Saturday, April 10, 2010

George Davis Invite

Saturday, after taking photos down at the 19th Annual Merrimack River Trail in Andover, MA, I headed over to  Lowell, MA and my old stomping grounds, to run in the George Davis Invitational Track Meet (results).  I did this last year too, as it is a good (safe) last workout before Boston.  I didn't want to risk an injury or sprained ankle, etc. at the River, so I opted to run the 5k again at GD.

This year's weather was much nicer (last year it was raining and cold) but the wind was bad at times and felt like it was coming from all angles. With the track placed right next to the highway and the Merrimack River, it's not exactly in the best place to be shielded from the wind.  After the Eastern States experience a couple weeks ago however, it was relatively tame, all things considered.

After a pretty long day of standing/sitting around and shivering (welcome back to track!), I warmed up w/ Pat L. and J.D. (Merrimack dudes) through the
streets of North Campus and then we checked into the 5k, which was looking pretty full. 26 guys had registered, but 18 would end up finishing.  To be honest, I felt a bit out of place, seeing I was the oldest guy probably in the entire meet.  Nate Jenkins ran the 2 mile, but he's not yet 30 years of age.  I am 2 weeks out from being 33, and I was the ONLY Open runner in the 5k.  I'm obviously not used to that type of situation when running road/trail/mountain/snowshoe races.  I also felt bad that I seeded myself at 15:12 (my Cigna time from last year)...I knew I wasn't really in 15:12 shape, but figured I'd seed myself with my 30+ road PR so that I would have a good chance of making the 1st heat (if they had to split it into 2 sections). That of course wasn't the case, and there was only 1 heat...but the #1 on my hip and chest made me the one to beat.  I had a couple guys ask me what I planned on running and I had to just laugh and say 'well, I'd say within a minute or so of my seed time'...  In the end, I wasn't too far off, but it's always nice to outperform your seed time...

As the gun went off, I got out kind of sluggish and settled in behind a Keene State guy.  It was a staggered start because of all the guys, so by the cut-in I was still in 2nd place with 2 or 3 guys tucked right in behind me.  I felt very comfortable and smooth as I just sat behind the Keenyan.  As we breezed through the mile, I was surprised to see 68 on my watch.  A bit too fast for my taste.  I was aiming for 75s and it was apparent after coming through the first split, that the others were too. We slowed a bit over the next few laps as a couple of guys passed me.  Another Keenyan and a Babson dude.  The Babson dude looked and sounded like he was laboring a bit and I soon passed him back.  I now had 2 Keene State guys in front of me and they seemed to be working together.  Every now and then they'd switch places and then the 2nd guy back would seem to start to slip back a bit.  I would constantly tell the guy in front of me 'don't lose that guy' and to 'keep right up with him'.... it worked.  When I would say that, it seemed they would react and reel the leader back in, subsequently making my job easier to just sit on both and not have to worry about moving out and past a guy to settle back into position.

We came through the mile in 4:51 and then 2 miles in 9:51.  I was just sitting and waiting at this point.  I figured I'd sit and see how the last couple laps played out and then kick.  We hit a steady stream of 75s which felt nice and smooth.  With a couple laps to go, I started to get a slight side stitch for whatever reason, but was able to hang on.  As I hit the back side of the last lap, I moved out to the second lane and started to make my move.  As I crossed the starting line (200 meters to go), I moved out and passed both the Keene State runners and thought I had it in the bag.  I rolled past the last turn and hit the last 100 meters.  I moved out into the 2nd or 3rd lane as I came down the last straightaway.  I turned with about 50 meters to go and looked behind me over my left shoulder.  I saw a red Keene jersey back there and thought for sure I had the win.  Then, to my horror, I heard commotion over my right shoulder, out in the outer lanes and turned to look quickly.  In a flash, the other Keenyan was absolutely flying past me in lane 5 or 6 and there was nothing I could do but smile as I came across the line.  I had put in a great move with 200 to go and then had a great move pulled on me right before the line. I couldn't react and ended up losing to him by just under 2 seconds, and only edging out the other Keenyan by 1 second.  It was a great race run by those guys and they were super cool after the race, thanking me for keeping them going with my occasional words of wisdom during the race.  Looking back, I should have probably made a move with a lap to go, rather than a half a lap...but who knows.  I had lots of fun and was glad I could pull a couple other guys along for the ride...

1Pipp, Timothy     JRKeene State        15:23.97
2Johnson, Jim        Cms/Inov-8/Uml '99 15:25.58
3Hoyt, Kevin       SOKeene State        15:26.63
4Kacher, Nick      JRWheaton (Mass.)    15:34.63
5Gendron, Steve    SRBentley            15:49.47
6Bellet, Andrew    JRTufts              15:52.17
7Fitzpatrick, Kyle SOBabson             16:15.09
8Stevens, George   JRKeene State        16:20.38
9Doherty, John     SOMerrimack          16:26.09
10Smith, Mike       SOBabson             16:33.67
11Williams, Jake    FRBabson             16:34.47
12Boucher, Adam     SOKeene State        16:57.36
13Lawlor, Pat       FRMerrimack          17:01.99
14Holahan, Brian    SOGordon             17:02.28
15Mader, Karl       FRWheaton (Mass.)    17:54.64
16Failing, Kalib    FRNew Haven          18:06.46
17Roberto, Anthony  SOCollege of St. Rose18:12.46
18Thompson, Evan    FRKeene State        18:20.67

Looking at my splits, I was incredibly consistent.  Besides the first lap, everything else was pretty even.

Splits: 5K - 15:25 (2nd OA)

Lap 1)   1:08
Lap 2)   1:13 (2:21)
Lap 3)   1:14 (3:36)
Lap 4)   1:15 (4:51) - 1 mile
Lap 5)   1:14 (6:05)
Lap 6)   1:15 (7:20)
Lap 7)   1:15 (8:35)
Lap 8)   1:15 (9:51) - 2 mile
Lap 9)   1:15 (11:06)
Lap 10) 1:15 (12:22)
Lap 11) 1:15 (13:37)
Lap 12) 1:13 (14:51) - 3 mile
Lap 12.5) :33 (15:25)

Going into the meet I had a bunch of things on my mind that were making me think that I wasn't going to run fast.  I know I am stronger at this point that I was last year, but I haven't done many 'fast' races that would lend me to have something for a 5k.  Coming out of snowshoe season and some longer races like DH Jones, New Bedford, Eastern States, and Nipmuck, I really don't feel 'fast'.  All that considered, and with having to sit/stand around all day and race LATE in the day, I'm thrilled to not only have broken 16 (which is always a basic goal of mine in 5ks), but also to have run under 5 minute pace (sub 15:32).

Side notes... A good 2 mile battle between Nate Jenkins and Ruben Sanca.  Both were under 9 minutes (Ruben with an 8:56 and Nate with an 8:58).  Great stuff.  I also got to chew the fat with my old coach, George Davis for a bit, and a couple of other great coaches from back in the day, Chris Cameron (Merrimack) and Ed Lyons (Bentley)... Also, a couple of my occasional running partners ran good races in the 5k as well... John Doherty (SO - Merrimack) ran a PR of 16:26 and Pat Lawlor (FR - Merrimack) continues to run strong and improve, just missing a sub 17 run.

Next up, an easy week of shakeout runs and the taper before Boston a week from Monday.  Bring it.


  1. Looks like you got Pipped at the line. Nice race. Thanks for coming out and cheering us on too.

  2. Nice race "old" man. Would have loved to have seen that two mile.