This morning, I went back to the old high school for the 28th annual alumni cross country meet. It's kind of fun to go back and see the school and see the coaches and the kids. Now that I'm coaching in the same district, I see the coaches a few times each season. But, it's always nice to go back.
My goal for the race is pretty much the same each year (I've made it back for the last four years).....MAKE VARSITY--or finish with six or less high schoolers ahead of me. Overall place is always dependent on how many of the former Division 1 runners show up. I always know going in that I could finish anywhere from the 2nd or 3rd alumni to the 10th or 20th if everyone would REALLY show up for this. There's been construction and renovations at the high school over the last five years, so the course (not to mention location for a few years) has changed and always make the finishing time uncertain.
Last year, we were back at the high school after a two-year trip to a park in another part of the district. There is a new head coach and, with all of the renovations, he decided to change the course to make it more of a "trail run." I was all pumped last year since I had been running with the lebo guys and was figuring I'd be in the high 18's or 19's. I came across at 20:33--it was a BRUTAL course in the woods.
This year, I was at least prepared for the course and willing to accept the slow time just to find out that, due to a re-sodding of some practice fields, the course was changed again. This time, there was about 3/4 of a mile on the track between the beginning and the end and another 1/4 to 1/2 of a mile on a parking lot & sidewalk surface. So, things should be a little quicker, right? Also, the coaches were saying that they just put this course together over the last week, so it may be a little short (2.9 or 3.0 miles).
With all that said, I went out and, within the first three minutes was about where I thought I would be--behind two GREAT alumni runners and six varsity guys. After about a mile and a half, I passed one kid and settled in about 30 seconds behind two other kids. As we popped out of the woods and fields back to the parking lot with about a half mile to go, I tried to make my move to get closer to the two kids in front of me. We came back on the track for the final 300m and I tried my best to use the 400m/800m kick I had back in the day (not anymore, though!) and close in. But, I finished about 5 seconds behind the 5th varsity kid and 8th overall. Didn't quite get him...
My time was 17:39.....17:39!!!!!! This was certainly NOT 5k, probably not 3.0 miles, and the other alumni and I decided on 2.9 miles. Sound good enough, right? There weren't any mile markers, so it's not like you can gauge from that. The winner was in the 15's and he usually runs road races in the low 16's, so we like our estimate. So, if you project it over a 5k, I maybe ran a little under 19 minutes?
After the race, I stopped at my parents house and ate part of one of our high school bands' legendary fundraiser subs. They weren't there, but I called and they said to make sure I helped myself. I can't turn down free food!
Next, back to home to pick up Beth and we went up to the YMCA to swim. Beth had a 2500 or so yard workout. I was kind of pooped after the race, so I just goofed around and swam some easy laps, made terrible attempts at the fly/breast/back stroke and flip turns, and then tried to race Beth on the last 50 yds on her 100 yd repeats. Surprisingly, I was able to keep up with her for the first 20-25 yds, but then would fall apart on the way back. I tied my 50 yd PR with two 45-second 50's.
We then came home, showered, watched the Olympics and then I took a 3 or so hour nap. Next thing I knew it was 7:30pm and the Olympic marathon was on. Too bad that Deena Kastor had to drop out and Paula Radcliffe didn't have enough training (with all the injuries) to hold on for the end. It's fun watching the marathon and watching them clip off the 5-something miles for the entire 26.2 mile course!
We've been bums today (other than all the training), so we'll have to get working on some chores around the house tomorrow. But, the olympics only come around every four years, so you might as well enjoy it, right! Okay, Michael Phelps's relay and Dara Torres's race is right around the corner...