Saturday I opted out of Big Lake Half Marathon after a less than stellar week of running. I felt flat most of the week and didn't feel good on Friday. Friday night I talked with Scott Rowe online and he was ready to go for CR attempt at Big Lake. I knew he would most certainly get it (his own record from 2007) as he's in fantastic shape this season. I on the other hand, felt like I would have a tough time grinding through 13.1 miles on that course. It can be a tad on the slow side and the weather wasn't looking all that great. I decided that it would be in my best interest to forego a spot in the top 5 (maybe) at Big Lake (which is in the money) and look for something else relatively local. I found a couple options that had money (something I almost never focus on or plan around)...
It came down to a decision between Hampton Falls 5k/5M (both pay out top 3) and a race up in Barrington, NH (B1st Peepers 5k (results)) (pays out top 3)... My thought was that Hampton would most certainly attract some competition, and that Barrington seemed like it was just far enough away to maybe allow me to steal one. That totally turned out to be the complete opposite of what happened.
Because I'm extremely stubborn, I still decided to race and reluctantly drove up to Barrington, NH to race in the morning because I obviously just can't 'not race' on any given weekend (unless I'm badly injured)... I probably should have just taken the weekend off from racing, but I didn't. I pulled into the parking lot up in Barrington (a town, I've never run in before) and noticed Dan Verrington's truck and Chris Mahoney standing next to his car with a rather surprised look on his face....He was thinking he'd be up there stealing one too (and he nearly did). It was rather funny because we both weren't expecting to see other usual suspects, but after we walked over to registration, we saw a few more, including my fellow CMS teammate Jeff Goupil (who, ahem, 'lives' in Barrington) and New Balance Boston and former UNH standout Dan Hocking. I quickly did the math and figured I'd be in the hunt for 3rd place, and that's basically what happened.
After a warmup in rather dreary conditions w/ said harriers above, we toed the line and were off. I was flat, heavy, and clumsy through the first mile, but still with Chris, Dan, and Jeff to the tune of 4:58 or so. Then the wheels fell off. We hit the turnround in this out and back (true out and back that starts and finishes on the same line) and I was right behind Dan and Chris right behind me. Jeff had fallen off the pace just a bit. Not too soon after this, I just started to lose any drive I had to run fast. Chris went after Dan, who was starting to pull away. I just looked behind me and settled for 3rd really early. I'm not sure what it was, but for the first time in a long while, I just didn't want to be racing. My 2nd and 3rd miles were slow, as the course just seemed like it was slightly uphill the entire way (both ways). As I neared 3 miles, I started to catch back up to Chris, who looked to be slowing, and by the 3 mile mark, where the road turns into the final stretch, I was almost back in it....that is of course until Chris looked over his shoulder, and the rest was history. He smoked me over the last .1, even with me clocking a :29 last .1. I finished 3 seconds back of Chris who ran a smarter race than I. He was a couple seconds up on me at 3 miles and just stayed there over the last kick to the finish. I made up no ground and in fact lost a second on him as we both tried to salvage a sub 16.... I was 11 seconds back of Dan, who is coming off of a 14:20 5k at Penn Relays this year and who was no doubt, toying with us, with his pedestrian-paced 15:39 :).
Top 10 Overall (CMS in blue)
|1||15:39||5:02||Daniel Hocking||30||Dover NH|
|2||15:47||5:05||Chris Mahoney||32||Haverhill MA|
|3||15:50||5:06||Jim Johnson||33||Salem NH|
|4||16:31||5:19||Jeff Goupil||22||Barrington NH|
|5||16:50||5:25||Dan Verrington||47||Bradford MD|
|6||17:00||5:29||Fergus Cullen||38||Dover NH|
|8||17:44||5:43||Lance Powers||40||Rochester NH|
|9||17:55||5:46||Lesley Hocking||29||Dover NH|
|10||18:24||5:56||Mark Dudley||50||Dover NH|
We all cooled down together and I talked with Dan a bit. He's a really cool guy who has come back to running after some time off and is really ripping it up (with a fleet 14:20 PR in the 5k this year at 30 years of age). He's running Mt. Washington this June for the first time and it should be exciting to see what he can do there. His wife Leslie won the woman's race, giving them a decent payday on a less than stellar day weather-wise.
Chris, Jeff, and Dan all have good blog entry/race writeups on the race (better than this one). I stole the photo above from Chris Mahoney's blog. I think Heather may have taken it. In any case, thanks to whoever I stole this from!
This coming week (I think) will be Soapstone Mountain. I did this race last year and it was a good time. I enjoyed the course and Ben showed me a thing or two over the last couple miles...