Current Training Status: not blogging... running.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Covered Bridge Classic, Conway MA

Empire One Running Club's Grand Prix is contested next on October 5th, at two races. SIDS, in Springfield, was pushed back this year from its usual hot summer date. The Covered Bridge Classic, in Conway, is scheduled later in the year and both races landed on the 5th. We club members are now faced with the choice of running one or the other, with a maximum of 100 points earned by the winner of each race. Both courses are hilly, the Conway Race is 10k while SIDS is 5 miles. There is usually a big shindig after SIDS, with food and music, and Conway's Festival of the Hills also offers great post race entertainment and food. Conway has a little 2k fun run for the kids, which my son will enjoy. That, as well as the scenic unpaved course, seals the deal for me. The Festival of the Hills is where I'll be on October 5th.
After Pisgah, I didn't run for a few days. Life is very busy right now, and it was more a time constraint than anything else that kept me from running. I showed up at the Holyoke Elk's 5k, the following Thursday, and didn't know what to expect. Despite 31 soggy, squishy miles just 4 days before, I was only 4 seconds behind my PR and feeling great. So I've repeated the phenomena for the past week, running rarely and only at the local races.
This idea that distance slows you down is bunk. Next, I ran the Northampton 5k course, a tough and hilly trail race, effortlessly cracking the 20:00 where I thought that was impossible. Returning to the Elks for our last race of the season, I ran my tail off to keep up with Spencer and Kathy. Spencer and I began the season neck and neck, and he's finishing now almost a minute ahead of me. Kathy shows up to set a new age group record each week. Spence took off in the last half mile as usual, and I hung on with Kathy as best I could to peel 23 seconds off my PR with a time of 19:19. I could barely hiss my race number to Dick at the finish, as I'd forgotten to pin it on, never have I been so out of breath. This was a great way to end the season, and I was truly overwhelmed by my accomplishments this week. I felt fast on my feet, and also had a successful week at school. 
Prior to all of this, the top position in the Grand Prix had belonged to me for a few races and by a huge margin. The Series is scored with a handicap involved based on an average race pace from the previous year, so you sort of race against your past success. Racing against myself next year is shaping up to be a real grind, now. I see no reason to back down or ease up though, and will just go for it at Conway. The course is hilly, not a flat spot on it, so I don't know what the pace will wind up being, probably well under 7. Hopefully there will be a crowd and some good race competition in the hills.
Pisgah was a real success, and to pick back up on the short stuff with more speed is a real blast. I know I also need some longer slow stuff, and will try to do that with my son tomorrow, on a bike path, if the weather holds. I need to get out and run, just to be outdoors. With work beginning at 3:45 AM, and the day at school happening in the basement of STCC, it seems I never see the sun. I miss that. The big challenges at Pisgah were keeping my mental focus positive, and that's an issue here across the board over the long haul. For the moment though, and despite looming armageddon, in school, work, and running things are clicking and its a ton of fun.

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