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....

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