This was my third consecutive year running the Spring Forward Distance Run. It’s a very hilly 15k race in and around Mendon Ponds Park. The first time I ran it, in 2007, it marked my return to racing after my first marathon. It also served as an introduction to the local running/racing community. In 2008 I ran it again with a bunch of friends. This year many of my friends couldn’t make it but I had a great day none the less.
Mark couldn’t make it this year due to trouble with his truck. I think it’s time that he gets rid of that American made POS and get a reliable foreign made vehicle (I’m writing this here to irritate him). Bates also couldn’t make it because he lives in LA now. John and Corey returned this year though!
Knowing the difficulty of the course and knowing my recent races times I didn’t expect to get a 15k PR. My PR time at the 2008 Utica Boilermaker was 1:08:11 (7:19 average pace). That’s a good time for me and the Boilermaker course is significantly easier than this course. My goal was to finish under 1:10. My previous year I ran it in 1:12 so this seemed like a reasonable goal.
The weather was decent considering the time of year. At race start, 8:30 AM, it was about 35 degrees, perfectly sunny, and a moderate wind. I wasn’t sure what to wear but ended up making the right decision. I left the tights favoring shorts and a couple of long sleeve shirts. At mile four I really wanted to ditch my gloves but kept them on anyhow. For most of the race I was reasonably comfortable but I would have preferred warmer weather. At least it wasn’t snowing!
I had a tough time for the first 10k. My shin muscles were super tight and just wouldn’t loosen up. I could hear my feet slapping against the ground over my music. I didn’t feel the way I feel when I’m having a great race. Still I was having fun. The second 5k of the course is the toughest. There are a bunch of moderately steep hills but almost no flats. It’s up and down with no break.
Things got better for me at the 10k point. My muscles had finally loosened up and I felt really good. I picked up my pace, or at least it felt like I did. When I rounded the corner headed to the finish line I started my sprint. Some guy in front of me really didn’t want me to beat him and started sprinting too. This made me smile and I pushed even harder. I ended up crossing the finish line ahead of him by about 1 step but it took everything I had to do it. He must have shaved at least 10 seconds off my time.
My official time was 1:07:34 (a 7:15 average pace). My stopwatch said 1:07:29 but I’m sticking with the official time on this one. I PRed! I never expected that would happen. I beat my previous years time by about 5 minutes! That’s a big improvement for one year. Considering the course I’m really proud of my time this year. Maybe next year I can break 7 minute miles?
My splits were:
9.3 9:03 (6:58 pace)
Next year I hope Mark will be back and I hope there’s decent weather again. But no matter the weather I’ll be out there next year. Yellow Jacket does an excellent job with this race.