Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wachusett and Redhook

No, not the beers...well maybe one of them....

This past weekend I ran my usual double of the Wachusett Mountain Race + the Redhook Brewery 5k on Saturday and Sunday.

Wachusett Mountain Race (4.7M)
Princeton, MA
Saturday - 5/26/2012
3rd OA - 29:10

The race went out in a pedestrian fashion.  Nobody wanted to take the lead with any authority.  Eric MacKnight was slightly out with Brandon Newbould and I in tow, but nobody was killing the pace. I should have taken over in retrospect, because I was familiar w/ the course, but I held back a bit and stayed with those two (who were probably just itching to turn on the jets) because I really don't like that first part of the race.  I did manage to sneak in a town line during the first half mile or so. Eric leaned, but I announced right before the line that I was going to take it and he challenged with a lean right at the end. It was close.

By the top of the first climb on the pavement, Tivo and Todd Callaghan caught up to our group and it was close to a 5 man race by the time we turned into the parking lot.  I let Brandon go ahead in the single track section and stuck right behind him as we gapped Eric a bit on the way down (which was surprising).  As we dumped out of the single track and out into the open at the base of the ski area, I was right behind Brandon as we made the climb up across the slopes.  By the start of the climb up the single track (14-15 or so minutes in I think), I was a little behind Brandon and Eric had all but caught me.

Up the single track grind (which is about 5 minutes or so I think), I kept Brandon in sight, but he did pull away a bit.  I kept up a running form which was surprising for me (I think I'm actually getting slightly better at climbing maybe?) and I put some serious distance on Eric. By the top, it was just Brandon a few ticks ahead of me.  The hammerfest on the way down was beginning.

I was striding out on the way down and keeping Brandon within my sights and almost within striking distance.  A few times on the way down, I was convinced I may be able to catch him and he looked a couple times like he was coming back.  He glanced back a couple times and I figured he may be tiring.  Eric was way back for most of the way down but I was sure most of the way, that he'd catch up.  He seems to be able to screw on the downhills, even after a long grind tuckers him out on the way up.  At 25:45 in, he finally caught up and passed me by.  I told him about the elapsed time because he knew the race was about 29 min or so (I ran 28:54 last year for the win).  He had started his kick a bit too late though, as we both hit the single track a second or two apart and Brandon had just beaten us to that section, which is next to impossible to pass on.

I just held it together on the last bit and stayed in 3rd place, as I could see both Eric and Brandon up a few ticks ahead, just holding place.  In the end, I came down to hold off the expected 3rd place finish and was only 9 seconds back of Brandon. It was pretty tight, with all 3 of us within 10 seconds. To even be this close to Eric was a win for me.  He didn't like the climbing as much as he likes hammering the roads and I was able to keep close because of that.  I ran only 16 seconds slower than when I won this last year (same course) and last year the weather (if I can remember) was better than this year.  It was warmer for this race this year and the last part of the trail was wet (I don't remember it being wet last year).  So the effort was probably about the same.  I'll take it.

Top 10 (Plus CMS Racing Team Members in Blue)

1Brandon Newbold Nottingham, NH 29:01Whirl                   
2Eric MacKnight     Clifton Park, NY29:04ARE
3Jim Johnson           Madison, NH      29:10CMS                     
4Todd Callaghan     Beverly               29:45GCS                     
5Tim Van Orden     Bennington, VT  30:18CMS                     
6Mike Quintal         N. Andover         31:09CMS                     
7Matt Veiga            Lynn                   31:30                  
8Dave Dunham       Bradford             31:41CMS                     
9Sam Wood             Laconia, NH       32:01CMS                     
10 Brian Ruhm          Nashua, NH        32:04GCS                     
15 Martin Tighe        Providence, RI    34:19CMS                     
23 David Quintal       Salem, NH          35:35CMS                     

226 Total Finishers.

The 3 hour ride home was broken up by a stop in at MQ's furniture gallery in Lowell, MA.
In the late afternoon, Kristin and I witnessed a young black bear rip down and retreat with one of our bird feeders right in front of our watching eyes... It was then bed at a reasonable hour and up early for the 1:15 or so ride down to Portsmouth for the annual Redhook race.

