Monday, December 15, 2014

An Exorcism In Bethleham

In running,as is in life we all fancy a "do over" from time to time am I right??
I guess if you're a musician there's that one bad gig or one bad album you put out,as an actor a bad movie or tv show,and who amongst us hasn't been in a relationship we'd rather we weren't{I'm confident most of the women who've had the misfortune to date me would like a do over!!!!}
Running is no different,Usain Bolt has races I'm sure he'd like to be able to do again,ask Seb Coe if he'd like the Moscow 80 800m final again?.....
For me my "do over" would be the 2012 Masters Club Nationals 10K XC in Kentucky,a veritable "shit show" if ever there was.

In a classic case of "open mouth,insert both feet"!!! when I was first asked about the race earlier in the year I said "sure" .......however when the time came to ride down to the Bluegrass State for the race I wasn't in mental or physical shape for a 10k xc race,but rather than be "that guy" who says "yeah yeah,count me in" but then the week of bails I went,ran like a total chav and finished 222nd in a field of 295 in a woeful 43.52......adding insult to considerable injury as it was my first ever 10K XC race it was laughingly a PR........
Surfice to say when it was announced that the 2014 edition of the race was here in virtually my backyard in nearby Bethleham I jumped at the chance to rectify that blot on my career.
Let's not get carried away here,I'm a 800m/1,500m guy I know my limitations but over the years I've come to embrace xc as the bridge that links the end of outdoor track season to the start of indoor track season,a means to an end if ever there was one and so post 5th Avenue Mile in mid September I began to prepare myself for the 10k.

After years of side stepping the Paul Short 8K XC race at Lehigh this year I went to get a feel for the course this coupled w/ monthly trips up to Lehigh to do course previews meant there'd be no surprizes come race day,2 8K XC races,followed by a 15K & 5K at Van Cortlandt Park in November meant come "D Day" on the easy to remember 12.13.14 I'd be ready.....ever the Boy Scout "Be Prepared"
Conditions were mild but dry,no snow or ice on the course which helps when you've got 6 miles to race,and thanks to USATF Mid Atlantic a large fuck off tent w/ tarps on the ground,chairs even a heater thrown in for good measure to hang out in pre and post race....what do you know membership really does have it's privilges!!!

Stripped down to race gear,trusty St George's bandana,gloves,Team GB arm warmers,white club vest,red 3/4 length running tights,St George's socks and xc spikes I made my way over to the starting line w/ the rest of the clubs M40,M50,M60 A & B teams to our box and waited for the gun to go off.
I made a comment in the Paul Short 8K XC race in  September how the start resembles the fight scenes in "Braveheart" well today there were probably 100 more runners all charging across the field at the beginning from a spectators view point it must look impressive......having a "middle of the pack" view is even more impressive let me tell ya!!!
If there was a 1k or 1 mile marker I didn't see either,I think the first k sign I saw was 3k only to discover my watch hadn't gone off at the start.....hey ho!
At 4k I switched my watch back to "real time" if the rest went off at 11.30am maybe I could gauge my pace w/ that?

Given this was Club Nationals where team scoring is the name of the game I'd done my best to run w/ my fellow GPTC M50 A team mates but after a mile I got detratched from them,nothing to do now but finish as strong as I could and help out any which way I could.
As each k went by I'd check my watch,I'd set myself a modest 38.00 target based on my two 30 min 8k from Sept/Oct,I was going to be reasonably close.
I've know for months the course ran a little longer than 6.2 miles,thye mantra had been when you see the 9k sign it's actually 1,200m to go NOT 1,000m at this stage I had a few runners ahead of me but when I heard someone yell "600m to go" that was my cue,suddenly the grass became a green/brown track as I dug deep and piy some distance between myself and the runners behind me,I glanced upto the clock above the finishline to see 39.00.....ish

For whatever reason NONE of the Greater Philadelphia Track Club times recorded,b4 leaving I heard one of the Masters women saying none of their times had shown up on the results and ditto for the men and I don't see any trace of our Open runners in either the mens or womens races either......
Unofficially the M50 team finished in 5th which seems to have been greeted a good result,we beat Pike Creek so at least we've got Philly/Penn bragging rights!!!
As for my time I'm at a loss according to the "unofficial masters results I finished 244th in a field of 588 finishers,as for my actual time the 242nd place runner ran 38.56.49 243rd was a fellow GPTC ers so no time,then me in 244th b4 245th in 39.02.69......
For now I'm going w/ 39.00,a respectable pr compared to the god awful 43. 52 I ran in Kentucky two years ago.
I doubt I'm going to San Francisco for next years race b4 it returns to Kentucky in 2016......right now I'm focusing on my Jan 15th Indoor track debut over one mile......don;t get it twisted I was happy to run XC in the Fall BUT track is where my heart and soul belongs........


Scott Brown said...

Hi, how's it going?

Nice report Kevin! I'm going to run my 1st X-country 10K in Jan 2015. Reading that helped me to get my mind around it, now for the body.

kevin f forde said...

Good luck