Spring of 2009 was the first time I was in “race shape” in over 4 years, and I’m happy to say I have remained in good shape without missing any time from injury since then. I moved to Rochester in the summer of 2008 and decided to start training seriously again, and with the help of Dr. Reinhardt I put my knee problems behind me and began the long grind back to race shape. I joined GVH, met a few local runners, and my training began in earnest. I had what at best could be described as a mediocre fall cross country and road racing season, but things started to come together better over the winter where I was able to break 5 minutes for the indoor mile.
I did not feel like I was anywhere close to my old form however until I won my first race. It had been almost exactly 5 years since my last 1st place finish at a legitimate race. May 16th 2004 I won the Laurel 5k run in Poughkeepsie, NY in a time of 17:13. My come back race was April 4th 2009 the Daniel’s 5k in Churchville, NY which I won in a time of 17:32. While my time was OK, and finishing 1st was great, I think the best thing about that race was I felt for the first time in years that I was really racing, and not just struggling through the distance hoping for the best time. The conditions were typical of early spring in Western, NY that is to say it was 36 degrees with rain and wet snow blowing sideways. Luckily I had a whole group of high school kids to follow as they charged ahead into the wind during the first 1.5 miles of the out and back course which ended on the track. This was one of those times when being older and wiser, if not maybe slightly slower definitely paid off.
A lot has changed in the last 2 years. I no longer run for GVH (obviously), I have a beautiful 1 year old baby girl, and some how against the norms of father time I am running faster than I have ever before. I have no idea if I can win again when I run Daniel’s 5k on Saturday, around here it really just depends on who decides to show up, but I am thankful to still be racing and competing at a high level with good friends. Lets just hope the weather is better than last time.