Saturday, June 29, 2013

Squantum 5 miler

I ran into Hassan Haydar the mornig of the race while on a run - still debating if my legs were up for the race that night. We asked each other if we were racing the Squantum 5. He said JJ Larner (race director) needed help at a water stop so he was going to volunteer his time. I was still on the fence, as evidence by running already. I rarely run a double (two runs in one day) but was looking for trouble or in denial. JJ Larner was nice enough to give me a complimentary entry as part of the "race of champions" theme as we touched base via email a week earlier. Meanwhile, my QL - Quadratus Lumborum - has been flared up for almost two weeks so I was fussy about racing. I got it worked on Monday night so I was left with some stretching to do but it was feeling a little better. I need to strengthen the QL.

I mentally registered that I would go to the race after I ate lunch. I arrived at the race an hour before start time. After thanking JJ for having me at the race, I asked if any other champions were in house and he confirmed Brendan Lynch. He's fast. Like 2:34 marathon fast. He ran a 1:15 half marathon in early May in Quincy - four minutes ahead of me. Hassan asked me if I was going to take it easy or race. Race of course. I warmed up in the light drizzle. It was humid than earlier in the week so comfortable for racing. In addition, this is the fourth consecutive race that I have been at where it was wet or raining since the Vermont City Marathon. I stretched a bit inside race HQ but really did not have the strength to put an effort into the back stuff. I proceeded to the start paying no attention to who was lining up in the front row to my right. I never met Brendan and did not know what he looked like. Two HFC (Hurtin for Certain) gents jumped right out front after the starting siren. One was in white (Brendan) and one in green (his brother Sean). There was another young guy in the mix. The four of us went through the mile in 5:48. The beautiful Boston City skyline, albeit on a foggy evening, was on our far left as we approached Squantum. Brendan had a step on us into the first and largest hill on the course. I stepped around Sean and into second putting some effort to close the short lead Brendan had while climbing. I felt OK but did not want to cramp his heels and force the pace any faster. So much for that as the young guy went past and after Brendan on a down hill. I wanted to tell the guy to chill but I did not. He faded shortly and I regrouped in behind Brendan up and down another set of hills. I gave him a verbal prop at one point "lookin' good Brendan." He returned the verbal and that made me feel good (hey, this guy knows me by my name). I got beside him and took the lead around 2.5 miles. He sat, comfortably from what I could tell, behind me as we went through 3 miles and exiting Squantum for an all out flat remainder to the finish.

He retook the lead as we went back into Marina Bay and I was totally cool with that. 4 miles passed and he looked comfortable as if he were going to drop the hammer on me soon. Sure enough, we had a few tight turns in Squantum Point Park and he got a gap that would not be closed in the last 800m. He won in 28:24 (5:41 / mile pace) while I followed, 28:31 (5:42 / mile pace). Full results. Brendan, Sean, and I cooled down for an easy 15 minutes. I got a chance to learn what Brendan has been up to for racing and training over the years. He is a down to earth - decent guy who knows the running scene, competitors, and coaches really well. He is smart with his racing opportunities. I dropped some race results that included us in the same race half way accross the country - Chicago Marathon, 2003, on Brendan. He crushed it that October running under 2:35 while I ran just under 2:38. We seemed to both have the same agenda that day - run 6:00 pace for as long as you can, then go for it. His plan worked where as mine put me in my place but I still ran about that (6:00 / mile) pace at the end of the day.

I peeked at the 2009 Squantum 5 Results. It was a Pub Series event so it was a loaded field resulting in me and my quickest time, 27:29. I just edged out Terry McNatt as we battled neck and neck over the last two miles. Brendan was just behind us (I did not know this when I caught up with Brendan the other night). We will commence racing where I suspect his leg speed will prosper in the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K in a few weeks in Dorchester - his home town.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Meeting the challenge

Here is a shameless plug for an article that came out in the Daily Item last week that was written by Rich Tenorio.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hollis Fast 5K

Still rolling down through 3 miles in Hollis
Photo by KrissyK
It took me nearly two full hours to get to the Hollis Fast 5K. The traffic was as hyped for race number three of the USATF New England Grand Prix. This was a race I always wanted to do so coming here for the race series to take on all other teams from the region is always a treat. The weather was at least consistent with the last few races I have done, rain. It let up as I ran the course from the finish line with some SRR and CMS guys up to the start. Joe OLeary gave me some history as he has run very well on this course in the past. The point to point course drops 224 feet making it a barn burner. It was nice to see some CMS mates at the starting line that I have not seen in a while. I got off to a good start among the men (not trip up) and rolled away. The women came in from another direction and merged in from the left. It took a while to open up and see what was going on ahead. I did not have a game plan and did not wear a watch so I just put the head down and rolled with it. It was fast. Mile one according to the bib split was at 5:07. The gang I was near continued to pull and I could not get any quicker coming through 2 miles in 10:23. I held tangents and was holding my own without really having any back and forth with anyone until with Paul Doe through 3 miles (15:36). He finished strong with another 50 plus year old and I followed. I rolled into the finish with a time of 16:08.8 (chip/bib time) or 16:10 (gun time). I was good with the time but would have felt better around 16:00. Jason Porter had to remind me that I was just two and a half weeks removed from a marathon effort. His point was well taken. The consensus is that this course offers a time 45 seconds quicker than your average 5K (with a little up and down). The CMS open and masters team ran very well placing 3rd in both divisions. Results 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Kupenda 5 mile - Wenham

Just beyond half way. Dave Long and Matt Curran lurk behind. 
This was race number two in the North Shore Trail Series. The Kupenda 5 mile course is a two loop course that heads out into Chebacco Woods. It was one of those days. Each stride was heavy and the stride was mechanical. I took the lead 400m in and more or less kept that through 3 miles before Dave Long took over up a hill. I faded into third and kept Matt Curran as close as I could. I was wiped but was thinking that maybe I could find a surge in the last mile. However, it was not meant to be. It was frustrating to have the leader so close but it seemed like 200m as we went around the quad at Gordon College for the last 600m on a spectator friendly course (despite the rain which stopped during the race). I pulled along side Matt on the last right hand turn on the grass leading into the finish and that was it. He had made a statement matching my kick. He earned it holding second place. Dave ran a smart race running winning it with a time of 29:13. Matt and I were 29:24 and 29:25 (5:53/mile) respectively. Full results.
Matt Curran taking command before the finish. John Ayers watches in the backdrop.