Monday, September 26, 2016

2016 Racing Season: Walworth Festival in the Park 5K, Walworth, NY, July 23, 2016

Back home after the local town 5K in Walworth, NY.
I hadn't run a road race since 2011.  After burning out on running that year, when I came back in 2012, I not only did my first ultra, but pretty much converted back to trails only, even though I had to run on roads to get to gravel roads, trails, etc.  At the time I burnt out on running in 2011, I had placed in my age group in each of the previous 3 road races I competed in going back to the fall of 2010. But, since then, as I added longer and harder trails runs to my quiver, my speed on and off road had deteriorated.  So, adding a road race and running with my son would be an interesting adventure, especially in a year where we have had so many changes and my training has not been very consistent or full fledged as in the previous years.  In addition, we have gotten to that interesting stage where my son is faster than I, but I still have the endurance advantage.  We'd see that in how the race unfolded.

The Walworth Festival in the Park 5K was held not far from our house and started in the Ginegaw Park, just below the hill that immediately climbs up to one of the town buildings.  So, not much more than a 1/10th of a mile into the course, you are heading straight uphill and for some of us, myself included, that meant a fast paced hike on the pavement.  After ascending the top, as I descended the other side, I started running on the unpaved shoulder of the road as much as possible to lessen some of the pounding and save my legs.

It was a hot and humid July day and I was pretty sure some runners would succumb to that even in just 5K.  As I got my pace figured out and continued,  I was slowly able to start pulling back some runners.  There was one more short, steep climb in town where I took to a fast hike, and then not too long after that, someone was standing by the side of the road with a hose misting people.  Instead of just passing through it, I ran at an angle into it in order to get the best spray down and cooling affect. Praise God for small miracles!!!

As we went through town, we came to a section with a couple of quick turns sometime after my GPS watch told me we had passed over 2+ miles.  That was when I saw my son who was racing with me, taking the turn ahead of me.  There were 2 people in between us and I was determined to try and overhaul them so as to get to my son and see if I could also reel him in before or at the finish line.

Like I said, it's been a while since I've raced on road, but I remember all the strategies of cutting the angles and thinking about when to push, etc.  Eventually the first one of the two between us stopped to walk in the heat/humidity and I got a little closer.  Then as we headed down the final hill, I was able to eventually haul in the second person.  As the road turned back into the park, I knew I was going to have to push it in order to catch my son, but I didn't want to alert him to much to my presence.  As we made the final turn to the finish, I realized there wouldn't be enough room to catch him, but that at the very least, we would come in one after the other.  He beat me by 10 seconds and we finished 32 & 33 out of 68.  (Walworth Festival in the Park 5K Results, 2016)  Prizes only went 1 place deep, my son was 3rd in his age group and I was 4th.  Not too bad, especially since my time was nothing to write home about compared to my 5K PB.  But, all in all, it was a great little re-introduction to road racing!  (But I think I still prefer the trails!!!)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

2016 Racing Season: Charlie's Old Goat Trail Run, Victor, NY, June 25, 2016

Race swag included a shirt, bottle of champagne to all finishers, and I won a raffle!!!
Two weeks after I had one of the worst racing experiences of my life, I came back determined to run better at Charlie's Old Goat Trail Run.  The website presents the race this way:  

"The challenging course will take you through rolling open meadows, into wooded single track, up and down a few hills, and across a creek or two.  All proceeds go to Ganondagan, [an art and cultural center of the Seneca Native American community], to help them maintain their picturesque trails that are free to the public all year long."

I had inquired about the race at one of the runs and found out that instead of it being a 7 mile trail run, it was rumored to be closer to 6 miles.  [At the end, my GPS watch had it at 6.04 miles.]  The day before, desiring not to repeat my disaster at the the Ontario Summit Trail Races, I flooded my body almost to the point of nausea.  Probably not a good strategy you'd think, but maybe I was dehydrated, because all the extra water and Tailwind seemed to do the trick.  I paired that with a good mental attitude and lots of prayer...and had probably the best racing experience of 2016 thus far. While I only came in 87th out of 117 finishers, I truly enjoyed this race.  I am getting to the point in my racing/running career, where while every new race/trail is unique, they also remind me of others I have run.  This one reminded me of races I'd run in Iowa, Minnesota, and Montana, while definitely being a local Western New York State race all it's own.  It had everything in the description noted above and the hills were no slouch.  I hiked some of the ups and flew down the descents as best I could.  There really was a great variety of terrain.

And hey, how many races does the RD, (Yeah, Charlie), hand you a bottle of champagne? Afterwards I headed down to the post-race refreshments and found out I'd won a $10 gift certificate to a local sporting goods store.  Then I partook of gazpacho, brownies, pizza, and other goodies while talking to a young man who happened to be the overall winner.  As I ate and drank my champagne, he told me about his race.  While he was a collegiate runner, including cross country, he had never really run a trail race.  Well, he did a fine job that day, winning in 39:15 by 42 seconds.  Then an older couple joined us, and we all talked about our races.  The wife and I had passed each other a few times during the main climb.  She told us about her triathlon experiences. Quite an active lady at her age, I hope I can match her as I get older!!!

All in all, I was better prepared, had a positive attitude, and trusted it all to God with the result being a great morning out on the trails.  Cheers!!!

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