Saturday, January 4, 2014

(A Very Short) (Sort-of) Race Report: Viking Run

Happy New Year to all!

It's been a bit of a lull on the blogging front.  Holidays etc.  Since my DNF at Tussey  my only race has been the Rockland Alumni Race, which is a 5K XC race that I've run every year I've been eligible, since 1993.  I write about that elsewhere, though, so just follow that the link to discover the greatest running event in the history of the world.  No need to overlap here, though, so it's mostly just been training, work, and family time.

The Viking Run is a very low-key 10K in Rosendale, NY, only about 10 miles from my house, held annually the weekend between Christmas and New Years.  Just $5 to enter, no frills, no numbers, no t-shirt, just a nice homemade post-race spread and a lot of hills.  It's an out-and-back over the hill that basically comprises the northernmost edge of the Gunks, making for approximately 1000' of climbing over 10K. It's a real kick in the ass.  It's a nice off-season race to stay sharp and get in a bit of hard work.

Viking Run start
photo: Martin Weiner

This year's race was held in a steady rain.  As usual a couple of high schoolers took off at the start and the rest of us old farts never saw them again.  I settled into the chase group with my good friends Mike and Alex and one of our new training partners, Mark Eisenhandler.  I tried to keep a nice steady rhythm going but found it tough to settle into a comfortable level of effort.  My legs felt heavy and I lacked any real pep, and I just resigned myself to gutting out a tough one.

Digging it out, with Alex right behind.
photo: Martin Weiner

At halfway I was in third place, with just a five-second lead over Mike and one other chaser.  Mike is a beast of a downhill runner so I knew I'd have to push the final uphill to build up as much of a cushion as I could for the last two miles.  Still it was almost impossible to find my comfort zone.  When I'm climbing well it feels almost effortless, but this was a slog the entire way.  I was able to stretch it out a little bit, though, to maybe 45 seconds at the summit.  It's no fun running two miles downhill when you know your training partner is running you down with every step, but fortunately Mike ran out of room and I held him off for third by about 15 seconds.  My time was nearly 50 seconds slower than the last time I ran Viking, in 2010, but I'll chalk up the difference to the weather and my ridiculous headgear hopefully more than any deficiencies in my fitness level.

What a stupid hat.
photo: Martin Weiner

I'll post some more about my plans for 2014 in the coming days, so stay tuned, I guess.

So long, 2013.
Photo: Martin Weiner