The Cherry Creek Sneak is the race that kicks off the racing season in Denver. Always the last Sunday in April, it is the chance to start the racing season right.
For us, it's one of the last races of the year we can have fun with. With Ironman training starting May 20th, everything at that point is training.
We woke up Sunday morning and did our usual morning rituals. I had my standard egg/toast and brought a banana with me for before the race. We got down there nice and early to park and register. Once registered, we headed back to the car to change into our shoes and relax a bit.
Walked back to near the start and stood in the sun to stay warm. Saw the 10 milers go off and just waited for our time. The police presence was definitely more noticed due to the Boston Marathon sadness. Then we decided to stretch out. My calves were tight, as were my hamstrings.
We then got in the start corral and waited for the race to start. I tried thinking of a race strategy, but all I came up with was "go".
Soon the horn sounded and we were off!
Again, our strategy in this race was "go". We didn't know what we were capable of, but we knew there were some good possibilities.
The first mile is standard in the Sneak. You elbow, jostle, dodge, and do what you have to do to get some open space. So the first probably 3/10ths of Mile 1 were just that. T and I hooked up after we found our opening and pressed on. The pace was definitely tough; we have been running a bit faster in training and it was noticeable early. But I was also having trouble getting my breath under me. More on that later.
Mile 1 was hit at 8:30 exactly. Normally I'm doing 9's, so that was awesome for me. But I also wondered if it was sustainable. I mentally put that aside and we slugged through Mile 2. Mile 2 is a grind in this race. There's a water stop. I could tell our pace was still strong. Normally when we're running these races we're usually back with the people that are gabbing and just loving being leisurely. This race was not like that. Other people were breathing hard and working. It was a good feeling.
In the final mile, T pulled ahead of me for most of it. I caught her late in the race and passed her. I knew my PR was out of reach, but I was running as hard as I can at this time and was giving it my all.
I crossed the finish line at 28:12. I breathed a bit and cooled down. T crossed one second behind me, so I technically beat her. :-)
Did the usual cool down of grabbing bagels and bananas and walking around. We talked about how it was tough to grab a breath while running. A couple days later, we found out the allergies around Colorado are really bad right now, preventing people from breathing effectively. We also watched our friend Nicole, who is part-owner of RunColorado, our favorite running store, start the 5 mile race, which she ended up winning.
Overall, not a bad race. I'll take it for my first 5K of the season.