Monday, August 30, 2010

Training 8-09 - 8-29 (last 3 weeks)

Last 3 weeks training recaps (exciting I know)... weeks of 79, 80, 82.  Last week was supposed to be 90 (as per DD's outline) but I just ran out of time to squeeze another 8 in.  I 'almost' ran an extra 8 when I got home from VT on Sunday, but figured some rest was a bit better for me at this point.  The hectic summer schedule (that I wasn't really anticipating) is coming to an end and is winding down...some longer trail/road races coming up (like the marathon) and some XC possibilities as well.  It's all training that leads up to the snowshoe season anyways right?

Training 8-09 - 8-15

Monday - PM - 10 miles (trails) - Andover, MA - Merrimack River Trail w/ Mike Quintal [1:11:28]

Tuesday - PM - 10 miles (trails) - Andover, MA - Merrimack River Trail (a couple miles roads + river trail from school) w/ MQ, Dan Vassallo, Matt Pimentel, Mike Toomey, and the brothers-Healey [1:12:00]

Wednesday - PM - 6.2 miles (roads) - Salem, NH w/ Jonesy from courthouse [46:25]

Thursday - PM - 3.1 miles (5k) (roads) - Manchester, NH - warmup (solo) over Cigna 5k course before the Cigna/Eliot 5k [24:00] + 5k race: Cigna/Eliot 5k [15:08] - 4th OA + 2 mile cooldown over Cigna course w/ the Quintals, Pete Mallet, and Mackenzie Kilpatrick [16:00] - Total: 8.2 miles.

Friday - PM - 10.4 miles (trails) - Andover, MA - A.V.I.S. trails (including the River trail and Rafton Reservation) w/ Kevin Tilton [1:13:26]

Saturday - AM - 2 mile w/up (roads) - Shelburne Falls, MA w/ CMS crew before Bridge of Flowers 10k + race: Bridge of Flowers 10k [33:30] - 15th OA + 2 mile c/down w/ CMS crew after race - Total: 10.2 miles.

Sunday - AM - 2 mile w/up (trails) - Savoy, MA - Savoy State Forest w/ John Pajer before Savoy Mountain Trail Race + race: Savoy Mountain Trail Race (22 miles) [2:52:32] - 3rd OA - Total: 24.2 miles.

Weekly Total: 79.2 Miles - 9:32:29 total time.

Training 8-16 - 8-22

Monday - PM - 6.2 miles (roads) - Rye, NH - Rye course (10k) solo. Easy does it... had to go up and turn in my race app....ran the course once and called it a 'recovery day'... much needed. [43:48]

Tuesday - PM - 12.5 miles (trails) - Andover, MA - River trail from school w/ Nick Wheeler, Mike Quintal.

Wednesday - PM - 10 miles (trails) - Andover, MA - da Rivah w/ Mike Quintal. Nice and easy. [1:15:32]

Thursday - PM - 2.5 miles (roads) [20:00] - Rye, NH - Warmup before Rye 10k with Chris Mahoney and Heather Searles + race: Saunders at Rye 10k [31:53] - 2nd OA + 2.5 miles (roads) [20:00] - Rye, NH - Cooldown after Saunders 10k with Chris Mahoney and Heather Searles.  Total: 11.2 miles.

Friday - PM - 8.1 miles (roads) - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill (solo). Nice and easy...easiest road run in a while...long run attempt tomorrow...LONG. [58:12]

Saturday - AM - 27.5 miles (trails/mountain) - half of the hut traverse across the Whites w/ Kevin Tilton.  [7:11:00]

Sunday - PM - 5 miles (roads) - easy 5 on roads. Salem, Methuen (solo). Legs and body really tired from yesterday...I'm shocked I could even walk today....[38:19]

Weekly Total: 80.5 Miles - 13:24:54 total time.

Training 8-23 - 8-29

Monday - PM - 10.2 miles (trails) - Newburyport, MA - Maudslay trails w/ Alliette and Methuen H.S. guys...[1:10:28]

Tuesday - PM - 17 miles (trails) - Andover, MA - River trail - first 30 min solo + a mile and a half or so w/ the brothers-Healey + DV + the full river trail from the school. Rained the whole time...crappy run but got it done....[2:04:16]

Wednesday - PM - 10 miles (trails) - Andover, MA - A.V.I.S trails w/ Mike Q...raining...[1:09:39]

Thursday - PM - 3 miles (roads) [23:00] - Dover, NH - warmup before Loco 5000 w/ Wolfey + some solo laps and some strides + race: Loco 5000 (5k on the track) [15:11] - 1st OA + 3 miles [22:00] c/down after Loco 5000 - laps around the track w/ some folks.

400M Splits: ‎70/72/71/72/72/72/73/73/74/72/74/74/37 (last 200m)

Friday - PM - 11.3 miles (roads) - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill (solo) [1:17:20]

Saturday - PM - 11.3 miles (roads) - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill (solo) [1:14:23]

Sunday - AM - 2 miles (roads/uphill) [16:00] - Stowe, VT - Warm up - up first part of course plus some roads at the bottom, w/ Eric Morse + race: Race to the Top of VT (4.3 miles) - 2nd OA. [35:42]. HOT out! + 7 miles (road/downhill + trails) [49:00] - Stowe, VT - Cooldown after Mt. Mansfield w/ Eric Morse - Down the mountain in 25 or so...then down to the cars and additional trails around the base of the mountain. Total: 13.2

Weekly Total: 82.2 Miles - 9:36:59 total time.

Race report for VT coming this week....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

(Half of a) Hut Traverse Attempt

Last Saturday, Kevin 'Classy' Tilton and I decided to try the Hut to Hut Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains of NH.  This trail/mountain run/hike takes us from the Carter Notch Hut (3288 ft) to the Lonesome Lake Hut (2760 ft), hitting 6 huts in between: Madison Spring Hut (4800 ft), Lake of the Clouds Hut (5050 ft), Mizpah Spring Hut (3800 ft), Zealand Falls Hut (2700 ft), Galehead Hut (3800 ft), and the Greenleaf Hut (4200 ft).  It's essentially going from just east of Rt. 16 to just west of Rt. 93.  It's a 54-55 mile trek across the Presidentials, but is actually a little longer and more rugged of a trip than the regular 'Presidential Traverse'.  The full hut traverse comes with just about 15,650 feet of elevation gain.  It is also right around 50 miles if you go from hut to hut to hut, but with the start that Kevin and I were doing, we added on about 4 or so miles of ascent up to the Carter Notch Hut from Rt. 16.  I think many people either hike up and stay at the hut the night before, or just hike up and start their actual speed attempt on the way down.  Kevin and I decided to run up from the car, tag the hut, and run back down (the run up, being in complete darkness with only headlamps to light the way).  The photo above is me with the Mount Washington Auto Road in the distance... I explained to Kevin on the run, that not much had changed this year on that upper section of the auto road....he hadn't seen it since last year.

