Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 31 (Saturday)

May 31 (Saturday) - A beautiful day in the valley... I met Kevin and Coby Jacobus and his wife Lisa at the Mineral Site in Conway in the a.m. for a 7 mile trail loop around Thompson Falls area.  Nice run in the morning to wake me up... Then later in the afternoon (early evening) I met up with Darin and Melissa Brown for an easy 4 miles from their house on the trails.   11 miles total on the day.  Getting ready for a nice jaunt in the Whites tomorrow just north of the Pemi Wilderness.

Friday, May 30, 2014

May 30 (Friday)

May 30 (Friday) - Solo lake bang from my house.  Darin wanted to go earlier for his 'junk miles' so I let him go, as I had a late meeting... I got a new test pair of road shoes from Inov-8 to test out...can't disclose much info but they rock.  Bad news is that my blisters are not fully healed and they actually got slightly worse...I should have waited a bit longer before trying to roll a lake bang in new shoes. I love the shoes though...the best road shoe I've seen from them yet... It was kind of a crappy day out and was pouring when I started and rained the whole time.  I had to really back off the last couple miles because of my feet and I actually started out slow...but managed a sub 70 for the 10.4 miles (with the climb up Lead Mine Mountain at the beginning)... 69:15 for the bang.  I'm also starting to lose some of my baby fat that I put on 2 years ago when I had my daughter ;)... that is...until I have dinner tonight...and then dessert....and then I'm back up again.

Side day planned for Sunday morning in the Whites...first real 'long' run of the season (well long for me anyways)...if anyone wants to join, shoot me a message or email.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May 29 (Thursday)

May 29 (Thursday) - Easy trail run to recover from the slightly uptempo effort yesterday.  Met Darin (yes he's still alive and yes he's still talking to me) at his house and we hit the trails off Lead Mine Rd. for 4 out and 4 back.  Nice and easy on a gorgeous day in the valley.  8 miles.  A new gigantic blister has formed over the existing deeper blood blister on my right foot. I keep popping and draining it but it's pretty sore.  All this talk of blisters and puss and blood and feet is making me hungry.  Time to eat.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 28 (Wednesday)

May 28 (Wednesday) - Met Darin down at the beach for a 10 spot.  I mapped out a flat 10 mile course from the lake over to the Carved in Bark neighborhoods, Silver Pine neighborhoods, and then over to  and around the Windsock Village aviation neighborhood.  It was as flat of a 10 miles as you can ask for around here, which felt awesome (for a change). We started out easy and then just started rolling along (it was Darin's fault that the pace was pushed).  He started bleeding again around 6 miles or so (he tends to bleed out his nose pretty bad when he pushes himself hard on runs) looks badass though.  3 towns (Madison, Tamworth, Ossipee), 10 solid miles.  I got all the town lines.... I felt great. Hamstring was tight but feet felt OK and cardio was great....more of these types of runs is what will finally get me into shape.

64:25 for 10.  Splits:  7:22 / 6:53 / 6:34 / 6:26 / 6:08 / 6:10 / 6:11 / 6:02 / 6:16 / 6:17

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27 (Tuesday)

May 27 (Tuesday) - Easy trail run but from Silver Lake beach, out into the Ossipee Pine Barrens and looped around in there for a bit.  Then back to the beach where I tried to soak in the cold water for a bit.  It wasn't cold enough though.  Calves are destroyed still.  Hamstring is still very sore.  Feet feel better though.  It was crappy out. Rainy and cold.  I had tights, a jacket, a hat, and gloves on.  Had deer ticks on me afterwards....Darin had them too. Tick city in there right now.  Easy 6.1 miles...just trying to recover.  I'm also waiting for the nice weather to make it's way to the valley....

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26 (Monday)

May 26 (Monday) - Hobbled a surprising easy 8.5 miles with Nick and Darin Brown from their house, down to the trails and out to Ossipee Lake Rd. and then back.  Nick is fit.  I cannot believe I made it this far with my legs and feet feeling the way they are....

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 25 (Sunday)

May 25 (Sunday) - A day in which I could barely walk... unfortunately from the Wachusett race through until Monday, I could not put any pressure on my heels.  I was pretty upset on Sunday morning when I got up, thinking somehow that my feet would feel better...they did not.  Darin was going to drive me to Redhook and we were leaving at 8:30am. I got up, taped the hell out of both feet, put some added cushion in my racers, and actually went outside 3 times to see if I could run up and down the street. I could 'move' on the ups, but with a ton of pain. I wasn't sure if I could muster 3.1 miles at some sort of aggressive pace however.  When I turned to go 'down' the street, it was basically a no go.  I tried this 3 different times in 90 minutes.  Finally I texted Darin and had to tell him to go without me.  It sucked.  I really wanted to NOT miss Redhook AGAIN this year.  That is 2 years in a row.  I may have to stop doing Wachusett to be honest...especially after what it did to me this year.  Last year I was a little banged up but decided not to do Redhook just out of not being fit, and that was a huge mistake.  This year I wanted to go and couldn't.  I may have had a shot at 3rd possibly, after looking at the results.  Derek Hamel ended up winning.  He's a very very good runner and would have most likely smoked me given my current '5k fitness' anyways.  He's younger and definitely stronger and fitter than I am by a long shot... But it stings that 15:47 won it this year (don't get me wrong, I would have LOVED at 15:47) and the race had over 2000 people, which would be the biggest 'win' I would have ever had. I won Redhook before, but it was under 2k people.  It would have been cool if I didn't go to Wachusett and instead went to Redhook and somehow pulled off an upset.  I won it 6 LONG years ago...I think my chances now are dwindling away.  Aside from my very first year (in which it was one of my first road races after a very long time off), I have run 5 times between 15:28 and 15:38.  I think my days of running sub 16 are certainly numbered...we'll see.

Just for kicks, here's my history at 'the Hook'...

2014 - registered but didn't run. Really bummed. Was 3rd at Wachusett day before.
2013 - registered but didn't run. Regretted it ever since.  Was 4th at Wachusett day before.  Could have run the Hook...
2012 - 2nd of 2038 - 15:37 - Andrew Huebner won. I ran Wachusett the day before for 3rd (but only 9 seconds out of 1st)
2011 - 2nd of 1886 - 15:28 - Bob Wiles won. I ran Wachusett the day before and WON IT.
2010 - 3rd of 1842 - 15:34 - Bob Wiles and John Mentzer were 1-2. I ran Wachusett the day before for 4th place
2009 - 2nd of 1958 - 15:38 - John Mentzer beat me by 5 seconds.
2008 - 1st of 1898 - 15:32 - battled with Dan Princic and took the lead near 3 miles.
2007 - 7th of 1824 - 16:33 - one of my first real races back running after almost 8 years off.

