Infinitely Inscrutable

Several weeks ago I made a post where I wallowed in self pity, I was sure I was too old and would never run a good race time again.  Today I’m going to make a post about how I’m in the best shape of my life and ready to start dropping PR’s faster than (insert analogy for things that get dropped quickly… possibly hot potatoes or Phife Dawg  dropping  rhymes.)

For the past few weeks I’ve been just running miles, not doing any workouts.  2 weeks ago I ran 65 miles and this past week I ran 70.5 miles.  This is easily the most miles I’ve ever run in a 2 week period ever and it is only the second time I’ve run more than 70 miles in 1 week in my life.  I was not thinking great things going into the first Freezeroo race, I was hoping to run about 5:30 pace and have it be a good workout.  I knew for certain that I wanted to beat last years time when I had bronchitis and ran 28:15.

All fun and games at the start.

There were 3 Roadkill Racers competing: Kenny, Matt and me.  Past series winner Dave Bradshaw was also at the race along with Chad Byler and Freezeroo regular Jason Knarr.  Kenny and a previously unknown to me runner named Bradford Coyle, got off to a fast start and lead us out of the park and onto the roads.  The course is basically a square with rolling hills and a little trip through a neighborhood in the first mile.  Entering the neighborhood I was in third place trying unsuccessfully to keep up with Kenny and Bradford.  I felt like I was running at a sprint, although oddly enough not a tiring sprint.  I was surprised when I got to the first mile mark in 5:27 several seconds behind the leaders.  I would have guessed the first mile was in 5:10 pace or faster, but I just shook it off and kept on trying to catch up to the leaders.

I’m not going to bore you (although I may have already) with all the details of this race.  I’ll try to sum up the next 3 miles in one neat paragraph.  Just after mile 2 (split in 10:51) I went by Bradford and made a strong move to get some separation.  I went through mile 3 in 16:18 and thought well damn I can run 2 miles in 10:41 (for those who don’t follow this blog, my 5 miler PR is 27:00.38).  Kenny had been holding at about 10 seconds ahead of me, but as I approached mile 4 the gap began to close.  I was at 21:44 with a mile to go and all I could think was, get up this little rise, hammer to the finish and you can break 27.  As I crested the last hill with 1000 meters to go I pulled along side Kenny and said “come on, we can both break 27,” I think he responded along the lines of “I’ll try to go with you,” and we took off down the hill.

Entering the park heading to the finish.

Fueled by the thought of running a PR (a rarity for someone of my advanced age) I felt remarkably good as I made the push to the finish.  The clock came into sight and read 26:40 and I knew I was less than 20 seconds away.  Turns out I was 12 seconds away.

Turning into the finish.

I won the race with a time of 26:52.4 (for some reason the results they posted online are rounded up to 26:53).  I’d soon find out that my PR was even better than I thought, but more on that in a minute.

Kenny pushing for a sub 27 finish.

Kenny ran a hell of race, leading the field for over 4 miles and ended up finishing in 27:00.8 (he regrets not crossing the line with his chipped foot first).  Still a great race coming off a great fall of racing.

Matt breaks for the finish.

Matt, despite being just a few weeks post marathon PR finished in 6th place passing both Jason and Bradford in the last 800 meters of the race to finish in 28:32.  Full Rounded-Up Race Results Here.

Pete Magill multiple American age group record holder once said “Here’s the truth: I train too hard and my legs offer up too few good races for me to waste the effort on a non-certified course.”  We are very fortunate here in the Rochester area to have lots of certified courses to race on.  In my home town there is only 1 certified course.  Most of the courses there were measured back in the late 70’s or early 80’s probably with a car, although some have been tweak over the last few years by new race directors more keen on accuracy.  It turns out that the Pineway Ponds course unlike the others in the Freezeroo series is not certified.  My guess is, it was once certified but when they moved all the finishes in the series off the roads into parking lots for safety reason they had to move the Pineway finish about 115 meters down the road.  Why they didn’t also move up the starting line I have no idea.  The point is, the course is actually 5.07 miles.  Some of you may see that .07 and think big deal, but it is a big deal.  .07 miles is 112 meters, at a dead sprint that would be 15 seconds for me at 5 minute pace that is 21 seconds!  So while this race will go into my log as 5 mile race in 26:52.4 I’ll know deep down in my heart that I was cheated out of 21 seconds.  I’ve never felt so good about being cheated before.