Monday, June 16, 2014

Ribfest 5-Miler Race Report

After a Saturday night campout at Patton Park in Hamilton with my son Benjamin and the rest of Cub Scout Pack 35, I rose early (just after 5), took the tent down, hit up Dunks for a bagel and coffee, and dropped Ben at my parents, where my wife Heather was waiting. We left my parents house at 6:25 and made it to the EAB parking lot in Merrimack by 7:15 am. We were greeted by Jim Pawlicki, Larissa Park and several CMS ladies who had driven up from Worcester together.

Heather and I did our first of three trips from the lot to the start and grabbed our numbers. The race HQ was well-organized, if a bit crowded, with the sprawling Ribfest covering much of the Anheuser-Busch complex. We took a look at the course map and jogged back to the parking lot to drop gear off and get changed into uniforms and racing flats. I opted for the half-tight and compression socks and must say, I probably won't race on the roads without them ever again, if possible.

In spite of a rather restless night of sleep on the ground (I did have a great new air mattress which Heather got for me on Saturday, but it's not quite a pillowtop), I was feeling good during the warmup. After we returned to the HQ, Heather decided on strides and I ran up the start and out onto the first mile of the course. It seemed pretty straight and flat on Rte 3, the Daniel Webster Highway, and I turned around after Mike Galoob came by me and jogged back in with him. He admitted to feeling a bit like he is just hanging on to his fitness for the next couple races (Ribfest, Washington, Loon) and is hoping to take some recovery time later in the summer. I've been supremely impressed with the level of his performances this winter and spring and had targeted him as someone I would like to beat, but that I knew would be a battle.

I did a few strides on the grass inside Ribfest and wandered to the start area at about 8:45. The start area was very busy and I got boxed back a couple rows when they moved us up to the start just before the gun went off.

(I must say this was one of the best-organized, most-professionally done races I've had the privilege to be a part of. With over 2000 runners, plus a couple thousand (??) more folks coming in for the Ribfest afterwards, there had to be a lot of details to take care of and John Mortimer and Millenium Running were on top of it. From the four instructional emails we received in the weeks leading up to the event to the well-labeled tents at the start-finish area, the race organizers did an outstanding job.)

Now, for the race:

The course was basically an out and back, with a small loop around halfway and the only significant hill in the first/last quarter of a mile. We went up the hill at the start and got to come down it at the finish.

Thanks to John M.'s pre-race email, I had done a decent job of scouting the "competition", at least in terms of the people I had a chance to beat and those that I was unlikely to be anywhere near. I thought I might have an outside shot at the top 10 if I could run mid-25's and hoped that by running under 26 I would be somewhere in the top 20. My plan was to go out on pace, or maybe a little slower and come back hard. We anticipated a head wind on the way out and a tail wind on the way back.

At the gun, I was buried a bit, but everyone around me and in front went out at a decent speed, so I didn't feel like I was waiting to move or anything. I swung out the left and got around some people, placing myself on the outside of the first turn as we began the climb up the hill. This meant I was on the inside for the second turn and I could pretty much take the tangent. We crested the hill with a large pack, only just beginning to string out and I was aware of the leaders fairly close still. I saw Nate J. up with the lead pack, a lot of WMDP guys (in a couple different singlets), Brandon Newbould and Dan Princic from Whirlaway, Chris Magill, Brad Mish, Ian Nurse and some other BAA guys; in short, many and most of the usual supects at a Grand Prix event. My hope was to beat as many of the guys who beat me at New Bedford as I could.

There was a definite wind in our faces for the first two miles, but it was gusty, not constant, and so we did our best to tuck in behind one another. The first mile was 5:15, a little slower than I had hoped, but not terribly so, and I felt good, like I hadn't raced at all yet.

During the second mile, Ian Nurse and I were stride for stride, and there was a third runner (GLRR) with us for most of the way as we ran 5:11 for the second mile (10:26). Greg Putnam shot by me around two miles, looking strong, and I knew I should work to stay with him, so I made sure to maintain contact during the short turnaround loop. As we made the sharp left turn (about halfway), I made a conscious decision to pick it up and start racing. I caught 3 or 4 people in the next half-mile, although my 3-mile split was only a 5:14, for 15:40 at 3 miles. I came through 5k in just under 16:10 and continued to press up a gentle grade, reaching for the next runner up ahead. I caught a couple BAA guys, including Chris Magill, who was running side-by-side with Mike Galoob. Also ran by Morgan Kennedy some time around 4 miles, I think, but didn't recognize him in the green T-shirt he was wearing.

Mile 4 was a 5:12 for 20:52, and I knew to get under 26, I had no room to relax. I was feeling the heat of the sun beating down on us, unprotected on the wide homestretch. I could hear footsteps coming up as we turned into the final downhill and thought it must be Mike Galoob coming back on me. It turned out to be Sean Hyland from BAA, who went right past me on the next to last turn. We made the final turn and I was really hurting, wanting the finish to be right there and it was still 100m or more off. I charged for it, with Brandon Newbould and Sean both coming back to me slowly, but I wasn't able to overtake them as I crossed in 25:55.09 (25:56).

