Monday, October 26, 2009

Great Bay 5k and Seacoast Series Wrap Up

Saturday marked my 57th race of the 'season' and took me back up to the Seacoast for the Great Bay 5k (results) in Stratham / Greenland, NH.  This was my second time running this race (I was 2nd last year to Mark Miller) and both times were just 6 days after the Baystate Marathon.  This past week, I took it very easy and only did 5 or 6 miles a day on either the trails w/ dd or on the treadmill.  I wanted to do this race to cap off my second year of the Seacoast Series. Great Bay is the last race of the series and the race at which they give out the Seacoast Series awards.  I had already wrapped up 2nd place overall in the series, as John Mentzer (who whooped my rump in every race this year) won the series outright, but I wanted to finish all the races for the second year in a row. John didn't run 2 weeks ago at Great Island, as he had already done his 6 races and was wrapping up training for the Marine Corps Marathon, which he won Sunday in 2:21:47.

The weather was crap again, for the second week in a row, on race day. It was cold, windy, and rainy.  It was so bad that I gave Kristin the day off and let her stay home.  It was a good call, as the combination of the weather and logistics of the start/finish of the race wouldn't have been good for her and race photography by any means.  The race used to start at the Great Bay Community College and finish about a mile away at the Great Bay Discovery Center.  This year, due to the closing of the college, the race started across the street at  Stratham Hill Park.  The only 'slight' issue was with the parking, which is now about a quarter mile or so walk from the starting line.  What that essentially means is that you have to park (in a grass field, which was basically all mud after all the rain we got) and walk quite a ways over to the starting area (in the rain).  Then, you race to the Discovery Center and then have to run/walk 1 mile back to the car to change clothes, then run/walk back over to the Discovery Center for the awards ceremony.  This wasn't that big of a deal, because it allowed for a good cooldown, but for a spectator, it would have been a little tricky, especially in the weather.  I do think they had a bag drop for runners, but dd and I just did the back and forth after the race as a cool down.

I met Dave Dunham up there at the registration area at about quarter of 8, and we milled around a bit, basically causing trouble as usual, picking on Andy Schachat, and getting soaked before going out for a warmup over the first mile + of the course.  After almost getting run over by a car at the one mile mark, we turned around and headed back to the parking area.  After changing clothes and running into the wood for a pitstop (getting my racing shoes soaked and muddy in the process) I was ready to head over to the start.  DD had reminded me a couple of minutes prior, to make sure I put my chip on... well, needless to say I forgot and boogied over to the start without it.  We had 5 minutes until the race and all the way over to the start, when Dave looked down at my feet (thank god) and shouted 'YOUR CHIP!'.... This is the second time in a month that I've basically gotten on the line, right before the start, and not had either my chip or number.  I'm not sure what my deal is, but I am starting to space out a bit before races nowadays.  Thank God for dd.  This is one time I wasn't all weirded out and actually thankful that dd likes to check me out.  Had he not noticed, I would probably have been DQ'd (and no, that's not 'Dave Quintaled').  I turned and sprinted the quarter mile back to my car to get my chip...I made it back in time with about a minute or so to spare..but seeing the start was delayed a few minutes, I would have made it without any problems.

Ok, now to the actual race... As the gun went off (finally) I found myself immediately thinking of the 'MacKenzie Mile' which is a race within the race.  This is essentially a $50 bonus for the first one through the mile (while having to maintain a relatively similar pace for the rest of the race).  I shot out to the early lead, but was very aware of another runner right behind me.  I thought it might be Scott McGrath, who I saw on the list of entrants before the race.  Scott ran 15:23 here in 2007 and finished third behind Kevin Alliette and Wilson Perez that year.  My instincts were verified when I ran by a spectator at about a half mile and heard her yell out 'Go Scott!'.  I continued to push and kept glancing behind me real quick only to see him right there within striking distance.  As I made the first left off of the main drag, I could see the mile clock and took one last peek behind me.  He was still there, although not making an obvious push for the additional $50.  I wasn't sure if he knew about the bonus or not, so I pushed up and past the mile mark at 4:52 (the clock was actually reading 7 seconds fast, at 4:45).  Not too long after the mile, the course hooks to the left and I would say somewhere between 1.5 and 2 miles, Scott motored right up next to me and then steadily past.  I gave him some words of encouragement and indicated that I should have let him take the mile (meaning, I should have let him go through, as I had no doubt he'd take me down in the overall anyways).  I kind of felt like I was cheating him out of the bonus money for some reason.   He acknowledged that everything was cool and continued on his way.  I tried to keep him close as we wound up through some nice neighborhoods in Greenland.  At one point (maybe about 2.75) I picked up a little ground on the lead he had built up and thought maybe he was slowing enough that I could catch him.  I think if there had been a more substantial climb near the end, I may have been able to catch back up, but in the end, that wasn't the case.  He got to the top of the hill that was there and took off.  As I came up over, he had picked up the pace and pushed down and through to the finish for a solid win in 15:25.  I went through the 3 mile mark in 15:08 and ran the last slight downhill to the finish in 15:38 for second place.

