Saturday, September 18, 2010 was the 27th Annual John Rogucki Memorial Kensington Challenge at Kensington Metropark about 30 minutes North of Ann Arbor.
The day started pretty well, up early, but not so early since the race did not start until 9:15 as opposed to the typical 6 am start for a lot of other races. Guess that is one good thing about going into the fall season, cooler weather allows later starts. Plus they probably do not want everyone trying to run in the dark since it is now pitch black at 6 am.
Stopped for a little caffeine on the way, then followed the GPS to the parking lot at Kensington.
This is the second time I have run this race so was somewhat familiar with the layout, made my way down to the pavilion and picked up my bib and swag bag.
Back to car to put bib number on shirt and generally prepare. Saw in the bag they gave sweatshirts instead of technical shirts. Guess that is okay, but I do not wear sweatshirts all that much, and if I knew it, I would have ordered a larger size since sweats have a tendency to shrink quite a bit.
“Geared Up”, Garmin, HRM, Halo head band in pocket, a gel “in case”. Talked for quite a while to the young lady parked next to me. Either always very chatty, or nervous about race but she kept the conversation moving! At 9:05 off with the warm ups, start the Garmin etc. and walk to the start line. They did the introduction thing, played the National Anthem, and then off we went. It was a gun start, no timing mat, but since the crowd was not all that huge it probably only made a few seconds difference in overall time… and since there was not a “start line” I did not know for sure where to start the watch anyway!
A short uphill, then a long downhill run to start. This course doesn’t have any monster hills, but it is probably one of the hilliest that I run on.
The weather had been “threatening” since early morning, and about mile 3 it finally let go! Fortunately it was about 58 degrees, and the rain was not to cold. It poured pretty good for about a mile, then let up…. for about 10 minutes when it started up again. Since everyone was thoroughly soaked from the first downpour this one did not make any difference. It actually had a benefit in keeping me cool, which I liked. I was glad at this point that I made the decision not to have taken the camera along. Might not have been a disaster since I also normally pack a zip lock bag to put the camera in to protect against sweat or the possibility of rain, rivers, floods and typhoons happening while on the course. But without it I did not have to fiddle around with trying to get out the bad, get the camera in it and get it stowed in the SPI belt that I normally use. After the few few miles I often find myself running with people that have settled into the same pace, give or take. In this race there was one person that would just fly by everyone for a couple hundred yards or more while huffing and puffing like a wheezing locomotive, then he would stop and walk, then pass the same people, then stop and walk. Maybe this is the “Run-Walk-Run” method, but it didn’t seem to effective to me, and in the end he was far behind all of us. Maybe a little more even pace would work… I don’t know though I’m not a coach and can barely run myself. A couple other people I was with during about mile 4,5, 6 ,7 and 8 pretty well all kept pace together. Sometimes they would gain a few feet, sometimes I would catch back up. This works really well for me as I determine not to let them get to far ahead. About mile 5 the person in the lead seemed to pick it up a bit, and I hung in there. Finally about mile 8 I moved by all of them and took the lead. I had no idea by how much until there was a point where we had a short “out and back”, when I went around the cones and started seeing the people behind me I was still only 10 yards ahead of them. After a few more minor ups and downs we made the final run to the finish. About two hundred yards out the one person edged by me, I told him to “Go for it” and he started pumping, with me following.
Final result, two minutes off my 2008 time! While not a huge amount of difference it was significant for me since I have felt that I have been getting slower, not faster as I run more. The other significance was that I never stopped to walk, which is the first time for awhile. So overall a very good race for me.
The results are now posted and I see how I did, pretty well in age group with a 7 out of 18, and overall…. I was actually hoping to do a little better in my AG based on moving up an age group, and that groups prior years results, but it seems all the people that kept beating me in the 55-59 group are still running, but now in the 60-64 group. I guess all I can do is outlast them… the 70-74 AG looks pretty open right now.
No pictures of this race due to rain, etc. They took some on course and at finish so if one of those turns out okay may get it.
Until it never rains on a race again,