Sunday, May 2, 2010

Footbridge 5k and Margarita's 5k

Photo courtesy of Doyle/Citizen - Fosters Daily Democrat - Dover, NH

This weekend I took advantage of the nice weather and ran a couple of races up in the Seacoast region (my favorite weekend getaway)...

Saturday was the first race in the 2010 Seacoast Road Race Series (SRRS) and it took me up to Dover, NH for the Footbridge 5k (results) (Previously the Children's Museum of NH 5k).  This race still
benefits the Children's Museum of NH (which has moved from Portsmouth to Dover).  The race used to be in Portsmouth and moved to Dover in 2009.  I got to run on the old course once (2008) and loved it.  This new course is OK, but nothing compares to finishing right in Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth.  I ran this race last year and it was ugly.  I wasn't under 16 minutes and got smoked by Chris Mahoney (WHIRL) and John Mentzer (Navy).  This year, I knew I was in better shape, but I ran into 2 guys that were just better prepared to run fast in a 5k on Saturday morning.

I headed up solo on Saturday and my parents made the trip down from Wakefield, NH to check out the race.  The weather was pretty nice, with bright sunshine and temps in the 70s, which made it a tad warm for the start.  I warmed up w/ the new ace of the seacoast 5k/10k scene, Bob Wiles (CMS), Dave Quintal (CMS), Dan 'don't call it a comeback' Verrington (CMS), and the eastern Mass version of the 'Mahoni' (plural for Mahoney), Chris Mahoney (WHIRL) and Heather Searles (WHIRL).  We ran over the course ahead of time and it reminded me that it's essentially a lot of climb for the first mile (or as DQ said, 'an honest first mile').  The course is pretty nice, but not very fast.  You have a lot of downhill around the 2 mile mark, but it just has some twist, turns, and uphills that make for a rather slow 5k.  This didn't stop the quality of the field however, as many good runners turned up including John Mentzer again, who even though is not really training as much as he'd like (new baby at home), was out for another go at the Seacoast title.

As the gun went off, I headed out to the front pack and it was (as far as I could see without turning around), me, Bob, John, and Chris.  Just as I had suspected.  I knew Bob was going to crank a good one, as the last few months indicate that that boy is in GOOD shape.  Mentzer is a 29 flat 10k, 14 flat 5k, 2:18 marathoner, so I knew even if he wasn't 'in racing shape', he could rip a 15:30/40 at least on this course...  I was eyeing at least 3rd place (as I took last year) and a sub 16 effort (as I didn't do last year, but always strive to do in each 5k)...   Through the first uphill mile (went through in 5:10, which felt like 4:50), it was us 4, as we turned into the neighborhood loop in the middle of the course.  Coming back out of the neighborhood, I started to drop back off the pace, and Chris had fallen back just a bit right before.  Mentzer looked to have made a move and Bob looked phenomenally relaxed and just went along for the ride.

By the time I came out of the neighborhoods and started down the hill to the 2 mile mark, I was way back in 3rd, with Chris not too far behind.  At this point I started to think about a potential 4th place finish and started to think about the lobsters (3rd place gets 4 lobster dinners).... I figured if I got run down for 3rd, I'd be pushed back to age group winner and wasn't sure about how many lobsters that was (if any)...pretty stupid to think about, but I was miserable and for some reason just struggled along not even 2 miles into the race.  I pushed through 2 miles in 10:15 (5:05 second mile, so things were getting slightly better).  Chris was lingering back there behind me and I just prayed I had enough to finish in 3rd at this point.  Even though Bob and John weren't all that far ahead, I just didn't have anything in the tank to go after them.

Coming up around and across the footbridge in downtown Dover, I was in finish mode.  Bob had moved into first by just a few steps and looked so strong.  John looked like he was just settling for 2nd and not really pushing up to challenge Bob for the lead.  I was still busy worrying about Chris (if Chris had a navy blue polar bear on his chest, I wouldn't care nearly as much ;) )....   I came through 3 miles with another 5:05 for 15:20 and pushed the last .1 miles in 33 seconds to finish up just under 16 in a 15:53.  I'll take it considering it is 20 seconds faster than I ran last year, and 4 seconds faster than the winning time there last year (Chris Mahoney).  Bob captured the win only 1 second up on John.  Chris was close behind me in 4th.  Top CMS masters runners Dan Verrington and Dave Quintal both ran to top 10 finishes (finishing 7th and 9th respectively), being split by top area runner Fergus Cullen (who's 7 Sister's story helped me make my decision to bow out of that race this year ;) )...

