Saturday, September 10, 2011

Looking back

30 Years ago
I kicked off my senior year of Cross-Country at Billerica high school with four consecutive wins and four course records in September of 1981.  On the 15th we beat Lowell at home with a sweep of the top five spots (15-40).  I was first in 15:17 over what I recall was an XC course in name only.  I’d estimate that at least ¾ of the course was paved.  A week later we suffered a tough loss to Chelmsford on our home course, losing by a scant point 27-28.  We knew that meant Methuen would win the combined Merrimack Valley Conference, only Mike Busnach and I could break up the top three from Methuen and if you take the top three spots you can’t lose in dual meet competition.  I lowered my course record to 15:07 on this day and some familiar names from Chelmsford ran quite well that day (Scott Spence 16:03 & Keith O’Brien 16:28).  Four days later we took on Wilmington on there course where I set a new record winning in 12:47, we beat them 18-37.  Three days after that we raced at Austin Prep where I ran 12:00 for a new record on their 2.4 mile course.  We won this meet as well, besting Austin 22 to 33.  In all we finished with 5 wins and 1 loss in the MVC west division.
Heading for home on a little section of grass.  Kathy Norton cheers me on.

20 Years ago
I raced five times for a total of 41 miles in September of 1991.  I started the month of with a Labor Day run with 1811 others at the New Haven 20k.  I took 8th place in 1:01:48, winning $100 for my sub-5 minute pace effort.  The race was won by Bob Kempanian (he of the incredibly colorful puking at the Boston Marathon) in 60:17.  Eric Morse finished fourth 30 seconds later (60:47).  A few days later I was off to Manchester NH for the Millyard 8km race.  The course was an unusual 3 loop effort, maybe to find flat ground?  Larry Sayers was the winner in 24:07 and I took 2nd in 24:26 in a field of 450.  The next day I tried my hand at a short cross-country race.  Pine Manor College hosted a 3 x 3km XC relay.  I ran 9:07 for my leg.  I’m not sure what the splits were for Woody and Hodge but we lost to BAA 28:02 to 28:07.  Two weeks later I was back on the roads at the New England 15km championships.  I felt “crappy” and hung on to a big pack for the first 3 miles of hilly terrain (Webster MA).  CMS’s Rick Dorion won the race in 46:31 and I took 2nd in a disappointing 46:52.  A week later I closed out the month with a win at the Marshfield 20km road race.  I think it may have been part of the Hockomock Swamp Rat series.  I ran 1:04:50 just outkicking Craig Fram.  5km splits were pretty even over the “rolling” course = 16:12, 16:06, 16:15, 16:17.

10 Years ago
I only raced twice in September of 2001, I was trying to recover from my Ultrarunning exploits (heck, I’m still trying to recover!).  The first race was the Pisgah Mountain 50km trail race in Chesterfield NH.  I remember Ben Nephew gave me so much grief for all the gels and water I was carrying (he was shirtless and carried nothing), but I was worried about a DNF after the World 100km.  I took no chances, basically running the race alone in third place.  I caught Leigh Schmidt at 26 but I couldn’t reel in Ben who was way out in front (3:46:20 CR).  I took second place in 3:56:11.  Two weeks later I went to the always fast Eliot Maine 5k (certified) and finished in 10th place with a 15:33 (4:55/9:58).
The course and my splits at Pisgah

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