I checked my old results and worked out the approximate splits to run 1:06 flat. That would put me 39 seconds under my masters PR. I felt that I was in pretty decent shape, but I also did NOT drop down this week (I ended up with 98 miles for the week). I definitely did not feel "up" as we headed out to Wilton.
Dave La, his daughter Danielle, JJ, and Kevin T joined me for a warm-up. We checked out the first mile of the course which is the toughest mile until probably the 7th mile. Conditions were good with temps in the upper 50's and a little bit of drizzle. The field looked strong with Whirlaway's Brandon Newbould and Team RUN's Justin Freeman the likely guys to give Kevin a race. My hope was to keep top 40+ runners Todd Callaghan and Tim Van Orden in sight and maybe reel them in over the last two miles (which are the only part of the course that are truly "mountain" running).
Right away I found myself in 12th/13th place on the initial climb to the mile. I was right on pace at the mile and tried to be agressive on the downhills after that. I slowly moved up in the field and teammate Tim Mahoney and I were side by side as we hit 2 miles still right on pace. During the thrid mile we began to reel in teammate Ross Krause (who was probably a bit tired after his 50k victory last weekend). We caught Ross just before the 3 mile mark which again was right on the pace I'd hoped for. I could see Ryan Aschbrenner up ahead with Todd Callaghan and Tim Van Orden, they had 45 seconds on us at three miles. I tried to relax knowing there was a LONG way to go.
Ross, Tim and I ran together from 3 miles 'til 8 miles with each of us taking up the slack whenever the pace slowed. It was great having teammates to work with and we definitely gave no quarter. We caught Jim Johnson, who was suffering from stomach ailments, just after five miles. I hit 5m in 30:23 which was 7 seconds ahead of what I'd hoped for. Things were going well!
I kept telling myself "get to 8 then make a move" and that was much better than the damn Hootie and the Blowfish tune that was stuck in my head! We pounded down the final drop to Route 101 and Ross said "here we go" as he sprinted away. I tried to cover his move and pulled ahead of Tim. We could see Callaghan, TiVO and Aschbrenner up in the distance. I still thought all three might be catchable.
Ross and I hit the 9 mile mark in stride and I was sitll thinking a PR might be in the works. I was also thinking that I really wanted to catch the guys in front of me. Ross was tough as nails on the climb and I just couldn't shake him. We caught TiVO with a 1/4 mile to go and he offered encouragement as we went by. With about 200 meters to go we hit the steepest pitch and Ross just floated away. At the same time I was able to get around Aschbrenner and struggled up the final pitch to the line. I hit my watch AFTER passing the SECOND timing mat and came up with 1:06:37 a new 40+ PR. Somehow in the results I was given 1:06:39...I'll have to talk ($$$$) to John Mortimer about that :-)
|2||1:02:29||JUSTIN||FREEMAN||35||M||NEW HAMPTON||NH||Team RUN||129||6:15|
1 = 6:27
2 = 12:26 (5:59)
3 = 18:08 (5:42)
4 = 24:27 (6:19)
5 = 30:23 (5:56)
6 = 36:48 (6:24)
7 = 42:54 (6:06)
8 = 49:52 (6:58)
9 = 56:58 (7:06)