Monday, April 2, 2012

GSV Marathon and Cherry Pit Ten - 3/31 and 4/1/2012

After the HAT Run, my legs were nice and sore from a hard effort, which I liked.  I took a day off and then continued running slowly to recover, with no pain whatsoever, which I liked even more.  I decided a nice long run on tired legs would be good for the following weekend, since I was feeling healthy, and soon found the Garden Spot Village Marathon as a perfect option.  Rolling hills through Amish country, a new race for me, and beautiful scenery and Spring-time weather sounded like a perfect day.  Unfortunately, it was chilly and rainy, but still an excellent experience!

the start - from the GSV Marathon facebook
 I ran controlled, but hard.  I felt great for about a mile, but then maybe the little bit of "adrenaline" that might have been flowing wore off, and the tiredness set back in.  I still felt pretty good, relatively speaking, through 10 or 12 miles, though.  I was just having a good time, running alone for the most part but chatting with people here and there as we crossed paths.  I never looked at my watch, but knew I was a little under 7-minute pace.  That seemed reasonable.

The course goes out for about 12 miles, does a 3 or 4 mile loop, then comes back.  I saw Jackie at the end of the loop on my way back - she was waiting at the aid station to pace Alan for the rest of the way.  I think I still felt pretty decent at that point.  Shortly after that, a guy in a VT singlet came running up alongside me.  I thought I recognized him, and sure enough, he was one of the same guys I ran several miles with during Boston last year.  Pretty cool coincidence. 
Somewhere in there, from, say, mile 15-18, I was feeling pretty tired.  But then somewhere after that, the marathon distance started seeming kind of 'short' in my mind, and I started feeling better.  I started picking people off for the last 10km or so and finished nice and strong, adding on a few cool-down miles to make for a 50km training run.
early miles - from US Candids
Highlights of the Garden Spot Village Marathon include:
1. Lots of horses-and-buggies!
2. Very nice rolling country scenery.
3. The encounter with Jordan from VT, and a few other nice fellas.
4. Low-key feeling for a road race, sharing the roads with regular traffic.
5. Enthusiastic volunteers at the aid stations..
6. Great finishing area, with food, massages, etc.
7. The short, but very steep hill, which we pounded down at mile 6ish and then charged (read: trudged) up at mile 21ish!

The following day was the Cherry Pit 10 Miler with the marathon team.  I didn't know what to expect to be able to run, so, again, I never looked at my watch and just ran how I felt.  I felt fantastic for a half mile, then all the soreness from the previous day came back to me.  The good thing was, though, that 10 miles seemed VERY short in my mind, so I had a lot of fun pushing it.  There are a few tough hills on this course.  The uphills were difficult, and the downhills were painful.

It was a fun race, and I was pleased with the result.  Saw lots of local running friends either running in the race or volunteering on the sidelines, plus Liz from Rock'n'Roll cheering on her brother.

So the weekend consisted of a lot of hard road miles, and I was very happy with how my shin held up.  I drew my inspiration for the weekend from all kinds of wild performances in the ultra world, from my friend Josh's smoking fast winning time at NJ100 last weekend, as well as Tom's excellent performance there (and Tom was helping out at a road crossing during Cherry Pit), to all the folks experiencing far greater suffering than I this weekend at races like Umstead and the Barkleys.  Gotta love it!

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