Not to beat a dead horse but, I hate racing at night. I picked the Harvard Pilgrim 5k in Nashua so I could test how my body holds up racing on a Thursday and coming back on a Saturday. I'm hoping to run the USATF NE 5km champs at Hollis and then 39 hours later race up Mt Washington. I'll closely monitor how I feel at Wachusett tomorrow and then decide if I can do the double.
Anyway, I did my normal 7 miles at lunch and after work headed up to Nashua (with a quick stop to pick up some supplies at the Runners Alley in Nashua). I got to the race with plenty of time to chat with "the voice of New England" Andy S and also chatted with old GLRR teammate Dave C. It was like old home day at the race with a bunch of guys from Loco and lots of GCS teammates working or racing.
I headed out for my warm-up and preview of the course and felt surprisingly "okay". It was 65 degrees and 100% humidity but the light/moderate rain made it reasonably comfortable. After my warm-up, I switched into race gear and headed out for another mile with strides and jogged to the start. I was surprised that no one was lining up, until it was brought to my attention that the race started at 6:15. D'oh! Rookie mistake.
I did another mile of easy jogging and lined up. I'd bumped into Scott McGrath and Nacho Hernando so any hope of win was out the window (last year the winning time was over 18 minutes), but I was hoping to put in a good effort. Scott asked if he could run with me and I thought he was busting my balls and told him that I was just hoping to keep him in sight. A few youngsters bolted at the start and a big muscular guy went out hard.
I felt heavy-legged and already in oxygen debt by about 200m into the race, this was going to be a long 5k. Around 1/2 mile Scott and Nacho started to pull away from me as we passed the young bucks. The other guy (turned out to be Kris Freeman, who is an Olympic skier and damn good runner) was building up a lead and I was slipping back.
I hit the mile in 5:27 which was right on what I'd hoped for, but it felt way too hard (that's what she said!). I was already a good 10 seconds behind Freeman and Scott and Nacho were 5 seconds up. Not much changed in the second mile, Nacho passed Scott and started to close the gap on Kris. I ran a 5:39 (11:06) which was slower than my split for the first 2 miles in the 12k I'd run last weekend. Ugh. I never gave up, but also never felt any better. Nacho caught Kris with about 1/2 mile to go and I struggled in with a 5:36 (16:42) for three miles. Nacho crossed the line with a five second victory, just as I crossed the 3m mark. Scott pushed hard the last 1/2 mile (in what was a workout for him) and easily put 10 seconds on me for that mile. My last .1 was a decent 35 seconds but I felt like I was running in quicksand.
I headed out for another three miles on the course and picked up my prizes (hat, socks, waterbottle) for winning the 40+. I'll take the 18 miles for the day, but the 5k will rank among my worst races of the year (so far). The effort was there but the result was not.
On to Wachusett!
1 1/19 M119 NACHO HERNANDO Manchester nh 19 M 1505 16:42.6 5:23 16:42.7
2 1/47 M3039 KRIS FREEMEN Thornton nh 32 M 1512 16:47.0 5:25 16:47.3
3 1/28 M2029 SCOTT MCGRATH Andover ma 26 M 1497 16:59.6 5:29 16:59.8
4 1/53 M4049 DAVE DUNHAM Bradford MA 49 M 509 17:16.7 5:34 17:16.7 5 2/28 M2029 MATTHEW GALLAGHER Nashua NH 27 M 84 18:31.2 5:58 18:32.0
6 2/19 M119 MATT GAGNON Hudson nh 18 M 1500 18:37.4 6:00 18:37.5
7 3/19 M119 STEVEN VERRAS Dracut MA 15 M 595 19:00.9 6:08 19:00.9
8 2/47 M3039 MICHAEL DAY Mererimack nh 33 M 1538 19:15.1 6:12 20:06.4
9 1/20 F119 LAUREN ROBINSON Nashua NH 12 F 572 20:09.7 6:30 20:09.7
10 4/19 M119 JOSHUA RINES Hollis NH 17 M 97 20:13.5 6:31 20:17.3