04 November 2012

USATF Pacific NW Masters Cross Country Championships

Oh man... what did I get myself into? On a lark I signed up for the USATF Pacific NW Masters Cross Country Championships.

Last time I checked cross country runners are f'ing FAST. Martin on the other hand? Not so much.

Still, the Seattle Running Club (the running club that I joined) has a small contingent of folks that enter cross country meets every fall and so I figured I would give it a go. Besides, this race is very close to home, gotta like that. It's supposed to be a 2 km loop in Woodland Park and Masters run this loop three times. How hard can 6 km be? See below.


Okay, truth be told I slipped on my way to the toilet (the asphalt parking lot was covered in wet moss). Just trying to keep my streak of falling down at every off-road run I do alive it seems. :(

My goal today was to hopefully post sub 7:00 miles and still enjoy myself. I managed to do the first and in retrospect also did the second but man was I breathing hard out there... my lungs are my weak link for sure.

I got to Woodland Park fairly early as this was my first ever cross country race and I wanted to not be surprised by anything. Since the weather was super I managed to walk the entire course, get my number and then helped Eric Sach set up his tents so that SRC would have a 'home'. Shortly thereafter the new race singlets showed up and I pinned on my number.


After getting all geared up Eric, Win Van Pelt and I jogged one lap to warm up. Then it was time for some last minute sipping of bottles, stretching and what's that you say? Masters need a second number pinned to their backs? Nice. So with 15 minutes before the start I grab my age-specific number and pin it to the back of my singlet. And then we lined up.



The start was down a hill so of course I took off too fast. At the one mile marker this guy was shouting times and as I passed I think I heard him say, "Six minutes!" Oops. Not that I could have maintained this pace if I wanted.

The field strung out pretty quick and soon I was running with a small pack of guys who looked like they were in their early 50s. After one lap there was a gap behind me and a gap in front of my pack so my goal was to hang with these couple of guys. Over the course of the last two laps I managed to pass about three people and one guy passed me and my 'pack' got reduced to just one person who I could not hang with in the end. I went from being right behind him with one lap to go to about 50' behind with half a lap to go and that's about how we finished.

In my age bracket I stunk up the place but compared to other SRC members I did about as well as I hoped I would which was a nice surprise. If you look at my GPS data below you will see that I started out too fast, slowed down a bit, recovered/sped up some and then died a little toward the end. That's because this is exactly the kind of running I have not been doing. :) But SRC was super supportive and everyone seems so nice. I'm glad I joined this club.

Another nice surprise was seeing Alec Duxbury out there on his cyclocross bike escorting the leaders of each race around the course. I guess his wife is a runner and he's been doing it at this event for years. Good for him and it was fun to chat and catch up.

Here are all the pictures and video.

Sleep 6
Waking HR  
Body Weight  
Body Fat  
Breakfast 5:30 AM - 2 bananas w/almond butter, tea
7:00 AM - 3 Perpetuem Solids, water
Workout Food 8:30 AM - gel
9:30 AM - gel
The hour before the start I sipped off a bottle w/1 scoop HEED and 1 tablet Nuun.
Time of Day 10:00 AM
Workout Type race
Weather upper 50s, muggy, overcast, dry sky, damp ground, calm
Course 2 km rolling loop mostly on grass with some gravel path, one street crossing and one short section of pavement.
Results 9th - Masters 45-49 [I was last in my age group!]
official results
Time 25:12
Distance 6 km
Pace 6:49 min/mile
Equipment Brooks PureGrit
Clothing Brooks Infinity Short III, SRC singlet, Teko organic SIN3RGI Light Minicrew


Jeff said...

Sounds super fun!!! Way to go. I really like the team aspect of Cross Country.

Martin Criminale said...

@Jeff - it really was fun. I had to laugh at myself for trying to get a draft behind other runners... it doesn't work! :)