My next race is one of my favorites in the area: the Leatherman's Loop. Taking place in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Westchester County, this event is a 25-year tradition. It's a 10k trail race featuring two water-crossings, some sections of nice thick mud, an impossible uphill sand climb, and usually a few downed trees/ brambles/ eroded spots that add to the fun.
Of course, I prefer longer courses, especially at this stage in my career. The Loop begins much like a college cross country invitational: everyone seems to think that they deserve the holeshot, so they sprint the first 600 meters trying to get to the trails first ... then most of them slow way down to try to recover from the oxygen debt they've just created. This means that the, ahem, more-reasonably paced starters have to weave in and around those eager beavers for the next couple of miles. That's fine on a cross country course, where there is usually ample room to pass - but back in the single track trails of the Rez, it's not. One of my personal challenges on Sunday is to try to get out faster than the last time I ran this race, and then practice patience while getting past what I assume will be at least a couple dozen guys who've pushed the first half-mile too hard.
Besides, let's be honest: it's not like I have a chance to be up with the leaders anymore, so losing 20-30 seconds because of difficulty passing a few runners isn't going to be as significant as it once might have been for me.
The Loop sells out quickly these days, with many more hopefuls than the 1,000 runner limit that is rightfully imposed on the field. Both my wife and I are going to be running (she actually won the race once in the past, the best I ever did was 2nd place). Neither of us are at the top of our respective games these days, but I think we'll both do all right. I'm hoping to sneak into the top 20 overall, and I think she'll be top 5 among the women. We'll see, won't we?
Forecast calls for pretty nice weather, which is actually a disadvantage for me. Ah, well, it is what it is. Good luck to everyone else out there. Check back next week for a race report, there is usually some element of adventure to the Loop.