I got up early (around 6) to have steel cut oatmeal with sugar in the raw, banana, raisins and a little milk, plus a cup and a half of coffee, some OJ and vitamins. I wanted to give myself plenty of time before the 10 am start to digest. I digested awhile as the rest of the house woke up.
Heather and I jogged the 1.25 miles down to the start from home, picked up our numbers and said hi to a few familiar faces - Dave and Derek from NE Running Co, John Ayers, John Gillis, my Dad. Did another mile or so, then three good strides in the grass behind the Winthrop School where the race starts.
The goal was 5:12's for me, 6:12's for Heather. Neither one of us was feeling great beforehand, which is usually a good sign. It was cool when we left the house (low 50's) and overcast, but by the time the race started the sun was breaking through and it was closer to 60. A little windy, but really good race conditions, especially for Memorial Day weekend, when it can be pretty toasty.
The 5k and 5 mile starts were together and one young girl (middle school?) in the 5k absolutely took off like she was running a 400. She beat me to the end of the driveway, and turned right, while I, along with the other 5 milers, took a sharp left on rte. 1A, heading south.
At about .4 miles, the course turns a 90 degree left onto Walnut St. At .85 miles, the road crosses the Miles River, makes a slight left and then climbs for about a quarter mile. On the hill, I went through the mile in 5:10, feeling encouraged. The climb continued, I ran the tangent on a couple turns and then turned left at "Four Corners" in Wenham onto Larch Row.
Larch Row becomes Essex Street in Hamilton, and doesn't seem especially hilly when driving it, but it winds and rolls. I did my best to run the shortest line, but still got to mile 2 in 10:35, having lost valuable ground on Dan Vassallo's course record pace (5:12-5:13) from last year.
I bore down on Essex st. as the road flattened and straightened out and then grabbed a quick slug of water as I made the next left down hill onto Woodbury St. I spat some out, then clumsily doused my face and chest and dropped my cup. Woodbury is downhill with a couple turns, then a little climb, then a big downhill out to Bridge Street. The 3-mile mark on Woodbury passed in 15:53, and I was losing touch with my goal time and hope of getting it. I tried to use the downhill onto Bridge and made the left, preparing for a couple rolling hills before the final stretch on 1A. The first hill took a little out of me, but the second hill was gentler than expected and I thought of God's promise to make our paths straight and to raise every valley up. Still as I descended to the four mile mark near the end of Bridge Street, my watch read 21:19.
I mad the next to last left onto 1A and immediately crossed to the right side. All the 5k runners were stretched out in a line on the left. I cruised along, unimpeded, then crossed back with about a half mile left and began passing runners. Generally, it was easy to maneuver and I felt like I was closing well, with the psychological benefit of passing people. I turned into the Winthrop driveway right around 26-flat and gunned for home. Crossed in 26:20 with a 5:01 last mile to the cheers of my Dad. The win was worth a free pair of Asics, which I have to order by mail, but at least I can pick any pair I like. May go for the Speedstar or the hyperspeed, which they carry at NERC.
Heather cruised in at 32:38, first woman and 6th overall, but disappointed with her time. We did a long cool down together, since our kids were out with her parents. My dad picked up first 60-plus in the 5k, which he will take at 68 years young.
Overall, I was pleased with the result, this is almost a minute faster than I have run on this course, although the CR would have been nice with the $50 bonus.
Followed up my first 70-mile week of the year last week with my first 80-miler of the year this week!