2006-03-18 - Top 100

~4 miles@ ~8.7 min/mi

Four years ago my road racing "career" (loosely defined!) began at the MCRRC Super Sligo event with a 34:59 result, 84th of 148 finishers (see JogLogFog, 2 Jun 2002). At the 2003 running I slipped to 38:58, 100th of again 148. I missed the next two runnings since the 50k HAT Run fell on the same day in '04 and '05. This year's HAT is scheduled for next week, however, so the Super Sligo is an option. It goes well, by my watch in 34:30 for yet another 100th place among an unknown but, I fantasize, somewhat larger number of participants. The '06 course is 4.0 miles, so my 2002 result is a faster objective pace. But if I allow a handicap of 1% per year of advancing age the 2006 Super Sligo may well be my fastest race ever – or at least, so I can delude myself!

I arrive late and snag the last parking space available, thanks to volunteer Jim Rich and colleagues. After last Saturday's lockout I carefully take the correct car key this time and wend my way to the registration desk, greeting comrade Ken and fellow Boy Scout father Paul en route. I've once more forgotten my race bib, so a kind person writes one out for me by hand. There's now barely time to amble to the starting line, where I arrive just as the "GO!" signal is given. I see nobody recognizable to run with, and so launch forward. Miles 1 and 3 are downhill on this double-loop course, so my splits of 8:13 + 9:07 + 8:14 + 8:52 are relatively even in perceived-effort. Ken's daughter Hilary greets me and zips by at mile 1. I then chat briefly about Chi Running with Betty Smith before settling down to work; no walk breaks today except for a few seconds at the midpoint water station. At the finish line I applaud Ken and Caren, and we all go inside to talk and eat and drink. Others have to leave early so I end up with five door-prize tickets for the drawing, but alas win nothing. Conversations with various experienced ultrarunners cement my resolution to attempt the JFK 50 miler this November. We shall see!