Saturday was the Running of the Green, a 5-mile road race that unofficially marks the start of the racing season in Western New York. This was the first year that Johnny’s Irish Pub has not been the primary sponsor, and I found it very difficult not to call the race “Johnny’s,” as that is how almost everyone refers to it. Rochester Running Company took over the race, with the YMCA joining as the main sponsor, and I think they did a fine job with it!
First and foremost, Roadkill Racing had a huge turnout at the race, and everyone did really well! Also, Ruth Shields and Crys Holm both ran, and did awesome! Ruth told me before the race that her goal was to maybe run 9:30s and not walk. I mentioned that I thought she could run a bit faster, and suggested that she go out at 9:00 pace and see how she felt. Sure enough, after a 9:00 opening mile, she turned on the afterburners and ran a huge negative split with an 8:01 last mile to clock a stellar 43:05! Crys, who hasn’t had much time to train lately due to a super cute puppy usurping all her time, ran 1:09:56 despite not having run more than 3.5 miles before the race. It was a very successful day for everyone!
Well, mostly. My training has been pretty spotty lately, with both the weather and my health conspiring against me. I had the flu or something like it a few weeks ago, and was still feeling off in the days leading up to the race. With this in mind, I opted to play it safe, and run the first half of the race conservatively, and try to negative split. As for time, I thought that on a good day I might be able to sneak under 30 minutes.
Race day was cold and windy. As luck would have it, we had to battle a headwind on the way out, but were then rewarded with a tailwind on the way back. The race started a little abruptly (some people weren’t even lined up yet), and we were off. I quickly settled into a pack of other runners shooting for 30 minutes, including John Stephens. The pace felt pretty easy, but I didn’t dare push the pace, since I haven’t done any real hard efforts lately. So I tucked in and we all took turns blocking the wind for each other.
At the turnaround, the pace still felt a little too comfortable, so I immediately started to push. I slowly reeled in and caught several runners. Marcus Gage was having a good race and was quite ahead of me, but I made it my goal to catch up to him. I ground down the pace over the final 2.5 miles and finally caught up to him with about half a mile to go. I risked one look at my watch as I was coming into the final stretch and saw I was just over 29 minutes. Breaking 30 was a possibility, but I wasn’t counting on it. I ended up crossing the line in 30:11, with a a 5:45 last mile.
So while I didn’t run under 30 minutes, I am happy with how I raced. I executed my race plan perfectly, and felt in control the whole time. I now know exactly where my fitness is, and stoked a desire to actually train to get back into decent shape. Chasing PRs is still out of the question, but it would be nice to get back into 16:40 shape, or run under 2:50 at the Newport Marathon on June 1st. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I hope the warmer temperatures and clear tracks will provide an impetus to get that work done.
Thanks to Alex Tong, Tim Matthews and Ron Heerkins Jr/Goat Factory Media Entertainment for the superb photos as usual!