RKR tackles wind, hills, mud, and … roadkill

Sunday, November 10th, 2013.  The Robert Trent Golf Course at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.  While Josh was off running a paltry road 5K this weekend, the real men raced over hills and mud to bring glory to the Roadkill Racing name.  125 men and 73 women braved the cold, blustery weather to partake in the fourth race in the Pete Glavin Upstate New York Cross Country series, and the USATF Niagara Open XC Championships.  Roadkill Racing, having been plagued with a dearth of able racers this season, once again joined forces with High Noon Athletic Club to instill fear in the hearts and souls of our competitors.

After warming up on the course, the three Roadkill Racers, Kenny, Joe, and Matt, realized that fast times were out of the question.  The wet conditions made for soggy terrain, and the biggest hill I have ever seen appeared roughly at the 4.5 mile mark of the 8K course.  We decided to run tough and see what scalps we could pick off.  Our spirits were buoyed when we were told that there was a dead raccoon spotted on the course.  Obviously, this rural form of roadkill was an omen, albeit a sad, macabre omen.

Kenny running for beer and glory
Kenny running for beer and glory

The gun went off and we took off as quickly as our soaked spikes would let us.  Kenny, fresh off a recent 15:51 PR, was soon out of sight of the rest of us mere mortals.  The men’s 8K course consisted of three loops around a small section of the golf course before splitting off into hillier terrain after three miles.  After getting dizzy running around in circles, we began the real racing in the hills of the back nine, or lower forty, or whatever that section is called.  I can’t speak for Kenny or Joe, but while I was certainly hurting by the time we reached The Hill, I was able to pass two GVH runners in the last mile.  I was reduced to nearly walking pace up the steepest section of The Hill, but luckily the last quarter mile was all downhill, and I managed to stay ahead of the runners I could hear breathing down my neck.

Matt running for beer
Matt running for beer

High Road Noon Kill Racing ended up fielding two teams, which ended up third and fourth in the PGUNYXC results.  Kenny finished 12th with a blazing time of 28:16, I was 22nd in 29:11, and Joe finished 64th in 33:29.   While we didn’t win any beer, I’d like to think we did run well and each of us beat some real studs.

Joe running for glory
Joe running for glory

Next up is the championship in the PGUNYXC series, a 10K held at Mendon Ponds park on Sunday, November 24th.  Look for the RKR singlets to make a bold statement there!


Thanks to USATF Niagara and Tim Matthews for the photos

XC championship and Turkey Trot reports

I feel very behind in my blogging but I suppose that is to be expected with all the holiday travel.  I’m going to give you two race reports in one post so I can get caught up and move on with my life.  First up is the USATF-Niagara 8k XC championship/Pete Glavin Upstate New Your Cross Country Series championship or as I like to call it USATFN8KXCC&PGUSNYXCC day for short.

Championship Day

This was the first season RKR hadn’t won any of the races leading up to championship day.  That of course means we had not won any victory beer, which was sad.  None the less a spirited and ready to race Roadkill team showed up at Black Creek Park late Sunday morning.  We new that if we finished in the top 3 this race we could win cash, and as everyone knows cash can easily converted into beer.  And beer bought with victory money is victory beer, and everyone also knows that nothing tastes as sweet as victory beer.  For the final race we had Kenny, Brett, Jeff, Evan, Joe and me.  After a warmup that consisted mostly of running around the lake by the finish line watching the ladies come in we lined up on the starting field to do our prerace cheer.  There were 6 men’s open teams and 140 runners competing in the 8k to lap race.  The course was flat, and would have been very fast if not for the mud.  We were the last of 10+ races that all used some part of the course that morning (The Junior Olympic races were held earlier that day) and by the time we went off the already soft course had been completely shredded.

Kenny and Brett leading the charge.

Kenny and Brett lead the way with a fast start while I settled into a comfortable pace and stayed at the back of a pack of runners I knew I would have to beat if we wanted to win any of the prize money that was up for grabs.

