Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Bedford Half Marathon

On Sunday I picked up new CMS stud Chris Mahoney and headed down south (stopping in Norwood, MA to pick up mountain man Kevin Tilton) to the New Bedford Half Marathon (results) in New Bedford, MA.  I was a little skeptical of my ability to bust out a fast one, but I did have some confidence that even with being stretched rather thin lately, I could still muster out enough of a performance to help the team do well.  I really didn't sweat this race too much ahead of time. I really took it easy and tried not to think about it or worry about it too much.  The Grand Prix events are usually loaded and sometimes it's hard for me to run well when I'm floundering in 30th place, so I've started to really not think too too much about these Grand Prix events ahead of time.  I just try to be as fit as I can and show up and give it my all on that particular day with what I have bring to the table.

After landing an f'ing sweet parking space, Chris, Kevin, and I met up with a bunch of the CMS boys including Andy McCarron, Greg Ward, Scott Leslie, Jim Pawlicki, Joe Shairs, etc.  By the time the warmup came around, we had somehow split up into a couple of groups, but we managed a 2.5-3 mile warmup over the picturesque side streets of New Bedford before heading back to put on the racing gear and head over to the line.  Chris, Kevin, and myself arrived at the start as they were singing the anthem and quickly squeezed between the barriers to get on the line.  I lined up about 3-4 rows back and that was about as good as it was gonna get.  It was a tight squeeze, but I was mixed right in with the right folks and before I could really think of the fact that I got to do zero strides or stretching, the gun was fired.

I weaved in and out of runners for the first quarter mile or so before settling in in a large pack of yellow BAA jerseys.  The first half mile or so of these Grand Prix events are usually a who's who of local talent all unsure of where to be, who to be next to, or what pace to run.  I was no stranger to that crew.  I was looking around, noticing who was going to be coming along for the ride and saw Greg Hammett pull up along side.  I knew running with Greg was a great idea and just thought that if I could stick with him for as long as I could, like last year, I'd be setup great for the later stages of the race.  I matched him for the first mile or so, making sure that when he made a little bit of a move up through some guys, I'd follow.  I was hoping for a crew of CMS guys like last year and figured we'd get that a couple miles in (or at least by 4 miles like last year).

As the pack thinned out a bit, I could see that the race up front was going to be a 1 man show, with Ruben Sanca just blasting away on his own.  Dan Vassallo (adidas NE) was running his own race in 2nd and it didn't look like anyone wanted a part of him either.  After that, it was pack 1 of BAA followed by pack 2 of BAA, then us.  I could see Rob Gomez (Dirigo) up ahead as well as Brandon Newbould (Whirlaway) and David Bedoya (GBTC).  It was easy to pick them out because they were the only ones not wearing the yellow and blue of the BAA.  Greg and I just kept chuggin' away and went through the first mile in 5:16, then the second mile in 5:19.  When I saw the 5:19 I thought back to last year, when I averaged 5:22 pace for the whole race. I thought that if I hit 5:19 on mile 2, I was in trouble for sure.  I didn't think I was going to be able to keep under the previous years pace because I just don't seem to run faster, later in races like this.  Last year I was able to keep up a good clip and actually turn it on over the last 5k, but I had always thought of last year as sort of a fluke race.  I got concerned this year with the first couple miles but I just tried to relax and not think too much about what was going on.  I didn't try to think about what was left or what I needed to run per mile after that.  I focused on just staying with Greg and working the hills that you get in the 3rd and 4th miles, and relaxing as much as I could.

The third mile was a slight improvement (clicking through in 5:18), as Greg and I pushed up the beginning of the hills and battled back and forth with Joseph Ekuom (eventual DNF I think) who seemed to surge back and forth in the early stages of the race.  I still had some doubts about the pacing but felt nice and relaxed.  We hit the hills and slowed significantly over the 4th mile and not too long after beginning the long, steady downhill past mile 4, I heard the familiar sound of the women's lead vehicle roaring right behind us.  Right on queue with last year, Kim Smith (NZL - Reebok) came whizzing by us, surrounded by 3 BAA guys.  This time (unlike last year), it was just Greg and I in our own little pack of CMS guys (last year there was 6 of us). And also, this year, Kim just kept going.  She didn't settle in with us like last time.  Not too long after she went by with the pack of BAA guys, Chris Mahoney showed up right behind us and settled in.  It seemed to be about a mile or so after that that I somehow managed to up the tempo just a little bit without really thinking about it. I think it was because of the steady, slight downhill, and concentrating on just forgetting about what was ahead and focusing on running the current pace on that current mile...taking it one mile at a time.  I dropped a 5:10 5th mile and cruised through 5 in 26:32.  I had opened up a small lead on Greg and Chris but refused to look back to see how far or who else was with them.   I was hoping it was MQ and Kevin and the rest of the CMS guys, but I was now really setting my sights on Kim Smith up ahead and the small pack she was running with, which now seemed to have caught up with Brandon Newbould.  I had also passed and dropped Joseph who did try to hang on for a bit.  Kim and the BAA pack were a good 200 meters + up on me, maybe more at that point.  I also thought about my 10 mile split just for a second and figured that even if I were to duplicate my first 5, my 10 mile split would only be 53:04.  It would be better than my 53:45 split from last year, but considering I was less than confident I'd be even able to match my first 5 miles over the second 5 miles, I figured I'd be looking at an OK race but not a PR.  I didn't want to dwell on that any longer and instead, once again forced myself to focus just on catching that pack that lay ahead.  I knew it would take me a couple miles, but I thought it could happen.

