I had day to rest after the Turkey Day races. I used it to ride for about 90 minutes with Steve Surprise. We did the Wednesday night loop, since we're long past the time of year we can actually do the loop on Wednesday night. It was a little cold, but nothing ridiculous.
It was definitely colder this morning. When I left the house, it was still in the 30s, and I was still looking at rushing to get there within half an hour of the start. But I was pre-registered and not worried. This is a lower key type of race, although plenty of talent was there for this year's version. I got my number so quickly that I ended up standing around inside. I didn't want to start my warm-up more than about 15 minutes before the race, given that I was in a singlet and arm-warmers, with no gloves. I've been holding back on racing in gloves for no good reason.
I felt pretty good after the warm up in that I was warm, but not so good in that I was pretty gassed. After the ride yesterday we'd spent the rest of the day shopping and that's always a long day. I didn't feel that I had anything left, and with teammates like Ryan Pancoast, Rodney Furr, and Bart Wasiolek there, I knew I was only running for pride (and pain).
We headed out and like all the races this time of year, the opening lane was clogged solid with kids. High school and maybe even younger, including some crazy girl who must have been 12-13 and spent the first half-mile in front of me. Normally I don't have any issue with this youthful exuberance, but after I almost ended up wrapped around a garbage can, I lost my good cheer, bore down, and started making my way up through the chaff.
It was beautiful conditions for such a cold day and as we hit the trail, I was feeling pretty good. There were a couple people in front of my I felt I should be able to work my way past and I tried to push past, while also protecting my backside- someone was trying to get by and at first I was going to move over but then I reminded myself that it was cross-country and there's no reason to move over for anyone.
I broke out of the trail and moved up past one runner in Milford Road Runners gear and a Shoreline Shark. Then there was, quite frankly, a lot of hard running in open space, with the guys in front of me (five of them) out of reach. Well, one was almost in reach, but not quite. I also had one guys close enough behind that I worked hard, but I was still in space, where I spend too much race time. At about three miles Marty went by on his bike and asked me if I'd ran two races Thursday. I said yes and went back to running.
Although the guy behind me closed to within three seconds, I didn't have to sprint at the end, and frankly, I didn't want to.
This is a fun race. I hung out afterwards with Charlie Hornak while we waited for Marty's unique awards and as usual, Marty makes the race more than what it otherwise would be- a good time, fun, and most of all unique.