Ascutney Mtn 3.7 miler
Mountain running is a fine balance. On one side I find that I have to tack the needle to the red line and balance the other side of constant relaxed grinding cadence.
Today's race was a battle within myself. I've had this conversation with Fyffe many times, and we find it interesting: some people don't know how to put themselves into a painful debt. I've been to the stairs of the kingdom, traversed the path and paid my homage to the throne of the King of Pain. Being the Last Hero and Only Hope, I've dethroned many, devoured souls and have conquered pain, absorbing that of which I destroy to only become stronger, more hungry and epically awesome.
My plan going in was to lock into a pace and use Ascutney as a training day for Washington. If my race pace is enough to do something, that will be awesome. I had a couple lingering ideas of the marathon tolls but those were soon diminished.
I had some fortunate events that led to me having a successful day and winning another mountain race. A lot of guys raced a fell race the week before and it sounded like they were still beat up. This played a very minor roll in my race preparation and plan, but definitely gave me an advantage. I also knew the course very well after spending over 2 hours on the mountain the week before.
We rolled in 3 strong with Fyffe, MacKnight and myself. It was great seeing Double J and Brandon N. I hooked Brandon up with some pure VT maple syrup. I def didn't want him leaving VT without it this time. We all hob knobbed a bit and then warmed up. 3.7 miles with only a few places to recover made for a tough challenge with a tough field.
Upon the start of the race I found myself right in the front and people filing in behind me. This didn't last very long when Jim Johnson took the lead before Eric MacKnight made a significant move on a very runnable section just after the half mile. Eric opened up a very large gap on what was now Brandon and myself.
I felt Eric's early move was a bit early for me to try and match it so I let him go. Just over 1.5 I started to catch Eric and I was catching him quickly. I did exactly my plan and was locked into a pace that was both relaxed and comfortable. My breathing was controlled and I was in control.
I caught Eric just before the half way and by the way I was rolling could tell that I was going to continue to press the pace that would be tough to match. I knew it would be tough for anyone to catch me.
The second mile went by very quickly and before I knew it, I was at the 3 mile. This is where I wanted to make a move and push and accelerate through turns. There is a very flat and minor down hill stretch after 3 and I needed to get away here so not to be run down. I didn't have the pep or turnover I usually do but had enough of a lead where I just opened up the stride before getting to the last climb just before the finish. 1st place, 29:54.
It was a very pleasant surprise to take home a W, but it is a VT race and I really wouldn't have it any other way. This boasts great confidence for next weeks race and has me thinking I may be able to mix it up and possibly run sub 1:06. I'll have to run smart and an early relaxed pace is going to be key to later success.
My mouth is big, my ego is bigger, my goals are bigger than that and I'm epic. Hoping to get a solid week and welcome myself to being cussin back!