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Age Group Running 15K Victory!

Age Group Running 15K finish line

My first age group running victory at the Fort De Soto Distance Classic 15K race was on September 17, 2023. At age 49, I won second place in the 45 to 49 age group.

Early Morning

My alarm vibrates on my wristwatch at 4:30 AM. I get dressed:

  • White compression tank top with my pinned racing bib 
  • Reebok low-rise briefs and running short
  • Running belt with car key and two energy gels
  • Swiftwick running socks and New Balance 880 shoes

I lubricate my toes and feet with Vasoline to prevent blisters. My new Garmin Forerunner 255 watch with a blue silicon band is on my wrist. It has my Fort De Soto 15K PacePro Pacing Strategy: 8:30 / mile goal pace with a 1:19:14 finish time and a negative pacing strategy. 

Fort De Soto Distance Classic 15K

A couple minutes before 6 AM, I drive through the open gate of Fort De Soto. I’m surprised to see dozens of cars already parked. Now, I understand these vehicles must be race volunteers. Exiting my car, I look up and it’s very dark and I can clearly see stars in the night sky!

I walk to the porta-potties. When I skip inside, it’s dark and I can’t see where I’m urinating.

Then, I look around and see the race start. Walking around in the dark, mosquitoes start biting me. So, I return to my car and spray myself with bug repellant. I sit inside my car and rest for a while.

Warm-Up and Pre-Race

At 6:30 AM, I exit my vehicle and start my Garmin watch. In the parking lot, I run my warm-up. Light appears on the horizon, making it easier to see. I stop my Garmin watch after running ten minutes and one mile. Then, I consumed my first Gu Roctane Ultra Endurance energy gel with 1425mg amino acids, 180mg sodium, and 35mg caffeine.

The 15K race was scheduled to start at 7:05 AM. However, it was delayed five minutes. I stood at the front of the starting line as the national anthem played. At the start of the race, I started my RacePro Pacing run on my Garmin watch.

Course and Conditions

The course was on paved surfaces. Running on this course was fast and the elevation was flat. The running path had little tree cover or shade. It was a very safe course with no vehicle traffic.

The weather conditions were hot and humid. The race started at 7:12 AM, and the temperature was 81 degrees Fahrenheit. I estimate the heat index was close to 90.

Below is the Fort De Soto Distance Classic 15K running map:

Fort De Soto Running Map

My 15K Race Pacing Splits

I ran this 15K (9.3 mile) race in the 45-49 age group. Below are my planned RacePro Pacing splits and my actual race splits:

MilePlanned PaceActual Pace
10 (.3)8:258:12

My actual pacing splits were within 1 second of planned splits for the first four miles. I slowed by four seconds in mile five. Then, I took my second Gu energy gel at the second aid station and slowed by eleven seconds on mile six.

Finishing Strong 

Falling behind my goal pace, I pushed hard and ran an 8:19 in mile seven. I kept running fast for the final 2.3 miles and returned to my 8:30 goal pace. Racing to the finish, I surged to an 8:12 pace in the last .3 miles.

I sprinted towards the finish line, and my Garmin watch showed I was ahead of goal pace. Continuing to run hard, I estimated my finish time would be close to 1 hour and 19 minutes (maybe under).

Sprinting through the finish line, I stopped my Garmin watch and saved the run. According to my GPS, my running distance was 9.49 miles. It was supposed to be only 9.3 miles.

My Age Group Running Results

My 15K race results were:

  • Chip Time: 1:20:17
  • Pace 8:37
  • Overall: 25 of 146
  • Age Group Male 45 – 49: second out of eight

Below is my 2023 Fort De Soto Distance Classic finisher medal and 15K bib:

Fort De Soto Distance Classic 2023 Medal and Bib

For being the second-fastest-running male in my age group, I received the award below:

Age Group Running Award

I won second in my age group! Also, I achieved a new threshold heart rate. My maximum 60-minute average heart rate was 155 bpm. I increased my threshold heart rate by two seconds. 

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