As a former member of the Longview Running Club from long ago, I'm glad the Kilgore to Longview Class is back. It was an 11 mile race that started around 1976 and lasted until 2001 when there was construction on the main route. I knew there would be a competitive field of runners. The course can be tricky at first because it's really flat that first mile and you can get going faster than you realize, at least that is what happened to me.
I felt I got off to a relative easy start and it didn't take long for me to settle into third behind Micah and Tomas. I glanced at my watch at mile 3, which was a probably a bad idea to do that and I saw that it said around 16:30, I knew that was a little fast and I was starting to lose steam. (After the race, Tomas said they ran the first mile in about 5:11 and I was not far behind at the time). They did a much better job of carrying out that hard pace early on.
Between miles 4-5 my right glute, quad, and calves were all tightening up and I was slowing way down. Nick Huff caught me around mile 5 going uphill and I couldn't respond to his pass. I couldn't respond much to anything at that point. I also got passed by Martin Rodriguez, he's a strong kid, a real fighter. I got to watch him battle German for awhile when German had caught him. He would not give up, it took awhile for German to get by him.
Before I knew it German Garcia was catching me. I ran beside him for about a mile before I fell off his pace. This put me in 6th.
Things were not looking good at this point. I saw Eric Deller cheering on the side of the road and almost asked him if he parked nearby so I could get a ride back in ; )
However, about mile 7, a rhythm of fluidity came back. I started gaining ground on Martin. I noticed the distance of the orange cones that were marking the course, the distance was getting noticeably shorter. So every time I got to cone I kept working to make the distance get shorter between us. I finally caught him around mile 8, luckily German had worn him down enough by then, I didn't have to battle him like German did.
German was a little harder catch, he was keeping a steady pace and it was hard to close ground on him, it took a lot of mental effort and focus to make a comeback on German. Just before we made the last turn to the finish I was gaining really fast on him and when we made the final turn which was about 400 meters to go, I pushed about as hard as I could and ended up putting 13 seconds between us in such a short distance to bounce back and finish 4th.
This turned about to be more of mental win than a physical win, as there were so many times in the middle and end of the race I wanted to quit and drop out and save it for another day and somehow managed to bounce back towards the end. It was a lot of fun racing these guys.