Moral of the story...I'm getting too old to do this double (or at least attempt it).  I'd rather run Redhook than get 'mountain goat' status.  Also, this year I could miss a race and still get 'Goat' so I should have used Wachusett as the miss....oh well...

I'm not counting the 5 minutes of running I tried to do in the AM. I'm chocking this day up as a zero.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

May 24 (Saturday) - Wachusett Mountain Race

It was Memorial Day Weekend and once again it was time for the Wachusett Mountain Race (results) in Princeton/Westminster MA.  Wachusett is not exactly my favorite race in the series but the current edition of the course seems to play into my favor just a bit with a roughly 5k climb followed by a slightly longer 5k descent.  Last year I wasn't really all that fit but managed to run 'ok' because of the downhill finish.  This year, I feel I'm in better shape so I was looking forward to this race.

I headed down to the race early in the a.m. with Kevin Tilton.  This was great because it gave me the option of sitting on heated seats for 3 hours (I don't have them in my sh*tbox of a car) to try to warm up my ailing hamstrings.  I also got to relax while Kevin had to do all the work driving (I need all the advantages I can get).  We got down to the race just in time to get ready and head out for a warmup with Mike Narcisi and Eric MacKnight (who was my pick for the win).  The weather was cloudy and dreary but no rain.  It was also warmer than last year, which was a plus.  We headed up and down the course for just over 2.2 miles or so.  Then it was a quick change of clothes and shoes before heading down to the start and more warming up and strides before the race.  3 miles total for a warmup.

The race went out fast.  That's about all I can say.  The pace was hot early.  Eric was out like he had no intentions of anything but winning.  Justin Freeman who is in very good form, was hot on his tail.  They both were ahead by quite a bit, very early on.  Kevin rolled out slower but started to ramp up and shortly moved ahead to try to close the gap.  I was content just sitting back early and running next to a couple of guys including (I believe) Nick Rindenello and Matty Veiga.   The first mile came and went.  It is all uphill on pavement and just seems to take forever.  I clicked through in 6:34 and was starting to lose my pack behind me.  I was now in a small pocket ahead of those guys and trailing Kevin by 5 seconds or so.  As we took the turn into the parking lot, the course dips a bit before starting the real 'auto road' climb.  Kevin had a small burst of speed on this very short downhill and moved ahead of me.  He built up a lead of 10 seconds or so as we started to climb the road to the summit.

Start courtesy of Gianina Lindsey

Start courtesy of Gianina Lindsey

photo by Scott Mason...I'm hidden behind Kevin and Justin.

photo by Scott Mason

On the second mile, I stayed about the same behind Kevin for the first bit and could still see Justin and Eric right together up ahead.  About a half mile into the second mile, the course took a sharp left and I found myself rolling up on Kevin's shoulder.  I wasn't sure what was going on with either of us, but I felt pretty descent so I just made the decision to continue to roll forward and not adjust.  I think Kevin said 'go get 'em' or something like that.  I responded with a 'lets go' as I passed into the lead (of our group anyways).  All of the sudden I was ahead of Kevin at around 2 miles and I now didn't really have anyone ahead of me to pull me along.  Eric and Justin were a little too far up to hook onto.  I wanted Kevin to pull up along side but I was slowly gapping him (which was very surprising).  The second mile was 6:28, which is very good for an all uphill climb on the auto road (with just that very short dip at the beginning).

The third mile of the climb was tough.  It's the steepest.  I was pulling slightly ahead of Kevin and could see Justin taking the lead from Eric (but barely).  They were battling back and forth up ahead and I was just content getting to the top in 3rd.  As I rolled up to the top and made my way up and around the summit tower, Eric was beginning his hammerfest on the descent.  Justin was close behind.  I was just barely holding off Kevin and started the descent with a 15-20 second lead (maybe) on Kevin.

The way down is brutal.  Brutal on my feet, my calves, my hamstrings, etc.  You name it, I destroyed in on the downs.  Eric was nowhere to be seen.  I could see Justin every once in a while on a long section but mostly it was just me trying to stay on two feet as I let gravity pull me down the mountain almost uncontrollably.  I would peek back occasionally to see if anyone was lingering behind but never saw anyone.  I just pushed forward thinking that 3rd would be mine if I could just hold off from blowing up with a cramp or injury.

Splits on the way down were 4:37, 4:46 for the first two miles of mostly paved auto road descent.  Then the third mile + was all xc ski trail. Rocky and muddy/grassy but in pretty good shape.  It was as dry and about as fast as it could be... 5:09 for that 6th mile.  It was about the time I hit the 5th mile mark though that I realized my feet were destroyed.  I had amazingly painful hotspots on both heel bottoms. I figured I was going to end up with no skin on the bottom of my feet by the finish.  I really struggled on the last mile (which probably should have been under 5).  I was just in a lot of pain on each foot plant.  About 5.5 or so into the last descent I could see Justin way up ahead but he was too far to catch and he's too strong to let that happen anyways.  Maybe at some point when we are both in our late 50s, and I catch him on an off day, I can beat him...but not any time soon :).  There was one small last uphill section (basically the only one in the last 5k) near where Scott Mason was taking photos.  I peeked back here and saw Matt Veiga next in line, but way back...enough for me to know that I had 3rd if I could just hold it together.

Start courtesy of Gianina Lindsey

I ended up coming down the last .35 or so to the finish and came across in 3rd.  I barely made it.  My heels were annihilated and both calves cramped up on me jumping over two small water bars right near the finish.  I jogged passed the finish in 36:23.  35 seconds faster than last year....I'll take it though.   By my math that was about a 15:06 last 5k (after climbing about a 20 min 5k and having the last 3rd of it be on rugged xc trail)....not too bad.

Splits from Garmin:

mile 1: 6:34
mile 2: 6:28
mile 3: 7:04
mile 4: 4:37
mile 5: 4:46
mile 6: 5:09
last .35: 1:43:8

Garmin Data:

Top 10 Overall (CMS in Blue):

134:52Eric MacKnight25Ballston LakeNYFleet Feet
235:43Justin Freeman37New HamptonNHTeam RUN
336:23Jim Johnson37MadisonNHCMS
437:17Matthew Veiga27LynnMA
537:52Kevin Tilton32ConwayNHCMS
637:53Nicholas Rindenello27HarvardMA
738:13Todd Callaghan44BeverlyMACMS
838:29Tim Mahoney34HolyokeMACMS
938:53Andy Scott23SomervilleMA
1039:52Dave Dunham50HaverhillMACMS

299 total finishers.

the damage (on one foot anyways)
Immediately after finishing, I knew I was done running for at least a couple days (which sucked because I wanted to do Redhook the next day!)... I hobbled over to the car and took my shoes off to see two giant blisters forming on the bottom of my feet.  It was extremely painful. I tried to do a slow cooldown with the boys but couldn't get more than 50 yards or so before I had to turn around and limp back to the car.  I was pretty bummed but I will focus on the positives and not dwell on the negatives right won't help matters.  It is what it is.  I should have planned better for the descent and taken measures to avoid this problem (which has happened to me before in races with a lot of steep, prolonged descents).  Lesson learned for next time.

