Thursday, January 27, 2011

January and Frozen Foot Race #1

Another year older which now makes me the old man in the 45-49 age group. I decided to run the Frozen Foot series in Elizabethtown, which consists of three 5Ks, a month apart, January through March. I have never ran a series before, but it seemed a good way to stay focused over the winter and to prepare for a spring increase in mileage.

January's race was on Sunday the 16th. The weather, despite the frigid cold we were experiencing, was nice: a light wind and temps in the upper 30s. I felt I was ready for this race, and had been able to consistently run and do speed work at the track. Nonetheless, the course is not easy with its hills, so I wasn't sure what I could do. I was hoping to go under 20:00.

Race went off at 2:00, and I went out fast with the lead pack, then settled into my groove. The first hill was tough, but I was able to use it to separate myself from some other runners. The second hill, however, hurt me, and from that point on, I was in a battle with myself to maintain pace. The third hill really took it out of me, and even with a long descent following, I wasn't able to muster the kick that I normally have. As I neared the finish line, I looked at my watch, and realized I was close to being on pace to break 19:00. But, as I said, I couldn't muster my kick and came in at 19:14. I was happy with my time on this course, especially early in the season. It was good for 13th overall (13th place again. That's the 5th or 6th time in the last two years that I had that placing), and 2nd in my age group, which means, I'm sitting in second in the series. I think I can pretty easily maintain a streak of sub-20:00 races this coming season.

As I write this, there is 9 inches of fresh snow on the ground, and since the race, training time has been reduced, because of poor conditions. I have only ran three times since the 16th, but have cross-trained consistently either using my trainer, swimming, or XC skiing. February, however, will be a tough race, especially if I can't get some road miles in. I'll be backpacking this coming weekend, so I'll have to get serious, snow or no snow, next week.