The 20K challenge is looking fairly locked up: Kevin Emblidge crossed the finish line first in each of the three races, running 17:47, 17:22, and 17:29, followed in each race by Tylor Duguay, at 19:05, 18:49, and 18:26. Joe Porter finished 3rd in the first two races and 4th in today's, at 19:19, 19:08 and 18:36, and appears to be the current contender for #3. Erik Sointio and Ryan Connor appear to be in the #4 and #5 slots, respectively, but Erik only has about a 20 second lead. (I am basing this off of an informal review of the race data; I have not loaded this in to a spreadsheet for analysis and my findings are by no means official. In order to win, place or show in the 20k challenge, you need to participate in all four races, and you need to be fast.)
On the women's side, it's a little harder to see without loading the data up, but here's what I think is going on: Elizabeth Emblidge is the clear leader, running 19:38, 19:21 and 19:23. Next up is Susan Thompson, with 21:40, 21:30, and 21:24. In third is Gabriella Frittelli, with 23:04, 22:54, and 22:56. Susan Keely was in 4th, with 23:25, 23:17, and 23:20, but she was overtaken this week by Dennie Swan-Scott, who cut a full minute off of last week, running 23:31, 23:35, and 22:25. (Again, this is by no means official; just my observations from reading the results sheet.)
Walt McConnell deserves a special shout-out, too. At 82, he's the oldest participant in the series, and if I can run as fast as he can when I'm 82, I'll be very, very happy: 44:09, 42:29, and 41:13.
It's great to see so many people improving week over week!
Rebecca started us off again, this time with a working megaphone, and we were off. I ran well the first two miles, but fell off the pace a bit on the third. I had already decided that I wasn't going to sprint the track this time (more on that in a minute), and I think that was the deciding factor. I finished in 31:05.
What went wrong?
I stepped out of the office to head to the race, and the moment that I stepped outside, I felt a twinge run through my Achilles tendon. I knew exactly what it meant: I had been pushing the transition to zero drop too hard, and my tendon was starting to get injured. I considered heading home to get different shoes, but there was no way I could make it in time. So, I decided to just roll with it, and to ease off if I felt it twinge again. The tendon was fine during the race, but I didn't want to risk another round of tendonitis, so I kept my pace as consistent as I could as I ran the final portion. I love to finish strong, whether it's on a long run or at a race, but I just couldn't justify it today.
(Looking back over my data, my minimalist mileage (barefoot, or shod in VFFs or Trail Gloves) went way up the past few weeks. I had been doing 1-3 miles a week (walking or running) in minimalist footwear, and then I jumped up to 4 miles, then 11 miles and so far 6 miles this week. This is most likely the source of the problem. I need to reel the miles back in and then slowly build them up again, and not let myself get overconfident yet again.)
I also screwed up the fueling a bit. I had eaten a snack two hours before the race start, but it was a bit heavier than I really should have eaten, and I don't think it had a chance to fully digest. Furthermore, I've been experimenting with different fuels, and today's pre-run fuel did not sit well at all. As soon as we rounded the hard left to start climbing the hill (into the sun), I felt like I was going to throw up. That feeling didn't leave me for hours.
I think that's about it. I was very happy with my first two miles; I might have pushed too hard on mile 2, but I was having fun running uphill into the sun, despite my digestive issues. I think that's what matters here, anyway: having fun. Pushing yourself, and having fun.
Until next time, be excellent to each other!