As summer draws to a close and the weather starts to cool down our race schedule is about to get busy again. Since June, not counting USATF events, we've only ran one road race per month, but starting this month we'll be averaging three races per month until December.
With the summer heat, consistently churning out great runs has been difficult, but Braden managed to knock 43 seconds off his 5K best during our last race at the Watermelon 5K in August. With that being said, I was hoping that he would be able to improve again on his 5K time since the temperatures were going to be somewhat cooler and the course flatter at the ARK 5K Classic.
After my bad race at the Watermelon 5K, I have been working on getting my running back in order since Braden wiped me out. I was determined to hang with him and I felt really good the morning of the race since I had a good night's rest and I didn't have to go far because the race was in North Little Rock. The humidity at the start of the race was pretty high, but with the temperatures around 75 degrees, it made it more tolerable.
We got off to a clean start, but about 100 yards into the race, one of the participants tripped up and took a hard fall right in front of us. Braden avoided the crash and we were able to quickly adjust and settle into the race (the lady who took the fall was okay, other than some bandages on both knees after the race). I felt really good, so I wanted to push Braden into a faster pace than normal to see how he would handle it. He was doing good until about the 3/4 mile mark when he asked me to slow down the pace. I laughed and told him that he was supposed to be the one dominating me and that I should be trying to keep up with him. Needless to say, I slowed it up a little bit and we finished our first mile at an 8:01 pace.
Unfortunately, I think I slowed it down a little bit too much and with an ease up at the water station, we clocked our second mile at an 8:29 pace. With a mile to go, I told Braden that we needed to pick up the pace if he wanted to get another PR, and with that he responded very well. We started making mini-goals of passing up the runners that were ahead of us and that enabled us to get our pace down again. Our third mile ended up being an 8:13 pace and with a final .1 to go, I told him to turn it on and he responded by running the last tenth at a 7:00 pace. I finished 3 seconds behind him, but I got such a thrill watching him kick it into another gear. When he pushes like that, I just can't keep up with him.
After crossing the finish line, Braden, once again, lost his breakfast (which I now just contribute to him pushing himself to his limits to finish the race), while finishing with a time of 25:09. For the second race in a row, he had knocked of 43 seconds off his previous best time! For myself, I was happy that I had run so much better and was able to push him throughout the race.
With his results, Braden came in first place in his age group, and because it was also a non-championship Grand Prix race, he picked up all 20 points for the standings. As it stands, he now has 220 points and if he gets all 30 points in his next Grand Prix race (the Chile Pepper XC 10K next month), he'll be maxed out and will have clinched first place overall for the year.
|Arkansas Grand Prix standings after the ARK 5K Classic|
I'm really excited to see how Braden does over the next couple of months because I know that with the cooler temperatures, his times will continue to drop! Our next race is next week at the Every Soul Matters 5K at our church here in Vilonia. This week the weather is supposed to break again and the temperatures should be in the low 60's come race time...YEAH!!!! Braden is already talking about setting a new PR and as I have learned, he usually doesn't disappoint.