Aug 062012

by Jamie Anderson –

The good news: I got in 71.6 miles for the week.

The bad news: I ended the week with the toughest nine-mile trail race around and on a very humid morning to boot. Ouch.

Big thanks to Ian for heading another great event and to all of the volunteers that helped make it happen. Despite knowing I wasn’t going to have my ‘A’ game today, it was still an awesome time and a great workout. I stacked some good hay in the barn with this race and the week as a whole.

First loop, part one
The race consists of two similar loops with the only difference being a different path down off the summit when you end each trip. You end up hitting the summit four times total. I could tell in the warm-up that this week’s mileage wouldn’t have me flying, and that was true when the race got started. I watched as a large front pack took off and I estimate that after a few hundred yards I was roughly around 15th place. I remember thinking “this figures”. It would have been great to be up there with the others but not today.

I started to settle into my pace and was passed by a few more folks, including Stephen W., who I tried to catch at the Scuffle last month but couldn’t. We exchanged a few greetings and after the race I got the chance to talk with him again for a while. Nice guy and a strong trail runner.

Eventually I reached the top of the summit for the first time and was caught and passed by Demer and Scott H. Despite running a great race at Beach to Beacon yesterday, Scott was looking very strong.

First loop, part two
Caught up with Demer and we were running together for a bit. Yelled to Scott and George on the downhill after the second time summiting that I was coming after them. Though I wasn’t entirely serious, I was gaining some ground, but knew if I did catch them it would probably be short lived. Just having some fun with some friends who are also teammates. However, shortly after yelling that, I fell. Fitting, huh? It wasn’t a bad fall. Both hands are all that touched the ground. I said to Demer, who was still nearby, that I should probably just keep my mouth shut and run.

Shortly after my jovial taunting, everyone moved ahead, including Demer. Ha ha, I deserved that. I was alone now for a good while and nobody was creeping up behind me, at least not yet.

Second loop, part one
What happened here? I can’t remember.

Second loop, part two
First woman caught up to me and we leap frogged several times. I’d primarily pass her going uphill and then she’d get me on the downhills. On the summit for the final time, and I waved the first woman ahead of me. She obliged. Caught back up with her on the right hand turn at the bottom that leads to the finish, but didn’t pass her until the final 100 yards. I encouraged her to come with me, as I didn’t really kick hard, but I just got ahead and then crossed.

My time was 1:18:31. 19th place. Ouch. That’s my slowest time of the three times I’ve run this race.

As previously mentioned: high mileage week, lowered expectations. Weather was also ridiculously humid. I also don’t tend to run this course as well as the other two races. It was a perfect storm for a not-so-good race. That being said, I did as well as I could have.

That sting of pride was felt despite knowing all along I probably wouldn’t do too well. I keep reminding myself eyes on the forest, not the trees… but I plan on getting some revenge at the Bruiser next month. I’ll make sure my legs are fresher for that one. And a great performance at MDI will validate it all.

This week has been a great week of training. 71.6 miles is a lot for me, and it included a tough race and also another short tempo run. Pretty solid. It’s the heart of the training cycle now so good timing. This upcoming week won’t have as high as mileage, but I’m still looking to get in a solid speed workout of some sort later in the week.

And despite the relative misery, it was seriously still fun. Trail runners are the best and this race series is hands down top notch. It’s always a blast spending time doing something you love with others who are cut from the same cloth, whether you know them like brothers or don’t know them at all… you just know they’re great folks. And when it’s put under the umbrella of great race management, it’s a big ole party. Can’t wait for the next one.

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