May 5, 2010

Medved Madness 15 miler race report

“Dress her in black” as my buddy Bolder would always say. That’s the motto I took forward for the Medved Madness 15 mile trail race this past Sunday in Mendon Ponds Park. I donned the black shorts and a black tech fit shirt and prepared for battle with the muddy and hilly course. This was the third weekend of racing in a row for me and I was starting to be a little tired. I haven’t been sleeping well lately (partly my own fault and partly because I go to sleep and can’t succumb to slumber) By the time I got to the starting line, I knew I could finish the distance, but wasn’t sure how things would pan out. I knew that the usual suspects were absent from the race (Neal Holshulte, Jeff Beck, Jason Urckfitz, CJ, etc) so that made things wide open for a big W for someone, I just wasn’t sure it would be me when the gun went off. Sunday was a great day, it was warm, pretty humid, and cloudy too as the rain clouds were coming in quick. We all amassed at the start and were goofing off like normal. Dan shouted directions and we strode off on the first of three “five mile” legs. Things were going well, I was running smoothly without too much effort and actually went out a little quick (seems to be a trend these days) There were quickly three of us that formed the lead pack in the woods and were off at a good pace. It was me, Todd Stewart, and another relay runner. The relay runner was pushing hard and trying to throw little sprints down the trail in order to gain some time (I was kind of annoying) but he kept on missing the trail markers and wasn't keeping his eyes peeled for them at all. This left me having to yell at him where the next marker was and to usher him back on trail on a few separate occasions.
I grew tired of this and passed him about 1.5 miles into the race. This might have been where it all turned south. I missed a marker in the woods and led us down a rather large hill. It was only at the bottom that we all realizde that we hadn't seen any markers in a few hundred meters...uh oh. Yes it happened again. I led everyone off course...sorry! We quickly backtracked and made our way thru the "lap traffic" and eventually found our way back on course. No worries, this was only like 2.5 miles into a 15 mile race, so not a big deal. At the end of the 1st loop is always a "water hazard" and that equates to the race directors putting a marker several feet in a pond and making you run around it. Because it was so hot and humid out, this wasn't so bad!
We got thru the first loop in and I felt okay. I was still leading our group of three (but we had one or two people who went the CORRECT way in the woods still to track down) as we made our way thru the timing arch and out on the next loop. This loop is a little bit hillier and more wide open trails and I like it. The run takes you thru sections of Mendon that I don't normally hit and they are all twisty and turny and I love running thru it. It was in this section last year that I threw some good surges in and broke the guy that I was running with. I figured if it worked last year, why not two years in a row? So I tried to surge and pick up the pace thru this windy section.

After about 5 minutes of picking up the pace, I still hadn't dropped my new companion and solo competitor, Todd Stewart, and he apparently thought this would be an excellent section to pick up the pace as well. Only problem was that when he elevated the pace, I couldn't hold on his shoulder and lost the will to chase him down. Long story short, he broke me, and I broke HARD.

This was the third weekend of hard racing in a row for me and I'm gonna be honest with you, when I saw Todd go, I knew I wouldn't be able to catch him and I turned off the "after burners" I put it in damage control mode and I cruised in to finish the 2nd loop. I was hurting and not willing to put myself in pain by chasing him down. I was tired and this was the week after a rest week in my training and I SHOULDN'T have been tired, but I'd spent my rest week RACING the Muddy Sneaker and not properly recovering. To boot, I'd also gone out drinking with my bro in law Dave and a former co-worker on Wednesday night to Tap and Mallet and hadn't really caught up on my sleep. All this was running thru my head in the middle of the woods and I was losing concentration on the race I was running. Not good...

Loop 3 came with a bang and I'll have to be honest, I had proverbially put on the brakes on this race and was just getting thru it. The big scare came when about midway thru the 3rd loop, I looked over my shoulder and saw someone behind me gaining fast. I got scared that it was a friend of mine, Alan, and didn't want to get passed by him so I was forced to pick up the pace.

I was hauling over the last few miles, but this guy just kept on gaining. Even though there were relays all over the place, I still figured I was in the top 3. We hit a large, VERY steep hill at about 0.5 miles from the finish line and it's one that's so steep that you need to powerwalk or scramble just to get up it. I could hear this guy coming and by now I knew it wasn't Alan, but I still didn't want to get passed so close to the line! I was powerwalking and I could hear his breathing coming closer and closer. I made it to the top in front of him, but it wasn't long after that I got BLOWN by. I was exhausted. I made my way to the finish line and split the clock in 1:46 which was signifigantly slower than last year, but still good for 2nd overall in the solo division!

I was pooped as you can see by the picture above. That's me looking fairly exhausted and slumped over after crossing thru the finish arch. It was nice though, we had an excellent bbq cookout that is put on by the race afterwards and it's catered, which makes it extra good. Awards were quick and I came away with a nice gift certificate to the presenting store, a pair of North Face socks and a full belly from the cookout. Good times. This race is always a good one if you're going "best bang for your buck" and this year was no exception. I will try to do this one as many times as it fits my schedule. This week brings another big week in prep for the Buffalo Half Marathon at the end of the month. The goal there is to be sub 1:20 which is lofty, so we'll see. Until then folks, I'll see you all out on the roads/trails. Cheers!

1 comment:

Tim said...

Nice work as usual. It was nice being ahead of you during the race after your missed turn, even if only briefly. I missed the same turn, I just figured it out sooner. Great day for a race, a bit warm but the rain held off. A nice faster paced long run for me. Between Madness and town line sprints with you and Ian on tuesday my legs are shot today. A golf league induced rest day is more than welcome tonight. After Pikes I will be hopfully finishing a bit closer to you. So long as USADA doesn't ban Swedish Fish that is.