Full disclosure here...Kevin and I had no plans to go for any record or even try to do this entire traverse in any sort of respectable time.  We just wanted to get it done without dying.  That would be easier said than done, as he indicated to me several times that we had a spot to bail if we needed to (the Highland Center in Crawford Notch).  The plan was to have Jess meet us there with some lunch and be there in case we needed to be lifted out of there if our attempt fell short.  It's roughly the halfway point, although it is after the most difficult half of the two.  Kevin's idea was that it may take us 7:30 or so to get to halfway (give or take).  With the stopping, picture taking, and injury time-outs, it would take a couple hours more than that, which put is in the danger zone, timewise.  This is the reason why this post is called 'Half of...'.  We essentially did half of the hut traverse (slightly longer because of the start).

I didn't get to bed until 11:30pm the night before (Friday night) and had to be up at 1am (yes 90 minutes later) to get out the door and be up in North Conway from Salem, NH by 4am.  The plan was for Kevin and I to be up at the trailhead to get to Carter Notch, off of Rt. 16, by 5:00.  I flew up to Conway in just about 2:30, but got a bit lost finding Kevin's place.  Once we hooked up for the ride up to 16, it was just about 4am.  After a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts in North Conway, we were up and at the trailhead parking at about 4:45am.  It was still obviously pitch dark and we got our things together, put our headlamps on, and headed up the trail to the Carter Notch Hut.  We left our Camelbaks down at the car and would pick them up on the way back down after reaching the first hut.  Unlike the normal hut traverse which starts up at Carter Notch Hut and heads southwest, we started on Rt. 16 and ran northeast up Nineteen Mile Brook Trail to get up to the hut.  It took us about 55 minutes to get up to the hut, and then about 45 to get back down.  Most of this entire run up was in pitch dark.

After we hit the car, it was back onto Rt. 16 for a half mile or so up to the next trailhead at Great Gulf Trail.  From here, we traversed up to Madison Gulf Trail to the Parapet and Star Lake Trails and up to Madison Springs Hut where we fuled up on some free grub (free to the Hut Traversers) thanks to the diligent croo up there.  From there, we hit the Gulfside Trail all along the Northern Presidentials, then the West Side Trail around Mt. Washington to the Crawford Path which took us to the Lake in the Clouds Hut, where I really started to hit the wall.

Shortly before the Madison Springs Hut and all the way up to the Lake of the Clouds Hut, my right hamstring was very tight and starting to really ache.  I tried to occasionally stretch it out, but the constant up and over boulders was really taking it's toll on me.  Everything else felt fine except for one of my toes on my right foot, which for whatever reason felt like it had died a horrible death and came back to infect and haunt the rest of my foot as I progressed up the trails.  I rested for a bit at Lake of the Clouds and then it was down Crawford Path to the Webster Cliff Trail over the summit of Mt. Pierce (my newest 4000 footer!).  At this point, with the downhills, my hamstring was starting to feel better, but before reaching Mt. Pierce, I completely ate sh*t and fell head over heels onto my shoulder and head, while scraping the crap out of my knees on the way down.  It was completely all over rocks in the section I soft ground to be had.  I think I was borderline weeping at this point, but luckily there was a hiker in front of us, coming towards us, with a full medical kit with him.  After I calmed down and my hysterics were quieted, I cleaned both my knees and Kevin and I were back on our way.

From the top of Mt. Pierce, Kevin called the lovely and talented Jess Tilton on the phone and told her to meet us at the Highland Center in Crawford Notch.  We headed down off of Pierce and down to the Mizpah Springs Hut where we took one more small break.  At this point, I felt fantastic...better than I had felt in quite some time before that.  It was now many many many hours into the traverse and I was beat, but my spirits were high and I got a complete second wind...I was optimistic about finishing the trek now for the first time since we started.  Kevin and I headed down the Mizpah Cut-off to the Crawford Path and then to the notch.  On the way down this 2 mile or so stretch, it is a crazy downhill that absolutely wrecked my calves and quads and not too soon after we started the descent, I started to bonk pretty good.  A total 180 from how I felt minutes before.  I think Kevin was in the same boat.  We got down to the notch and crossed the highway to the Highland Center where Jess met us with some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and water.  Kevin and I talked it over and we called it quits at that point. It was 3:30 in the afternoon.  It gets dark at around 7:30 this time of year, and we still had between 8-9 hours or so to go at that point. It wouldn't have been feasible to continue on at that rate.   We ended with 27 miles bagged, and 7900 feet of elevation gain.  Not bad.  I was glad to take the halfway point as a bail out and we headed out and back to N.Conway.  I fell asleep in the backseat of the car and was completely wiped when we got back to the Tilton estate.  Jess had made some tasty dinner and I stayed for a while before heading back down to hell, I mean Salem.  I pulled into my driveway at about 10:30-10:45 or so and luckily did not fall asleep on the way home (I usually do after things like this)...

I ended up taking many photos w/ my IPhone 4, which I've come to think is a pretty damn fine camera for video and still photos....  You can see the photos here on my Smugmug page.

The videos have been uploaded to Youtube, but for your enjoyment, they are below.

Videos taken w/ my IPhone 4:

Half Hut Traverse 2010 - Kevin on the Gulfside Trail

Half Hut Traverse 2010 - Kevin on Madison Gulf Trail

Half Hut Traverse 2010 - No Motorized Vehicles Allowed

Videos taken with Kevin's Helmet Cam:

Half Hut Traverse 2010 - Carter Notch Hut - Kevin's Helmet Cam

Half Hut Traverse 2010 - Madison Springs Hut - Kevin's Helmet Cam

Half Hut Traverse 2010 - Lake in the Clouds Hut - Kevin's Helmet Cam

Half Hut Traverse 2010 - Crawford Notch (The End) - Kevin's Helmet Cam

Lastly, in my pathetic quest to bag all the towns in NH, I got a few new NH Towns (Incorporated and Unincorporated) bagged during the run.  I had a couple of these already as well, but here are all the 'town's that this traverse goes through (the half traverse):
  • Bean's Purchase
  • Green's Grant
  • Thompson and Meserve's Purchase
  • Low and Burnham's Purchase
  • Sargent's Purchase
  • Chandler's Purchase
  • Bean's Grant
  • Carroll
I believe that Carroll is the only town on the list above that actually has anyone living there, according to the US Census.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Savoy Mountain

Turn back the clock to last weekend (8-15)....missing race report...

