Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Div I hit list and the Hunt for the Great Unicorn

I'll be hitting the big 3-2 on Aug 28th. 32yrs...old? Naaah! 32yrs strong is more like it! It's prime time baby! The best yrs of running are ahead, and I've been doing it a long time, and I'm ready for another push.  There is often a pile of focus on young talent or the older folks who seemingly defy logic and stay fast way longer than most.  But here I am, 10yrs past collegiate running and faster than ever.
     I recently ran the Westfield Pizza Run(which has changed its name a few times). I think it used to be called the Downtown Westfield Pizza Extravaganza, and now it's just the Downtown Westfield Pizza Run, or maybe just Dowtown Westfield 5k.  Marketing...snore!  I had decided to skip this race after they cancelled it 10mins before the start in 2007 due to passing lightning. I had run it 2005 and 2006, finishing 17:37 for 33rd and 17:02 for 20th. The regularity of me finishing in the top 20, 10, 5, or 3 of fairly competitive road races has increased over time, but the thrill of each finish has increased only a marginal amount at times.
Anyway, things change, working in town and getting a free entry(peanuts for the Elephants) makes it easy. So, I ran the race.  An element of excitement about a race like this is that, there are talented HS and college runners nearby; and with 2800 runners, you can expect it to be a bit more competitive up front.  Still, these years later, I didn't expect to feel left in the dust and alone finishing 6th. In 2006 I dreamt of what it would be like to finish 6th in race like this, and thought, how much of a badass I would feel like if I could do that. There are compliments here and there, and being modest about this with people I don't know well is an odd thing to handle.  I mean, I'm not getting paid to do this anyway right? These aren't diamond League races.  But I just want to kick ass and take names!
From my perspective, many local fall and spring road races tend to lack depth at the front of the field. Mid-July is a time when the collegiate studs are home and in a base phase of training, the time when I strike like a Cobra!
Tuesday night 7/23-RVRR summer series XC race #4*-Christian Gonzalez NJ/NY TC-Rider U/Franklin HS-1st, Stephen Mennitt GSTC/formerly Rowan Univ/Edison HS,Mike Anis(me)-3rd, Darrel Gooding-FDU/Franklin HS-4th
Finishing 3rd, gettimng the AG record, yes I knew I had it, and so I reached for my watch. Steve is fast, and beats me all the darn time!
Wednesday night 7/24 Downtown Westfield 5k-Won by the speedy Chris Heibell-Loyola/Immaculata HS-1st, followed closely by the work horse Chris Croff-formerly of Southern Conn St, DJ Thornton-Nortre Dame/Union Catholic HS, Ryan Scrudato-Marist College/Westfield HS, Andrew Kirna-Bucknell/Westfield HS, Mike Anis 6th, John Kirna of Bucknell-/Westfield HS 7th, Robert Marczydlo XX univ?/Westfield HS 8th, Ryan McGann-William and Mary/Cranford HS-9th, Alan Eke-Oklahoma Univ/Union Catholic-10th

That's four Div I kills this summer alone, I also beat a couple of Div III guys(guys I know and like), but of course, I'm not going to brag too hard there, the Div I guys are the ones that you would expect to walk all over me.  Tell me I 'm racing and no one else is, eh, perhaps to some degree.  If I look back this yr, I might be over 5 already. If I can get 5 in a single race, I think that is the same as a fighter pilot's "Ace" status. I think the shot comes once this yr, the Paul Short XC Run on Oct 5th in the Open Race. I don't care if those guys are "JV" or "walk-on" if they wearing the singlet of a Div I school, and I beat them...they just got hit! Don't get me wrong here, I know all these guys a bit, I've done casual running most of them here and there, they are quality runners.  Part of the fun this time around was going on a warmup and cooldown with these guys, it's nice to make nice with everyone, ya know? All of them are fun guys and I appreciate running and working with them at the store, they are just as passionate about our sport as I am. But I'm still psyched about outrunning them(in season or out). It feels good to place well against quality opponents.  So the hit list will grow, because...
"That's what I like about college dudes. I keep getting older, they stay the same age! Yes they do, yes they do!"
Also: Long runs have been 19, 20, 21, 18, all with dashes of 5:50-6:10pace mixed in them, this Aug 18 marathon could be good, I'm gunning for the W. If I do, it will be my first win in a marathon.
I will chase this guy, and if I catch him, I will slay him and eat him. Unicorn blood+beards=invincibility!
*Gonzalez sets course record in 16:15, I finish in 16:25.52, setting the much sought after 30-34 AG record! Women and children rejoice across Middlesex county! Men nod in approval and offer hearty hand shakes amidst a triumphant slow clap, beer flows like wine and peace is achieved between fans of opposing afterwork sports teams.

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