DQ leads the charge up the final hill with Reno Stirrat, me, and John Barbour in pursuit. Pic by Krissy.
I was a little worried about this race, heck I was a lot worried. Having Petey as a passenger helped ease that, he was nervous enough for both of us. A bunch of us (Quintal brothers, double-j, Albee, etc.) threw the nerf football around for a bit to ease the tension and kill a little time before heading out for a warm-up. I felt totally flat during our slow two miles. I hadn’t felt very good this week and chalked it up to less than normal sleep and the somewhat rapid increase in my mileage. I usually take a couple of weeks to feel comfortable after bumping up the miles. That sounds weird considering I only hit 60 miles this week, but zero to 60 in four weeks is a fairly aggressive boost.
There was a frustrating hold-up at the starting line. They lined us up on time but then there was more than five minutes of just standing in place. I figured I’d be starting easily so I wasn’t too worried, but if I were hoping to head out at sub 5’s I wouldn’t want to stand around that long. It was fun to catch up with Al for a few minutes, just idly chatting while we waited. It definitely took some of the edge off. I seeded myself in the third row, figuring that I was in top 100 shape (based on Ollie). I think it was the correct location as I wasn’t bowled over in the first 400m of the race. A few guys sprinted by, but mostly I just settled right in.
I was a bit surprised when Todd Callaghan strolled by at ½ mile in, with Jim Pawlicki in tow. Gee, did I go out too fast? I could see Terry McNatt slightly ahead and John Barbour was at my side. I was hoping for a slightly better pace than Ollie (5:50’s) and my goal was 5:48’s for as long as I could go. I had also told Petey that Reno Stirrat (former CMS teammate) had finished about 30 seconds in front of me at Ollie, so I’d be focusing on him. He passed me just after Callaghan and Dave Quintal was in tow. David tends to go out quickly so again I was surprised to be ahead of him. At that point I decided that running with DQ and Reno made sense. I was feeling good.
We hit the mile in 5:35, which was a bit of a shock but felt surprisingly easy. I was worried that my lack of training would kick in around 3 miles and I’d have a long day making my way back up the coast to the finish line. Dave looked strong and tended to front our little pack. Reno seemed stronger on the little uphills and I felt great on any downhill, so the positions would rotate depending on who felt good. Dave’s shoe came untied right before the two mile (5:47) and he would run the rest of the way with it untied. I felt good about the 5:47 that was a lot closer to the pace I’d intended to run and I thought the second mile had rolled a bit. I really like this kind of course, no big hills, no long straight-aways, lots of tangents to cut, it kept you actively thinking about what you were doing.
I hung onto our group and my mantra was “stay with them until the next mile mark”. We hit three with a faster mile (5:35) probably due to the flatter nature of that mile. We passed the 5km together in 17:35. Reno and Dave pulled away a little on one of the hills but John and I reeled them back in. It was fun coming back with the crowd heading out. I like seeing how other people are doing and I got a lot of “Go Dave”’s from folks. We caught the lead woman just after 3 and she stuck close to us as no one in our group let the pace slack (although I think Dave did most of the leading). We hit four with a 5:46 split, again a bit slower due to the rolling in that mile. I was doing the math in my head and knew this was going to be way under what I ran at Ollie last week (the equivalent of a 29:10 for 5m). We hit five in 28:22 (5:39) and I was beginning to really feel the lack of mileage. It was everything I could do to maintain contact.
The last mile was a bit of a blur. I grunted a lot and struggled a lot. I could see the final uphill and knew we only had about ¾ of a mile to go. Right about that time Dave put in a big surge and dropped us all. I latched on to Reno as we gapped (and by gapped I mean got about 1 step) on John. I was dreading the last hill, which was probably the biggest climb on the course. It really wasn’t much but my fuel gauge was on empty. Reno pulled ahead on the up and I closed back on the down. At the bottom I realized I was toast and struggled to hold position as John closed on me. Dave ended up taking Reno (who caught him with 100 to go). I hit the line in 35:17, loopy and dizzy from the effort.
Petey came in a couple of minutes later looking disappointed, but giving his all for the team. Luckily everyone gave there all as we took 5th place by 1 second over Hurtin’ for certain (who were led by College teammate Jason Cakorous).
We finished the day with a very slow two-mile warm-down with a big CMS group. All in all it was a successful day. Both of our teams (open and 40+) took fifth and there were some very good individual performances.
Next race: Topsfield XC on Oct. 4
1122 – 547
1657 – 535
1735 – 38
2243 – 546
2822 – 539
3408 – 546
3517 – 109
1 Joseph Koech 0:30:20 40 M SOMERVILLE MA RUN
2 Dan Vassallo 0:30:39 24 M READING MA ADD
3 Justin Fyffe 0:30:40 29 M EAST DUMMERSTON VT CMS
21 Andy McCarron 0:32:10 26 M KEENE NH CMS
26 Kevin Tilton 0:32:33 27 M NORTH CONWAY NH CMS
28 Alan Bernier 0:32:36 35 M PROVIDENCE RI CMS
36 Matt Clark 0:32:55 26 M AMHERST MA CMS
40 Jim Johnson 0:33:14 32 M SALEM NH CMS
50 Dan Verrington 0:33:45 47 M BRADFORD MA CMS
61 Jim Pawlicki 0:34:30 34 M BEVERLY MA CMS
68 David Quintal 0:35:13 46 M SALEM NH CMS
70 Dave Dunham 0:35:17 45 M BRADFORD MA CMS
114 Barbara McManus 0:37:51 41 F WORCESTER MA CMS
140 Steve Peterson 0:39:39 43 M CHELMSFORD MA CMS
153 Joseph Alfano 0:40:28 43 M HOLDEN MA CMS