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!

Results

Thanks to USATF Niagara and Tim Matthews for the photos

Johnny’s Runnin’ of the Green 2013

I ran Johnny’s 3 years ago, but haven’t had a chance to run it since.  The course has changed a bit, but it is still a flat fast course with good competition.  3 years ago I finished in 17th place with a time of 28:05.  I managed to drop 1 minute off my time this year, but that only moved me up 5 spots to 12th place.

With the 5k Hospice run gone, Johnny’s is now the second most competitive race in the Rochester area, trailing only the Bergen 5k.  Johnny’s may be as competitive 1-5 but nothing can come close to Bergen’s overall depth (it takes a sub 16 minute performance just to crack the top 25).  As you can see in the video above, Stotan Racing made the trip out from Syracuse and dominated the race from the gun.  They may have gotten quickly away from me, but I had plenty of people to race with all 5 miles including Roadkill teammates Brett, Kenny, Matt and Joe.

Team photo op
Team photo op

I have to give a special thanks to Derrick Jones, who said while passing me shortly after mile 1 “come with us” and so I did, for another mile anyway.  I was settling in to a comfortable pace but he reminded me it was a race and that motivated me to keep pushing the whole way.

I think I might have been frustrating Brett with my pacing.  I kept speeding up and slowing down as I teetered on the brink an aerobic cliff, I’m sure he would have prefered it if I ran steady so he could draft off me on the way back into the wind.

Josh chasing Kenny
Josh chasing Kenny

The last mile of the race I felt like I was running at a dead sprint trying to chase down Kenny and break away from the pack of runners I knew was behind me.  While I was unable to makeup any ground, I was able to hold off the 6 runners within striking distance.

My time of 27:06 is my 3rd fastest ever for a 5 mile race and my fastest for a certified course (although my PR is on a long course).  I won my age group and a bottle of wine plus I picked up 3 points in the RROY standings.  Hopefully I don’t need to use this as one of my top 6 races for the series, but that is largely going to depend on who decides to show up at the rest of the race in the series.

Age Group Winner
Age Group Winner

Race Results.

Freezeroo (AKA Warmeroo) #3

It was a perfect day for Freezeroo #3, the “Edge of the World 10K.”  Temps were in the mid 40’s and aside from a bit of wind out of the south it was a wonderful day to run.  Five Roadkill Racer’s made the trip out to the edge of the world or as Matt calls it, next door.  You can see our smiling faces at the start of the race in this video taken by Steve Hedges (thanks Steve!)

[youtube]https://youtu.be/BT1Zi2TnAdA[/youtube]

OK those weren’t really smiling faces, but these are smiling faces.

Smiling Faces
Smiling Faces

Ahhh the joys of starting a race.  The endless possibilities, the thrill of competition, the wind gently tussling you hair.

12
Ouch!

Ohhh the pain of finishing the race.  The gut wrenching agony of every step, the failure of second place, the wind blasting your frozen cheeks.

OK so maybe it wasn’t that bad.  2nd place isn’t exactly failure, and I did manage a 40 second PR (on a course that was probably 100 meters long), and if I had to lose at least it was to a teammate.  And I take no small solice in the fact that Kenny appears to be hurting nearly as much as me.  This is probably because we ran the first mile in 5:08!

Go Kenny Go!
Go Kenny Go!

All in all it was a very good day for Roadkill Racing.  We took 4 of the top 5 spots and everyone finished in the top 20.

1. Kenny 34:17

2. Josh 34:32

3. Jeff 35:18

5. Matt 35:54

20. Joe 39:44

Full Results Here.

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.