Monday, March 13, 2017

4th Annual Fresh 15 2017

Fresh Running group photo prior to the race.  
I look forward to the Fresh 15K every year and this year did not disappoint. We were blessed with great weather. It was 52 degrees at the race start. Megan Riaz and her team do a great job every year putting this together making it an international level type event, as it attracts a fast field, such as runners of Kenya and of course your top local runners from the Metroplex and East Texas. It also brings in lots of money for $$$ for charities every year. This year was the largest amount donated to charities.  
Good friend JT and I before the race. We seem to have started our annual cool down jog after. He's now living in Virginia and came back for this race. JT would give me a little carrot earlier in the week on a facebook posting that I could go under a 5:39 pace. 

Travis Allred and his team do a great job making sure Fresh 15 and the local races around stay patriotic with this huge flag. I stopped and took this shot on my warmup jog.
The field gets faster and faster every year. 

 I knew better to go out at that 5:15 or so pace like I did at Kilgore to Longview, just three weeks prior. This time I looked early on at what pace my watch was telling me. When we started down Old Jacksonville I settled into a comfortable 5:35-5:39 pace for the first couple of miles. I would say I was fairly comfortable for the first 3 miles or so and high fiving some of the kids at the aid stations seem to give me a mental boost of energy.

The race itself was uneventful as I was between a pack of runners in front and behind, mostly by myself for much of the race. Between miles 4 -7, I tried to start pushing the pace and James Jackson the national 15K Masters champion was who I raced back in January was having stomach issues again and I was able to catch him in the Hollytree subdivision. My pace though was staying about the same with the effort much higher.

Summer Tillson was here taking pictures and cheering us on right before the Dueling Oaks hill.

A bit of relief coming out of the Dueling Oaks Hill. 

 The last hill, which I think is referred to as "Heart Break Hill" was rough at this point. I had visions of being able to sprint at the top of this hill towards the finish line, but by the time I got there, there was none of that sprinting to the finish line. Coming up that hill with everything you got, felt like the end of a hard track session though. It was borderline if you were going to finish making it up or not.

Heartbreak Hill photo, it has to be in this blog.

 As I mentioned before high fiving the kids, feels like it gives me a mental boost of energy and they love it. I ended up beating JT's pace with a 5:37 mile average, finishing in 53:08.  My gps had the course a little longer this year with the route changes to 9.47 miles. It was my fastest pace on this course in all four years to finish 20th overall.

Can't wait for next year! 

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