XC is right around the corner


Start of 2010 Upstate XC Series at Mendon Pond.


It may still be summer but the start of the 2011 Pete Glavin Upstate NY XC Series is less than a month away.  Now in its 21st year, the series has been a staple for post collegiate runners in Western New York looking to relive or find for the first time that team oriented challenge that xc racing brings.  The 5 race series takes place on various courses in a 2 hour radius of Rochester, NY and was started by the late Pete Glavin in 1990.  Any individual can sign up to race, but most who participate in the series do so as part of a team which can consist of up to 8 runners.  Teams are scored in 4 divisions: Open, Masters (40+), Veterans (50+) and Super Veterans (60+) the winning team for each race is suppose to win a “case of good beer”, although for some reason last year RKR was given a case of Genny Light cans.  Whether this was an intentional slight, or gross lack of taste by whoever was charged with providing the prize beer I do not know.

The races range in length from 5k to 8k and are sometimes odd distances somewhere in between, it is xc after all where placement not time is what counts.  Most of the races have about 5 or 6 teams and a few hundred runners spread out in the various divisions.  Below is a list of the teams that compteted in last years series.

Roadkill Racing

High Noon

Junkyard Dogs

Syracuse Track Club

Syracuse Charges

Fleet Feet


Greater Buffalo Track Club

Fingerlakes Track Club

 Here are the dates/times and locations for this years races.

Sunday 9/18/11 – Race #1 – Greenlakes Park 5k, Fayetteville, NY 11:00 am

Sunday 10/9/11 – Race #2 – Beaver Island State Park 5K , Grand Island, NY  11:00 am

Saturday 10/22/11 – Race #3 – Center Park 5K, Fairport, NY  9:30 am

Sunday 11/6/11 –  Race #4 – Stone Hedges Golf Course 6k – Groton, NY 11:00 am

Sunday 11/20/11 – Race #5 Championship Day – Finger Lakes Community College 8K 11:00 am

 We should be sending a team to all of the races but #4, I’m not sure we will be able to get 5 people to drive out to Groton.  While we have a full team of 8 runners, not everyone will be able to make every race, so if you have interested in running a few xc races with us or you know someone who might want to let us know.

Meaningless Numbers

This Sunday I’m running the Ed Erichson 5 miler in my old home town of Poughkeepsie, NY.  Back in November I ran my 5 mile PR of 27:06 at in that same town, and I hope to better it by 7 seconds this weekend to run 26:59.  All I have to do is run this race 1.4 seconds per mile faster and presto a PR.  My training has been going well and I feel like I am in much better shape now than I was 3 months ago so this should be a slam dunk right?  Of course not.  So many things have to go right on race day, many of which such as weather and competition are completely out of your control. 

My current 5 mile PR was run on a 45 degree day in November with no wind, and I had someone to battle with for first place the whole race.  The weather should be fairly benign and the course is as flat as any 5 mile course in Dutchess County can be, so the main uncontrolable will be who else is in the race.  The key too good competition is to face runners just slightly better than you who on a really good day you can just squeek out a win over.  If they are too fast they either leave you in the dust from the start, or you blow up your racing trying to stay with them early on.  If they are too slow you may end up with a win, which is always nice, but it is hard to run your best time when you don’t really have to.  I know there are a few Poughkeepsie runners who can run just north or south of 27 minutes for 5 miles, the question is will any of them show up at this particular race?

All this writing about PR’s got me thinking about the nature of our running goals.  where do these times come from?  It always seems like we want to get just faster than the nearest even number for me that comes out to 4:29 for the mile, 15:59 for 5k, 26:59 for 5 mile, 33:59 for 10k 1:17:59 for half marathon, luckly I’ve already run just under 3 hours for a marathon so I can leave that one be for now.  Is it because we want to say “Yeah I’m a 15 minute 5k runner” or “Oh the mile? I run sub 4:30 for the mile.”  Never mind that we ran a 15:59… it is in the 15’s and that is good enough for us, who cares if we are putting ourselves in the same boat as guys who run 15:04 and are just hoping to shave those last 5 seconds so they can tell people they are 14 minute 5k runners.

When it comes right down to it, our PR’s are really only important to us (although our wives, or girlfriends may amuse us by faining interest).  We could just as easily pick times that corresond with signifigant numbers in our lives.  I could set my 10k pr at 32:54 because I was born in 1974 and 1974 seconds in 32:54.  As I look at my racing time goals for the year taped up on the all of my cubical at work I wonder if I shouldn’t change all those 9’s at the end to 4’s or 6’s just to mix things up a bit.