Miles 6,7 , and 8 were more of the same, as I steadily crept up on Kim and the pack.  I threw down a 5:13, 5:16, and a 5:12 and by 8 I had caught up to and passed David Bedoya who had run into some problems and  pulled off to the side of the road right as I caught him.  Over the 8th mile, I got really close to Brandon Newbould and just exactly as we went over the 9th mile mark (at the crest of the hill before coming down to the water), I went past him.  He seemed to react slightly as I went by, but then settled back down as I pushed ahead and up to the next BAA guy who had dropped off of Kim.  As we took the turn onto the main road along the water, the wind hit me from the side and it was pretty strong at times but wasn't a direct headwind.  I managed to go past the first BAA guy and set my sights on the next one.  Eventually, right around mile 10, I caught up to Kim Smith who was running right next to the lead women's vehicle.  She was right with another BAA runner and as I passed them, I could feel them adjust just slightly and try to stay with me.  I just kept thinking that I had been catching them for miles and even though they were now right behind me, if I just keep going the way I'm going, I'll be able to drop them.  I also knew that Kim was most likely just doing a workout (which didn't make me feel too much better about myself ;) )... but I knew she was running faster than last year.

I ticked through 10 in 53:07, making my second 5 miles 26:35.  I quickly did the calculation and that gave me a huge mental boost.  Not only did I run essentially even for the first two 5 mile splits, but I had also caught and passed a bunch of runners and had not been passed by anyone since mile 4 (all of those runners being the ones I caught back by mile 10).  I also remember last year, over the last 5k.  I rocked to the tune of 16:19, even up that mile long hill. I felt great going through 10 in 53:07 and knew I had 38 seconds to work with (as my 2010 split was 53:45).  Because I had Kim and a BAA runner now right behind me, and one right in front of me, I turned it on just a bit and came through the 11th mile in my fastest split of the day (5:09).  I passed the last BAA runner who had been in the pack with Kim and now looked up the hill as we turned onto the last main street, to see 3 more BAA runners within sight of me.  I started to think that I could catch them all and proceeded to chug up the hill as strong as I could, while holding off everyone behind.  I didn't want to look but was hoping that Greg and Andy and Chris and Kevin and MQ and everyone else was right there.  All I could do was control my own race however, and kept working up the hill to the sound of the crowd cheering all of us on (and reminding me that Kim was right behind).

I went past Dave Dunham (on the sidelines) right before 12 miles and he told me I was in 12th place and that Kim Smith was right behind me  (I could still hear the truck).  I glanced at my watch as I passed by the 12th mile marker (which I think was the only marker on the course that didn't have a clock). I saw 63:30 and quickly did the math, assuming that I'd be high '30's over my last .1, meaning I'd have to just go sub 6 for my last mile, which I knew I wouldn't have a problem with.  It was the first time all day I thought I'd have a shot at sub 1:10.  Ticking past the 12 mile mark, you are still chugging uphill but the facts that 1) Kim Smith was still lingering behind me (as well as the BAA dudes) and 2) that there were 3 BAA guys withing sight right in front of me, kept me going strong up the last incline.  The last stretch as you pass the McDonalds and can see ahead for quite some time before the last righthand turn onto the final block, is brutal.  It seems to last forever.  The crowd was great and there were people on the sides telling me to go after the guys in yellow.  I think the fact that 9 of the top 11 guys were from BAA made a non-BAA uniform stand out for sure.  I ticked through 13 in under 1:09 and seemed to be still within striking distance of Mike Fisher and Brendan Callahan from BAA, but I'd be willing to bet that we were all running about the same pace for our last .1.  I was catching them over the last couple miles but simply ran out of race.  In the end,  I came through in 1:09:20 for a new PR, an improvement by 2 places from last year (finishing in 12th place), and an unexpected sub 1:10.  I think I have a sub 1:09 in me for certain but with the 50K, snowshoe season (including nationals last week), an interrupted sleep pattern with cross country road trip, and absolutely zero speed work or tempo runs of any kind, I'll take it for sure.  I was also very pleased to have run another fast 5k to close out the race.  I ran 16:19 last year and 16:13 this year over the last 5k.