Positive: I ran faster on the same course, as I did in 2013.  Seeing 2013 was my worst year of racing/running, that's definitely a good sign. Only a 35 second improvement, but I'll take it (one year older)...

Positive: I think I moved into the lead (even if temporarily) in the mountain series.  Kevin was leading after 2 events.  My 2nd at Sleepy Hollow (but barely any distance on Kevin) and my 4th at Pack (behind Kevin by a bit, but in the longest race of the series) set me up for 2nd place overall so far (about a point behind Kevin) going into Wachusett.  My 1:29 margin over Kevin in the 10k gave me over 5 points on him.  I now am in the lead (by my fuzzy math) by about 4.3 points.

Positive:  I moved ahead (so did Kevin) of legendary mountain man Eric Morse in the all-time Mountain Series points (below courtesy of Dave Dunham):

Top men - All time point leaders (all over 1,500 Points)  92 Possible races:


Total Points

My history of the Wachusett Mountain race:

2014 - 3rd of 299.  Course was same as 2013.
2013 - 4th of 297.  Course was up to the summit on paved road and then down on pavement and xc trail.
2012 - 3rd of 226.  Course was the same as 2011 I believe.
2011 - 1st of 308.  Course was another mix of road and trail (including new crazy single track).
2010 - 4th of 324.  Course was a mix of road and trail.

Full set of photos by Scott Mason here:

Full set of photos by SnapAcidotic here:

On the way home, Kevin had to stop off in Hampton Beach to do some work so I hopped in the ocean for a bit (all to myself) to see if standing in cold salt water would help my feet.... The water wasn't really even that cold and it didn't seem to help at all...but the beach was nice and quiet!  Everyone must have been scared away by the weather forecast.  Photo below of the massive crowds at the beach...and I'm sporting some new colors....

Hampton Beach...crowded.
Photo by Gianina Lindsey.  Photobomb by JJ.

Friday, May 23, 2014

May 23 (Friday)

May 23 (Friday) - Another very easy 6 miles w/ Downtown D.Brown from his house (out and back on the trails).  Just wanting to try to survive the weekend....

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 22 (Thursday)

May 22 (Thursday) - Rainy day in the valley but I got out after work for a last minute jaunt in the 'flat' trails off of Lead Mine.  On the drive over there, I passed Darin running with one of his dogs...He was heading from his house to the trails. So I parked and waited for him...then I ran into the trails a bit with him and then turned back with him and headed back to the house.  Then from there, I ran up Daniel Ward Rd. (class vi) and up to Goe Hill (also class vi) and then down to the base of Mary's Mountain trail... then circled back up.  About 6 miles in my hamstring tweaked a bit so I decided to bag any attempt at a 10 miler and just ran back down the trail to Lead Mine again.  7.1 miles easy (1:01:57) on the wet trails.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May 21 (Wednesday)

May 21 (Wednesday) - D.Brown picked me up on the way to the track at Kennett H.S.  We did 2 miles in the woods and then a lap on the track with some strides... then it was 3 x 1 mile.  I had zero plans with this.  I couldn't even decide on the pace I wanted to run.  Darin wanted 5:40s.  I figured I 'should' be faster but decided to run w/ Darin at least at first to see how my body reacted.  I haven't done a track workout in probably a couple years...maybe 1 in there somewhere, but it's been a while.  I also am about 10 lbs or so over where I used to be (maybe more) and also my training has been lackluster to say the least (although I'm not a complete slob).  We started together and I told him I'd go for 40-42 per 200.  I hit the first 200 in 37 or so and felt fine.  Hamstring was really really tight and borderline sore but I continued to try the workout.  76 through the first 400, which was too fast. I backed off but not by much.  I ended up cruising through the first mile very easy in 5:17.  Darin was about 15 seconds back.  400 meter jog and then into the second one.  I went out on my own and ran 5:14 pretty even.  I felt completely within myself (as I should at that pace).  400 jog.  Darin needed more rest so I was off completely alone on the 3rd one at the start.  5:08 for the last mile with no problems.  Hamstring was tight but it was very easy otherwise.  Definitely feeling good mentally after this.  It makes me think I can handle a couple more at that pace or drop it down to near 5 minutes for a harder workout without too much issue.  Either way it was great to just see what 5-low felt like.  A lap jog in between each + a lap at the end and then 2 more miles in the woods for 8 miles total.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

May 20 (Tuesday)

May 20 (Tuesday) - Out for the High St. loop (easy) with Darin Brown from my house.  11 miles total with a small add-on past my house to get 11. 1000 ft. of elevation gain in this nice quiet loop on half dirt / half paved country roads in Madison and Silver Lake.  1:24:54 for the loop.  Not bad for an easy day considering the hills.  I got both town lines.  Darin actually tried to get one yesterday (it was close) but today I got both.  Yeah that's right.

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19 (Monday)

May 19 (Monday) - Met up w/ Darin late in the day and did 5 miles on the trails near his house off of Lead Mine.  It was chilly.  We both had tights, jackets, and hats on.  Felt like late fall/early winter out there.  It had been drizzling on and off all day.  I tacked on another 1.3 afterwards around the small pond off of Lead Mine (single track trail).  6.3 easy miles.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 18 (Sunday)

May 18 (Sunday) - Took Tabby for a hike into Diana's Baths in Bartlett (her first ever hike) and then later in the day, hit up 10 miles in Madison/Silver Lake.  First 2.5 solo + 5 miles with Darin and then 2.5 solo.  Ran down to 41 and hooked up w/ Darin who was halfway done with a lake bang. Turned and headed back with him to his house, then turned and headed back to mine. 1:09:53 for 10.01 including the Lead Mine hills.

Tabby's first Trail Sign Selfie!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 17 (Saturday)

Spent the day out and about with Kristin, Tabby, and Kristin's parents in and around the Conway area on a gorgeous day.  Was planning on doing a workout with Darin but we missed each other.  I ended up running from the NH Country Store in Tamworth, back to my house via 16 and 113.  It's a hilly up and down run. I added on a little behind my house in the Cascades trail really easy.  6.3 miles in 42:52 (slightly uptempo for the first 4 miles) with a couple under 6 (a-la Joe Navas' Cape Cod miles) on the flatter sections (which are still uphill).  Very easy the last 2 miles in the trails.

