Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pat Polletta 5k & Hillsboro Balloon Festival 5k

This week I decided to get a couple of speed sessions in by hitting a couple of new 5ks I've never done before... On Wednesday, I drove 20 miles over to the Winner's Circle Sports Bar in Salisbury, MA for the Pat Polletta 5k (results) which runs just over 2 miles on roads and almost a mile on gravel rail trail.  The course is pancake flat, with almost no noticeable change in elevation.

The weather was hot, as it has been all week, with 90+ degree temps every day.  The temperature was enough to keep the race numbers relatively low, as I was hard pressed to find anyone I knew before warming up from the Winner's Circle. I ran over the course, which starts across the street from the bar on Old Elm St. and heads parallell to route 95 on Rabbit Rd. for a bit before turning onto Baker Rd., which is a nice residential section of town.  The course then takes a right onto a small cul-de-sac and circles around and hits the entrance to the rail trail at the 2 mile mark.  Then it is pretty much a straight shot out to the main road again and then a turn back onto Old Elm for the finish.

As I returned from the
warmup and headed over to the start, I saw 48-years-young Dan Verrington (CMS) warming up, as well as a couple other younger looking runners.  I didn't know what to expect, but I knew it was going to be a hot one.... As the race got underway, I went right out to the front and didn't let up.  I was right behind a lead vehicle, which was video taping the race for the first mile (just shy of)... Because of the flat nature of the course, I was able to maintain a steady clip and went through the first mile in 4:59, and then hung on for the the next couple with the same intensity.

I turned onto the cul-de-sac and weaved around to the start of the trail at 2 miles, in just over 10 minutes. From here, I just powered down the trail, which while gravel and in the woods, was flat and fast.  It was easy on the feet, and I was able to cruise out to the road and turn onto the last section of the course.  The third mile marker was probably a bit long, as my third mile was slower, but the last .1 was very short (like 17 seconds)...hence the difference.  I noticed this on the warmup as well, running a very long 3rd long in fact, that I thought I ran the course wrong initially.

In the end, I ran a few ticks faster than my teammate Patrick Rich ran (also by himself) last year.

Top 10 (CMS in blue)

1JIM JOHNSON3315:365:00
2CHRIS SUPRIN1616:485:23
3PAUL LAROSA 3317:015:28
4DAN VERRINGTON 4817:145:32
5JOE GURCZAK    4317:475:42
6KEN GOEDECKE   3517:495:43
7TODD GERRISH4818:045:48
8BETSY SUDA     2818:295:56
9BOB STROUT     5418:335:57
10DENNIS DONOHUE5418:486:02

96 Total Finishers.

Route: Gmaps


Mile 1) 4:59
Mile 2) 5:05 (10:05)
Mile 3) 5:13 (15:19) (long)
Last .1) :17 (short)

In the in-between-day, I ran w/ the Whirlway Thursday night crew, and it was no easy task.  The pace was aggressive from start to finish, as we ran the honest 10 loop in Haverhill, MA in a tick over 63 minutes... Not exactly the 'down day' I was looking for between 5k efforts....

On Friday, I drove 1:15 northwest up to Hillsborough, NH for the Hillsboro Balloon Festival 5k (results) put on by 3CRaceProductions.

The weather was pretty awful for a late day 5k, with temps way up and not much of any breeze to speak of.  The course is also very rolly, as Mike Quintal (CMS) and I took off about 45 minutes ahead of race time to see first-hand.  We ran over the course, which is an out-and-back (classic Mike Amarello style), and saw that the first mile starts right before an uphill, and then has a few decent downs and a couple of climbs, before the second mile, which is relatively flat, with only one uphill to the turnaround.  The turnaround is halfway up a very steep and long hill, where you have to spin around a few cones, and then back down against traffic for the trip back.  The last mile is slow, with some pretty steep, short climbs.

