For the second year in a row, David and I drove to Covington (an hour away) for the always-entertaining Four on the Fourth state 4-mile championship. There are lots of reasons to love this race:
1. It's flat and fast, although a notoriously hot course (no shade, no breeze, and a very low, humid, swampy area).
2. You get a singlet instead of a T-shirt, which is an automatic reason to run in my book.
3. The four mile race is followed by a fun bikini beer mile
4. You actually get a race swag bag.
5. There is beer, watermelon, red beans, and snowballs after the race.
6. Prizes go to the first and fourth overall!
This year we lucked out with the weather. Early morning rain brought overcast skies and lower temperatures (upper 70's at the start!), albeit with humid air. It was a huge contrast to the race last year, when I was downright cooking in the sun.
Right away I noticed that not a lot of fast women showed up this year. I guessed I'd be third. Lauren from my running group was there and she's always faster than I am racing or doing speedwork so that was no surprise; I recognized another girl who's quite fast, and everyone else there I knew I would beat. Sure enough, we started fast, and quickly settled into a 1-2-3 pattern. Part of the course is an out-and-back, and I was pretty far from #2 (about 30 seconds) and pretty far from #4 as well. But I knew that #4 gets the biggest prize, so I have to admit that I stopped briefly at the last corner and checked behind me for other women. I'm not above getting passed to rack up the big awards. However, there was not another woman as far as the eye could see! So I finished up in 26:01 (if I hadn't stopped, that would be under 26 min....nice decision-making there, Grace). Sure enough, the fourth woman was minutes behind me.
So, this race. I felt good. I could talk during the last miles. I ran 6:28, 6:32, 6:26, and 6:31. I could have - and should have - picked this one up. I didn't. I did that terrible thing I do in the last mile of a short race: let others pace me. I realized far too late that Lauren was actually slowing down in mile 4, not speeding up, so keeping her ahead of me was slowing me down. I sped up at the end of that mile, and closed the gap between us to 20 seconds, but it didn't make much of a difference at that point. I must learn to be a better racer! And maybe learn to push a little more. It's not usual for me to finish a race and wonder why I didn't speed up. But still, big PR for me, since the last 4 mile I ran was up a bridge.
As third female overall, I got a dollar store bottle opener shaped like a shark. The fourth place female got A PAIR OF MIZUNO SHOES. Please. Oh, and she got a dozen yard eggs. Ah, the Northshore!
I fully planned on staying for the beer mile to see if David could best his 10-minute beer mile from last year, but he decided he didn't want to do it and we ended up leaving. It's a fun event, but I suppose forcing your spouse to drink four beers mid-mile for your entertainment constitutes hazing, so I let him say no...this time. There's always next year. And I might even force him to wear a bikini for it.