Here is what went down for the week.
12 mile ride to work
7.2 nobscott loop up and down Nobscott peak
12 mile ride home
AM 5.2 Sandlot loop with christy mae
PM 7.5 Nobscott loop up and down Nobscott peak
Lunch 7.2 Nobscott loop
PM 5.0 ARWR Beaver Loop
Busy action packed weekend of running and racing in the hot and humid conditions.
Saturday morning was the Thomas Chamberas 5kish Cross Country Race at scenic great brook farm state park in picturesque Carlisle, MA. A good result as I took it wire to wire. The goal of this race was to go out hard and maintain some sort of speed through out the race. I noticed in all my previous efforts since the marathon I have lacked intensity in the beginning and middle parts and then woke up to finish strong after realizing I didn't have 21 miles to go but 1 mile to go. I took off at the start and tried to run strong the whole way. Managed about an 8 second gap up the switchback hill but lost almost all of it on the outer loop to a speedy Ryan Miller. He was right on my shoulder on the road section by the ice cream stand. I managed to grab two seconds in the last 1/4 mile on the Latern Loop Trail. The conditions were not exactly fun with 92 degrees (from the car thermometer, may have been cooler in the woods) and very humid. Good effort and a great race put on by Dave Hannon. Always what I thought cross country should be all about. A group of runners meeting in some field some place and racing through ungroomed woods and fields.
Sweating through the corn fields.
by Jim Rhodes
Christy Mae had a great race in first return to the cross circuit coming in second to Mariko.
The race gave us a great excuse to go to Kimball's for a special and then lounge around the pool all day reading the paper and jumping in and out to cool down. I thought about hanging some lattice on the deck to finish it off, but it was a brief, ill-conceived, thought as I just continued to float around.
Which brings us to today's serious challenge. I don't typically race two days in a row but there is a method to my madness. I am entered in Reach the Beach this year and I want my body to know what two hard efforts in a row feel like. I also have a 7.7 mile climb in one of my legs so today's challenge was perfect.
Enter the Mt. Toby Trail Race put on by Sugarloaf Mtn Athletic Club.
What an event. Held at the base of Mt. Toby in Sunderland, MA, the race is 7 miles up, touch the Orange swatch painted fence post, 7 miles down. People around here complain about tough hills on race courses, but after running this race, you will not complain again about anything east of 495. Paul Low, from Belchertown, was there which let me know it would be a good hard effort because he was a mtn goat in his former life. He also won a crazy race in VT. two weeks prior which I am not sure if he was fully recovered. I knew I was a little tired from the day before so I wanted to distribute out my energy evenly until it was time to make a move to the top. Paul took the lead and got a 10 second gap through about 3 miles. I started closing in on him up cranberry ridge and down to the second aid station as we headed to the jeep road. I caught up right as we hit the jeep road, which is not too bad for the first 1/2 mile. We stayed even for about 3 -4 minutes on this calmer section of the course. The first 4.5 miles of the race are certainly up, but the 4.5 -7 are straight up. I had run this trail many times when I was a young lad at Umass amherst and know that first one to the top has a large advantage. You can recover as you start your descent, pick your line a bit easier, and get a good split on how much of a cushion you have. I put my move in about 2 miles from the top and went as hard as I could. There were times when I considered walking. Probably wouldn't have been much slower. Toby just never seems to summit with all the corners making it seem and endless rocky grade. At the top, I hit the split button and passed Paul heading up at 27 seconds which means I managed just shy of a minute in 2 miles. Then I hammered to the finsh. My descending skills are rustic but speedy and effective. As Josh Gordon would say, I "Grovered" to the bottom. Much to my surprise, I was able to extend the gap on the descent.
My splits were
Good effort on a hot day on a real bear of a course. Thanks to my traveling companions Flash Gordon (warning, this blog site may cause seizures), Lara, and Dan. The trip back to the woods which started my addiction with trails training was much better as a group.
I have to go now and continue my forced hydration because I am one dehydrated runner.
That's all I got.