Before I get in to tonight's report, I have a proposition for you all. A few of us were talking after the race, and someone suggested that we run the loop in reverse for the 5th race of the series. What do you think? Leave a comment on the Facebook post in the Adirondack Runners' group, because this blogging platform doesn't support comments. If enough people are interested, maybe we can convince Rebecca to do it.
One additional note: please keep an eye out for people on mountain bikes. Apparently one of the lead runners got injured tonight while avoiding a collision, and had to drop out. Please be careful out there!
Joe Porter gave his best performance of the series so far, shaving off 7 seconds from last week to win the race tonight in 19:19, with Elizabeth Emblidge not far behind, coming in at 19:52 to win it for the women. Matt Haley and Hawthorne Swan-Scott came in 7 seconds apart, at 20:10 and 20:17 (wish I could have seen that!) On the women's side, it was Isabelle Dickens at 20:50 in second, and Heidi Underwood beating out Morgan Hoffman-Smith by 1 second (!), at 21:19 and 21:20. (I wish I could have seen that, too!) As far as the overall rankings go, Elizabeth Emblidge needs one more solid run to lock up first place on the women's side, followed by Dickens, and then it's a tight competition between Hoffman-Smith and Underwood, though the latter missed race two. Shaun Donegan and Kevin Emblidge are still in first and second, respectively, on the men's side, but neither appeared on tonight's results. Also absent from tonight's results was third place contender Kevin London, who may have been the runner who was injured.
Personally, tonight's race was a good one. I had planned on putting down a solid effort tonight, aiming for something close to my PR, and my body delivered. I knew that I had to go out somewhat strong to have half a chance at it; everyone always says that you need to go out easy, but it's only three miles. If you go out too easy, you'll have to push even harder to make up for lost time at the beginning. To that end, I tucked in behind my friend Matt and tried to keep up with him as much as possible. About halfway around the first track loop, I cut over to the outside and got alongside him, commenting that there was no way I'd be able to hold this pace for much longer (I believe my watch said the instant pace was 9:06). A moment later, I fell off the pace, and he moved on. I caught a glimpse of him in the corridor after the parking lot crossing, but that was it.
I passed a few walkers on the first hill, then settled off to the right, expecting them to pass me as they started running again, but they stayed behind me on the straightaway, and I could see them a few seconds back as we hit the hard turn. I settled in and got ready for the second hill. All was going well, until I came across a few runners talking with an injured runner, and I stopped to walk with them for a moment. The injured runner eventually met up with a friend, and she agreed to stick with her injured friend. Eventually they took off... even with an injured knee, she was still faster than I was.
The short amount of walking threw off my momentum, but I wouldn't have changed it. Around the top of the hill, I got passed by another runner, Krista, who commented on my Ragnar ADK team shirt (the Lunar Salamanders; Matt's brother, Randy, designed an awesome logo). We talked a bit, and as she started to pull ahead, she encouraged me to pace off of her. I commented that I wasn't sure if I could, but it helped. I didn't catch back up to her until the final hill. I pulled ahead a bit, looked at my (lying) watch and realized I needed to back off on the pace a bit. (I eventually realized that my HR monitor was lying. There was no way my HR was over 170 without me feeling like I was dying.) We ran together to the track, talking about running and triathlons. She thanked me for helping her stay on pace, and I told her that she was helping me, too. We got to the track, and we both went for a final kick. Somehow I still had something left in the tank, and I brought it in at 32:28, with an average pace of 10:27. Considering I've been running mostly 13s on my training runs, focused on aerobic fitness, it was a relief to see I hadn't lost that much speed.
After the race, Krista introduced me to her husband, Jim, who I'm fairly certain was the gentleman who flew past me on the first hill as I was getting ready to pass the people who were walking. A little while later, Matt introduced me to one of his old track teammates, Tom Law, and his wife Elizabeth. I knew the name sounded familiar, but it wasn't until Rebecca pointed out that he was the president of the Stryders that my memory finally clicked.
Anyway, that's enough rambling for one day. Thank you to Rebecca and all of the volunteers for a wonderful time, once again. Be sure to leave a comment on the Facebook group telling Rebecca that you want to run the big loop on the last race in reverse, or that you think the idea is horrid and you hope I fall into the skunk cabbage next week. Either way, have a great week, thanks for reading, and be excellent to each other.