XC Fest: Interior Invite and Golden Heart Trail 5K
Start of girls high school race in the fog
Saturday was sort of an XC fest at Birch Hill, with seven separate races and some 300 participants. Events inlcluded college (3K) and high school races (5K), kids races (1K and 2.5K), and an open race (5K) which is part of the Flint Hills points series.
Mikko was sick and didn't run. He'll have other chances this week.
The early races were in a fog. I missed the college races, but reports are on the Sport Alaska website.
INTERIOR INVITATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL RACES
The girl's race started at 10, and you couldn't see more than 100 meters. West Valley was dominant. With Courtney Kisner, Marissa Rorabaugh, and Hannah Boyer taking charge early on, with Lathrop's Megan Edic and North Pole's Cristi Schmitz in tow. By half way, however it was all West Valley with the trio in the lead and Jill Phillips and Elizabeth Wisenhant taking 8th and 10th. Solid performance, but the Wolf Pack will need to "pack up" to remain competitive in the big Anchorage races and at state--there was a 2 min gap between 3rd and 4th runners. Eliza Rorabaugh sat out on Saturday and she'll help fill in.
I didn't get splits but the boys' race went out fast, with Kyle Hanson (soph) and Pat Nugent (junior) leading West Valley runners Andrew Bishop (senior, but 1st year xc) and Zach Keskine (junior) and Delta's Andrey Ionashku (soph). By the 2nd lap Keskine and Bishop had fallen far off the torrid pace, while Ionashku bided his time until the final kilometer. Like Bekele on the world scene, Ionashku seemingly can win at will in the Interior. West Valley freshman Kuba Grzeda, running just his second high school race, moved into 4th place and no man's land but hung to lead the young West Valley team to a victory over Lathrop, 30 to 37. Although Lathrop's top 3 outmatched West Valley's, depth proved to be the deciding factor.
9 Peter Noon (freshman)
10 James Leder (junior but another 1st year xc runner
7 Luke Castellini (soph)
12 Kipp Wilkinon (soph)
13 Dylan Nixon Helms (? yr)
GOLDEN HEART TRAIL RACE
The fog lifted late in the morning. Younger son Tristan raced the 2.5 K and won the 11-12 yr old division (10:02), narrowly edged out of 2nd overall after he put on a late charge. His teammate Erich Hoefler won the overall and 13-14 race with 9:52.
Tristan (in yellow) running with the chase pack
My race was kind of sluggish. I felt the lactate within the first half K and was subdued by the marathon mileage (71) and workouts from this week, as well as last Sunday's 8K. That's my excuse anyway.
I also felt like a fat old lard butt compared to the top 3. Now, why do I keep doing this?
Started out in about 8th through the first K, and then moved to 4th and ran alone for the rest of the way. The top three (Matt Dunlap 16:44, Stian Steinsland 16:48, and Dave Dyer 17:22) have all run low or sub 16 this year for road or track 5K, so I shouldn't be too disappointed, but the 18:32 effort felt yuck.
New UAF assistant coach Dunlap said in the paper it was the hardest 5k he'd ever done. I don't know about that, but we had 10 hills of about 50 sec to 1:20; so the effort was like lapping up oxygen debt while trying to complete a tough V02 max workout. Plus it was slick and squishy out there.
So now I sit in an improbable 2nd place for the Flint Hills series, with 315 points. I've done 5 of 7 so far, and will not be doing Equinox. Steinsland who has done only 3 races so far will need a 3rd or better at EQ to score higher. He should be good for that if he runs, but so far this summer I haven't seen him do anything over 10K. Kevin Brinegar will need a 2nd to score a tie. A top 5 is a lock, but it could end up up 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. Mike Kramer bagged the overall win way back at Santa Claus Half.
Interestingly, I could place 2nd overall, but only 2nd in my age group. The intrepid Greg Finstad has done 6 races but only lags by 21 points. All he needs is a top 3 in the 50-54 age class for a tie. A win or top 2 and he wins.
The aging Fatboy Slim muddles up a hill