As I crossed the line and quickly congratulated a couple of the guys in front of me, I turned to see Brandon Newbould come across in a good time, indicating that he hung tough over the last 5k and didn't drop back like I thought he might (given the way he came back earlier in the race).  But I was absolutely thrilled to see that right behind Brandon, came Greg Hammett and Andy McCarron charging in with a couple other guys.  I quickly caught a glimpse of them as they came charging in and pumped my fist as I looked up at the clock and realized they were right behind me and only a few guys back (giving us a very strong top 3)...but only a couple seconds later I heard the announcer calling names out of finishers and hear Mike Quintal's name.  I could feel my jaw drop and looked out on the last stretch to see him coming but could not...then I realized he was already in the finish chute!  He had run a HUGE PR, as had all of us in the top 4 for CMS.  He came in in 1:10:36 (cutting down his PR by 4+ minutes).  I literally stood there waiting to give him a high five for 10 seconds or so and then saw to my absolute delight, our 5th man, Scott Leslie, come rocking in just under 1:11 (1:10:56) for yet another PR and an obvious second place team finish.  I was absolutely pumped.  I haven't been this excited after a race because of a team finish in a long long time.  To have 5 guys under 1:11 and all right behind each other was fantastic.  To know we did this while also missing a couple of key guys was also a really nice feeling...to know we stepped it up and filled shoes... and though we got smoked by the BAA contingent, we held our own and did the best we could, as we all ran personal best times and put the hurt down on the rest of the teams.  Not bad for a bunch of trail, snowshoe, and mountain guys ;).  The rest of the CMS crew filled in nicely, with Greg Ward and Jeff Goupil also running PRs and Chris Mahoney just missing one.


mile 01) 5:16
mile 02) 5:19 (10:35)
mile 03) 5:18 (15:54)
mile 04) 5:27 (21:22) (hills)
mile 05) 5:10 (26:32)
mile 06) 5:13 (31:45)
mile 07) 5:16 (37:02)
mile 08) 5:12 (42:15)
mile 09) 5:32 (47:48) (hill/wind)
mile 10) 5:19 (53:07)
mile 11) 5:09 (58:17)
mile 12) 5:13 (63:30)
mile 13) 5:15 (68:46)
last .1 )   :37 (69:22)

Avg. Pace per mile: 5:18
Fastest mile: 5:09 (11th mile).
Slowest mile: 5:32 (9th mile).

1st 5M split: 26:32
2nd 5M split: 26:35
10M split: 53:07 (technically a 10M PR).
Last 5k: 16:13 (6 seconds faster than last year).

Top 25 Plus CMS Men in Blue:

