I got a chance to lace up for the USATF New England Cross Country Championships. The weather was about perfect for a cross country race – a cloudy mid 50’s, dry, and no wind to whine about. I got there early with Joe Shairs. Dave Dunham and Dan Verrington pulled up as I backed into the parking spot. We set up the CMS tent behind the starting. One by one, CMS runners arrived and huddled at the tent. It is nice to have a new club tent to promote the club and allow a centralized area for the team. Thanks to Kim Gordon and the board to make that happen.
I warmed up and got back to the tent about 20 minutes before the 10am start to prepare into my Adidas road flats (no waffle racers or spikes needed) and singlet. I got on the line with six other masters (age 40-49), seven seniors (50-59), and one 60+ runner. There was no pressure but was a bit concerned how the legs would feel after some time off in September and no races since August.
A few minutes in, I got the taste of racing right back.
Mile 1 went by in 5:51. I did not want to go out too fast and that was just about right. I slowed down but was passing a few people during mile two (6:13) which includes the up and over Bear Cage hill. Mile 3 was a trip through the Wilderness loop bringing me out to the 5K. Mile 3 was passed in 6:09 (5K around 19:19). I could make out two CMS singlets ahead: Tim Van Orden and Martin Tighe. The chase was on.
I gave Tivo some encouragement as I went by. He too was toughing out his first race in a while. Martin was hanging tough too when I snuck by just before 4 miles. In the last mile, I recognized Shawn Conway from GLRR. Good guy who puts the kudos out to the CMS dudes on Strava. I caught up while cresting Bear Cage Hill. We flew down the backside. He put a little gap on me in the roots in front of the team tents holding that second lead on me all the way to the finish line. I finished in 52nd place, right about in the middle of the race with 106 finishers. My time was 30:27 on the day. 2017Results. I ran 29:07 last year.
Not only was it good to be racing, I had fun and walked away feeling that competitive juice. I ran a smart race and slowly passed some runners in the field throughout. No one passed me and beat me to the finish after 800m into the race. The masters and senior teams finished in 2nd place having a pretty good day among the teams. The open team was short for a scoring team.
|Martin and I at mile 4|
Photo by Rodney Hemingway