Monday, March 1, 2010

DH Jones 10 Miler

Sunday was the first race in the 2010 USATF-New England Road Race Grand Prix and like last year, it was the DH Jones 10 Miler (results) in Amherst, MA.  This race can be tough, as it has a lot of ups and downs.  There isn't that many flat sections of this race course and the early date makes it a tough grind for most.

The weather was borderline perfect for a 10 mile race, with temps hovering just above freezing as I picked up the brother's Quintal at the rivah.  In just under 2 hours we were out in Amherst, MA and met up with the rest of the CMS team for registration and the warmup.  It was a great showing for the CMS men's open and masters team, even though we had a few injuries and some top folks missing for various reasons.

As the gun went off, I was positioned probably about 3 rows back on the line and took my time out of the gate. I was very deliberate in NOT going out too fast.  The last couple of 10 mile races I've run in, I've been around 5:09-5:10 or so for the first mile and that is way too fast for my taste. Today, I wanted to run under 5:30s as a goal, which would put me under 55:00, which would be a PR (believe it or not) and a big race for me considering the training I've been doing (and the amount of races).  As the first mile ticked away, I found myself mixed in amongst many familiar faces
, and behind Heidi Westover, who was no doubt gunning for the course record.  I was side by side w/ Kevin Tilton and was going to try to stick to him as long as I could.  We ticked through the first mile in 5:25, which was far more acceptable than my usual start, especially considering the nature of this course (very hilly).

The second mile saw the pack spread out quite a bit and I could see that Justin Fyffe was right up front in the mix.  I kept along side Kevin as we pulled up and past some Whirlaway folks, GBTC guys, and some others as it continued to thin.  There's also some good downhill here, which makes for a fast second mile (perhaps the fastest one on the course).  Shortly after the 2 mile mark, Kevin and I pulled up and past Ryan Carrara (NBB), who looked to be running a little easier than he's used to.  I went up past him on one of the uphills and he offered some words of encouragement as I plugged on. Greg Hammett was way up at this point and Kevin actually asked me 'who is that other CMS guy up there!?'... Greg was running an amazing race at this point and I was hoping he could maintain, although it seemed like he went out very very fast.

Somewhere around 3 miles or so (it's a bit foggy at this point), the road turns to dirt (which was all ice and snow last year and extremely slow going and slippery).  This year, it was wet and muddy, but much more manageable.  Here, I was in front of Ryan and some others (I believe a GBTC guy or two) but for the most part, it was spread out.  I was never in a 'pack' of more than 3 or 4 guys at any time.  By mile 3, it was either someone going by me, or me going by someone else.  There was one guy from New Balance (who was wearing a white top) that kept me going during this stretch.  He came up on me and matched my stride, then took a slight lead up one of the hills.  I then edged back in front of him and pushed down the next downhill and actually put some good distance on him (but later he got me back and ended up running away from me).

Somewhere around 4.5 or so, the road switches back to pavement and around this time, Ryan Carrara and another guy went dusting by me and Ryan tried to get me to hop on, but I was feeling smooth with my pace and opted against making such a move only about halfway through the race.  At this point, I got probably as close to Greg Hammett as I had the entire race.  I began to think he was coming back and over the next couple miles, I may be able to get up past him.  Kevin also looked to be coming back as well as a few red jerseys that I was assuming was GBTC guys.  This was concerning me, because it looked to be A LOT of red in front of me, and considering that GBTC tied with us for the overall Grand Prix team title last year, I knew I had to race these guys.  What I didn't know was that some of that red was R.UN, Whirlaway, and Adidas NE.  I knew the two guys immediately in front of me (for what felt like the entire race) were definitely GBTC runners and I needed to get moving.

As the course wound up and down, somewhere near 6 miles (just shy), I came down around a corner and saw a CMS jersey over on the side of the road.  I remember yelling out an 'oh no' to myself out loud and then squinted to see who it was.  It was Kevin, who was walking a few steps and then bent all the way over, clutching his side.  As I came down past him, I told him to 'take his time and recover before starting up again'...I didn't want to see him hobbling a few steps, stopping, hobbling again, stopping, etc.  He did just that, and took his time getting past his cramp before staring up again (and killing the last 3 miles actually).  Not a minute after going by Kevin, I saw another GBTC runner stopped on the side of the road as well and walking.  I'm not sure who he was, as he ended up being a DNF (I compared his bib in some photos to the finishers list), but I know he was the guy who was actually leading the race at near 2-3 miles.