Coming off of the Cigna 5k on Thursday (8/12), a 10.5 mile trail jaunt with Classy Tilton on Friday (8/13), and then Bridge of Flowers 10k on Saturday (8/14) out in Shelburne Falls, MA, I decided to head over to one of my  summer highlights and a race I just can't get away from...I guess it was because I almost died at it two years any case, I decided to go to this even though I was pretty beat.  The Savoy Mountain Trail Race (results) out in Savoy/Florida MA is a 22.2 mile jaunt through very muddy, rocky, rooty, and grown-in trails in Savoy State Forest in western Mass.  It is part of the WMAC Grand Tree series and I first did this race 2 years ago (2008). Back then, it was my first jaunt at a serious trail distance (although some reading this may think that 22 miles isn't all that is still pretty far for me...and 3+ hours is a long time for me to be running, given what I typically do for races and training.

I'll let you do some catching up on your own, regarding my past jaunts here (2009 and 2008 respectively). For now, I'll talk about this year's race and the joy and pain that ensued.  To start off, I raced twice in the previous 3 days going into this race, and even though I am kind of used to racing frequently, this race is really NOT the race you want to have as the encore to a triple bill of racing.  This race takes a lot out of me and really is not to be taken lightly at all.  I kept this in the back of my mind during the previous couple days of racing, but couldn't let it affect me during those shorter, faster I kept telling myself that I'd deal with it when Sunday came...well, Sunday definitely came, and I barely showed up for it.

After my trip out to Shelburne Falls on Saturday for the 10k, I continued to drive 1+ hour southwest to Stockbridge, MA to visit with Kristin, who was out at the Kripalu Yoga Training Center for the month of August, getting her certification.  I arrived there probably around 1:30pm and was WIPED. I spent about 3 hours laying in the grass on the grounds of the center, trying to get some sort of rest.  I had a horrible headache almost the whole day and was basically a walking zombie, I was so tired.  We walked around a bit, saw some of the trails and scenery on the property, and grabbed a bite to eat.  When I left at 8:30pm, I had no place in mind to drive to other than the state park, where the race was the next day.  I had no place in mind to actually stay for the night.  I figured I could find a spot somewhere and just sleep in my car.  I should have done that...but I was so tired (I actually felt borderline sick and hungover), I stopped at a couple of local motels in Lenox, MA to try to get a room. Everyplace in the area was booked because of some film festival at Tanglewood, so I ended up finding one place that had one available room because of a cost me an arm and a leg to stay because of the timing, and I actually talked them down about 60 bucks, but still ended up paying $218 bucks for one of the dirtiest, smelliest rooms I've ever stayed in.  It was a real kick in the pants, but I had no choice other than to sleep in my car (and I probably should have done that).  I literally got my key, walked in the room, shut the door, and laid down on top of the bed. I didn't bring anything in with me or even get under the covers.  In the morning, I jumped up and headed up about 50 minutes or so to Savoy for the race. I felt like I had been drinking all night for some reason...just a horrible headache, dehydrated, lethargic, etc...

When I arrived at the state forest, I started to get my second wind.  I ran into fellow CMS teammate John Pajer and John Peabody (TNT) and started to feel a little better about being at another race that weekend.  I really loved this race the past 2 years because of the difficulty and epic nature of just finishing this thing... Even though I had those other races planned, I really didn't want to miss this and figured I'd just give it a go...whatever happens happens. I knew Brian Rusiecki (Vasque) was running and would most likely wipe the forest floor with me, but that was fine with me...I just wanted to get this done again...maybe with some luck, I'd be able to steal one, but I wasn't going to hold my breath. After signing up, packing my handheld water bottles with gels, and a short warmup with John, it was over to the line for the start.

As the cannon (yes cannon) fired, we headed out and Brian immediately took the lead.  I felt terrible right away, but figured I'd just try to stay put behind him and see what happens.  There was also another, younger guy with us for quite a while.  A couple miles in, he indicated that he was running the 11 (the half distance race that runs  in conjunction with the 22 miler).  Shortly after the 2+ mile water stop, Brian accidentally went straight and then hooked a right on the road, when you were supposed to hook an earlier right and stay on the trails.  I yelled up to him, but he didn't react fast enough. When he realized, he hooked back through the woods and got back on the trails with us, but now was in 3rd place.  I took the lead there, which was eerily similar to last year, when a little before that, Brian and Leigh Schmitt missed a turn, which put me in the lead (but for good).  I decided to just keep plugging along, up the muddy, rocky, grassy, rooty trails and run my race for as long as I could.  It would stay that way for about 6 more miles.

