The race benefits the Parks & Rec Department, a most worthwhile cause. Aside from the miles of trails and numerous parks they maintain, during the Summer they host several different camp programs for kids. A training group was established for the half marathon last year and led by Rush Running. It absolutely blew up this year and at times we filled the Activity Center to the hilt. I was able to join in on several of the training runs to help encourage the participants. It is inspiring to me and the other Team Rush members to mentor these aspiring runners. The program features a race specific training plan, group runs, tons of freebies, talks about various running topics, friendships and the chance to hear Mike Rush repeatedly scream your name.
|Would you take running advice from this guy?|
I knew the last 3 miles back to The Square would be where the magic happens. This is where it might hurt. Mile 11 was a 7:06 pace and Geoff fell off the back a bit. Mile 12 was 7:08 pace. I lost count of how many runners I passed from the Bark Park and along the stink plant using the "rubber band" visual aid. All that was left was the climb up Crystal Bridges and then the finish to the Square. I've run that hill at least 100 times over the last 3 years. I did repeats on it two weeks ago. I hit it with purpose. After the first kicker I wanted to stop at the A Street parking lot and look for an oxygen tank. I kept going and passed more runners. On the flattish section before the bridge and Compton Gardens I took a few deep breaths and focused on form all the way to the top. Knee lift, pump the arms, steady and strong. I threw down a 7:28 pace for mile 13, that's pretty good. I cleared Lawrence Plaza and turned to the finish stretch. It was done.