|RACING acidotic for my team and my|
sponsor GoLite Footwear
[Photo courtesy Gianina Lindsey]
New Gloucester, MAINE -- Just run. That was the race plan for this weekend's Pineland Farms 25k. If I've learned anything over the last five years at this race it's that planning doesn't necessarily equal success. Last year I had meticulously calculated PR splits only to run my slowest time at this race. And because 25k is a little bit of a reach for me, I decided to try something new this time around...no plan, just run to feel. Which might be easier said than done with so many friends and teammates whom I have raced with and against for years. A particularly stacked front end lined up at the starting line under bright blue skies, light winds, and temps in the 70's. I purposely lined up a little closer to the front so as not to get caught up in traffic even though I did not intend on hammering the first downhill 5k. I patiently held back a little through this first section as teammates and friends worked their way by me. At some point early on I hooked up with GCS foe Mike Wade who seemed to be using the same tactic. We hit the 5k mark at 22:03 (7:05's). The 2nd 5k makes up half of the elevation lost in the first 5k with some open field rollers. I felt very under control and strong on the short climbs although I knew my pace had slowed considerably. I had moved around Mike but I could see that he was within 25-50 meters. My 10k split was 46:30 (7:51's) for this net gain 5k. The 3rd 5k is a net zero with the first half a descent and the second half a roughly equal ascent. Again, I felt very strong on the climbs and actually started to pick up spots. Although the open mowed fields were hot and slow, the woods were shaded with a beautiful breeze making the conditions quite tolerable. I hit the 15k mark at 1:10 (7:47's). With roughly 1.5k to go before the START/FINISH area I finished my handheld bottle with Hammer Nutrition FIZZ (a first at this race). Coming through the START/FINISH Karen handed me my second cold bottle of FIZZ and focused on the 4th 5k. Sometimes the little things can make all the difference in the world. The combination of my lovely wife's support and the cold FIZZ immediately perked me up and I felt as ready as ever to attack the last two segments of the race. The 4th 5k climbs for the first mile to the high point of the course and then descends an equal amount (common theme). With my attention squarely focused on the 20k split I ran very well on the climbs and continued to pick up spots on the ups. At this point of the race I typically begin to experience leg weariness and twinges of cramping but none of that emerged this time around. I marked at 20k at 1:35 (8:00's). Slower for sure but still motoring on the climbs and with the toughest (in my opinion) section of course remaining. The final 5k is a net gain and includes several hundred meters of open field before crossing back over the road to the finish area. Just past 21k my teammate Steve Wolfe finally caught up and ran by me like it was his first 5k. He implored me to tag along and I did for a little while but as soon as hit the fields and I asked my legs for more they had nothing left to give. Not wanting to risk paralyzing cramps I held steady and let him go. I finished the last bit of FIZZ, put my head down, and raced to the finish. My 1:58:05 was good enough for 33rd overall (13th 40+) and my 3rd fastest time in six tries. I guess I proved to myself that it's definitely possible to over think this race. Very pleased with the performance and very grateful for a large aR turnout.
Special thank you to my sponsors GoLite Footwear, Philbrick's Sports, Redhook, Young's Restaurant, and Poco's Bow Street Cantina.
NEXT UP: Exeter Trail Races presented by GoLite Footwear