I felt comfortable and my legs were holding up 'ok'.  For a while, I kept looking behind me and didn't see anyone.  I had a pretty large lead and started to actually think that maybe Brian's 100 miler he ran not too long ago was still in his legs and he was content with just running his own race back in 2nd.  I actually started to think (although obviously prematurely) that this just may be my first ever race where I'd get 3 wins.  That all came to a grinding halt when I hit the climb up to Spruce Mountain.  Somewhere near 8 miles, you start to climb up a pretty good switch back and then a hand over hand climb up to the top. Right as I was starting to climb up the steep face of the summit, I peered back to see that Brian and the other guy were pretty much caught back up and now right behind me!  After miles of being all alone, I guess I really took it easy on the climb and took those guys for granted.  I thought I really had an easy win if I could just keep moving, but now realized it was not even going to be close.  I did a lot of slow climbing and some powerhiking to get up there and those guys were just hammering up the ascent to run me down.  I reached the top first, but barely.  I then started to hammer the downhill, which is a pretty dangerous mix of switchback, jumpdowns, and very rocky, eroded trails.  As fast as I would rock the downhills and straightaway fireroad sections, I'd look back and still see Brian back there, equally hammering the faster sections.  I built back a little bit of a lead, but knew it would not last.  It was basically a lost cause (I was actually humming the Beck song 'Lost Cause' during that part of the joke)... I knew I could probably get to half way in front of Brian, but that would be it.  I briefly thought about calling it quits at half way, in the lead, for which I would have gotten 100 points (they announced before the race that the 11 loop would get the same amount of points as the 22 this year and that you did have the option of bailing at 11 and getting GP points).  I figured I could easily do that, but then would feel guilty and have that 'what if' feeling afterwards...I also didn't think it was fair to the guy who was behind me for the first couple miles. I had told him I was running the 22.  I thought it would be rather unsportsmanlike of me to do that, seeing all that was happening to me was that I was getting tired.  I wasn't hurt and knew I could finish...I just couldn't finish that wasn't enough for me to actually go through with it and declare the 11 mile race when I came through half way.  In the back of my mind, I was kind of hoping that Brian would do that, and that I'd have an easy run over the second loop without him behind (or in front) of me.  I came through the half way point first, grabbed my second bottle off the table, and started the second loop.  I looked back and saw Brian maybe 30 seconds back and knew it was only a matter of time (if he didn't stop at 11).

I should have known better, as this kid is one of the best ultra guys around...he wasn't just going to do the 11...but I played those games with myself.  As I ran the first couple miles of the second loop, I kept looking and didn't see him.  I kept thinking that he may have actually stopped at 11 and felt a little better for a while...but I started to get that same awful feeling I had 2 years ago.  I started to bonk on the slightest of uphills and started to catch myself walking on the ups and some of the straight sections too.  On and off walking, with 8 miles to go is NOT good in this race.  I also became aware that, unlike last year, I wasn't eating or drinking enough. In 2009, I had 2008 fresh in my mind and really kept up with hydration and nutrition during the run.  Because last year went so well, I forgot about the plan that actually worked for me (eating and drinking regularly, BEFORE I get into trouble) and just figured I was past all that and could just grind this out....once I started to bonk, it was too late.  It was probably 4-5 miles in, that I turned and saw Brian now coming up behind me.  My fears were realized.  He didn't stop at halfway and was now running almost twice as fast as me (or so it seemed).  I kept a pathetic pace ahead of him for as long as I could, but he eventually was right up behind me, so I moved over and wished him well.  He graciously offered me a gel and asked me if I needed anything...I declined (as I had all the gels still in my water bottle) and watched him roll on and out of sight.  It didn't take long for him to disappear.

Once I hit the second climb up to Spruce Mountain, I kept looking up and through the woods but he was long gone.   I thought there may be a slight chance that he'd come back, but figured it was a long shot.  I powerhiked a ton on the second loop and figured if he was keeping up any sort of run/jog up the climb, he'd be minutes ahead of me at the end.  I kept looking back, fearing that someone else was running well and would run me down, but never saw a soul.  I got up and over the mountain and started to feel 'OK' as I hit the descent.  I worked the straight, fireroad sections on the way down, hoping I would catch a glimpse of Brian, that would breathe life back into my race, but to no avail.  He was long gone.  I still found myself powerhiking up easy climbs that I had run without issue on the first loop.  That is depressing, but it's the nature of this course.

In the section of the course, shortly before you come up to the last trail/road section before the finish, there is one more climb, after a footbridge, that I remember vividly from 2008 and 2009. During these two sections, both years, I thought my race was done.  It's a deceivingly hard climb, late in the race.  Both years, I figured, after walking most of it, that I would be caught easily, but wasn't.  This year, I hit that section and kept thinking that the only guy in the race that was going to beat me, was already ahead of me, so I wasn't worried about it, until I turned around and to my absolute shock, saw another runner now right behind me!  I almost died when I saw him. Out of nowhere....he was also cranking.  I'm talking 5 times faster than I was going...It was so unbelievable, I actually thought maybe he was an 11 mile runner who started late, or a 22 mile runner who missed the start and he was on his first lap.  But it wasn't. It was David Herr, who is a VERY good ultra/trail/marathoner who is always dangerous on these mountain and trail races.  At first, I didn't recognize him and because I didn't see him at the start, I didn't know he was in the race.  Had I known, I would have been thinking about him the whole time... As he went up past me, I said 'nice job man'...and then recognized him and said 'is that you David?' to which he replied 'yep' and then that was it. He was gone. I'm talking GONE.  He was cranking easily under 7 minute pace, and I was walking.  When I came up to the last road/trail section, I could see him way in the distance....We had only 6-7 minutes left.  What a kick in the pants...but that is racing.  I mustered up a running stride and tried to catch back up once the climb was done, but that was legs were, and had been trashed from the 2 prior races, and I was just too damn tired to go any harder.  I swallowed my pride and accepted the fact that I got smoked by 2 very good trail/ultra runners who are much much better than me at these longer grinds anyways.  The fact that I was able to beat them in 2009 was probably a fluke.  I had a good day last year, and maybe they both had bad ones.... This year, it was a complete roll reversal...

As I saw the paved road through the trees, I knew I was close and got that 'oh thank God' feeling as I came out of the woods and pushed up to the finish, about a half minute back of David and a few minutes back of Brian, who KILLED this course.  To my shock, I was about a minute and a half FASTER than last year....even after bonking bad on the last loop.  I was a little bit faster on the first loop, than last year, and I guess held it together about the same on the second loop, even though I felt much worse this year.  I think the weather had a lot to do with it.  It was much cooler this year, which made for some fast times.  Brian ran nearly 10 minutes faster than he did last year, and David absolutely killed his time from last year.  When I saw who had beaten me and what our times were, I knew that I actually ran probably better than I should have, given all the circumstances, and realized it was a pretty good day. I didn't get the win, but I did get it done. I ran faster than I had before, and I finished!  I think it's always going to be considered a good day when you can go through the halfway point of this race and be able to finish the entire thing.  A lot of folks decided to call it quits at half way, and only 36 brave souls actually finished the entire thing.  I guess there is only one thing I can say now, after finishing this again for yet another year...I can't wait for next time! :)


2010 - 2:52:32 - 3rd OA (results) ** felt worse than 2009.  Didn't properly fuel or hydrate along the way.
2009 - 2:53:58 - 1st OA (results) ** much better... drank water and preemptively fueled up. Felt really good.
2008 - 3:18:04 - 1st OA (results) ** Almost died.

