Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday - Race and Peakbag

I started Saturday with a trip to Wakefield MA for the YMCA 5km race. I haven’t done any speed work since early in the year (May) and my focus hasn’t been shorter races, so my goals have been modest. Recently I ran a 17:12 and felt that I was probably in sub-17 shape. A year ago I’d placed 4th at Wakefield with an 18+ minute effort. Conditions last year were very windy and cold and I’d only been running for a couple of weeks due to (yet another) stress fracture. My goal was to drop under 17 and race aggressively.

I warmed up on the course and was surprised by how popular the loop around Lake Quanapowitt is. Of course that made it hard to tell if anyone “good” was out warming up. With double-j visiting the Great White North I was the fastest returning entrant, of course that doesn’t mean much with the time I’d run. The warm-up went okay but I felt lousy, which is normal. I added a mile with strides and hit the line in time to ask about running on the sidewalk. It was acceptable and recommended that all run on the sidewalk.

At “go” four younger guys shot off, flying down the little hill at the start. I was 20m back 50m into the race. By ½ mile the four were pretty much done and I moved briefly into the lead. Zack Schwartz (who I think is running for Brandeis) went by right about then. He looked smooth and I felt ragged. He was at least 5 seconds up when I passed the mile in 5:22. I had hoped to be between 5:20 and 5:25 so I was right where I need to be. Nothing much changed in the next mile except Zack pulled away. I hit two miles in 10:52 (5:30) with my shoe untied. I had TRIPLE tied it. Ugh! I didn’t let it bother me and spent the last mile calculating over and over again what I need to do to break 17. The last mile is tough, you can see the town square from ¾ of a mile out and it just never seems to get closer. I rounded the corner and could see the finish close was already at 16:45 and I was full-out. Sub-17 was not to be as I hit the line in 17:03 (17:02.2 – 6:10 last 1.11). I ended up second to Schwartz who ran unchallenged to a 16:34.

I did another loop of the lake for a warm-down then headed out for some peak bagging. Albee had noted that I was leading the MA county prominence list on He also mentioned that I could finish it in a weekend. I figured that would be exactly what I’d do, plus mix in some other peaks. I headed over to Charlestown for two famous hills – Bunker and Breeds. It was still pretty early on a weekend morning and I had no trouble parking on Bunker hill street right in front of the cemetery that was at the highest point. I spent a few minutes poking around looking for the highest point then headed the short distance to the Bunker hill Monument (which is on Breeds Hill). I was surprised to find a group doing a climb up the Monument for charity. I asked the guard if they were racing and he said “thankfully, no”. I decided what the heck and checked out how quickly I could climb the 294 steps. I ran hard but not all out (and there were people walking and blocking the way a couple of times). I hit the top in exactly 1 minute and 45 seconds. I’d like to go back sometime and see how fast I could do that!

Next up I drove to a little hill near Curry College. I was a bit stymied by a road showing up, but it turned out to be a dead end. I looped around the hill (Brush Hill) and found a knoll that looked to be the likeliest candidate for the high point, then got moving (Private Road). The final climb of the day was a group hike with Petey and his kids, Ken T and his kids, and Rob. We took a nice leisurely stroll around Weir hill and up over the top. We had a nice time walking on such a warm and sunny day. What a great way to kick off the weekend!

Rob and Ken summit Weir hill

Day 2 to follow…..


GZ said...

Hey - mountain masters runner of the year. Congratulations!

Side note - Pliska is trying to get me to organize a masters team for MWRR.

Zack said...

Hey Dave, it's Zack...I just came across this while Googling myself at work. Are you planning on going back to the Burbank YMCA race this year? I think I'm going to go.