Sunday, February 28, 2010

USATF-NE 10 mile championship Amherst MA

Like last year, the USATF-New England Road Race Grand Prix series kicked off in Amherst, MA today. Kristen and I picked up Joe Shairs at 7:45 on the way for the two hour drive to Amherst. A warm up with the team followed at 10:15 and I brought some of the CMS crew through the finish line area so everyone knows what it is all about just in case. Not before long, I was on the starting line in the midst of a sea of navy blue CMS runners about three rows back from the starting line. I eased into the race with no panic. The goal for the day was 5:45 pace. The course always provides a challenge so splits were going to be all over in terms of pace according to a grade up or down. Mile one passed in 5:46. Mile two passed in 5:18 for the quickest of the day and the most generous dropping nearly 200 feet in that mile. The sun poked out temporarily for a bit at this point.

The next two miles drag with some climbing and I spotted a 5:51 and 6:12 here getting into the dirt road and dodging puddles of water and mud. At least it was not icy like last year. Another 5:51 mile passed as we approached pavement and I started to reel in Joe Shairs and then Matt Clark. Rich Smith was wheeling and dealing along side and looked good on the down hills which I appreciate. I eased up a bit to get an inventory from Joe who was not feeling too good. Keiron Tumbleton wheeled passed and I tagged onto him for the next few miles giving him about four strides into the lowest part of the course for the second time of the day. I was not looking forward to the climb back to the finish which starts shortly after eight miles. Then again, I know that not too many around me were relishing it either. I just tried to maintain up the hills. I heard Dave Dunham yelling for me with about 1200m to go. It sounded like Dan Verrington was closing in on me. I got to the base of the parking parking lot and set my sights on Keiron Tumbleton and another runner with whom I battled with during the race. I just got past them before the finish line passing the clock at 57:16 good for 48th overall. I was pretty happy with the effort as it is barely under 5:45 pace and was quicker than last year. Overall, it is my second quickest effort going back 11 years to 1999.

My Amherst 10 mile history
Year Time Pace Note
2009 57:37 5:46 USATF-NE Grand Prix Championship
2005 57:27 5:45 tune up for New Bedford Half Marathon
1999 56:24 5:39 USATF-NE Grand Prix Championship

The CMS teams did very well. The open team scored a second place showing with Justin Fyffe finishing second overall. The masters team took the team win behind a solid effort from guys who were not 100% on their game today. Kristen and I hung out with the team for some laughs over the pizza and soup offered by the volunteers. Kristen, Joe, and I hit the road back home to watch Team USA lose to Team Canada, 3-2 in overtime, in the men's Olympic gold medal game. Next up for me will be the New Bedford Half Marathon in March.

CMS men's open and masters team photo taken shortly after everyone finished today.

Top row: Kevin Gorman, Dan Verrington, Jim Pawlicki, Joe Shairs, Jim Johnson, Kevin Tilton, Christian Muentener, Mike Quintal, Dave Harper, John Pajer Botton Row: Jeff Goupil, Justin Fyffe, Dave Quintal, Scott Clark, Ernie Brake, Greg Hammett Missing: Matt Clark

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Great Stew Chase 15K

A chase it was. CMS mates Mike Quintal, Joe Shairs, Dan Verrington and I battled over the 15K (9.3 miles) course this morning. Looking at our finishing paces for the day, some would argue that we were just out for another Sunday, long run. The weather gods brought plenty of sun today, but also brought some wind that did not help us on our way out to Dearborn Road where the turn around at 4.9 miles awaited. The four of us were never separated more than five seconds on the way out. Each took turns fighting the wind and or tucking in for wind protection. Meanwhile, Eric Narcisi and Marc Leblanc were about 10 seconds ahead leading the race. Tomoaki Uchiki from GBTC trailed them by a few yards.

Dan took charge on the way back. Joe pulled away from Mike and I once we had the wind at our backs heading into mile 8. I kept talking to Mike over the last mile encouraging him to place any surges that he was dropping earlier in the race. A few last hills remained to get to mile nine. I dropped Mike a bit and was trying to reel in Joe. The best I could do was get within three seconds as we approached the finish line. Mike was right behind me. My Garmin advised that I ran 5:42 pace so I was pumped because that is close to what I ran last year. Technology does not always work right but the pace was according to covering a distance of 9.5 miles, not 9.3 miles. Chalk it up to GPS tracking error. I wound up in 6th place with a time of 54:12. CMS had four runners in a row as Tomoaki passed Dan right at the line. Kristen took a ton of photos. Results.

My dad Leo and I after the race.