This week saw the close of my Colorado runcation. After last Sunday's Aspen Four Pass Loop (7 hours in the mountains), my 'rado training partners and I were all pretty wrecked most of the week. Additionally, I decided to hop in a 10k race back in Springfield, IL—my home town—at the end of the week. So we kept things relatively easy for the week. However, I still managed to fit in some time on the UROC course, a proper quad-crushing descent down a mountain, and a nice digger that tore up my elbow and left hand.
As for the Abe's Amble 10k, this is a race that I've wanted to run for a while. It's a Springfield classic that has been around since the late '70s. They used to offer prize money and cover expenses for athletes in the early days. Since that stopped a decade or so ago, the competition hasn't been as great, but the race still has a lot of history, which is a draw for me. The past winners list has a lot of great Illinois runners, many of them fellow University of Illinois alumni. Off the top of my head: John Capriotti (of Nike fame), Jay Rogers (my high school coach), Mike Viano (of First to the Finish), Keith Boyd (Lanphier and U of I alum), Craig Virgin (U of I alum and World Cross Country champion), Jeff Jacobs (U of I alum and 5,000m school record holder), and Chris Saunders (U of I alum and former assistant coach). It was an honor to add my name to that list.
The race is run on the last day of the Illinois State Fair, starting and finishing at the grandstand. I'm not 100% sure on the details, but I believe the course changed about ten years ago, becoming a bit hillier and more difficult. My primary competition for the race was Brian Glass, a local runner against whom I have competed many times over the years. Brian has won this race nine times and the last eight years in a row. An unchallenged 9:42 2-mile race a week prior confirmed he was in good shape. (Especially when you consider Brian is very nearly a masters runner—a strength runner—9:42 is no joke!) I haven't been doing any quicker work in my training, and the shortest distance I've raced in months is 10 mile, so this one was a bit quick for me. I knew it would be a hard fought race.
I didn't have a watch on it, and there were no splits given during the race, but I was told I went through the mile in about 4:51. The opening mile is pretty tame compared to the middle miles, so you'd expect it to be a bit quicker. I was just running by feel, and this opening split opened up 7 or 8 seconds on Brian in second. I slowly extended my lead over the course of the race, though probably less so in the second half. My final winning margin was 23 seconds. I finished in 31:46, which I believe ties Brian's course record on the current version of the course. The State Journal Register wrote a piece on the race, here.
Finally, last week's training details:
Monday: 9 miles easy
Ran a nice easy one in Leadville. The usual crew of Eric, Brian, and Cassie, plus Jackie Palmer, her friend (and Leadville racer) Ed, and local Mike Ambrose. Ran around Turquoise Lake, hung out at the coffee shop in town, where I met my Salomon teammates Ryan Sandes and Tina Lewis for the first time. Also made a post-run visit to the Leadville distillery.
Tuesday: 11 miles easy
From Breckenridge, climbed up to the Peaks Trail and cruised to Frisco. Caught my toe on a root in an easy section of trail and took a tumble. No damage that would affect my running. This trail is part of the first 13 miles of UROC.
Wednesday: 12 miles moderate
Eric's dad took us up to near the top of Peak 10 in his jeep. We then climbed to the summit, hiked the ridge line to Peak 9, then dropped down from there, hammering the descent to Breck pretty good (sub-5 miles at points). I also hopped off the road and onto the ski slope a number of times for some more technical terrain. All week I was pushing for as much tech terrain as I could get(especially going down). Finish ed up the run to Eric's dad's house via the bike path.
Thursday: AM - 8 miles easy
Singletrack trails north of Breck; Flume trails.
PM - 4 miles easy
Back in Boulder, watched my buddy Dan Gorman in a local track meet, cruised an easy run around CU campus between events.
Friday: 8 miles easy
Ran up at Heil Rance north of Boulder with Cassie and Eric. Last run in the CO—very tired, we took it pretty easy.
Saturday: 7 miles easy w/ light form drills and 4 x 100m strides
A little shakeout run back in Springfield.
Sunday: AM - 3 mile warmup w/ drills and strides, 10k race, 2 mile cooldown
PM - 8 miles easy
Total: 78 miles