Back in May I ran the Danville Memorial Day 5K. While there I had a chance to catch up a little with Todd Orvis, a former standout Danville High School cross country runner and the current DHS XC coach. A few weeks ago I heard back from him about plans to host a DHS XC alumni meet in August. I was really excited about this, as I hadn't run a really short (2 mile) cross country or trail race since, well, since I was in high school.
The timing of the race didn't work out so well, since it took place the evening before Melissa's first day of work in St. Louis. Fortunately, Melissa was understanding and we worked out a way to make it happen (i.e. we left from the race and drove straight to St. Louis).
I recognized a handful of faces, mostly of a few runners a few years older than me. The current DHS, DACC, & Schlarman(?) teams were there as well as the alumni. The course was a bit more challenging (slow) than I was expecting. We would run two 1-mile loops. The first 1/3 mile was gradually uphill with a bit of a headwind to add insult to injury. The second 1/3 mile was fairly easy, though it did have a 180˚ turn. The final 1/3 mile of each loop was mostly downhill, but it was on a somewhat twisty trail through the woods where it wasn't really possible to open up and run all out.
The race started fast, which means I started fast. I gradually moved past some of the fast-starting youngsters and settled into a good pack heading into the woods for the first time. The two guys immediately in front of me slowed down a lot and let a gap open up. I couldn't get around them in the woods, so I had to wait until the meadow at the end of the lap.
Once around them I struggled back up the hill. I tried to catch a DACC runner just in front of me while trying to outrun the guy breathing down my neck. I managed to stay in the same position, finishing the race in 8th, with a time somewhere around 11:54. I was hoping to run under 11:00 for two miles, but as I mentioned the course was harder than I expected (also the temperature was 85˚F). I finished just ahead of Jared Anderson (who could absolutely destroy me in a marathon or half marathon). According to the very unofficial placekeeping of my dad at the finish line we may have been the first two DHS alumni to finish. Woo. Todd Orvis finished in 10th a short ways behind Jared. I'd like to see some official results posted Todd!
It was fun to be back in Danville, with some familiar faces, running this type of race again. It's my understanding Todd wants to make this race a yearly event, so hopefully I can work it into my schedule in the future.