For anyone thinking of doing this race in the future, check out Jay Kolodzinski's Youtube video of himself doing last year's start to get a VERY good idea of how this race plays out.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saunders at Rye Harbor 10k

Thursday night was the latest race in the 2010 Seacoast Road Race Series.  It was the 34th annual (and 'maybe' the last) Saunders at Rye Harbor 10k (results) in Rye, NH.  I've always liked this race. It's in a beautiful town on the seacoast of NH.  It is well organized, gets good competition, is part of the Seacoast Series that I'm so fond of, and it's a pretty fast 10k course.

With Kristin still out in western Mass for the remainder of the summer, I headed up solo and showed up in time to grab my bib and head out for a warmup with Chris Mahoney (Whirlway) and Heather Searles (Whirlaway).  We ran the last part of the course and the weather was absolutely perfect. We were scouting around before the race and I only noticed John Mentzer and Tim Rider as being potential top finishers (along w/ Chris and I of course).  John is in great shape and I knew the race was his...Tim is coming back from a couple years off from serious racing/training...and Chris hasn't really been running that much recently, although he was coming off of a PR and great run at Beach to Beacon up in Maine.  I was reeling just a bit from my long weekend of racing this past weekend, but felt ok and optimistic about trying to run fast on this course.  I knew the course is a good course to run negative split 5ks on. I did it last year (16:11/16:09) so I knew I may be able to do it fast, I wasn't sure...but I did have in the back of my mind about trying to hit around 16:00 and then try to dip under 16 on the last 5k...

As the gun went off, it was immediately Chris, me, and John Mentzer, with one other guy seemingly close behind. I wasn't sure if it was Tim or not and only glanced once during the first mile.  Through the first mile, the three of us were all together.  We chugged through in 5:06, which was ahead of my goal of trying to be under 5:10s for as long as possible.

The second mile was clicked through nearly at the same pace (5:07) and I was still right with John...although now Chris started to fade back just a bit...somewhere after 2, I could no longer hear his footfalls behind me and I was starting to fall just a little bit off of the pace behind John.  The second mile has the steepest climbs on the course (2 actually back to back).  The steepest part being just before 3 miles.  Once you click through 5k, it is basically flat, downhill, and then flat again.  I came up through the slowest mile on the course in 5:11 (so 15:25 through 3).  I was pretty excited that I was basically still on pace even after that slow uphill section.  I came through 5k in 15:58 ticking to 15:59 and thought for a brief moment about being able to crack 32.  I was less than 10 seconds behind John at this point, but it was just enough for me to not think about going back up with him just yet.

During the 4th mile, it's a long flat stretch with some downhill.  I maintained a 10 second or so gap behind John and felt comfortable staying there and having him pull me through. I knew I probably had 2nd wrapped up unless something happened like a stitch or cramp or something.  I also figured that if I could just stay close enough, I would run a good time.  John is like clockwork with running strong races...I knew he'd be under 32, so I just had to keep it close.  I came through 4 miles in 20:31, which meant I dropped a 5:05 (my quickest mile of the race).  I got even more confidence to keep up the pace and not back down or settle.  At this point, it was me vs the clock. I stopped thinking about place, the win, or anything else. I wanted to keep the same pace up and finish strong.  The 4th mile dips down and turns onto Rt 1A and does essentially the 9th mile of the Eastern States 20 course.  John had maybe a 14-15 second lead on me here and that's basically where it would stay.  I clicked through 5 in 25:39 and knew it was going to be close!  That last .2 can be long!  I had all I could do to muster out a 5:08 and 5:09 last 5th and 6th mile.  I hit 6 in 30:49 and knew I had 1:11 to do the last .2 to get under 32 minutes.  The last .2 turns onto the road up to the restaurant and has a little steep uphill over a bridge.  I really worked this last part, glaring at both my watch and the finish clock...I really didn't know I was going to do it until I was about 10 steps from the finish line... In the end I came through in 31:53 for 2nd place, behind John yet again...I've only beaten this guy once (a couple years ago) in a million tries. This was also my PR for 10k (admittedly, I haven't run many 'fast' road 10ks in my career, but it feels good to break that 32 minute barrier I thought was going to elude me for good)... Most of the top guys had a mysterious 1.1 second differential in their gun vs. net times. It's weird because we were all on the starting line, which was essentially the starting mat. Potentially they started the gun time early, as the 'gun' was Andy Schachat yelling 'go'.

For my troubles, I won 25 beans, a nice Saunders shirt and short combo (they do that every year)... all the top finishers also got an additional race shirt, and I got a signed copy of another book by a local author.  Chris Mahoney (third place) and I both thought it was a little strange that the spread of prize money between 1st and 2nd was the largest margin I've ever seen (percentage-wise) in a local road race.  First place was $175, while 2nd was $25 and 3rd was $15.  That's a $150 difference between first and second.  Now, sometimes I've seen like 300 / 150 / 75.... but to drop $150 when the prize was only 175 to begin with (while keeping only 10 dollars difference between 2nd and 3rd) is definitely unique.  I am in no way complaining however, as I am always thrilled to win anything at these races...Its always a nice bonus to get an award of any kind....99% of the folks who show up and go through the same pain I do, walk away with just a t-shirt, so I'm one of the lucky ones (at least for now :) )...

I've run this race the last 3 years.  I was 4th in 2008, 3rd in 2009, and now 2nd in 2010.  And each year I've gotten faster. IF they have a race next year, maybe I'll steal one! :)

From Andy S's Facebook update: The other story of the night: with the Saunders restaurant closing in a few weeks the question is being asked about the future of the race. Race director Doug Zechel would like to keep the race going with as little change as possible.

We shall see...I'd love to be able to keep running this late Summer classic.