The cooldown was more of the same, with a run over the course one last time with the same crew.  For my efforts, I did get the gift cert for 4 lobster dinners courtesy of the Weathervane restaurant (which I've certainly been known to frequent).

Top 10 (CMS in blue, Whirlaway in hot pink)

1Bob Wiles            32Kittery ME            15:37  5:02
2John Mentzer     33Portsmouth NH     15:38  5:02
3Jim Johnson        33Salem NH               15:53  5:07
4Chris Mahoney  32Haverhill MA         16:13  5:13
5Mark Gosztyla   28Cambridge MA    16:45  5:24  
6Erik Travis           26Lee NH                  16:51  5:26  
7Dan Verrington  47Bradford MA       16:56  5:27
8Fergus Cullen     38Dover NH               17:02  5:29
9David Quintal     46Salem NH             17:09  5:32
10Jasmin Lepir      34Portsmouth NH    17:39 5:41

1043 Finishers.

In the interim, I took the 'Tour of Italy' at the Olive Garden, then went home, watched the Celtics roll over to the Cavs, and made my final decision to try a 5k once more this weekend and forego the excitement that would certainly ensue at 7 Sisters out in Amherst, MA.

On Sunday, I took the scenic route (110 to 108) up and over to Exeter, NH to run in the Margarita's 5k (results) at Margarita's restaurant.  The weather was supposed to be pretty warm, but I still couldn't pass up the opportunity to have fun at another Seacoast event. (Photo on left by Yankee Timing's Richie Blake).

I got up the race around 9am and headed over to registration.  I didn't really recognize any familiar faces and headed out on my warmup solo.  I ran the course backwards (no, not literally backwards, but in the reverse direction).  The course runs up through some pretty nice roads in Exeter.  It starts out in the parking lot in front of Margaritas and then heads right, out onto 108 for a little downhill then uphill before turning right into a parking lot of a supermarket.  It hooks around the back of the supermarket (where the delivery trucks would drive) and out of the other side and onto a nice back road (rt 88) along the highway.  This is a long stretch which leads up to the 1 mile mark before hooking up a long steady uphill, which isn't too steep, but long enough to really slow the pace down.  After the uphill, the course hooks right again, onto 101C.  Here, you continue uphill a ways and then crest over around where the water stop is.  Then it is a lot of dowhill.  101C is a rather busy but scenic road.  It's lined with nice homes and the breakdown lane (like most of the course) was lined with cones, to separate the runner's alley from traffic.  I liked this because not only was probably 75% of the course lined with cones to safeguard the runners, but it also helped see where the course goes from pretty much any vantage point.  The last bit of the course hooks right onto a back road that leads through the hospital and then right into the back of the parking lot of the plaza where Margaritas is.  You finish by running behind all the buildings and finish right to the side of the restaurant.

After the warmup, I quickly changed and threw on an old school white CMS jersey (which was WAY too small) and headed over to the line.  Andy Schachat saw me line up and thought it was amusing that I was at yet another race this close to having run Boston, but this is what it is all about for me... I mean, if nothing is bothering me, and I feel like racing, why the heck not right? :)...

The gun went off and I was out to the front, as I hadn't really recognized anyone familiar except for Mark Gibson, who was 8th at the 2008 Baystate Marathon to the tune of 2:37 (smoking me by 8 or so minutes).  Mark and I have run numerous Seacoast races against each other.  He's running for Whirlaway now and is part of their very good masters team.   Aside from Mark, there was an MVS runner there, and a guy from Wicked.  3 red jerseys all bunched together.  There was also a younger runner who ran right beside me and even a step up on me for the first 200 meters or so.  I think he was wearing a blue Loco singlet.  After the first turn into the parking lot of the supermarket, I had the lead and just tried to settle in.  It was getting hot and I wasn't feeling all that smooth, but I was managing.  Arlon Chaffee was riding a bike in front of me and there was a lead vehicle up ahead.  As I hit the mile mark, I felt like I was working pretty hard and was pleased to see 4:56.  I knew the 2nd mile would be slow, as the course started to wind up the long climb to mile 2.  

