the nyrr cross county championship race at van cortlandt park was my third xc 5k at van cortlandt park in the last month (with the harry murphy and kurt steiner races in october)! it's actually my 4th race at van cortlandt if i look back to the henry isola xc 4 miler held at the end of august! there may even be one more vanny race left in my season, the pete mccardle 15k - but it's been moved back to mid-december from its traditional late-november date. i love the 15k - which is 3 loops of the 5k course - but the later date may conflict with another race favorite (so have to wait and see).
the xc championships had a large (as expected) field and that led to a crowded start. i was 10-15 feet from the start line and it seemed to take eons not just to cross it, but for the pack to thin out. it wasn't until the end of the opening straightaway across the flats - as the pack turned left, in fact, that it finally opened up! i hardly grouse about slow starts, but with the chain link fence bordering the field - it had an almost claustrophobic feel to it. aside from that minor gripe, the rest of the race was great.
the field included many (and i should say van cortlandt recidivists) familiar faces: emmy, sue, and tom - just to mention the same trio that ran the other three van cortlandt races i just listed above! also, a taconic teammates, bob, joe, and tim, were in the race. and, in a post-race photo surprise, it turned out my friend michael's daughter, jana, running for fordham, was also in the field. two running friends there, but not in the race, michael and chip, took some great photos. and, michael's kids ran in the pre-race fun run. and chip took that shot of my finish!
as for the race itself, no mile markers. but it did hear my 1 mile split (6:30) called out by a cptc volunteer on the course. in a repeat of the harry murphy 5k, i found myself walking to the crest of the second of the back hills. that was not only discouraging, but knocked my time back 20-30 seconds. to make up for that lapse in concentration i picked up the pace significantly (or so it seemed) in the last mile. i crossed the finish in 21:47, a 7:01 pace. amazingly, that was 5 seconds faster than my harry murphy finish (21:52)!
while i was annoyed at myself for the walk break, i was still pleased with the time because i managed to shrug off the walk setback and push the last mile. two good miles out of three ain't bad - ha (apologizes to meatloaf)! after some post-race socializing emmy and i drove to hasting were we met up with rob and ran the terry ryan memorial 10k.
here are some race photos.
next up: the knickerbocker 60k in central park this weekend.