Once past the 6 mile mark, I just tried to keep the guys in front of me close.  I had about 8 or so bodies that I could see in front of me at times, but they were spread way out.  I could see Greg the entire way, but he was now actually putting a lot of ground on me and by mile 7 or so, I knew he was running a phenomenal race and there was no way I was going to catch him.  I felt like I was slowing, but I never looked at my watch other than the first mile.  This helped big time.  I had no indication if I was indeed slowing down or speeding up, and over this type of course, it wouldn't have mattered much actually, due to the hills, but mentally I would have probably blown up if I saw a 5:40-something mile mixed in there... So I didn't look at my watch, but instead just kept focusing on maybe picking up some guys in front. I recognized Matty Haringa in front of me a ways and knew that we usually go back and forth, but being near him was where I should be...  I also started to see a BAA jersey around mile 7, which made me wonder if I was going to maybe pickup a big name over the last few miles.

As mile 7 past, I started to peek behind me and noticed Joe Navas (Whirlaway) lingering back there, within striking distance.  I had past Joe around mile 2 and he had no doubt hung on to me for the next 5 miles...  He just beat me last year by 2 spots and usually gets me by much more than that, so I tried to maintain my pace and stay in front.  As I went past 8 miles, it opens up to a long straightaway and then climbs a pretty long hill.  At this point, I could almost make out the BAA runner and started to think it might be Eric Blake.  I was a little shocked, because this guy is a better hill runner than anyone else in the field, and you'd think that a hilly 10 mile course would be right in his wheelhouse, with what he has been able to do at Mt. he's a 2:21 marathoner. But I think he was definitely either sick or just didn't have a good run for sure, as I was gaining on him between mile 8 and 9.

Over the last 3 or so miles, I didn't get past by anyone, but wasn't gaining on anyone either, except for Eric.  I was holding off Joe, but he was still within striking distance as I made my way past the last right hand turn, before the 9 mile mark.  Here, is where you can peek over your shoulder and see who's coming.  It was only Joe from what I could see.  At this point, I had my eyes focused on Blake who was noticeably struggling up the last hill.  The last mile is about 2/3rds of the way up hill and then downhill to a small loop around the parking lot and to the finish.  As I crested the last hill, I was right behind Eric now, and moved along side him on the way down.  He wasn't reacting at all and seemed to be just in finish mode. I went around him before the last turn into the parking lot and ended up holding him off, and the charge of Joe Navas.  I also ducked in right under 55 minutes, with a 54:48 and a new PR for me at 10 miles (although I really have not run any fast, ideal-condition 10 milers yet).

I was very pleased with the effort, as I had placed 3rd for CMS (5th guy last year), I was 20th overall (22nd last year), and I was 20 seconds faster than last year on this same course.  Any time I am faster, one year later, at my age, I am pleased with the gotta be.  The great news later, is that not only did Justin Fyffe finish 2nd place with a new PR (only 5 seconds out of the overall win), but CMS as a team, even with Kevin's difficulties, still beat GBTC, Whirlaway, and R.UN for the 2nd straight 2nd place at the 10 mile championships.  Last year, we had guys up front like Andy McCarron and Matty Clark, but this year, we had some other guys step up to the plate and really run strong for us.  Aside from Justin and Greg running fantastic races, Kevin Gorman and Mike Quintal stepped up and closed out the scoring for us.  Our masters team also won the overall, which I was thinking they were going to do anyways, without the likes of Larry Sayers, Eric Morse, Dave Dunham, or Tivo. Great stuff for CMS today...

