Forest Park Cross Country Festival

I screwed myself again, or so I thought. The week before I ran the Macklind Mile in July I did a really hard speed workout, you know, to prepare for the race. Instead what happened is that my muscles were sore the rest of the week, including on race day.

Having just completed three days of bike racing during Gateway Cup I decided to take it easy last week and only run once. But it was a doozy. You see, the heat just broke and we’ve had a few 60˚F mornings–approaching ideal running weather. I took advantage of this to knock around five minutes off my fastest time for my 10-mile Forest Park loop. Once again, this left my muscles sore the rest of the week, including race day. But I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, so I was going to run no matter how awful I felt.

The Forest Park Cross Country Festival is mainly a high school event, but they have an “open” race for non-high-schoolers. The race is 4km (around 2.5 miles), so it’s short and fast. The 2km grass loop has two small hills. I told myself what I tell myself before every race: start slow then build from there. The bizarre thing is that I actually did it this time, and I think it was due to my soreness.

Dozens of runners passed me in the first couple hundred meters. After a half mile I started to pick up the pace a bit. Then around three quarters of a mile I really picked up the pace. I passed the first mile in 5:41–fast, but not killing myself. But I was still accelerating at this point, passing runner after runner. I ran the entire second loop by myself, with the next closest runner unattainably far ahead. I passed the second mile also in 5:41–even splits, perfect.

I finished about 30 seconds faster than last year (when I was in very good shape), and I did it with sore legs (which were now incredibly sore). When they posted the results I was shocked to see that I actually came in 4th place overall (after finishing 25th last year). Okay, the competition wasn’t quite as good as last year, but still, a good result is a good result. It was especially helpful as a morale booster after Monday’s awful bike race.

Maybe I should run more races on sore legs… or maybe not. Melissa was sick of hearing me complain about my pains and she suggested I might be doing to much athletic activity. I responded that I only did one workout last week… well, and four races.

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