Mile 1) 5:06
Mile 2) 5:07 (10:13)
Mile 3) 5:11 (15:25)
5k) 15:59
Mile 4) 5:05 (20:31)
Mile 5) 5:08 (25:39)
Mile 6) 5:09 (30:49)
10k) 31:53

Fosters Article
Photos by Lisa Dressel-Rohr

Top 10 Overall

131:35.55:06JOHN MENTZER       33PORTSMOUTH  
231:53.65:09JIM JOHNSON        33SALEM       
434:43.25:36TIMOTHY RIDER      34ROCHESTER   
534:55.15:38CHRIS APKARIAN     20ALTON BAY   
635:03.75:40MARK GIBSON        43DURHAM      
735:24.35:43JASON PORTER       40BEDFORD     
835:26.35:43ANDREW MARSHALL    15N.ANDOVER   
935:39.05:45CHRIS RITCHIE      27HAMPTON     
1035:55.05:48JOSHUA RAYMAN      41            

785 Finishers.

Post race festivities (free Budweiser beer) with Chris Mahoney and myself...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bridge of Flowers 10k

Following up my 5k PR at Cigna last Thursday night up in Manchester, I had an 'off day' on Friday, where I met Kevin Tilton at the River Trail in Andover, MA for a 'light' 10.5 mile trail jaunt...not exactly an ideal pre-race run, but neither one of us was really thinking it through apparently.

On Saturday, it was back at it, out in Shelburne Falls, MA for the Bridge of Flowers 10k (results).  This race was once again the USATF-NE Grand Prix 10k Championship (as it was in 2008).  This would be my second time running the race (the last time I had an MVS singlet on).  The course is slow.  Plain and simple.  It has an ungodly climb during the 2nd to 3rd mile which makes it about a minute to a minute and a half slower than a normal 10k.  I'm leaning towards it being 90 seconds slower, give or take.  Aside from that climb and the fact that you do NOT go to this race to PR, I love the course.  I must say, Western Mass is starting to grow on me a little bit.  I really like that area and don't mind the drive out there for that race.  It's a cool little town with a beast of a 10k course that cuts right through the middle of it.

I got to town in just enough time to wait through an obscenely long line to get my number and still get out of there in time to get some sort of a warmup in.  It wasn't pretty, but a small group of us (Wiles, Verrington, Goupil, Hammett, M.Quintal, Jenkins, Tilton, Gorman, and the Mahoni) all warmed up over the first couple miles of the course before heading over to the start, which was a little different this year, in that they split the road in on the left side and women on the right.  It made for a little close quarters, but I still managed to get on the front lines next to Eric Blake (BAA) who has become one of my idols over the past couple years...I figured that guy would probably run away with it, seeing the nature of the course, and the hill, but it ended up being quite a fight up front and then Brian Harvey (BAA) who would actually run away with it in the end....

But as far as my race goes...I followed DD's instructions and went out faster than I normally would have and went right up with the leaders with a little more confidence, coming off my 15:08 at Cigna a couple days earlier...but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel that 5k in my legs by the end of the first mile.... I wasn't too far back of the leaders through the first mile and was probably around 10th or so.  I was right with Bob Wiles as we headed back into town after the first initial loop out in some neighborhoods.  As we came back into town and up towards the hill, I had some usual suspects up front and around me, as well as some others that eventually went by me, but much later than I anticipated.  Guys like Ryan Carrara (NBB), Brendan Callahan (BAA), and Terry Shea (BAA), all went by me much later than normal.  I hit the hill, (which is THE HILL, trust me) and moved up pretty close to being back right behind Bob Wiles at the top...but no sooner did it flatten out and then start to drop, did he start pulling away.  I felt really flat on the way up the hill.  I passed a few people but really didn't do much of anything major as far as separating myself out from the field and using my hill climbing ability to my advantage.  I really kinda blended in and waited for the top.

On the way back down the other side, it turns to dirt for a while and I just kept chuggin' along, but wasn't really on the gas on the way down.  Ryan C. told me after the race (a bit too late unfortunately) that he really focuses on staying on the gas on the way down those types of descents... now I know (for next time :) ) to focus on that.  I didn't really make up any ground on the descent and by the time I reached the bottom of the hills, I was pretty much settled into the top 15 or so and was right with a couple of guys for the next couple miles.  Looking up, I could see Callahan and Shea as well as a couple of Whirlaway guys (Heggarty, Princic, and Newbould I think).  I was running in a pack of 4 guys including Drew Best, Kevin Jillson, and Brian Fuller (Brian being the only one I'd be able to get in the end).  The last part of the course is all downhill and I was really working with those guys, but Drew and Kevin pulled away over the bridge and got into a sprint for the finish, while I hung on for 15th place (2nd CMS).  I knew with Justin out, and only Bob in front of me, that it was going to be difficult to get 2nd place behind BAA with Whirlaway and GBTC running as well as they appeared to have done...

It wasn't until after the cooldown (which was, unlike last year, rather uneventful) that we found out just how close it was.  Before we headed over to the awards (Bob Wiles won some loot for his top 10 finish), Bob and Mike Quintal (who yet again lost most of the skin on the underside of his foot during the race) joined me for a dip in the river.  We had to make up our own 'ahem' legal way down to the water, but we managed and took a much needed dip before going up to the after party.  When we made our way back up, Steve Vaitones (USATF-NE) came over and showed us the Men's Open scores.  At the time, he had a 1 (one) second differential between us and Whirlaway for 2nd place.  Incredible.  It has since swelled to 2 full seconds in the official results, but those 2 seconds made me really proud of the team...maybe the proudest I've been all year (besides hearing them win the 12k up in Bedford, NH in May)... We really pulled through and each and every one of our guys made it happen...

Photos courtesy of Krissy K and Scott Mason...

I erased my splits unfortunately, but all that matters is that I was faster than in 2008 :)... I ran 33:30 here this year, which is probably close to 32 minutes give or take, on a flat course.  I'll take that, after PR'ing two nights earlier in the 5k...

Top 20 (Plus CMS Racing Team Members in Blue):

