Not having any plans on this third day of my "staycation" I had ample time to make it over to Lynn Woods this evening for Tour # 4 of the summer race season. I arrived the the woods about 5PM so I could do a warmup on the race course. I figured the RD would have it marked already and I was right. All I had to do was follow the freshly sprayed chalk arrows.
I started my warmup run at a very slow pace. I thought the temp was pretty comfortable but the humidity felt pretty high. I felt crappy during the entire 5.5 mile run. I'm not sure if was the humidity or the fact I ran 3+ hours of technical trails yesterday. The old legs were feeling heavy. Not a good sign for the actual race where I wanted to run a strong tempo pace. I got back to the start/finish line and checked my watch...57:46...ouch! I had 30 minutes before the race would start so I had a gel, drank some water and toweled off because I was soaked from the run.
Now to the race itself. The 5.5 mile course was a double lollipop that looped the north and south side of Walden Pond. It included a good deal of technical single-track as well as the usual fire roads. I started off conservatively but noticed right away that I felt much better than I had during my warmup run. The first mile was mostly dirt fire road with some rolling hills. My split for mile one was 9:27
The second mile was all technical single-track and mostly uphill. It was obvious here that most of the people in front of me were only comfortable on the dirt road and probably didn't have much experience on rocky single-track. I was going slower than I wanted to here but passing was difficult. Whenever I got an opening I put in a short burst of speed to pass the runner ahead of me. Mile two split 10:07.
The next mile was all dirt fire road that gradually lost some elevation. Even though it had an abundance of rocks it was wide enough to make passing easy. I ran hard here and passed a few more people on a rocky downhill. For some reason I was very fleet-footed today and picked my way through the boulder fields with ease. Spilt for mile three 8:08.
After the three mile mark we crossed over the dam for the second lollipop on the south side of Walden Pond. Mile four was almost all uphill running with a lot of rocky single-track. I got stuck behind a group of four guys having trouble with all the rocks. I wanted to go by them but knew it would be hard with them being strung out on the trail. I knew the trail opened up at the top of Stone Tower Hill so I decided to just wait it out until we got to the top. Still I managed to get past two of them on the climb to Stone Tower. Mile four split 9:15.
Once I crested Stone Tower Hill I picked up my pace and flew passed the other two runners on the downhill section of a dirt fire road. I was still feeling very good, the best I have felt all season, and continued to increase my leg turnover. I passed two more runners, a female and a teen aged boy, on the rolling dirt road. My split for mile five 7:34.
Only a 1/2 mile to go so I poured more coal on the fire. I didn't want the woman or kid I had just passed coming back to me. One last downhill and another 1/4 of paved road and I crossed the finish line. The last 1/2 mile was run at a 6:39 pace. I guess I still have some leg speed after all! My overall time was 47:20, over 10 minutes faster than my warmup run and it felt easier. Go figure! This was a very good tempo run for me and also an 11 mile day.