Old Goat, Old Man

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I ran the Charlie’s Old Goat Trail Run on Saturday. It was my second year doing the race, and the my second time finishing second. This time I was at least close enough to see the other person cross the finish line. Last year I was almost 4 minutes behind the leader, this year I managed to finish just under a minute back.

After the race I was talking with a few of the #TrailsRoc folks and I mentioned how this would be last race as an open runner and I couldn’t wait to not be competing against 24 year old kids anymore. That’s when Eric Egan said “well you used to be one of those kids.” That got me thinking… no, I never was.

Selfie circa 1998
Selfie circa 1998

Certainly I was 24 years old once, but as regular readers of this blog will know I wasn’t doing any running when I was 24. When I was 24 I was living in Portland, smoking a pack of camel lights a day and subsisting off cold pizza and BridgePort IPA. I hadn’t run a step in 6+ years and it would be another 4 before I would quit smoking and start running again. I try not to dwell on what might have been (no: shoulda, coulda, woulda’s for me). I’m of the mindset that everything I’ve done has lead me to where I am now. I very much like where I am now, so why would I want to change anything I had done to get here.

Still, that one off the cuff comment from Eric combined with my rapidly approaching 40th birthday got me thinking. What if? What if I never picked up all those “bad habits.” What if I kept running in high school, in college and beyond. What if my 20 year old self took running as seriously as my 39 year old self? What did I miss out on during those 10 years that should have been my running prime?

The best I can figure using a combination of age-grading and completely made up numbers stemming from long term smoking effects on performance is this.

What Josh would have run as a healthy training 24 year old

  • 1 mile 4:18
  • 5k: 14:53
  • half marathon 1:09
  • marathon still would have gotten hurt and only run 1

So would I trade my life now to be able to have run those times in my prime? Hell no. Running fast is fun and all, but it is no replacement for a wonderful family that brings you joy everyday.

Charlie’s Old Goat Results

Medved Trail Madness (The Muddy Everything Else)

Combine a colder than normal winter, later than normal arrival of spring weather (is 45 spring weather?) and a few weeks of daily rain and you get one soggy race.  Sunday was the Medved Trail Madness 15 miler, and while it was pancake flat compared to the Muddy Sneaker 20k it had more than enough water and mud to make up for the lack of mountains.

mud

The race consists of 3 loops around Mendon Pond Park.  Each loop present its own challenge, most of which had to do with getting wet but some involved hurdling trees.

The first loop toured the NE section of the park and featured the only significant climb, about 200 feet over a mile.  It also involved many a hurdle especially through the pine grove pictured below.

woods

You know it is a bit breezy when there are white caps on 100 Acre Pond!

lakeAt the end of the first lap the course designers setup a shoe washing station, which was perfect for clearing off our mud caked shoes and legs and also helped cool us off on this balmy 40 degree morning.

waterrun

Lap 2 was the least soggy lap, which looped around the NW portion of the park.  It also featured lots of little ups and downs making it hard to get into any kind of a rhythm.1402836898

The final lap was basically run through a swamp.  It featured a loop around Quaker Pond in the South section of the park.  This is actually the area I’m most familiar with, but I have never seen it so under water.  The distance and mud started taking their toll and my hip flexors were screaming with ever little uphill.  I was leading the race but had no idea by how much.  I was afraid that after leading for over 90 minutes someone was going to blow by me in the last few miles as I tried unsuccessfully to keep under 7 minute pace.

cardiac

The final blow by the race course was a 3rd trip up cardiac hill (I think every high school cross country course has a cardiac hill) in the last .5 miles of the race.  Once I reached the top of that hill I was done racing, my legs were shot which was actually perfect timing, it was a mere few hundred meters to the finish all down hill.  I crossed the line in first place with a time of 1:41:04 which was 6:44 pace.  I have no idea if that is good or bad for this course, in large part because the course is a bit different every year, and on a dry year times would be much faster.  I’m sure guys like Jeff Beck or Neal Holtschulte have blazed it much faster than I ever could, but on Sunday my best effort was good enough to win and I can’t ask for more than that.

awardsI’m taking a break from trail racing for a bit but I’ll be back at it late June and again in July.  next up is the Corporate Challenge where I hope to split my 5k PR during the 3.5 mile race and then it’s the McMullen Mile, my favorite race of the year!  Maybe some of these trail runners will do what I did and cross over to try something different, get on the track and run your guts out for 4 laps (plus 9 meters).  I promise you, us track guys like beer as much as any trail runner and we get to start drinking it so much sooner.

I huge thanks to Michael Lesher for the taking the photos.  He is selling prints from the race and high res digital downloads.

hazelhugMedved Trail Madness 2014 Results