Cool and rainy.
But that didn't keep me and a bunch of other people from taking part in the 10th annual Spring Chaser, sponsored by Steve's Old Time Tap in downtown Rock Island. Because I'm running a race, this is one of few runs that don't start at UnityPoint hospital. A friend and I got there early to pickup the race bib and t-shirt. With another 45 minutes or so to spare, we stopped into Theo's Java Shop for a toddy.
When the race started at 9am, the rain had turned to a light sprinkle; just right. The first mile took us through downtown Rock Island past many of the landmarks, such as the Blues Brothers statue and Circa 21 Theater. Then turning at 23rd street and 5th avenue, we headed out to 30th street. Along the way, I chatted with a guy who was running the race with his white snow dog. At the first mile mark, my running app piped up and told me my pace: 8:11. That's at least 1:15 minutes faster than my normal run; I was kicking it!
As I turned at 30th street, I decided to walk the hill to 7th avenue, but around 100 feet up the hill, race fever got the best of me and I started running again. From here, through the end of the race, I was never really able to keep a good pace; either I ran too fast or I was walking. At the two mile mark, despite at least 45 seconds of walking breaks, the mile split was 8:14.
Just after mile 2, we turned left on 23rd street toward 9th avenue. By this time, I was fully warmed up and in race mode, not talking with others and trying to keep with the pack. Somewhere after 20th street, I walked a block or so and as I turned right onto 17th street, I vowed not to stop again until the finish line; it was a tough promise to keep.
Right at the 3rd mile, with the finish in view, I picked up the pace. I wanted to leave everything on the route. Closing within a block of the finish line, I was sure I was going to lose that toddy I'd had only an hour or so ago. I crossed the finish with an time of 26:29.
As I cooled down, I saw and talked with many people from previous runs or the gym. I was genuinely glad to be there with these people. Oh, how I've missed it.