Saturday, October 4, 2008

2008 Hollis Applefest Half Marathon

This weekend was the Applefest Half Marathon (results) in Hollis, NH. It was my last real hard run before the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, MA on October 19th.

I arrived at dd's palatial DRC headquarters in Bradford (not Haverhill), MA a couple of atomic-clock-ticks early, but he let it slide.

We made our way up to Hollis, NH on a picture perfect fall day so I could run in a race in which he so effortlessly set the record many years ago (1992's 1:06:07 effort which still stands today). He also ran 1:06:31 in 1990. Both times he won by multiple minutes and ran alone over what has to be one of the toughest half marathon courses around. He also ran 1:08:36 there in 1993 and MVS coach Fernando Braz ran 1:09:45 there in 1994. The 31 year old individual age record I just missed (ahem...) ...For a 31 year old it is Steve O'Connell in 1989 with a 1:08:45 (yeah right).

Because of the parking situation (or lack there of) in town, race parking was all the way across town from the high school, at Silver Lake. We had to park there and then get in line for buses which were taking riders over to the High School (similar to the Fast 5k held earlier in the year in Hollis). By the time we got over to the school it was 9:30 and the race started at 10. Once I had my number and got everything ready, I had about 10 minutes right before the start, to warm up. Just before the race, Andy Schachat made a nice announcement, introducing Dave as the record holder, right before the crowd of 900+ runners on the starting line. Dave was slightly embarrassed but a great sport about it. He didn't particularly want the recognition, especially now that he is injured and isn't running currently (a hard pill to swallow, being at races each weekend and not being able to run)...but I think it was a really nice thing Andy did... I think a lot of people thought it was cool to see the guy who ran the time that was displayed on the finishing clock just before the start of this year's race.

As the race went out, there was quickly a pack of 5 of us leading up to mile 1. This pack included last year's winner Mark Mayall (NB-Boston), last year's second place finisher Jason Porter, Ethan Crane of GCS (in his first half marathon), Greg Ward (CMS), and myself. We hung together for 8 miles (until the real hills started). The course rolls up and down for the first 8 but gets very interesting at mile 8 (see my elevation profile with corresponding mile splits in the graph below. Click to enlarge.). Up until 8 I felt great and the 5 of us were all together as one tight pack with anyones slight surge turning into the lead... The pace felt very easy and the effort felt extremely comfortable...but then mile 8 took the wind out of 9 I had rebounded a little as there was some downhill, but then at mile 10 the pack really spread out and at that point the places were all essentially decided. Mark Mayall took a fairly large lead up the hills and Greg Ward went after him. Ethan stayed strong over the last couple miles and took home 3rd, while I battled with Jason Porter over the last 2 miles (actually catching him at 11, but by 12 he had about a 10 second lead on me that I couldn't make up). I finished out of the money but ran faster than I anticipated and definitely a better effort than the New Bedford half in March (at which time I had a much larger base). I also won my age group (30-34)...gotta love the 5 year age groups!

What I didn't love was lugging the 30 lbs bushel of apples I won, back to the bus with after the race...

The post race festivities were cool though... a live band (The Slakas) and as much apple crisp desert as you could eat... It was also nice seeing one of my former teammates from UML, BJ Bottomly, who lives in Hollis.

One last mention... Julie Spolidoro (Duxbury, MA - BAA) shattered the course record (which was previously owned by Patti Laliberte at 1:18:22 from 1983) by running a 1:17:17. She also finished 9th overall!

And then there was me...

13.1 Mile Splits:

Mile 1) 5:25
Mile 2) 5:52 (11:18)
Mile 3) 5:30 (16:49)
Mile 4) 5:29 (22:18)
Mile 5) 5:40 (27:58)
Mile 6) 5:31 (33:30)
Mile 7) 5:33 (39:03)
Mile 8) 5:40 (44:43)
Mile 9) 5:31 (50:15)
Mile 10) 6:10 (56:25)
Mile 11) 6:01 (1:02:26)
Mile 12) 5:54 (1:08:21)
Mile 13) 5:54 (1:14:15)
Last .1) :36 (1:14:53)

In the end... 1:14:53 (5:42 pace) - 5th out of 908. There is definitely a lingering problem with my last 3 to 4 miles of these longer races... I'll have to figure out what it will take to address it...I have a feeling I know what it is and may have to make some major changes for 2009. Photo above is of yours truly trekking up the last hill before the finish...

dd took some nice photos of the race which have been uploaded here to my SmugMug page.

After dropping Dave off he was gracious enough to show me his collection of various types of snowshoes, most notably a couple pairs of Dion racing shoes that I have my eyes on. is Episode 3 of my viral video series on mediocre New England running... I had to severely cut down on the clips and eliminate some to put up with YouTube's 10 minute rule for video length (which is really 10:59)... I also had to make multiple versions of this to try to get the 'watch in high quality' option, which can be a pain. I somehow got this to work the very first time with my first video and can't do it again to save my life.... I struggled with this for numerous versions of the video and finally gave up for now... This one will have to do. Lastly, I also took dd's rant out at the end because it was chock full of expletives and there wasn't enough time to get it all in.....

Now on to a couple weeks of easy running and the Great Island 5k in New Castle, NH this coming weekend as the Seacoast series winds down...


  1. Fun times my friend! I look forward to joining you for more races, hopefully I'll even be able to run sometime :-)

  2. Thanks man... Indeed... Its a shame I had to cut it down so much...YouTube kills me with its damn 11 minute rule. I'll have to put together some 'outtakes' sometime for all the missing footage and dd 'offcolor' commentary ;). How's the beach?

  3. Thanks for the advice (my blog)... I really appreciate it

  4. Nice job at Applefest. Running the longer races is a combination of being focused while zoning out. It just takes some practice. Once you get it, you're going to run fast.