Friday, December 18, 2015

Go for the Great: Holiday Race Season (11/26-12/12/15)

Club XC Nationals - Golden Gate Park
photo by Erin Morin
"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great."
- John D. Rockerfeller

Two months ago on a run the day after Seth and Shark Tank's wedding, Ben and I were talking about my plans for the season.  I had wanted to break 40 minutes at the 2015 Club Nationals.  We both figured I'd have to be able to run a 39 minute road 10K to do it.  I had spent three months prepping for a 39 minute road race.  I knew as I approached this year's race in Golden Gate Park, I'd be ready to go for it.

I spent September and October getting my Cross Country legs under me. And each race I improved - getting closer to my goal.  And by the middle of November I was ready for my three week/three race "Holiday Season:

Somerville Road Runners' Gobble, Gobble, Gobble
Date: Thanksgiving, November 26, 2015
Location: Davis Square, Somerville
Distance: 4 miles
Goal Time: 24:00
Actual Time: 24:07 (PR)

5 years of Somerville Road Runners' Gobble Gobble Gobble shirts
From Bottom to Top - 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2015 RD shirt (there were extra XL)

Any plans quickly went off the rails when I ran the first mile with Tim and Rory at a blazing pace. Mile one crosses at Packard so there is a brief recovery as you run into Powderhouse Cir.  But once that was done I had spent mile 2 fighting to keep up with Rory - losing him on the uphills; catching him on the downs. (Tim had blown away from us.)

So by the hills on the third mile, I was pretty wrecked and my stabilizer stiffness had me feeling like Frankenstein.

At the crest of the hill at St. Catherine's, I was prepared to bomb it down. I put in all the effort I could, bounding down hill. By the time I got to the flat part of Summer at the VFW, I was going full out and couldn't pick it up for the last bit, regardless of Victor's entreaties to catch up with Rory.

Took a full minute off last year and a new PR!

Mill Cities Relay
Date: December 6, 2015
Location: Nashua, NH to Lawrence, MA
Leg: Leg 5 - anchor
Distance: 4.75 miles
Goal Time: 29:45
Actual Time: 29:04

Tom Morrow Never Dies was the Coed Masters "Scoring Team" for SRR: Tom Bok, Nicole Tateosian, Florentien de Ruiter, Chris Smith and me.  I was team Captain, which largely involves getting the driving directions down.

I ran the last leg.  When Chris came in I took off like a bat outta hell; I almost got hit by a car... in the parking lot.  But once I got to the road, I both slowed down a bit and was safe from cars since there were cones and whatnot.

I was rattling off a good pace, up until Mt. Abrams.  That third mile I slipped 45 seconds.  And at the top of the hill, a Greater Lowell Runner tried to pass me.  I spent the next mile and a half trying to hold him off.

I rattled off a good mile and a half.  But in the home stretch it wasn't enough.  He and another guy passed me when I didn't have that last gear.

But, still Tom Morrow Never Dies, didn't die and took home the brick for first place Coed Masters!

USATF XC Club Nationals
Date: December 12, 2015
Location: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Distance: 10K
Goal Time: 40:00
Actual Time: 39:26 (XC PR, 2 seconds off my road PR)

At the Start
photo by Erin Morin
Going to Frisco made this trip worth it regardless of the race.  Also got to catch up with Jon and Kerry May as the enjoy the Left Coast.

In 2014, 5 of us had gone to Pennsylvania for the Club Nationals.  As the 5th person on a 5 man team, I had wanted to do the best I could without endangering a blow-up that would have dropped me (and the team); I had to run "good."  Yet, in California, I was the only one.  So when I got to the line I decided to follow what I thought had been the dictum of Pre (but turned out to be Rockefeller): "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great."

Originally my plan was to run 6:15/ miles. But as I was the only person in this race, I decided to go for it: 6 minute miles.  The worst thing that could happen is I blow up and finish with a bad time.

The first mile was a swing on the horse track around the polo grounds. There were big puddles along it. Everyone was going sideways to avoid the puddles. I just went through them. However, that meant I passed EJ. Crap, I thought.

But I just kept up the pace as we finished up the Polo Grounds and headed back into the meadow. The second mile was around 6 also. Then you run into the squishy backside meadow and up the one bit of cut back narrow trail hill.

I was not able to continue 6 minute miles. The first half was 19:11. I slowed and battled the second half. It was a blow up but just slower.  But even that would have been my fastest Cross Country 5k last year. Finished strong-ish, not as great as I imagined at the start, but still a minute and a half faster than at Lehigh last year!

SRR Womens Team
Sara Saba, Erin Morin, Urvi Mujumdar