Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ray Cherenzia Backroad Ramble 5K

Official time: 19:44.  8th overall.  Results here.

Haven't written one of these in a while.  By this time last year I had nine races under my belt.  This year: four.  I jumped into this race at the last minute when Amanda suggested it might be a fun Sunday activity.  It's held at the YMCA Camp at Wachaug where Ezri will be attending this summer.  Jeff Walker has taken a hand in improving the course over the last few years and it features post race food and water fun.  I had planned a long run this morning so I went out early and did six hilly miles in northern Burlingame.  Not exactly sound race planning but I knew I didn't have the speed to really compete at such a short distance and I wanted to get decent mileage on the day.

The race begins down near the water and immediately goes uphill through the ampitheater steps.  Yeesh.  At the rise I found myself in 2nd behind young Matt Walker.  He dropped a 17:27 5k the day prior and I knew my days of besting him were long over.  I also knew I was going too fast and eased off to let Garvin, Jeff and others go by.  Johnny Eckel went by as well.  Another youngster!

A cruel way to start a 5k - Photo by Jana Walker

On the dirt road towards the campground I found myself running alongside a guy in a green shirt and a hat.  I didn't recognize him and moved ahead of him just before the singletrack.  I hoped I could put some distance on him here.  I was in 6th place but the rest of the pack was well ahead.  As I came into the playground area I was already tired.  There was a guy up ahead in an orange shirt that I hoped I could reel in by the end.  I heard footsteps - Jonny Hammett was still lurking behind me somewhere and I hoped it was him and not Green Shirt.  Otherwise there might be two people passing me.

When I ran the inaugural version of this race back in 2011 the course just stayed to the roads in the camp.  Now it made use of trail and grass which was much preferable.  I lost sight of Orange sShirt in the woods but could see him when we crossed the grassfield.  On the single track that led back to Sanctuary Road I skirted past people still on their way out - in doing so I managed to smack my shoulder into a tree trunk which left a good mark.  Back on the dirt road I could see Orange Shirt and Eckel up ahead.  Here come some footsteps.  Oh no, it's Green Shirt!  From behind I hear Jonny telling me to hang on and I try to lock onto Green shirt but I only managed a few moments before I fall back.  Jonny passes me and I watch him easily overtake Green Shirt and go on to pass Orange and Eckel.

Slogging towards the finish - Photo by Jana Walker

Crossing through the beach parking lot I slowly gain on Orange and Green Shirts but I don't have the kick or motivation to catch them.  Thankfully the downhill finish was on the road and not back down the amphitheater steps.  I finished a few seconds after Orange and Green Shirts, feeling tired and slow.  I tried to temper my expectations going into this race (especially considering I had already done six miles of hills earlier in the morning) but it was still frustrating to experience the results.  I thought I'd be able to muster a better effort on the way back but I slowed considerably as the race unfolded.

But at any rate the afternoon at the YMCA camp was a lot of fun.  Ezri got to do a short fun run that she had desperately been looking forward to.  I got a calf massage which was wonderful (they've been tight for a while).  And the three of us went out for a canoe ride.  Ezri freaked out and didn't want to go but we set sail and paddled away, with her whimpering the whole time.  Ah memories.

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