Monday, June 18, 2012

52nd Mt Washington Road Race

I headed up to Mt Washington this weekend for the 23rd time since 1988.  After injuring my calf at Mt Washington last year (and subsequently re-injuring it multiple times in 2011) I was not sure if I really wanted to go back.  After running the Masters Cross-Country championships back in February I decided that I was in decent shape and I’d focus on running well at the 52nd running up the
Auto Road
.  I really focused on preparing for the Mountain by doing the most mileage I’ve done since 2002.  I also hit the track for workouts nearly every week.  The key to my training was that I was able to do this and not pick up another injury.

Two weeks ago I began my taper and ran “only” 80 miles, I felt lousy.  I kept my mileage low and leading up to the race I started to feel good…very good.  I wasn’t particularly anxious, just a bit worried about how my calf would hold up.  Based on my other races this year I felt I was in sub-1:10 shape and if the weather was good and everything came together I might be able to run as fast as 1:08:30.  So I plugged that time into my “pace projector” and with that around my wrist I’d know if I was on pace or not.  I’ve always tried to just race against the Mountain and not worry about what other people are doing around me.  It is too easy to get in trouble if you just hammer off after people, once you are in trouble it is nearly impossible to recover.

I felt good during my 3 mile warm-up and once I put on my racing flats and another mile with strides I felt ready to go.  I soaked my singlet in the Peabody River and doused my head, it wasn’t hot but warmer than I like (I like 40 degree racing!).  I found a spot on the line then backed up to the second row when 2-time winner Rickey Gates was trying to find a starting position.  The cannon fired and people just SPRINTED out.  I tried to relax and just get to the base of the hill without getting run over.

Once we hit the mountain I downshifted and tried to find my rhythm.  I didn’t feel very good and I had cotton mouth but I would have been surprised if I felt good.  Teammates Nate Jenkins, Kevin Tilton, and Jim Johnson were just a little ahead (running a smart conservative opening mile) as I hit the mile in 6:49 which was 2 seconds under my projected pace.  I relaxed a bit; knowing that unless I messed up this was going to be a good day.  CMS teammate Ross Krause and I alternated leading, following, and running side-by-side.  I knew Ross was fit and was aiming for a time around what I wanted so it was good to have someone there to work with.  We began passing people, lots of people.  The second and third miles have some nasty stretches that really wear you down, especially if you go out too fast.  We settled into a solid pace and the only person to pass us was Josh Ferenc who must have started VERY conservatively.

Not much changed for the remainder of the race.  Ross and I picked off the odd runner here and there as we got above treeline.  Conditions were ideal, cool and clear and very little wind.  Double-J wasn’t far ahead at 5 and I figured we had a shot at him.  We very slowly reeled him in and he offered encouragement as we went by.  I think it was about the same time we caught Kris Freeman, they would be the last guys we’d pass.  Actually with about ½ mile to go both Freeman and Johnson hammered past us along with Brandon Newbould.  I don’t know how Ross felt but I was all-out, there was no extra gear to go after those guys.  I kept working and was finally able to gap Ross on the very last climb (the “wall”) and crossed the finish line in 26th place with a new 40+ Personal Best of 1:08:19.  Needless to say I was very happy with the time.  Later I’d find out that I also took 2nd place in the age graded masters (which got me $200) and our CMS masters team took home the gold.  I was happily surprised to find that I also scored on the CMS open team that took 2nd place in the National Championships.

Mike Quintal and I gathered up our gear and were on the road heading down before the race clock hit 1:30!  It was a great day to run down with awesome views.  That is a heck of a way to get in a 19 mile day.




PL            Time         Name                       Age          Cat          City                          State       Team
1              0:58:27   Sage Canaday         26            M2034     Sheridan                  OR          
2              1:00:33   Joseph Gray            28            M2034     Newcastle                WA          Club NW
3              1:00:54   Eric Blake                 33            M2034     New Britain              CT            BAA
4              1:00:58   Glenn Randall          25            M2034     Mesa                        CO           Team Colorado
5              1:01:38   Marco De Gasperi    35            M3539     Bormio, Italy                            Forestale
6              1:01:52   Tommy Manning      36            M3539     Colorado Springs     CO           Team Colorado
7              1:02:06   Tim Chichester         23            M2034     Mt Morris                 NY            GVH
8              1:02:21   Max King                  32            M2034     Bend                        OR           Montrail
9              1:02:24   Simon Gutierrez       46            M4549     Colorado Springs     CO           Team Colorado
10            1:02:41   Alex Nichols             27            M2034     Colorado Springs     CO           Team Colorado
18            1:05:54   Kevin Tilton              30            M2034     N Conway                NH           CMS
20            1:06:35   Nate Jenkins            31            M2034     Andover                  MA           CMS
23            1:07:55   Jim Johnson             35            M3539     E Wakefield             NH           CMS
26            1:08:19   Dave Dunham          48            M4549     Ward Hill                  MA           CMS
27            1:08:25   Ross Krause            32            M2034     Easthampton           MA           CMS
36            1:11:00   Michael Quintal        34            M2034     N Andover               MA           CMS
37            1:11:17   Francis Burdett        47            M4549     Worcester               MA           CMS
43            1:12:45   Tim Mahoney           32            M2034     Holyoke                   MA           CMS
48            1:14:21   Scott Clark               46            M4549     Gilmanton               NH           CMS
59            1:17:34   Martin Tighe            54            M5054     Providence              RI            CMS
62            1:18:16   Tim Van Orden         44            M4044     Bennington              VT            CMS
69            1:19:55   Ernest Brake            50            M5054     N Sutton                  NH           CMS
97            1:24:44   Thomas Brown         26            M2034     Beverly                    MA           CMS
104          1:26:28   John Pajer               49            M4549     Leicester                  MA           CMS
118          1:28:01   David Quintal           49            M4549     Salem                       NH           CMS
218          1:39:22   David Lapierre         48            M4549     Chelmsford              MA           CMS
246          1:41:40   Stephen Peterson   46            M4549     Chelmsford              MA           CMS
407          1:54:57   Walter Kuklinski       63            M6064     Princeton                 MA           CMS
632          2:30:55   Joe O'Connor          52            M5054     Sterling                    MA           CMS

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