Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a belated race report: the great train race

i normally write up a race report within a day or two of the event. i did start the great train race report that same day (two sundays ago, 12 october!) and even got my split times down. but in between then and now, travel took over. i actually found myself writing about training runs (albeit, scenic ones) instead of finishing up the race report. so before the halloween races come up this weekend - and memories of the great train race fade - here goes:

the course has two significant climbs. after a short downhill to start, the first mile is straight uphill. then, in mile 4, we get to climb the second decent hill. the rest of the course is rolling terrain and incredibly scenic - especially the beautiful stretch across the reservoir at the end of mile five. the runners' objective in this race, aside from doing well and enjoying the scenic views, is to beat the train to the wilton station - hence the name, a race against the train. but we have a decent leg up on the commuters since the train ride involves a couple of connections ;)

but for me - sunday morning was more about racing traffic on the merritt parkway to get to the start on time. and, aside from the traffic, in between an unusually long stop to get gas (plus a cup of free coffee) and trying to get directions in downtown new canaan to the metronorth station, i barely made it to the start on time! without going off on that tangent about my travel adventures getting to the race, it's enough to note that i was glad to have pre-registered the night before!

i arrived with less than 15 minutes to spare! in five minutes i got my number and shirt, chit-chat with kate (who had done a 22 mile training run the day before!), rushed back to my car and drop off the shirt, and grabbed the camera. when i rush back to take pictures, i discovered the batteries were dead (or seemingly so). somehow i managed to coaxed a couple of pictures out of battery fumes! conspicuous by her absence was emmy - who was in rochester visiting her son at college (and found a 5k race to jump into - and win! - while she was there)! but kate, rob, don (who had run the hartford half marathon the day before!), roy, sean, marty, anton - to name just a few! - were all there for what turned out to be a beautiful day to be outside for a run!

i had toyed with the idea of taking my camera on the course - but that was no longer an option. i made it back to the start with literally a minute to spare. but all the rushing around had me revved up - and warmed up - by that point. jim was at the top of the hill in mile as i crested it. the course makes a sharp left off the hill and the runners get a breather. i missed the first mile marker, but hit the two mile split in 14:45. mile three was a 7:01 and my cumulative split was 21:46 - a decent 7:15 pace. holding that pace for the 3.8 miles wasn’t in the cards, however. that was especially true since the biggest climb was up next, in mile 4.

even with a bit of power walking up the hill, i managed an 8:10 mile, for a 4 mile split of 29:56. i missed the marker for mile 5, but reached 6 miles in 15:44 (roughly a 7:52 pace). that pair of miles also included a bit of walking. mile 5 also crossed the reservoir, where i found anton had stationed himself, on some rocks jutting into the water, to take some great photos. rob caught up to me at the end of mile five, so to did marty. the second half of mile 6, and the last 8/10's of the course was a traffic filled stretch, and crossed the overpass to reach the wilton train station - the least attractive stretch of the course.

i finished in 51:21 - more than a minute and a half slower than my last time on this course - but i felt great! i even thought about running back to the start - but a car ride back was too tempting to pass up. don, on the other hand, crossed the finish and immediately looped back on the course and ran it back (he joined up with another group of runners along the way and had some company). both roy and anton had their cameras at the finish and took some great photos. we watched the last runner come in seconds ahead of the train - and earn the red lantern award from jim! then rob, kate, sean, joe, geoff, and i all climbed into roy's car for the ride back to new canaan.

next up: after catching the "running the sahara" film friday night (w/rob), are the halloween races this weekend.


Anonymous said...

you're right frank, that was a quick run through the 1st 4 miles! watchout for a mirror report in anton's newsletter from wolfpit. looks like we may be running between raindrops again on sunday.


rundangerously said...

roy, i saw that forecast for rain this weekend. luckily, those races are only 5k's :D