Boy, what a long day. I was already a bit tired from the long (even though it was only 5-miles) setting up of the Merrimack river course on Friday afternoon. Thanks a bunch to TiVO, Double-J and Greg P for assisting.
Saturday morn I was out of the house at 6. I made a stop at the 2.5 mark of the race and lugged the waterstop down to the trail. Then it was over to the River for set-up. A hardy group from Gilly's AC was already heading out. They were doing 10 miles before the race, then racing and finishing up with another loop of the course. 30 tough miles to prep for a 100KM trail race later this year.
The race seemed to go quite smoothly thanks to all of the volunteers (too many to name here). I worked the finish line results board with Dreamy Jim. Needless to say, standing around from 6 am to noon is probably not the best prep for a 5,000m track race, but I love the Rivah!
I pulled into the parking lot at Umass Lowell at the same instance as Double-J. We ended up spending the next three hours hanging out in his car and checking the meet schedule. The meet was moving very slowly and the cold rainy conditions were just plain ugly (for just about everything but a 5,000). I hadn't run a outdoor track meet since June of 1995. The above picture is of me and Petey at the Dipsea trail race from June of 1995.
I convinced Jim to warm-up a little early as I need some additional time to do strides and get myself ready. We were timing everything based on the women running first which meant when the W-5,000 started we still had 20 minutes to prep. Well wouldn't you know it. We finished our 3+ mile run and I hit the bathroom. I was surprised as I headed for the car and Jim was sprinting toward me. The women's heat was combined with the men's and we had about 2 minutes until they would start the 5. Yikes!
I hightailed it to the car and got my flats on and put my singlet on as I ran for the track. Dang, all the time sitting around and now we were rushed at the last second. I was not ready to race, but fortunately I'd got all of my gear together and was able to dash to the start. I was the last one to the line and the starter was going over the commands. Then we were off.
I settled in behind a group from Merrimack right away but by 400 I felt they were slowing so I moved around them. The top 6 were already well ahead and it looked like I'd be running the race alone. The rain was coming down pretty hard and it was only in the upper 30's. I went with gloves and never took them off. Basically I tried to run even. I caught one guy at 2 miles who fell off the pack at 1.5. He went with me for a lap then dropped back a few seconds. Every lap I'd hear Obie calling out as I went by, which was nice. I wore Jim's U-Lowell singlet circa 1991 and got a few shouts from some of the current UML kids. There were only a few hardcore fans out there by that time :-)
I had seeded myself at 16:40 and my stretch goal was sub 16:30 if all went well. I was very happy to hit 16:35, all things considered. It was my fastest performance of the year (I went through 3,000 faster than I raced 3,000 at BU earlier this year).
Thanks to double-j for letting me hang out in the car and for getting me over to the line for the race. Jim and I had the track to ourselves for a 3 mile warm-down.
80.2 - 5:18.8
80.0 - 5:20.3 - 10:39.1
79.3 - 5:18.4- 15:57.5
6th place (1st and only 40+) 16:35.99