Saturday, October 25, 2008

Seacoast Series Wraps Up - Great Bay 5k

This past weekend marked the end of the 2008 Seacoast Road Race Series. This is my favorite series by far and has (in my opinion) the nicest courses, put on by the best organizers, and run in some of the nicest towns in New England (but then again I've only been back running for 2 years so what the hell do I know?). Andy Schachat is the voice of almost all of these races and that means some very cool commentary for just about everyone who finishes...this guy knows something about almost everyone...he's also the voice of Mt. Washington too...just another cool thing that adds to the appeal of these races...

Today I ran in the Great Bay 5k (results) that started in Stratham NH and finished in Greenland, NH. That means 2 more NH towns bagged for me. Although it has only been 6 days since I ran (kind of) my first marathon, I decided to do this race for a few reasons.... 1) I'm addicted to racing and don't feel right if I don't...especially when I plan on something ahead of time.... 2) I set a goal of doing all the races in the USATF-NE GP and the Seacoast Series this year and this is the last one.... 3) I kinda wanted to see if I could get 8 firsts in this series (personal goal) ....4) I already registered and paid for it. Enough reasons for me to give it a go.

The race started at the Great Bay Community College in Stratham, NH and ended at the Great Bay Discovery Center in Greenland, NH. It is a loop course (almost) that doesn't quite come back to where it started. It actually loops around and then takes a turn away from the start and finishes about a mile away from where it started. They run a shuttle back to the start after the post race festivities and awards.

I warmed up with Mark Miller and Mary Proulx for about 20 minutes over the first couple miles of the course, did a few strides back at the start, and just dove in and got it done. There was a $50 bonus for the first person through the mile, but I let Mark have that right from the start...I wasn't about to screw my entire race up for an additional $50. It would have been ugly. For the most part my legs held up just fine. I noticed my cardio a bit off...It may be from missing a couple days this week while I recovered from the marathon, but I'd say I'm pretty close to 100% again, only 6 days after Baystate. I finished 2nd overall of 891 finishers. I was happy to dip under 16 again, especially this week, and ran a 15:53 (5:07 pace). Mark cruised to a 15:32 (5:00 pace) and looked really strong and smooth (I had a great view, riding 20 seconds behind him the whole race)... I did have some company in 3rd, as Bob Wiles from York ME was only 14 seconds back in 16:07 (5:12 pace). For some reason I was looking back the entire last 2 miles. I usually don't do that until the very end, but today my head was on a swivel...not good.

Splits: - 5k - 15:53 (5:07 pace)

Mile 1) 5:07
Mile 2) 5:04 (10:12)
Mile 3) 5:08 (15:20)
.1) :33 (15:53).

I scored $100 for second place and an additional $100 for winning the Seacoast Series. I also got a very nice handmade glass runner trophy by Victor Meyer for being the overall series winner. The coveted jacket will be available in a couple weeks and I'll have to go pick it up at Runner's Alley up in Portsmouth.
Jennifer Emblidge (pictured to the left) of Salem, MA was the Female Overall Winner in the Seacoast Series and was 2nd overall for women today. She was the first Seacoast Series woman in every race she ran this year (7 of 8).

I'm pretty surprised that more people from outside of the Seacoast area don't do these races... Being in it's 4th year, the series is still young, but it is rapidly growing as both Redhook and MSD sold out this year. I think Saunders did as well. I tried to get some of these races added to the MVS internal grand prix this year and Saunders did actually make it, but the consensus was that they are 'too far away'. I'm not sure that makes much sense considering I live in the Merrimack Valley, on the Methuen, MA line, and it took me 31 minutes to get to the race today. About 35 to get to all the Portsmouth races and Newington, and maybe 45 to get to the one race in York ME. Compare that to the 45 minutes it took me to get to Ollie which is no picnic and far from scenic... Rhody was way too far for a run around a parking lot, and Bridge of Flowers (although an enjoyable race) was 2 and 1/2 hrs away.

My parents (pictured with me below) made the drive down from the lake and joined a family friend from Seabrook, NH to watch the final race and the after party. My dad got a couple of photos of me at the end of the race and at the Discovery Center, getting the goods. It's really great to have them come down to these races now that I'm back running... They've been great over the years (including the college days when they would trek way out to Slippery Rock, PA to watch XC meets, etc).
After the race festivities were over, we drove down the street to a little breakfast place and my dad treated us to a nice late breakfast (even though my pockets were full of Seacoast Series dough ;) )...

It's a real relief having both the USATF-NE GP and Seacoast Series over now. I set the goal (along with many others) at the beginning of the year to run all the races in these series and I really struggled with worrying about these all year long. I wasn't sure what would happen with injuries, work or personal conflicts, etc. I especially was worried about having this race right after Baystate...but it worked out in the end. In fact, it worked out perfectly where there was really only 1 conflict between the 2 series' and it really wasn't a conflict at all. Sure, Ollie and Fox Point were on the same day, but one was in the morning and one was at I was able to get both in (although Fox Point was SLOW)... Ironically though, I got the most dough and swag from that race. That's what I love about the Seacoast series in general...great folks, great prizes, great vibe, really nice courses, and pretty good competition.

