This 5 mile road race is just a ten minute drive from the house in Salem. It has become a tradition on Thanksgiving morning. I picked up my number at New England Running Company last night to ease the congestion as the race was expecting over 1600 runners - a record amount. Krissy and I left at 7am for the 8am start. Upon parking, I saw SRR's Jennifer Rapaport and Diona Fulton so I touched base and offered to show the first and last miles which we did for the warmup. I got back to the car at 7:45. It was in the low 40's with partial sun and some wind from the north. Racing gear consisted of my blue CMS Polar Beverages singlet, fleece DION Snowshoe hat, Dungeon Racing gloves, Craft shorts, Feetures! socks, and Scott racing flats. I ran a few more minutes around the Salem Common and saw my dad at Washington Square ready to watch. I got on the starting line next to my 'ol Salem State teamate, John Bowser and Mark Flaherty who ran at Westfield State. We have been running on Sundays together over the past month in Lynn Woods along with Dennis Floyd and Jay Euzikonis of whom was representing a Brooks table of footwear and also racing today.
Just ahead of Nick after exiting Winter Island
Caleb Evanter (GBTC) shot right out with Max Kulbauch (Philadelphia, PA) who has won this race in the past. I chased down a turkey costume and a cook within 200m. Caleb has been running very well this year. I yelled ahead to David Corbett (Mystic Runners) who did not hear me. I pulled along side and shook his hand for an awesome effort at the Manchester City Marathon a few weeks ago (2:46). He missed his PR by 50 seconds on a tough course. Then a gent flew passed as we ran by Pickering Wharf in home made sandles. It turned out to be Nick Sousa (I did not figure this out until after the finish) with whom I never met before but have seen him tear up the North Shore Racing scene over the past 2 years whenever I see racing results. We went through the mile with 5:22. I recorded the split but did not look or acknowledge it at all, just opened the first mile on feel and instinct. We were in 3rd and 4th place with some head wind toward the long straight away before turning right into Winter Island. I passed Krissy who yelled for me. I had a stride or two on Nick but he did not shake as we toured the park, rounded some cones and exited. I recorded mile 2 with a 10:56 split (5:34) again not looking at my watch or acknowledging how fast I was going. At this point we are running against the race and I got several more cheers. Nick looked over at me and said, "popular guy, eh?" Humble as always, I apoligized!
Striding into the finish line
We got into the neighborhood behind the Salem Willows and we went back and forth, not separating anymore than a stride. I had a step on Nick through mile three, 16:34 (5:37). This time, I looked at my watch to gauge if I was anywhere near the 5:30 pace (27:30) that I hoped to nail today. I felt that I was putting a few seconds on Nick through the Willows (slight tail wind) but he was back on my heels through Deadhorse Beach which exits the Salem Willows. We had a climb and he was back with me beyond the top. I noticed a spectator on the right having a cigarette. We passed mile 4 in 22:15 (5:41) but felt decent to finish this thing up and thought ahead, picturing what would be if it came down to a kick in the closing 200m. I was not too confident as I started to wear down at the Bentley School and I could tell Nick was ready to take charge of this battle. We crossed the last intersection, passing an officer for traffic control. Nick gave me words of encouragement, "let's go, we have 800m to go." I sucked it up and stayed on his heels. Again, he gave words of encouragement with 400m to and I could see our last left hand turn to the finish. He gapped me by two seconds with confidence and I could not match it. He was strong all the way to the line and I was spent. It was a good fight, one of which we ran 98% of the race within a stride or two of eachother. I collected myself after the finish line shute and saw my Salem State college coach, Steve Czarnecki, who was watching his Bishop Fenwick athletes in. He commented to me "not bad for an old guy." I agreed. Nick swung back and handed me a water. To this point, I was embarassed to not know his name and only asked if he was local? He mentioned Salem, and I figured it was Nick Souza as soon as he said that he ran a low 26 time last year on this course. I took the 4th place and 27:40.2 with pride. Not bad for an old guy......
Wild Turkey 5 Mile
Salem, MA, November 22, 2012
1 CALEB EVANTER MARBLEHEAD MA 34 25 M 1 Top Fin 26:12.8 5:14/M
2 MAX KAULBACH PHILADELPHIA PA 914 23 M 1 20-24 26:43.8 5:21/M
3 NICK SOUSA SALEM MA 1630 29 M 1 25-29 27:38.3 5:32/M
4 JAMES PAWLICKI LYNN MA 1130 38 M 1 35-39 27:40.2 5:32/M
5 BRYAN MENDES PEABODY MA 352 17 M 1 15-19 28:28.2 5:42/M