“I run… for my parents” JC
“Running Dog” is featuring two race reports in this latest post, the first coming from long distance Whippet Dylan Armajani. Dylan has made a name for himself running the longer distances, but in this case has come back to the shorter stuff, reporting on The BashaKill Vineyard’s “Vintage Run & Wine,” 8.2 miles through some of Upstate New York’s most beautiful landscapes. Follow along as Dylan describes his experiences running through the woods and into a post-race wine tasting. Sounds like a plan…
As most of you know I’ve been having a love/mostly hate relationship with my knee since my IT band blew up in a 50 miler in May and subsequently taken a break from any form of organized running. But when Todd Jennings (race director of Rock The Ridge 50) emailed saying he had the perfect race for me I knew I had to sign up right away!
The course itself was located in Wurtsboro NY (just about an hour and a half drive from the city), and started at BashaKill Vineyards. The first 2(ish) miles were along a windy country road overlooking a nature preserve, before turning into the preserve for another 6(ish) miles on a combination of trails leading back to the Vineyard.
In a way, Todd was right. This was the perfect race for me. The spirit was more fun run than race, and not knowing anything about the course I didn’t feel any pressure or even have an idea of what my time should be.
With a drop of a handkerchief we were off. I threw down two quick 6:20 miles, and when I looked back as I entered the preserve I noticed I was completely alone. From here on out it was everything that I love about trail running. Just yourself running through nature, looking around at the beauty and natural wonder that exists when you get outside the concrete jungle we call New York. The sound of your heartbeat pumping along to a chorus of crickets, birds, and the rustle of the trees…and of course the occasional curse as your foot catches a root or rock.
I blew threw the finish in 56:18 about 5 minutes ahead of the next runner. And Todd wasn’t only right about this being the perfect race for me because of the wonderful course, but because at the finish we were ushered into BashaKill Vineyard for a free wine tasting and then subsequent $5 glasses of wine (and the wine was actually good!). I’ll definitely be back at the next Vintage series run, and I hope some of you join! D.A.
Paul Thompson has been a pre-eminent Masters competitor and coach, running at the National level for the past 7 years while coaching for the Warren Street Social & Athletic Club. While moonlighting as the Deputy Director, SME & SME Affairs at IFAC (providing ethical accounting, and organizational standards worldwide), Paul has managed to distance himself from the pack, setting a variety of intimidating age group standards not easily approached. Paul has his own blog (http://liveboulderrunbolder.wordpress.com), and his personal stats and results can be found here. Paul’s “comeback” run at Grete’s Great Gallop from an on-going bout with sciatica is highlighted below. Read on to share the exploits of this astounding 47 year old, throwing down times that would make those half his age want to throw in the towel.
Clocking 1:12:10 at Grete’s Great Gallop marked the culmination of a 3 month long comeback from a year wrecked by sciatica and an accident. Sure I had raced the Fifth Avenue Mile a few weeks before – my first race since Grete’s in October 2012 – but that was just an appetizer. This was the main course.
The race left me jubilant, relieved and pissed – all in one. I felt jubilant in achieving my 1:12 ‘stretch’ target. I felt relieved in proving I could claw my way back from being so unfit in late July, maybe the least fit since I was in my early 20s. I felt frustrated in realizing, well after initial soreness wore off, that once again I was suffering from sciatica.
The 1:12 gave me a 90% plus age grade. Masters runners like me are unlikely to get PRs so we have to make do with KPIs like these. My aim in every NYRR race is to top the age grade. I often do when running well and the race has no pro athletes competing. And that’s what I did this time – as soon as NYRR had cleansed the results and gotten rid of the usual ‘errors’ in the first cut of the race results.
The race went pretty much to plan. I set off cautiously at around 5:40 pace and then started to edge my way through to the top 20 by mile two. I was further back than normal at this stage but then the race field was loaded with more fast guys than I can recall in the many years I have done this. A slower start than normal kept me out of trouble – from getting carried away from an irrationally exuberant start. In any case I figured there was plenty of time to ‘make up’ for a slow start in a half. I also had to contend with not knowing what the body was capable of after a long layoff.
For several miles I was content to sit in with a group running around 5:30 pace. We gradually picked off some fast starters. I then found the group slowing to 5:40s so I struck out alone around 9 miles, just as we headed into the northern hills. For the last few miles I was trying to stay focused on chasing the runners in front who were becoming obscured by the many slower runners we were lapping. I reeled in a few on the bottom loop of the park and crossed the line sandwiched by two French runners.
While I was chuffed with the result – Warren Street also got first place in men’s masters’ team – I was much less pleased with the legacy. My sciatica has returned, this time in my right butt. Warming down, and catching my wife narrowly miss 2 hours, I sensed all was not well.
So here I am once more stretching, ball rolling, you name it, and hoping I do not have to leave it to fate to get rid of it – my last bout only went after 6 weeks of forced rest due to being knocked over by a bicycle. P.T.
This post is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Dashing Whippets Running Team, its board, or its captains.