I warmed up with Justin and Patrick Ard and Derrick Hamel for part of the way. I commented to Justin when we went past the spot during the third mile of the course, that that is where he lost me last time. This year would be no different in that regard. Ahead of the race, I had also seen Cory Sinotte and knew there were at least 5 solid guys contending for the win, along with a slew of others that could also place high. The top 10 was shaping up to be pretty competitive as this race usually is.
As the race went off I immediately went out to the lead and had 4-5 guys in tow right behind me. The course heads south for a stretch and goes around a round-about and then heads back against traffic. I was pushing the pace a bit and looking at my watch. Low 4:40s pace for a stretch... too fast. I tried to settle in and relax a few times but the masses right behind me kept me moving pretty quick. Probably around 3/4 of a mile in, Cory Sinotte motored by me and I figured that was the last time I'd be in the lead for sure. He took a convincing lead by a few strides and I had to adjust to stay with him. I could feel Justin's presence right behind. We clicked through the first mile in sub 4:50 (I had 4:47 on my watch). That was a bit outrageous but I was still feeling ok and was trying to now just settle into 5 minute pace.
Probably about 1.5 miles in, I found myself passing Cory back without doing any sort of additional work. Justin was right behind me and quickly did the same thing. I started to now think that it would be just us two as I continued to push now that I was back in the lead. We started the second loop and made our way back out around the round-about. I got to glance back at who was still hanging on and realized that Patrick and Derrick were pretty much right there still (as was Cory and obviously Justin right behind me). Justin was sounding like he was laboring a bit at times and I thought for a moment that he may fade back after we passed the 2 mile mark (not sure why I thought that, as he never fades...at least against me!). I had sub 9:50 on my watch through 2 miles (9:44-9:45) and still had some wheels going. But as soon as we took the right onto the last long stretch that cirles the parking lot at NHTI, I could feel Justin getting anxious. He rolled up next to me in almost the same spot he had pulled away from me in 2011 (in that race he was leading, but he didn't drop me completely until that spot)... This time, right around that point again, he got right on my shoulder, I looked at my watch, looked over at him, and knew he was going to put a move in...and he did. Deja vu... I didn't cover it. He got a few steps ahead of me and I trailed him the rest of the way in. I was within striking distance for a half mile or so but had no strike. When we hit the quad area where you have to circle the quad to the finish, he actually moved away from me again.
I ended up finishing 2nd in 15:31 to his 15:25. Both are pretty good for this early in the year. His time is a bit slower I think than he would have liked, but I was thrilled with my effort. My 3rd mile split on my Garmin was 4:55 (faster than the 4:58 2nd mile split). The last bit of the race was again a long stretch in but at the same 4:55 pace for the last almost .2. The course is now certified and is obviously fast. Pancake flat and there was no wind. It's a great PR course now for sure (if you can get out on a Friday to run it).
For me, it was a little bit of a monkey off my back. I had wanted to feel faster again and get myself into a race like this where we had 4-5 or so fast guys all mixing it up. It feels good to run in the range I was running in back in the 2008-2011 timeframe. I'm not sure how many more of these I have and how much faster I'll be at other races with more incline/turns, etc. but for now, it feels good to throw one down and finally go under 16 by a decent amount on a real course and at a great event. Even though I was 15:59 at the Freedom Old Home Day 5k last summer, that course isn't certified (although I had the distance on my watch). So I never really felt like I 'broke 16' there... Also it was by the skin of my teeth... So 15:30s felt good.
The amazing thing is that I looked back at my race history a bit after this race and the last time I ran FASTER than this at a real 5k was 8/13/2011. Yes, 2011. Granted I haven't run that many 5ks since, but I have run 15:40s/15:30s at races in the end of 2011 and into 2012 but never faster than 15:31 since August of 2011 when I ran 2 5ks in 3 days of 15:25 and 15:20. The 15:20 was at the Crisman Memorial 5k in Amherst, NH. Tim Pipp was 2nd that day...that's how LONG ago it was... So needless to say, it is a great feeling when I can run in that neighborhood or at least faster than I have in going on 4 years! I am also going to be 38 this coming week... Hopefully now as the weather gets better and I can run some easy trails for the slower / recovery days and some track workouts and road tempos for the mid-week workouts, I can maybe actually chip away at this time. I'm not sure how much more I can drop it if at all, but here it is only April and I'm already thinking I've accomplished this goal I set out to achieve after many years of lackluster racing and putzing around and being injured and sometimes unmotivated. Mentally, it's a huge boost for me. It's also pretty fun getting back into the old school scene and doing a bunch of road races where I can bring the girls along... It's a little easier for them to spectate a small loop 5k course and hopefully some day they will take part in the kids races, the more they see the little kids taking part in the festivities at some of these events.
2015 - 15:31 (2nd)
2011 - 15:18 (2nd)
2008 - 15:42 (1st)
Top 10 Overall (CMS in blue):
|1||15:25||4:58||Justin Freeman||38||New Hampton NH|
|2||15:31||5:00||Jim Johnson||37||Madison NH|
|3||15:42||5:03||Patrick Ard||30||Raymond NH|
|4||15:49||5:06||Cory Sinotte||23||Manchester NH|
|5||15:53||5:07||Derrick Hamel||31||Northwood NH|
|6||16:19||5:16||Ryan Kelly||33||Concord NH|
|7||16:27||5:18||Tim Cox||41||Northwood NH|
|8||17:06||5:31||Warren Bartlett||17||Loudon NH|
|9||17:18||5:34||Sam Wood||28||Laconia NH|
|10||17:23||5:36||Scott Clark||49||Gilmanton NH|
384 Total Finishers.
The cooldown was around with Sam and Abbey Wood, Patrick, and Derrick. Then it was back inside the gym for the awards and some food...
On the way home I realized I left ALL my running stuff on the top of my damn car. 90 miles later, I pull into my driveway and there was still 1 shoe stuck under the roof rack. It survived..but it's partner did not...along with my bag, tights, hat, singlet, shirt, and some other junk. Gone.