At the start, just over 300 runners took off on the course. The beginning heads down a very long downhill so just plan on having a very fast Mile 1. Just be careful with "how" you run the downhills on this course. Run them in such a way to trash your quads and you'll pay later. You NEED those quads for the "mountains." Anyway, I tucked in with the pacers and life was good. Clear skies, a light breeze, and temperature in the low 30s...the "warmest" its been in the race's 3 year history.
Back in the high school, hot buttered noodles, chocolate milk, water, cookies, Subway, and some chips awaited. Also, though, they were handing out age group awards. I thought "Why not? I'll go ask and see...ya never know!" I told him my name and approximate time and BAM! 3rd place in my age group of 21 men ages 40-44! That never happens, mind you! So I got a second medal around my neck and one much more valuable to me. I don't think anyone could've wiped that smile off my face. Kimba arrived shortly thereafter, we enjoyed the noodles, etc., caught up on some race stories then headed on out. Back home, results were already up and my final stats were 45 of 311 finishers and 36 of 165 men. Average pace was 7:55. Could I ask for more? Not really. That was a really good measure of where I'm at and if my greatly reduced running schedule is hurting my ability to run. The next test will be a 50K on the first weekend in January. If that goes well, the next big goals for 2015 contain a marathon, 50 miler, 100 miler, and 24hr race. For the Amish Country Half Marathon, though? Check in the box.
By the way, what other race gives you a block of cheese at the finish?!