Week 6: Aug. 10 – 16, 2015
Headin’ on Down the Trail
Sunday, August 16, 2015
My training schedule called for a 9-mile long run this weekend with 2 of those miles run at tempo. To put it more literally, 2-miles run at marathon pace. With a quick trip back to my old home in Pennsylvania I scanned the race sites to find a race I could run and to my pleasant surprise one of the options was the Run for the Trail 7k, held in Dilltown, Pennsylvania (they don’t have their own website, so the main building in town will have to do). The 7k was a perfect race for me because in lieu of the longer run I wanted to use a race and because it was just over 4 miles long (4.345 to be exact), I figured I would actually run a little longer tempo and a shorter distance.
The added benefit for me was that the race was an event put on by my friends at the Indiana Road Runners Club. I hadn’t seen many of the club regulars in years. The race is also an evening run and fit nicely into my schedule. It is always hectic when I return to Pennsylvania and with lots of people on my list to visit the evening race gave me the flexibility I needed to not tie up an entire morning running a race.
My day included a small birthday gathering for my godchild Karlie and while playing soccer with her and sister Kayleigh I went to retrieve the ball from a bank of bushes along the creek that runs behind their house. As I stepped into the brush a carpenter bee who had been buzzing around got lodged between the tongue of my shoe on top of my ankle and proceeded to sting me. That created a bit of temporary excitement as well as the realization that my race would be a bit more difficult as well.
Onto the race with a bit of a swollen and sore ankle I was able to converse with several club members I hadn’t seen in years and at 6:00 p.m. the race was off. It actually starts on a country road and the first 2 miles takes place on some rolling hills. Since I have not trained on hills very much it proved to be a bit more difficult than I remembered the last time I had run the race. That was in 2009 and even as I type that it doesn’t seem like it could have been six years since I had run it, but that is when I ran it.
A little over halfway the course turns sharply onto the Ghost Town Trail and back into Dilltown. After rolling up and down the first half hills the trail is actually a slight downhill for the approximate 2-miles that you are on the trail. With very little hill work to speak of my legs had taken a beating during the first half and although I struggled on the return trip down the trail, I did maintain my speed and never felt like I truly struggled. All in all I felt fairly happy with the end result given the hills and the fact that the race time temperature was about 84 degrees. Coming across the finish line in a time of 30:17, it was the slowest of my three race times, but with a 28:47 in 2008 (when I was 37) and a 29:15 in 2009 (when I was 38), I really don’t have a whole lot to complain about. My time was good enough for first place among the 40-44 male age group (actually 2nd as the master’s winner was in my age group). The very cool thing about this race is that in lieu of medals the winners receive painted railroad spikes (gold, silver and bronze; pictured below).
I am glad to have received my second gold spike (I got a bronze in 2009) as I finish off week 6 of training and now face ten more weeks of training. Another step along the path to the Marine Corps Marathon, as I head on down the trail for the final 69 days.