Monday, July 25, 2016

Trying To Get There...'Slowly'.

Decided to give a couple of races a go this weekend and not miss more weekends in the summer of doing 'something' on the running side that is meaningful.  The first was a new race for me but a very old race for NH.  On Saturday it was the 43rd Annual edition of the Stratham Fair Road Race (5.7 miles)(results).  It's the 4th oldest race in NH.  Off the top of my head, I'm guessing Bill Luti (49th) and Mt. Washington (56th) are 2 of the 3 'older' races.  Not sure what the other one is....if anyone knows feel free to comment.  On Sunday it was race #4 in the 2016 Seacoast Road Race Series in York, Maine.  The York Days 5k (results) would be my 5th running.

I decided not to save anything for York because I was pretty confident that out of all the Seacoast Series participants, I would probably be able to hold off a top placing coming off a double.  I knew (or thought at least) I wouldn't be running sub 16 there based on the fact that I haven't been really focusing on getting better any time I figured I would hop in two races this weekend and get some good faster miles in, at the very least use the races as my 'speedwork', and also take the family to both the Stratham Fair on Saturday and the beach on Sunday after the races.

The weekend was 'hotter than hades' to quote my mom.  I don't have to tell you if you live anywhere near the northeast, how hot it was but both days were scorchers early.  Stratham went off at 8:30am and York was at 8:00am.  Both pretty early.  However Saturday it was brutal by the start and by the end it was downright dangerous.

I ended up winning Stratham Fair (results) despite a flurry of college guys showing up and giving it a good run.  I ran with Justin Trott for the first mile and a half or so (just like at Red Hook) and then was able to just pull ahead by trying to keep up the tempo.  First mile was 5:04 which for a 5.7 mile rolling course (in the scorching heat) was definitely too fast for my current fitness level.  I had a decent lead over the next few miles but by mile 4.5 or so I really started to slow.  The last mile and a half is slightly uphill for a lot of the way. At that point I was running to keep the lead and not blow a gasket before having to race again on Sunday.  The eventual 2nd place finisher Luke Janik closed the gap on me hard over the last mile.  I kept looking back and he was getting closer and closer.  Good think it wasn't a 10k.  The GOOD news besides me being able to hold on for the win was that I was faster for this effort than MSD 10k last month.  Even though the course was a half mile shorter than a 10k, it was far hillier and way hotter out. I'll take it.

For the win I got $100 which again went right into the cash register of Toys R' Us in Newington on the way home... but not before we hung out at the fair and got some grub, saw some animals, and listened to some live music.  The girls had a great time, I finally won a race again, and my parents came down to watch so it was a great day.

Videos by Kristin:

On Sunday I reluctantly woke up at 4 am and we were on the road at 5 to get down to York, Maine on time for the 8:00am start of the York Days 5k (results).

I wasn't feeling too sore surprisingly but I was wiped.  I hung on well until about Portsmouth and then I was feeling like nodding off by the time we got to York High School. I registered and went out for the warmup.  It was pretty warm out by not as bad as Saturday.  I wouldn't know how bad I really felt until the gun went off.

As soon as the race began I felt pretty uncomfortable.  5:05 through the first mile (that has no absolutely no drop and a decent slight uphill (the most climb in the whole race). I was in 3rd at the mile with Matt Garfield out in front and looking very smooth.  I wanted to stop by the mile and contemplated doing just that.  Somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0 I started to peek back and noticed more bodies coming up behind me. I  knew there was going to be no podium for me.  I just felt flat and had no pep although I wasn't getting blown out just yet.

Somewhere after 2 miles (after almost dropping when we went passed that back entrance to the school), Matt was overtaken and I rolled right up on him and actually went past him but I really knew that wouldn't last.  Briefly I thought about dropping but then I realized that if I was able to at least hang on for the series win, that would get another Seacoast race out of the way and I could afford to possibly miss one later on).  I'm glad I stuck to the plan because I could have thrown away a 1st place  point there if I gave up completely and dropped out.  I was almost at my breaking point mentally and was done by 2 miles.  I told Matt I wasn't going anywhere and to hop on and just roll in to stay ahead of the next guy on the road.  By this time, we had gotten passed by one more guy.  Matt was trying to get me to go after those guys and in looking up, they were all right there for both of us to go after, but I was toast.  'Maybe' if I hadn't raced Saturday I would have had more in the tank but that hot race and all day in the sun the day before followed by another hot day out on the road and another early morning started to take it's toll.

As Matt and I came out along the ocean and we started to look towards taking the turn back towards the school, I cracked and that was it.  Matt went back past me and tried to get me to come with him but I wasn't able.  He pulled away and valiantly went after those guys who again were all right there.  It was crazy the way it was playing out.  5 guys all so close together and no one looking like they were charging.  Everyone looked to be just kind of hanging around.  At that point I really hoped Matt would have enough to actually go get the leader.  He did great work over the first half of the race and he had the legs and strength to get it done.  As I watched him pull away I made one more weak attempt to keep pace by taking one last tangent that no one else took up ahead and actually yelled to Matt to take it.  He was closing on 3rd.

During the last stretch up to the school I accepted the fact I was beaten down by a good field of guys and was now just hoping I could hold on for the Seacoast points.  I knew I wasn't getting beaten by anyone ahead of me that was in the series so I had my points if I could just hang on.  I looked up ahead to see Matt throw one more move at 3rd and he actually pulled up alongside the guy but as soon as he saw him, the 3rd place guy bolted to the line and just nipped Matt.  They both got the same time on the line as it was that close.  16:02 for those guys which is great considering Matt told me before the race that he wanted to go for sub 16.  He was pretty much right there.  That was great to see after he had his Friday night 10k on the track just a couple days earlier.

I came through in a surprising 16:15 for 5th.  I was pretty surprised that I was able to run that quick for such a blow up and half-hearted effort. I had no heart or balls at the end even though I probably could have dug deep and tried to go after guys when Matt was trying to help me out and light the fire. I gave up and accepted defeat which is too bad.  I would have liked to have rolled ahead with him.  I had perfect opportunity but I didn't take it.  At the very least I could have helped him get top 3 and/or under 16 but I kind of let us down and settled.  Like Geraint Thomas helping out Chris Froome, I should have taken Matt through a sub 16...  Next time.  I was just dwelling too much on the previous day's hard effort and I think I talked myself out of competing today.  Still it wasn't a disaster though. I got the points and salvaged a 5:07 third mile which isn't too bad considering how much my finish was mailed in.

I basically blew right out of there without a cooldown because mentally I had cooled down during the race.  We headed over to the beach immediately and I think got the very last spot on the road before it was completely full.  We spent a good day at the beach (Morgan's first time at the ocean).  I found a pretty nice Triton men's ring (yes I brought my detector and swung for a half hour or so).  

York Days History: 

2008 - 15:46 (1st) 
2009 - 15:46 (2nd) 
2010 - 15:27 (1st) 
2012 - 15:40 (1st) 
2016 - 16:15 (5th)

Best friends...sometimes.
Tabby doesn't care what place I get....

Some creep in the back metal detecting...
Some idiot in the back metal detecting...
Morgan striding it out...Tabby mailing it in behind.

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