I figured that racing early this week would be out of the question after doing the Stowe 8 Mile (not “8 Miler”. What the heck is an 8 Miler, sounds like someone who runs and 8 mile race not the name of the race?). Racing this weekend was also ruled out due to plans for a Pemigewasset Wilderness traverse. A Thursday night race fit nicely into the plan and having it located so close to home made it an easy call.
This was the fifth time I’d run the Sapienza race. It is a great local race and an excellent cause, it seemed appropriate that this would mark the 500th time I’d laced up my racing flats for a road race. The race has gone through various distance and date changes over the years. This year there was also a change of venue as construction at Haverhill High School necessitated a move to the Whittier Middle School. I scouted out the course on Wednesday to see what I was in for. The course felt tough but I was hopeful that I was just feeling sluggish.
On race day I did my normal lunch 3 mile run and felt pretty decent, but that never means anything. I met up with Dan and JJ and we went out to check out the last 1.5 miles of the course. It was warm and windy and it seemed like the entire way was uphill (both ways). I finished the warm-up feeling okay except for the heat and wind and worry about the hills. My plan was to go with Dan for as long as possible, hoping to make it at least 3 miles with him. The first ¾ of a mile was all downhill so I kind of assumed that I’d be out ahead of a normal slow starting Dan but I’d be ready when he went by. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Right from the start Dan took off. I felt like I was all out in the first 200 meters. Nate Jenkins was already nearly out of sight and JJ had a firm grip on second place. Dan tucked in behind Brian Debronsky and Christopher Donais and I was a half step back with Chris Powers. When we started climbing the first big hill at .7 Powers fell back and Dan tucked behind me as Donais and Debronsky motored away. I hit the mile (that may have been a bit short) in 5:18.
Nate continued to pull away and both he and JJ were gone as they went on toe run 19:56 and 21:18 respectively. In the second mile I moved by Donais and gapped Dan by 7 seconds as Debronsky pulled away to his eventual 50 seconds up for third place. I really felt lousy from two (11:03) on and Dan gained a little back from 2 – 2.5 but that would be as close as he got. I had 15 seconds on him at three (16:46) and doubled that in the last mile despite running a 6:18 last split. It felt a heck of a lot faster than a 5:46 effort, which was very nearly the pace I ran last weekend at Stowe for EIGHT miles.
I won $20 at Whirlaway for my efforts and enjoyed a big bowl of Moose tracks ice cream after warming down with JJ and Dan. The only sour note on the evening was my Plantar Fascia which had felt great the last nine weeks of training but chose this night to start bothering me. I’m hoping it is just a minor aggravation. On it goes.
Sapienza Results over the years:
7/19/91 ran 25:14 for 5m and placed 1st in a field of 293. It was 100 degrees with a dew point of 67.
7/23/93 ran 24:18 for 5m and placed 1st in a field of 387. I missed the course record by 1 second.
7/19/96 ran 25:18 for 5m and placed 2nd in a field of 262. Fram kicked my ass.
7/21/06 ran 22:20 for 4m and placed 6th in a field of 107. Placed 2nd 40+ behind Dan (21:22)
7/22/10 ran 23:03 for 4m and place 4th in a field of 124. Beat Dan for top masters spot.
Dan versus Dave
We have raced each other a grand total of 222 times since 1985. I’ve got the slight edge with 115 “wins” versus 106 for Dan. In the last six years (since I’ve been a master) there have been only six times (over 77 times we’ve met) that I have beaten Dan. Five of the six were mountain races and the other was a road race when Dan had walking pneumonia. Basically Dan has had my number for a LONG time. The last time I “legitimately” beat Dan in a non-Mountain race was the Stone Cat trail marathon where I finished first in 3:06:10 and Dan was second in 3:07:10. The last time I beat Dan on the road was the Stowe 8 in 2001 when I snuck across the line four seconds ahead of Dan 41:12 to 41:16.
500 Road Races
3,840.87 miles (average 7.68 miles)
Biggest – Omi Hochi 30Km 10,991 finishers
Smallest – CMS weekly series, Race Walk, Don Drewniak and I were the only ones race walking (and he kicked my ass).
Slowest pace per mile (non-Race Walk) = Perdue Chicken 1.5 miles in Lowell MA. I ran 7:40 pace in a chicken suit (then ran 12km in 7:07 pace, also wearing the chicken suit).
Fastest pace per mile = 4:32.7 at the NEAC 5km championships 09-13-87 (14:08)
Shortest – 1 mile (Millennium & Loco downhill miles)
Longest – 62.2 @ 6:32 pace to win the Chancellor’s Challenge 100km
DNF – Both 100km World Championships
Wins - 180
Cross Country 122
Outdoor track 105
Indoor track 103
Grand total - 1108