131:555:09Brian Harvey      23Allston MA          BAA        
232:285:14Nate Krah         24Boston MA           Adidas NE  
332:385:16Matthew Ely       34Natick MA           BAA        
432:455:17Eric Blake        31New Britian CT      BAA        
532:535:18Dan Smith         32Cambridge MA        GBTC       
633:035:19Bob Wiles         32Kittery ME          CMS        
733:045:20Brandon Newbould  28Dover NH            WHIRL      
833:055:20Ryan Carrara      34Hudson MA           NB BOSTON  
933:095:20Terry Shea Jr.    36Cambridge MA        BAA        
1033:105:21Dan Princic       30Woburn MA           WHIRL      
1133:195:22Brendan Callahan  29Middletown CT       BAA        
1233:235:23Joe Hegarty       26Springfield MA      WHIRL      
1333:265:23Kevin Jillson     23E.  Sandwich MA                
1433:275:23Drew Best         28Leverett MA         MRC        
1533:305:24Jim Johnson       33Salem NH            CMS        
1633:355:25Brian Fuller      21Ludlow MA           GSH        
1733:435:26Andy McCarron     27Keene NH            CMS        
1833:525:27Matthew Haringa   26Brighton MA         GBTC       
1933:585:28Mike Quintal      32North Andover MA    CMS        
2034:055:29Andrew Mulvaney   22South Hadley MA     GSH     
2634:185:32Ben Jenkins       23Durham NH           CMS        
2734:255:33Greg Hammett      33Chesterfield NH     CMS        
4035:045:39Kevin Tilton      28North Conway NH     CMS  
4835:415:45Tim Mahoney       30Hollyoke MA         CMS        
4935:435:45Jim Pawlicki      35Beverly MA          CMS
5536:035:48Dan Verrington    48Bradford MA         CMS
9438:356:13Ernest Brake      49N.Sutton NH         CMS        
9838:496:15Jeff Goupil       22Keene NH            CMS 

738 Total Finishers.

As I said, CMS really stepped it up and with a relatively light team showing, we needed every second we could get.  Ben Jenkins came up HUGE for the team.  We ended up edging Whirlaway by 2 seconds.  Yes, 2 seconds in a 10k race with 5 guys scoring per team.  That is 50k worth of racing and it came down to 2 seconds, separating 2nd and 3rd place.  BAA won handily, but I am very proud of this team for the dedication and grinding that we do to get this's a great feeling, knowing that we accomplish what we do, with such a great group of makes it all worth it...

Men's Open Team Scores:

                        USATF MALE OPEN TEAM RESULTS
            31:55   32:38   32:45   33:09   33:19 (  34:39) (  34:42) = 2:43:46
         Brian Harvey, Matthew Ely, Eric Blake, Terry Shea Jr., Brendan
         Callahan, Chris Magill, Roger Donaghy
   2.  CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS                     
            33:03   33:30   33:43   33:58   34:18 (  34:25) (  35:04) = 2:48:32
         Bob Wiles, Jim Johnson, Andy McCarron, Mike Quintal, Ben Jenkins, Greg
         Hammett, Kevin Tilton
   3.  WHIRLAWAY RACING TEAM                     
            33:04   33:10   33:23   34:09   34:48 (  35:21) (  35:49) = 2:48:34
         Brandon Newbould, Dan Princic, Joe Hegarty, Mark Hudson, Jose Ortiz,
         Craig Fram, Mike Cooney
   4.  GREATER BOSTON TRACK CLUB                 
            32:53   33:52   34:17   35:00   35:53 (  36:26) (  36:32) = 2:51:55
         Dan Smith, Matthew Haringa, Edward Breen, Ryan Aschbrenner, Thomas
         Young, William Feldman, Bruce Davie
            33:35   34:05   34:05   35:01   35:39 (  35:58) (  36:06) = 2:52:25
         Brian Fuller, Andrew Mulvaney, Michael Brouillette, Kent Lemme, Colin
         Lee, Carlos Rivera, Ron Lombardi
16 Total Clubs Scoring.

If you haven't already seen it, here's Justin Fyffe's video from the race.  Justin was sidelined with injury but he still showed up to support the team.  It was great seeing him there and in such good spirits.  He was a good motivator for us for sure.

Krissy K Photos
Scott Mason Photos

Next writeup will probably be tomorrow, as I try to catch up with my race results/stories.  Savoy Mountain will cap off my weekend of crazy racing and travel around New England....

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cigna 5k

(Photos in this entry from the Union Leader and David Lane. Prints are available for sale on

Thursday night was race 1 of 3 in 4 days for me this 'weekend'.  It brought me back up to the Cigna 5k  (results) in Manchester, NH for New Hampshire's largest race (5328 finishers).  This is the fastest 5k in NH and last year, Alene Reta broke the NH state All-Comer's record for the 5k (by 1 second) when he ran 13:53 in the blazing August heat.  Previously, Joseph Mwai held the record of 13:54 from 2003.  Nate Jenkin's 13:46 from the Hollis Fast 5k doesn't officially count because that course is a point-to-point. It is a certified 5k, but not record-eligible.

This year, going into Cigna, my thought was that 'maybe' I'd have an outside shot at running a PR, but should at least break 15:20. This course is fast for a number of reasons.  It is a loop course and certified, but it is faster than most races because of the layout of the course, the positioning of the hills, and simply the depth of the field.  The race starts out slightly uphill for most of the first mile, but it is so gradual that you really don't realize it.  Because the field is so deep and fast, you get pulled out to a fast first mile and you've completed most of the uphill section without realizing it.  The second mile has a ton of downhill that's steep and then a flat section into mile 3, which is almost all flat except for the very end, which has a scorcher of an uphill, but it is positioned perfectly, right at the end of the race, where (if you are running a good time already) you can just hammer it to the finish.  I figured since I ran 15:27 at York this year (2 weeks ago), which was much faster than I ran there last year, I could at least match my time at Cigna from last year...but something in the back of my mind was telling me that maybe 15:12 (my time at Cigna last year) was probably at the very low end of my ability at this point in my career.  I was pretty nervous about that being a distinct possibility.

I headed into town and got stuck in horrendous traffic getting into the city off of 293.  It was a mess.  I would have been nice and early, but because of that ridiculous offramp, I ended up just making it.  I had to all but make up a parking spot a few long blocks away from the starting area, and literally run over to registration to get registered and try to get some sort of warmup in.  I was able to get registered and head out for my warmup (solo) a little later than usual (about 40 minutes before race time).  I ran over the course and spotted a bunch of the usuals, getting ready to race.  I saw Pete Mallet (CMS) and a few others as I continued on my way, searching for a place to use as a bathroom along the course (easier said than done). I eventually found a spot under the underpass of the highway and did my business...then it was back to the starting area to get ready.  I was pretty relaxed on the warmup, but that would all change quick.

