded our medals shortly after the event’s conclusion. It meant a lot to receive my medal on race day and receive recognition from fellow runners, spectators, and clients being served by the charity tied to the event.
The C4 race has definitely grown since I last competed in 2010. Organizers are much more confident, the race swag’s better, and they had nice eats post-event.
It was a great day at the office and I’m getting closer to “finding it” again.