Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wow, that hurt.

Worst race ever?

Wow, did I feel bad this weekend!  I’ve been struggling all this month (since getting sick back in Mid-March) and this week I felt especially dead-legged.  I tried to up the tempo during my lunch runs and it left me really beat during my afternoon runs.  I’d later learn that I have walking pneumonia, which helps explain how I felt.

Dan Verrington and I picked up new CMS member Todd Callaghan and headed out to Dedham for the James Joyce 10k which served as the USA masters 10k road championships.  I had run pretty well here last year and based on my times in the last few weeks figured I’d be about a minute slower than last year.  We met up with the rest of the team (Greg Putnam, Jason Porter, and Kevin Tilton – running the open race).  It was nice to get out with the group and catch up on things.

I felt pretty beat in the warm-up which is never a good sign.  After switching into racing flats I headed out for a few strides and felt even worse.  Hit the line with 5 minutes to go before the start.  It was nice to see so many guys from days gone by still fiercely competing.  I was quite surprised to see Pete Hammer and Wayne Levy toeing the line 6 days after Boston, those guys are seriously hard-core!  I bumped into Rod Edson on the start line, he has been tearing it up in the 50+ age group and figured to be among the top guys today.  It is just so cool to see guys who’ve been racing for 20-30 years still out there giving everything they’ve got.

The US master’s championship race started 3 minutes before the main field of the James Joyce Ramble.  It is a cool way to race where the masters really get to race head-to-head.  Everyone also wears a number on their back with their age category so you can key off of those in your 5 year age group.  I felt a bit tired right from the start, it really seemed like everyone was sprinting out.  The first mile has a bit of downhill but was also into a headwind.  At ¾ of a mile we went around a traffic island and I counted myself in 30th place which seemed about right but it felt very fast.  I hit the mile in a very SLOW 5:40.  I had hoped to be about 5:25.  Yikes!

I caught a few guys in the next mile moving up on a couple of guys in the 50-54 age group.  I could see Dan up ahead just off the back of the lead group.  A 5:43 mile was also slower than I wanted but based on past splits I had hoped for a 5:35 so maybe I wasn’t as far off as I thought.  I caught Paul Hammond (WRT) and ran with him through three miles in 17:16.  A 5:53 split!  Wow, that was way slower than I’d hoped for and I felt all out.  The guys I was with slowly pulled away.

A 5:56 fourth mile was disappointing but I could see that Dan was “only” 17 seconds ahead of me.  I thought if I got it together I might reel him in.  That didn’t happen and the group of 5 guys I was with slowly drifted away as I ran a 6:00 mile for the 5th mile.  My 29:12 split was slower than my pace at the New Bedford ½ marathon a month ago.  Ugly.  I mustered all I had but only managed a 5:58 last mile and 69 seconds for the last .2 to get me to the line in 36:29.  That was fully a minute slower than I thought I could run and 2 minutes slower than I ran last year.

I got very dizzy and everything was way too bright and I just laid down on the ground for 5 minutes (until Kevin and Jason Cak convinced me I should get off the ground).  A couple of days later I found out I’ve had walking pneumonia which is most likely the cause of my downward spiral this last month.  I’m on some meds now and hoping to turn it around next month.

I ended up finishing 30th overall and 7th in the 50-54.  A far cry from my 11th overall and 7th in the 45-49 from a year ago.

                        MALE AGE GROUP:  50 to 54

Place O'All Time     Name                     Age Sex Race# City/state              Nat   Team                                       
===== ========================================
    1    16   34:42* Rob Edson                   50 M     162 Hanover NH                                                         
    2    19   35:10* Alan Evans                   50 M     103 Beaver Dams NY     GVH                 
    3    26   35:55* Daniel Verrington          51 M      96 Bradford MA            CMS                   
    4    27   35:57* Carl Nordhielm              51 M      75 Tallahassee FL         ATLANTA TC                      
    5    29   35:59* Paul Hammond             54 M     154 Lexington MA          WRT                   
    6    32   36:17* Patrick Connelly            50 M     161 Chester NH                                                          
    7    33   36:29* Dave Dunham                          50 M      95 Bradford MA            CMS                  
    8    35   36:33* John Van Kerkhove                   52 M     104 Rochester NY          GVH                 
    9    36   36:40* Jeff Haertel                 52 M      74 Atlanta GA               ATC                      
   10   39   37:04   Nathan Skipper                        50 M      76 Ellenwood GA           ATC                     

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