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, December 4, 2011

Andover XC Race

RACING acidotic for the final
time in 2011.
[Photo courtesy of Gianina Lindsey]
"You only live once.  But if you work it right...once is enough."  -Joe Louis

Andover, MA -- My 33rd and final race of 2011 was the Andover Striders 6k XC Race in Anodver, MA.  I discovered this race last fall and had such a good time that I decided to go back...and bring friends.  I rode down to the event with Timmy & Gianina Lindsey and met fellow teammates Kate, Richie, Jeremiah, Jen, Sinthy, Craig, Scotty and Chris.  For me there are a few reasons to love this event; 1.) it's a great early snowshoe racing-specific barometer of fitness, 2.) spaghetti & free beer after the race, and 3.) there's always GREAT competition!  We lined up on the 18th fairway facing in a slightly different direction this year which would result in the course being just a whisper shorter than 2010.  The field was at least 30 wide at the gun and within 150 meters needed to get to 4-5 wide to cross a short footbridge and make a hard uphill left hand turn on a cart path.  Having negotiated it last year I was prepared for the bottleneck and carefully picked my way through this minefield trying not to lose momentum or take down the front of the field.  The course rolls and meanders through the Andover Country Club course as die hard members sneak in a late season round of golf.  Typically we stay to the edge of the fairways with the occasional cart path thrown in for good measure.  Two runners gapped the field within a kilometer leaving a large chase group (20+ runners) to battle it out.  I was just off the back end of that group leap frogging a couple of competitors...I'd pass on the climbs and they'd surge back on the descents.  Despite cutting my training volume back considerably over the last month I felt like I was racing hard and pushing a consistent pace.  As we approached the last mile we emerged into a small gated fairway community and began the last series of climbs.  Peaking back over my shoulder I didn't have any immediate threats.  The final kilometer has the steepest little grassy climb and I felt like I probably could have walked it faster than I ran it but I managed to find my way to the top and then descended down the driving range as hard as I could to the finish.  I taped a 20:45 (5:56's) which was good enough for 27th overall (13th master).  Looking back at 2010 my pace was 6:12's so I was ecstatic with the performance.  Once again quality trumps quantity for me at this time of year.

PS to 2011
What an incredible injury-free year of racing!  Thirty-three events including snowshoe, road, mountain bike, trail, mountain, obstacle, dog n' beer relay, and XC.  I was incredibly fortunate enough to compete in the Northeast Snowshoe Championship, New Hampshire Snowshoe Championship, New England Trail Championship, US Mountain Running Championship, and the New England Ultra Running Championship (as a relay).  I enjoyed 16 Top 10 overall finishes as an individual or a team including four overall team wins at the Hoppin' Mad Mud Run, Tough Mountain Challenge, Rhode Island 6-Hour Relay, and the Hallo-wiener Hustle.  Finally, I must thank my very understanding wife Karen who has supported me throughout the year.  What I do wouldn't be possible without her blessing.  Thank you also to the various RDs from the many races we do who provide very generous "incentives" for us to participate.  And a heartfelt thanks to my acidotic RACING teammates who stood beside me and motivated me to explore the unknown.  It's time to take a deep breath and begin to craft and even MORE exciting 2012!

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