Vermont City Marathon (USATF NE championships)
I headed up to Vermont right after biking down Wachusett Mountain. I didn’t warm-down after the race as I knew I’d want to run a bit to stretch my legs after the three-hour drive. Eric Morse met me in Montpelier and we zipped up to Burlington to get my race number. I’d entered the marathon back in November with high hopes of training well over the winter and being ready to race. Unfortunately that was not to be. I took a bad step on Christmas day and partially tore a ligament in my foot. That injury along with painful arthritis in my navicular joint left me on the sidelines for 5 weeks and once back kept my mileage way below what would be a “normal amount” to prepare for a 26.2 mile jaunt. My longest run this year was 11.7 miles (early May). I only had 13 runs over 7 miles during the five months leading up to the marathon. I had already spent nearly $100 for the entry fee and figured if I could run I’d at least give it a shot.
My ankle was feeling pretty decent in the week leading up to the race but I ran a bit harder than usual on Thursday and was regretting how flat I felt on Saturday. My plan for the marathon was to aim for 8:00 pace and see how that felt. My training has been in the low 7:00’s at lunch and in the low 8:00’s for my afternoon run, so it seemed like a reasonable plan. I also had it in the back of my mind that I could bail any time I wanted to as the course went through downtown Burlington at 3, 8, and 15. I figured 15 would be the decision point and if my foot was bothering me at all I’d drop at that point.
Eric and Murdoch joined me for the ride to Burlington, they’d be out on the course taking pictures and watching the fun. I headed over to the line and met up with teammate (and training partner) Dan Verrington. As we made our way to the start four-time race winner Matt Pelletier wished me luck, which was very cool! I found my spot on the line about 20 rows back, figuring that 3:30 had placed 400th last year. CMS 50+ teammates Phil Savoy and John Griego were close by and we chatted for a moment before the start. I felt okay, not nervous really since I had no real pressure. We had a solid senior team so I didn’t even really need to race. At 8:00am we were off, it was sunny and the temps were in the upper 50’s. It was looking to be warm as the expected high was in the 80s.
I tried to settle into a comfortable pace and was a little under 7:30 per mile. Faster than I expected but it was uncomfortable to run any slower. After a few miles I found my CMS 50+ teammates and we ran together. The out/back section along the highway was fun as I watched the leaders fly by. I also passed the time by counting how many runners were ahead of me (I came up with 400 which was pretty close to what the chip timing had at 10k = 362). At 6 we headed back towards Burlington into a wind. I tucked behind a couple of tall relay runners and let them block the wind. The clouds had rolled in and the temperature was very comfortable. I stayed with my CMS teammates as the pace felt relaxed and I was now thinking I might be able to score for the team (top 3 finishers score). Not much changed over the next few miles. At 11 miles I lost 30 seconds visiting the porta-john and once back on the road I upped the pace to around 7:10 per mile to get back up to my teammates.
I crossed the half-way mark in 1:37:14 and had moved up 30 spots (326th place) and figured a 3:15 marathon would be do-able. We had a nice section of bike path along the lake and then the biggest hill on the course at 15 miles. It wasn’t so bad as you were also passing the start/finish so there was a huge crowd cheering. It was a blast! I reached 16 and felt the time was right to start picking up the pace. A 7:12 on a slight downhill got me started and then 7-flat, and 6:59 and I was on a roll and feeling good. I reached 20 miles in 2:27:02 and had moved up to 242nd place. So from the half to 20 miles I’d passed 76 people. Game on!