Overall, I was psyched about the time and the fact that I actually felt OK during the race.  Last year, I struggled with heavy, dead marathon legs to the tune of 15:55 for second place.  This year, I ran 7+ minutes faster at Baystate the week before, and still came back with a 17 second improvement at this race.  I'll take a 15:38 at this point, no matter condition I'm in...  Props to Scott McGrath, who has come back from his own injuries and actual heart issues.  He has only been back running about 5 weeks and did no workouts previous to this effort.  The writeup from Seacoast Online can be read here.

DD (who finished just out of the money in 4th place) and I ran back to the car, changed clothes, and ran up to the observation tower at the top of Stratham Hill, before running back over to the finish area for the awards ceremony.  For the MacKenzie Mile (first one through the mile), I got $50 + $100 for the second place finish, for a total of $150.  Not a bad score.  I also got another hand made glass runner trophy made by Victor Meyer (like the one I got last year) for finishing 2nd overall in the Seacoast Series.  It is a little smaller (obviously) this year because it's a second place trophy.  Maybe next year I'll be third, just so I can have all of them :).



Next up now is potentially a trail race in VT this coming weekend and then the US Trail Marathon Championships out in Oregon next weekend, which is shaping up to be stacked.  More on that later...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

2009 Baystate Marathon


Sunday was my third go at the road marathon distance and my 2nd time doing this particular marathon.  The Baystate Marathon (results) once again served as the USATF-New England Marathon Championships this year.  This course is pretty flat, with only a couple of rolls at around 8 miles or so, and a couple of hills up over the many  bridges you cross in and around the Lowell, MA area.

It is no secret that my first two attempts at the marathon were nothing short of horrendous.  I brought the results upon myself with inadequate training and preparation, and unfortunately, this time around, the pre-race routine didn't vary much from the past couple attempts. I started off August with the mindset of getting ready for this race, but that quickly died down and I settled back into my usual routine of just getting out there and running whatever/whenever, and racing all the time.  No workouts, no tempo efforts inside of long runs, and only a couple of 'long runs' in the mix.  Nothing close to 'marathon training' and again, I have no explanation for it other than to just say that I'm just not that into it.  I like racing mountain and trail stuff and running local road races...it's just what I do.  But on the other hand, when I do get on the line at a marathon, I want to do well, but I can't expect to run my potential, unless I do things right, leading up to it...and I'm not sure I can sacrifice the other stuff to properly prepare....

That said, my goals for this time around were the following (with the last 3 being progressive):

1) Try to help the team and score in the top 3 for CMS
2) Try to run faster than last time at Baystate (2:45)
3) Try to break 2:40
3) Try to run 6 min pace (2:37)


Let's just say, I didn't help the team (I was 4th for CMS and only top 3 score), and I just missed 2:37 flat, but I did run faster than last time, and I did break 2:40...so I was about 50%.

And now for the writeup....  Let's just say that anyone who lives in New England, or anyone who watched the Patriots game on TV, knows how horrendous the weather was.  It was freezing cold and raining. Couple that with wind and soaked roads, and it pointed to a slightly slower slog out there for sure.  I only warmed up about a mile total, between jogging over to the start and then running around a bit before the gun.  As we lined up, I saw Kevin Tilton, Andy McCarron, Justin Fyffe, Jeremy Huckins, Dave Quintal, Dan Verrington, and Dave Dunham, so I knew everyone had made it and we'd have enough to score.  I didn't see Scott Leslie because he wasn't wearing a singlet and I hadn't actually met him yet.  I briefly said hi to some other usual suspects like Mike Girouard, Scotty Graham (who once again, reminded me that he beat DD in this race many many moons ago...like in the 60's).

