Hazel put in some great performances last Friday at the Twilight Track Series in Poughkeepsie, NY put on the Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club. Despite the near 100 degree heat she ran a 50 meter 400 meter double. There may have been kids under 5 faster than her but there was no one cuter, and certainly no one younger ran the 400 meter dash.
People are going to think we push Hazel to run, but the fact is she just loves it. She asks me to take her to the “tracker” almost every day. She also will not tolorate people walking beside her when she is running, I have been scolded many times to “RUN DAD RUN!” I don’t know if she will ever be a fast runner and I really don’t care, but I hope she hold on to the enjoyment of being outside and active.
Tomorrow is my favorite race of the year, the Charlie McMullen Mile. I have run it each of the last 3 years and have run it several seconds faster each year. You can read about the previous runnings here:
Thank you to Joshua Perks for submitting his Most Memorable Mile. We’ve heard that the Mile is the perfect distance and goal to start one’s healthy journey. Take Joshua’s word for it; he’s living testament. Now go out there and get one more PR!
My first real memory of racing a track Mile is in 9th grade, although it was 1600 meters. Over the next several years I got faster, but I never put my heart into training. By the summer of my junior year I decided to quit and focus my energies on smoking, drinking and hanging out with friends. I didn’t run again for over 10 years.
In the spring of 2002 I was getting ready to turn 28 and decided to take my life and my health back. I quit smoking a pack a day and started running.
The first run was awful. I did 2 miles in about 18 minutes, but after a few months I was doing 40 miles per week including speed work. In late July 2002 I ran my first race. It was a 1600 meter race at the Twilight Track Series in Lagrange, NY on the same track I had run my first ‘mile’ race more than 12 years before. I ran 5:15 and it felt incredible.
Immediately I set my mind to breaking 5 minutes, then 4:50 then 4:40. It wasn’t until February of 2003 when I took a trip down to the Armory in New York City for their Thursday Night at the Races that I ran my first actual mile on the track.
Then on June 12th, 2009 I ran the Charlie McMullen Mile in Rochester, NY, my first outdoor Mile, finishing in 4:41. I returned in 2010 running 4:34 and then in 2011 I finally cracked the 4:30 barrier running 4:29.84.
My first thought as I began my cool down that evening was of the quote from Once a Runner, ‘everyone runs a 4:30 mile in high school.’ I ran my last high school track meet in 1991, but it took 20 years to be like ‘everyone’ else and run a 4:30 Mile.
Now with my 38th birthday fast approaching, and 10 years since I quit smoking I hope to squeeze a few more seconds out of these legs. I don’t’ know how many years of PR’s I have left in me, but I’m hoping it is at least one.
Sunday was the Medved Lilac 10k which was also serving as this years USATF-Niagara Region 10k championship for both individuals and teams. In addition to the usual individual prize money, a decent chunk of change was also set aside for teams, $500 for 1st place $300 for 2nd place and $150 for 3rd place. Because cash can so easily be converted into beer this seemed like a great opportunity for Roadkill Racing to win both beer and glory.
On Saturday I received a list of the 4 teams entering the competition and immediately set to work figuring out what we would have to run to at least finish 3rd. Once I had crunched all the numbers I summoned the team (think of it like Avengers Assemble, but without the costumes) to Thirsty’s to discuss strategy. I am now questioning my strategy of having a prerace strategy meeting at a bar but you live and learn. By my best figuring we would need an average finishing time of 33:29 to not finish 4th out of the 4 teams. This is what I predicated for each teams average time:
Stotan Racing- 32:00
Syracuse Track Club-33:30
Genesee Valley Harriers-33:40
No one seemed particularly enthusiastic about my estimates, and excuses abounded. Some of the more notable excuses (names with held to protect the guilty) were:
“I just spend a week lying around on a beach drinking cocktails and rubbing suntan lotion on my beautiful wife how am I suppose to run fast.”
“My friend is getting married so I had to go on a 5 day bender and totally neglect my fitness and responsibility to the team.”
“That’s 2 minutes faster than my current PR.”
“There is no way I’ll be top 5 on the team so it doesn’t really matter what I run anyway.”
OK I admit it the last two were me. The point is spirits weren’t running very high, but I reminded everyone that it was highly unlikely that everyone on the other teams would have a great race so we could probably pick off at least one of them if we all had a great race. Stotan was clearly out of reach but surely we could beat GVH or STC, after all we had beat them both many times during the cross-country season.
