On Saturday, I ran the Kingman Farm Trail Race, which was about 6k through the woods with a small hill. With about 500ft of elevation gain, it was pretty flat, and just technical and switchbacky enough to slow me down and keep me pretty fresh for Sunday. Kingman Farm was my goal race of the weekend, and this 5k on Sunday was completely secondary.
I was happy to wake up Sunday with relatively little soreness. Compared to my track 5k and mile races a few weeks ago, I was fresh and ready to go. I have done very little “all-out” racing this summer, with most of my short races having been up-hill or half-up-hill races.
Last year, after my first marathon, I took a month and a half off from running, and my first run back was the “Run From the Law” 5k in Canaan, NH. It was a nice low-key race, and it felt good to be running again. I credit it for helping me get back into running after that layoff. I placed 4th overall, 2nd male that race, in 19:30.
This year, I had no plans other than going out hard and holding it as long as I could. When I saw Alex Hall warming up, I knew 1st place was out of the question, so I was thankful for not having to lead.
I did a short warmup and stretched a bit, but probably not as much as I should have. I did run the first part of the course, and I’m glad I did. It turned out that, because of some construction, we’d be running 60-70 yards uphill on grass. When I warmed up, it was still very wet and slippery, so I changed into my Inov-8 TrailRoc 145 shoes for a little extra grab. It dried out a lot by the time the race started, but I was glad to have the extra traction.
As we went to line up, a huge flock of children lined up in the very front, leaving the rest of us behind to try not to trample anyone. Alex and I ended up on the edge, so we were able to get out in front within the first 50 yards or so, along with a handful of other guys.
After about 100 yards, the race started uphill, and trends uphill for the next third of a mile before dropping VERY sharply (and painfully) downhill to head back the way we came. Throughout the uphill, I was passing a few people here and there as Alex moved further away. I knew I’d never catch him, but I focused on the guy in front of me, Rob Edson.
After passing the start/finish line, we headed up a small hill and out for a long stretch of nearly flat road. Then we took a right, and headed downhill before turning around a cone and heading back up the hill, taking another right and turning around another cone.
Throughout the race, I had been hanging a short distance behind 2nd place (Rob Edson) hoping to be able to push the pace in the last mile and catch him. Unfortunately he had more legs than I did, and my last split left a lot to be desired.
Overall, I was happy with my run. It was very cool to be able to compare myself, though the course had changed a little since last year. It was also nice to be able to walk back along the course and encourage the large number of kids running the race.
One thing I experienced both times this weekend is pretty new for me. For the first time (at least in awhile) I was actually racing someone. Usually, I run based on effort and pace to try to hit a goal time, or stay alive for the full distance, and I could (somewhat) care less what place I come in, as long as I run what I feel I’m capable of.
For these two races though, I practiced the racing mentality to try to stay with someone and hope to out kick them, or really surge where I knew I held the upper hand (hills). It was fun! I’m not fast enough yet to really be competitive and do this every race, but it’s fun at smaller races when it happens.