Sunday morning I left my house around 8:00 for the hour and a half trip down to New Bedford. The temps were in the mid-20's and weren't supposed to improve much. I had quite a few layers for the warmup and a long sleeve shirt I could race in under my new CMS singlet, but left the tights at home and figured shorts would be fine.
I made good time on the way down and found a spot on the 2nd floor of the Elm St. parking garage, a couple blocks from the YMCA where registration was happening. Bundled up, walked over and picked up my number and nice technical long sleeve. Saw Pawlicki, Shairs, Dunham and talked about a warmup from the garage. I made use of the restrooms at the New Bedford Visitor's Center, which I was surprised to find open on a Sunday morning, but glad to avoid the monstrous port-a-potty lines.
I ended up missing my 'mates for the warmup, but I did just over 2 miles up Elm St. and back down, finishing up about 20 minutes before the gun was scheduled to go off. Switched into my racing flats and opted for the short sleeve T under the singlet, hat and gloves and Native sunglasses. Headed to the starting lines for a couple strides with a little time to spare.
I got in near the front and my plan was 5:20-5:30 and find some folks to work with. Early on, I found myself just off the back of a large pack escorting Kim Smith at about 5:20 pace. I came through 2 miles in 10:52, right near teammates Chris Mahoney and Scott Leslie. (Dan Vassallo was off causing trouble with the leaders.) My best guess was that we were somewhere in the top 35-50, but the pack in front of us was so big, it was hard to see beyond them. After the three hills between miles 2 and 4, things had strung out a bit and I had dropped two disappointing miles (5:37 and 5:42), so I knew I would have to make up some ground to get back under 5:30 pace.
Sure enough, when we hit the long straightaway, my legs got going and I was able to make up some time, if not any ground on anyone. My fifth mile was the fastest of the day at 5:06, followed by 6 in 5:19 and 7 in 5:17. I was still being passed about as much I was passing - Scott McGrath and Eric MacKnight were among those who flew by me in the middle miles, on their way to finishing one and two minutes ahead of me, respectively.
8, 9 and 10 I felt like I was maintaining pretty well and there were enough guys nearby and just ahead to keep me interested and racing. 5:25, 5:25, 5:30 for a ten mile split of 54:14.
Mile 11 I was working on reeling a couple runners in and felt like I kept the pace honest, but was discouraged by the 5:54 split for my efforts (on the Garmin afterward, mile 11 measured 1.04, so that compounded the problem). It was windy and I was tiring, but I hoped I could get back to 5:40 or faster the rest of the way.
Somewhere before mile 12 a pack of BAA and others engulfed me and cruised by, dropping me about 15 spots in the process. I chased them up the never ending hill at mile 12 (5:36) and caught a couple stragglers, then closed for the finish in 6:03 for the last 1.1+. Ended up 45th overall, 3rd CMS in 1:11:48. Two minutes slower than I ran this fall, but given the recent training this was about as well as I could have hoped to run. I hate that I ran a 5:06 and a 5:54 in the same race, though. (5k splits: 17:00, 16:44, 16:38; last 5k = 17:34)
Post-race cooldown with Dan Vassallo and Scott Leslie for 2 miles, then 2 more with Scott, then enjoyed catching up back at the Y with more teammates and comrades who have survived the long winter months. Devoured some clam chowder and a fish sandwich before the ride home. Looking forward to ramping up training and racing some more soon.