First Half (approximately): As the gun went off, the usual lead pack went out with Justin right in the mix with Joseph Koech (R.UN).  I settled in behind Kevin Tilton and Andy.  Chris Mahoney (Whirl) pulled up along side me and there he would stay for about 15 miles.  The lead pack really took off and Chris and I both agreed that many of them would come back. Scott Leslie (CMS) went by us pretty early and then stayed about the same distance ahead of us for about 10 miles.  There was also an unattached runner, Matthew Terrasi (a potential nice pickup for a team!), with him and they literally stayed the same distance up on us for what seemed to be half the race.  For most of the race, this was the story.  Chris and I just chugged along and could sometimes see the chase pack, but then seemed to lose it again and again.  For as long as I was running along side Chris, we clicked sub 6s for each mile except the very last one before I pulled away a bit. Chris started to indicate that his hamstring (same one that has given him problems this year) started to go on him.  He was grimacing a lot and had to sprint ahead to try to loosen it up.  By mile 15, we went through at 6 flat and I started to feel it, but Chris was rigging up a bit and backed off.  I never saw sub 6 again.  Up until that point, my hamstrings up high (under my butt) started to sting a bit and my lower back started to tighten up worse than ever before in a race.  I think my back started to be an issue at around 12 miles.  The cold, wet weather and a soaked, cold uniform didn't help any of the above.  Also, at around 9 miles I had bouts with stomach discomfort and actually contemplated pulling off to use the bathroom.  I held off and that led to a very slight cramp at around 10 miles or so.  By a mile or so later, it was a non-issue.  Chris and I came through the half way point in around 1:16:10.  This is the part of the course with probably the most spectators.  You come up over the Rourke Bridge and there was plenty of noise to keep you movin'.


Second Half (approximately): (Ok, back to mile 15.  From 15 on, I was running mostly alone.  Somewhere near mile 17 or so, I had been catching Titus Mutinda who had gone out with the leaders and had fallen off the pack.  It was no surprise to me actually, because just 2 weeks ago, he ran 2:29 at the Hartford Marathon for 2nd place overall.  Props to him for jumping in and trying to help his team.  I was catching him and right as I was getting close, Ryan Aschbrenner (GBTC) and Mike Brown Dowling (BAA) (who ran VERY well) passed me together. I was slowly but surely slowing down and couldn't react to them at all.  Just as I was about to pass Titus, he pulled off into the woods for a pitstop.  By about 19 miles, he caught back up to me and passed me.  By 20, I was right with him again and then he pulled back away.   At around 21, I thought I had lost him.  He looked great and had a good armswing motion and stride going and I was sure he'd pull away for good.  But at around 22, as you wind up and start to run along the river, I started to catch up again.  This part of the race kind of rejuvenates you, because up until this point, from the Tyngsboro Bridge, it is the longest, most boring part of the course for sure.  Once you can see the river, and pass the Rourke Bridge without having to go up and over it, you know you are getting close to the end.  Just before the bridge, a girl (not sure who it was because I was pretty out of it) yelled that 'Kevin was just ahead'.  I couldn't fathom that it was Kevin Tilton because he had been so far ahead of me for the entire race...so I yelled back 'who?' and she said 'Kevin Tilton'.  At that point, I looked up and saw the back of his jersey and knew that the early pace had been a bit too much for him to continue busting out the quick miles in the latter parts of the race.  I pulled past him at 23 or so and also Titus.  Titus hung for a bit but was done for the day.  Before I had passed Titus, one of the lapped marathoners I went by had told me I was '16th'.  I figured that it had to be right or pretty close, so I started keeping track, in hopes that I could catch a few other guys.  I had been clicking 6:20s-6:15s for a while so I knew I wouldn't be catching many people with that pace, but maybe a couple more guys who may have gone out too hard over the first half of the race. Passing Titus and Kevin put me in 14th.  As I passed Mammoth Rd. and up the hill to University Ave, I was absolutely shocked to see Joseph Koech practically walking on the side of the road.  He was weaving all over and looked out of it.   He was the pre-race favorite and the runner with the best marathon PR that started the day.  I went by him at the top of the hill and gave him some encouragement, but I don't think he realized what was going on.  Just as I came down off the hill, I felt great.  I got my second wind and knew I could probably blast sub 6 pace from then on in.  No sooner did I pick up the pace, did my hamstring completely go on me.  I'm talking, cramp up so that I could barely bend my leg back down.  I practically stopped in my tracks.   I grabbed it and tried to massage as best I could, while still running.  Nobody was in sight either in front of me or behind me at this point, so I knew I just had to finish.  I slowed down to a manageable stride, trying to keep my hamstring in check.  Right before the last right hand turn onto Bridge St., it went on me again.  I literally screamed out and ran a few strides while squeezing my hamstring.  As I took the last couple turns into the baseball stadium and to the finish, I was just in finish mode. I knew the hamstring was going to prevent me from going under 2:37, but I was thrilled to have been able to finish in the 2:30s, which was a big goal of mine, considering the shape I'm in.  I came in officially in 13th place (so the guy was right) with a time of 2:37:46 (6:01 pace).



