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At the Races

USATF-NJ XC Championship 8K, October 26, 2014–Laura Barry

Yesterday was the USATF-NJ XC Championship 8K. From my understanding this was the first year it was held at Natirar Park. Previously the course was a triple loop at Deer Path Park. As a cross country rookie I don’t know much about courses and how they should be. I enjoyed the flat double loop that we ran for the Morris County Striders series. Deer Path was more on the technical side (for me) then we got to Natirar. I read this great course write up (http://runningcolumn.blogspot.com/2014/10/natirar-park-in-somerset-county-will.html?m=1) a few hours before the race….maybe I shouldn’t have.

We got there and I wasn’t in the mood to race. But I was there dressed and registered so I figured I would start and finish and see what happened. Paul and I did a short 1 mile warm up which included 1 of the hills…which I was sure I was going to slip and fall on the gravel. Not feeling very confident I decided a 10 min pace was my goal. Knowing of 4 inclines I thought this was reasonable.

We gathered at the start all 6 of us wearing our Essex Red and wished each other good luck. The gun went off and every one sprinted towards the first turn. I usually stay back at these races in order not to get trampled. This time I said why not, I would rather people have to pass me then me figure out how to get around them in case it got narrow. The first mile included the hill we went up during warm up, I got up and recalled the write up from earlier…there is a worse one coming. I kept a good pace on the flats and down hills….then I saw it. I attempted to run up this steep section and decided my power walking was quicker. I got to the top and started running again. (I wasn’t alone in the walk the hill technique). I then headed back towards the first hill…only to be nearly trampled….the leaders were heading towards me around a curve as I was heading down. I made it down the hill and thought “crap I have to do that section again”. Dad was at the bottom cheering me on and telling me to keep a steady pace. I was about 30 seconds off of the pace I wanted to be…so I decided to make some of it up inthe middle section. Only to get right back to that hill again. While I was heading up Paul, Randy, Charlie, and Phil were heading down. I was tired and my form was bad. Phil yelled at me to use my arms as he passed. That little reminder was what I needed. I passed Rob heading out of the trail as I started around. I kept my form up and made my way around that section and started back down the hill. Randy was on the hill and yelled at me to get another women and pass her.

Down the hill and across the field…I could do this and at the pace I wanted to. Rob and Paul were 1/4 mile from the finish yelling and cheering. The field was not flat and had lots of divots, that made it difficult for me to really kick it in. I did my best. I didn’t catch the women but came close!

Since it was my first XC 8k I’m going to say it was a PR.

Next stop XC Nationals in December!

Paul Pierotti 34:53
Randy Miller 35:21
Charlie Slaughter 35:54
Phil Coffin 36:35
Robert Allen 38:12
Laura Barry 48:37
Nina Miller 52:07

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