Top 20 Overall + CMS in Blue

1Brendan Callahan 28Middletown CT    50:535:06
2Justin Fyffe     29East Dummerston VT50:585:06
3Mark Miller      29Keene NH         51:495:11
4Patrick Moulton  28Providence RI    52:035:13
5Brian Harvey     22Allston MA       52:395:16
6David Bedoya     33Somerville MA    52:485:17
7Brad Mish        22Hadley MA        52:595:18
8Drew Best        27Leverett MA      53:035:19
9Kevin Johnson    21Ludlow MA        53:055:19
10Matthew Lacey    25Amherst MA       53:095:19
11Brandon Newbould 28Dover NH         53:115:20
12Rex Radloff      22Dedham MA        53:385:22
13Nathan Krah      24Boston MA        53:405:22
14David Johnson    21Ludlow MA        53:465:23
15Ryan Carrara     33Hudson MA        54:045:25
16Greg Hammett     32Chesterfield NH  54:095:25
17Mike Maceiko     34Rutland MA       54:205:26
18Matthew Haringa  26Brighton MA      54:225:27
19Dan Smith        31Cambridge MA     54:435:29
20Jim Johnson      32Salem NH          54:485:29
29Kevin Gorman      33Norwood MA          55:595:36
34Mike Quintal      31North Andover MA    56:115:38
48Jim Pawlicki      35Beverly MA          57:165:44
53Jeff Goupil       22Keene NH            57:285:45
54Dan Verrington    47Bradford MA         57:315:46
57Matt Clark        27Amherst MA          57:435:47
58Joe Shairs        41Peabody MA          57:445:47
59Kevin Tilton      28Northconway NH      57:455:47
76David Quintal     46Salem NH            58:525:54
78Scott Clark       44Gilmanton NH        59:005:54
82Ernest Brake      48N.Sutton NH         59:225:57
86Christian Muentner36Yarmouth ME         59:405:58
100John Pajer        47Leicester MA       1:00:476:05
101David Harper      43Leominster MA      1:00:526:06
142Rod Viens         42Grantham NH        1:03:396:22
172Kevin McCusker    52Ashby MA           1:05:336:34
203Ernesto Soto      32Worcester MA       1:07:486:47
204Brian Page        27Worcester MA       1:07:526:48
241Joseph Alfano     44Holden MA          1:10:117:02
276Paul Grogan       56Hudson MA          1:12:237:15
336Edward Coleman    47Auburn MA          1:15:287:33
359Clifford Connell  48Princeton MA       1:16:427:41
382Paul Hargreaves   54North Brookfield MA1:18:097:49
549Jeff Whittemore   49Fitchburg MA       1:30:049:01

691 Total Finishers.

Men's Open Team Results (Top 5 teams out of 16)

            50:53   51:49   52:03   52:39   54:57 (  56:01) (  56:01) = 4:22:21
         Brendan Callahan, Mark Miller, Patrick Moulton, Brian Harvey, Eric
         Blake, Wayne Levy, Joshua Gordon
   2.  CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS                     
            50:58   54:09   54:48   55:59   56:11 (  57:16) (  57:28) = 4:32:05
         Justin Fyffe, Greg Hammett, Jim Johnson, Kevin Gorman, Mike Quintal,
         Jim Pawlicki, Jeff Goupil
   3.  GREATER BOSTON TRACK CLUB                 
            52:48   54:22   54:43   55:11   56:00 (  56:50) (  57:26) = 4:33:04
         David Bedoya, Matthew Haringa, Dan Smith, Ioannis Papadopoulos, Eric
         Mendoza, Tomoaki Uchiki, Edward Breen
   4.  WHIRLAWAY RACING TEAM                     
            53:11   55:07   55:41   55:51   56:02 (  56:27) (  57:11) = 4:35:52
         Brandon Newbould, Joe Navas, Chris Mahoney, Steve Plouff, Dan Princic,
         Jose Ortiz, Chris Hamel
            57:14   57:48   58:17   58:45   59:31 (1:00:22) (1:00:41) = 4:51:35
         Michael Brouillette, Ron Lombardi, Carlos Rivera, Paul Fratini, Kent
         Lemme, Nicholas Curelop, Robert Landry

Men's Masters Team Results (Top 5 teams out of 14)

   1.  CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS                     
            57:31   57:44   58:52   59:00   59:22 (1:00:47) (1:00:52) = 4:52:29
         Dan Verrington, Joe Shairs, David Quintal, Scott Clark, Ernest Brake,
         John Pajer, David Harper
   2.  WHIRLAWAY RACING TEAM                     
            58:00   58:21   58:31   58:51   59:50 (1:00:31) (1:00:59) = 4:53:33
         Mike Cooney, Jason Porter, Reno Stirrat, Mike Platt, Mark Gibson,
         Scott Anderson, Paul Doe
            57:48   58:45   59:31 1:00:41 1:02:11 (1:02:14) (1:03:19) = 4:58:56
         Ron Lombardi, Paul Fratini, Kent Lemme, Robert Landry, Brent Coon,
         Peter Fratini, Charlie Muse
            56:01   56:53 1:01:44 1:02:38 1:03:14 (1:03:28) (1:04:06) = 5:00:30
         Wayne Levy, Jonathan Fortescue, Mark Bell, Patrick Stumbras, John
         Barrett, Bernie O'Reilly, Andy MacDonald
   5.  TRIAD RACING                              
            57:02   58:18 1:00:25 1:01:46 1:03:07 (1:08:28) (1:09:58) = 5:00:38
         Rich Smith, Todd Callaghan, Steve Wolfe, Randy Macneill, Michael
         Wright, Ken Snow, Chuck Landry

