It turned out to be a really nice morning for the Cranberry run. It was a little chilly, but fine in shorts after warming up. I showed up early with a few pots of coffee, and saw Justin and George getting ready to warm up, so I tagged along. It was a short and fast warmup for me, with a hill added to get the blood pumping, but I felt good afterwards. I met Michael and Jeff Petrovitch for their first races ever. It was a great turn out, and quite crowded at the start. I felt good as the gun went off, no pains to speak of. Within about 200 yards or so, I was running next to Ockle Johnson. He and I are pretty evenly matched, and we ran together for the first mile or two, until about North Lincoln street. I felt good, and was cruising, pushing it a little for me. I passed a few runners in the next mile, and turned on to the bike path only to see what looked like the same kid from last year, who I had passed at just about the same spot. He's 12, from St. Joe's, and he runs with what looks like an effortless style. I had been running stride for stride since Rule street with what turned out to be the 2nd place woman, and we were making a little ground on the kid. But I gotta tell you, it's a little disheartening to be chasing a 12 year old for a mile and a half and hardly make up any ground. Up Washington Street, and I started to feel like I was running out of gas a bit, but not the kid. He ended up beating me by about 10 seconds. My time was 29:14, about 15 seconds faster than last year, so I guess I gotta be thankful for that. But it sure would have been nice to pass that kid. I turned around at the finish, and Ockle came in right behind me.
Jeff and Michael were gunning for Newt, with Jeff talking it up for a few days. But this time it was the seasoned veteran taking it to the young upstarts, beating the two of them soundly by between 2-4 minutes. It was great to see both of them out there, and they are both enthusiastic to run more consistently.
I didn't do much of a cool down, and then I headed back to Brewbakers for some coffee with a few runners and anyone else who happened in. It was a very nice way to relax after the race, and a way to say thanks to a few of the people who inspire me in so many different ways. I hope everyone out there, runners and others, had a great Thanksgiving.
And Happy Birthday, Michael.