As I moved through the finish area, I immediately started to get the back spasms and calf/hamstring cramps.  I met my sister and Chico in the stands and walked up to the food area.  My mom came over to help me maneuver down to the tables on the lower level, where I tried to eat.  I was shivering uncontrollably and was completely soaked.  A very nice gentleman came over and threw some blankets on me and helped Kristin massage my back.  He was very concerned with my condition and got the medical personnel. They put me in a chair and wheeled me inside to the medical area.  It was nice and warm when they wheeled me in there, and I noticed the only other person in there getting worked on was Joseph Koech.  He was hooked up to an IV and was sitting up eating.  He appeared to be relatively OK, although they said he was pretty out of it. As a precaution, they came in and put in him on a stretcher and took him to the hospital.  As for me, my initial temperature (about 35-40 minutes after the race) was 93.5.  They wrapped me in blankets, got all my wet clothes off, and gave me some Gatorade, as I warmed up.  About 30 or so minutes later, I was back up to 97  for a temp, so they discharged me.

Here's the damage.... see if you can spot where I started to 'get a little winded'....

Splits: Road Marathon - 2:37:46 (6:01 pace)

Mile 01) 5:52
Mile 02) 5:42 (11:34)
Mile 03) 5:50 (17:25)
Mile 04) 5:50 (23:15)
Mile 05) 5:46 (29:02)
Mile 06) 5:51 (34:53)
Mile 07) 5:48 (40:41)
Mile 08) 5:45 (46:27)
Mile 09) 5:43 (52:11)
Mile 10) 5:39 (57:51)
Mile 11) 5:50 (1:03:41)
Mile 12) 5:49 (1:09:31)
Mile 13) 5:57 (1:15:29)
Mile 14) 5:57 (1:21:20)
Mile 15) 6:00 (1:27:20)
Mile 16) 6:00 (1:33:20)
Mile 17) 6:05 (1:39:26)
Mile 18) 6:07 (1:45:34)
Mile 19) 6:13 (1:51:47)
Mile 20) 6:16 (1:58:03)
Mile 21) 6:26 (2:04:30)
Mile 22) 6:25 (2:10:56)
Mile 23) 6:25 (2:17:21)
Mile 24) 6:26 (2:23:48)
Mile 25) 6:20 (2:30:26)
Mile 26) 6:15 (2:36:23)
last .2) 1:22 (2:37:46)

Top 20 (of 1560) plus CMS in blue.