I hope 2009 will come with similar luck but I'm sure something will get in the way. I'll be focusing a little more on the mountain races in the USATF-NE Mountain series, and will try to do all those races to get 'Mountain Goat' status and get a bypass to the 2010 Mt. Washington Road Race. In doing that, I'm sure at least one of these races will conflict with a Seacoast series race. I may have to just try to get my 6 in and not worry about doing all 8 (unless they expand the series again next year). My two favorite races (Redhook and MSD) will most surely conflict with a mountain series race, so it will be interesting to see how my 2009 schedule plays out. Too many great races, not enough weekends!!!

My finishes in the 2008 Seacoast Series:

Race and Blog EntryLocation
Overall Finish
Series Finish
Portsmouth Children's Museum 5kPortsmouth, NH
Runners Alley/Redhook Brewery 5kPortsmouth, NH
Market Square Day 10kPortsmouth, NH
York Days 5kYork, ME
Saunders at Rye 10kRye, NH
Fox Point Sunset 5 MileNewington, NH
Great Island 5kNew Castle, NH
Great Bay 5kStratham, NH

Fellow MVSer Scott Masse (pictured with yours truly on the left) toughed out another 5k to complete his series participation and earn the jacket. He has been hurt with a couple of different issues for weeks now, and toughed out the Great Island 5k, the Baystate Marathon, and now the Great Bay 5k. Also in case people haven't noticed already, I'm now officially racing for CMS, as the USATF-NE GP is now over. My commitment to MVS and Fernando & the Men's Open racing team is now complete and it was time for me to move on and into a situation that was a little more convenient and suited for my running goals. I am still an MVS member and will continue to be. I've met lots of great folks (including Scotty) and have had some great memories over the last 2 years. Coach Braz has been a savior for me in many ways and whipped me back into shape when I seriously doubted it could be done. I owe him a lot, as he has not only been a great coach and mentor, but has also become a great friend.

I'll address that later on in a post I'm working on for my end of year wrap up. For now, lets call the Seacoast Series a success, look forward to the few races I have left this year including the New England XC Championships in a couple weeks, and focus on my 2009 goals.

One last thing, over the course of the past couple races, I've had people come up to me and recognize me from this site and they've commented to me on either how much they like the site, how much they like the pictures Kristin gets (unfortunately she couldn't make the race today), and sometimes they just say they 'read it'...which could go either way I guess :). To all that do take the time to read this, thanks a lot. I put my thoughts and experiences out there (not quite as much as this gal does though) and welcome any feedback (good or bad). We're all in this together...and I'm trying to have fun no matter what :).

I'll be heading over to Mayors Cup tomorrow in Boston to cheer on the boys and get some photos and hopefully some video. Look for that sometime this week (hopefully). I also have a snippet of video from Baystate that I'm fighting with. I may have that up as well.

Aside from these pictures of someones laundry hanging over the awards ceremony from today, honestly, that's all I have :)


  1. A few comments for your popular blog (are you surprised I have more to say?):

    1. "This Gal" yeah, Someone needs to pull the plug on that blog, it's taking up all the space on the internet! (and you love it!)

    2. I love that just a few words after the link to my blog you wrote "we're all in this together!" I just watched High School Musical tonight, and am PUMPED for the third! (I know thats exactly what you thought of when you wrote it)

    3. Your sleeves are HOTT!!! ;) I'll be in the cheering squad at Franklin Park (If I live that long)

  2. Great to see that your Dad thawed out after riding gloveless at the Baystate (I was worried about him).

    Congrats on taking the series win, not unusual to feel decent after a marathon. I think the pressure being off helps.

  3. Hey Jim!

    Congrats! Way to come back after a marathon! I am impressed. And the Seacoast Series sounds've inspired me to hop in a few next year. Congrats on the win...looks like you won a "kick-ass trophy." I hope you know the Trophy Story, because the one copy that existed is currently living in internet oblivion...but the tag line was "If you run a race, run a great race. If you join a club, join a great club. If you snag a trophy, snag a kick-ass trophy!" And you certainly did! :-)

    By the way, I LOVE the weekly rant with DD. Love it. Want to see more! :-)

  4. haha...well...we actually filmed a new rant TODAY as a matter of fact...but it was independent of a race...a 'one-off' of sorts when it comes to a rant... I do have a copy of a rant that didn't make the Hollis video... I think you've just inspired me to rip it up on YouTube...keep your eyes peeled. I'll have to beep out the explatives though :).

    Thanks for the kind words... I think I was able to 'come back' quickly because I ran like a chump last week :)...Had I actually ran FAST, I probably wouldn't have been able to race 6 days later :)... Next time.