Todd, Joe, Greg, and I rolled into Amherst for race # 1 in the USATF New England Grand Prix 10 mile road race championship. The snow that fell during the night was a non-issue on the drive and as it turned out – for the race course which was the same as last year yet under a new title sponsor name, Five College Realtors. I warmed up with Andy McCarron and Phil Savoy just long enough to get beyond the mile marker and turned back to get into the race gear. The sun was trying to break out of the cloud cover as I lined up in the 2nd row at the start next to Joe. I took an inventory of the competition and teammates ahead of me in mile one dodging a few pot holes. I settled in to what I figured as a tolerable pace. I wheeled down into mile 2 with a 5:22 mile (my quickest of the day). I was content with my position once getting past the lead women and soon hit the hills where I kept a BAA singlet close. I assumed we were both the 5th men for our respective masters (40+) teams. A look at the results two hours later would prove my theory.
I reached the dirt road which is always a concern and has been mud, snow, and ice pack over the years. Everyone was aiming for anything that resembled brown dirt laid down in recent hours by the town in the middle of the road. Footing was loose, as expected at the reservoir and beyond. It was a relief to reach pavement and open up the stride. Mile 6 was my second quickest mile with a 5:23, by hustling down the hill away from Joe OLeary and closing the gap on Brian Rusiecki and Rodney Hemingway. I reached mile 8, the valley, with the big three stage hill coming up. My legs were absolutely fighting me every step up and I slowed. I heard a few spectator acknowledgements of the lead women not too far behind. I used that as motivation to moving forward in an ugly 6:24 mile fighting gravity. I held position into the driveway leading into the finish line and a gun time of 59:26.8 (5:57 per mile average). This was six seconds than last year under less training due to the recent record setting snowfall. I collected some feedback from the CMS mates that already finished. I was the 5th man for our masters team and we narrowly won by seconds over the BAA. It was that close where a lapse in a race can cost a team position in the game of seconds. The rest of the team did great with the open team 3rd overall and the Seniors placed 4th.