Place
Guntime
Pace
Name
Age
City/State
Team
1
2:27:53
5:39
Brandon Newbould
28
Dover NH   
WHIRL
2
2:28:15
5:40
Justin Fyffe       
29
East Dummerston VT 
CMS  
3
2:29:02
5:41
Andy McCarron      
26
Keene NH           
CMS
4
2:31:40
5:48
Mark Hudson
32
Reading MA 
WHIRL
5
2:32:26
5:49
Tom Casey  
23
Smithfield RI
RUN
6
2:32:46
5:50
Tom Deeg   
28
Eastham MA 
WHIRL
7
2:33:08
5:51
Scott Leslie       
28
Rutland MA         
CMS  
8
2:34:33
5:54
Joe Navas  
38
N Eastham MA
WHIRL
9
2:34:35
5:54
Matthew Terrasi
22
Pepperell MA
10
2:34:39
5:54
Mike Brown Dowling
26
Boston MA  
BAA
11
2:34:48
5:55
Ryan Aschbrenner
32
Waltham MA 
GBTC
12
2:35:11
5:56
Mike Brouillette
31
South Hadley MA
GSH
13
2:37:46
6:01
Jim Johnson        
32
Salem NH           
CMS  
14
2:38:05
6:02
Titus Mutinda
44
Lowell MA  
RUN
15
2:38:46
6:04
Per Ekegerd
37
Pierrefonds QC
16
2:39:14
6:05
Joseph Ryan
23
Dracut MA  
RUN
17
2:41:32
6:10
Kevin Tilton       
27
No Conway NH       
CMS 
18
2:41:58
6:11
Chris Mahoney
31
Haverhill MA
WHIRL
19
2:42:31
6:12
Tomoaki Uchiki
35
Jamaica Plain MA
GBTC
20
2:43:13
6:14
Robert Emord
28
Glastonbury CT
GBTC
32
2:47:08
6:23
Daniel Verrington      
47
Bradford, MA
CMS  
75
2:59:41
6:52
Dave Dunham
45
Bradford, MA
CMS  
80
3:00:33
6:54
Jeremy Huckins
26
Enfield, NH
CMS  
287
3:22:17
7:42
Joe Alfano             
43
Holden, MA
CMS  
505
3:35:58
8:14
Travis Wheeler         
29
Lancaster MA
CMS  
620
3:41:24
8:24
Michael Sullivan       
55
Sterling MA
CMS  
805
3:50:49
8:48
Edward Coleman         
47
Auburn MA
CMS  
911
3:56:28
8:59
Stephen Moro           
55
Sterling MA
CMS  
992
4:01:03
9:11
Sean Blood             
38
Worcester MA
CMS  

1560 Total Finishers.


As for the team competition, CMS was the winner (no real thanks to me, as only 3 score). DD may eventually post some history about the last CMS win in a GP (and/or a GP Marathon), but I think this was an awesome effort by my teammates.  Justin Fyffe wrapped up the individual Grand Prix championship in style, with a second place finish in 2:28:15.  Not quite as fast as he was looking for, but a solid effort nonetheless.  He ran a 2:34 marathon earlier in the month.   Andy McCarron ran his arse off to the tune of 2:29:02.  A HUGE day for this kid, who is one of the hardest workers I've seen.  Finishing out the scoring for CMS, was new guy Scott Leslie, in a very good 2:33:08.

Men's Open Team Competition (top 5 teams of 27)


Place
Team
Total Time (3 guys)
1
CMS
7:30:25
2
Whirlaway (Whirl)
7:32:19
3
Retailers Union (R.UN)
7:49:45
4
Greater Boston Track Club (GBTC)
8:00:32
5
Greater Springfield Harriers (GSH)
8:34:44

The fact that we not only won today, but also put 2 teams in between us and GBTC, moves us into a tie for first place in the overall Grand Prix standings.  Although Mike Brown Dowling ran VERY well today, BAA didn't really field a deep team for this event, and adidas Boston didn't send anybody.  Both of these factors plus the fact that Whirlaway (who was already trailing us in the overall standings by 4 points, so they couldn't catch us) ran very well for second place, and R.UN was able to put enough guys together to finish 3rd.  My thoughts are basically that it's a long year, a long GP season, and fielding teams is tough.  It's half the battle sometimes, and you simply gotta show up to get the points.


USA TRACK & FIELD - NEW ENGLAND 2009 GRAND PRIX

UNOFFICIAL Final Team Standings -  After 7 Events  - Always Subject to Review.

Top 5 Teams of about 26 total scoring clubs.


Team
10M
13.1M
12k
5K
5M
10K
26.2M
Points
CMS
13
19
12
13
10
12
27
106
GBTC
12
21
11
15
12
11
24
106
BAA
14
22
17
14
15
21
103
WHIRL
11
17
13
12
9
13
26
101
adidas
20
14
14
13
16
77




Special thanks to Kristin for braving the elements and getting some shots at the finish.  It was too wet for her to get a lot of photos, as the camera was getting soaked.  The pictures she did get are on Smugmug.

Also, special thanks to my parents for also taking the trip down from the mountains to watch us finish on the soggy stadium grass.  It's always nice to have the parents there for support.  I hope they get to see a lot more of my races before I get too old and slow :).

