In total, I got about 4 all-out races in, 6 including the fun run and pioneer ridge, and 8 including moderate efforts at Alaska Men's Run and Wahaneeta. I never had any downright terrible races like last summer, but at the same time I didn't accomplish much of anything either. Here's how I would rank those races, from worst to best (not including moderate efforts).
6. Capital City Classic 10K
It's interesting how my only PR of the summer ranks dead last as the worst performance of my summer. The 10K is a distance that is a privilege to race for me, with my limited availability for road races and the rarity of the race usually making it difficult for me to get a race in. I made sure this summer to get in an opportunity to run this distance. I felt that 5:15-5:20 pace was a good target for me, but I simply did not have enough running since outdoor track ended or enough endurance in the longer distance. To add on to that, it was an absolutely horrible day for racing with temps in the high 70s and a near 100% humidity. Had the weather been decent and I had trained for this, my actual time being two minutes off goal time would have been terrible, but it wasn't the right day to run so I can take being way off for now and wait for a better time to pursue a time. The mistake here was not planning out training/race schedule better, not the race itself. As for the race, I blew-up big time, starting out in 5:12 and going all the way up to 5:55. I would not do this race if I could re-do the summer.
5. Pioneer Ridge Vertical Mile
I'm not sure what to say about this one. I'm definitely glad I did it, as it created a new challenge that I enjoy and want to try out. The brutal factor was off the charts with a constant 21% grade, so I don't know how to rank myself on this performance. During the race, I felt like I was doing terrible and nearly gave up halfway in, but at the same time I completed an entirely new type of mountain race and broke a PR for elevation gain in a run. I was glad to complete it, but nearly the whole way it seemed like I was wimping out and not pushing it to my potential.
4. Bobby Doyle Summer Classic
Bobby Doyle was the only real road race I went into with a specific goal and the proper training to achieve that goal. Coming my faster 5K effort (about 5:05 pace), I figured a time in the low 26 range would be doable. Went out hard and started to fade badly miles 2 and 3 before recovering somewhat to save me from a terrible time. Wasn't thrilled with my pace and certainly wasn't content with my overall time, but some of that had to be the brutal 100% humidity as others ran similar pacing. Not a PR, but not PR conditions either.
3. Loon Mountain Race
In terms of shaving off time, I wasn't as successful as expected. I took off only about 30 seconds (converted, longer course this year) but the better part of my race was how it felt. Last year as my first mountain race it was a struggle as I simply had never attempted to run such steep grades. I figured it would be similar this year, but I actually found much of the course to feel somewhat easy and managed to hold my own on the ups. While not a huge time difference, walking much less and feeling better seemed like a big improvement.
2. Run with the Beavers
I came back with my sole goal to improve significantly from my terrible 2016 race. I was successful. The first lap felt really smooth and enjoyable. The second lap was tiring but nothing like last year and was faster than anticipated based on how I was feeling. I was happy with my time- a 7 minute improvement from the previous year. It felt like I had redeemed myself, but since I came out mostly for fun, running well here didn't mean much to me (at least compared to other races).
1. Westerly Fun Run (Week 6)
One of my goals this summer to break the CR at the Westerly Fun Run. With only a 16:30 for time, it doesn't seem hard but the amount of turns make it a slower course (people usually run 0.08-0.15 more miles than 5K) and it would take a sub-16 effort to beat this. I wanted to get in a fast 5K and went for it. Went out hard and controlled and stayed fast enough to keep 5:06 average pace or faster the whole time. Managed to get it at 16:21, but the accomplishment was the converted time here: at or below 15:50. Felt good to run that fast, was happy to feel mostly smooth while doing it and thought pacing was smart as well.
This summer seemed like a good way to combine fun races without going hard too often. I would've liked to crack some more PR's/fast times but for this important season maybe it was right. Next summer I want to change things up and try some different races. Here are some possibilities/thoughts right now:
-Mt. Washington (always wanted to do this but would have to make it in by lottery and work with my track schedule)
-Beach to Beacon 10K (again, would have to get in lottery)
- Run 4 Kerri
-Westerly Fun Run
That's a year away, but those are my thoughts right now. Whether I do any or all of them could completely change by that time. I really have no idea on other races either.
