I purposefully left the months of April and May void of any race commitments, as my daughter Cassidy was due to be born mid-April.
Family, first. Always.
On April 20th, Colonial Sports and the Colonial Road Runners collaborated to put on a fantastic race called Run the D.O.G., DOG standing for Duke of Gloucester, which is the main historic road in Colonial Williamsburg. It is closed to vehicular traffic year-round, but is widely used for walking, running, horse-carriage tours, cycling, etc. It’s about 3/4 of a mile long, and it absolutely wonderful. The 5k winds through the campus of The College of William and Mary before running parallel to DOG Street, and then eventually turning onto it and running down its length. The great thing about this race is that the organizers offer prize money to the top three finishers, so the race draws a fast crowd.
Having been somewhat stressed about the birth of my baby girl and spending time and energy preparing the house and myself for the inevitable bundle of joy, I knew that I certainly was not in shape to rival my time on this course from 2011 (15:18), but was hoping for something respectable in the 15:45-16:00 range.
The race started out fast, with about 15 guys sprinting off the line to get position. So for the first half mile I was thrown back into a pack of about 5 guys with another 5 or so out ahead of me. The one thing I did not want to do in this race was go out too fast and blow the last half mile. So I raced patiently and conservatively, and came through the mile right at 5:00 with 3 other guys. By that time, there were two definite leaders, who had probably came through the mile in the 4:45-4:50 range, and unless something dramatic happened, I was in a dogfight for 3rd place.
With no hills and the knowledge that as a long course triathlete I lacked a great deal of closing speed, I knew that to give myself a chance, I needed to push the pace sooner than later. So at about the halfway point, I made a surge to test the waters. Out of the three guys who were with me, two responded. About a minute later I went again. This time the footsteps of my competitors faded slowly. This was it, I just needed to hold it together.
My finishing time was 15:36, stronger than I anticipated, and I finished third, so I earned my dinner that night!