Monday, January 28, 2013

Belleville 10K Trail Race

Sunday, January 27, 2013

41:18.  8th out of 116.  2nd in age group.  Full results here.

A few firsts for me in the race:

  • First time running this race.
  • First time in Ryan Park.
  • First time racing in North Kingstown.
  • First time racing on snow.
  • First time racing with Yak-Trax (yeah, that part didn't work out so well).

Picked up the bibs for my two sons and me, and then headed to the warmth of the heated car to delay exposure to wind and 20 degree temps.  About 9:40, finally went out for a very short (1 mile) warmup with the boys on the trail.  It was frigid near the pond, but then once in the woods was better.  The warmup was just enough to get the blood flowing (what a strange expression - it wasn't flowing before?) and the body a little warmer. Disrobed down to shorts and two technical shirts, and off to the starting line.

Lined up near the front at the starting line.  As we left the pond into the woods, Muddy went past me and I passed Dave Principe Sr.  I could watch Jonny in the distance leading for WTAC and held this position until early in the second mile when Principe passed me and I was running as an island for the rest of the race.  Coming into the power line clearing, I saw Principe ahead of me on the clearing and I missed the sharp left turn for the single-track spur (he had already run the spur and was back in the cleared area), then I turned back to run the spur.  At about mile 3, Greg Hammett was on the sideline offering me words of encouragement and that I should catch the guy ahead of me (Principe), and I picked up the pace for a little while there.

Entering into the woods again, I saw no one behind me, no one ahead of me.  It's a tough place to be in, because without anyone pushing me and no one to challenge, I settle into a rhythm that can't be my fastest.  Running on snow was tiring me, and the long section of dirt bike whoops was exhausting.  To add insult, I felt something sharp digging into my left leg and looked down (repeatedly) to see my right Yak-Trak had now broken and the steel coils where dangling to the left.  I stopped briefly to at least point them differently to stop digging into my left leg.
Crossing the bridge about mile 5
About mile 5, on the long straightaway berm over the marsh, I could now see Dave Principe ahead of me again!  I picked up the pace again, but then lost a few seconds when the trail went sharp right and I went straight ahead into a parking lot.  Realized my error, got back on course, crossed the bridge where Mike's daughter was snapping pics, and it seemed just moments before I exited onto the ball field and finish.  I heard people yelling for me to run faster.  Mike explained to me later that with 2nd place in for both TNT and WTAC, WTAC was ahead by 15 seconds at that point, but because Dave Principe (3rd place TNT finisher) beat me (WTAC 3rd place finisher) by 34 seconds, that secured the win for TNT.  Darn!  That one is bothering me now, as I feel I let the team down.  If I had known my time was close enough to figure into the team standings, if I had known the course and didn't lose the few seconds on the missed turns, if I hadn't kept fidgeting with my Yak-Trax, could I have shaved off 20 seconds for a WTAC win?
Final steps to the finish
Certainly not my best performance today.  Good to see the WTAC turnout.  Justin and Jonny were way up there at 3rd and 4th.  Matthew had some trouble but finished well, and Mark turned in a solid run on his longest run ever.  I'm going to have to dig a little deeper at upcoming WTAC races, and maybe hire Greg Hammett to be at each mile split to bark at me.


  1. Great race recap! I think having a coach yell at you while running is a great source of motivation - when I ran cross country in high school, I definitely picked up the pace every time my 6'7" 300lb coach told me to run faster.

    Too bad about getting lost and the broken Yaktrax, but your time and place in the race are pretty speedy! I can't speak for the WTAC since I'm not in any position to score overall team points, but it sounds like you gave it your all, and I'm sure you didn't let anyone down. Good luck in the next race against your TNT nemesis! Having a nemesis is also a good source of training motivation :)

  2. Jeff - you have never let anyone down at a team race. Being in no mans land is tough. I was worried about YakTrax malfunction while racing as I've had them do weird things on me - sorry you had to deal with it, especially since I feel like I pushed the use of them. You'll get another shot at your nemesis very soon!