The summer wasn't all about racing and one part of it was training. I increased my mileage overall and ran over 50 miles nearly every week with my top one at 67. While I was glad to break my weekly mileage, it never felt like I was pushing and I could always do more. I did track workouts most Thursday and doubled most Tuesdays/Thursdays. Aside from that, I got to try out new places which was always fun exploring. While I didn't do these unique runs as often as I wanted, it was blast doing them. See some of the highlights below (in photo form):
|Weekly Mileage Breakdown (click to enlarge)|
|Run for Sam at Bradford Preserve, Mid-June|
|Beavertail State Park: Jamestown, RI, Mid-June and Mid-August|
|Groton Roads and Poquonnock River Boardwalk: Groton, CT, Late-June|
|Henderson-Swasey Town Forest: Exeter, NH, Late June|
|Breakheart Pond: Exeter, RI, Early July|
|Santa Monica, CA, Early July|
|Denali National Park and Preserve, AK, Early July (and the rest of Alaska)|
|Papago Park: Phoenix, AZ, Mid-July|
|Devil's Hopyard State Park: East Haddam, CT, Mid-July|
|Ragged Mountain Memorial Preserve: Berlin, CT, Late July|
|Wadsworth Falls: Middletown, CT, Late July|
|Green Falls: Voluntown, CT, Mid-August|
|Newport Cliff Walk: Newport, RI, Mid-August|
While I got to do some fun and unique runs, I would have liked to do more and there were far too many days where I felt I just settled for some local run when I could have went out and explored. Here's a list of places I do want to run at sometime in the near future (maybe next summer):
-Fort Getty and Fort Wetherhill State Park: Jamestown, RI
-Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge: Middletown, RI
-Colt State Park: Bristol, RI
-East Bay Bike Path: Barrington, RI
-Castle Craig: Meriden, CT
-Sleeping Giant State Park: Hamden, CT
-Talcott Mountain State Park: Bloomfield, CT
-Nehantic State Forest: East Lyme, CT
-Pachaug State Forest: Voluntown, CT
-Mt. Monadnock: Jaffrey, NH
-Long Island: Orient Point, NY
-Block Island: New Shoreham, RI
Cross Country Expectations
Right now, I'm focusing on the present which is my final HS XC season. My junior year for running wasn't as big as I expected. Cross Country went well overall but I was unable to convert my two months of success into a strong post-season. I had great races here and there in indoor, with plenty of good ones but others that were a bit off. Overall, it wasn't a huge improvement over sophomore times and unfortunately, hardly anything happened in outdoor as I spent the good portion April and May recovering from a back injury. I was way off on original time goals exiting the season.
I'm hoping to make my mark with a strong season. So far, this is my schedule. I don't know how many I'll actually go to.
My main goals for this season are:
1. Fast Times
While obviously some courses are slower than others, I'm hoping to break 16 as much as possible if not break 15:50 as well. Both Goddard Park and Ponaganset seem like the fastest courses, so hopefully I can run respectable times there. I ran 16:01 at the Glen last year so I want a time around 15:45 there this year. On my home course, I would like to run around or faster than 16:20, and for the rest I'm not exactly sure what to expect.
2. Top Places
After a disappointing 8th at the state meet last year, I want to move up. I want to make top 3, but would certainly be satisfied with top 5. I should be able to pull out a win at the Class B championships, and hopefully can run top 10 at New Englands. I'd like to place top 10 at a regional meet and qualify for Nike or Footlocker nationals but my fitness level would have to greatly improve for that to happen. Hopefully, I can win several RI-only meets and possibly all of my dual meets.
3. Strong Races
While I want to run consistently, I certainly hope to have some races that break my expectations and will be memorable in my future. Last year, it was running a 16:01 at the East Bay Challenge. I want to have a least a couple races this year I'll be remembered for.
The summer offseason is over, but makes way for another competitive year of cross country.