Chris Thater Memorial 5k Race Report

For those of you who have not checked it out, the Chris Thater Memorial Race weekend in Binghamton hosts some great events!  It’s not often that you get to see elite runners battling it out in a fast 5k, followed by a pro cycling race that draws riders from all over.  With some pretty nice cash purses in the competitive races, you are sure to see some of the sports’ top athletes!  Throw in an expo and live music throughout the weekend, and you got yourself a fun event.  Make sure to add it to your calendar!

What made it extra-special for me was getting to see Craig race on Saturday before my race on Sunday.  We’ve spent most of the summer going our separate ways on the weekends to our events, so it was fun to be able to travel and race together.  Craig finished 17th in his race – he rocks!

Craig chasing the leaders

After his race we checked into our hotel and while he showered, I went for my warm-up run.  This race meant a lot to me in terms of testing my training and fitness with World’s less than a month away.  Which means I did not taper.  After the morning’s bike workout, a 4 hour ride in the car, then walking around in the sun at Craig’s race, my legs felt horrible during this warm-up run.  But for some reason a bad warm-up run = a strong race for me, so I was fine with it.  We headed to dinner at a great little restaurant downtown, the Whole in the Wall.  We had very delicious organic steamed summer vegetables and tempeh over brown rice with a tamari-ginger sauce.  It was the perfect pre-race meal!

Whole in the Wall in Binghamton

Race morning was fairly relaxed – with a 10:00 start time I had plenty of time to chill out and prepare for my race.  When I’m racing Kenyans, Ethiopians, and Russians – I don’t feel the pressure of where I place.  This is definitely not a race in which I am competitive.  However I had a goal of hitting a PR (this is my PR course), and more importantly, going sub-18.  So the pressure I felt was simply my desire to boost my confidence for my September 23rd race.  We headed out to the race nice and early, so that we could watch the Syracuse Chobani crew in the men’s 4/5 race and hang with Mrs. Skinny.  Watching others race is a great way to get pumped up for your own.  Great job to Skinny Phil, Fred Harle, and Jason Haight!

Post-race for Phil & pre-race for me! Thanks Mrs. Skinny

I lined up for my race feeling relaxed.  I had a plan to take it easy during the first mile…yeah…that’s like me turning down a vegan chocolate chip cookie!  The first 1/2 mile felt HARD – and I wasn’t settling in.  Then all of a sudden I felt strong, and tried to hold back a little and be patient.  I hit mile 1 at 5:33 – oops again!  But I did not let the negative thoughts get into my head, because I was feeling in control.  Instead, I decided to start using my training to keep me going strong.  Funny how sometimes when I train, I visualize races to push me, and now I was turning back to my training to get me through a race!  I was thinking about my track intervals, and how I could maintain my speed over the duration of the workout.  When I would hit a hill, I would think about my race simulation runs – powering through the hills by my house.  And it all seemed to work (along with hearing people cheering for a female runner behind me in the last mile).  I came across the line at 17:53, reaching both of my goals for the day.  I’m feeling READY!!

This race proved to me that my training is on track, but it also has me rethinking 20k Nationals this weekend.  Although I love that race, and feel a special connection to it ever since it became my last race in 2009 before my painful, extended hiatus, I feel like I want to stay on track with my final block of training before France.  It’s a long drive, and a Monday race.  So I may be lying low this weekend – staying home and focusing on fine-tuning my training.  There’s still plenty of season left after September.  Eye on the prize!

Another Great Race

Bad Kitty and the Cougars dominate again!!  Okay, so there was only one other all-female team in the traditional course race, and we didn’t make top 20 overall…by a long shot…but The Great Race is always an excellent event with great friends and a fun atmosphere!  It was year 4 for our team, but each year only 3/4 of the team remains the same.  It’s normally a scramble to find to find that last member, and this year proved to be no different.  It wasn’t until Wednesday night that the decision was made that the race was on – and our rowers set out for a warm-up paddle on Friday evening.  Amy snagged a good one this year – a super-strong cyclist Natalie who also happened to be a rower for Dartmouth back in her college days.  What a perfect complement to our always-dominate canoe star Caryle!  So my trip was set – drive up Saturday afternoon, race Sunday morning, then head back to PA.

Bad Kitty and The Cougars 2012

I was also excited to get a good run in – the last running race I did was Boilermaker, and it was time to see how my training was going.  I had a nice relaxing warm-up and then lined up at the start among some tough competition.  Fortunately, some of the fast women were racing the short course, but I still had my work cut out for me.  It’s always cool to see the doves released during the singing of the national anthem, and then the cannon blasts to make us all jump into action at the start!  The first thing I should have noticed is that me and another 10k female were ahead of the 5k females – not a good sign for me.  Then when I realized I was playing cat and mouse with Karen Simmonds Brady, I knew I was in trouble.  After a 5:42 split at mile 1 it was time to back off.  I was passed by another female around the halfway point, and then as I was expecting, super-speedy Lori Kingsley came flying by with her strong finish, passing both myself and the 2nd place female.  This put me in 4th place, but my 38:15 was not only 33 seconds faster than last year, but a PR from 2009’s 38:18 finish at The Great Race.  So I couldn’t be disappointed with my results.

Bad Kitty and The Cougars 2010

Just when you think you’re done racing, you still have the transition…  Once you cross the finish line you have to run down the alley to find your cyclist and hand off the sexy, sweaty wristband.  The cyclists are stacked in line itching to go, making it hard to find a little Bad Kitty in the mix.  Before long I could see a little hand waving above a sea of helmets, and Amy was off to chase down those boys while I got to cool down and relax.  Less than an hour later I spotted that disc wheel and pink kit coming towards the finish – poor Amy looked quite lonely as I’m used to seeing her arrive with a few guys.  Today she had to do all the work by herself over the 19 mile ride, but she had a strong race and was the fastest chic on the bike for the day!  The final hand-off was made to Caryle, who dashed down that good 1/4 mile stretch to meet Natalie and the canoe for their 4 mile paddle.

Bad Kitty and The Cougars 2009

As with every year, we never manage to see the girls out on the water, so we basically wait in anticipation to find them after the race and hear how it went.  They were happy to report that at the turnaround, they were told they were the first females – not that we had any doubts 😉  With another successful race in the books it was time to catch up with friends and enjoy the post-race party.  Air Guitar Arnie was certainly enjoying himself that day!  Such a fun race with great friends – I can’t wait to do it again next year!

This man can dance!