Sunday, September 23, 2012
I decided to do the short race this year because I’m racing the Clarence Demar Marathon on September 30th. I figured doing the 50K and then trying to race well at Demar would be a bad move. So the short race it was. I hadn’t done the 23K since 2007. That year, Elijah died a couple weeks before the race and I wanted to break the course record in his honor. I was successful, hitting the tape in 1:32:55 while racing in a monsoon. In 2009, Ferenc lowered the record to 1:30:45. My goal for this year was to break Ferenc’s record and run sub 1:30. I was not feeling super confident that I could get Ferenc’s record on race morning, as the day before I had one of the worst pre-race shake out runs of my life. My cold had returned and my legs felt horrible. I told myself it would be ok, even if I didn’t get the record at least I would probably win as I didn’t think the 23K field was going to be loaded. Those thoughts quickly changed when I saw Eric MacKnight. “Crap, what’s he doing here?” I thought to myself. Suddenly the field was stacked with a guy that runs a 1:07 half marathon. Gulp. This was not going to be easy. I told my older brother Jonny my fears and he told me to just out trail run him. Ok, great advice. The race started and MacKnight and I took the lead. I jokingly sent him the wrong way at the first turn onto Horseshoe Rd. I instantly felt bad and slowed down for him to rejoin me once he got back on course. We ran past my dad snapping pics in the parking lot, arriving in 9:30. We plunged down the hill and into the trails with Eric in the lead. When we turned onto Reservoir Rd, the climbing started. Eric looked strong as hell and very snappy on these early climbs. I was hurting badly already and my breathing was really labored. He slowly pulled away from me while we climbed. I thought to myself that my race was over, he was going to beat me by 5min and I was going to run a crappy time. He had 10-12 seconds on me by the time we hit the Monadnock Vista on Reservoir. As the climbing ended I slowly started to reel him in on the downhills and flats. We hit the climb by North Ponds trail and he only had 3 seconds on me. I was able to catch him on the following downhill and run on his shoulder to the Ridge trail. My confidence was starting to climb, but so was the trail. He lead and looked strong on the ups. He seemed to be having trouble changing gears and rolling on the little downhills and flats after the steep climbs. He asked if I wanted to pass and I went for it. He was right behind me on the steepest part of the ridge and I pulled away from him after that. I really made sure to roll on the technical downhills. I hit the summit of the ridge in 47:11 and let out a scream for Elijah’s salute. From there the race was pretty uneventful. I tried to stay relaxed and fast on the climbs and roll on the downhill and technical sections. I was scared that MacKnight might come back on me, but when I peeked back I couldn’t see him. When I got to the Kilburn parking lot I saw my dad again and glanced at my watch before hitting the Davis Hill trail. It read 59:22. I knew it would be close, so I shut my watch off. I did this in 2007 also. I needed to just keep pushing. I saw Fred Ross at the top of Davis. I ran Hubbard with no issues and really blasted the down. Fyffe and Ferenc were cheering for me as I came off the final turn of Hubbard and exited the park onto my road. This got me really fired up. I was thinking about getting the record, I was thinking about winning on my home course, and I was thinking about Elijah and that it was bullshit that he went too soon. I charged by my house where I heard Griffin cheering for me and then I hit the road hill. Wow. My legs almost cramped here and I felt like I really slowed. I was able to roll again into the finishing turn by the stop sign. People were cheering for me and saying I was going to break the record. I sprinted with everything I had and hit the tape. 1:28:55 New course record! I was extremely satisfied. After the race I drank some Gatorade and a coke and cheered home the other runners. Jonny ran a monster p.r. which was not a surprise at all. Glenn ran decently and looked good and Jen ran a p.r. which was a surprise! I didn’t think she was in that kind of shape, but I guess trail experience makes a big difference! It was a fun day and I loved watching the 50K ers go by from my front lawn. Boj and James both looked strong. They obviously prepared well for it. Next year, I’m doing the 50K.
Posted by Greg at 4:46 PM