Racing Everything, Everywhere.

by EJN Comments (0) Articles, Guest Post, Racing

Read this awesome blog post by Dan Button (published on his blog a couple of days ago) and it struck a chord immediately: big injury dashes hopes before a big race, then a comeback in which pretty much all challenges are taken on. Some of those challenges might be out of your comfort zone, so maybe even you learn your way as you go. But Dan has also been racing really well, especially at the Pineland Trail Festival. But we’ll let him tell you all about it:

At the beginning of the year when I normally sit down and plan my goals, I was still recovering from an injury sustained the day before I planned on running XC Club Nats in San Fran last December. So, rather than put together a list of goal races and some form of schedule I was forced to learn the art of letting go and taking it easy. My coach’s recovery/training plan for me went perfect and by the end of January I was back to running 7 days a week, feeling a little slow, but very healthy. With nothing to lose and lots of fitness to gain I decided to run a few indoor races and by mid March found a new 5000 and 3000 PR to give me some confidence going into New Bedford Half marathon (one of those peak races I would normally be anxiously prepping for) Despite only a couple longer workouts, I nearly got a new best half time and beat last years time on the course by 30 seconds. Less stress + more fun = Personal Bests! To follow that theme I also decided that with a 3k indoor time to my name, I might as well run the rest of the races in the USATF-NE All Terrain Series, because fun is found in trying new things! The next race up in the series was the Merrimack ‘Rivah’ Trail race, a fun, technical 10 mile out and back. Though I haven’t raced on the trails often, NH hiking roots give me plenty of confidence when I give it the beans cruising through the roots, rocks and trees and The Rivah told me this should happen a lot more! Luckily the next race in the ATR series is the Loon Mountain Race, a 10k up a ski resort. Back to the race everything theme, before I arrive at the base lodge at Loon in July, the focus has been on steeplechase; which I daresay has replaced the marathon as my favorite race. Early season struggles to find races left me with only a few opportunities to steeple this season, so I found myself opting to run a steeple/10k double on the track a few weeks ago. Naturally the ATR Series includes a 10000 for the outdoor track portion, and wanting to make sure I had a time to submit, the double happened. Turns out, if you’re post collegiate the two hardest races to enter/find are 10000s and steeples. However, after running my second fastest steeple I somehow managed to run my second fastest 10k on the track too. Any lingering doubts about current fitness, gone.

That brings us up to last weekend, the Pineland Trail Festival 25k. Pineland is so fun that I had to write about it; the reason for my first blog post in… well, ages. I toed the line at Pineland with an attitude that has been growing all year in my racing, confident and carefree. I consulted some previous year runners and all-around trail running aficionados (hat tip: Kyle and Maartje) and knew that the course was constantly rolling, but non-technical and had no significant climbs. With that in mind I looked up the course record and decided to try and run it at around marathon effort and see how close I could get. Found the lead early, with a couple common faces from the New England running scene. It quickly turned into a three-man race, with two of us taking turns and the multiple time winner cruising behind, waiting to attack. Had I known that defending champ detail during the race, I probably would have let off the gas a bit and followed his approach, but I went for it and didn’t surrender the lead until 6 miles to go. I was quickly gaped, but closed hard and managed to stop the bleeding, eventually finishing only 53 seconds back. The hot early pace might have cost me, but I was pumped with 2nd place and just 12 seconds shy of my goal of hitting the old course record. Kudos to Ryan Kelly on the win and new CR, taking down a record last set in 2007!

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Next up for me is another shot at running a steeple Sat, June 4th. Than it’s on to Club Track Nationals at Penn on June 25th, where I’ll hopefully be geared up for my best steeple yet. The following week it’s back up to NH for Loon Mountain which serves as the National Mountain Running Champs this year. Nothing like back-to-back weekends running National Championships in entirely different events! BTW, if you’re wondering what kind of coach can train you to run PRs in every distance and every terrain; Hudson Community has you covered! Coach Kara has transformed my training and my appreciation for running over the past year!

Race everything, have fun!

Assorted pictures below of the races mentioned, special plug to Scott Mason Photos!

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