Saturday, March 24, 2012

2012 Montvale Park 10 Miler / RNUTS 3 of 6

The History
     The Montvale Park 5 and 10 mile race has been an annual event since 2009 and an annual event for me personally since 2010. So far, I have only ran the 10 mile course, with a 1:26:49 in 2010 and a 1:20:18 in 2011. As the 2nd of 3 warm up races heading into the Blue Ridge Half, I'd have to say that this race gives me the best idea of where I'm at with my endurance and because the half is still just over a month away, I still have time to work on improvement before the big race.
2011 Elevation Profile as recorded by my Garmin
     Rolling hills are the name of the game for this course. I always handle this type of terrain best by opening up wide strides going down hills and following it up with rapid turn over short strides on the way back up. The frequent running pattern change up has the effect of tiring me out  faster mentally than on a course where I can just get in a grove and stay there for awhile. I haven't done any training on this course at all, which is a shame considering its the closest  RNUTs course to my house.

     As always, I'll be looking for a course PR. I haven't done any 10 mile tempo runs yet, but I did recently run 10 on asphalt, as a long run, after a 10 mile bike ride in about 1:20:00 and my asphalt tempo 8 milers have been coming in at right around an hour. A few other stats lately have also suggested that I may be in slightly better shape right now than I was a year ago, so I think the odds are about 70/30 in favor of me beating 1:20:00 as long as atmospheric conditions are at least somewhat favorable.
2010 Age Group 2nd place medal. 

     As for placement, this race has consistently been a source of humility for me. I understand that final finishing positions are more a fluke based on who shows up than anything else, but that doesn't stop me from looking at the statistical reality of the situation. In 2010 I was Age Group 2nd out of 2 and 17th out of 46 overall. That could also be looked at as Dead Last Age Group and barely in the Top 37%. The next year, 2011, gave me a 4th out of 9 in the Age Group and a 15th out of 75 Overall or Middle of the Pack Age Group and Top 20% Overall. I was happy with my time and effort both years, but I really like to stack up a little better than that in the final results. I've never trained specifically for this race since it just works out better as a longish type training run for the Blue Ridge Half, so I don't stress on the place results too hard, but I do look for year to year improvement.

The Event
     I sign up for races weeks and even months prior to the actual event. If it happens to be raining, then so be it. For a trail race, the 2012 Montvale 10 Miler was by far the muddiest I have ever done. Arriving on the scene I was instantly greeted with light rain/steady drizzle. It had been raining for hours prior to the race and I knew the trail conditions would be less than optimal for speed and PR's. Typically, rain dampens my spirits, but on race day the enthusiasm of my fellow Mountain Junkie friends is contagious and competitive spirit is more powerful than any rain. I went through the motions of warm up stretches, greetings, race briefings, and then a 1/4 mile walk to the start line...all in steady rain.
Elite level volunteers of the highest order.

     If I had any misgivings about the weather they were quickly dismissed by an amazing race start. I have no illusions about me being an elite Mountain Junkie, I'm not one. Elites Mountain Junkies routinely pace in the 6's at every event regardless of distance. I consider myself fortunate if I can even run one trail mile in the 6 min/mile range. Somehow I was quick on the draw today and for the first 4/10ths of a mile I actually held first place for the first time ever at any race. I'm going to go so far as to be ridiculous and just call it as me having won the sprint to the first bridge! It was an amazing feeling, but I knew it was a fluke and didn't reflect my true apptitude.
At just over 1/2 mile in the rain seemed to have all but stopped.

     I knew the true elites were back there and they didn't waste much time after crossing the bridge to let me know it. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, rushed passed me in very short order. About a mile later #6 breezes on by with one more on his heels. I was starting to feel like I was in my zone and I kept thinking about my interval training. I can summon up a nice 1/4 mile sprint every mile or so if I need it, so I decided to put an end to the passing and hold 7th place. I caught up to 6th and drafted for a while, but he kept pulling away, then 8th would catch up to me and I would sprint back to 6th...this pattern continued for the whole race, except to say that by mile 7 I was growing fatigued and never could quite catch up to 6th, so much as just put some distance between myself and 8th.

     I knew I wanted the spot and I had a suspicion that the guy behind me was a stronger runner than was immediately apparent. My tempo training has only been at 8 miles, so I fully expected to burn out and get passed 1 or 2 times in the last mile. It never happened, but for the last mile 8th place was right on my heels. I ended up surprising myself and found the energy for a 1/10th mile sprint to the finish line that left me weak and breathless, I held my spot. It was an awesome race!

Muddiest trail race yet!

     End result was 1h 16m 58s, a new event PR! The course was slightly shorter this year to make it exactly 10 miles, as opposed to last years 10.2, but all things considered it was still my best run at this event particularly as judged by pace. Added to that is a nice 1st place age group award. The Mountain Junkies hosted another great event and truly catered to their participants by offering a good selection of healthy post race food. 

Final Results: 2012-time 1:16:58.82, pace: 7:42/M,Place 7/97 overall, 1/6 in my age group,7/59 among men. Garmin data, (which is less reliable on trails anyways, is particularly bad at this trail due to the very tight zig-zag nature of the path)




  1. I was thinking about the race this morning. Congrats on an awesome performance! Hope you're cleaned up by now.

    1. Thanks! That was insane muddy! Most of the course stood up well to the rain, but there were many stretches of the trail where traction was hard to come by. Took a good portion of the trail home with me, but most of it washed off!

    2. Phil I just love the blog on the race today. I appreciate the thoughts and training efforts plus the amazing PR results.Keep up the great running.

    3. Thanks, Marion! I appreciate the encouragement! Your a great inspiration supporting the running community in this area. Keep it up!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jen! I go off on a limb with my blogging from time to time for creative purposes, but mostly I just like to promote active living. Glad you enjoyed it!