Had a really good week of mostly easy running with two key workouts: a 10 miler with 2 x 15:00 @ Tempo effort on Monday and a hilly 12 miler today, which included five upper and lower loops of Edgewater Park where I hit the uphills hard (alternating between high knees, bounding and just plain hard running) and hitting the downhills at race effort. A good Lydiard-type effort. I'm getting excited about my final racing phase of 2009, which I just updated on my entry below. I'll be doing a 5K cross country race in Ann Arbor next Saturday, followed by a 5 mile road/trail race on Nov. 14, our masters and open team 4 mile cross country time trial on Nov. 21 and then Club Nationals XC on December 12. Really excited that I'm on a masters team for this. Right now we have 6 guys lined up (all of us are ex-Team Good River runners) for the masters race and I believe we have enough for two teams in the open race.
I've mapped out my final races of 2009 as I prepare for the USATF Club Nationals cross country meet in Lexington, KY on December 12.
October 31 - Ann Arbor Track Club Invitational 5K cross country: Really looking forward to this as the last time I ran on this course was in the fall of 1980!
November 14 - Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 miles: My buddy Jim Chaney who is managing this race describes it as a mix of road, paved bike paths and gravel trails. This should be a good XC simulation. This will be my first race as a 45-year-old.
November 21: Cross country team time trial - 4 miles. The masters guys will be running a time trial with our two open teams as we get ready for club nationals in Lexington.
December 12: Club Nationals 10K cross country: I need to research the course, but typically nationals are on flat courses but Kentucky in December will likely be rainy/snowy, so I'm preparing for a messy course.
It's been a few weeks since I've done an update, but things are going pretty well with my running. Two weeks ago I raced in the USATF Masters 5K National Championships in Syracuse where, in one of my last races as a 44 year old, I was 26th in the 40-44 division with a time of 17:08, which is an age-graded score of 82.11 (anything above 80.0 is considered National Class). The photo sequence above is from the finish of that race. Pretty ideal conditions, other than the roads being pretty wet from a lot of rain the day before, on a beautiful course with a couple of small hills. I was really impressed with the way this event was organized. Each kilometer was marked on the scenic out and back course and the organizers did a great job of keeping traffic away!
Today I got my first taste of cold weather racing for the fall season when I ran in the Race for The Rainbow in Lakewood this morning. About 40 degrees and felt much colder with the winds, and the roads were even slicker than in Syracuse. While my time of 17:39 was slower than I normally run I felt like the race was very "on". I got into a really good rhythm and finished very strong though the wind was really rough throughout (never seemed to get a tailwind!). I was third overall and the top master and even managed to score $15 in prize money! The first two guys finished in 16:02 and 16:04 and both of them have been under 15:10 this year, so that gives an idea of the racing conditions today. While I love the feeling of running a really good race, I'm frustrated that I haven't caught the right weather to take a shot at my masters PR of 16:54. My workouts indicate that I'm in shape to run about 16:45 on the right day so we'll see. Next up is a 5K cross country race in Ann Arbor, Michigan on October 31. Looking forward to bringing out the spikes for that!