Sunday, August 9, 2009

2009 Alton Old Home Day 5k

Saturday, Kristin and I headed up to Alton Bay, NH for the 2009 Alton Bay Old Home Day 5k (results). The weather was picture perfect for a road race...not too warm, not too cold, no noticeable wind. The race starts and finishes right near the finish of the Big Lake Half Marathon, which I ran up here this past May.

On pulling in the parking area, I spotted Scott Graham and Max & Tad Thomas as well as my high school coach, John Dicomandrea (Coach Deek). It also looked like a decent turnout, considering the numbers I've seen in the results for this race in the past. Scott Graham and I ran over the course for the warm up and he showed me 'the hill'. There are actually a couple of hills, one being pretty steep, but after running the mountain stuff this summer, it didn't feel anywhere near as long as it might have been. After that, there are a couple other inclines that are much shorter, and then there is a very nice downhill going to the finish. It is a 'lolli-pop' type of course and from what I can find (with results going back to 2000), the fastest time there seems to be around 16:15 or so (last year's winning time). I commented to Scotty about how bad I felt on the warm up...very sluggish and heavy...hamstring was barking a bit and the hips were tight. I just felt raced out a bit and was beginning to wonder if I should have just stayed home and took it easy instead. Scotty was his typical supportive self and called me a few names, told me to man up, and proceeded to tell me yet again, about the time he beat Dave Dunham in a marathon ;)...

After a quick change and a greeting from my Dad who took the drive over from Wakefield, NH, I was up to the line for some last second strides before the race. As the gun went off, there were a few younger looking lads to my right and left, but that didn't last too long. As we took the first turn (through traffic) onto Route 11, I was out in front, with Max and 4 or 5 others right in tow. As we climbed the first major hill, that was it. It was just me and the motorcycle cop the rest of the way. As we hit Water St. and the starting area of the Big Lake Half Marathon, that was right near the first mile mark. I was honestly expecting 5:20s or so, based on how I felt. I clicked the split at 5:07.7 and was surprised it was that fast. I knew that the next mile would be a lot slower because of the hill right after the mile marker. As I turned back onto Route 11, the volunteers and motorcycle cop were telling me to get over to the right and stay on the right side. This was fine, except there weren't any more right hand turns at all. None. So I couldn't run any of the tangents. Not only did I have to get over to the right, but now, I was told that I had to run right up on the sidewalk area, all the way over, because traffic was very busy on Route 11. This made it pretty tough mentally, as I knew that nobody except for me was actually being 'policed' (literally) on this. I stayed all the way to the right and headed up the next incline to the 2 Mile mark and clicked another 5:07.9 split for 10:15 through 2. I was shocked that I was able to hit that split and then realized that I had some downhill coming and I may be able to salvage a sub 16 time. I rocked down the next mile and up around to the last road, missing the 3 mile mark, but knowing that my 3rd mile had to have been sub 5 because of that nice downhill section. I looked up to the finish and tried to gauge the distance and time on my watch but really didn't know what the time would be until I was right near the line. 15:46 officially, and about 1:13 ahead of the next guy. I was pleased that I was able to come back that hard on the last mile, considering my schedule lately and the frequency of my racing. Max finished strong in 4th place (pretty good for taking the summer off). The next 3 guys behind me were all 17 years old. Scotty Graham got 'chicked' at the very end and finished in the lucky 13th spot. Also, my high school coach finished 153 out of 233 in 32:14 (10:23 pace). Not bad for 81 years young!

Kristin got some nice photos that can be seen HERE.

Scotty, Max, and Isaac Fithian joined me for a cool down afterwards, and then it was post-race eats and the awards ceremony. For the win, I got a Dicks Sporting Goods gift card (not sure how much amount on it and you can't check the balance online). After that, Kristin and I headed over to Scott Graham's place in Gilford for some beach loungin' into the early afternoon, before heading over to Max Thomas' house for some BBQ and Jeeping through the backwoods of Wolfeboro....pretty cool views from atop Max's hangout, where we could see the big lake and surrounding areas of Center Harbor, Alton, etc. It was a very nice day in the lakes region and thanks to all for the invites and hospitality.

Next up is Manchester on Thursday night...I hope this sets me up for a good day at Cigna, although anything can happen... It's easy-does-it between now and then.


  1. So the last picture looks like your version of fast vs slow. thanks

  2. Yes! You used "chicked!" You have no idea how excited I am that one little thing I learned you while I was out there stuck. :)

  3. ...'out there stuck' or 'stuck out there'? ;)