And now for the individual stats...

Splits: 10 Miles - 54:48 (5:28 pace)

Mile 1)  5:25
Mile 2)  5:04 (10:30)
Mile 3)  5:37 (16:07)
Mile 4)  5:46 (21:54)
Mile 5)  5:38 (27:32)
Mile 6)  5:26 (32:58)
Mile 7)  5:16 (38:15)
Mile 8)  5:32 (43:47)
Mile 9)  5:25 (49:13)
Mile 10) 5:34 (54:47)

Good news is that I ran 'negative' for the 5 mile splits... 27:32 and 27:16...then again, that may be a similar story for others, depending on the nature of the course profile...but knowing how I usually bomb in Grand Prix events, I am pleased to have finished strong here, and I attribute that mostly to a slow and steady start.  I was relaxed and not worried about who was in front of me for the first few miles.

I mapped out the course here.  You can turn the Elevation on (large) to see the layout of the course and how hilly it is.

Another interesting stat is the fact that I was the 3rd Johnson.  Yep...that's right...I was 20th but the THIRD Johnson. What is even more interesting is that there was only 4 Johnson's total (out of 691 finishers).  3 in the top 20 and only one other one (a woman) at 190th place.  It's just a fast last name I guess.

Fantastic photos taken by Krissy K can be viewed here.

Additional photos of the start courtesy of Steve Wolfe.

Additional photos of the race courtesy of Dave Dunham, photos by Larry Sayers.

My Photos courtesy of DD w/ my camera (although most are blurry due to settings).  There are some OK ones mixed in....if you find one of you that is alright, feel free to use.  Most are out of focus.

Good video below from maybe the 2 mile mark...courtesy of Double-D.

Awesome video from J.Fyffe's blog:

Heidi Westover nearly breaks record at Jones Group Realtors 10 Mile Road Race


  1. Dude, you have the best race reports and better photo/video coverage than any of the magazines online or otherwise. I mean, good lord, I look at mine and it's like, "Good run, tried to catch such-and-such couldn't keep up with so-and-so, unhappy/happy with time, donuts afterwards were especially tasty..." blah, blah, blah ;-) You have what looks like full-on ESPN coverage. Always the first place I look after the big races. Great stuff.
    Great race yesterday. You ran strong and aggressive and smart and I couldn't get anywhere near you. There were maybe two places where I felt like I might be making up a little time and it was as if I activated your radar or something, as before I knew it, the gap was twice as big it seemed in a matter of moments.
    Psyched for New Beige. Hopefully good weather again (yeah, right, what are the odds?) See you there, I'm sure. Be well--

  2. I have your blog on the radar so it better get beefier as far as those race recaps go ;)...thanks for the kind words Joe...You kept me going out there yesterday for sure! I hope to run a similar race at new bedford and can hopefully hang w/ you there... thanks for reading!! See you in a couple weeks...

  3. Great recap. Congrats on the PR. It was interesting to see the pics...sometimes shades were up on your hat, sometimes they were down. I'm guessing it was you paying homage to Sly Stallone in Over the Top. Next time I'm going to try to hang with you. Running for CMS is a lot of fun. Navas is right w/ your ESPN-like coverage. I'm glad CMS was able to squeek out 2nd place. It was close. We'll have to be ready for NB...I think I was bonking post race when I re-introduced myself to you after talking to you for the entire cooldown. Sorry 'bout that. See you in a few weeks.

  4. Dunno Joe. At this point the Donuts are what interest me the most, I think.

    Agree this is a hell of a race report. I feel guilty for not running this thing but I'd signed up for another race before they even announced the Grand Prix. You folks are studs.