Last night I raced at the Hollis Fast 5k and I agree it is fast. They have a very good course. You really don't even notice that it is downhill. It drops 75' per mile and it is all very gentle. You really don't even see that you are going downhill. It is also a fairly straight course so you don't have turns to deal with. Conditions were good last night, a bit of drizzle and wet roads but perfect temperatures.
Dan and I headed out after getting a couple of decent deals at Whirlaway tent sale. Dan decided to race in a pair he bought. We arrived at registration during a downpour, but by the time we had driven up to the start it had tapered to a steady rain.
We headed out and did an easy 3 mile warm-up then headed our separate ways to do final preparations. I did five or six strides of increasing time and tempo to get my legs loose and did some extra stretching for my calf. I was very nervous approaching the start, heck I’d been feeling sick all day pumped up with adrenaline. Something about 5k’s that really gets me, probably my lack of speed and worrying about blowing up.
The race crew did a great job of crowd control and got the racers lined up and started pretty much right on time. A bunch of young kids sprinted the first 100m which made for some dicey moments when reality hit and they slowed. I stuck to the left side of the road and stayed out of trouble. John Pajer was right with me and we got into a group with four other guys who had found their pace. Dan came rolling by about ½ mile in. He is a notoriously slow starter but once he gets up to speed he can really grind out a race. He went by like we were standing still and quickly caught up to the group in front of us.
I counted 16 guys in front of me as I hit the mile in 5:17. More importantly to me, Dan was “only” eight seconds ahead. I’ve raced Dan 219 times over the last 22 years and in the last 6 years it has become a a rare time when I beat him, not for lack of trying. After the mile the group I was in broke up and it was just me and one other guy. Dan was in a similar situation running just behind a guy. Dan was in ninth and I was in eleventh place at that point. It seemed that as Dan fell off I was closing on him but at 2 miles (10:38) he was actually 11 seconds ahead with a 5:18 split to my 5:21.
I still thought I had a shot at him, but by 2.25 (the last mile had each ¼ marked) I knew I would not get him. It was all I could do to keep moving. The guy in front of me began to pull away and I just tried to keep rolling toward the finish. I was passed by two guys in the last ¼ mile, but I had no response. I was full-out and there would be no kick. I hit the 3 mile mark in 15:59 (5:21), so despite felling like I was falling apart I’d managed to keep the same pace. I hit the line in 16:35 taking 13th place (4th 40+). It was pretty close to what I’d hoped to run, especially with not really knowing what shape I’m in. I was a bit surprised by Dan run 16:24, I would have guessed that he’d break 16 based on his time at Rhody last week. John Pajer had a fine run taking 17th in 16:45.
Dan and I slogged out a 3 mile run back to the start. Most of the way we got the normal stupid comments from people along the way, but eventually it just got quiet as we both pretty much bonked by the end of the warm-down. All in all it was a successful night at the races.
1 1/30 M3034 BENJAMIN NDAYA 34 M 775 Chelmsford MA 15:15 15:14 4:55
2 1/7 M2024 JEFF GOUPIL 22 M 484 Keene NH 15:35 15:35 5:02
3 1/42 M4549 TITUS MUTINDA 45 M 771 Lowell MA 15:38 15:38 5:03
4 2/30 M3034 MATT SULLIVAN 32 M 604 Chelsea MA 15:42 15:42 5:04
5 1/10 M2529 LANCE FLAMINO 25 M 385 Hancock NH 15:44 15:44 5:05
6 1/42 M4044 JOE O'LEARY 42 M 7 Medford MA 15:53 15:53 5:08
7 2/7 M2024 JACK BAUER 20 M 377 Manchester NH 16:07 16:07 5:12
8 1/25 M3539 CHRIS POULOS 39 M 632 Kingston RI 16:12 16:12 5:14
9 2/42 M4549 DAN VERRINGTON 47 M 680 Bradford MA 16:24 16:24 5:18
10 3/7 M2024 EZRA MILBY 22 M 528 Medford MA 16:26 16:25 5:18
CMS and some familiar names…
13 3/42 M4549 DAVE DUNHAM 46 M 569 Bradford MA 16:35 16:35 5:21
16 2/42 M4044 JIM RHOADES 41 M 675 Lowell NH 16:42 16:42 5:23
17 5/42 M4549 JOHN PAJER 47 M 669 Leicester MA 16:45 16:45 5:24
22 3/10 M2529 JASON BUI 29 M 277 Lowell MA 17:08 17:08 5:32
25 1/66 F3539 KARA HAAS 39 F 198 Chelmsford MA 17:28 17:28 5:38
40 3/26 M5054 STEPHEN PECKICONIS 51 M 276 Roslindale MA 18:25 18:24 5:56
50 5/42 M4044 KEVIN FALLON 42 M 373 West Boylston MA 18:43 18:41 6:02