Sunday, September 9, 2012

USATF-NJ 5k XC Championship, 9/8/12. Readington, NJ

Short and sweet... as I am whopped from two races this weekend.

This was the first of the two.  A shorty at 5k, but on course where I am usually quiet slow.  I seem to keep my feet low to the ground.  This is an asset to me in long paved ultras.  This is a hinderance in rocky or rooty trail races.   This also makes me feel miserable when running in grass.  As I joked at the race, I feel like every blade of grass is trying to grab me by the ankles.  

In addition to the grass, the 10 am late start in summer heat and humidity made me feel that this was just not going to be my day.  However, I was prepared to try my best and see what happens.

We line up in the field and face a cone way in the distance.  About 250 runners take off, trying to secure a good spot before entering the mowed section of grass bound by generally unrunnable field that would make up a large section of the first half mile of the race.

On the way to the cone, I noticed we were runnin 5:55, but as soon as we hit the bottle neck I was down to 7:00 and stuck behind a row of people.   As soon as I had an opening, I snuck through and finally got running.  I felt sluggish, but clocked M1: 6:38 pace. 

Ok, not too bad, but I was suffering now and feeling the humidity making my chest hurt.  Due to the location of mile two spanning the end of the loop where there was a noticeable hill, and the start of the loop (on lap 2), where we hit the early gradual uphill, I slowed and clocked M2: 7:14. 

Wow, I felt so good after M1 but now I was hoping to regroup for M3.  Knowing I got some decline time and only one short hill left, I just tried to drop some speed where I could and try to hold it together by the end.  M3.1: 7:25 (6:59 pace).

Boy I was glad to be done with that race.  I was drenched in sweat and could feel tightness in my chest that was not very comfortable.

Overall, I was very happy.  Averaging a 6:52 pace for the run made me proud.  I fully expected a 7:20-7:30 average in this race.

I hung around for the awards and then got back in my car to drive to Bethlehem Pa to get my bib for the marathon.

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