Millersburg Rotary Club 10k & a new PR for me!!By Tristan-OH I've ran plenty of races in the city but in the last few years I've enjoyed the small town races out in the country. I really hadn't looked for any new ones in the last couple years though, so this year I started looking. One I knew about but never ran - the Earth Day Challenge (1/2 marathon) I decided to do this year and ran with fellow BRS member Yvonne. I identified a few others too, and this weekend's Millersburg Rotary Club 5k/10k lined up with my schedule so I decided to go for it. Its on a stretch of paved rail trail (Holmes County Trail) that I hadn't visited prior to this week and wanted to, so it was dual purpose. And while up that way, thought I'd make a trip through Ohio's 'Amish Country' and visit a few places a rarely get to. It was too soon after the Capital City half marathon I did 2 weeks ago that I really still haven't done much actual speedwork, though just this past Monday I did dabble with a couple fast miles in a simulated duathlon training. Then Tuesday while biking some more, I had a bad wipe out. Lost control and hit the asphalt. Entire left side of body took damage and I have big scabs that are still tender to touch on my shoulder, elbow, knee, and foot and a big tender spot on my hip (though my shorts protected the skin from road rash at least). I wasn't even sure if I'd continue with the race, but Thursday I went out and did 6 miles and while I was not 100% I figured I could at least do it. I wasn't sure what to expect... how many people would go to this. Even my home town's 5k often has only a dozen people or less. I was pleasantly surprised to find about 100 people gathering at the start line. Turns out there were a lot of folks from out of town. After a warm up and stretch out its time to rock 'n roll so made my way to the start line but it was already pretty crowded and I had to start back pretty far. Unfortunately everyone started with the gun, though the finish was per chip. So starting in the back cost me 10 seconds according to my watch, but no big deal. After a bit of weaving around and through I was finally off. And I really didn't feel like I had energy that morning. Not like Cap City where I felt like a ball of energy at the start line. Today I felt like a slug. It was humid as heck too, around 100% humidity and patches of fog. That really zaps my energy. I speed up a bit, and after about a mile was feeling better about things. I was slowly passing more runners to where I could count how many were ahead of me. And about that time we hit the 5k turn around. And like everyone turned around! Well almost, there was one guy just a few steps ahead of me and another that was way out there but that was it. Just a few more minutes and I passed the fellow closer to me but the leader was probably 1/4 mile ahead. Garmin said I was going almost a 6 1/2 minute pace which I honestly didn't think I could hold, so I didn't expect to catch the leader and just hoped I'd keep ahead of the fellow I just passed. I was getting hot and out of breath. Felt a side stitch coming on, which isn't surprising since its the fastest pace I'd run in over a year, so I eased up just a tad and tried to focus on steady controlled breathing. Seemed like forever waiting on that turn around to show up! I don't know if it was ever slightly downhill or if my second wind kicked in but the return felt a little easier. I eventually ended up back into the mid 6 minutes or faster. After the turnaround I noticed the next runner was probably a hundred or two yards back from me, so if I could just keep it up I should be good for second place. The leader was still keeping a quarter mile or more gap, out of my reach. My 5k split was 20:24. One interesting thing about the Holmes County Trail is that it accommodates the local Amish community by provided one half of it for horse and buggies. During the run many came through, all wearing traditional Amish or Mennonite dress. This also required paying attention to the horse 'road apples' of course, and much more so for me! On the return I got a few cheers from the other 10kers about the barefeet and such. I didn't notice anyone else in even minimal footwear, though I wasn't paying close attention. Not much other excitement the last 3 miles, just muggy conditions, sweat pouring off me, I felt like my face must be purple. Started drizzling the last mile or so, which was welcome by me. The announcer gave me some credit as I went through the cute, and I was just thrilled it was finally over and I could catch my breath. My legs were just about to turn to jelly. But after about 10 steps or so I went back into a jog and did a cool down half mile and then stretch. Garmin had me at 40:36! My 10k PR from a couple years ago was 43:44, over 3 minute improvement! And a second place overall finish! Though they only announced the overall winner and then age groups. Of course their official time was 10 seconds slower because I started further back, but that wouldn't have changed any of the placings. For a smaller race, they put together a very packed goodie bag! Including everything from a jar opener to first aid kit! After the awards ceremony I got the bike out and did 10 more easy miles down the trail through the marshy areas along the Holmes County Trail. I didn't take my camera or phone today since it might storm at any moment, but I took a few pictures when I checked out the trail earlier in the week: I spent the afternoon after the race driving through the heart of Amish country, stopping and visiting a few places like Millers Rustic Furniture where everything is log or live edge or hand hewn & rough sawn. I dreamt of how I would furnish my future log home. Then I was off to Heini's Cheese where I sampled probably 30 types of cheese plus all sorts of spreads and fudge. I walked out with around 10 different cheeses. And my ultimate destination was Breitenbach Winery, where I had been looking forward for the past week to have one of their wood fired pizzas again, with a glass of cabernet. I splurged a little and bought a case, and one special one that I had once years ago... Since I PR'd today I thought I deserved my favorite desert wine, their 4-Barrel Tawny Port.