There are times where I need to just expect the unexpected when it comes to Braden's running, and the Toad Suck Daze 10K race was a great example.
Two weeks prior to Toad Suck, Braden had very tough race after having strep throat, and his subsequent training for the 10K was a struggle as well. Three times we tried to get a 10K training run in before the race and all three times he couldn't even run a 5K distance. Needless to say, I had no confidence whatsoever that he would be able to finish in a decent time and I figured he would probably have to walk half the course based off his training. Normally Braden is very geared up to run a race and for the first time he himself said that he didn't think he would do well because of his lack of preparation. Unfortunately, I couldn't be there because I had to work and I was still out of commission with my Achilles. I just told him to try to stick with his papa Bernie, who was running as well, and hope that he would be okay.
All morning long all I could do was pray that the Lord would watch over him and help him do the best he could. Well, the prayers were answered in a big way when I received a phone call saying that Braden's time was 55:49...41 seconds off his PR! I was absolutely floored on how well he did and his time was definitely out of left field!
A huge part of Braden's success was with the help of his uncle, Greg Eason, who saw Braden running by himself 1/8 mile into the race, and sacrificed his time to run with him the rest of the way.
Something that Braden seems to have a knack for is running negative splits and this race was no exception:
Mile 1 - 8:55 pace
Mile 2 - 9:08 pace
Mile 3 - 8:53 pace
Mile 4 - 9:37 pace
Mile 5 - 8:47 pace
Mile 6 - 8:09 pace
Last .2 - 7:20 pace
Apparently, mile 4 was his only difficult part of the race because he said he had to walk just a little bit and get water as well...which is basically the only reason why he didn't PR. By the way, he also threw up on the track for the second race in a row (Greg said he was pushing Braden pretty hard), which is a trend he says he hopes won't continue :)
Because of his time, Braden finished first in his age group and also because the race was a championship race for the Arkansas Grand Prix, he gained 30 points and is now in first place in the standings as well.
|Arkansas Grand Prix standings after the Toad Suck Daze 10K|
Braden's next race will be the River City 5K, a non-Grand Prix race, and it will also be my first race back, now that it looks like my Achilles is healed up.