Friday, May 9, 2014

promising streak of 2 (aka Backshore review/preview)

I'm starting to get a little momentum with my training; I ran yesterday (6.4 mi. at 6:49/mi.) AND the day before. (15k at 6:39/mi.) Heather signed us both up yesterday for the Backshore 5m tonight in Gloucester. I have had a good history at this race, which I first ran in 2000, as a bright, ambitious 23-year-old road race newbie. I had been training for about a year and was running with the WCRC. I ended up breaking 28:00 for the first time, finishing a distant second to future teammate Joe Shairs (27:54 to Joe's 26:43).

I was back at the Shore in 2002, and not as fit (see picture), balancing training time with fence-building and bass-playing duties at Essex Fence and the Great Northern, respectively. I cruised to a 28:57 8th place finish, my slowest time and lowest finish in 6 attempts.

I could grow the facial hair back now, but I wish I could tell the young man in this picture not to take the head coverage for granted.
(I actually promised my wife I would never bring this look back unless it was specially requested. So far: 10 years, no request.)

I didn't make it back to the Backshore until 2009, where I locked up in an epic (in my mind) battle with William & Mary and Gloucester High standout Pete Asaro. I remember coming through 3 miles in 15:36 (5:12 pace) and trying to go as hard as I could. I closed with two ~5:00 miles, and with a mile to go (I was told afterwards) I had a 15 second lead. Pete closed hard and caught me as we crested the final hill. I couldn't hang on and finished in 25:36 (a 5-mile PR at the time), one second behind Pete. The close finish forged a friendship that continues to this day. My feelings weren't even hurt when Pete confessed it was his first race in over a year, he hadn't been training much, and he'd just gotten back from travelling around Europe...

I returned in 2010, expecting to do battle with Pete again, but I arrived a bit late to the start (about 10-15 seconds back) when the gun fired, and I spent some time working my way up during the early miles. Thankfully, Pete wasn't there, or I wouldn't have caught him. I took the win (for the first time) in 26:03 (unadjusted).

2011's race remains my fastest 5-mile to date, which I won in 25:17. This course is not certified, although it once was, but I count it anyway.

I missed the 2012 version (it was won by recent Gordon College graduate Levi Miller), but returned to win last year in 25:34, with Jordan Kinley close in tow.

This year, I'm not sure what to expect, hopefully a second-place, sub-26 finish. Text from Jim Pawlicki this morning informed me that he and Dastardly Dan Vassallo will be there. I'm guessing/hoping Dan will be comfortably under 25, which I imagine will be the course record and well ahead of me.
Here's a link to the 2007 story, where Dan Verrington held on to hold off Matt Pelletier (Matt unofficially ran 24:22.)

Looking forward to seeing where I'm at, though, in just my second race of the year and also hoping Heather, Nate H. and Al V. will run well.

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