Thursday, November 22, 2012

Looking back (not as far back)

20 years ago
I ran four races in November of 1992, two on the roads and two cross-country.  On the 15th I headed to Smithfield RI for the New England XC championships.  I ended up 4th in 30:55 after passing the mile just out of the top 15.  Two time Olympian Bob Kempainen won in 30:12.  Next up was Slattery’s 5m, which was always loaded due to the ca$h prizes.  Nearly 1000 runners hit the road on a 55 degree and rainy day.  I found myself in a tight battle with Eric Morse and Andy Ronan (Irish Olympic Marathoner).  We dropped Ronan in the last ¼ mile and Morse used his sub-4 mile speed to pull away in the final stretch.  I took 2nd in 23:33 and picked up $400 for the effort.  The following Thursday I “tempo” ran the Feaster Five road race in Andover.  I didn’t want to run too hard as my focus was the US XC championships two days later.  That was a tight turn-around but I’d been doing tempo’s at 5:10 pace so it wasn’t a huge stress.  I ended up placing 3rd in 25:32 in a field of over 3,000.  Two days later I was on the line in Racine WI racing 300 of the top XC runners in the country.  It was muddy and icy in spots (perfect XC conditions).  I moved up slowly through the field cracking the top 30 by 5k and ultimately placing 25th in 30:51.  Bob Kennedy won in 29:41 and CMS took second place (by 11 points).
10 years ago
It was a weird month for me with a couple of “workout” type races and a couple of LONG races.  On 11/02 I ran with Dan Verrington in a 5k in Haverhill (Run for Food), Dan ran fast enough to win and I ran fast enough to finish right behind him (18:04).  The next day I top a field of 71 runners at the Willard Brook Ramble, an 8 mile trail race in Ashby, MA.  Steve Peterson gave me a good race, every time I got lost and went off course he’d pass me and move into the lead.  I ended up first in 52:40.  The following weekend I ran the Stone Cat trail marathon in Topsfield.  For the most part I ran with Leigh Schmidt and Dan Verrington.  Dan stopped to puke late in the race and I pulled away from Leigh in the last mile to score a win in a (then) course record of 3:06:10.  Since that time the record has been lowered twice by CMS teammates: Greg Hammet 3:04:50 in 2008 and Ben Nephew 2:54:45 in 2009.  I closed out the month with a 50k in RI, the Nifty Fifty was the New England championships.  I ran pretty much alone, except for a few marathon runners who stayed with me through 15 miles.  It was an awful day to race with temps in the 40’s at the start and 36 and pouring rain by the time I finished.  The wind didn’t help with steady 20+ mph winds and gusts in the 40 mph range.  My hands were numb for the last 10 miles but I held on to win in 3:20:07.

5 years ago
I raced three times in November of 2007, felt like I was getting into decent shape.  I returned to Slattery’s for the first time in MANY years.  I ran a lot of the race with second place female runner Heidi Westerling and was able to gap her on the final tough hill.  I ended up finishing 16th, and 3rd 40+ with a new master’s personal best of 27:52.  A few days later it was back to Newburyport for the excellent Thanksgiving race.  I took 14th out of 958 over the 5k course under excellent condtions.  I was third in the 40+ age group running 17:29.  The next day I ran at the Chelmsford Alumni XC race.  I was the top Billerica finisher J  The Chelmsford boys took it out very relaxed for the first 2 miles then took off.  I ended up finishing 4th in 18:56.

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