April 5, 2011

Spring Forward Race Report

Sunday was the 5th time that I've race the Spring Forward course out in Mendon Ponds Park here in Rochester.  I love the race and it's pretty darn hilly, but a very fair course.  In years past it's been a Rochester Runner of the Year series race which always drags out some impressive competition, but this year it was not on the dockett.  Still solid competition though.  All the usual suspects were there, Matt Kellman, Timmy Dwyer, Charlie Andrews, Mike Insler, Marcus Gage, Matt Roberts and Dave Rappleyea.

We were all milling around the start and I was feeling a little toasted from the weeks prior build that was culminating with the race on Sunday.  I topped out close to 19 hours (not the 20 like I had thought) and that was week 3 of a three week build up (weeks one and two had been at 16 and 18 hours respectively).  My legs honestly felt a little heavy during the warm up, but I was bound and determined to race this one as hard as I could and see what happened.  Kind of like an experimental race.  I knew that I was not going to be anywhere near the 53:28 that I popped last year when doing speedwork and focusing on running, but I was going to try and be as close as possible. 

The start went off with a bang and this is basically what happened (David Rappleyea ran away from us all and took the easy victory - he's the one in the Saucony bright orange kit below)  
We all happily chased him down and knew that we weren't going to be anywhere close to him, but we split off a nice little front pack in the early stages of the race.  The pack consisted of myself, Mike Insler, Marcus Gage, Matt Roberts and one other guy that after looking at the results, looks like it was Craig Coon and there was one other gun in a RKR jersey too.  I was tucking in the back of this happy little pack and as you can see from the photo below, I had to race all "thug like" with only one calf sleeve on.  The day prior my left calf was twinging something fierce while on the bike and I knew that the hills might compromise it with the race today.  Regardless of looking silly, I still trudged on tucked in the back of the pack. 
We split thru the first mile in about 5:30 and David R. was about 30 seconds up the road.  We all chatted a little bit and settled in and I was wondering how long I was going to be able to hang on to this pace.  I wanted to go out strong, but also NOT blow up.  After about 1.5 miles I watched the group of Insler, Roberts, Coon and Gage just pull away from me as I settled in to my own pace.  I was kind of running in no mans land and they were a good 50-100m up the road as I watched them kind of just pull away.  I split thru the 5k mark on the road in about 17:45 or so and knew I was holding a good pace. 

I wanted to split about 5:50-5:55/mile for this race and definitely keep it anywhere within the 54-55 range for total time.  I was running well and noticing that I was catching up to Marcus as we hit the hills, but he would press on the downhills and flats and get farther away.  He was coming back to me though and as I looked up after a few miles at mile 5 or 6, I noticed he was right in front of me about 5-10m ahead.  I put in a little surge on a downhill to catch him and passed as we bottomed out and started an uphill again.  I almost forgot to say "nice job" to him as I went by, because I was feeling good and threw in another little soft pass to see what would happen.  (I did say nice job by the way...) and also ultimately gapped him a little and was running scared. 
Mile 8 came and that was the big elevation change to get back into the park.  I crossed over the road with the marshalls and knew that the finish would be popping up in no time at all.  I began to become a little complacent though because I neared the 9 mile mark and did a quick check over my shoulder thinking I was going to see Marcus blazing back to catch me and he was no where to be seen, and neither was anyone else.  So that made me ease up a bit and I lost some impotence on pushing myself until I puked. 

I cruised in for a respectable 5th place overall and 2nd in the age group (even though I neglected to stay for the awards) and ran a cool down with my college roommate and recent dad, Jake and his brother Jon and with warm up totalled out to 16 miles for day.  My time was a little less than 1:45 slower than last year, but at this point of the build and my season, I'll take it... Next up is Muddy Sneaker which should be a fun mess in the next few weeks and there will be undoubtedly lots of miles out on the roads now that the weather is a little warmer now and the snow seems to be gone.  But, I'm on a rest week, so it's R+R and a few beers for me. :o) Until the next time friends, train hard and get out there and test the legs.  Cheers.


Tim said...

3 week build cycle? Of what, EPO? Freak! Okay, just kiddin' man. I know you are fueled by CarboPro and Dunkel. But if you need anything, contact Bill Strickland, he has already demonstrated piss poor judgement and might be able to help. Anyways, nice write up and nice racing Travis. Since you're on a rest week maybe I can actually run a few miles with you again.

Travis said...

Wow, it took me a minute in Google to figure out who Mr. Strickland was and how ridiculous this looks:

Almost as good as last year after Paris Roubaix when they made Fabian Cancellara x ray his bike to make sure there was no motor inside it...

Anonymous said...

I apologize for mocking your one legged wonder, it helped us locate you... carry on.