Lastly, congratulations to my sister Kristin, who finished 604th and my friend Chico, who finished 605th (they ran together) in the half marathon.  They finished up in 2:00:50 (9:13 pace) which is absolutely fantastic for them on this tough day.  I also think they secretly enjoyed themselves too!


Special Thanks to Scott Mason for the photos!!!



Monday, October 12, 2009

Great Island 5k


Sunday I headed up to New Castle, NH for another go at the Great Island 5k (results), which once again serves as the 2nd to last race in the Seacoast Road Race Series.  This race always attracts slightly better competition than the other 5ks in the series due to the prize money and lobsters they give to the winners.  I had registered for this race back a ways because they had a 1200 entrant limit again this year, as the Seacoast Series has expanded to the premiere racing series in the state of NH and southwestern ME.

Up until this past week, I was looking forward to running this and just trying to do better than last year.  Then, after Topsfield XC last Sunday, I started my bout with a horrible left hamstring that left me with a lowly 52 miles with 2 days off (first days off since July 19th).  I didn't run Monday (after Topsfield) because my hamstring was so bad.  I couldn't even stretch it without intense pain.  Couple that with plantar issues in both feet, and things were looking bleak.  Tuesday-Thursday went 'OK'.  I kept it slow and on the trails....all with the intention of trying to salvage Baystate Marathon on October 18th.  On Friday, I met Tim VanOrden, Dave Dunham, Dan Verrington, and Dave Quintal at Winni for some trails (had already done 12 in the morning with DQ and was adding another slow 6 in the afternoon).  While we were waiting for Tivo and Dan, DQ, DD, and I were throwing the Nerf football around the parking lot and I twinged my hamstring again, moving to the side real quick for the ball.  I could barely do the 6 (fake 6) slow with the guys after that.  On Saturday, I didn't run.  I could hardly walk.  Sunday was a 'no-go' I was telling myself.  Right at the connector between my hamstring and the inside part of me knee was incredibly painful.  I couldn't even straighten my leg out all the way without manually doing it with my hands to help it along.  Nothing I was doing as far as massage and stretching seemed to help. Then, Steve Sullivan posted a response to my wall on Facebook, telling me about a yoga pose that may help.  I tried it out on Friday night and could feel the effects of the stretch up high in the hamstring, but not at the connector, where it was usually so painful.  This stretch allowed me to stretch out the hamstring up high and subsequently loosen it up enough without strain on the lower part.  I immediately felt the difference in walking around and actually jogged around the house a little bit and to my amazement, the pain subsided enough that I had a glimmer of hope that I could run this week.  After a rest day on Saturday (which was perfect because Kristin and I had Joe Dunn's wedding to go to), I woke up Sunday with the intention of taking my friend Chico up to the Great Island 5k (he's going for his Seacoast Jacket this year and needed this race) and maybe just taking pictures.  If I felt ok after a warmup and a couple strides, I figured I'd see who was there and maybe give it a go.


We were the first ones in the parking lot, suprisingly, and headed over to get our packets.  We caught up with Coach Deek (81 years young) and started the usual pre-race routine of scouting the area for ringers...I saw former race winner Mark Miller (pictured left w/ yours truly) and a few other Kenyan-looking dudes running around warming up, including last year's winner and course record holder Joseph Ekuom, who normally shows up to NH and western MA events that have some easy cash.  After a very easy and short warmup, I did some stretching of said-yoga-pose above, and did some strides with the confidence of being able to finish the 5k and maybe win my age group. I pinned the number to the singlet and made the decision to give it a go.

As I lined up, I noticed that Joseph Ekuom had a buddy with him but wasn't sure who it was (turned out to be eventual race winner Abraham Nuietich of Mt Vernon, NY) as well as local Kenyan road warrior Ben Ndaya of Chelmsford (who showed up late last year and jogged the race in mid-pack, as he missed the start).  So immediately, I was looking at the following equation: Kenyans x 3 + Mark Miller = not finishing any higher than 5th + missing an age-group award (as Ben Ndaya is my age).

