It was so hot this weekend, I felt like Jim Carrey when he was in the rhinoceros in Ace Ventura 2:
It wasn't just "warm for October" kind of hot, it was HOT hot. Like full-on, middle of summer hot. With temps in the mid 80s all week, they inched up closer to 90 by the weekend. Perfect if you were hanging out at Fell's Point Fest, but not so perfect if you were trying to race!
Thanks to the government shutdown, at least three planned events were canceled or postponed. One of those was the Run Geek Run 8k in DC. This forced Steve Febish and Tim Burns to take to the grass at the extremely competitive (and collegiate) Paul Short XC Invitational at Lehigh. 8k of cross country is way different than 8k on the roads, but they both ran well, with Steve finishing 63rd in 26:19. I think had he run RGR, it would have been a 25:40. Timmy Burn Burns finished 300th in 28:42. That's a time that's often good enough to win or be in the top few at any local road 8k. I also heard our friend and recent Hopkins grad Josey Mintel ran in the Women's Open race, placing 98th in 23:27 (6k). Interestingly enough, due to the heat, the event ended up canceling races after 2:30pm. DOUBLE SHUTDOWN.
Kevin and Meghan McGrath had already been planning on running the Shark Run 5k in Bay Head, NJ, which was helping raise funds for their elementary school that was heavily damaged after the hurricane last year. Kevin was also supposed to run the Jersey Shore Half Marathon on Sunday, but because it's held on a National Park property, it was canceled. Anyway Kevin ran 24:09 and Meghan ran a solid 24:56 in conditions that my family is incapable of dealing with, so good job guys!
Sunday's replacement race for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half was the Delaware Distance Classic 15k. Graham Peck led a team of 5 by winning the race outright in 49:20. GP's in phenomenal shape right now and I am excited to see what he's going to run at NYC. Erik Orberg took 9th in 53:18, and newcomer Jeremy Gworek finished 17th in 57:18. On the ladies' side, Meg McNew was 8th in 1:01:30, and Graham's little sister Kaylyn Peck finished 12th in 1:04:52. With all the top finishes, they won the team title - and $150 - and spent the morning along the beautiful Wilmington waterfront celebrating.
Up in Corning, NY, Marci Benda ran the Wineglass Marathon, finishing in 3:27:50.
Down in Columbia, there was a festival that celebrated hope, family, and survivorship, while remembering loved ones who have lost their battles with Cancer. The Half Full Triathlon and inaugural 5k. The day started off warm and the mercury only went up from there. Andy Sovonick took on the 5k and ran away from the competition, running a strong 16:03 solo effort.
He then turned around and put his spectator cap on for the triathlons. Christa Wagner was tackling her first Olympic distance event, with a swim that was twice as long as anything she'd previously raced, and a brutally challenging 6.5 mile run at the end. But Christa was ready, she'd been fastidiously preparing for this race all summer, logging yards in the pool, miles on the bike, and putting in some serious run work. When it came down to it, she was more than capable of not only completing the distance, but racing it, as she finished 10th overall and 2nd in her age group in an incredible 2:42:30. She split just over 27 minutes in the water, 1:22 for 25 hilly miles on the bike, and ran an unreal 48:00 for 6.5 miles (45:40ish 10k). Suzanne Hurst was also out there, and after her first triathlon back in July she was ready to race the big leagues. She had a solid bike (1:24) and as expected a quick run (47:30) to finish 13th in 2:49:11.
The day's main event was the half iron distance, and with Mike Mashner racing on his birthday, all signs pointed to a good day. With a time trial start for the 1500m swim (short for a half), he and I started in the very back. With a quick fist bump we sprinted into the water and started tearing into the race, and quickly went to work maneuvering through scores of swimmers. Mike exited the water at 21:10, which is blazing fast, and got onto the bike and started powering through the 53 mile bike (a road was taken out, cutting 3 miles from the course). He rode 2:27:53 and was ready to run 13.1 extremely challenging, and at this point very hot, miles around Columbia. He torched the course, splitting 1:29:40, and thanks to the time trial start, despite crossing the line in 3rd position, was the day's overall winner by a scant 13 seconds (4:23:13). A great day for Mike!
As for me, for 3 hours and 45 minutes I put together one of my best races ever. Swam 90 seconds better than I did here last year (22:28) and had what I think was the fastest T1. My transitions were from another planet on Sunday. I got onto the bike and was determined to make up for the shitty day at Chesapeakeman, and I did, riding 2:25:55. If you factor in the shortened course, it was an improvement of about 17 minutes from last year's ride (although comparison isn't totally fair since last year it was 40 degrees and raining, and I was shivering on the bike). T2 was quick, and I was onto the run. The first lap was decent, but by mile 8 it was lights out, and it was just another "get-to-the-finish" kind of day. I had put myself in the best position I could to do well, and was pleased with the effort. Finished up 6th overall at 4:35:10.
Who knows if I'll ever get to race in Kona, but Sunday's conditions reminded me of what I can only assume was as close as we would get in October to that - so all the best to Alyssa racing this weekend on the big island! And of course locally we have our biggest event, the Baltimore Running Festival, so it's going to be a cool week. Shout to Cory Donovan as well racing out in Chi-town.
Another week with multiple winners and some PRs made it tough for the Purple Drink Athlete of the Week, but rewarding a season of hard work and execution on a tough day, it went to Christa!