As I turned onto Rt. 101C, Arlon got off the bike and now it was just the lead vehicle up ahead, and me turning to look back and see 3 red jerseys all pretty close together.  I was fairly confident I could hold the lead, but wasn't sure by how much, and certainly wasn't sure I could keep plugging away.  As I headed past the water stop (which I think is a bit past halfway), the majority of any uphill is over.  I went past 2 miles in 10:09 (which made my 2nd mile 5:13).  I talked with Arlon afterwards and 2nd mile mark may have been off by just a little, but I was definitely hoping it was long.  I started down the descent and just tried to run the same pace and make up some time.  When I took the turn into the parking lot of the hospital, I started to feel it and was just counting down the minutes until the finish.  I went through 3 miles in 15:10 (5:01 third mile) and ran my patented 32-33 last .1 to finish in 15:43...a time I'll gladly take any day.

Scott Ellis (MVS) ran a strong 2nd place in 17:03, and Mark Gibson (WHIRL) was 3rd in 17:11.   I cooled down over the course again (this time, the right way) with Scott and Mark and then headed back to grab some Mexican food from Margaritas.  For my efforts today, I won a goodie bag which included a gift cert for 2, to the restaurant.  Not a bad day at all.  I took the long way back home again, enjoying the ride through the beautiful towns of Exeter, Kensington, E. Kingston,  Newton, and Plaistow....heck, the weather was so nice, even Haverhill looked ok, as I made my way back over to Salem, NH and called it a weekend.

Top 10 Overall

1JIM JOHNSON          33SALEM           NH          15:435:05
2SCOTT ELLIS              29N ANDOVER       MA  17:035:30
3MARK GIBSON         42DURHAM          NH      17:115:33
4DAVID LONG            36BEVERLY         MA        17:155:34
5JASMIN LEPIR           34PORTSMOUTH    NH  17:385:41
6JIMMY COCHRAN    35SANDOWN         NH    17:425:43
8DAVID DONAWAY   23MILFORD         NH       18:576:07
9ALEX PECK                15STRATHAM        NH    19:016:08
10LISA JACOBUS         28DEERFIELD       NH        19:116:11
583 Total Finishers.

Next up (maybe) will be Big Lake...we'll see how this week's training goes.  Big Lake isn't really a fast course by any means, and I'm not in half marathon PR shape (as far as I know), but it's a fun race, with a good post-party along Alton Bay.... definitely worth the trip up there...


  1. Solid weekend dude. I wish I could be like you. I don't seem to have that many race efforts in me. One a month if I'm lucky. Keep it up.

  2. thanks man...but looking at your workout you just did, i'd say you were able to do about 16 race efforts in a row! ;)...

  3. Thanks for putting my name in hot pink. Nice way to come back on Sunday and run strong. Let me know if you are running the river at all this week.

  4. I might need to remind you that I boast a 10K PR of 33:41. Hardly 'Ace' material! And I spent two hours on Sunday morning complaining about the pace of the long run, which was probably over 7 minutes but felt like tempo effort!

  5. Bob, questions for you (they may be a bit rhetorical in nature...):

    1) When is the last time you actually ran a 10K?
    2) What did you run again at NB? (I should rest my case there)...
    3) You understand that as soon as you run another 10k, you'll actually PR by 2 minutes or more...that is pretty ridiculous...

    14:4X on the roads this year and 31 low - 30 high. I have spoken...

  6. Nice racing, Jim, good to see you on Saturday. I had a slightly less awesome experience. Hopefully I'll be back running in the next couple days. See you at Redhook if not sooner, keep it rolling.

  7. Great weekend Jim. I'm guessing that you'll get 60+ races in this year. You my friend are a nut case. Keep it up!!