Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Catching Up

So it has been a wild ride since the end of August for a number of reasons. Life has been upside down for me and while I work through some issues, I have focused some of my energy on running as a means of self therapy. Since July 31, I have been at the starting line for 8 races (over a 56 day period). In that streak I have finished either 1st or 2nd overall against some legitimate competition and the better races have come as of late. It is amazing the things you can work out in your mind during a run.

Here is a quick summary of the streak.

July 31: Windsor Rodeo 10km in Iron River, MI. 1st overall in a season best 35:56. The competition was low at this race as my 5km split would have won the 5km race as well, but this was a challenging course that didn't have a flat spot and I was able to post a respectable time.

August 7: Lake Antoine Classic 15km in Iron Mountain, MI. 2nd overall in a near personal best 55:41. This was a two man race where the eventual winner was a collegiate scholarship athlete who pulled away after mile 8. This trail around the Lake is mostly flat and I hung on as long as I could but on this day it was not enough.

August 10: Cross Country Park 1 mile in Huntsville, AL. I don't count this as one of my 8 races, but managed to close the gap on friend Andrew Hodges in the 1 mile race and finish shoulder to shoulder with him in 5:20, a time that is stout on that loop.

August 14: Brooke Hill 5km in Decatur, AL. 2nd overall in 17:27. Decided to start out hard and try to shake the competition but it was a little too aggressive and Donald Bowman cruised past me before the two mile mark to go on for the overall win. I always struggle on this course and with the heat of this day, I was very satisfied with 5:36 pace.

August 21: Squak Mountain Trail Half Marathon in Issaquah, WA: 2nd overall in 1:55:05. This brutal course featured nearly 4,000' of climb and was all up from miles 2 to 4, which is where I relinquished the lead. I had to finish in under two hours in order to make my flight home, so I accomplished that mission, leaving it all out on the course in one of my better efforts in a long time.

August 28: Running of the Bulls 5km in Hampton Cove, AL: 2nd overall in 17:20. I decided to let Donald (Bowman) set the pace and tag along for the ride this time and we did just that, splitting the first mile in 5:28 and the second in 5:30. He proved to be too strong in the final mile as he picked up the pace and I had to back off, running a slow final mile, but managing the same time I had run the previous year.

August 28: Running of the Bulls 1 mile in Hampton Cove, AL: I do not count this as one of my races but mention it because of the 5:13 I was able to run on an out and back course with a cone turn around, having to dodge all of the fun runners on the path, and after the 5km race.

September 11: DOXA 5km in Huntsville, AL: 1st overall in 18:09. This race was a disaster at best with only 19 starters and maybe a dozen finishers, utilizing a modified Big Spring Jam course that was actually 3.2 miles long. I ran the first mile easy with Jon Elmore as planned and then picked it up for the final two miles, practicing my speed late. The temperature was again in the 80's for this race.

September 18: Care Center 5km in New Hope, AL: 1st overall in a season best 16:47. This was the race that I had been working toward for almost two years since my personal best 16:42 and the last time I was under 17 minutes. The weather was warm, but this mostly flat course with minimal turns was the key for me to lead wire to wire for the win all while not wearing a watch for pacing.

September 25: Elkmont Lions Rails to Trails 10km in Elkmont, AL: 2nd overall in season best 35:48. Maybe the best race of the entire streak, I ran shoulder to shoulder with George Dewitt, splitting the first 3 miles in 16:30 before turning onto the sloppy, muddy rails to trails for the final 5km. The rain was steady as we climbed back toward town and eventually I would pull away from George before mile 5 and hold him off; something I have not done in a couple of years. We would all lose to the fast Brandon York on this day, but my 2nd place time would have been good enough to win in previous years.