Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pre-race training run at Belmont Lake State Park

2010 Dirty Sock race shirt. They also give you socks!
Today's run (Belmont Lake State Park): 6.2 miles

It's been more than two months since my last race (the NHP 8K) so I'm excited that I'll (once again) be competing next weekend. If we have weather like this weekend's on the 21st I'll be very pleased.

This morning I met up with my running buddy Dave at the south end of Belmont Lake State Park. We decided to do a last long training run along the Dirty Sock race course to prepare for the big event. We had plenty of company on the trails at 7:00 AM when we started. There were people with dogs, walkers, bike riders and a handful of other runners.

We took off at a pace that allowed for comfortable conversation and. before I knew it, I heard my Garmin chime the first mile. We reached Belmont Lake and chose to follow the same route that we'll take on race day. This involves a short section that crosses a highway access road and goes under the LIE. We circled the lake in short order and I was pleased with my energy level at what I knew to be the halfway point.

I never noticed before, but I determined the main trail runs uphill in the southern direction. That may be a reason why I have a tough time in the latter half of this race. Checking our watches we saw that we were coming on the one hour mark and I couldn't believe that much time had passed. Having an interesting guy like Dave as a running partner certainly helps on long runs.

At the last leg of the run, where the trail twists south after paralleling a section of  Southard's Pond, Dave stepped up the pace and I followed. He's a strong finisher and I did my best to stay with him. This last half mile is always tough on race day because it's hard to discern how much more trail is left before the finish line. I know to listen for the race announcer over the PA, that tells me to start my final sprint to the line.

The humidity finally kicked in and at the end we were a pretty soggy pair. I was extremely pleased with our run and I know I could have put another 10% into my effort if I had been competing. I'm saving that for race day. The taper starts tomorrow. Let's hope that the heat and humidity take a holiday next Sunday.

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