Can Trail Boy run fast on bricks?

I had a sinking feeling as I stepped up to the starting line of a 5-mile race  this morning. This was not going to be my day — or my ideal running surface.
Why did I feel this way? Let me count the ways:
1) My motto is “Hit the Trails.” This race was called “Hit the Bricks.” Yes, I’m serious. The race course winds through the little town of Zionsville, Indiana, about a half-hour northwest of my house. The course was entirely  on hard surface, including a half-mile stretch on a brick road through the oldest part of town.
2) It was cold and blustery. It felt more like late November than early October. I wasn’t dressed for the weather. I was going  to freeze in my short-sleeved running shirt.

3) I haven’t done much speedwork this year. I’ve been running on dirt trails most of the spring and summer. I haven’t been to the track a single time.

4) The field of runners was small (a hundred or so) but most of them looked very fit and very serious.    

5) I didn’t run yesterday. Instead, I had a fattening lunch of macaroni and cheese. Later on, I had two chocolate brownies after dinner.     

Yep, there were plenty of reasons to be nervous.     

Still, I had paid my $25, so it was time to run. The starting whistle went off at 8 a.m., and I pushed my old bones forward.     

This bike trail runs along the edge of Zionsville. The race included two miles on this trail.

This bike trail runs along the edge of Zionsville. Our race included two miles on this trail.

The course began in the high school parking lot and made a wide loop around town, through a few neighborhood streets, then a couple miles along a paved bike path, into the small, historic downtown, and  back around to the high school.     

The course was very scenic. After all, this was quaint, little Zionsville. They sell charm by the bushel in this town.     

The pavement, of course, was a little harder on my legs than I’m used to. But that comes with road running, like it or not. And I’m going to be doing more and more road running in the next few months, as I try to regain my speed.     

I hit the first mile marker in 7:01, a fast time that surprised the hell out of me.     

Encouraged, I kept pushing and passing people, and feeling strong.     

I hit the succeeding miles in 6:57, 6:59, 6:47 and 7:16 (a long, gradual uphill).     

My finish time was 35:01, for an average pace of 7:00.      

That was a PR for me by more than a minute at this distance.     

On top of that, I finished second (out of 10) in my age group, and in the top one-third overall. (See results here.)     

So despite my worries, I had a great morning. There was no reason to be pessimistic.     

Oh, did I mention the race was organized by the Zionsville Optimist Club?     

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One Response to “Can Trail Boy run fast on bricks?”

  1. Kevin Cartier Says:

    Hey John!

    35:01? Wow! When did you turn into such a speed demon? Hard to believe it’s the same guy who tumbled his way through the Buckeye Trail 50K a scant 10 weeks ago. Keep that up and I’ll see you in Boston.

    — Kevin C.

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