Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ashenfelter 8k 2014 Race Report

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I have to say, this year has had it's ups and downs like any other. So, let me say that I am surely Thankful for this healthy body that can run pretty darn fast! I have been "off the air" for a couple months here because I started a new job with TomTom GPS as a Technical Representative with responsibilities to promote the brand and ensure sell-through in a geographic are covering Central/South Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, Yes, the whole thing! Which by the way is truly enormous! It's huge! There are a lot of little places I have yet to see in that state!) Did you know that Erie, PA is a 2.5hr drive North of Pittsburgh, PA! Well, it is, and I have yet to go to Erie, soon enough I will have to see "The Mistake by the Lake", as my Best Friend's Father has called it. I will be excited to see it anyway I think, maybe for the first time only perhaps.  In either case, I am having fun discovering new parks, trails, bridges, and views on my runs around the Mid-Atlantic region!

A swarm of angry Bees in the center of the photo, also note Two heads left of the Neon shirt at center: My Beard

Anyway, so running has become less organized. I haven't journaled any of my training since early September, this is the first time I have not recorded training in probably 9-10yrs. I am putting in 40-60per week, but I am ballpark guessing. Given that, it is to me, astonishing that I managed to maintain my fitness to perform at the level that I did today. I mean quite honestly, I gained 7-8lbs in this time. As a competitive distance runner, straight up, that is going to make you slower. Sure, I'm a lean guy anyway, so it's not like I'm in danger of anything. It is just the reduction of serious workouts that will catch up with you and leave you getting torched by 4 of your teammates in the final 100m of an 8k road race.

I would like to remind you all, the Ashenfelter Road Race is a great race! The only thing that could be better is if they found a way to widen the start line so we could get a cleaner start. Otherwise, it is a great day when many of the club runners you know from around NJ come out and take a shot at a fast course before they stuff their guts with a massive meal. I wish we had four Thanksgivings every year, one isn't enough!

GSTC all kinds of "in-front" led by Yousef Rochdi, who ran away from us like he was robbing a bank!

So, thinking back to a year ago: I coined the phrase "finding seeds in the bird shit", as I wrote about the 2013 Ashenfelter 8k race. You always have to do that, find something positive out of what feels like a "shitty" situation. And today, I can't even say it is shitty. It was far from shitty.  The seeds are even sprouting a bit! Read on below these action shots, the story of the race is coming!

The chasepack in the first mile, Ken Goglas, Thomas Young, Stephen Ellwood, Mike Dixon, Kyle Price, Sean Swift, Chris Schneider, Mike Fonder, Matt Eder, Mike Anis, Josh Neyhart, Jarrett Kunze, and another random blurry dude in neon.

Honestly, I predicted a lackluster performance that would feel awful. You know, the kind of race that you just know you screwed up, this wasn't the day you should be racing.

Well, somehow the lack of expectation worked in my favor today. I was in tight with about 8 guys through the 1st mile, we split 5:07, I felt the pace slow at the first turn shortly thereafter and decided to break up the hand-holding-party. I pushed the pace for about a quarter mile and they gobbled me back up, we split 10:19 as I recall for 2miles. Things started to thin out a bit, and I was now back around 13th-14th position. Mile 3 I reeled in Neyhart and Schneider, and naturally glided by them (see below). Neyhart pulled even with me and then ahead just before mile 4, we split 20:40 and worked on reeling in young Matt Eder and the wiley verteran, Attila Sabahoglu.  Up until this point, I never felt like I was in severe oxygen debt, which was surprising, I managed my effort level very well today.

Rising the last incline, the four us were in a clump. Neyhart surged past us all with about 400m to go and bested the bunch of us. I faded pretty hard after using what I had left with 300m to go and Rob Nihen also came along and passed me. Watching four of my teammates put that gap on me in the last 1/4mile was rough on the ego, but I'll get over it. I crossed the line in 25:47, good for 12th. A thing I like to remind my readers of, in these scenario's, the majority of the guys that beat me are fellows who ran at DI college teams (except for Kyle Price, DIII Ramapo College of NJ, an XC Conference Champion in his time there!) Not too shabby.

Other fun and notable points about this race:
1-Our club took the Individual win for both Men and Women, Yosuef Rochi and Greta Sieve
2-Our Men's teams scored a pile of points
3-There were a pile of PBs(personal bests), some of which were just mind-blowing improvements!
4-Bob Skorupski of Do Run Runner's, got his Top 100 mug by finisher 97th, I like Bob, he also has a beard.
5-I once again had the honor of shaking Horace Ashenfelter's hand!

Around 3.4miles into the race: Anis holding steady in front of Neyhart and Schneider. Neyhart eventually schools Anis and finish 8th to Anis' 12th, Schneider finishes 13th

Young(2837) challenges Rochdi(1825)
Yousef Rochi, furiously breaking the tape! 24:26! New CR!

I encourage you all to check in on the Garden State Track Club blog and read in more depth about the great performances from many of my teammates. I have a lot of faith in their ability, and know if I stick with them and keep training with them, I will keep getting faster too!  Afterall, I'm one guy, and one guy a team does not make. If the worst thing that happens to me at age 33 is watching my young, talented and on-the-rise teammates light me up like a pinball machine in an 8k, least I'm fast enough to see it happen as I race them!

Besides, I did run a PB by 3.33seconds anyway, 25:47. Took most of the day to wrap my head around this, and really feel good about it.

Mike wins!
We're Anis-Neyhart, we are going to the Club National XC Championships Dec 2014, your arms are useless against us, and we're taking no Prisoners.

Next up: Club National 10k XC championship! Vote Anis-Neyhart 2014 for the B team!*
*This msg paid for by the friends of Anis-Neyhart 2014