This was the third annual running and also the USAT NC 8K championship.
Got up at around 5 am, got dressed, made coffee, scoffed down a banana and some toast, and headed out towards Durham - the Bull City. It was already 76 F when I left the house at around 5:30 am - not a good sign!
Parking was plantiful and I was soon picking up my race number and shirt at the Old Durham Bulls Baseball park. Did some stretching and went for a 1.5 mile jog to get warmed up. Soon ran into my colleague Phil and his wife Roberta, who were also doing the race, and also Lili Fernandez and her Mom Angie.
The start was on Foster Street, just up from the farmer's market, and there was a nice festival atmosphere as a brief shower of rain offered short relief from the heat and humidity. The course winds its way through downtown Durham, going past the new baseball stadium and ending at the old one. One nice feature of the race is that you finish by running around the warning track of the classic old Durham Bulls stadium (think Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham!).
The course was much hillier than I anticipated (and it was pretty humid out). Not steep, but numerous long grades. The start was up hill and I had to fight my way through slower runners for a while but I soon found a rhythm and put in 08:01 for the first mile and 07:45 for the second. The third and fourth miles were tougher, with some sapping hills and I slowed to 08:22 and 08:43 pace. Once the finish was in sight I kicked it up a little for an 08:11 last mile, but the heat and humidty had definitely taken some energy out of me!
Official times haven't been posted yet, but my Garmin had me down for a finish of 41:17. Not too bad given the conditions - I felt that I put in a reasonable effort and was completely drenched in sweat at the finish!
I was interested to listen to several people say that their GPS devices measured the race as slightly long. Mine read 5.03 miles, which seems about right.
I soon found Phil and Roberta and after rehydrating and enjoying some fresh fruit we headed to Alivia's Durham Bistro http://www.aliviasdurhambistro.com/ for a wonderful steak and eggs breakfast! A great way to start the weekend!