The gun went off and 2 things felt apparent.  First, I was going to run this thing alone (top 4 were off like the place was on fire) and second, it wasn't going to be a pleasant, easy run for me.   By the time we got out of the common area (.25 miles in) I was way behind and had a decent gap on the next guy.  For the first mile, I was just fighting to see the top 2 (Abraham and Mark) and for a short time, had pipe-dreams about catching Joseph and Ben, who had fallen back a little ways).  By the one mile mark, that was pretty much done.  I went through in 4:54 and I couldn't even see the top 2 guys.  There are so many twist and turns on this course, that there isn't really a place to see for any long stretches, before the course takes a sharp turn around another corner.  After the race, I learned that Miller and Nuietich went through the first mile in 4:36.


My next mile was slow and I went through 2 miles in 10:09.  The second mile has got some ups and downs, and a boatload of turns. I had nobody really behind me within striking distance, and could just see Ben make the next turn ahead of me each time.  After the second mile mark, the course turns down a narrow dirt/gravel road for a 600 meters or so before making the turn onto the last road, up the final hill, and back into the common, for a loop around the park and in to the finish area.  Ben had far too much on me by that point, after his fast start, for me to catch him. Having nobody within view behind me wasn't really driving me to push it anymore than I had to at that point.  I knew I could salvage sub 16 after the second mile if I just kept up the same pace, so I was settling for the place I was earning up to that part of the race.

In the end, I hit the third mile in 15:16 and headed into the finish in 15:48 for 5th place (again).  I was 5th here last year, but won my age group.  This year, I was second in my age group (behind Ben, who finished 4th), but was 7 seconds faster than last year's 15:55 effort, so I'll take it.  The good news is that I didn't have any issues with pain or tightness during the race.  Once I was warmed up, it felt like business as usual, except my breathing felt a bit rusty.  Even though I had just 2 days off, I felt it.  It made me feel very flat and slow, although I was hitting the normal times (basically) for this type of course.  After the race, it was a different story.  The pain and tightness returned, but I've been trying to manage it with stretching, ice, and massage.

Splits: 5k - 15:48 - 5th of 1094

Mile 1) 4:54
Mile 2) 5:15 (10:09)
Mile 3) 5:07 (15:16)
last. 1)    :31 (15:48)

Top 10 Overall out of 1094:

Place
Name
Age
City/State
Net
Gun
Pace
1
Abraham Nuietich*
28
Mt Vernon NY  
14:54.1
14:55.0
4:49
2
Mark Miller     
29
Keene NH      
14:56.7
14:56.7
4:50
3
Joseph Ekuom*    
40
High Falls NY 
15:08.9
15:10.0
4:54
4
Benjamin Ndaya*  
33
Chelmsford MA 
15:24.2
15:24.6
4:59
5
Jim Johnson     
32
Salem NH      
15:46.7
15:47.1
5:06
6
Brendan Dagan   
27
Hamden ME     
16:28.2
16:28.5
5:19
7
Donny Connolly  
21
Plaistow NH   
17:00.6
17:00.8
5:30
8
Jamie Baker     
33
Portsmouth NH 
17:07.2
17:07.8
5:32
9
Peter McNeil    
25
Barrington NH 
17:18.0
17:18.6
5:36
10
William Emase   
29
Quincy MA     
17:19.0
17:19.3
5:36

* - denotes Kenyan

Now, onto the Baystate Marathon this coming weekend.  I hope to run better than last year and hope to make it though without issues (hammies or feet or whatever else could possibly go wrong).

Thanks to Chico's parents for taking my camera and grabbing a few shots of the finish.  I've uploaded some of these to SmugMug.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Topsfield XC Festival


Sunday I ran over in the Topsfield Cross Country Festival (results) at Bradley Palmer State Forest in Topsfield, MA.  This 8k race is an annual USATF-New England XC Grand Prix event put on by the Greater Boston Track Club.  We had a rather light CMS team representing, but it was enough to get 3rd place overall, even without some of our top guns (actually all the other clubs were also missing top guys, so it was all relative).  It really is a fun team event and a true cross country course, which made it even more worthwhile for me to run this year. I'm glad I got another cross country race in (3rd this year and 2nd in the last 2 weekends).  It was also 54th race of the 2009, but only the second time in 8 tries against Kevin Tilton (CMS/Inov-8) this year, that I've been able to hold him off.  He's had my number all year when it counts though (4 x Grand Prix races, the U.S. National Mountain Championships, and the U.S. national snowshoe qualifier).  Oh well, I'll take it whenever I can get it.

