Where Tuesdays in July hold the “Lake Park Summer Fitness 5k Series,” August holds the “Newton Hill 5k Cross Country Series” for the Central Mass Striders. The races support the Friends of Newton Hill at Elm Park, an organization that supports the trail improvement in this area of Worcester behind Doherty High School.
Last year the course was modified due to construction around the park, but this year it’s back to it’s usual course. It is more or less the same – although I’d argue that the detoured course last year was probably less challenging or so it seemed: I’m looking at the elevation gain between the two courses and it looks like there may have been an additional 60′ of gain last year. Of course, it’s self serving for me to claim this course was more challenging this year.
Today’s weather was BRU-TAL – 81 degrees, 74% humidity, heat warnings. Just gross, awful swamp weather. I took a quick warm up run and I was basically wearing wet clothes.
The course measured out on my watch at 2.99 miles and 344′ of gain. Last years modifications yielded about 2.94 miles and about 410′ of gain. I’m sure the longer distance makes up for some of the difference in gain, but probably not the totality. I’m mindful though that trail running is inexact so everything is “approximate” anyway.
Now, last year on August 8, I ran this race at 32:45 – my worst 5k run in forever. I remember being so angry with my performance, but in my defense it had only been a few weeks since being able to run again so my conditioning and endurance were completely compromised. The next week, I ran it 29:56 – less bad, but still bad. I remember feeling pretty good about it, having showed some improvement. The following week, I went back down to over 30-minutes again. I was so angry with myself I didn’t stick around to collect up the shirt you get for doing three of the races. In retrospect, that evening was the closest to this evening of the three races.
There were a few times this evening that I disappointed myself – taking a few moments to walk to recover my heart rate. A few times I should’ve kept going and I let up on myself. Maybe the right move, maybe not. Hard to know beyond giving myself something to improve the next time. All of that said, I think I did really well tonight – finished about middle of the pack, right about where I usually am. Which means my 28:17 time is pretty much par for the course, but vastly better than anything last year.
August 7, 2018: 28:15 82 degrees, and swampy humid
August 22, 2017: 30:21 Clear, muggy and 82 degrees. (27/47)
August 15, 2017: 29:56 Mostly clear and 72 degrees (37/49)
August 8, 2017: 32:52 Clear and 72 degrees. (39/46)