I headed down to Harvard University in Cambridge today as my former running club, Greater Boston Track Club was hosting their annual GBTC Relays indoor track meet. It is a decent mix of open and collegiate competition. I ran 9:22 in the 3K last year. Kristen came with me today which was nice as she has not accompanied me to any races lately as the car is usually full with other CMS dudes from the North Shore. Ben Strain was signed up but bailed for a last minute appointment. After getting raped for $10 to park behind the track and another $5 for Kristen to gain spectator entry I soon found myself warming up outside in the falling snow around the campus. There was no charge to run around the campus.
My training this winter is different in that I am not busting my ass in intervals every Wednesday at the Reggie Lewis Track. As a result, I did not look to consume myself with an indoor track season and I am coming off an Achilles issue where I took almost six weeks off in the fall. However, I have been pretty healthy, love to compete, and there are few indoor track opportunities for the rest of the season for me. Thus, I signed up earlier this week with a 9:24 seed time of which I have not run this season but was my goal for this race after securing a 9:39 and 9:30 at two BU development meets. My other goal for the 3K today was to hustle (for me anyway) out under a 5:00 mile.
I settled in 2nd to last after one full lap. I noticed that I felt pretty good during some laps and strides on the track about 10 minutes before my race. This caught me off guard and wondered if this would parlay into the race. The seed times in my heat were around 9:00 down to me around 9:24 so I knew my role.
Joe Fischetti, CSU and Coast Guard reservist, came up big from the sidelines with verbal support while I ran by each lap. I met Joe back in 2000 when I worked in Lexington. He worked down the road with Jim Garcia at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. I got in many a lunch run over an eight month contract. Joe is still racing but is investing ample time coaching younger runners in a club setting. He fired me up every time I went by Joe staying cognisant about my position and who was around me (front and back). I went through the 1K at 3:10, through the mile at about 5:00 (Joe had me at 5:01), and through the 2K at 6:16. I had some back and forth with a guy from Northeastern over the next few laps to keep me honest. Plus, Joe would remind me to "GET AROUND THAT GUY." It was awesome. I sprinted in and saw the clock was just ticking to 9:20 as I was a few feet from the line. My watch had a 9:24 but the official results had me at 9:20.74. I will take it and it felt like a 9:20 effort.
I hung out for a few more hours around the track after getting in a slow four miles in the falling snow again outside. I caught up with friends, Kit Wells and John Blouin who is planning his annual Mt. Washington hike in a few weeks. I also got a chance to catch up with teamate and team manager, Al Bernier who was going to rip it up in the mile. Meanwhile, I ran into Doug Chick who ran with my Alma Mater, Salem State College. His uncle and I watched him run a beautiful 2:03 800m race. Doug went from last place at the gun lap and took the lead about 10 yards from the finish line for the win. It was awesome. Meanwhile, I got an invite to meet up with the Wicked Running Club who are working out at Reggie Lewis on Tuesdays with Jen and Mike Toomey.