Taking it easy at the start

Once we had completed the first loop I started making moves to pick off the competition.  Every time we hit a grassy patch were the footing wasn’t awful I managed to pass another runner or two, but a pack of 5 runners stayed stubornly ahead of me.  Kenny and Brett were just a bit ahead of me, but I didn’t know it until the finish, and I assumed Jeff and Evan were somewhere close behind. As we came out of the woods and began the 600 meter kick around the lake to the finish I managed to pass 3 of the 5 runners in the pack ahead of me, but had no idea if it would be enough.  I caught my breath in time to cheer in Jeff, Evan and Joe and then the long wait for the results began.

Final Results (link to results)

  1. Genesee Valley Harriers $250
  2. Syracuse Chargers $150
  3. Roadkill Racing $100 (and a case of beer)
  4. High Noon
  5. Syracuse Track Club
  6. GVH#2

It was a long and difficult season, but we fought the good fight all year and in the end were rewarded with both cash and beer (still not sure what we won the case of beer for).  In a few weeks we will meet to wrap up the season-with food, drinks and a few well earned awards.  I’m looking forward to getting to race on some roads in the coming months and expect Roadkill Racing to clean up again during the Freezeroo Series which starts on December 8th.

 Turkey Trot

Powering up the 400′ climb to start the Turkey Trot.

Going into this years Turkey Trot I had high hopes of finally breaking 27 minutes for 5 miles (my PR is 27:00.38).  I even went so far as to get a deep tissue massage on Monday to help me recovery in time for the race.  Thankgiving morning was as perfect a late November morning as a runner could hope for, 35 degrees sunny and not a breath of wind.  I knew I would have plenty of company at this years race as several college runners, and recent college grads were signed up for the race.  We started out the first mile in a reasonable 5:35, I say reasonable because the last half of the first mile is a very steep climb.  I was happy with the split but knew it felt like to much work, all the bounce I had in my legs on Sunday was gone, and the chance of it returning before we had to turn around and run more hills was unlikely.  We hit the 2.5 mile turn around in 13:47 I knew from previous years that it was possible to run back much faster than out (I had twice run the last mile in 4:50) so I just had to push the gradual 1.5 miles back to the crest of the big hill and I could fly to down the hill to the finish and break 27 minutes… or I could competely fall apart and run the 4th mile in 6 minutes which is what I did.

In pain down the hill.

I still managed a 4:50 final mile for a finishing time of 27:18 good for 4th place (full results here.) While disappointed I didn’t set a new PR I was happy with the effort, and think I looked rather stylish in Hazel’s leg wamers, although they were a bit short.

Beaver Island XC Race

I know you are all anxiously awaiting my second post in the great Lucas/Disney debate but as this is primarily a running site I feel compelled to make this post about our most recent XC race first.  Sunday’s race was the 4th in the Upstate New York xc series.  It has been a tough season for RKR, although everyone is really running well we are just a bit out gunned.  I had high hopes going into the Beaver Island race.  Roadkill won its first ever xc meet at this race 2 seasons ago, and it was one of the 3 meets we won last year.  Below is a pictures of us enjoying the sweet taste of victory at Beaver Island last year.

Roadkill Racing enjoying the taste of victory.

Sadly there would be no 3peat for Roadkill this year.  GVH once again proved to formidable and STC squeeked past us by 7 points.  All the Roadkill racers had good races, but sometimes your best just isn’t good enough.  Championship day is in 2 weeks, it is kind of like the PGA Championship… Glory’s Last Chance.  Full results here.


Flower City Half Marathon Race Report (Chanse)

The Flower City Half Marathon was this last weekend and it was a big race for RKR. We had a large showing. Josh, Rob, and I were all aiming for the 1:15:00 mark. Blake was prepping for the Buffalo marathon. A new member, Brett would also be aiming for around 1:15:00. Also, Kenny, who I have been working on recruiting, would be in the mix with those of us aiming for around 1:15:00.
When I arrived at the race I had an issue that I wanted correct. Ryan sustained an injury after registering for the race and would be unable to run. Due to us not wanting to waste a perfectly good race number (you know, conservation and stuff), I would be running the race as Ryan Burke. The only issue was that Ryan was entered as being 52 years old. This may have caused some problems with age group awards and I didn’t want to do that. Luckily I found a nice person with a laptop that quickly corrected the problem. So after that, I was ready to focus on the race.
I met Josh and Rob before the start for a warmup. We all commented on the weather. Even though at the start the temperature was only 35 degrees, it was still pretty nice out. The sun was out and there wasn’t much wind. The weather really was almost perfect for running a half marathon. After the warmup Josh, Rob and I dropped off our extra gear with Lisa (thanks Lisa!) and headed off to the start.

