Tuesday, October 1, 2013
September (and the second half of August) have been a busy time with Gordon College XC starting up, hosting an invitational (Pop Crowell on the 21st of September) and back to school, for Ben and me.
Training has continued with fairly consistent weekly mileage in the 50's and 60's, with one lower week leading up to our first meet.
Thankfully, the four races I have been able to do in the last 6 weeks have brought pleasing results.
On August 23, I headed down to Hingham to run for the Mino, and came away with a win in 25:48 over a couple of speedy youngsters that I couldn't shake until the last mile. Breaking 26 always feels nice, especially after failing to do so in my previous two attempts (Carver and Hamilton Firefighter). It certainly helped having company the first four miles. Came away from this one with $100 cash and a $150 gift certificate to Marathon Sports which I used for a pair of Saucony Type A5 racing flats for shorter road races. Got to catch up with former HW and Stonehill star Dianna Chivakos, who works at the Melrose store and recently moved back to the area with her husband Sean.
A little over a week later, I got another win on a steamy Labor Day morning at the Run the Goose 7k. I opted out of the 25k, with plans to race 30k later in the month, and thought this would be the easier option. However, maintaining 5:20's on the hilly path around Goose Cove in Gloucester proved difficult, even with Jordan Kinley lurking in the wings. I won this race last year in 23:05 and had kept the intensity up, as I was targeting the previous course record. This year, I didn't feel like I was as focused or consistent and was pleased to come in at 23:23, with a "W" in my first race as a 37-year-old.
The competitive field got deep on the familiar Back Shore of Gloucester for the Lone Gull 10k on the 15th of last month. I had aspirations of a road PR (32:40 on an uncertified Hamilton course), and running on (mostly) familiar territory helped. A 5:07 first mile got things going in the right direction. 5:18 for the second was a little discouraging. Came back with a 5:10 third, but then a 5:20 4th, winding through the neighborhoods of Eastern Point. Closed with a 5:12, a 5:09 and 1:05 for the last .2+. Came away with a 14th place finish in a competitive race, but more significantly, a 19-second road 10k PR of 32:21. Heather broke 40 minutes for the first time to finish as 2nd among the CMS ladies as they finished 3rd open team.
The CMS men were well-represented with Nate Jenkins and Dan Vassallo going 3-4 overall. Scott Leslie, Greg Putnam and I rounded out the scoring for the first place Open Team. (Above photos of me closing in on a road PR of 32:21 courtesy of Krissy K. - Thanks, Kris!)
Most recently, I laced up the Karhus for the Nahant 30k this past weekend. Not sure of what to expect with limited recent long runs, I let the lead pack go (like I had a choice?) after one mile, hoping some of them (but not Dan V.) would come back to me at some point. Dan was on a mission to win, and he had Brandon Newbould of Whirlaway, Sean Duncan of WMDP (the overall USATF-NE Grand Prix series leader), and a couple of RUN guys (Peter Onea, ??) in tow.
I was trying to stay under 5:40's for as long as I could.
Trying to stay with Justin Freeman on the first trip up the Observatory Hill, in seventh place.
(courtesy of Krissy K.)
Early on (just after 4 miles), I could hear footsteps coming up on me fast and Justin Freeman pulled alongside me. We had already agreed at the starting line that neither one of us was really looking forward to racing 30k, so I tried my best to encourage him with, "We might be able to beat Sean Duncan." Sean was cruising along ahead of us, obviously not racing the leaders. Justin went by Sean quickly into 5th place, and I caught up to him a couple miles later after our first trip up and down the observatory hill. (Quick note: it is amazing what a couple of mountain races will do to your perspective on "hills" during a road race. In 2006, I remember feeling absolutely killed by this climb.) I was keeping the miles in the 5:30's and feeling pretty good as I pulled back alongside Justin and then moved into 5th place. I knew Justin was the 3rd RUN guy (Jim Pawlicki reminded me as he ran past), so I figured the more time I could put on him, the better chance we would have of overtaking them as a team. I was confident Dan would pull away with the win and hoped that Scott Leslie would close on Justin, too.
Second time up the observatory hill, alone in fifth place. (All photos courtesy of Krissy K.)
To my surprise, I came upon an obviously struggling Tadesse Girma (?) and moved by him into 4th at about 25k. I was hurting the last couple miles (5:49 for 17 and 5:46 for 18), but tried to close hard and nearly broke 1:44, coming through in 1:44:05 with a 2 and a half minute PR, good for fourth overall. Scott had a strong finish for 6th, and we had three men in, good for the win.
Next up, a half marathon?