I warmed up with Derrick Hamel over the first bit of the course. I felt pretty good (all things considered) but was a bit skeptical about a 10K. I haven't really run many 10Ks in my time and it's been a long while since I've run a good one. I was pretty excited about the fact that I wouldn't have to try to run quite as fast as the 5k pace I did last week, which really does feel uncomfortable to me right now...
After a nice speech by Greg Kretschmar from the Morning Buzz and also Governor Maggie Hassan (who fired the gun), we were off and running. I shot out to the lead and was pretty surprised to be almost alone from the very start although Derrick was lingering. I realized about a half mile in, why...I was running pretty quick but it felt a lot easier than NHTI. The first mile rolls (as does the whole course) but there's some slight uphill right away and some down. It makes a huge difference in the way I felt, which is a good sign. I clicked through the first mile in 5:05, which is a bit too fast for my 10k right now...but I felt pretty strong. It's funny how John Mortimer was driving the truck in front of me, really slow, with his head out the window facing me...and he was talking to me like we were out for a run...it actually allowed me to relax which was good. He asked me during the first mile, if I had raced yesterday...I thought that was funny... we talked back and forth during the race as the lead vehicle was yo-yoing between me and the police motorcycles up ahead. He was asking me about the accuracy of the splits, etc. It made me actually feel better to not have to focus on trying to hit my splits... but the rolling nature of the course was actually making it pretty easy to split right where I wanted to be. The course has a decent amount of immediate downhill drops right after any sort of little climb, so you could immediately gain some time back when you needed it. At one point, I was over 6 min pace on a climb (according to my watch), but then dropped right back down and was back near 5:10 by the time the mile split came.
|Photo by Keith Tharp|
Somewhere after 3 miles or so, I started to notice Derrick lose some time and he dropped back. He was there for a few miles, within sight and probably only a handful of seconds... but the more the course went on, the larger my lead grew. I would say around 4 miles or so, I realized I just had to hang on to what I was doing. I really wanted the win and was less concerned about the time. Ahead of the race, I haven't run a road 10k since my atrocious Market Square Day 10k last year, so I was really not sure about what I could do for time. I was really just wanting to make sure I could be in contention for the win. So I was very pleased at what was happening out on the road, staying around my goal pace overall. I didn't really try to estimate what my time was going to be at all, at any point.
When I hit 6 miles, I could hear the people at the finish and started to see a lot of people standing on the side, cheering me on. The course up until that point had some people standing here and there on the side of the roads and at the end of driveways, but it was pretty quiet out there for most of it...but it's a beautiful course. Rolling country roads....beautiful scenery. I really enjoyed it. As I dumped out after 6 miles, it was a small little push down and then up around this little neighborhood near the police station and then out to the finish. I saw the clock with about 15 seconds or so to go and immediately knew I had just run pretty solid.
|Photo by Keith Tharp|
Keith Tharp was in the back of the lead vehicle that John was driving and took a ton of photos including this one to the left of me punching through the finish line (it's also visible on the video link below).
After doing an interview with Andy Schachat and taking a lot of photos with mascots and some of the other top finishers (and kissing babies and signing autographs), I headed out for a 3 mile cooldown with Derrick over some roads in the area. Then it was back to the finish line festivities for food and the awards ceremony.
I've been enjoying my running more than I have in close to 3 years this year as far as racing goes, and it's only April...so that is a great sign. It feels great to finally get back into some sort of shape and actually be contending for race wins here and there on the roads at 38 years of age. It's also great to be able to go to these fun area events and bring the family along. Tabby gets really excited seeing me run by. I can't wait for the Seacoast Series to kick off...regardless of how I do in the overall series, it's definitely my favorite collection of races to run and I'm excited to get the summer rolling.
Seacoast Online Article: http://www.seacoastonline.com/article/20150426/NEWS/150429271
Video of start/finish and about the race: http://www.wmur.com/news/4th-annual-chief-mike-maloney-unity-run/32584372