Saturday, May 5, 2012

Running in the Ramapo's with the Ironmen

Thursday: I battled traffic to get out of Jersey City and head north to race a 3k steeplechase at the Ironman Invite.  98% of the athletes attending were High Schoolers from Bergen County.  Exceptions being a handful of runners from Felician College who I saw in the 5k, and perhaps they ran the 1500m too.
The meet was well organized and well attended for a Thursday meet.  In my opinion this is a much better venue to take young Athletes to for a mid-season meet.  I believe most dual meets rarely offer a decent field in many events.  So, this was a good chance for kids to compete at a higher level prior to the championships.  Meet Director, Rob DeCarlo, of Don Bosco Prep, who advised me with my training for Boston this year extended the Open invite to me.
I've missed a good handful of opportunities to race the steeple up till this now for 2012, so this was perfect.  A low key event on a Thursday afternoon, in a familiar place(Ramapo College, my alum).  I had the chance to compete against some very talented kids(yes HS kids), and saw a mean 600m duel in the Men's 5k between Rob Albano(Felician College) and Ryan Tucker(Don Bosco Prep).  Tucker gradually cut into Albano's lead throughout the race and unleashed a steam rolling kick with 170m to go, it was a photo finish! Tucker clipped Albano by .08seconds, an incredible finish!
My race went rather well.  Instincts dictated my pace, as usual, too fast early on.  So I paid for that later, as Nick Lapinski(Don Bosco Prep) passed me with about 700m to go and ultimately beat me by about 5 seconds. 

Watch this!
 Both before and after the race, hand shakes and congratulations were offered to/from all.  The sportsmanship is something one must be thankful for when you think of all the training you put in for any competition.  
After the race, I joined him and two of his teammates for a 30min cooldown run into the Ramapo Reservation.  One of the Don Bosco Ironmen, Chris, informed me of his plan to run the Philadelphia marathon this fall, to qualify for the Boston Marathon!  It's cool to hear a 18yr old kid tell you he's going to run Boston!  The Reservation or "the Res" as we would refer to it casually during my days at Ramapo College, is a meaningful place to me. My teammates and I would run the trails there 3-4 days a week, where I got my ass handed to me during more workouts than I can count!  It is one of the best places to run in North NJ! Go there, see for yourself!  Waterfalls, streams, creeks, glacial deposit rocks, bears, lakes, ponds, and forest for miles. 

 Oh yes, Black Bears...aren't they adorable?  I suggest you pet one...j/k, stay the F#*& away from them! Mama don't take kindly to strangers!
McMillan Reservoir in the Ramapo Reservation. Not legal to swim there, but that hasn't stopped me.

Up next: The Our House 5miler in Summit...tomorrow afternoon!

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