On Sunday, 6 days post Boston Marathon, I decided to head back up to Dover, NH to run Red's Shoe Barn 5 Miler (results), now officially called ' Red's Shoe Barn 5 Mile Road Race For A Better Community'). It was the 29th anniversary of the race and to celebrate the course record, which is a blistering 24:12, I decided to go with my 'Dunham Rocks' singlet.
History: Dave Dunham has the official CR at 24:12.01 in 1996. It is listed as such now by GSRS, however back in 1996 on Coolrunning, it shows 24:13 (obviously rounded up). The next year, 1997, Craig Fram also ran 24:13 and it shows that as the new CR (if you look at the bottom of the 97 results). Regardless, both times are super fast on this course, which isn't exactly flat. There are a lot of ups and downs, with some decent hills early, a lot of uphill in the middle, and a super fast downhill last mile.
Leading up to the race this weekend, I didn't do too much running after Boston on Monday. I took Tuesday completely off, as I was still hobbling around. I ran on Wednesday at North Andover H.S. with the Merrimack men's XC guys and Pimentel. We ran around on the infield of the track on the artificial turf and I could hardly move. On Thursday I met Chris Healey, Matt Pimentel, and Mike Quintal down at the river trail for some trail running (10 miles) and again, I had some difficulty getting it done. They dusted me over the last couple miles, which were run in the pouring rain, complete with thunder and lightning. On Friday, my 33rd birthday, I took one last day off, as I just wasn't feeling that well and really wanted to be able to salvage a race this weekend. I knew I wouldn't be able to get a race in on Saturday AND Sunday (as I had done last year), so I figured I'd take the safest way out and try to get one last day of running in on Saturday and race Red's on Sunday....so Saturday I did a short 5 mile tempo and felt 'OK'. However, I was up all night on Saturday (yes, I did not go to bed). I literally got up off the couch at 6:30am on Sunday, got in the shower, and headed up to Dover to the race. I have been struggling with severe congestion for the past 2 weeks due to bad seasonal allergies. I really had a hard time on Saturday night and couldn't even put my head down to try to go to sleep.... On the drive up to Dover on Sunday morning, I had the shakes and was just hoping I would be able to have enough energy to get through the race... I was 2nd here last year and wasn't expecting too much more this year.
After I registered for the race, I talked a bit w/ Andy Schachat and a couple others before heading out to do a couple of easy miles over the first part of the course. The weather was pretty nice and getting pretty warm. The sun was shining bright and since this was a NH Grand Prix event this year, the numbers seemed pretty good. Right before the race, I saw Casey Carroll (3rd last year) warming up and I had already saw Rich Smith over at registration, so I knew it would be a good field.
As the gun went off, I found myself right up front with Casey on my shoulder and Fergus Cullen right behind us, with a couple others hanging on, including Robert Gomez, who ran 51:53 at a VERY windy Mid Winter Classic 10 miler in Cape Elizabeth, ME back in February. Shortly before the one mile mark, Robert took off and put some distance on Casey and I and I was pretty sure he'd be gone for good. At 2 miles it was more of the same, but I was putting some distance on Casey at this point, who was coming back from some time off after Eastern States (he won the 1/2 marathon). The mile splits were all over the place. The first few mile markers weren't right so I won't even bother putting my splits down here. By 3 miles I had caught up to Robert and had a short conversation with him as we were going down one of the rolling hills in the middle. My quads were acting up here because of the residual Boston hills still lingering around in there... I was still able to pull away and by the 4 mile mark, I had a pretty decent lead on Robert, who was still hanging on. The 4th mile had a lot of uphill and the 5th mile starts with some uphill (the steepest climb on the course) and then has a TON of dowhill to a flat/slightly uphill finish. I passed the 4 mile mark in 21:00 (according to a guy at the 4 mile marker calling out splits). Nate Huppe and Scotty Rowe were also standing there at 4 miles. I ended up running 4:56 for my last mile, as most of that is downhill. Robert came through in second, Casey in 3rd for the 2nd year in a row, and Rich Smith in 4th with a solid time.
475 Total Finishers.
For my efforts, I got a nice $75 gift cert to Red's Shoe Barn in Dover, NH...