Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New Hampshire 10 miler

Joe Shairs drove the North Shore bus of Gregory Putnam, Todd Callaghan, and I from Peabody to Auburn NH in just under 50 minutes. I have never been to Auburn and frankly never heard of Lake Massabesic or Massabesic Lake. The area was hosting the USATF New England 10 mile road race championship – race number 4 of 7 in 2016. All I knew about the race was that it had some hills as CMS teammates Ed Sheldon, Dave Dunham checked out the course recently. Scott Mindel agreed after racing his 54:40 winning time there a year ago. The 10 mile race was a perimeter loop around the lake. I got my number and then headed over to the timing van to confirm and validate some team stuff. I got set up in the racing gear and did a warm up on the bike path which was nice to see.

The race lined up and I started next to Joe about three rows from the line. The sun was out and temps were in the 70’s and waiting to pop into the 80’s. The race bolted out and I settled in behind some ladies. We got strict instruction from race director John Mortimer to stay to the right of the yellow lines on the street at all times. That was really restrictive in the first few miles of the race. With a course of all right hand turns, it did not matter after 10 minutes of racing.

Joe Shairs, Todd Callaghan, and Josh Perks were about 10 seconds ahead after two miles. I was jealous but respected the pace and distance for which we were up against. I did not want to risk a heavy surge to connect with them. The mile splits were just under or just over six minutes per mile which was in order of my abilities for 10 miles. My goal was to compete well and finish under one hour (wanted to run 58:59). I could not help but be reminded that the course felt like I was running around Lake Winnipesaukee as it related to a lake and the hills.

I got tired of seeing the Aubrun hills as I got to the half way point on the course which was reached in 30:28 (thought my watch had me around 30:19). SRR training partner Kieran Condon passed me right around then and I gave him advice shortly after to continue to fly down any hills he saw for the rest of the course. I am glad the course had the in and out of Hunting Way (even the dreaded pace killer 180 around the cones) so that I could see who I was chasing and who was chasing me. I noted Dan Verrington and Dave Dunham were chasing me. The Perks, Callaghan, Shairs trio was broken up a bit with competitors in between about 20 seconds ahead. Strangely, I did not see any other master runners among them so with me as the 5th scoring runner for the team at the moment, it looked pretty good for CMS.

I was feeling listless into mile 6 but the down hills were helping me. I put a good effort on all that rolled down using it to my benefit and gave me some back and forth with the guys around me like Kieran. I caught up to Joe after 7 miles along Rt. 28. It was nice to finally run with a teammate. A few minutes later, we came upon a hill that looked to be the longest of the course. Joe mumbled a few f-bombs and admitted to be backing off. Dan Verrington flew by on the hill looking very good. He would soon finish as the top Senior (50+) runner of the day. He put a few seconds on me to the top as we reached mile 9. The course would drop right down to set us both up for a few right hand turns into the finish where I scooted ahead of Dan to the finish.

My time was 1:00:53 (gun time) or 1:00:49.4 chip time, placed me 68th overall. The 5 mile splits were: 30:28 and 30:22 – a negative split. Dan was 4 seconds back and Joe was 27 seconds back. Josh and Todd crossed the line in 1:00:11 & 1:00:18. Gregory Putnam ran 56:59 to score as our top master for the team and top master of the race. The masters team picked up the win while the Seniors team placed 2nd and open team 3rd.

The team headed out for an easy cool down on the trails nearby along the lake about 15 minutes later. My right calf cramped on two occasions. The post race venue under the pines trees was cool. I had ice cream and muscle milk which the team appreciated. Looking back on the race, I am glad the race had more shade than I expected. The next USATF races next month for the team and I are the Seasons 20K in Acton and the Lone Gull 10K in Gloucester. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Lynn Woods Relay

The Lynn Woods relay has been a summer tradition. Four runners each take a run at 2.5 miles of up and down hills in Lynn Woods. As of 3pm yesterday, I was homeless, letting my CMS mates who have frequented the Lynn Woods races all summer recruit another to fill out a team. My attempt to get a CMS masters team fell through too. So it did not look good so I planned on just running over to to watch the race. But, a tip from Brett Rickenbach advised Junyong Pak was seeking to fill out his team. Boom, I was in as of hours before the race. Junyong and I were on a previous Lynn Woods relay team moons ago. I sprinted home and met up with Brett and we ran over to the race. I found Junyong to get my number and then with Manuel Rednon and Kyle Hewson who made up our team.

Pak led off with a 14:10 (7th fastest split of the day) and handed off to Manuel (owner of Los Chamos -  a Venezuelan Restaurant on Union Street) who turned an ankle out on the goat path but toughed it out on his first run (18:26) in Lynn Woods. He handed off to Kyle, a sophomore at Beverly High School aiming to crack the top 5 in cross country next month. He got through in 17:38. I was the anchor and took off out onto the course. I cheered on every person and club runner in sight. There was no pressure but wanted to run the 15 minutes that I said I would do. I felt pretty good but all climbing was taxing. I saw Oti Pizarro at the turn-around and thought I might have a chance to catch him on the way back to the finish. I pressed on and made up the gap only at the top of the last hill (400m before the finish). I passed him on the way down and brought it home with a split of 15:08 – good for 2nd fastest master time behind David Long. The team finished 9th overall. Not too bad. Team Results

I capped off the night with Krissy and the Wicked Running Club at Polcaris on Rt. 1 for Pizza. It gave me some time to catch up with friends.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bobby Doyle 5 mile road race - Narragansett, RI

Gregory Putman drove Joe Shairs and I to Narragansett, RI for the USATF New England 5 mile road race Championships. The 9th Annual Bobby Doyle race was race number three for the 2016 road race Grand Prix Series. The series has waited since the New Bedford Half Marathon in March. I picked up my new team jacket from Steve and went out for a warm up which was not really needed with the temps and humidity rising. I got in about 10 minutes before lining up at the start, five rows back next to Joe. The race bolted out of the school driveway and took a right down a slight hill before climbing up a bit. I settled in with a 5:29 1st mile. I got behind Joe after 2 miles which my pace slowed down to a 5:43 mile (pretty normal for me). 

The 3rd mile out on the water pinged a 5:41 mile (hey not too bad) and I got a step in front of Joe. The 5K split was 18 minutes. My personal temperature gauge was maxing out. I wilted shortly thereafter and it got ugly with the next mile coming in a 6:12. There was a hill in there that I would not typically call a hill with the mountain races that I witness. But this hill felt like a mountain and it was not too bad. Runners past by and I all I could do was keep my head down and just shuffle along. The last mile was no faster as I saw some carnage with a few folks stopping or dropping out. I managed to find some energy to get close to Dan Verrington at the very end to score as our 5th master runner of the day. The 29:47 chip time is a good minute plus slower than my time last year. It is what it is. On the good news front, the open team placed 2nd while the Masters and Senior teams took first place. A flurry of Grand Prix races are coming up: 10 mile, 20K, 10K.