Sunday, November 29, 2009

mid-hudson road runners turkey trot 25k: race report

thanksgiving started off with a different twist this year - a trip north to dutchess county for the mid-hudson road runners turkey trot 25k in freedom plains, new york. both the race distance and travel distance were beyond my typical pre-turkey dinner dinners. the 25k was 2.5 times greater than the gateway gobbler i ran last year, and the hour plus drive was also much longer than the 20+ minutes it takes to get to the gobbler. but the travel distance was a minor cavil in for a fantastic race!

the drive itself was enjoyable because emmy, rob, and i carpooled to the race. at one point, we drove through thick ground fog - and the surrounding landscape draped in it! i thought we'd need headlamps for the race! we arrived almost a half hour early - and ran into our good friend greg and his daughter at pre-registration. then, in what may have been imported from a charlie chaplin movie, we all dispersed and then, in varying stages, had interesting problems with the start!

after we put away the champagne glass souvenirs(!), i headed back in to use the bathroom while emmy and rob went on a warm-up jog. as i was on the long line bathroom line, i heard the announcement that the 25k would start at the track, behind the school. with literally minutes to spare, i ran the quarter mile(!) from the gym bathroom to the track - weaving through all the 5 mile runners (whose race didn't go off until 8:45). when i got to the track i didn't see anyone! a volunteer said they were lining up behind the track! so i sprinted another 10th of a mile(!) and spied the start - behind some buildings!!

when i got there, greg was the only familiar face - no rob and emmy. and i didn't have time to wonder where they were because within a minute - literally - the race went off. and i stood there doubled over in pain because of a sudden back spasm! it took a minute for me to regain my composure - as i watched the field leave me behind. but i pulled it together and began slowing shuffling forward until i could run. as we retrace the route back out of the track and parking area i didn't see rob or emmy!

it turned out they didn't know where the race started - and missed it by a wind margin! so much, in fact, that rob went back in and got a chip for the 5 miler - and ran that race instead! emmy started the 25k race from the parking lot - 8 minutes late (and made up the extra distance at the end of the race)! but i've gotten ahead of myself - i didn't learn any of this until i finished the race myself. here are the splits:

8:33 16:26
7:43 24:10
7:40 31:51
7:26 39:18
7:45 47:03
7:53 54:57
7:56 1:02:53
6:18 1:09:11
7:48 1:16:59
8:06 1:33:29
8:35 1:42:05
7:40 1:49:46
7:40 1:57:26
3:52 2:01:18

7:50 pace

even with the stressful start, i knew i'd have trouble hitting my 2:00 target because i was laboring to maintain an 8 minute pace for the first 3 miles (although there did seem to be a small mountain stuck in those miles)! i knew from asking around that the course was hilly - but my favorite 25k, the boston build-up in silvermine, is also pretty hilly. i figured after a few miles i'd settle into a groove. i was listening to tom petty (just purchased his awesome 4 cd "live anthology" two days earlier) and planned to switch over to green day for the second hour.

even with mile 8 a little long (because even gravity assisted, i didn't run a true 6:18 in mile 9), i still had the 2:00 target in sight with a 1:02:53 split - but just barely. but the stretch of 8 minute miles between 11 and 13 really moved it out of reach. at the mile 12 split, someone had written "this is the last big hill" - which made me laugh. that hill in mile 13 did turn out to be my slowest mile - 8:35 - of the race (mirroring the big hill in mile 2). but, despite the "training run" mindset of this race, my competitive side emerged in the last two miles.

i had been trying to reel in the only runner ahead of me for the last couple of miles, and didn't have that much luck. with only 2.5 miles left, i figured i'd pick up the pace and see if i could at least catch him. it took a pair of 7:40's but i did catch him! on the long flat stretch during mile 14 he realized i had closed on him and picked up his pace. unlucky for him, however, there was one last hill at mile 15. i decided to go all in for that one and passed him on the climb. i used the last half mile to recover from that surge - and finished ahead of him, but well off my 2:00 target with
a 2:01:18.

the big surprise as i negotiated the parking lot to finish the race was seeing rob there with my camera! that came totally out of left field - and i shout to him, "what are you doing here?" that's when i learned about his fiver miler and emmy's late start. the second surprise was emmy's finish - as she came into the parking lot she shouted at me, "help me find the start!" so i ran with her over to the official start (which technically added some extra distance to her race), and rob then ran her in to the finish!

what an unusual race(s) it turned out to be. emmy actually won her age group! rob ran an awesome 5 miler (33 minutes) - switching his mind set from endurance to speed in just the few minutes it took to switch race chips! and i had a great training run - albeit my slowest 25k race in recent memory. given the all the hills and turns on that course, it already has me looking at the boston build-up slivermine course with fondness :D

here are some race photos.

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