Tabby Rose peaking out the side door...

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16 (Friday)

May 16 (Friday) - Headed up the trails behind my house for a short/easy trail run and felt awful. Bonked about 1.5 miles in and had to head back. Got only about 2 miles and had to stop and walk.  I was very light-headed and had the spins.  I sat down for about 10 minutes and then walked back.  Felt really strange. I had not really eaten much but still wasn't even hungry. I must have been really low sugar-wise though.  Kristin's parents were coming over for the weekend, so I hopped in the shower and noticed as I was looking in the mirror, that I had a tick half-embedded in my side (it has most likely been picked up on Thursday during my pass through the class vi road section of my run.  I eventually got it out, but it had bitten me and the area was swollen and discolored. It kept getting darker and darker.  I immediately called the doctor and ended up getting a prescription for antibiotics as a precaution.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

May 15 (Thursday)

May 15 (Thursday) - Had to bail on Darin to run later in the day as I had to work on some things before heading out.  Decided to take it easy but go longer than I would have.  I opted to give the 'East Madison Half Marathon' course a go (a fictional race course I would choose if I had to make a race in town).  If I was a race director I could probably safely offer a big big monetary prize for anyone who dips under 1:10 on this course.  First of all, it's slightly long at 13.5 miles. Second of all, there are some ROUGH class vi road sections (the end of Modock Hill and Rock House Mountain Rd, which has 5 huge downed trees that haven't been cleaned up yet).  Third, there is between 1700-2100 feet of climbing (whether you believe Gmaps Pedometer which shows over 2100 or my Garmin at almost 1800).  It almost feels like there is close to 1800 just on Glines Hill alone.  It took me 9:55 for that mile from the base to the top (Madison/Eaton town line) of Glines Hill.  My hip and hamstring was super sore and tight.  I should have opted for a shorter run but I really wanted to do this loop for some reason.   It bothered me right away and was bad at 4 miles...I still stuck with it and didn't bail at many of the opportunities I had in the first half of the course.  Ended up running 1:46:36 for the 13.5, running 'easy'.  Sub 8 pace for this run with all the climbing is pretty solid, especially for almost limping in the last couple miles.  I wonder what I can do on it when I'm really running it...maybe someday.  There is a lot of downhill after mile 11, which makes the end of the run pretty enjoyable.  If anyone out there is reading this and ends up being in the Madison area during the completely snow-less months (all 3 of them) and wants to do a 13-14 miler (or a modified 'shorter' 11.x version of it), let me know!  It's fun.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 14 (Wednesday)

May 14 (Wednesday) - 9.6 miles with the good doctor over in Ossipee.  Parked off Gilman Valley again and ran up and through to Marble Rd and then back. A lot of good climbing in here (which took it's toll on Darin).  On the way out there is a lot of uphill on the dirt road and snowmobile trails.  On the way back down, there's one big climb and then a lot of downhill.  My hamstring was acting up a little (just sore and tight) on the way back.  It's my left side, which is NEVER a problem, so I know it's just in need of a stretch.  We added on a bit on Marble road and ran into a dog who was coming at us, so we turned early (and ended up shy of 10).  I like this option for a nice traffic-free 10+ (offroad).  It may be impassible in the summer once the bugs are in full swing however.  1:21:35 for the journey.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May 13 (Tuesday)

May 13 (Tuesday) - 10.4 miles easy lake bang w/ DB. Another nice day (not as hot as yesterday but still nice).  Hamstring was sore just from the usual being 37.

Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12 (Monday)

May 12 (Monday) - 6 miles easy from Silver Lake train station out and back on the tracks and Chain of Ponds dirt roads/trails w/ Darin Brown.  Then stood in the lake for a little bit to ice the legs.  Beautiful day out.  Legs a bit sore from Pack but nothing major.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May 11 (Sunday) - Pack Monadnock 10 Miler

It was once again time for the Pack Monadnock 10 Mile mountain race (results) which serves as the second race in the 2014 USATF-NE Mountain Series.  I ran decent here in 2009, 2010, and 2011 (the year I won with a 1:02:47).  In 2012 I wasn't feeling well and had a horrible race.  In 2013 the race was cancelled.  This year, I was skeptical I would be able to run any faster than I did in 2012 due to my lackluster training, but I was giving it a go anyways.  The weather was a little on the warm side, with some strong headwinds in spots, but other than that, there wouldn't have been any reason why the race would have been on the slower side.  But for some reason, it was just that...for just about everyone I talked to.

After a 3+ mile warmup w/ Eric MacKnight, Michael 'Mountain Man' Quintal, and Kevin Tilton, I changed into my adidas road flats (because my feet have been bothering me and with a 10 mile 'road' race ahead of me, I didn't want to make my problems any worse with the thinner racers I had brought) and headed to the line.  The field was looking pretty good with the likes of Brandon Newbould (2012 winner), the three men I already mentioned, and a slew of others.  I figured that a top 5 would be good for me given the factors, and an outside shot at 4th would be feasible.

As the gun went off (or should I say as the horn sounded), the race went out pretty slow up the first mile to the tune of 6:15 or so.  Very slow by this race's standards.  The year I won, my first mile was 6 flat.  We were already behind schedule.  As we cruised past the first mile mark, there was a good pack of guys all together.  MacKnight was itching to pull ahead with Newbould in tow.  Just behind was myself and Kevin.  Right behind us was a pack that included Ryan Aschbrenner (GBTC), Alex Hall (BAA), and Matt Viega.  Alex had actually pushed early on in the first mile to mile and a half but then retreated back on the downhill.

It started to open up a little bit down the first descent on dirt roads.  Eric took off like it was DH Jones (which finishes downhill and could not be any more different than this race ;) )... and Brandon seemed to pull away to settle halfway between Eric and the pack of Kevin and I.  It stayed like this for a couple of miles.  Kevin pulled away from me around 2.5-3 miles and had about a 30-40 second gap on me for the rest of the race basically.  I felt flat and wasn't wanting to push any harder, knowing that the last 2 miles (the auto road climb + the Rt 101 section) are rough on me.

For the next 4 or so miles of rolling dirt and pavement, it was Eric way up front (but mostly within view), Brandon behind and all alone, Kevin behind him and all alone, and me about 30-40 seconds behind Kevin, whom I could see the entire way.  Behind me, I'd peek every once in a while and see a pack of seemingly the same 3.  Alex, Ryan, and Matt.  They may have been spread out a bit, but I could see them all.  From 5-7.5 or so, it seemed like one or two of them were catching me.   I felt slow and completely out of it, but Kevin wasn't pulling away at all and neither was Brandon seemingly.  Eric was a bit too far ahead at this point to make him out.  As I passed 7 miles on a hilly dirt road section, I looked back to see Ryan (I think) looming. I was confident I'd be passed and was starting to think that if those 3 behind me eventually passed by, I'd have to try to settle for 7th.  It did kind of light a fire under me though and instead of giving in, I pushed onward.  I just tried to keep the same amount behind Kevin at that point, figuring he was running alright.