As I headed over to the starting area, I saw a load of local talent like Mackenzie Kilpatrick, Kevin Alliette (NB-Boston), Justin Freeman (R.UN), Joseph Koech (R.UN), Ben Ndaya (R.UN), Tim Rider, and a slew of CMS guys like Scotty Clark (the first ever winner of this race!), Tim Cox, the brothers-Quintal, Greg Hammett, Jeff Goupil, etc.  I was also surprised to see 50 year old stud Mike O'Brien make an appearance... I knew it was going to be a good showdown of local talent..but I didn't see any of the NY-East African contingent.  They usually show up in numbers for this race because the money is decent (6 deep plus some bonus money).  Kevin Alliette passed by me while doing some strides and said 'who's here?'. That basically said it all.  I looked around and saw loads of usuals and loads of new faces (but those faces looked legit)...but no East African studs to speak of other than the couple of local Lowell R.UN guys.  After a couple of delays in start time, I decided to retie my shoes and ended up being the very last guy to get on the line before the start.  Ben Ndaya let me in right in front of him on the line and graciously wished me well as the gun went off.  I was super nervous at this point...I don't remember being this nervous for any race since coming back into running. I could hardly handle it. I was head to toe jitters.  As the race started, the nerves didn't go away.  They seemed to get worse.  Throughout the first mile, I had the chills and shakes. I felt like I was burning up because of my nerves...not only was I the most nervous I've been before a race, but I was nervous DURING the race...that is pretty strange to me...

I got a quick start and was shocked that for a brief period, I was out in front. Not too long after, Joseph Koech motored by me and put a strong surge out to get the lead.  I held 2nd place for nearly a quarter mile.  I was shocked. I looked around and there were loads of guys right behind me, but nobody was going for it.  A half mile in, I was still in 2nd, joined by Justin Freeman.  Justin continued to push by me and went up to catch the leader.  Another R.UN athlete went by me and then maybe 1 or 2 others.  As we hit the mile, I was in the top 5 or so, but was still shocked I was so far up front.  By this time last year, I was getting smoked.  Right around the first mile, Pete Mallet and Ben Ndaya went by me, as did the eventual winner, Josh Eddy.  As we took the first of only 3 turns in the race, I went by Ben, Joseph Koech (who started to really back off from taking an early lead), the other Kenyan R.UN athlete, and maybe one other guy, and started to focus on Pete Mallet.  As we took the 2nd turn onto the last main road, I caught Pete on the downhill section.  I tried to fire him up, but he was breathing really hard and I knew he was backing off a bit.  After I went by Pete, I set my sights amazingly on Justin Freeman, who has been sick and is obviously not in top form (I was actually surprised to see him give this race a go).  I caught him on the last part of the downhill section before 2 miles and kept pushing ahead.  He stayed in the game, not too far back, but didn't try to come with me.  At this point, I went through 2 miles in 4th place and wasn't too far removed from 3rd.  I was again, still in shock.  Where the hell was everybody?  I now started to think, 'ok, you can tell everyone after the race that you were actually in 4th at 2 miles'...thinking that by the end of the race, I'd be near 10th place or so... but by 2.5, I was still in 4th and now thinking that if I can just hang on for 3 more minutes, I'll actually cash!  Top 6 get money.  I NEVER ever in a million years even dreamed up a scenario where I'd cash at this race.  I also started thinking that since I was ahead of Pete Mallet and Justin Freeman, and because Mark Miller wasn't running and a few others were still behind me, that I may just steal the Top NH money as well (an additional $100 bucks).

I pushed through to the last turn onto the hill and glanced over my shoulder and didn't see anyone in striking distance.  This was the first time all race I was confident that nobody was going to pass me.  Looking up the hill, I could see all three guys in front of me, running up to the finish.  I was less than 20 seconds removed from first place but not close enough to catch the 3rd place runner.  I rolled up through 3 miles in 14:35 and pushed up and over to the finish in the same :33 that it took me last year.  I came through in 4th place overall, in a new 30+ road PR of 15:08 (4:53 pace).

I essentially ran a bit slower through the first mile this year (by 2 seconds), then ran the same for my 2nd mile as last year, then a bit faster for my last mile, which was the difference.  Cranking that last mile was necessary for me to have matched or bettered my time from last year, because through 2 miles, I was actually a couple seconds slower than last year... so even with the hill, I was able to maintain my pace and push up a 4:50.  It shows I have some strength in the later miles, which is good.  The :33 last .1 kind of bothers me.  I did the same thing last almost seems like it's a long .1.  Maybe the 3 mile mark is a tad short, but I doubt it.  I think I look at my 3 mile split and start celebrating too early :)...  I cashed in at a cool $300 bucks for 4th, but didn't get the top NH honors.  That went to 2nd place's Derek Dutille of Lebanon, NH.


Mile 1) 4:55
Mile 2) 4:50 (9:45)
Mile 3) 4:50 (14:35)
last. 1) :33 (15:08)

Top 25 Finishers Overall (Plus CMS in Blue):

PlaceGun TimePaceNameAgeCity/State
114:504:47Josh Eddy             23Pittsburgh PA    
214:574:49Derek Dutille         23Lebanon NH       
315:024:51Jonathan Gault        19Bedford MA       
415:084:53Jim Johnson           33Salem NH         
515:174:55Ahmed Ali             20Boston MA        
615:174:55Eric Malnati          19Walpole NH       
715:204:56Justin Freeman        33New Hampton NH   
815:234:57Andrew Chalmers       20Ashland NH       
915:264:58Peter Mallett         27Manchester NH    
1015:335:01 Francis Hernandez    18Windham NH      
1115:365:02 MacKenzie Kilpatrick 28Concord NH      
1215:395:02 Jeff Lacoste         18Amherst NH      
1315:425:04 Benjamin Ndaya       34Chelmsford MA   
1415:455:05 Joseph Koech         41Chelmsford MA   
1515:465:04 Cory Sinotte         19Manchester NH   
1615:475:05 Michael Quintal      32North Andover MA
1715:515:05 Samuel Gagnon        17Hooksett NH     
1815:555:08 Greg Hammett         33Chesterfield NH 
1915:595:09 Tim Cox              37Northwood NH    
2016:005:09 Adam Gilman          20Hampstead NH    
2116:065:11 Gubby Noronha        17Madbury NH      
2216:085:09 Simon Evans          33Shrewsbury MA   
2316:145:13 Jeff Goupil          22Keene NH        
2416:155:14 Kevin Alliette       29Raymond NH      
2516:195:15 Louie Saviano        19Sandown NH
4116:465:24 Scott Clark          44Gilmanton NH    
8417:555:46 David Quintal        47Salem NH       

5328 Total Finishers.

Next up is Bridge of Flowers on Saturday and then onto Savoy Mountain for the weekend wrapup...