Friday, August 18, 2017

2017 Washington Crossing 15K

As with last year, the Washington Crossing 15K, happens at a time of year when training becomes hard because of the heat and the distances I must do to prepare for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon. It is so much more fun getting out and running when there are other people around, there are multiple water stations, and at the finish line a medal and a buffet are waiting.

Last year it was nearly 100 degrees at the starting line, so they altered the course to make sure an ambulance could reach runners at every point of the 15k (9.3 mile) route. We went out and back and out and back. Sounds boring, but the upside was the three water stations became 12 water stations, then somehow they added another 7 for a total of 19 water stations, or more than one per kilometer. Pretty neat trick! They also added ice cold washcloths, and really kept an eye on the runners. This year felt a lot longer before water stops.

Getting ready to roll
This year they returned to their normal route, with one tiny hitch. There was a tree down on the towpath and we had to leap (bounce, step) over it. The tree was only about 3 inches wide in diameter, and though they tried, they could not remove it before the race. It happened to be near the mule, so we had a landmark.

I went into the race with the goal of beating my time from 2016, which I erroneously thought was 1:50. I went out a bit fast for me (a 10:30 pace) because I was running with Katie, a 30 year old marathoner with a fantastic smile and attitude. I was on track for a 1:39 finish. Totally unsustainable given the humidity and my mindset.

I ran a good bit of the "out," and walked much of the "back," but was strong enough to pick up and run more than I normally can when I resign myself to walking. I'm really working on the mental part of running. I was disappointed when 1:50 came and I was still on the course. And annoyed when the course measured 9.5 miles instead of 9.33, but that is what it measured last year so I just have to set my Nike app to anticipate it being a 9.5 mile course in 2018.

I crossed the finish line at 1:56.11, just as they were announcing the award winners. Oh well, I must have missed that one, again, I thought. I went to eat dinner and chat with the runners. Agnes, someone I met in 2016, came in after me. She decided tonight was going to be a 2 hour cardio workout instead of a race, and walked most of it. She felt good because at the finish line she was stronger and happier than the year before. She and her husband, Colm, told me about the winter runner series of 11 races sponsored by the Bucks County Road Runners. I thought about doing it last year, but bailed. I think I'll do it this year.

I decided to see just how close was I to medalling, last year I missed it by one spot (I was fourth in my age group, but by a long distance). Turns out I was second in my age group!! Even more remarkable, there were three women in my age group. Even more remarkable than that, I only missed winning my age group by less than two minutes.

Remember how disappointed I was by my finish? Turns out in 2016 I finished at 2:09.18, meaning I was 13 MINUTES faster this year. Yay me!

Coordinated swag

This is the second race in a long time
where I have accepted the free shirt,
and the second time I have placed. Is there a connection?

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