When the road eventually dumped out onto rt. 101 and passed the 8 mile mark, it felt like the brakes were slammed to the floor.  The wind hit me in the face and so did the long climb up to Miller State Park.  This is where the race gets tough...about a half mile out from the start of the actual 'mountain' section of the race.  I peeked back again to see all 3 of those guys in tow behind me and closer to me than I was to Kevin.  This was a bit deflating but I continued to push on. I felt like I was running so slow that I was very surprised no one caught me on this section.  I looked way up to see that Brandon was rolling passed Eric.  I figured it would be quite a battle on the last climb for those two and did think that as strong as Kevin is on the climb, he was too far back to catch those guys... but I would be mistaken.  During this section, Matt Viega got a side stitch (I found this out afterwards) and dropped back.

As I rolled up into the park, Kevin had about a 45 second lead on me (I was counting as he'd pass by something and also I was told this as I rolled by some spectators at the bottom of the park). As I started to hit the auto road climb, I turned and saw Ryan right behind me (closer than I was to Kevin).  I knew he was strong and he's run quick here before (faster than what we were currently running) so I had little faith I could hold him off.  I started to climb and forgot all about Kevin until I'd occasionally look up and see him.  He didn't look like he was pulling away too quickly but there's quite a ways to go.  I kept peeking back on the turns and Ryan was lingering but not really gaining.  Then, suddenly I looked to see that Alex Hall had passed Ryan out of nowhere and was now pushing up to catch me.  This was the great unknown, as I knew Alex had a good initial climb at Sleepy Hollow last week but wasn't sure about his other strengths, etc.  I thought I may be able to hold Ryan off, but I had no clue about Alex.  I continued to put one foot in front of the other and didn't feel 'horrible' on the climb as I thought I would.  I actually felt OK compared to how I had felt on 101.

Probably about halfway up the mountain I started to realize I may be able to hold my place, as I looked back and now didn't see anyone else.  It looked like Alex had dropped back a bit.  I got more confident as each slow step went by.  Then, on one of the longer stretches, I looked back and saw Ryan again and this time, no Alex.  It looked like he may have run into a bad patch on the climb and Ryan was able to move ahead again.   I knew at that point, I probably had it.  I finally came to the long, straight, STEEP climb that is the last 200 meters or so.  I looked up and to my shock, saw Kevin going right passed Eric, who had slowed on the climb.   He had run the first 8 miles too quick and paid the price on the last 2 miles.  Brandon had held strong and pulled away to a convincing win in a slower 1:04+ (but dont' get me wrong, I'd have taken a 1:04 today!).  Kevin held off Eric for 2nd.  I rolled up and through about 42 seconds behind Eric (which on this course is about 75 yards).   Kevin had put about 15 more seconds on me on the climb.

In the end, I ran 1:06:35, which is not my slowest time (it's my second slowest time).  It's slower than I was obviously hoping for, but I got the 4th place I thought I would be able to get in that field.  Considering that everyone was slow (Brandon was just over 2 minutes slower than his last race here, Kevin was almost 3 minutes slower than his last race here, etc) I was pretty pleased that I not only ran faster than 2012 (by 2 minutes) but that if I took another 2 min off (like everyone else I talked to), I'd be looking around a 1:04 which isn't horrible.  I'm not quite sure why a lot of people (including others I talked to) were a lot slower on the day than previous years.  It's usually warm out and the wind only seemed bad on one section.  It was just one of those races I guess.  It could also be that Justin Freeman wasn't in the field this year (as he was in 2012). I would imagine he would have pulled everyone out by at least another minute or so)...

My last mile split was 9:31 (on my Garmin, which I've never had for this race).  In 2009 I ran 9:28, in 2010 I ran 9:22, and in 2011 (when I won) I ran 9:12.  So I wasn't WAY off my previous times (other than maybe 2011).  I don't know my splits for 2012.  I ran so badly there I think I erased them from my watch (and my memory). I surely was faster than 2012 on that last mile.

The cooldown was down the mountain w/ a slew of guys as we talked about how horrible the experience was (typical).  I ran all the way back to the car before realizing I forgot my drop bag and had to shuffle back over to the park to get it (and then back) about 2.5 miles or so cooldown total.  16-ish miles on the day.  I survived to climb another day and no real issues other than not being fit enough to race a hilly 10 mile mountain race.  I will consider this a success as I was faster than my last time here (although I was at rock bottom then). That was an entire 2 years back.  When you get to be in your 'late' thirties, 2 years is a lot.  I also consider it a success to come in 4th in this field and beat a lot of other guys who are fit.  And lastly I consider it a success that I was under a minute back of Kevin, who is fit and in great climbing shape.  I figured he'd put 2-3 minutes on me easy.

Footage below from Mikey G.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 10 (Saturday)

May 10 (Saturday) - Hosted my parents for the day and headed down to Wakefield, NH (Union) to pickup a new picnic table with my dad's truck.  Got out very late in the day for a light 3 miles on the trails behind my house.  It turned into a gorgeous day out... Legs a bit stiff and just tired.  Didn't want to do too much before Pack Monadnock on Sunday.

The back of 'Nute's' in Union, NH.

Friday, May 9, 2014

May 9 (Friday)

May 9 (Friday) - Shot over to Gilman Valley Rd. in Ossipee/Tamworth to run some logging roads and snowmobile trails in the Ossipee Mountains.  If you have time, there are some interesting reads regarding this area (which is actually very remote).  One is here (a basic summary and nice list of resources) and the other is where the main action (and drama/controversy) is (here).  In a nutshell, a guy went in there and made a map (and may have done some other things including clearing trail, etc).  He also badmouthed the land owners seemingly right on the map itself.  He was then distributing said map.  The 'land owners' didn't like it and have since banned him from being in there (in seemingly thousands of acres).  His name is actually on the signs as persona non grata.  I am surely oversimplifying what happened, but it's an interesting read if you have the time.  Because I have yet to be banned from the area, I headed up and over the logging roads to the end and then hit the snowmobile trails (including NH Corridor 15) down towards Conner Pond.  I hit up the trail to Bayle Mountain and ran/hiked up to the summit (1853 ft).  It was raining and getting dark so I immediately turned and headed back down. I was nervous about running out of daylight (was without a headlamp).  Visibility was bad because of all the rain and fog.  I botched my watch on the way back so I was missing about a mile at the base of the mountain.  10 miles total in 1:25:22 (including some good climbing!).

