Saturday, January 10, 2015

2015 Frozen Toe 10k

2015
Frozen Toe 10k

History
Legacy Runner-Participant every year since inception.

Red=PR, Brown=Hiked
2010-time 58:31.95, pace: 9:37/M (est), Place 47/90 overall, 7/7 in my age group, 44/72 among men
2011-time 47:30.40, pace: 7:43/M, Place 27/186 overall, 6/21 in my age group, 27/123 among men
2012-time 48:06.59, pace: 7:49/M, Place 24/217 overall, 4/21 in my age group, 24/142 among men
2013-time: 2:16:19, pace 22:10/M, Place 232/233 overall, 28/28 in my age group, 139/139 among men
2014-time: 51:16, pace 8:20/M, Place 47/243 overall, 6/25 in my age group, 39/130 among men
2015-time: 47:26, pace 7:43/M, Place 23/240 overall, 7/25 in my age group, 22/145 among men
Garmin Data: HERE

Expectation  
My recent stats are comparable to this time last year and maybe a hair better. I'll be looking for a 50 minute run. The temps will be colder than what I've been training in, so that will be a factor. Additionally, I skipped my 12 miler on Thursday, so I'll be coming off my 1st 3 full days of rest prior to the race. The extra rest feels like a positive, but I'm staying open minded about it.

The Event
     The harsh, frigid air at the start line was less than hospitable, but I was in no shape to succumb to what would just be one more obstacle. I had done a few short warm up sprints and it felt good. I knew I was going to have a good run. The bite in the air would quickly pass once my heart rate accelerated to the point of red lining.

     After thoroughly spacing the field out for a brief stretch on the asphalt, the course beckoned us onto the Chestnut Ridge Loop. This would be a Frozen Toe like no other that had come before it. This year we would be running the loop clockwise. Years past the counter clockwise running of the loop at this event had imprinted a psychic footprint on my soul. Often have I trained on this loop over the years and always ran it the same direction so as to be channeling this race in my mind as I ran. The swift announcement of this new dynamic only afforded me one opportunity to practice run the loop in the clockwise direction to prepare...and that was weeks ago...

     Mercilessly my mind wandered as my body began to warm up..."What manner of consequences will my performance be subjected to? Will my understanding of mathematics be enough to rationalize the inherent truth of the matter? The course is the course. The loop is the loop. The logistics should be the same either direction." I knew these things in my mind, but would my body display the understanding?

     Immersed  in the three phases of principled running I quickly engaged my mind, body and strength of will on the task at hand. Breathe...there is only but one task and that is to breathe. With my consciousness fully united in the consummation of achieving one purpose I sped through the trees, avoided the ensnarement of rocks, roots, uneven terrain and the unequal pacing of my Mountain Junkie people who were spreading out thinner and thinner along the trail.

     One mile in I found myself in the draft a familiar youngling who was mounting a surge. 4 or 5 us had started to clump together and it was holding us back. I followed the draft of the youngling and passed one person, but the exhilaration had taken hold and I couldn't help but to surge past the entire group...

 
     Freedom! As I overtook the group and caught a glimpse up ahead of what I realized was a vast distance separating me from my next challenge. Just within sight the target of my pursuit would remain for the next 4 miles. Disappearing and reemerging from the twisting features of the trail up ahead, but never quite closing the gap. 

     Answering the call of perseverance I countinued to mount my assault when finally I would find myself once again congregated in the company of similarly paced people. I had no time for it though and rather than bask in the company of such fine gentlemen I ushered myself past 3 or 4 of them on a prolonged hill climb about 5 miles in. Lost in the shuffle was the intended challenger whom I had targeted to pass, but knowing I had gained a handful of spots was reward enough for my effort!

     With one mile to go and knowing the layout of the trail to be dominantly downhill  I threw caution to the wind and poured it all out there! Perhaps a hint of a challenge may have been overheard beneath the heavy collapse of my lungs as they screamed with each step, but it was of no consequence so bothering myself to look back was never an option. I was already giving everything I had...if anybody had a dog in them that was hungry enough to take my spot then I would happily concede position as I was at max capacity.

     After navigating some sharp twists and turns, the finish came into view and my body was suddenly overjoyed to be running on flat even terrain. I was flying solo with nothing but the clock challenging. Rather than passively accept the taunt of each passing second, I found the energy to deliver a kick to the finish line. I wasn't even certain what I needed for an event PR, but seeing 47 and change on the clock had me preparing to indulge in a moment of awe. "Had I really just finished the Frozen Toe in my fastest time ever when recent stats wouldn't have suggested I could do much more than maybe beat last years paltry time of 51:16?

     Indeed the numbers worked out revealing a new event PR of 47:26, beating my 2011 time of 47:30 by 4 seconds. The clockwise direction of the event will be noted, but for the sake of simplicity I will not be logging separate course PR's for each direction. First race of 2015 has me tuned up and eager for more! Bring it on EYL!