At 20 I started to calculate that I’d be close to breaking 3:10 if I kept the pace steady. At 21 we got onto the bike path along the lake and at the same time I was joined by a relay runner who was clocking steady 7:00 miles. We ran in lock-step until 23 when I realized I need to pick it up a bit if I wanted to sneak under 3:10. The bike path was scenic and shady but it had a lot of people for a narrow trail and the middle of it had a significant bump. It was a bit of a challenge to not run into people who were slowing over the last few miles. My last 3 miles were 6:29, 6:35, and 6:29. I was having fun and enjoyed the crowds in the final mile. At 26 I saw Christin Doneski up ahead and my competitive juices kicked in. She had buried me with a devastating kick at the New England 10 mile championships back in February and I saw a chance to catch her. I got her with about 2 steps to go and crossed the line a step ahead in 3:09:25. The final 10k split of 42:12 (6:47 pace) brought me home in 164th place which meant I passed 78 people over that span.
The CMS squad had a great day, taking 3rd in the open and 3rd in the masters. The senior team took 2nd place only 38 seconds up on third, so I was pretty happy that I’d kicked it in. In all CMS had 20 runners finish.
CMS finishersPl Time Name Age Gend Cat Pl in Cat
5 2:28:43 Scott Leslie 33 M M3034 1/198
29 2:46:35 Joe Shairs 47 M M4549 1/186
46 2:52:23 James Pawlicki 40 M M4044 7/192
64 2:55:55 Leslie O'Dell 39 F F3539 2/214
88 2:59:17 Dan Verrington 52 M M5054 5/146
164 3:09:25 Dave Dunham 51 M M5054 6/146
190 3:12:56 Philip Savoy Jr 52 M M5054 8/146
245 3:19:14 Arthur Besse 41 M M4044 31/192
261 3:20:11 Biliana Mihaylova 25 F F2529 8/226
326 3:25:47 John Griego 57 M M5559
365 3:27:53 David Lapierre 51 M M5054 18/146
447 3:32:05 Patrick Chviruk 29 M M2529 49/169
495 3:35:36 Alicia Eno 37 F F3539 28/214
508 3:37:11 Stephen Laska 53 M M5054 28/146
685 3:46:48 William Gonsorcik 48 M M4549 75/186
766 3:51:01 Bill Look 38 M M3539 86/204
1024 4:01:35 Laura Hast 55 F F5559
1474 4:26:08 Patricia Clark 55 F F5559
1503 4:27:25 Rosana Look 43 F F4044 66/152
1695 4:40:35 Annie Ryan 58 F F5559 16/32
MALE SENIORS 50+ TEAM RESULTS
1. 8:32:28 GREEN MOUNTAIN ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (2:50:50)
2. 9:21:38 CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS (3:07:13)
1 2:59:17 Dan Verrington
2 3:09:25 Dave Dunham
3 3:12:56 Philip Savoy Jr
4 (3:25:47) John Griego
5 (3:27:53) David Lapierre
6 (3:37:11) Stephen Laska
3. 9:22:26 BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (3:07:29)
4. 10:05:02 GREATER LOWELL ROAD RUNNERS (3:21:41)
5. 10:58:50 NORTH MEDFORD CLUB (3:39:37)
6. 11:06:12 GATE CITY STRIDERS (3:42:04)
7. 13:27:08 CAMBRIDGE SPORTS UNION (4:29:03)
MALE AGE GROUP: 50 to 54
1 2:41:53* Tom Thurston 51 M 22 Waterbury VT GREEN MOUNTAIN ATHLETIC
2 2:54:10 Christopher Lawrence 51 M 453 Manville RI BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSO
3 2:58:05 E J Hrynowski 52 M 226 Arlington MA GREATER LOWELL ROAD4 2:58:08 Michael Cooney 53 M 420 Chelmsford MA WHIRLAWAY RACING TEA
5 2:59:17 Dan Verrington 52 M 380 Haverhill MA CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS
6 3:09:25 Dave Dunham 51 M 178 Bradford MA CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS
7 3:12:10 Craig Macfarlane 54 M 458 Natick MA BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSO
8 3:12:56 Philip Savoy Jr 52 M 344 Shrewsbury MA CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS
9 3:14:17 Robert Patterson 50 M 1987 Calais VT CENTRAL VERMONT
10 3:17:49 Richard Paradis 50 M 318 Coral Springs FL