Friday, October 31, 2014

"Watch out for the Cricket Pitch": Mayor's Cup (10/26/14)

Around Mile 2
photo by Joe O'Leary

Event: Mayor's Cup
Race: Franklin Park 5k
Goal Time: 19:30
Actual Time: 19:54 (Cross Country PR)

On the last loop, we came out of the Wilderness with about 800 yards left.  Bradley was just ahead of me.  My plan was to race up the last incline, catch my breath on the steep drop into the ball fields and then slowly build speed as we went around the backstop and then the spot where the other backstop used to be.  At that point it's just a sprint to the finish line by the third backstop.

It didn't happen

Tim, Bradley, me and Brendan - four runners / four jerseys
photo by Joe O'Leary

The first quarter mile is across the ball fields where I used to practice football in high school.  And then it narrows a lot on right hand turn toward the stadium.  So what usually happens is the long start line of cross country speeds out to try to get to that narrow bit first.  And regardless of how ready you are, you end up sprinting across the ball fields.

20 minutes earlier Bradley, Tim, Brendan and I had stood as a Motley Crew of SRR cross country runners.  I went through my plan to not run too fast following everyone so quickly over the ball fields.  I figured a 6:25 - 6:30 first mile would set me up pretty well.

It didn't happen


Sure enough when the air horn went off, I was sprinting across the damn ball fields.  We came up near the middle and I called out: "Watch out for the Cricket pitch."

Brendan responded: "Of course; why wouldn't there be a cricket pitch here?"

I described how we used to run routes in JV games where the second move of the chair-route would be right as you hit that so the opposing d-back was surprised by the change in footing.

I looked at my watch and saw we were still running sub 6 minute mile pace.  I should probably slow down, I told myself.

It didn't happen


We finished the first loop and hit the mile marker at 6:09; 15-20 seconds too fast.  The second loop includes the Bear Cage Hill.  It's the only real challenging hill on the course.  And fortunately in the 5k, you only have to make that hill once. (The 8k - which I'll in the NE Championships - and the 10k  have you run the hill twice.)

My plan for this loop was to stay calm and then hit the hill without losing speed, regain my breathe on the down hill and then along the outside of the ball fields drop the speed to my full racing speed.

It didn't happen

Sprinting home
Photo by Joe O'Leary
While I had done the hill properly and regained my breathe, I never regained speed.  As we came across at the start of the 3rd loop, we ran passed the 2 mile mark.  my time had slowed - a lot.  But I still had a chance to do well.  If I could just not lose it in the Wilderness and keep up speed, I could really bring home a monster personal record for Cross Country.

We took the left into the Wilderness.  The trail is neither difficult nor technical.  However, it is winding.  I kept trying to get my body up to some speed.

It didn't happen


The sprint to the finish saw me with no chance to catch Bradley.  My shot at a huge PR didn't fruit. However, it was a 30 second PR. As a team we took 9th.

The team at the finish: Urvi, Tim, me, Bradley, Brendan and Eva
photo by Erin Morin

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