Monday, June 11, 2012

YMCA Back Road Ramble "5K"

Sunday, June 10, 2012
Camp Watchaug, Charlestown, RI
Results here3rd overall out of 96.  20:17.  1st in age group.
It was a good day for the Walkers.  We had just hustled in from URI, where my oldest son Mark took a 1st in the Super Kids Tri (scroll to bottom).  He had a tough time in T1 and was behind coming out of T2 onto the run, but had made up enough ground that you could tell it was all going to unfold in the run, which he dominated.

Back Road Ramble:  start
  It was about 80in Charlestown when we arrived (1PM start).  Went on a warm-up with Jonny, a mud-spattered and eventual winner Mike Galoob just off the mountain bike, and Matthew.  Matthew and I ran about half the course and then came back.  I knew during the short jog it was going to be a tough hot day that I wasn't acclimated for.  (Yes, this is the start of my excuses J)
Mile 1:  Stayed in the shade as long as I could, until SNERRO called us out in the sun to start the race.  The first mile cuts from Watchaug quickly to the Burlingame Picnic Area parking lot and then follows Li'l Rhody course down Sanctuary Road and onto the short trail to the camping area.  I followed just behind Jonny (as I did most of the course) and somehow ran a 5:49 first mile. 
Mile 2:  Hot, twisted, and confusing mile.  Ran directly under the sun across the Burlingame fields and part of a paved road before hitting a shady area.  Trail markers and course marshals were way too few, and trail marker arrows hard to read.  A course marshall we had passed yelled repeatedly "Turn right!" and I looked up and saw a faint right turn marker on a tree.  Jonny had gone straight ahead of me (missing the right turn), so I yelled to him, and he turned and came back.  We ran most of the next mile together, helping each other trying to guess where to go and decipher the few signs we saw.  When we came out by the finish of the Brrr-lingame 15K, neither of us had any idea which way to go, and I think we got lucky with Jonny's instinct as we could see a marshall then in the distance.  Slow mile of 6:33.
Slight uphill to the finish; nothing left
Mile 3:  By the time we left the campground again to run Li'l Rhody mile 1 in reverse, now at last I was familiar with the course again.  Jonny picked it up a little, but I was done physically and mentally and didn't chase.  Out on Sanctuary Road, I heard my Garmin chirp the end of Mile 3, and while GPS can be off in the woods, there was actually very little single-track or elevation change on this course and I'm thinking something is wrong with the course distance.  6:18.
Finish:  I'm still following behind Jonny, but between the heat, trail turn confusion, and now long course, I've lost any desire to push a hard finish.  I actually slow down to finish the last section at a 6:28 pace.
Next after me in 4th is Mike B finishing I believe his ever trail race, followed in 5th by the Rhody Seth, whom I finally just met, and 6th place is Matthew having run an awesome run beating out mostly older kids to take 1st place in his age group.

Getting age group award (gift certificate to Breachway Grill)

This race needs far more trail markers and preferably a change to a morning start (both feedback I gave in a positive manner to YMCA CEO and VP, while offering to help in trail marking next year), but otherwise a nice addition to the local race lineup.


  1. Nice meeting you and your son. He gave me a run for my money!

  2. Jeff - thanks for helping me get back on the course! I agree that with the recommendations you made, this will be a fun race to do again.