Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Summer of Running- A Re-Cap: Time In is Time Earned!

Well, I have had one whirlwind of summer of running, tons of adventures, and of learning about what my path is in this world. I have logged tons of miles, vertical, and have found some great training grounds here in Binghamton, NY. I never would have imagined how awesome the roads, trails, and opportunities are here for endurance training. I have upped my vertical training from when I lived in Cortland from 2,000-5,000 ft of vertical change to 4,000-7,000ft. This huge increase in longer more frequent hill training has upped my overall training stimulus which is awesome. I hope my summer of training will allow for myself to gain the benefits of the hard training this fall as I tackle the Green Lakes 50k August 29th, the Virgil Crest 50 mile in September, the Tussey Mountainback 50 miler in October and the 50 mile NJ One day Event in November.

My Trusty Shoes: Mammut MTR 201 Tech Low. Photo Credit: Cole Crosby

I have run 2 Top races this summer: Cayuga Trails 50 (DNF) and the Whiteface Skymarathon (20th overall) each with less then sub-par performances.  I have run more road races this summer with a win at the Ithaca Gorges Half Marathon, followed by a 2nd at Vestal 20k, 3rd at the Kelly Labare 5k, the 2nd place at the Catherine Valley Half Marathon.

I have had some great long runs, some bad training runs, strong days where I felt like I could fly and other days where it was a struggle to just take one step out the door. I graduated with Ashlee from SUNY Cortland and have moved into Endicott and are having a great time.  We are so excited to begin our next chapter together.

Vestal 20k Road Race. Photo Credits: Triple Cities Runners Club

Finger Lakes 50. Photo Credits: Cole Crosby

The Course Conditions of the Finger Lakes 50's….MUD!
Photo Credits: Cole Crosby

The Catherine Valley Half Marathon was a great tune-up for my next big race this season: the Green Lakes 50k.

During the Catherine Valley Half Marathon, I was not feeling ready to run at my max pace for a Half Marathon. I have been putting in so much time and hill training to build myself up for the Green Lakes 50k that  I have not approached a half marathon with as much focus in quite some time. I knew that some fast people would be at the race so my hope was to hold a solid effort for as long as I could and hopefully finish up near the tops.

I must say that Watkins Glen is a terrific town to check out in the Finger Lakes Region. It has so much to offer from a state park, great shops, and a great trail.  The race takes place on a nice gradual cinder rail trail. It spans the distance down to Horseheads, NY from Watkins Glen.  Having the majority of the course in the shade is also great for a Mid-August race.

As the race went out, I settled myself with another runner, Tyler Eustance, Jack Hillenbrand and another runner. We hit the first mile in 5:27 and the pace felt decent right along what I was hoping for so I kept pace.  We gradually began to pick up the velocity of our pace into 5:20 and a third mile just under. It was myself and Tyler for the win. I knew with him fresh out of college running with Cornell, he would have some better leg speed than myself. We kept pace stride for stride and the humidity of the morning made us drenched by mile 3. Tyler through down a surge at mile 4 and I knew this section as being a little uphill so I decided to allow him to build distance on me. I was feeling a little labored from the warmer conditions and from a 100 mile training week the week before. I tried to keep him in sight as the lead he had grew from a few seconds to maybe half a minute. At the turn-around, I knew we would get a nice gradual down-hill on the cinder so I began to pick up my pace. As an out and back format, it was great to see so many familiar faces as I made my way back home to the finish. I knew that I was still sub 5:30 per mile pace and kept pressing the tempo to maybe have a shot at catching Tyler. I went through the half way around low 35 minutes. The second half, I surged hard in the next 3 miles with the hopes of catching Tyler. I closed the gap to under 10 seconds with some 5:10-5:15 minute miles but it seemed Tyler was putting in the same pace to keep the distance. I eased off the pedal with my gut starting to cramp some. I was not feeling so solid. I kept plugging away.  It was at the point with the last two miles my body decided to give up. I have never had that moment where I ran completely out of energy at a half ever before. The heat in the open sections sapped the life out of you as what I heard from many others too. I decided second would be my position and hopefully I could hold on for dear life to keep my place. Every step was a struggle as my body began to tighten and cramp. My stride became weak and labored. I had not pop left in my legs. This was going from bad to worse quick.

Photo Credits: Chris Cowden
Lead Pack at mile 2

I hit the final stretch around the ball field and onto the track. The time read 71 high as I sprinted to the finish as best as I could. I crossed right at 72:30 for second place. Tyler broke the old course record running 70:52 or so. Man was I happy to be done.  It was great to hold my position the way I did.

Red Newt Racing Team: Dual Second Places. Photo Credit: Ellie Pell

Now I look forward to the Green Lakes 50k.  I hope to best the 3:28 course record run by Michael Daigeaun in 2013.  I have put in a solid training block and feel very confident in my abilities and the course design to have a great day!

Thank you to my awesome sponsors: Mammut North America, Team MPF/Red Newt Racing, Fits Socks, Boom Nutrition, Craft Sports NA, Karhu NA, Redfeather Snowshoes for all of your support.