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If you do call yourself a runner, can you handle the truth?
USATF Winter Cross Country Championships

Race Report: USATF Winter Cross Country Championships at Fort Vancouver, Vancouver, Washington - 2001

Author and 10k Truth Runner, Terry Parks
It was pretty weird riding down with the team.
My PRs wouldn't have made any of these guys' throwaway times.

I got invited to run with an >50 cross country team representing the Snohomish Track Club at the USATF Winter XCountry Championships held at Ft. Vancouver in Vancouver, WA. Herm Adkins, their number one runner has won the individual championship the last few years. He is a very talented guy that runs a few miles the week before the event and shows up and wins. This time, he apparently overdid it and tweaked his Achilles, so they called on me. I warned them I wouldn't be in Herm's league. There were only two teams in the 50 and over division. I was real happy with the race - I ran strong and smart. I was the 6th man on the team - top five score. Of course I was pretty determined not to be the last finisher on the team.

The course consisted of five 2k loops. First 1000 meters should have been a downhill cruise but it was into a stiff headwind that seemed to get worse every lap. We turned and ran up a short 100 meter hill then back down, ran another 200 meter to a longer 200 meter hill then did it all again. In general the course was in excellent condition, high grass with a few muddy spots which got worse every lap. I wore xcountry shoes with Ĺ-inch spikes.

Larry, a guy from Tacoma that I run with quite bit, took off like a shot with the Nike Womens' >40 team. I ran 5th or 6th among my team for the first two laps. The sixth guy dropped out after the second lap. I moved up to third on the third lap, drafting off of the only other guy on the course that didnít qualify as a munchkin. I think that many of the women in the women's races were bigger than most of the guys in the Master's race.

I moved into second on my team on the fourth lap and found myself wondering which lap I was on - I was hoping it was the last but my watch indicated otherwise. Those wimpy little hills were starting to look like mountains and the muddy spots were really a drag. I was slowly moving through the group but not gaining much on Larry. I passed two Boulder guys but couldnít quite catch the guy in front of me. Larry was second in 37:45.

I finished in 29th out of 61 men 40 and over, 4th in >50 with a time of 38:14. We finished first ahead of the team from Boulder. I guess you could say we're national champions except the team from Boulder was the only other team in the >50 category. The first three guys from our team and first three from Boulder had the same total time. Boulder had two guys in the 40 to 50 minute range which blew them out of the water. Our team all finished between 37:46 and 39:25.

It was fun, especially watching the Womenís 8K and Menís 4K. Deena Drossin is an animal. She averaged 6:30/2K and kicked butt. I ran 7:30 to 7:40/2K splits. I also got to run alongside Regina Jacobs while she warmed up for Sunday's event. I wished her well and she flashed me a smile and said thanks. She is stunning and easy to pick out of the crowd Ė she really has something special about her. I wish I could have stayed to watch her run. It was really disappointing that so few spectators were out and kind of strange that Portland, home to Nike didn't field more teams. I would have enjoyed a little more competition. —Terry Parks