Dave Q and I met up at 6:30 am for the hour drive. We were both fueled by Dunkin's and some "up" tunes on the stereo. I peeled out a little in the dirt parking lot at Temple mountain but the few people there that early did not seem impressed. We tucked some gear into the Mahoney's car and Tim and Abby joined us (along with a friend of Paul B) for the ride back to the start.
Wapack Trail Marker
It was great to see such a large CMS contingent show up, we had a better turn-out than the 12 km champs J. A large group got together and we headed out for an easy 3 mile warm-up. Easy is a relative term as the warm-up included the first mile of the race. The first mile is easily the toughest mile in the first half of the race. After the warm-up I changed into my Loco Banditos and headed for the line. No strides today as the pace would be slower and the distance much longer than recent efforts.
I got out well in the first mile, maybe a bit too aggressively as I hit the mile split in 6:26. I was 10 seconds up on what I wanted and hoped that would translate into a fast time. Todd Callaghan and College runner (and 2006 Globe All-scholastic) Pete Asaro went by just before the mile and disappeared into the distance. Tim Van Orden drew even with me and we motored the downhill/dirt section with another guy. The other guy fell off soon after 2 miles (12:25-5:59 split) and TiVO and I were on our own as Todd was 10 seconds up and moving away. I could still see Ben Nephew and Jim Pawlicki in the distance but the leaders were out of sight. Soon after two miles I pulled clear of TiVO. I didn’t feel all that good and felt like I was pressing too hard for this early in the race. I hit 3 miles in 18:09 (5:44 split) which still had me ahead of pace but I was losing ground on a 30 flat split. I had some dizziness during the fourth mile and just did not feel good. I kept looking ahead trying to focus on keeping the guys in sight. I hit four in 24:37 (6:28 split) and knew that 30 flat wasn’t going to happen but felt that 30:30 and a sub-1:07 might still be do-able.
Mt Monadnock from Temple Mtn
I started feeling a bit better as I headed toward the 5-mile mark. I was looking forward to the real uphill running that would commence soon after the half-way mark. I saw Ben hit the half at around 30 flat and Todd went through 10 seconds later and 22 seconds up on me as I passed it in 30:32 (5:55 split). I hadn’t written down any of my previous splits and really only knew what I wanted to hit 5 in. I did start calculating that I’d need to run 6:40’s for 5-8 then 7:30 and 9:00 in order to break 1:07. Mostly I was thinking that I wanted to close the gap on Todd. It is funny how close he’d look on the climbs as we all slowed down, but then he’d suddenly double the distance as we hit a downhill. I steadily closed on him, hitting 6 miles in 37:12 (6:40 split) and Todd’s lead was now down to 14 seconds. I figured that I had a shot at catching him by 8 if I kept closing at the same rate. From 6-7 I only made up another 2 seconds, as I passed 7 in 43:20 (6:08). He still had 12 seconds and I noticed that Ben was another 10 plus seconds up on him.
I started thinking about the long grind up route 101, I was looking forward to going slower. The up/down nature of the early miles was beating me up. I was grateful for the final downhill before the 8 mile mark and noted that Ben was 20 seconds up and Todd was 6 seconds up as I hit eight in 50:22. I was also still thinking I might break 67. The long climb up 101 was more my style and I caught Todd shortly after the 8 mile mark. I could see Ben just ahead and set my sites on him. I also saw Jim P up ahead and wondered how much juice he had left in the tank.
We headed into the park and the real mountain race began. I shifted into low-gear and kept my head up checking for Ben who was looking back at me a lot. I figured the high mileage and the 50 mile races might have taken something out of his legs. Nine miles was hit in 58:02 and my hopes of a sub 67 were still there, but more importantly Ben was only 10 seconds up. He power-walked a few times, but that wasn’t all that encouraging as Ben does that a lot in Mountain races and can still manage a solid pace. I checked my watch and 6 minutes had passed since the nine mile mark, time was running out. I through everything I had at Ben in the last quarter-mile on the 30% road but just couldn’t close. The final mile for me was 9:35, something of a disappointment and the final time was 1:07:35. A relatively good run for me, but also my worst time and place ever at Pack. I’ll take solace that I gave my all and that is all you can ever do.
It was great to see my teammates do so well. Man, we stacked up the top 14! After a quick photo-op we ran down the Mountain. I was joined by Ed Parrot (former New Englander and at one time CMS member) and we chatted about getting old and slow. We also offered encouragement to our comrades who were still heading up the mountain. After a quick slug of Coke and a large dose of Pepto-Bismol I headed out/up for another 3 miles that included a run up to the top of the old Temple mountain ski area then a rolling run over to Holt Peak on the Wapack trail. It was a nice warm-down but during the descent I went into major bonk and was wobbly the last mile. Some Coke and a raw cookie got me back on solid ground, and finished the day and the month on a good note.