This guy did the first two, but not in order. I watched this guy drink two beers in the half-hour before the race. Each entrant got (among other things) a free beer token, so I think he cashed in his own and his buddy's at 8:30 (start time was 9:00pm). I dunno, maybe that was his interpretation of carbo loading and being a clydesdale. Highly bloggable, nonetheless.
So anywho...you all know I was sick earlier this week. I was worried that I would have to skip this or else walk it. By some small miracle, I was well enough to run the whole thing! (Thank you, thank you very much.)
Here's the breakdown:
Mile 1: Wisteria Lane (11:17)
The start line is basically the end of downtown, so you head into residential areas immediately. This stretch is best described as Wisteria Lane -- the homes were obviously new, but looked like middle America all the way. People were out cheering, but for the most part it seemed like a fairly sedate affair. I was most struck by the extraordinary number of kids in this race. Awesome! (Almost as awesome as Kelly, who completed her first tri on Saturday.) In this first mile, the rowdiest people were the six junior high girls running near me doing exactly what I did at their age: shout/sing silly songs and then break out into shrill giggles. (I have faith that Kelly had on her game face and kept the shrill giggling to a minimum -- eye of the tiger!)
Mile 2: Let's Get This Party Started! (11:58)
Alright, here's where things started to get interesting. In a slightly older section of houses, more people were out. There seemed to be designated PA music providers on every block (I heard Pour Some Sugar on Me, Crazy Train, and Smoke on the Water). This was the first of many Christmas light sightings, and there was even a little jazz combo of high school kids on one corner playing Chameleon.
Mile 3: Something's Afoot (13:23)
Okay, it was muggy and I was starting to get tired on top of drenched with sweat. Plus, for a "fast and flat course," there was this big ol' hill in the middle of it! "The only hill in Eldridge," one guy yelled as we ran past. By this time, there seemed to be a lot more people out in their yards, lots more people with their garden hoses (thank God!), and a little more inebriation.
Mile 4: The Wheels Come Off (10:20)
I got faster and sweatier; the crowd got drunker and funnier. A little ways past the last water hand-off was a string of guys holding their beers out. In the last half-mile, a few of them actually ran in with us. Anyway, I picked up the pace and moved up through the crowd. Then in the last 220m, I managed to pick off another 5 or 6 peeps for a finish of 46:55 and average pace of 11:43. :I
Between the sick and the not training, I'm just happy I was able to run the whole thing and still feel good today. I'm also thrilled that I felt good enough to run hard at the end. But I'm not sure what to think of my time and/or pace. I've definitely slowed down, but I don't know which of the two is responsible (a little of both, I suspect).
Overall, though, I will most remember what a neat community experience Eldridge offered up. I will definitely return next year!