I've always had a race conflict which never allowed me to run this race. I finally got a fresh opportunity and headed up to Newburyport with Ben Strain. This race is billed as three miles on the wonderful trails of Maudsley State Park. The start bolts down a hill followed by a roller coaster set of hills into mile one. I trailed CMS teammates Greg Putnam, Mike Quintal, and Ben Strain. I was able to catch up to Ben shortly after the mile. I maintained my position back to the big hill into the finish. Greg Krathwohl who has run much faster on this course, blew by me on the final ascent. I finished 11th overall with a time of 16:11 (5:24/mile pace). I picked up an age group award: New Balance Mug, New Balance socks, and got a New England Runner subscription in the post race raffle. In all, this was a great event put on by Winner's Circle. Results here.
I threw on the black and yellow Somerville Road Runner singlet for the Mystic River Herring Run 5K today in Somerville. Todd Callaghan mentioned this event to me last month and said he was game. He has won the race several times. Todd, Brendan Kearney, Sean Mclain and I headed jumped out from the start together trailing a younger runner (highschooler?). Todd and I passed that runner, taking the lead after we hit the course mile marker in 5:15. I kept on Todd's shoulder or heels through several turns and at least one small hill within the Mystic River Reservation. We passed through the mile 2 course marker in 10:40 (5:25) on Rt. 16. As we ran over the Wellington Bridge some folks were yelling for Todd from the police boat in the Mystic River. We turned right onto Shore Drive and were neck and neck into mile three where I made a move for the finish line and held on for a 1 second edge in 16:30. The time was my fastest road time since the Beverly Homecoming in 2009. I think Todd and I helped push each other all the way today. We ran the course again for a cool down with a few other guys and then hung out at the post race festivities. All of the age group winners got to pick a prize from a table. There were a ton of envelopes for gift certificates of which I was overwhelmed with as I don't know the local establishments. Thankfully, Brendan tipped me off on the Red Bones gift certificate so I owe him a pint. Todd scored a restaurant gift certificate and his wife Laurie got a wine gift certificate.
Keeping to our plan, Todd and I drove up a few exits on Rt. 93 to run in the Middlesex Fells for some trails. We used to train there once in a while a few years back. I have not been there since last summer and he has not been there since November. I put on the New Balance 100's. We did most of the Reservoir (orange marker) loop and some extra miles for a nice 68 minute run to make the day complete.
I drove up to Nashua today with Krissy, Ben, and Joe for the Medical Center 6K which was the 6K Championship for New England. I got a good start (not too fast but not too casual) and rolled along with some masters in front of me such as Mark Reeder, Dave Dunham, and Dan Verrington. I held my own on the hills, making a few surges here and there during the climbing among many turns. Mark dropped me at mile two and most of the significant hills were behind us. Jason Porter pulled me through mile three and then I let him go. I lost my focus and gave into the "let's back off for a second, I'm tired and not catching the guys in front of me." One can't let up for a second in a race this short but I did. Ben caught me going up the hill into the finish. I tried to put in a surge but was not interested while managing to catch back up to Rod Viens. I got to the line with in 20:32, 5:31 pace - the same pace as my 10K last Sunday. I ran 5:23 pace in 2008 so I am sour on my time today. I just sucked in the last mile today. I did not get any splits but recall passing mile three just under 16:30 which set me up for a low 17 minute 5K. The good news was the performance of my teammates all over the race. CMS won the men's open and the masters team was just ten seconds away from winning that team category.
I had to research the 'net to figure out when I ran this race in the past so I could plan out my race. My GBTC coach Tom Derderian captured the details here which brought back memories that I had forgotten. The year was 2002 and I was coming off of a fractured patella (kneecap) suffered in January. I went on to run 34:27 and was likely my first race from that injury. Meanwhile, teammate, Dennis Floyd set a PR that day with a 32:25. He went on the run several PR's over a few months while he was in the best shape of his life. I am glad Tom documented this for the newsletter back then as my running logs are buried with those lost memories.
I was concerned about the race today in that I have uncharacteristically not raced in a while, since the New Bedford Half Marathon. In addition, I have not done any interval work in three weeks. I got to the starting line in my fresh new Asics threads behind CMS teammates about five rows back from the starting line. The weather was great but a wind was going to fight us along the looped course. I eased into the race with a 5:24 mile next to Jeff Goupil, Ben Jenkins, and George Adams. Mile two was passed in 10:55 so I was closing in on my 5:30 pace goal for the day. I saw Krissy camped out on a narrow road taking photos. She actually got stuck there with the massive crowd of racers. She had to wait for most of the race to go by before she could sprint on the bike back to the finish.
There were hills in the Noble and Greenough campus as I caught up with Tom Brown. Dave Dunham, Dan Verrington, and Todd Callaghan were not too far ahead. I caught up with Dave on our way back to downtown Dedham wheeling past 5 miles in 27:37. We caught Todd with about 1000m to go and I kept pressing forward through mile six. The clock there confused me with a time in the low 32's which was off by over a minute (just like mile 1). I caught Dan before the line and stopped the timing on my watch with a 34:16. Official results had me 50th overall and a time of 34:17, 10 seconds quicker than in 2002.
The team beat Whirlaway by a mere four seconds, again proving that every second counts. Meanwhile, I ran a cool down with the team and crashed on the Endicott Estate lawn for food, beverage, music and conversation. Krissy was catching up with folks and my dad was chillin' out. It was nice to catch up with everyone. We'll be back at it for the 6K next weekend in Nashua which should be fun. Before closing, I have to give Kevin Gorman credit for supporting the team all over the course. His words of encouragement were awesome. Get well man!