Up at the ungodly hour of 5.10am.......strewth it's enough I have to awaken from my slumber at that hour on a weekday but on the weekend????
Out the door by 6am the #34 trolley was slowly filling up w/ marathon and half marathon runners taking part in this mornings Philadelphia Marathon and half marathon......yours truly was planning a marathon of his own a 15k xc race at famed Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
It's been a few years since I've ran xc at VCP but since 05 I'd ran the 5k course a number of times which would be a big help today since I'd be tackling it three times!!!
It was always going to be a long day and not just from the standpoint of a 9 mile race w/ another 6 miles tacked on for warmup/cool down but to get to VCP I had to: take the trolley to Center City,take the local R7 train to Trenton,change there for a New Jersey Transit train to Penn Station and then the Subway to 242 & Broadway......but armed w/ music on my phone,my diary,a book and a couple of Venti Zen Teas from Starbucks along the way it was civil enough.
Arrived at Van Cortlandt Park by 10.45am a little later than I wanted but still w/ enough time to take care of registration and do a mile warm up.
The original plan was a lap of the 5k loop to warm up followed by another to cool down but given the intestinal issue I was dealing w/ I thought it maybe prudent to only do a mile in my warm up and save myself for the three loops,if I had to do a 5 mile cool down post race sobeit.
Glorious conditions,I didn't have an official temp reading but let's just say I didn't need a hat,gloves arm warmers or long sleeves,Saturdays 5k back here might be a different story but I'll worry about that then.
Setting off at a comfortable pace for the opening loop I didn't concern myself w/ what the field was doing this was unchartered waters for me over 15k,in my road running days I ran a couple of 15ks out at Downingtown on July 4th but never in xc,where I've only ran 1 10k which was 2 years ago in Kentuckey at Club Nationals,couple w/ the fact noone from the club had ran 15k xc this was a case of "to boldly go where no man has gone b4".
It might've been a few years since I last graced the field of VCP but I'd logged enough races there to know the "lay of the land",three times up those back hills was going to be a test but frankly if I didn't think I was up to it why bother coming all this way?
Sadly no mile markers and the only clock was at the finishline but since I had no real idea of what I should be running I guess it didn't really matter too much in the general scheme of things.
Little by little I was picking off runners ahead of me w/ the exception of a Van Cortlandt Track Club runner whom I jockeyed back and forth w/ on laps 2 and 3 I was never overtaken, a testimony to good pacing on my part.
23rd overall in 63.22,second in the 50-54 age group good enough for a silver medal,while the pr and club record had come by default I had at least earnt my medal
No time for back slapping though,still had the wee small matter of a 5 mile cool down to take care of if I wanted a 50 mile week so "once more w/ feeling" around the 5k loop and a 4th trip up the back hills b4 2 miles out around the front section of VCP.
All in all a good mornings work,a 15k xc under my belt,a silver medal to add to the collection,a pr and club record and another 50 mile week,lets hope come the 10k Club Nationals at Lehigh in three weeks time I'll benefit from "going long" today,to that end Saturday Foot Locker 5k will give me a better idea of where I'm at.......only one set of those bastard back hills to contend w/ then!