Things are looking up . . . the racing season is going in full-force now, the weather has remained relatively decent, and the one trail I have run on is free and clear of snow and ice. I hope to soon check-out the Finger Lakes National Forest trails and see what the winter damage has been.
Not much to report on this week. The early part of the week was recovery from HAT, the middle part of the week was wicked with trying to juggle working two jobs, and the end of the week was race time (although this is a relative term . . . for the most part I don’t race the other people in the race; it is usually a race against myself and the clock).
Saturday was the Wurtsboro Mountain 30K. The race site is about 3 hours from home and Joe was good to me . . . driving me to the race so I could rest in the car (catching-up on sleep lost to work hours the night before) and letting me close my eyes & put my feet up on the way home. This race is a road race, but I did it last year as a tune-up for the Boston Marathon and I really enjoyed the hills and the fact that I would never run 18.6 miles that fast on my own. So even though I am not running Boston this year, I still wanted to go to this race because it is a good training run and a lot of my friends would be there. And I wasn’t disappointed. I met some new really nice people and almost immediately ran into several of my ultra buddies, some of who will be at the Umstead 100 Mile run this coming weekend.
It turned out to be a sunny day, although there was a cool head-wind for almost the entire race. I actually enjoyed the breeze, as it helped to keep me from overheating on the hills. Gatorade was the drink of choice at the aid stations so I had to change from my usual diet of Hammer HEED. I carried a bottle and refilled it twice during the race and supplemented with Endurolytes. The first 3 miles of the race is a long, steady climb, which I actually enjoyed – I do much better climbing than I do going downhill – and I was able to pass quite a few people. I actually felt quite good throughout the run until the slight climb up to mile 12. This is where I lost it last year and the hammer came crashing down. Not so much so this year, but it did happen again. I felt the heaviness in my quads as I tried to pick-up the pace to get up the hill. I finished the run in 2:37:04 (+/- 1/10 seconds) and it was really sweet to come into the finish with Joe ringing the cowbell for me! We caught-up with our friends to hear about their races, grabbed some chow, and headed for home. I would definitely recommend this race. The volunteers were fantastic, the scenery very nice, and the post-race pizza and subs very excellent.
After catching-up on some zzzzzzzzz’s and getting to sleep-in on Sunday morning, it was off to Chenango Forks for the 36th Annual Forks XV (15K). I love this race; it’s a throwback to how racing used to be and really makes you see how much things have changed in the racing scene over the years. For a ridiculously low entry fee you get a t-shirt, finisher’s coffee mug, and good old pizza, oranges, bananas, and bagels to feast on. Age group awards were useful stuff – socks and water bottle! Joe and I met up with a friend of ours who told us that today was her 30th anniversary of racing! Forks was her first race 30 years ago! Margaret Betz is still a class act and a very excellent runner.
After warming-up with some passes and kicks of the rugby ball, Joe and I jogged to the starting line. The day was quite overcast with some wind . . . perfect running conditions, in my opinion. The start was a little rocky for me, as my legs and back were still a little stiff from the 30K, but eventually I found my groove. I ran and chatted with friends for a bit until eventually I was alone, but not for long. The race was full of friends and many people to exchange comments with as we passed each other. Just before mile 8 there is a decent hill climb. Once I started up the hill, the hills from the previous day came back into my legs. My legs were like lead! And to add insult to this, once you think you’ve covered the climb, it levels off before another climb (although shorter it still sucks!). I finally passed this woman who I had started out with and who had eventually run away from me. Good thing . . . I finished second in my age group, only to find out after that that this woman was also in my age group. Had I not found another gear, she would have walked away with the socks and bottle! I finished in 1:12:50 and Joe wasn’t too far behind in 1:19:xx. It was a good day.
So that was my week . . . time to relax a bit and get ready for Bull Run Run 50 Miler on April 18. And time for the Guinness Premiership to get rolling in the rugby world. My London Wasps team has been suffering a bit with many of its players away playing for England in the Six Nations tournament. But now with Six Nations over, hopefully my Wasps will climb back to their winning ways and take home the championship as they did last year. Despite a disappointing loss to the Saracens yesterday, Wasps fly half Danny Cipprianni is looking back in good form and healthy and ready to help his team.
Good luck to all of you who will be running in the Skunk Cabbage 10K and Half Marathon next week. I have decided to take a racing break next week (mostly not by choice – I have to work) and will miss the race, but I look forward to hearing all about it!