So as for the race, there was prize money involved, so whenever that happens in New Mexico all the Kenyans come out aiming to bring home some dough. It started off at what seemed like a pedestrian, but at the first sign of a mile marker; which was the 2nd mile marker, we hit it at 10:23. Pretty good, I guess. At that point we had a good little pack of 6-7 Kenyans, 1 Korean stud, a Moroccan, Kris, and myself. I knew before the race that I was going to have fun and practice my fuel intake. Which I did, and it went pretty well. I didn't get much water/gatorade out of the cups, since I spilled most of the liquid, but it was a good experience.
At around mile 4 some of the Kenyans started dropping off, so I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 7th place. Kris was right there with me, but backed off a little with another Kenyan/friend of ours. I didn't really know what to think, so I just focused on the next guy in front. I finally caught him and passed him and worked on a few more guys. Once we passed some shady dirt area near mile 7, I was in 4th place. Seeing 3rd place a few seconds in front, I thought, why not go for 3rd and take home some cash while your at it? So, as Forest Gump would say, "I just kept runnin", and I caught 3rd. Once that happened Kris and Jay Young (the 2:10 marathoner Korean) came up on me. Now I was thinking, "oh great, I'm going to die now and crawl into the finish after these guys smoke me". But, I made a little surge and gaped them. Apparently, Kris dropped off the bike path and took a dumb; so that dropped him back a bit.
From mile 9 to 10 we were now approaching the 10k runners on the same course. Damn New Mexico style road races. Once mile 10 came up, I just figured I had to hold off anyone for the next 5k. Its only a 5k... Well, that seemed like a long 5k, as the race volunteers directed us through a maze of residential streets, finally to come out on the last 2.5k of the 10k course. Crazy, I know. Well, from here on home Jay and I were battling quite a bit. I let him take the lead for a bit to gauge where he was at. At a few points he would surge a little, so I had to stick with him. The last 400m or so I took over the lead he had on me and just kicked it in. Dodging countless 10k finishers at the same time to finish in 68:49 for 3rd and a little prize money.
Overall, it was a great race, despite the organization. One of my buddies got lost, and once he finished he was cussing up a storm about how poorly the course was marked, which it was. But having this race as my 2nd 1/2 marathon, and a relative close PR, I was extremely happy. After the race, I spoke with many of the Kenyans and they are very impressed with my performance. It would be nice to train with them and learn a few things from them. Hopefully in the weeks and months to come I can learn some good stuff from them.
I plan on racing the San Jose 1/2 marathon next month, and hopefully run a personal best! It would also be nice to have a fun filled weekend like this one, with corny t-shirts and finishers medals...