Monday, June 8, 2009

Wissahickon Trail Classic – One Year to the Next

I thought that my first post on the Wissahickon Trail Classic got the most important news out. But Helen wanted me to post on my race. And she raised a pretty good point – I've made some significant improvement from last year to this.
The course was the same this year as last. I don't think it's a 10k – it feels long to me – but it's the same, up-and-down, crazy mix of trails. And my approach was fairly similar both years, trying to go out a bit faster than I'd like in order to get position. (It's not a good race to start slow if you like going fast down hill).
Last year, my time was 45:57.
This year, my time was 42:51.

So, yeah, I've made some progress.

This photo is from around 2 miles in, I think. (I'm leading Matt Joose here, but that wouldn't last long).

There were *some* external factors. This race was much better weather for racing than last year, and we weren't running around packing before this race. I even tapered this time. But three minutes is three minutes. I'm also winding up in front of people I always used to trail.

I should also note that it wasn't like I just cruised to the faster finish. I was pretty drained from pretty early on. At some points, esp. on the uphills, I was really feeling the burn. I remember feeling a bunch of snot on my face, and not really having the energy to get it off. When I looked down at my watch at one point and saw 22 minutes, I thought that there was no way I had another 22 minutes at that level of exertion in me.

I did get a good second wind, coming down the lavender trail, which I'd guess is around mile 4-5?
The thing that killed me though – around mile 5, you get back on Forbidden Drive, for a half mile. When I hit that, it was like something clicked off. Tons of people passed me. I got back some of them on the last trail section -but not Pete, who passed me on Forbidden and then finished ahead of me. Pete, incidentally, improved around the same amount I did - he finished a few spots in front of me last year, one spot in front this year. I guess that's what we get from all the Saturday morning trail runs.

The cost of my improvement? I'm definitely not where I'd like to be in my bike fitness right now. I went out for 55 miles yesterday, and that's the longest I've done all season. So I've got to get to work on that. But for now, it's good to know that the time running has had some payoff.

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