Race day dawned hot and sunny, and after a some what abbreviated warmup we lined up at the top of Highland Ave., did our little cheer and took off down the hill (who the hell is that dirty hippy doing the group cheer with us?) To give you an idea of how competitive this race is, I ran the first mile in 5:08 and was already 50 seconds behind the leader and running side by side with the eventual women’s winner.
After the first mile the race flattens out a bit and we settled into a loose pack for the next 2 miles. I was feeling OK through 3 miles and split 5k in 16:40… then the wheels fell off. My 4th mile was 5:46, and at this point any semblance of an RKR pack had completely disintegrated. Jeff was still far ahead, Mike was a little ahead, and everyone else was somewhere behind me. As I was falling apart I kept hoping Chanse, Rob, Matt and Brett would all blow by me but it turns out they were all struggling in the heat as much as I was. During the 5th mile I started battling back and forth with Dave Bradshaw who I figured was GVH’s 4th or 5th runner. Every time he came up on me I put on a hard surge and opened up a 3-5 second gap only to slow down again and lose the advantage. Despite all this back and forth I only managed a 5:56 5th mile, and as we turned onto Highland Ave for the uphill climb to the finish Dave had opened up a good-sized gap which I just couldn’t close.
Things remained fairly static the last mile. The only real change in place was Mike passing a few people including Jeff in the last few meters. Both Mike and Jeff managed to finish ahead of 3 out of 5 GVH runners although not even they were able to hold off Stotan’s first woman runner.
It was immediately clear that we did not average the 33:29 I thought it would take to place, as no one on RKR even broke 34 minutes and I was our 3rd runner and finished with an abysmal 35:05. Our competition may not have had career days either, but they certainly fared better than us. It looked like we had finished 4th out of 4 teams and would be going home empty handed, until we began to hear whispers that Stotan didn’t actually field a full team. Could it be? Could the best team in the area really have not sent 5 runners to the line? Why yes it could be, and in fact they only sent 3 runners to the line. We had not finished last out of 4 teams we had finished in 3rd place and won $150! And if GVH can brag about winning the 1 team race that was the 2011 USATf-Niagara 8k xc champinship, surely Roadkill Racing can brag about finishing 3rd in the 2012 USATF-Niagara 10k championships. Full Results Here.
Final Team Results
2:48:11 Syracuse Track Club 33:38
1. 32:01 Kevin Collins Liverpool, NY
2. 33:40 William Hoyne Syracuse, NY
3. 33:54 Martin Nicholson Syracuse, NY
4. 34:11 Mike Melfi Clay, NY
5. 34:25 Sam MacKenzie Syracuse, NY
6. (35:35) Stephen Rathbun North Syracuse, NY
7. (36:53) Joe Campagna Syracuse, NY
8. (37:35) Eric Maki Cortland, NY
2:48:56 Genesee Valley Harriers 33:47
1. 30:49 Tim Chichester Mount Morris, NY
2. 33:15 Dave Rappleyea Henrietta, NY
3. 34:42 Chris Masci Fairport, NY
4. 34:50 Dave Bradshaw Macedon, NY
5. 35:20 Mike Nier Rochester, NY
6. (35:57) Bobby Henchen Rochester, NY
2:55:18 Roadkill Racing 35:04
1. 34:38 Mike Insler Annapolis, MD
2. 34:39 Jeffrey Bigham Rochester, NY
3. 35:05 Josh Perks Fairport, NY
4. 35:14 Brett Smith Ontario, NY
5. 35:42 Chanse Hungerford Rochester, NY
6. (37:07) Matthew Roberts Fairport, NY
7. (38:15) Rob Castor Rochester, NY
INC Stotan Racing INC
1. 30:20 Kipglant Tisia Rochester, NY
2. 31:47 Jared Burdick Manlius, NY
3. 31:54 C Fred Joslyn East Syracuse, NY
4. DNS Dan Ramsey Syracuse, NY
5. DNS Brad Miller Syracuse, NY
There may not have been much glory won on Sunday, but $150 can buy a lot of beer which is almost as good as glory. Our next team race is the Jenny Kuzma Memorial Bergen 5k on August 11th. Bergen always has a smoking fast field and the team competition is sure to be fierce, but we will show up like always and hey you never know what might happen.