On the way out, I saw a baby bear bolt across the trail in front of me which scared the ever lovin' sh*t out of me.  On the way back, I happened to look over (not too far from where I parked my car) and saw a big ole moose watching me across an open area.

This sign neglects to mention sub 8 minute miles are also not permitted in here...

A small amount of ice still on the trail (which is totally bizarre). I ran over it on the way back just to hear the crunch...

Near the summit of Bayle Mtn (there was still a small climb from here).

Enuf said...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8 (Thursday)

May 8 (Thursday) - I knew it was going to be a miracle to get any run in today.  It was a gorgeous day but I was up at 4:30am to hit the road, 3 hours (with traffic) down to Concord, MA for a customer onsite.  Spent almost 9 hours staring at a computer screen in a very hot room with no lunch break and only 1 bottle of water to tide me over.  Didn't get out of there until 6:30pm and had a 3+ hour ride back (staring at my newly lit 'Service Engine Soon' light).  I wanted to get back before Tabby went to bed so I didn't completely miss her (as she was sleeping when I left) so I didn't stop on the way home except in Portsmouth for a sandwich (which I ate in the car).  Got home at 9:30pm.  Day off in the books.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 7 (Wednesday)

May 7 (Wednesday) - Lake bang with Doc Brown.  We went from the town beach and did the loop counter-clockwise to get the Lead Mine hills out of the way early.  Started out relatively moderate and then worked into it.  1:09:26 for the 10.4 miles. Nice and warm out.  Soaked a bit in the lake afterwards (which is frigid!)....

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 6 (Tuesday)

May 6 (Tuesday) - Same loop as yesterday (Chain of Ponds) but in reverse.  8.5 miles w/ the Doctor.  Decided to take it even easier at the beginning and really went slow.  Ended up finishing 2 seconds faster than the previous day.  1:07:27. I never looked at my watch until I stopped it.  Pretty amazing that we basically ran exactly the same time without even thinking about it.  Legs still a little trashed from this past weekend's double racing... The middle of the loop is awesome but come summer time, we'll need to steer clear of that area, as the bugs get ridiculous in there...

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5 (Monday)

May 5 (Monday) - 8.5 miles on roads and trails w/ Darin Brown.  The Chain of Ponds loop in Madison.  From my house, up 113 to Boulder Rd.  Then down and into the dirt roads and trails and all the way down into Silver Lake train station and back up 113 to my house.  Nice and easy. Legs felt ok. An unleashed dog came out of a yard and followed us for 4 miles (from one end of Chain of Ponds to the other).  Good luck finding your way back.  1:07:29 for an easy run on some rugged terrain.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 4 (Sunday) - Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race

The start of Sleepy Hollow in Huntington, VT with RD Kasie Enman giving the last second instructions.

On Sunday morning, the soon to be established East Madison Track Club president and CEO Paul Kirsch picked me up (and Kevin Tilton as well) on his way over to Huntington, VT for the 3rd Annual Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race (results), which not only kicks off the USATF-New England Mountain circuit for 2014, but it also serves as the New England Mountain Running Championship AND the New England Trail Running Championship.

After a 3 hour ride over to a very wet and muddy northwestern VT,  I got together with Kevin, Josh Ferenc, and Greg Hammett (who wasn't racing) and headed out for a warmup over parts of the course to check out the conditions.  The course was super soft, wet, and muddy.  It was going to be a very interesting race for sure.  The field was pretty deep with Josh as my pick to win for a 3rd year in a row.  I think he's proven himself to be one of (if not the) best trail runner/racer in New England for sure. I was thinking the only one in the field that was going to give him a scare would be Nate Jenkins, just on his ability and talent alone (with little trail/mountain experience).  Outside of those two, I was picking Kevin for third, Scotty McGrath or Mike Galoob for 4-5, and then possibly myself battling it out with the likes of Mike Quintal and a slew of others (including Jacob Barnett who beat me at Wachusett last year).  The ridiculous state of the footing would definitely even the playing field a little for most of the men in the race...I did think that Josh would be able to muscle out a decisive win however, if he ran his race right from the beginning....which is what he would end up doing.

The start of the race with Josh out early...

As the race went off, I stayed under control and behaved myself as the course immediately begins to climb.  It was interesting to see where everyone ended up picking their lines.  Everyone was spread all over the course with some picking the middle, and others struggling on the side rails of the wide xc ski trails to desperately find a solid piece of footing to grab a hold of.  I felt myself zig zagging all over the place, trying to make sure I stayed on my feet and didn't tucker myself out trying to push off in 6 inches of mud with each stride. I looked up a few times to see Josh immediately take off like a boss and establish himself as the clear favorite.  I looked around me about halfway up the climb and noticed I was in approx. 7th place with Josh way out front, Kevin making a strong push to catch him, a BAA runner (ended up being Alex Hall) running very well early, Eli Enman and Nate Jenkins running right next to me, and Mike Galoob, John Stanton-Geddes, and a couple others mixed in there all in a relatively tight pack.  Mike Quintal blew past me on the way up the first climb as well and looked super strong.  I was biding my time as I knew there was a killer climb at 2 miles and didn't want to empty the tank to early on the first climb.  I tried to relax and not worry about my current position.

The course flattened out a little bit and I ended up rolling past Mike Quintal as there was a slight descent.  But then, as soon as the course hooked left and started to climb up again through the first mile, he blew passed me again like I was standing still.  A little while later, on single track right before the summit, I was able to go past Mike Quintal again and Mike Galoob who politely moved to the side a little bit as I went past.  I assumed I'd see him again though, as he's tough as nails and it was still very early.  As we went up and over the first climb (where Josh got the coveted King of the Mountain title again), I was probably in 5th or 6th place.  Then came the first real descent of the day and the major separator of trail vs road guys.

I started to roll down the slope, at first relatively relaxed and cautious but then slowly started to pick up steam.  I immediately passed John and Alex, and set my sights on Nate and Kevin who were a bit ahead.  Kevin is a great downhill runner on the trails and Nate is just a great runner in general.  I was shocked to see both of them coming back as I was beginning to bomb down the muddy and treacherous hill.  About a quarter of the way down, I passed Nate and was shocked.  I then passed by Kevin not too much later. I could not believe that once again found myself in 2nd place (like last year) out of nowhere.  I almost went down a couple times across some very soft open areas, and I was constantly slipping and sliding on one foot plant after another in certain spots.  I had gone with the X-Talon 212s as footwear but I was beginning to wonder if any shoe was going to be able to help in these conditions.  I was wishing I had gone with my Mudclaws instead (which have a larger lug) but had run this race last year in the 212s so I was hoping they'd help me stay afloat again on the way down.