Overall, I'm pleased with the effort and the outcome. I'm not sure where I would have made up the 20 or so seconds I was hoping for, unless I had gone out a bit faster in the early miles. I felt strong the second half, but didn't have a lot left in the tank at the end, so I felt like I spent everything I had out there.

Right behind me, Scott Leslie came in at 25:58 or 9, and then we watched as Morgan and Greg finished up the team scoring in the next 20 seconds. Nate J. was way up in 3rd overall with a strong 24:37.

5 CMS guys in the top 33 was only good for 4th place as RUn took the open title, with Jeff Veiga leading the way with the overall win in a speedy 24:20 and Justin Freeman and Peter Omea also both finishing in the top 10. BAA and Western Mass also both had our number by a significant margin. (Even with Dan V., who was racing a local 5k in Belmont, it would have been a tall order for us to crack the top 3 teams.)

I ended up 22nd overall, 8th 30-39 and 2nd CMS.

Heather was 22nd woman overall in 32:19, 8th 30-39 and 1st CMS. CMS women took home 5th, with Heather and Melissa D. finishing only a couple seconds apart, followed closely by Abbey Wood, Linda Spooner and 57-year-old Mary Lammi (1st 55-59 female)!

Heather and I enjoyed some time together on the cooldown, with over a half an hour in the warm summer sun (my bald head got fried) and almost 4 miles. Had a couple liquid refreshments (Redhook IPA and Goose Island for Heather), caught up with EJN for a couple minutes and grabbed some timely Qdoba and Starbucks for the ride home.

Spent a nice remainder of Father's Day with my parents and kids, Ben counting every baseball catch he made for the day (251!).

Got out for 3 miles in 21 minutes after the kids were in bed. Feeling pretty good; we'll see how today goes.

Results (Top Ten + CMS):

   1  JEFFERY VEIGA               RUN M 23 LOWELL MA 24:20
   2  BRIAN HARVEY               BAA M 27 BOSTON MA 24:27 
   3  NATE JENKINS              CMS M 33 NORTH ANDOVER MA 24:37 
   4  ERIC ASHE                        BAA M 25 BOSTON MA 24:54 
   5  SEAN DUNCAN            WMDP M 24 ARLINGTON MA 25:02 
   6  JUSTIN FREEMAN            RUN M 37 NEW HAMPTON NH 25:09 
   7  CHRIS KIBLER                GBTC M 24 TOWNSEND MA 25:20 
   8  PETER OMEA                    RUN M 36 LOWELL MA 25:23 
   9  ROBERT GOMEZ         DIRIGO M 30 PORTLAND ME 25:25
  10  DANIEL BARRY           WMDP M 27 SOUTHWICK MA 25:29
  22  PATRICK RICH              CMS M 37 SOUTH HAMILTON MA 25:56
  23  SCOTT LESLIE               CMS M 32 RUTLAND MA 25:59
  33  GREG PUTNAM              CMS M 44 STONEHAM MA 26:18
  63  JOE SHAIRS                    CMS M 46 PEABODY MA 27:42
  64  MATTHEW VEIGA         CMS M 27 LYNN MA 27:46
  67  JAMES PAWLICKI         CMS M 39 LYNN MA 27:55
  68  ANDY MCCARRON       CMS M 31 KEENE NH 27:59
  86  DAVE DUNHAM             CMS M 50 BRADFORD MA 28:37
  98  ARTHUR BESSE             CMS M 41 TEMPLETON MA 28:51
149  MARTIN TIGHE             CMS M 56 PROVIDENCE RI 30:28
165  DAVE MINGORI            CMS M 47 CHARLTON MA 31:21
168  SAM WOOD                    CMS M 27 LACONIA NH 31:27
191  HEATHER RICH             CMS  F 34 SOUTH HAMILTON MA 32:19
193  MELISSA DONAIS         CMS  F 30 ANDOVER MA 32:20
211  ABBEY WOOD                CMS  F 28 LACONIA NH 32:53
218  LINDA SPOONER          CMS  F 39 STURBRIDGE MA 33:10
249  MARY LAMMI               CMS  F 57 SPENCER MA 34:08
269  ALICE MCKEON            CMS  F 51 WORCESTER MA 34:34
276  ALICIA ENO                    CMS  F 36 WORCESTER MA 34:44
281  KAREN MCGAHIE        CMS  F 52 BOYLSTON MA 34:49
426  STEPHEN LASKA            CMS M 52 HOLDEN MA 37:57
496  PAT CLARK                     CMS  F 54 WORCESTER MA 39:34
517  HEIDI BESSE                   CMS  F 41 TEMPLETON MA 40:01
731  ANNIE RYAN                   CMS  F 57 FLORENCE MA 44:09

Link to full results here.

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