Dare Mighty Things

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." -Teddy Roosevelt

Sunday, May 24, 2009

PR at Pineland

"Teamwork is the quintessential contradiction of a society grounded in individual achievement." - Marvin Weisbord.

New Gloucester, MAINE -- Regular readers of this site will understand the importance of today's event at the Pineland Farms 25k Trail Challenge. I had circled this race on my calendar back in November. The '08 version was a disappointing performance highlighted by a humbling walk up several of the last hills in the final 5k. From that race I took away a valuable lesson...never again arrive at Pineland under prepared. This course is too demanding to simply show-up and put up a fast number. My preparation prior to today had been right on schedule with a great confidence booster two weeks ago at Big Lake. The plan today was to continue to ride that confident vibe to a PR and perhaps a Top 10 overall finish. In true Scotty G-style I arrived 2+ hours prior, registered, and began my pre-race prep. My teammates (Steve S., Nick L., Brent & Amy) arrived within an hour of the start. When Brent finally made it to the starting area he and I quickly formulated a gameplan. Knowing he was racing and that our fitness levels are pretty compatible I was hoping he would be willing to work together. During my pre-race prep I calculated several pace splits to keep me (us) on PR pace target (22:30-5k, 45:00-10k, 90:00-20k). The thinking was simple...stay patient and on pace for the first 20k and then hang on during the final (and arguably toughest) 5k on the course. This being Brent's first time at Pineland he was more than willing to work with my plan. Today's weather was really ideal for this race on this course...overcast in the 70's with scattered showers and the cooler temps played a very meaningful role in today's performance. Brent and I attempted to find a groove in the first 5k which is always a challenge considering the excitement of any race start. At the 5k mark our split was perfect...22:15ish. The next 5k is a rolling combination of nordic trails and cow pastures. No hill too long or too steep to significantly affect our pacing. We hit the 10k split again, right on target just shy of 45:00. At this point the chatting back and forth became less and less as we knuckled down and began the purposeful move forward. Although I hadn't determined a 15k split I quickly figured it during the third 5k and we again hit the mark almost dead square. At this point we were consistently pulling 22:30 5k's and picking up places. Brent and I took turns pulling and were never more than a meter apart. His energy was palpable and I fed off of it the entire race. Repeating the mantra's, "patience" and "rhythm" the first 15k was a blur. We passed by the START/FINISH area just shy of 17k and began the assault of the final, and most challenging, 9k of the race. Staying focused on 5k at a time was incredibly helpful as it forced us to stay in the moment. We hit the 20k right at 90:00 and it was then that I began to feel very confident that our teamwork and pace may result in something special. Last year I walked several of the killer hills in the final 5k. This time around was a very different story as my legs felt strong as we hammered the final climbs. It was here that the true definition of teamwork was illustrated. I felt Brent pick up the pace slightly during these final km's as he ferociously attacked the climbs. And truth be told, he probably could have run away from me at any point. But like a true warrior he stuck with his brother and we finished together (14th & 15th overall) in an unofficial time of 1:54:19. Assuming the "official" results are close, this would set a PR for me on this course by 22 seconds. And if that weren't sweet enough the guy we passed at 23k was in our age group...and I finished on the podium (2nd) in the 35-44 division (behind Brent). No doubt my physical preparation, race plan, and weather were key factors in today's performance, but if not for Brent and his willingness to work together there's no way I PR two years after setting the mark. Thank you Brent, you are an incredible athlete and teammate.

Next up: Bow Lake Dam 15k


  1. Chris, nice showing at Pinelands. Wish I could have been there with you guys. acidotic RACING did awesome!

  2. Steve;

    As always, you were (and are) missed. Take your time getting back. I'd rather see you racing 100% healthy than risk a major setback.


  3. Hi Chris - great PR. That was me who was running more-or-less with you and Brent until just past the last time through the yurt aid station, where I got a massive side-stitch and had to walk it off...multiple times unfortunately. We were out your way for Muddy Moose last month and all had loads of fun, that was my first time. Cheers, Jeff Walker

  4. Chris - I should add that your group should come run one or more of the Bradbury trail races this summer (http://www.trailmonsterrunning.com/). Bradbury State Park is about 20 minutes north of Portland. The first is the 6 mile shuffle, a pretty easy and fast course on singletrack and a little snowmobile trail. The 9 mile breaker is up and down Bradbury Mountain, which is really a small hill (500 feet) but it has one steep side which makes the course fun. The 12 mile bruiser should really be called the breaker. This race really exploits the tortuous single track at bradbury, which makes it very difficult for fast running. The race ends with the infamous "O" trail which is 3 miles of mental hell, because the track is so twisty turny.

  5. Jeff--Thanks for the invite. I had checked out the Bradbury races earlier this year while planning my racing schedule. I'm going to see if I can make at least one of them. Let me reciprocate by inviting the Trail Monsters to our own trail race next month, the Exeterra Trail Race. If rugged, technical trail racing is what you folks are all about, then you'll love Fort Rock in Exeter. Check out the details on our website at http://www.acidoticRACING.com.

  6. Chris -

    Thanks for the invite. We're all about the fun trails; hopefully we can muster a few folks to come down.

  7. That race looks like lots of fun but I'm doing mt. Washington that day. Hopefully other Trail Monster Runners will make it though. If you or other acidotic racers do make it to a Bradbury race, I'd recommend the 12-mile Bruiser in September.

  8. Chris,

    Way to go!! You and Brent worked well together. Now I don't have to chase your tail all over the place.

    And best of all you're making the podium at every race you run. Go acidotic RACING!!