Sunday, November 2, 2014

Not a kid anymore

Cross country running is a young man's game.

I went back to Ash-Lawn Highlands yesterday to participate in the NIRCA Regional Championship as a part of the UVA Club Cross Country team. I'm not really on the team, but participated with the blessing of RMR, wearing a borrowed singlet from the club team. I was looking for redemption from my brutal post-baby cross country debut from September 21. I did not find it.

The race started out well enough. I got out in the front for the first 300 meters to avoid the chaos that I was stuck in last time, and then settled in and let the real front runners go. There were some kids throwing elbows at me trying to get the poll position, which was silly, and I'm happy to say I did at least beat them. I was running with the first chase pack behind 3 guys who were far out in front, and things were going well. There were two other UVA kids there, communicating with each other and with me about running together, and it felt pretty cool to be part of the group. I was relaxed and very comfortable, conscious of the fact that it was very early in the race and that the back half of the course was very tough. I was not controlling the pace, because there were some kids who were very insistent on being in the front. I was content to sit behind them.

Half way through the race, though, I just lost all steam. I started going backwards, getting passed by a lot of kids the rest of the way. I felt as though I were walking on some parts of the course, and had trouble getting my legs moving even on the downhills. I genuinely considered stopping. I had nothing left at the end to summon a kick, and stopped almost immediately after crossing the line. I had nothing left. I ran roughly 30 seconds faster than I did in September, but I'd attribute that entire 30 seconds to the weather, and not to my fitness. Certainly not to my racing tactics.

KC and Henry were there at the finish, so I walked back to the car with them to get them going ahead of the traffic. I wanted to leave with them, but knew I needed to cool down and shake out a little. I ran for less than 15 minutes with the William & Mary/Team Blitz guys, and then just disappeared in the middle of the awards ceremony. I had no business being there. I didn't do anything to help the UVA men's team, watching as I was passed by one Penn State runner after another.

It was a bad day. I've got plenty of things going through my head about why I ran so poorly, and none of them matter. I hope that I can turn things around in time for Thanksgiving to run well at the Turkey Trot, and I have six more weeks until USATF Club Cross Country Nationals at Lehigh. I've got to get used to running on the grass. My old man legs have lost all of their pep from racing on the road for so long already [just a little sarcasm].


  1. Ahhh, I am sure you are still an outrageously good runner. I miss watching Team Blitz blast through everyone in the good old days at WM.

  2. Thanks Corry, I can always count on you!

  3. Don't get down. You just ran an incredible half. Your next race will be much better.

  4. Thanks John, not really down, just realizing that cross country is a lot harder than it used to be.

  5. I'm sure the Turkey Trot will be your redemption.


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