This was my 10th time racing up
and I can say that knowing the course doesn’t really make it any easier. I was sore all week from the Fell Race and although it was an easy mileage week, I didn’t feel very good. I didn’t break 8:00 pace until Wednesday, and that was only just barely. I had lofty goals heading to Ascutney. My hope was a masters PR and a sub 31 minute effort, I felt I had put in some good mileage this spring and my racing was going reasonably well. Mount Ascutney
It was great to see all of the familiar faces at Ascutney, and some surprises as well. Josh Ferenc showed up and brought along Justin Fyffe. Justin hasn’t raced in what seems like a very long time, it was great to see him out there giving it a go (and having fun) even if he wasn’t 100% race-ready. Heck, if you wait until you are 100% race ready you may NEVER race. I grabbed T-mah and Baz and we headed out for an easy three miles of flat running. Temperatures were seasonable but it seemed a bit humid. I switched into my Piranha racing flats and jogged around a bit more to stay loose.
The second largest field in the history of the race (179 finishers) lined up and zipped on up the road. I found myself near the front working very hard. It was a bit surprising how big of a group went out. I was in a pack of at least 10 guys (maybe 15?), it thinned a little after ½ mile of climbing but not by much. I really had trouble finding a comfortable rhythm. My breathing was ragged and I felt heavy legged. I hit the mile in 8:07 still in a big group, which made sense…I was 10 seconds slower than I’d hoped.
Somewhere along the way Erik Macknight put in a vicious surge. He dropped the field and strung things out. Josh Ferenc and Brandon Newbould forged ahead and I was back in a group with Ross Krause and Todd Callaghan. By ½ way I’d fallen off the pace and could only watch as Ross and Todd slowly reeled in
. I hit 2 miles in 17:03 (8:56) which was again about 10 seconds slower than I’d wanted. I knew it wasn’t my day but kept giving my all hoping the guys in front would crack. Brandon
It seemed like when
was caught by Ross (around 3 miles) it gave him new life and he accelerated. I couldn’t see the leaders any more; last I saw Josh had just caught Erik. Josh ended up running a very smart race and took it home in 29:54, only the 12th time anyone has broken 30 minutes. I hit 3 miles in 25:52 (8:49) another 10 seconds off my hoped-for pace. Todd had fallen back and I still had some faint hope that I could dig down and catch him. It wasn’t too be, my last .7 took 6:00 (31:52) which is one of my worst splits ever. I was spent when I hit the finish. Brandon
A bunch of us ran up the extra .7 to the tower on top of the mountain. It was a good chance to catch up on how everyone was doing. I was glad to hear that everyone struggled with recovery from the Fell Race. I also heard the funniest line of the day, when Todd confided that he doesn’t “eat meat, but I’ve been enjoying a lot of nuts lately”. I’m still chuckling.