As the descent flattened a bit and we headed towards the field, I had a decent lead on Kevin and Nate, but they reeled me in.  I couldn't really see Josh, but I almost wasn't even looking for him.  I was only concerned with who was right behind me.  My goal at this point was to simply break away from the rest of the field and fully expected Kevin and Nate to roll past me on the climb.  I felt I had done my job on the steeper descent and held up a bit to try to recover and prepare for the long grind that is the second ascent of the day right at the 2 mile mark.

As I hooked right and passed the 2nd mile marker, Kevin rolled on by, right on queue.  I let him go.  Nate came up on my shoulder and was breathing hard.  I could tell he was out of his comfort zone for sure after that climb and then shockingly messy descent.  Nate and I would continue to push up the long grind of a climb together for the next mile or so.  Kevin pulled away a little but not too far.  He maintained about the same lead on us the rest of the way.  Halfway up the climb, John caught Nate and I and then passed us by a stride or 2 in spots.  The three of us would trade lead duties (by a step or two) for the rest of the way.  All 3 of us summited the climb (finally) together, basically 3 across.   I had peeked back a couple times to see blue shirts in the distance (not too far back). I knew it was Quintal and Galoob lingering.  I never saw Scotty McGrath but knew he was also there, along with 4 or 5 others that could possibly catch us.  There was a long way to go.

As the downhill started, I made another push on my normal downhill pace and broke away from Nate and John.  I was surprised (again).  John had caught us and really pushed us on the uphill.  I was surprised that I was able to leave those guys behind on the small drops over the next quarter mile or so (which had some small ups and downs).  I was slowly catching Kevin but now knew that it was Nate's time to make a push to go after Josh.  The rest of the course only had one major climb left and that wasn't too bad (single track).  I figured he'd blow past us and that would be all she would then be a race for 3rd.  But I continued to catch Kevin all on my own and I finally rolled up on him with about half mile to go from the bottom.  I slowly inched forward and he kept a few strides behind me.  I kept peeking back to look for Nate's white jersey.  I couldn't see it.  I was still somewhat in a haze but I kept plugging down the hill.

Eventually I came through the start/finish area (4 mile mark) with Kevin directly in tow and the rain beginning to come down.  We looped around the finish area and headed down to the last loop of the course, which has some slight downhill and then a steep singletrack climb, followed by a steep singletrack drop and then an up and down and up again on XC ski trail to the finish.  At this point I had raced well but was convinced I was going to be 4th.  I figured Kevin would kill me on the climb up and then be able to hold me off on the last mile of xc trail which doesn't have quite enough downhill (or so I thought) for me to make up the difference. I also was sure that Nate would kill this last section and possibly get 2nd.  Josh was completely out of sight at this point.

I hit the single track and proceeded to immediately move over so Kevin could go on ahead.  We both know the drill by now.  I have no business being in front of him on a climb and know my place in that relationship.  I moved over and let him go.  I started to look back periodically to see if Nate was coming.  I could make out his white jersey in spots but couldn't figure out how close he was.  I didn't fall too far behind Kevin and thought about just keeping him close and trying to hold off Nate.  I love Nate, who is also a teammate of mine (like Kevin is), but I also love the fact that I was actually in front of him in a race.   That was uncharted territory for me :).  I would have wanted to beat anyone in this position, but it just happened to be a guy whom I had never been in front of in any race, ever, at any time.  It felt nice for once ;).  It just took a horrible mudfest of a mountain race for me to actually do it :).  Lifetime, I'm probably 1 for 30, so let me have some glory for once ;)...

As we hit the top of the single track climb, I immediately rolled up on Kevin and we both started the push down.  I yelled at him to keep moving as Nate was lingering.  He promptly moved aside and motioned for me to go on by. I did so, but knew Kevin wasn't just letting me go.  I pushed down the hill and bottomed out with him right behind.  At this point it was both of us working together on the last uphill on xc ski trail, followed by a sustained subtle drop for a while (which I had really forgotten about).  I yelled back at him to keep pushing forward and wanted to work together.  I was able to move out just a bit ahead and pull out to a small lead.  But just before the end of that stretch, Kevin started to close down some of that daylight.  I peeked back a bit more for additional jerseys behind Kevin and didn't see any.  I then looked up and saw the orange cones that were at the bottom of the last climb to the finish.  There was about 200 yards left.  I peeked back one more time and saw Kevin there, but I looked to have enough of a lead to squeak out an unbelievable 2nd place in this amazing field of guys.  I pushed up the last climb and rolled through the finish only 7 ticks up on Kevin.

Nate obviously closed hard but had John in tow as well as they both came up through the finish in a close 4th and 5th place finish.

I was pretty pumped about being able to squeak out a solid race for having little to no real preparation of workouts of any quality.  I have only been doing 50-60 miles per week (not even).  I have done a couple of trail races recently but nothing really close to a mountain race.  Also, I had raced a 5k the day before, so I was literally shocked I even finished the mountain race, let alone beat some amazing guys.  Josh had long been done and was already back at his car updating his Facebook fan page.

Kevin, Nate, MQ, and I headed out for a 3 mile (which felt like 20 mile) cooldown on the dirt/muddy roads. I bonked something fierce and barely made it back.   After downing a bunch of food at the lodge, it was time for the awards.  I had no intentions of placing on the podium so I hadn't known there was cash for top 3.  The first year of the race I was 3rd but I believe only top male/female got money.  The second year I was 4th and top 3 got paid.  This year I figured top 10 would be good for me so I wasn't even thinking about cashing in.  On top of some money, I got a monster jug of quality maple syrup (not as big as the moonshine jug Josh got, but still...) and a nice USATF-NE silver medal for the Mountain/Trail championships.  I also got to say I beat the guy who beat the guy who won the Boston Marathon this year...

Top 3 Overall - L-R: JJ (2nd), Last Hero and Only Hope Ferenc (1st), and Classy Tilton (3rd)

Top 20 Overall:

140:44JoshFerencSaxtons RiverVT
342:56KevinTiltonNorth ConwayNHCMS
443:13NateJenkinsNorth AndoverMACMS
843:52MichaelQuintalN AndoverMACMS
1245:43MikeGaloobPeace DaleRI
1847:34TimVan OrdenBenningtonVTCMS
1947:40DaveDunhamWard HillMACMS

215 Total Finishers. Full Results.

CMS put 7 guys in the top 20 to take the early lead in the USATF-NE Mountain Series Team scoring...edging out 2nd place GMAA and 3rd place acidoticRacing.