Mile 1: For the start of the race I planned on staying between Josh and Rob. Josh told me that he would be aiming for a 5:45ish to start the race and I thought Rob may go out at anywhere between 5:20 and 5:40. After about 200m I noticed someone that I recognized. So I decided to run up a few places and see who it was. It was Kenny. We are both grad students in the same department at the University of Rochester and I have just recently found out that he is a runner. Rob and I ran with Kenny for the first mile, which turned out to be a 5:33, and then Kenny pulled away.

Miles 2-5: The next three mile Rob and I worked together and held a strong pace (not very even, but strong). Between mile 5 and 6 Rob started to fall back. I was hoping that he would keep pace with me because the next group was a ways off and I didn’t want to run this race on my own.
Mile 6-8: This is when the hills started and this is when I started to feel really good about my race. After the first hill going into Highland Park, I closed a significant amount of distance on the next two guys in front of me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but one of those people was Brett, a new RKR member. I managed overtake the two and I was leading our small group when we entered the cemetery.
Miles 9-11: The hills were tough, but I was feeling strong. I was being chased and I was closing on Kenny. So I decided that this may be a good time to make a move. Brett started to fall off sometime through mile 9, but the other guy stuck with me. We cruised through mile 9 in the cemetery and we were closing on Kenny fast. Once I checked my watch I figured out why, we just ran a 5:28 (there was a lot of downhill in this part, but still, we were moving). That would be my fastest mile in the race. I then managed to pass Kenny, but the other guy was still sticking with me. Of the two of us, I was leading and the only thought in my mind was that I had to break this guy. I kept telling myself that if I continued at this effort then he would drop off by the time I hit the 10 mile mark. Well, I was wrong. So I allowed myself one bad call and decided to readjust my thinking. All I had to do was continue to the 11 mile mark, he would surely drop off by then… wrong again.
Miles 12-Finish: Unfortunately I was finally overtaken by the guy I was trying to break shortly after mile 12. I don’t think that I slowed down because I was still averaging 5:40’s, I am just pretty sure he sped up. At this point, my thoughts have shifted from “break this guy” to “oh my god I want to be done.” I was unsure if I would be able to maintain my pace till the finish. I felt like I may have ran to hard earlier and I was about to crash. Somehow I managed to keep going. I ran mile 12 in 5:45 then I managed to run mile 13 in 5:39 (I think I sped up a bit because I was thinking about the last mile like a last interval, the last one never counts).
This was my first half marathon and I would have to say that it went better than expected. I was aiming for somewhere around 1:15:00 and I ended up breaking the mark by 30 seconds. My legs have been very sore for two days now, and I cringe whenever I encounter any number of stairs, but it was worth it. My official time ended up being 1:14:30. My time was initially listed as 1:14:05, but do to a timing error everyone’s time was off by 25 seconds.
I wasn’t the only one with a great performance though. There were a lot of new PR’s for RKR. Brett Smith was next with a 1:15:22, closely followed by Kenny Goodfellow with a 1:15:32. Next was Rob Castor who ran a 1:15:41 and then Josh Perks with a 1:16:27. Blake Landry ran a PR with a time of 1:53:45. For the most part it sounded like everyone had a pretty good day. Rob had a problem with a blister, but still managed a PR. Josh said that he really wasn’t feeling too bad, but he just felt like he couldn’t run any faster. So his PR from last year of 1:15:51 still stands.
Matt, who has been training for 5k’s, was a volunteer at the half. I believe that he set a new PR for the number of medals handed out in one day. This is just a guess though because I do not know his previous PR and I have not heard the official count for the exact number of medals handed out. He also mentioned that he will be switching to only handing out medals at races. This is probably for the best because I assume that Josh was going to kick him out of RKR anyways after Matt decided that he was not going to be the one to give Josh his medal.

Congrats to everyone who ran and thanks to those who were cheering. Seeing so many people out there supporting the runners was awesome and the occasional cheer for RKR was appreciated.

Full Results Here