Adventures in New England

Finishing the USATF New England 5K Championship
Finishing the USATF New England 5K Championship

I’ve got a busy few months of racing planned this fall, starting off with the just concluded CVS Downtown 5k in Providence, RI which served as the USATF New England 5K Championship. With the USTAF New England 5k Championship done I’m moving on to the USATF New England 10k Championship in Gloucester, MA this coming Sunday. After that it is time for a trip to Western New York for the USATF National Masters 5k Championship on October 1st. Then I’ll take a weekend off from racing before the USATF National Masters 5K Cross Country Championship in Boston, MA on October 15th.

It has been a few years since I’ve done this much racing, and I’m all fired up to compete with my team. On Sunday we won the USATF NE 5k championship (Team Results Individual Results) and have our eyes set on 3 more wins this fall. It is a remarkable experience to run a good race and be the 4th masters runner on my team. It keeps me focused and always striving to get better.

Cross Country season looms!

Stop what you are doing. Take a minute and breathe in. Do you smell that? The scent of cross country is in the air! The Pete Glavin Cross Country series kicks off in just a few weeks, with the first race taking place in Clay Park outside of Syracuse.

The official dates are:

Sunday, September 10th – Clay Park, Syracuse
Sunday, September 24th – Akron Falls Park, Akron Falls
Sunday, October 8th – Watkins Glen, Ithaca
Sunday, October 29th – Genesee Valley Park, Rochester (also serving as the USATF Niagara XC Championships)
Sunday, November 12th – Finger Lakes Community College, Canandaigua (serving as the PGXC series championship)

The team will be supplying food, drinks and camaraderie after each race. As always, the winning teams get a case of good beer, and individuals can choose from great snacks for placing in their age groups. Join us for another fun year of eating mud and kicking grass!

On a related note, USATF Club Cross Country nationals are being held on December 9th in Lexington, KY. Roadkill Racing sent a team in 2014 and it was an absolute blast. Please let your captain know if you are interested in participating!

Little Fish, Big Pond

Little fish, big pond. That about sums up where I am with my racing right now. Nothing in my life has been as humbling as my racing results since moving away from Rochester. In western NY, I could expect to finish top 5 in nearly every race and certainly top 3 in my age-group even in the biggest races. At the most competitive races like the Lilac 10k or Bergen 5k which served as the USATF Niagara Championships I never finished worst than 4th in my age-group and that was running my second slowest 10k time of 36:14 at Lilac in 2010 30-39 age-group.

Since moving to New England I’ve been handed one ass whooping after another. And while I have lost a bit of time (OK more than just a bit) even if i was running my master’s PRs I’d still be looking up at the finishers on the podium at many races. For the past 2 years I’ve been using that as an excuse for not running my best, and not training as I should.

The New England USATF 5 Mile Championship (AKA Ribfest 5 Miler) was my wake-up call. I allowed myself to start 6 or 7 rows from the front. I tried to shuffle around people for the first half mile which I ran in 3:11. It was right then and there that I decided I had to get serious about my training and my racing. I may not be in peak shape anymore but I am not yet resigned to shuffling along in the middle of the pack. If I had merely started closer to the front and run the first half mile in 2:50 (a very reasonable 5:40 pace) I could have finished 3rd in the 40-49 age-group. My gun time/chip time difference of 7 seconds was double that of everyone that finished ahead of me. I’d convinced myself I didn’t deserve to start with the leaders, so I didn’t finished with them.

I managed to close the last mile in 5:32 feeling great on a very hot and humid day. I need to take that feeling with me into each workout and race. Maybe I’m not as fast as I was 2 years ago, but I’m not ready to be an also ran just yet. I’m stuck right in the middle of my age-group with no good excuse for poor performances. So as the other Dylan said…

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Ribfest Results here.