It is always nice to get back to my home town of Poughkeepsie, and it is especially nice when one of those trips coincides with a race. Aside from getting to see lots familiar faces I am always treated to interesting courses around the Mid-Hudson Valley. On my most recent trip I got to run the Treetops to Rooftops 5k which is an out and back across the Walkway Over the Hudson.
I arrived on the Highland side of the bridge about an hour before the race and meet up with Jeff Conston and Mike Chow, two regulars in the areas running scene. I’ve raced again Mike a number of times and it is generally a tough battle. He hadn’t been racing great this spring so he didn’t know what to expect out of this race, but like me he was chasing sub 16 for 5K and planned to get out at around 5:10 pace. There were two Marist College runners on the start line along with a number of high school kids. I figured I had no shot against a couple of DI runners but I was hoping to beat Mike (he’s in my age group) and I definitely wanted to beat the kid wearing Fila finger socks.
A pack of 9 of us stuck together for much of the first mile. No one was really making any moves so after a solid first mile of 5:07 I started putting in some surges hoping to break up the pack. All this seemed to accomplish, was to tire me out and to fire up the Marist guys who took the first 2 spots soon after the turn around (1.6 miles into the race). I fell to 5th just before the final mile, and couldn’t summon any more speed out of my legs. After starting in 5:07 I had just run a 5:25 and things didn’t seem likely to improve… that is until I heard the slap slap slap of Fila finger sock boy coming up behind me and I reached down as far as I could and found the tiniest of energy reserves.
My final push was not enough to catch Mike, who runs like a metronome, and who I’m pretty sure ran each mile with only a second or two variation in pace, but it was enough to stay ahead of Fila boy and a few others who were chasing me.
I ran a 5:17 final mile and finished in 5th pace with a time of 16:19. That was 3 places worse than I did in 2011 but 18 seconds faster, so I can’t complain. Mike had a break through race, finishing just under that elusive 16 minute mark with a time of 15:58 which was good for 3rd overall behind the 2 Marist runners. Jeff Conston also ran a great race finishing in the top 10 with a time of 17:15. This is easily the fastest and deepest field I’ve seen in a Mid-Hudson Valley race in a long time. It is rare for a MHRRC race to get more than 1 or 2 runners below 16:30 let alone 3 under 16 minutes. I hope this becomes a trend in area racing. My next MHRRC will probably be during the July 19th Twilight Track Meet, I just need to figure out what I want to run.