Sunday, April 24, 2011

NHTI / Delta Dental 5k

Friday night I ran up in Concord, NH, on the campus of USCAA powerhouse NHTI (home of National Champion XC runner Heather Searles-Mahoney) at the NHTI / Delta Dental 5k (results).  This was my 2nd time running the race (first time back in 2008 when I won in 15:42, outkicking a young Dan Verrington).  This is at least the 3rd version of the course in the 7 year history of the race (that I know of).  The course usually incorporates some trail sections around the campus.  When I ran in 2008, they didn't run over the trail section because of the flooded/muddy state of some of the trails.  This year, it was the same issue and the course was run entirely on the roads around campus.  The difference between 2008 and 2011 was that they added a section of course around one of the buildings near the 'root canal' tunnel you go underneath.  Then, at the end this year, you finish on the path around the quad.  In 2008, you ran an extra length across the quad (instead of going around the building).  The course this year was wheel measured and one of the directors told me they went through quite a bit to accurately measure the course.  The noticeable thing about the race is that the entire thing was coned.  They made you run on the right side of the entire route, meaning that basically half of the time, you could not take any tangents on the course (not even close).  You had to run to the right of the cones which they placed about 2 feet from the shoulder of the road, making it a VERY tight fit at times.  I felt on every lefthand turn, that I was adding on ridiculous time, as I was all the way across the road and actually in the breakdown lane, instead of hugging the other side....but of course it was measured that way, so it really was not adding on time, but instinctively you just want to hug the tangents on the road...

When I got to the race and registered, I started to see a good deal of CMS guys including Dan Verrington, Rod Viens, Scotty Clark, Tim Cox, and Sam Wood.  A good group of 6 of us and Abby Gosling as well.  DV, Rod, Tim, and I all warmed up together over the course and checked out the new add-on section.  I noticed Justin Freeman warming up just behind us and knew it was going to be a great fast race, as he has set a personal goal of running 14:35 this season on the roads.  He was coming off of a good ski season and is getting into some good running shape now.

The race got off to a good quick start and Justin just went out from the beginning. I stayed right with him, only a step behind for most of the first half mile as the course winds down to a turn around point and then starts to come back against traffic.  Just before the mile mark, Justin put a slight lead on me (a second or two max) and I began to put some space on Mike Burleson who had gone out with Justin and I at the beginning.  After us was some distance before a big pack of what looked like 10 guys.

We had to stay way right on the way back out and it was a bit tough to not be able to cut across and take any tangents.  There was a lead bike in front of us with the RD on it and he was constantly looking back.  Justin stayed right outside the cones and I obviously followed his lead (as the RD instructed multiple times before the race began).  The 'K's' were marked on this course as well, but I didn't pay attention to the first couple.  When we hit the 3k mark, it was going up and over the overpass over Rt. 93, which is the biggest hill on the course (the only hill) and you obviously go over it twice, once on the way out and once on the way back.

I went through 3k in 8:46 (obviously the k's were mismarked) but I felt like I was hammering.  Justin was a couple seconds in front of me and was pulling me along the whole way.  I knew that if I was alone out front and he wasn't here, I'd be running somewhere in the 15:45 range or so...but the sheer fact that he wanted low to sub 15, made me move that much faster.  We looped around the parking lot (tight turns) and went under the 'root canal' tunnel and through the 2 mile mark in 9:48.  The course then goes around the other building and parking lot (new route) and again, tightly turns back and goes back up over the overpass.

Once down the other side Justin seemed to be coming back a bit from his few second lead and I was always in striking distance, but it seemed he might have been slowing...but as the course rolled out and around the large parking areas, he seemed to be holding his ground.  The wind was really hitting us directly in the face and I thought that if he came back just a bit more and I found myself just pulling up on him, I'd go for it.  I wasn't sure if he had a good kick or not.  I know he's strong as hell and runs hard at the beginning, but haven't raced him enough to know about his kick.  He ended up not really needing it, as I settled into 2nd place and stayed there for the short loop around the quad and never quite made up the few seconds I needed.  We both probably ran the same last 2 miles, but his initial burst at the beginning gave him the well deserved win.  I was happy with a fairly fast time for me (in April especially) in 15:18, 4 seconds back of Justin.

Rod ran really well and came through exhausted in 16:32 (he finished the race looking how you are supposed to look at the end of a 5k!).  Tim and Scott both got top 10 finishes as well, with Scott demoralizing Dan at the very end of the race.  Sam Wood wrapped up the CMS places and Abby won the woman's race.  Ryan Kelly ran a very strong race and was talking about dipping under 16 this year...I hope he does it (I just hope I'm either not in that race or I'm running faster when he does it ;) )...

We all cooled down together (with a couple of the acidotic boys joining along) over the course and along the trail that runs parallel to 93.

Splits (5k: 15:18 / 4:55 pace):

Mile 1) 4:50
Mile 2) 4:58
Mile 3.1) 5:29 (missed the 3 mile mark but was definitely under 5 for the third mile even with the wind).

Top 10 Plus CMS in Blue

Place Time Pace Name Age Town/State
1 15:14 4:55 Justin Freeman         34 New Hampton NH 
2 15:18 4:56 Jim Johnson            33 Salem NH       
3 16:06 5:11 Michael Burleson       25 Weare NH       
4 16:10 5:12 Ryan Kelly             29 Concord NH     
5 16:32 5:20 Rod Viens              43 Grantham NH    
6 16:40 5:22 Nick Rennie            27 Salem MA       
7 16:43 5:23 Danny Ferreira         28 Concord NH     
8 16:49 5:25 Ryan Lacasse           25 Bow NH         
9 16:53 5:26 Tim Cox                37 Northwood NH   
10 17:03 5:30 Scott Clark            45 Gilmanton NH   
11 17:04 5:30 Dan Verrington         48 Bradford MA    
16 17:34 5:40 Sam Wood               24 Laconia NH     
19 18:20 5:54 Abbey Gosling          25 Meredith NH    

396 Total Finishers.

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