The day after running the Panther Prowl I decided to run an XC course. Last month I raced the Run the Vineyards Grapes and Peaches 10k. The race was well put together and one of my favorite races so far this year. I knew that eventually I would want to do another Run the Vineyards Race. I haven’t been fond of doing long runs on Sundays lately, so I decided to do the Run the Vineyards 5k instead.
I arrived at the race around 8:20. It was further than anticipated, but I was able to sign up, warm up and then make it to the race start. At the starting line, I noticed a younger kid with a GoPro attached to his head. He looked pretty serious, and I assumed he would win (Spoiler: he did).
The race went off with no issue. I immediately found myself as the second person overall. After .1, I stayed at that position the entire time. I could always see the GoPro kid in front of me, but I didn’t have the energy or speed to catch him. Immediately into the race, we made a hard turn into the Vineyard. It was grassy, muddy and wet. It was the typical cross country terrain. The first mile weaved in and out of Vineyards and through a wide open field. I found the open field to be the muddiest. We crossed over some soft sand, and my watch beeped a 6:20 first mile. That was actually faster than I anticipated.
The second mile went through more of the field and passed over a road into another Vineyard. During the crossing I noticed there were wild turkeys ahead. Thankfully one of the volunteers began chasing them away because I was terrified. During the second mile, my legs started to feel the effect of the course. I haven’t run on trails or grass in a while, let alone mud or flooded terrain. I felt myself drastically slowing, but I wasn’t surprised. I ran the second mile in 6:36.
The third mile went back towards the start. It was an out and back course, so we ran by people running the opposite direction. I was slowly becoming more tired, and my legs were fatigued. I felt like I was running through quicksand! The third mile of any 5k is frequently boring and uneventful. I focused on finishing. We did a giant loop through 2 Vineyard trails and all of a sudden I could see the finish line. I ran the last mile in 6:56 and finished in 20:30.
It’s impossible to compare cross country times to road race times. I had a great race, and I have missed running on open fields. I plan to look for several more cross country style races before Winter. This time is closer to my previous road 5k times from earlier in the summer. That shows a huge improvement because this course was much more difficult.
I had a great time and had no regrets. I even won a bottle of wine. I enjoy the Run the Vineyards races, so I am hoping to do the last couple before next season. I recommend them to anyone in the NJ/PA area.
Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of wine?
Do you like cross country races?