As the race went off, Mike and I were joined briefly by Tim Rider and Ryan LaCasse for the first turn or two.  It wasn't long before I could feel myself pulling away and by the half mile or so, I was comfortably out front, but struggling a bit to maintain a rhythm in the heat and over the continuous ups and downs.  I crossed over the bridge that runs over the Contoocook River and hooked a left down a steep section and then back up again on Bear Hill Road. I clicked through my first mile in 4:55 and knew that was all she wrote for the day.  I was burning up and the course just gets slower from there... I had a pretty large lead on Mike at this point, who was a ways in front of his next competitor.  Mike and I both decided to basically go through the motions as we hit the turnaround.  I felt like I was walking around the cones, as I was halfway up that final climb to the turnaround.  I think I actually walked a couple steps going around the cone (at least that's what it felt like).  As I turned to see how the field was playing out, Mike was comfortably in second and I knew I just had to keep up some sort of intensity on the way back to stay out front.  But no sooner did I start the trek back up Bear Hill road, did I start really rigging up. As I clicked through a slow second mile (through in 10:08), I got a pretty stiff cramp up high in my ribs.  I got nervous for a bit, but was able to keep weaving back and forth through the crowd of oncoming runners and push up to the last couple of uphills.  I really slowed up over the last mile and as I hit the bridge back over the Contoocook, I knew I was going to be OK, but knew the time was going to be a bit slow.

The last climb up and then back down to the finish, which was on a gravel path along the fairgrounds, was pretty much a sh*tshow of sweat and ugly running, but in the end I came through in a surprising time of 16:09...much faster than I thought I was going to run, given the events of the past couple days, the ungodly temps, and the rolling nature of the course.  Mike was not too far behind in a charging 2nd.

We then headed out for one last lap over the course as a cooldown and then Kristin and I hung out for a bit, had some pizza, and watched only one hot air balloon get blown up as just a prop for the crowd, who had assembled with the expectations of seeing a bunch of hot air balloons launch at race time...but I heard that because some winds up at higher elevations was over something like 8 miles an hour, they couldn't launch... too bad, as I took Kristin up with expectations of seeing some balloons.

The atmosphere at the race and in the local area was rather interesting to say the least.  There were some characters at the fairgrounds and over the course.  I was unimpressed with some of things I saw and heard, but overall was glad I got another race under my belt for the year, another win, and another town 'bagged' in NH.  I have to work on my NH townbagging, which has been basically non-existant this year.

Top 10 (CMS in blue)

1JIM JOHNSON   33SALEM           NH 16:095:13
2MIKE QUINTAL  32NO ANDOVER      MA 16:355:21
3RYAN LACASSE  25CONCORD         NH 17:365:41
5ETHAN LEY     18JAFFREY         NH 19:286:17
6DAVID AUDET   45CONCORD         NH 19:356:19
7JOHN RHEAUME  29HAVERHILL       MA 20:166:32
8ERIC POCIASK  18HENNIKER        NH 20:276:36
9ED KING       42BOW             NH 20:456:42
10STANLEY DUTTON66ANTRIM          NH 21:176:52

128 Total Finishers.

Route: Gmaps


Mile 1) 4:57
Mile 2) 5:11 (10:08)
Mile 3) 5:26 (15:35)
Last .1) :34 (16:09)

Photos from the race can be viewed here.  Thanks to the lovely and talented Kristin for taking them!

Next up is Ascutney tomorrow up in Windsor, VT.  Looking forward to the mountain goat shirt/status and getting the mountains out of the way for this year.  I'm not sure I'll be doing Mansfield or any other 'hillclimbs' between now and next summer...but I am definitely looking forward to getting out on the trails, on the roads a bit, and a-hem... the snow... The recently weather is making me long for Curlys, Pooh Hill, Greylock, etc....

1 comment:

  1. Are you really wearing a "running RAW shirt with an empty fried dough plate in your hand?

    By the way, I figured out who'll you'll look like when the 'stache comes in...your seacoast rival Al Fernald.