I have to say that my expectations for Pack, Wachusett, and Ascutney are almost non-existent.  I have no delusions of making any podiums in those races with no real good sloppy downhills to run.  Kevin will beat me by many many minutes at Pack and I'm ready to face that reality.   The course here played a huge role in my ability to be able to place as high as I did.  The rest of the courses (short of maybe Loon and Cranmore) will not be in my best interest, based on my current fitness, but I'll be there to enjoy the amazing experiences that make up the USATF-NE Mountain Series.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 3 (Saturday) - Children's Museum 5k

May 3 (Saturday) - It was back down to the Children's Museum of NH 5k (results) in Dover, NH.  This race has been the first race of the Seacoast Series for years.  It is usually one of my slower runs of the year/series.  I didn't do it last year but have done it 6 total times (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and this year).  I did have the course record from 2011 when I ran 15:46, but Eric Couture wasn't having any part of that in 2013 (last year) when he destroyed that to the tune of 15:30, which is very fast on that course.  The course isn't super fast, so it's tough to run quick there in early May (at least for me it is).  I have historically had problems w/ either injury or fitness during this race...or just plain running slow....but I also have had some good luck in being on the podium (second in 2008, third in 2009, third in 2010, first in 2011, and third in 2012) which means lobster dinners from the Weathervane.

This year, I was completely unsure of what my 5k fitness was like as I have done nothing except snowshoe racing and trail racing up until now.  I haven't run a real 5k in a long long time, so I was really not sure what it was going to be like. I couldn't really fathom running 5:0X pace at all, seeing that most of my running here (over the past 2 years) has been very slow on hills, rough terrain, and snow. I would soon find out, that is was pretty tough!

I hit the warmup early, as I thought I needed an extended warmup for sure.  I ran a mile or so around the grassy fields and footpath near the start/finish and then I went over to run the course (in reverse).  I finished up with another mile around the area before getting ready for the race.

The weather got pretty warm by race time (with very little wind) and as I was standing on the line, besides feeling the warm temps, I started to get quite nervous.  It was almost like my first race in ages... Almost like new territory for me.  I didn't like that feeling and at that point made my mind up to get my guts back and start showing up at races again on a normal basis (or normal for me) so I don't feel this way again.  I had to go with my adidas shoes during the race, as I still haven't ordered my updated Inov-8 road flats yet (I wasn't anticipating racing on the roads again so soon)...

As the race began, I shot out and up the slight incline that begins the first mostly uphill (ever so slightly up hill) and flat first mile.  There is a decent amount of slight uphill to start, and then the second mile has got some steeper up followed by a drop down, a rise up (out of the neighborhood loop) and then another drop.  As I stretched out on the first mile, I glanced at my watch and saw 5:0X and was pretty surprised.  I had a decent lead early and knew that I may be able to actually win the race if I just kept up a respectable pace and didn't completely blow up.  My watch clicked through the first mile in 5:08, which was just about on point with the first mile marker.

The second mile contains the uphill plus a small neighborhood loop where it's down and around and back up.  I felt slightly gassed on the uphill, but not completely like junk so I pushed on.  As I came back against traffic out of the loop, I heard a lot of folks cheering for me and saying my name, which felt great.  I took the turn back onto the main road and headed down the biggest downhill on the course to the 2 mile mark.  I hit 2 in 5:11, which wasn't too far ahead of the actual marker on the road.  I thought that was ok because I have a nice drop to start the 3rd mile.  I had a big lead here and knew it was just a matter of hanging on.

As I bottomed out of the steep downhill (which was way shorter than I remembered) I started to rig up.  I started to struggle a bit to keep rolling along and by the time I was heading up the last short but steep uphill at about 2.5, I felt like I hit the wall.  I saw Nate Jenkins standing on the side (he was cheering for Melissa) and he gave me some encouragement.  I knew I had about a half mile to go and I could make it through, but it wasn't going to be pretty.  At the bottom of the hill I was under 5 min. pace (I should have been WAY under it). By the time I hit the bridge, I was over 5 and had lost a lot of time on the fastest mile of the course.  I managed to collect myself on the flat section on the other side of the bridge and rolled to my 3rd mile split of 5:07...however I was no where near the 3 mile mark on the course.  I was shocked at how off it was.  I glanced down at my watch, knowing the 3 mile time was respectable (far better than I had hoped for) but was heartbroken to see how far off it was from the course marker.  I know all about course certifications, etc.  But I don't remember a 5k being this far from my watch... Granted the last time I ran this race (and all times before), I did NOT have a GPS watch...and also, the marker was where it always not only is the course slightly rolling, but it's also (according to my watch) just a hair over 3.2 miles (could also be my lack of taking tangents).  I finished up in 16:25, which was my slowest time ever on the course...but it was just about what I was hoping for for my best case scenario...I never expected the win though, so I was thrilled. article here:

Top 10 Overall:

1Jim Johnson       16:255:1737East Madison NH  
2Jason Hart        17:375:4035Fremont NH       
3Kevin Higgins     17:535:4625York ME          
4Tom Doherty       18:095:5130Dover NH         
5Daniel Dion       18:145:5228Dover NH         
6Mike Guarascio    18:396:0130Stratham NH      
7Jordan Parkinson  19:056:0922Portsmouth NH    
8Miranda Fani Srour19:286:1631Barrington RI    
9Alex Mitrushi     19:306:1735Dover NH         
10Melissa Donais    19:376:1930North Andover MA 

790 Finishers.

I wrapped up the day with a 1 mile jog around the start/finish area again because I was now staring at the horror of having to recover in time for Sunday's Sleepy Hollow Mountain race in VT.  I knew it would be a tough task and so I took it very easy and jogged around, then walked around a bit to try to stay loose.  I collected my certificate for 10 lobster dinners from the Weathervane, and then I hit the bricks.  On the way home, I stopped by to see my parents in E.Wakefield, NH and spent a couple hours in the water helping my dad put his docks in.  Being in the freezing cold water made my legs feel great afterwards...I just hoped it was enough to help me get through the mountain race tomorrow...

Friday, May 2, 2014

May 2 (Friday)

May 2 (Friday) - 6 miles up and back on E.Madison Rd (hilly!).  From my house, up to Paul's and then back down.  40:28.  Felt OK. Made the decision to hit up the Children's Museum 5k on Saturday because I need some racing and some workouts to try to get back into it.  Will have to suck it up and get out may include some bad ones at first, but it's a necessary evil.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 1 (Thursday)

May 1 (Thursday) - Lake bang and then some, with Darin Brown, from my house.  11.4 miles (lake bang + a small out and back up the worst hill on the loop because Darin's dog got loose and followed us for a while and we had to bring him back).  1:28:10 for the lot.  This was Darin's longest run since the WMM half in October!