2011/07/04: Freedom Day 4-Miler (race report)

Prior to this race:
I sprained my back ice skating 2 and a half weeks ago and didn’t run for just over 2 weeks as a result.  Since this was a long weekend, I decided I’d drive an hour to Austin to run around beautiful Lady Bird Lake.

Thursday, I got peer pressured into doing a 5k that evening AND one the next morning.  These were my first 2 runs post-sprain.  My back was totally fine, but my times were terrible (34:04 and 32:46) compared to my other 5ks this year around (or just under) 30:00.

Friday I drove to Austin and nixed the idea of running that evening but spent the night and got in 15 miles Saturday morning.  My goal was just to get time on my feet.  I took LOTS of photos of nature around the lake during my running (but mostly walking journey).  Yesterday, my legs were sore, but I’d also made the decision last week to do the Freedom 4-Miler today, so I just rested and stretched quite a bit.

Race day:
I woke up at 5:30 to have enough time to drive the 45 minutes to the race.  I decided to dress festively for the occasion.

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My goal was to get around the same time I did last year (43:45).  I’m in better shape this year, but based on my two 5k times a few days prior, I wasn’t sure about the feasibility of this.

Having run the course last year, I was aware that most of the first half was downhill and the last 2 miles were mostly uphill (with the steepest and longest incline just before the finish line).

My first two mile times were just under 10 minutes apiece, which is what I hoped for.  I wanted the last two to be under 11:30 if possible.  I took a few short walk breaks due to the heat (it is San Antonio in the summer, so I felt justified), but was surprised that neither of the last miles were over 11:00.

My official finish time was 41:43, a 2:02 PR over last year.  All things considered, I was extremely happy with this.  I was also surprised that my pace for this race, with sore legs and more distance, was quicker than my 5ks in Thursday and Friday.

I also ran into Scottydog (for the 3rd time at a race this weekend) as well as some other running friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  I also met up with one of my co-workers who had also been at both of my other races this weekend.  He’s speedy but has an extremely speedy son (13 years old and ran this race in 28:xx); unfortunately for his son, they accidentally swapped their chips, so the son, according to the results, didn’t place in his age group.

A Tribute
Over this weekend, especially today, I gave a lot of thought to the men and women who have given their lives for this country so we can experience the freedoms we have.  The following people were particularly close to my heart as they are fellow Air Force members who have died in the line of duty in the last year:

SrA Michael Hinkle, one of the airmen I worked with when I was deployed, died in Southwest Asia on 16 Mar 11 at the age of 24:
Hinkle

Capt Nathan Nylander, one of the first non-Air Force Academy officers I ever interacted with who made a significant positive impact on my life, was killed in Afghanistan by a disgruntled Afghani on 27 Apr 11 at the age of 35:
Nylander

Capt Eric Ziegler, husband of a special friend of mine (who also leaves behind a 9-month-old daughter), was killed in an F-16 crash 6 days ago at the age of 30:
Ziegler

Always remember: Freedom is not free…

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