The race started out a little quicker than I was anticipating and I immediately felt a little sluggish out of the gate.  By a quarter mile in, it was no surprise that last year's winner Jarrod Shoemaker (BAA and 2008 Olympic Triathlon Team Member) was way out front, followed closely behind by last week's Codfish Bowl winner Ryan Place (GBTC).  After those two, it was a small back of 2 GBTC guys, BAA's Matt Carter, SISU's Mike Griffin, Pete Mallett, and then me.


By about a mile in, I had pulled up along side and then past Matt Haringa who offered some words of encouragement.  I then started working on trying to catch Pete.  By the second loop around and up Moon Hill, I was right behind him and waiting for my chance to go around and start to go after the rest of the chase pack. Kevin seemed to be gaining and after that, it looked like a pretty good gap.  As I made my way out into the field again, and across Moon Hill, I went around Pete and tried to convince him to come along.  The last mile or so has got some decent dowhill to it and along this descent, I was slowly gaining on Griffin and Carter.  By the time the race opened up back down near the field by the start/finish, I started running out of real estate and knew with about 300-400 meters left that I wasn't going to catch the 3 guys directly in front of me.  I took a peak back and saw that I had a decent amount of room on Pete now and knew I had at least 6th in the bag.  Then, with 200 to go and the finish line in sight, my left hamstring snapped.  It was horrendous.  I haven't ever had this happen this bad in a race before.  I'm not sure what did it (seeing the course wasn't in bad shape, the hills weren't that bad, and it was only 8k), but it was bad enough that I thought I wouldn't be able to finish the last stretch.  I came through in 6th place and 26:32 on a rather tough course, so I'll gladly take it...considering I almost thought I wasn't going to finish.  I eased into the warmup and it was bad.  I was thinking of bagging it, but after a couple of miles it loosened up ever so slightly and felt maybe 10% better, but it's still as bad as it has ever been.  I may have to play it by ear tomorrow and take a day off if it is still sore.  I'm icing as I write this and will take an Epsom soak in a bit.


Overall, our team did pretty well considering we only had 7 guys (2 of them brand new to the team) total.  A couple of our quicker Open guys couldn't make it so we had to rely on one of our speedier masters runners (Dan Verrington) to pick up the slack with the open scoring.

The weather was picture perfect on the day and the course was in great shape (considering all the rain we had yesterday).  Kristin and Kristen took a bunch of great photos on the day.  They positioned themselves up on the hill for a good group of shots at the 2 mile and 4 mile marks.

Kristin Wainwright's Photos at Smugmug - 280 photos
Kristen Kozlosky's Photos at Smugmug - 142 photos

Top 10 Overall + CMS in blue

Place
Name
Club
Time
Score
1
Jarrod Shoemaker
BAA
25:48
1
2
Ryan Place 
GBTC
25:53
2
3
Dan Smith  
GBTC
26:17
3
4
Matt Carter 
BAA
26:17
4
5
Mike Griffin  
SISU
26:26
5
6
Jim Johnson
CMS
26:32
6
7
Peter Mallet

26:47

8
Kevin Gallagher
BAA
26:57
7
9
Kevin Tilton 
CMS
26:57
8
10
Matt Haringa
GBTC
27:18
9
16
Dan Navaroli
CMS
27:45
14
20
Jim Pawlicki
CMS
28:35
17
21
Dan Verrington
CMS
28:49
18
22
Dave Harper
CMS
29:01
19
25
Dave Dunham
CMS
29:17
22
27
Dave Quintal
CMS
29:31

54 Total Finishers.


Team Scoring:

[1] Greater Boston Track Club (GBTC)
 - 2, 3, 9, 11, 13, (16), (21) = 38
[2] Boston Athletic Association (BAA)
 - 1, 4, 7, 15, 28, (30), (34) = 55
[3] Central Mass Striders (CMS)
 - 6, 8, 14, 17, 18, (19), (22) = 63
[4] SISU
 - 5, 10, 12, 25, 26 = 78
[5] Greater Lowell Road Runners (GLRR)
 - 20, 24 ,29, 31, 35 = 139
[6] New England Track and Trail (NETT)
 - 23, 27, 32, 33, 36 = 151






Photo by Kristin W.  L-R: Dan Navaroli, Jim Pawlicki, Kevin Tilton, me.