Sunday, September 10, 2017

2017 Yankees In Falmouth Canon Run Race Report

It's been a long time since I've been unable to sleep the night before a race. My nerves usually kill me but I think last night it was just too hot in the house. It's right in that funny time of year where you want the air on during the day and the heat on at night. We started the fireplace in the basement last night and let it run a bit so it really warmed up the rest of the house. Woof was it warm!

Anyway, I woke up a few minutes before my alarm feeling tired. Took a quick shower and headed out the door. I knew I was early but I found out the night before the race that it wasn't exactly where I thought it would be. It was across the river in a different park. It wasn't a big deal but it threw me for a tiny loop because I had to change my mental visualization of where I'd be running. The night before was also the first time I saw the race route and didn't really get a good feel for it until I looked at the map this morning before the race. Again, not a big deal, just some mental adaptation that I needed to do.

I pulled into the park where they had shuttles running to the Start/Finish but I opted to walk the quarter mile down the trail instead. It was probably faster and I felt more connected to my "stuff." I walked down, checked in early, and then headed back up the steep hill to my car. I chilled out, pinned my bib on, and loaded up on coffee, applesauce, and my GenUCAN bar.

When the time came, I stripped down to my race clothes and headed to the Start line. I was way early but it gave me plenty of time to hit the porta-john and warm up in the sun. Saw some of my co-workers, a few other runners I know, and watched the Confederate re-enactors prepare for the canon start. The National Anthem played and I have to say, it's depressing when RWB runners don't even remove their hat for the anthem. At least Ashland Dave understands.

We lined up at the Start line, got startled by the canon (even though we were expecting it), and headed off down River Road. We went all the way to Route 3 then turned back towards the Pratt Park entrance. It was pretty level with a few rollers in there. I made up a lot of time running the tangents on the curves but I'm sure the people behind me thought I was drunk. The hill going into Pratt Park was brutal and it came just before the 2 mile mark. After hiking up the hill, things evened out but the rollers were still there. Saw a young kid take a spill on the sharp turn in the gravel but he bounced right back up and kept running.

I skipped the water table and tagged onto the back of two other guys keeping a steady pace. We leapfrogged constantly as I would run down the hills, walk up the hills, and take a few walking breaks in between. We hit the 3 mile mark and headed back down the steep hill out of the park. I had tried to pay attention on the way out to the hills and knew that it was a gentle downhill to the Finish. The two guys from before and another kid and I were all keeping pace and leap frogging a little as we neared the Finish. With about half a mile to go, the two guys picked up the pace and passed the younger kid and I. I pulled up next to the kid, he met my pace, so I picked it up some more.

By this time I had dismissed the two older guys as beyond my reach and focused on passing the younger kid. We each made a few moves to pick up the pace and covered each other until he finally broke and dropped back behind me. With maybe a quarter mile left, I put the two older guys in my sights and pushed. Hard. I caught them with maybe 75 yards to go, passed them, and tried not to look back.

I failed and looked back twice. But I finished ahead of them. President Abraham Lincoln was there at the Finish and put my medal around my neck. I waited for the two older guys and shook their hands when they finished. Repeated that with the younger kid when he came across the line too.

I walked around a bit, debating if I should head to my car and go eat or come back to take pictures. I opted to stick around and I'm glad I did. Because the entry list was small, I figured I might be close to a podium finish in the 40-49 age group. Small races like this are about my only chance to podium and since there were way fewer runners than I expected, I figured I would see how lucky I would get.

Turns out they split the age groups by five years so I was in the 40-44 bracket. And after a brief glance at the results, I was the only one in my bracket. So automatic first place! I didn't expect anything but stuck around for the awards ceremony anyway.

Luck struck again and I got a small trophy to go with my finisher's medal. Not too bad! And while I enjoyed the race, the course, the weather, everyone involved, and winning my age group, I think the new PR was the best thing I came away with. My previous 4 mile PR was 48:24 from way back in 2009. I missed my first chance this year to run a 4 miler when I had the flu so I was glad to make this race and come away with a new PR. And to be so close to that 40 minute mark makes it even sweeter. I clicked off two sub-10 minute miles, something I'm not sure I've done since high school. And one of those miles, even though it was downhill, was nearly a sub-9 minute mile. Something I haven't done since 2010.

All in all, a great race day for me. I'll enjoy my new PR and my new hardware today but tomorrow I'm looking at the next distance in my PR Hit List: the 10k.

Temps this morning felt like 50F to 55F at the Start but according to the cyclist I know, he said it was 47F. Temps warmed during the run to about 60F or 65F. Sky was clear, wind was light, and humidity was low.

Fluids and Fuel:
Before the run, I had coffee, a GenUCAN bar, and an applesauce packet. During the run I had GenUCAN Hydrate. Recovery was water and a banana followed by a steak wrap, cheese danish, and giant coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Left calf felt a little tight after the steep hill (about halfway) but nothing terrible. I also had to constantly adjust....stuff.... because it just wasn't sitting right. Everything else felt fine.

Wore shorts, t-shirt, and hat. Decided to not wear gloves and I'm glad I did. Didn't need them.

Today's Motivation:
Um, it was a race. I wanted to get my money's worth. I did and then some! Beautiful course, even better weather, and as always, the volunteers were helpful.

Naughty Neil:
So yesterday I ate two giant cinnamon rolls for breakfast and a slice of cinnamon roll cake for dessert (with ice cream). I'm not sure if that's why I did so well today but I think I'll try it again before my next race. You know, just to test it out. For science. Yep, cinnamon rolls for science.

Mile 1 - 9:57 (went out a little too fast)
Mile 2 - 10:57 (this includes that uphill)
Mile 3 - 10:45
Mile 4 - 9:08 (this includes that downhill)
Finish - 40:42

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