Having been really sick all week with a nagging cough (which has been really bad the last 48 hours), congestion, nausea, sore throat, and general fatigue, I was unsure about where I'd fit in with this race. I have done little running this week because of the marathon just 6 days ago, but my legs actually feel pretty good. A little heavy, but good. I haven't actually run sick in a long time, so I wasn't sure about the combination of the marathon recovery and being under the weather, but I had to give it a go to complete the series...I have done this race for 3 years now and the previous 2 years I had done it 6 days after the Baystate Marathon. In 2008, I was 2nd in 15:53 and was shocked I broke 16 after having run my first marathon just the weekend before. In 2009, I ran faster at Baystate and was able to run even faster still at Great Bay, running 15:38 to take 2nd again. This year, I ran even faster at Baystate than the previous two years, but the fact that I have been sick made me think that this year would be a longshot to actually run faster than 15:38. I would actually prove myself wrong...
The trip up to the Stratham Hill Park was uneventful, but soon after getting to registration, I noticed Nate Jenkins standing there looking fit and ready to go...but I briefly chatted with him and he was going to be running the Mayors Cup XC race on Sunday in Boston. He was there watching his fiancée run. Good, one less guy to worry about...but I still had to contend w/ my teammate Chris Mahoney, who is always popping his head up at local races with money... (I still don't think he actually has a real job...I think he is a full time roadwhore...more investigating on that to come).... Chris and I scoured the list of entrants on the wall and really didn't notice any names.... Scotty Clark (CMS) was in the house, and it was looking like maybe we could have a 1,2,3 CMS finish.... I actually made the mistake of telling Scott that there was a 2:22 marathoner in the race (tongue in cheek, as to eventually make him realize that it was actually him I was talking about)...but it backfired because his actual PR was 2:21. Whoops ;)... Chris and Heather Searles (another frequent casher on the local circuit) joined me for a warmup over the first part of the course. Chris and I talked about the Mackenzie Mile, which is a bonus cash award for the first man and woman through the mile. We talked about how maybe we should split it... maybe we should just tie... whether I was going to go out hard or if he was... what pace, etc. Needless to say, we actually didn't need to worry. Someone else was going to decide that for us. For the record, I won the bonus last year, but ended up losing the race to Scott McGrath, who I'm not sure even knew about the bonus ahead of time.
As the race went off, it was apparent that there was a guy (in a full Navy singlet/short kit) besides us who was going to go after the mile bonus. Chris and I let him go, as we were both focusing on the top 3 spots rather than try to get the $50 bonus and then blow up. The race pays out $150/$100/$75 + the bonus. After the first turn onto the main road stretch, the dude from Navy was gone. There was another guy right behind him in white, then Chris, myself, and a couple other guys right behind us. By the first mile, Chris and I had shaken the chase pack, but the guy from Navy and the guy in white were still ahead of us by a pretty good margin. I came through the mile in 5:01 and was starting to lose Chris.
As we made our way left, onto the next stretch of rolling roads, Chris kept making his way up through the field. He passed the guy in white to take 2nd place. I maintained the same spread on the third place guy, but didn't seem to be catching him at all. I was hoping he'd have gone out to fast (attempting to just cash the bonus) and start to fall back, but he wasn't. The guy from Navy also kept kickin'. Chris did seem at times to be making up ground on him, but then it seemed like the leader would pull away just a little bit again. I watched the whole race unfold right in front of me as I clicked through the 2nd mile in 4:58, for (9:59).
After the rolling part of the 2nd mile was over, the race turns left and up through some nice neighborhoods on the way to the Discovery Center. It immediately starts with the biggest hill on the course and throws a couple more ups and downs your way before making your way down to the finish. About 2.5 miles in, I came up and past the third place guy in white and immediately put distance on him. I was now safely in 3rd and knew after 2.5 miles of wondering if I was going to even cash in this race, that I'd probably be OK. Just before the 3 mile mark, I all of the sudden noticed I was now right behind Chris Mahoney. I made up some ground on him over the last mile and was only a couple second behind him. Not too soon after that happened, and before I could really even think about trying to make a move for 2nd place, the 3 mile mark hit and Chris heard my footfalls and took off. I clicked through 3 miles in exactly 15:00 (5:00 third mile) and cruised down to a 15:30 finishing time (last .1 is slightly downhill and fast). Chris found another gear and held me off for a solid sub 15:30 run (15:27) and a new PR.
For the record, the 'dude from Navy' is Nick Crowell. Apparently he's here in NH for a year and a half. Expect to see more of him in local races (according to the Seacoast Online interview).... The 'guy in white' was Jeff Sprague from Maine.
Top 10 plus CMS in Blue
|1||Nick Crowell||23||PORTSMOUTH NH||15:21||4:57|
|2||Chris Mahoney||32||HAVERHILL MA||15:28||4:59|
|3||Jim Johnson||33||SALEM NH||15:31||5:00|
|4||Jeffrey Sprague||27||PORTLAND ME||15:38||5:02|
|5||Erik Travis||26||LEE NH||16:23||5:17|
|6||Chris Ritchie||27||HAMPTON NH||16:29||5:19|
|7||Scott Clark||44||GILMANTON NH||16:54||5:27|
|8||Peter McNeil||26||BARRINGTON NH||17:11||5:32|
|9||David Harrow||26||GREENLAND NH||17:24||5:37|
|10||Jasmin Lepir||34||PORTSMOUTH NH||17:34||5:40|
821 Total Finishers.
After the race, Chris and I cooled down by running the distance back to the cars and then running the course again, before heading over to the awards ceremony, which also doubles as the awards ceremony for the Seacoast Series. I got another one of my glass statues (I now have one 1st and two 2nds) for the series and $75 for the 3rd place finish in the race (which I more than blew on the way home).
Seacoast Online Article: http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101024/SPORTS/10240361/-1/NEWSMAP
Above is the latest hardware (or should I say 'glassware') from the Seacoast Road Race Series.