Place Name Age City/State Time Pace Team
1 RUBEN SANCA       24 Dorchester MA 1:05:25 5:00 BAA          
2 DAN VASSALLO      25 Reading MA      1:06:59 5:07 Adidas NE 
3 NATHAN KRAH       25 Boston MA 1:07:42 5:11 BAA          
4 DAN SMITH         32 Cambridge MA    1:07:48 5:11 BAA          
5 PATRICK MOULTON   29 Providence RI   1:07:57 5:12 BAA          
6 JUSTIN FYFFE      30 E.Dummerson VT 1:08:01 5:12 BAA          
7 ROBERT GOMEZ      27 Saco ME         1:08:23 5:14 Dirigo       
8 MATTHEW ELY       34 Natick MA 1:08:42 5:15 BAA          
9 COLMAN HATTON     23 Brighton MA 1:09:00 5:16 BAA          
10 BRENDAN CALLAHAN  29 Middletown CT 1:09:10 5:17 BAA          
11 MIKE FISHER       27 Brookline MA 1:09:16 5:18 Baa          
12 JIM JOHNSON       33 Salem NH 1:09:21 5:18 CMS          
13 JARED MARKOWITZ   28 Cambridge MA    1:09:37 5:19 BAA          
14 KIMBERLY SMITH    29 Providence RI   1:09:50 5:20 Reebok       
15 ANDREAS HEILMANN  26 Boston MA 1:10:00 5:21 BAA          
16 ROGER DONAGHY     32 S. Boston MA 1:10:02 5:21 BAA          
17 BRANDON NEWBOULD  29 Nottingham NH 1:10:16 5:22 Whirlaway    
18 PATRICK FOURNIER  35 Rome ME         1:10:27 5:23 Dirigo       
19 GREG HAMMETT      33 Chesterfield NH 1:10:27 5:23 CMS          
20 ANDY MCCARRON     28 Keene NH 1:10:32 5:23 CMS          
21 HARI IYER         23 Cambridge MA    1:10:33 5:24 BAA          
22 MIKE QUINTAL      33 N. Andover MA   1:10:37 5:24 CMS          
23 DANIEL LOUNSBURY  28 Cambridge MA    1:10:46 5:25 NB Boston    
24 SCOTT LESLIE      29 Rutland MA 1:10:56 5:25 CMS          
25 MATTHEW GERMAIN   28 Haverhill MA    1:10:56 5:25 Sisu Project 
33 CHRIS MAHONEY     33 Haverhill MA    1:11:28 5:28 CMS          
36 GREG WARD         39 West Boylston MA 1:11:44 5:29 CMS          
60 JIM PAWLICKI      36 Beverly MA 1:14:01 5:39 CMS          
65 JEFF GOUPIL       23 Keene NH 1:14:16 5:41 CMS          
69 KEVIN TILTON      29 Conway NH 1:14:42 5:43 CMS          
72 GEORGE ADAMS      40 Gilsam NH       1:14:46 5:43 CMS          
93 JOE SHAIRS        42 Peabody MA 1:16:40 5:52 CMS     
95 DAN VERRINGTON    48 Bradford MA 1:16:49 5:52 CMS          
136 DANIEL FORD       26 Spencer MA      1:19:47 6:06 CMS          
137 JOHN PAJER        48 Leicester MA    1:19:52 6:06 CMS          
158 ERNESTO SOTO      33 Worcester MA    1:21:36 6:14 CMS          
202 DAVID QUINTAL     47 Salem MA        1:24:10 6:26 CMS   
312 RAFE JONES        34 Worcester MA    1:28:34 6:46 CMS   
331 MARTY ELLOWITZ    56 Hubbardston MA  1:28:56 6:49 CMS 
401 JOSEPH ALFANO     45 Holden MA       1:30:55 6:58 CMS   
520 KEN STAFFORD      61 Auburn MA       1:34:58 7:16 CMS       
620 BRIAN SAVILONIS   60 Princeton MA    1:37:39 7:28 CMS  
1021 WALTER KUKLINSKI  62 Princeton MA    1:48:57 8:20 CMS 

2369 Total Finishers.

                         MALE OPEN TEAM RESULTS
   1.  BAA                           
          1:05:26 1:07:44 1:07:49 1:07:58 1:08:02 (1:08:43) (1:09:02) = 5:36:59
   2.  CMS                           
          1:09:22 1:10:28 1:10:33 1:10:38 1:10:58 (1:11:29) (1:11:46) = 5:51:59
   3.  Whirlaway                     
          1:10:17 1:11:20 1:11:25 1:11:37 1:12:45 (1:14:22) (1:14:52) = 5:57:24
   4.  Greater Boston Track Club     
          1:11:50 1:12:36 1:13:27 1:13:39 1:14:45 (1:15:06) (1:15:50) = 6:06:17
   5.  GREEN MOUNTAIN AA             
          1:11:16 1:11:28 1:13:53 1:16:16 1:17:04 (1:17:54) (1:18:53) = 6:09:57

- 24 open teams scored for men.

After the race, we cooled down again with essentially the same crew.  My hips and hamstrings were pretty tight, but I seemed to have avoided catastrophe.  I shuffled along on the cool down and then we headed over to the post-race festivities to get some grub and take a peek at the results.  It was a great day for the team and technically the second Grand Prix in a row, where all the scoring members of CMS set PRs.  Back at the end of last year, all 3 scoring members of CMS (Andy, Me, and Scott) all set PR's for the marathon at Baystate.  This year's New Bedford Half saw all 5 (and then some) scorers set PRs.  Awesome!

Photos used here by Krissy K and Scott Mason.

Krissy K - Smugmug
Scott Mason - Smugmug

Videos of the finish are up on Youtube.  This one (below) is where our top guys all finish.  The magic starts happening 1:26 in :)

1 comment:

  1. hey man, awesome race!! not sure how you do this back to back to back weekend's but keep it going and ill see ya at the next one