I started the month of August with a RACE! The folks at Train 180 & Sub5 racing put on a 5km trail race at Mine Falls. I’ve been enjoying running at Mine Falls (Nashua NH) since 1992 and have raced there many times. It was great to hear that racing was back, although the format would be a bit different. There would be heats of 10 runners going every 3 minutes. So, I was getting to race whoever signed up for the same heat as I did (and the race would combine all heats for overall results). I signed up for the earliest heat (7am) and Dan Verrington chose to do the same. He had only been running for 3 weeks after taking 6 weeks off with a stress fracture. I also heard that Mike Slinskey was coming from New York for this rare opportunity to race. Bill Newsham also chimed in that he was racing (and doing 3 heats!). So at least four of us in that first heat would also be 50+ age groupers. I was looking forward to getting back out there and racing again.
I showed up at 6am and was the first one to arrive. The volunteers were in place and packet pick-up was quick. Entrants got a t-shirt and a buff, I bet a lot of races start giving away buffs now. It was already in the upper 70’s, sunny, and pretty humid as I headed out to preview the course. Volunteers were out putting signs and mile markers; I was set as I know every trail in the park. I felt pretty lousy warming up which is either a good sign or a very bad sign. I had a moment to say hi to my fellow 50+ runners then changed into racing gear and got in another mile of easy running.
Ten of us moved up to the line and at 7am we were off and racing. Dan (and Bill) were both looking to run around 7:00 pace or under so I was out in front with Mike’s soft footfalls right behind me. I felt pretty comfortable through the first ½ mile and heard Mike fall back as we slowly gained 30’ leading up to the mile. I crossed over the canal and onto the paved section of path. There was a tough 10-15’ climb at 1.3 miles and I was not surprised at how much that short little bump hurt. I kept telling myself “all flat or down from here”. At 1.7 miles I crossed back over the canal and back onto dirt and used that turn to see where Mike was. I was pretty sure I had him at this point and focused on not falling apart in the final mile. I tried to press on the downhill after 2 miles but did not feel very good. I kept thinking Mike might find another gear and catch me. I hoped that fear would drive me to the finish. I crossed the line in 18:17.3 to take first place in my heat. Mike rolled in a minute later and before Dan came through a youngster from the second heat flew in running a low 17 to take the fastest time of the day. Dan came in next meeting his goal of breaking 7’s.
We all grabbed some water and quickly changed shoes for a nice warm-down out on the course. It was fun rehashing old races and hearing about Mike’s quest to run a mile on as many tracks as he can. Fun times indeed!
1 Dave Dunham M56 18:17.3
2 Mike Slinskey M51 19:18.7
3 Dan Verrington M58 21:05
1 Matthew Catarius M19 17:14.0
2 David Catarius M51 18:38.7