Friday, June 12, 2015

Rambling Lions Combo Weekend

Pawcatuck Lions 5K
Saturday, June 6, 2015

The double race weekend started Saturday morning in Pawcatuck.  I try not to race doubles, but make an exception occasionally, especially for supporting local races.  This would be Matthew's first road race since his track season ended, so it would be interesting to see how he would fare.  While warming up, we were sizing up the competition, but only came up with 17-year old James Rose, who faded last year but heat was a factor then.

Mile 1:  The gun went off and Matthew took control right away, with Rose nipping at his heels.  I settled in for 5th place behind the two of them, and Mike B's friend Eric and a young black guy matching each other's pace.  At the end of Mile 1, I was still in 5th place, with no changes in positions ahead of me.  Mile 1 split:  5:46.
... and we're off.
(All pics both days courtesy of Jana)

Mile 2:  After getting my mile split from the inimitable Coach Tommy McCoy, I quickly reached and then passed the 3rd and 4th runners, or rather, they dropped back to me.  I was also starting to see some separation between Matthew and the Rose kid.  By the time we reached the turnaround, I was closer to Rose than he was to Matthew.  Shortly after the turnaround, I caught up to Rose.  I thought I'd try to push him to stay with me and tire him a bit more, but suddenly another youngster caught up with me:  Jonny Eckel.  The three of us ran astride for 1/4 mile, then I pushed to put some distance on both of them.  Mile 2 split:  5:58.
Race winner.

A distant second.

Mile 3:  I don't feel I can pick it up, but let's try to at least maintain.  It's obvious I won't be catching Matthew, as by now I can only see him on long straightaways or bends along the river.  However, a 1-2 Walker finish would be pretty cool.  I never hear anyone behind me, and end up finishing 37 seconds ahead of my next competitor (Jonny Eckel).  Matthew gets the win, even with his broken arm in a cast, and a PR in 17:27!
A very cool Westerly Sun headline.

Final results:  18:19, 5:53 average pace, 2nd overall, 1st in age group.  Full results here.


YMCA Back Road Ramble 5K
Sunday, June 7, 2015

Another day, another race.  I've volunteered on the race committee for this race for the past two years, including designing a new course to reduce asphalt as much as possible.  This year I tried to extend the single track by using Burlingame Trail into Kettle Pond trail system, but was denied by the US Fish & Wildlife Ninigret office.  For next year, the Y has green-lighted my suggestion to add more single-track via a 5-mile option.
A lot of WTAC up front.

Final race in a cast.

Mile 1:  All WTAC singlets in the front row, except for one unknown who took off in a Li'l Rhody shirt.  OK, wearing a Rhody shirt, he may know what he's doing with pacing.  Nope!  After the amphitheater climb and descent to Burlingame picnic area parking lot, Chris passes him.  I ran alongside and then passed Matthew (is he OK?) and followed Rhody shirt guy all the way down Sanctuary road and single-track to the playground before passing him.  Mile 1 split:  5:58.

Mile 2:  Where is Jonny?  I guess the best time to race against Jonny is after he's put in an 80-mile monster week and stayed out late the night before.  Uneventful run through the trails and campground.  Mile 2 split:  6:11.
Race winner.

Looks like I'm struggling.

Mile 3:  On the trail back out to Sanctuary Road, there are still runners and walkers coming in against us.  If only my Burlingame Trail extension had been approved, this would not have been an issue.  Back out to Sanctuary Road for the long schlep back.  Nearing the picnic area parking lot, I hear footsteps coming up on me so fast I know I won't be able to hold the runner off.  Is this finally Jonny?  No, it's Matthew, as he mutters some sentence to me that contains the words "old man".  I couldn't catch it, but I'm sure it was complimentary.

Final results:  18:43, 6:02 average pace, 3rd overall.  1st in age group.  Full results here.
The WTAC gang is all here.

Seb taking in the fun.

The kids kayaked ...
... while the big kids played on the water trampoline
to exertion when the lifeguards finally told us to come in.

Fantastic apres-race fun, including sandwiches and waterfront fun.  Two people asked me about the new Pumpkins trail race.  I tried to explain the trails to the Westerly Land Trust president (and age-group winner) and say that the new trail part will hopefully someday align with the Swamp Bypass trail I made a couple of years ago, and she says to me, "Do you mean the Jeff Walker trail?  Because that's what we call it at the Land Trust."!

A great day at Camp Watchaug for a great cause, where fun was had by all.

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