Like most pleasures in life, the power of feeling fit is magnified when it is shared with others. The Pumpkin Classic in Trumbull was held today, four miles over a rolling course and Team Thompson sent 3 participants to the event.
First up, Fiona and Drew toed the line at the Open Mile which was run on the Trumbull High School track. My 8 year old boy covered the first 200 meters in a little over :45 and I was a little worried about a massive blow-up. Prior to the race, we’d set a goal for him of 8:32. Faster than his per mile time in a previous 5K but a makeable target that wouldn’t having him push too hard. For Fiona, we encouraged her to simply run her own race and run comfortably. She did much more than that.
Following her brother around the oval, Nona was certainly the youngest of about 50 kids. She stuck out not only because of her size but because of the enormous beaming smile she wore through all four laps. With perfect form, she came home in the middle of the pack in a highly respectable 9:07. The first thing she said after the race was, “I want to run again.”
After the scorching opening 200, Drew settled into a very relaxed and focused groove and steadily began picking off runners 4 years his senior. With half a lap to go, the leader was just out of striking distance but Drew came off the final curve, got a decidedly vicious look on his face and turned on the afterburners for a 6:44 finish.
Dad was up next in the 4 miler. With an uphill first mile and a big hill in the last, I decided that I would keep myself reined in until the end. If I was in any kind of battle, I knew that I would have an opportunity late in the game to do some damage when the course bent up.
I got off to a nice relaxed 5:44 which given the incline, pleased me a great deal. The second mile was a bit of a disappointment because the course flattened out and I thought I’d get it in a bigger gear here but only turned in a 5:47. Over that second mile, I traded spots with a guy that I later found out was the over 50 champion of Connecticut. He was a strong man but as I passed him on the hills, I could hear how hard he was working and, though in the early going, he passed me on the flats, I knew that he would be mine on the final hill, if not sooner.
The third mile featured a gradual incline, I dropped my 50plus competitor and found myself in 8th place. The leaders were out of sight but I felt good and was ready for things to get difficult. Coming up at the three mile marker, I was focused on closing in on two guys that looked like they’d gone out a little too fast. Forgetting to look at my watch for my split, I have no idea what that third mile was. The important thing was that I felt solid and had an aggressive mindset heading into the major hill.
Turning up and to the right, a tall, lanky run started to go backwards. I passed him on the inside and was now in 7th with another victim not 10 yards ahead. As I’d imagined, the hill was hurting people. I came up on the 6th place guy and from a stride or two back, I could hear him sucking hard. A thrill rushed through me, very animal like, I was going to bury him.
Cresting the hill, somebody’s footsteps were still audible. I try my best not to ever get passed in the last mile of any race and I stepped on the gas to make sure it didn’t happen here. Turning into the High School, there was still a half mile to go. I was about 100 meters behind number 5 but just didn’t have the jump in my legs to close the gap entirely. I finished up in 6th with a 5:39 per mile finish.
As good as I felt about my race, it was nothing compared to how I felt about my kids. They were joyous with their performance, as was I.