Saturday, September 26, 2009
A trail race (almost) without Trail Monsters
The Pathfinders 5K XC race was held this morning at Pineland Farms. Absolutely. Stunningly. Gorgeous. Cool, dry air, bluebird skies, and fast trail conditions were enjoyed by all. Roller coaster hills and long climbs were enjoyed by at least me. The race, starting at the "stadium" in front of the visitor's center and using the campus loop, is the toughest 5K XC course in the area. Fast running on tough courses is almost as fun as fast skiing on these courses! And the prizes are pies and pineland cheese. Sweet!
As much as I've run at Pineland, I've never run fast there so I wasn't sure what to expect. The first mile is a net downhill but over some rollercoaster terrain. I hit the mile in 6:11 in (what I thought was) 4th place. Mile two starts with the end of the roller coasters and then begins the long, gradual climb; the net climb is about 130 feet. I hit the 2 mile mark with a 6:40 split and was (what I thought was) 3rd place. At this point I was well ahead of my guestimated pace and at the top of the hill. Mile 3 is back downhill and I hit the mark in 5:50, still in (what I thought was) 3rd place. My splits are based on my Garmin 305 so when I hit the 3 mile mark well short of the finish, I knew the course was long. My official time was 20:55, in what I thought was 3rd place but the winner was actually far enough ahead that I didn't see him on the windy course and so quickly forgot about him! Just ahead of me was 13 year old phenom Will Shafer, so I got schooled by a middle schooler (check out his mother's day 5K time though). I took home a delicious apple pie but I'm more thrilled about my average pace, which according to my watch was 6:11. My average pace (again according to my watch) at the Craig Cup last October was 6:22.
All the racers were cheered on by Ian (where was Mindy?), who was there running long, and Stephen (who was with his kids trying to find Kelley, who was at Back Cove). It was also nice to finally meet Dave Howard, Jim Gott, and Lonny Reny (the winner).