Redhook Brewery 5k
Portsmouth, NH
Sunday - 5/27/2012
2nd OA - 15:37 (5:02 pace)

Went down to Redhook Brewery (first time I can say 'down to Redhook') in Portsmouth, NH for another edition of the 5k that is always a great kickoff to the summer.  This was the 2nd race in the Seacoast Series for 2012.  It's one of my favorite races of the year and definitely my favorite 5k.  The course is pretty flat with only a couple of very slight rollers.  The first mile is usually lightning quick and the middle is normally the slowest, although barely.  The last mile has got a long, drawn out run up to the brewery, where there is usually just a mob scene of people cheering on the finishers.

The race starts at 11am so it's usually really warm by race time. This year was no different.  It was hot and the sun was scorching.  There is zero shade on the course.  The entire thing is exposed it usually gets near unbearable by the end.  I got to the race about an hour out, and quickly glanced at the entrants list on the side of the building.  Andy Huebner was the only name on the list I recognized and knew I'd be in a race for second place at that point.  Andy ran last year but wasn't completely in shape, as he was taking some time after college.  This year, he was ready to go and it showed, as he took down Bob Wiles' current course record.

As the race went off, Andy took it out pretty hard and I stayed with him for about 800 meters or so and then either I put the brakes on a bit or he picked it up (not sure which) but he gapped me there and that was all she wrote.  I did have someone else w/ me for about a quarter mile but he soon faded.  By the mile, I was all alone.  I clicked through in 4:53 and he was probably 8 or more seconds ahead.  Mile 2 I seemed to stay right with him and thought near 2 miles that I was gaining a bit as I came through in my usual 10:00.  Over the last mile, he seemed to pull away just a bit and I had a big lead on the 3rd place runner (who I really couldn't even pick out behind me). I only looked maybe 1 time in the first mile and then I never looked back (which is unusual in that race).

I came through 3 miles in around 15:05 or 06 and then had a 31 last .1 for a solid 15:37 on a hot day, with tired legs from Wachusett Mountain the day before (and a 20 mile good solid effort on Thursday).  Needless to say I was pleased. $100 cash for 2nd again, plus another $50 gift card to Redhook and some free beer to start off the summer.  Good times.  Andy took the win with a 15:14 and new CR.  He was really moving and looks VERY strong early in the season.  He's only 24 so he's got a lot of time ahead for some very fast running in the seacoast.  I started running competitively when was was about 3 years old..just wanted to say that :).  Oh, also, I got my very first '* Under USATF Age-Group guideline' designation... this is because I am now 35. Yuck!

Splits: 4:53/5:07/5:06/:31 last .1

Top 10 Overall:

1Andrew Huebner   24Portsmouth NH     15:144:55
2Jim Johnson            35Madison NH              15:385:02
3Peter McNeil           27Barrington NH           16:525:26
4Matthew Weber   31York Beach ME    16:555:27
5Kevin Emblidge      28Lake George NY      17:005:28
6Joel Turcotte          29Greenland NH            17:235:36
7Mark Gibson           45Durham NH               17:245:36
8Brandyn Naro         25Manchester NH        17:465:43
9Ryan Proulx            32Portsmouth NH          17:515:45
10Mirek Boruta         32Londonderry NH17:585:47

2038 Total Finishers!

This was my 6th consecutive Redhook 5k.  Here's the breakdown:

2012 - 2nd Place - 15:37 - Field Size: 2038  - day after running Wachusett Mountain Race
2011 - 2nd Place - 15:28 - Field Size: 1886 - day after running Wachusett Mountain Race
2010 - 3rd Place - 15:34 - Field Size: 1842 - day after running Wachusett Mountain Race
2009 - 2nd Place - 15:38 - Field Size: 1958
2008 - 1st Place - 15:32 - Field Size: 1898
2007 - 7th Place - 16:33 - Field Size: 1824 - one of my first real races back running...

After the race, went back up north and stopped in at my parents house in Wakefield, NH for some food and good times at the lake. Did about 30 min. worth of fishing w/ my nephew Kenny Jr.  Hooked two pigs in like 10 casts but each time, they broke the line as I had them right near the boat.  Time to upgrade the test to something a bit higher for next time.... immediately put the rod down after the second one snapped right near the boat.  Not going to keep feeding my lizards and hooks to large mouth bass without being able to pull them out and appropriately release them back without lures stuck in their mouths...

The summer is here...

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