Monday, June 20, 2016

2016 Mt Washington Road Race

Mt Washington Road Race

I entered my 26th Mt Washington with some trepidation, even more than the normal amount.  My training was not where I’d hoped it would be due to some surgery earlier this year and a quad injury in April.  I was definitely starting to round into shape but wasn’t on par with recent years.  My recent mountain racing indicated I was somewhere in the 1:12 to 1:14 range.  I would be very disappointed if I didn’t break 1:15 and would need a perfect day to break 1:12.  With Simon Gutierrez racing for the first time in the senior age group (50+) the rest of us would be fighting for second place.  My hope was to keep teammates Francis Burdett and Erik Vandendries in sight for as long as possible.

I met up with a few CMS teammates and we did a few laps around the big field on the flatter Great Glen dirt trails.  I did a quick change into racing gear, got a drink and headed to the line.  It was sunny and a warm 60+ degrees but not muggy.  It was 52 degrees on top with 9mph winds and an amazing 90 miles of visibility. This was a day to be wearing sunscreen!  A record 1140 runners headed off at the firing of the cannon.  I got out with no issues and after the initial flat part settled in.  I counted 42 runners ahead of me
as we started to climb.  My watch was set to beep every ½ mile and it beeped the first time as Kim Dobson went by like I was standing still (she would go on to finish in the top 10 with a 1:09).  She would be one of the three people to pass me during the race.

I tried to stay relaxed and patient as always people go out too hard and will eventually come back.  I reached the mile post (.9) in 7:22.  Yikes!  That was a bit slower than I really wanted but put me right on pace for a 1:13:55 which was pretty much the upper end of the range I predicted.  I was running with Kim Nedeau who I knew was shooting to break 1:15.  By 1.5 I started to pull away from her.  Mostly I was focusing on the big pack ahead of me and especially Erik V and Francis.  Francis was having a hamstring issue and I caught him after 2 miles.  My 2nd mile of 9:04 was not impressive but still consistent with a high 1:13 time.  Erik V was about 30 seconds ahead and there were a dozen guys between us.  The third mile is the mentally toughest of the race.  It isn’t the steepest but it has some long steady grades and you can see pretty far ahead.  You also have a LONG way to go.  A lot of people lose it during this mile.  I caught a few guys who started walking and a few others who had slowed.  I ran a 9:22 split which was a little bit faster and I was now looking at probably breaking 1:13.  I kept thinking “Get to tree-line and you’ll feel better”.  That always seems to work as it is cooler by that point.  I kept passing people and by the half-way mark 34:30 (?) I was only 2 spots behind Erik and had closed the gap to 18 seconds.  I made the hairpin turn at 4 miles and realized that if I ran a little over 10-flat per mile I could run a 1:12:30 or so. 

At the same time I was focusing on closing the gap to Erik I heard breathing behind me and was surprised as Jon Korhonen (Western MA Distance Project) caught me.  He floated on by and I tried to lock into his pace.  He was the second person to pass me in the race but I was determined to use him to help me bridge the gap to Erik.  It was a strange mile from 4 to 5 as I’d try to run Jon’s pace but at the same time tell myself to not push too hard.  I know that if you overdo it there is no way to recover.  By 5 miles (45:45) we’d closed to within 10 seconds of Erik.  I was feeling pretty good now and fired up.  We caught a couple of guys and then at the water stop right before 6 we caught Erik.  I made a decisive move at the water stop and slowly heard their breathing falling back.  I passed the 6 mile post in 55:53.  I didn’t look back on the big hairpin turn, I didn’t want them thinking I was worried (I was!).  I got to the cow pasture with a mile to go and kept pushing as hard as I dared.  At 7 miles (65:34) I realized I had a shot (slim) at breaking 1:12 and kept rolling along as quickly as possible.  Soon after I heard breathing closing on me.  Jon went by me for the 2nd time in the race and right after that Erik went by with about ¼ mile to go.  I didn’t give up but they both went by so fast I just couldn’t latch on.  I struggled up the final 30% pitch and lost more ground, finally crossing the line in 1:12:05.  I shook my head in self-disgust as I’d let my ‘race with the race’ slip away, but looking back I wouldn’t have done anything differently.  Erik ran a PR to take 2nd in the 50+ and my time ranked 7th best in the 50+ all-time.

I continued through the chute and walked/jogged to the true summit, tagged the sign and jogged down to the finish line.  I quickly gathered up my gear, changed into dry clothes and met up with Jim Johnson (who narrowly missed his PR as he finished in the top 5!).  We had a very pleasant run down the mountain (1:10:04) and were the first ones down the mountain!  Our team had a great day taking first in the Open, Masters, and Seniors.  Erik V and I both scored on all three teams.  The masters team ran the 6th fastest time ever (behind only CMS times) and the senior squad broke the record we’d set last year, by 4 minutes.

Top 20
Pl          Time     First      Last      Age       Team
1          58:17    Joseph Gray       32         MERRELL
2          59:49    Eric Blake           37         LA SPORTIVA
3          1:01:41 Tommaso Vaccina          36         Italy
4          1:03:59 Francesco Puppi 24         SAUCONY ITALIA - ATLETICA
5          1:07:27 Jim Johnson       39         CMS
6          1:07:46 Simon Gutierrez  50         TEAM CO
7          1:09:10 Brandon Newbould 34     WRT
8          1:09:19 Drew Best          34         aR
9          1:09:34 Kim Dobson       32         TEAM CO
10         1:09:49 Gregory Krathwohl 24
11         1:10:40 Cj Hitz               43        
12         1:10:59 Matthew Veiga    29         CMS
13         1:11:06 Matt Lipsey        26         RUN SCRANTON
14         1:11:17 Mark Larosa       38         BAA
15         1:11:24 Todd Callaghan  46         CMS
16         1:11:39 Matt Rand          24         THE FIRM PROJECT
17         1:11:47 Jon Korhonen     33        
18         1:11:51 Erik Vandendries 51         CMS
19         1:12:05 Dave Dunham    52         CMS
20         1:12:37 Daniel Princic     36         WRT

1          1:07:46 Simon  Gutierrez 50         Team CO
2          1:11:51 Erik Vandendries 51         CMS
3          1:12:05 Dave Dunham    52         CMS
4          1:15:01 Francis Burdett   51         CMS
5          1:15:51 Jeff Hunt            52         CMS
6          1:18:05 Chris Smith        50         SRR
7          1:18:19 Mark Reeder       56         GLRR
8          1:19:10 Dan Verrington   53         CMS
9          1:22:43 Ernest Brake       54         CMS
10         1:22:57 Doug Jansen      53         CSU
11         1:23:02 Andy MacDonald 56         BAA
12         1:24:31 David Lapierre    52         CMS

Quick re-cap of CMS at Mt Washington
The men swept the team categories taking first in the open, masters, and seniors.  The senior team lowered their course record (from 2015) by 4 minutes.  The masters team time was the sixth fastest ever run, trailing only five times CMS has run.

Individually Jim Johnson captured the Crossan Cup as the top NH finisher.  Matt Veiga was tops in the 25-29 age group.  Todd Callaghan topped the 45-49 age group.  Erik Vandendries took 2nd place in the 50-54 age group as CMS runners took 7 of the top ten spots in that category.  Veiga, Callaghan, and Vandendries set PR’s as did Eric Narcisi.

All CMS finishers:
5          Jim       Johnson             M3539   1:07:25 8:53      1:07:27 39         M          Madison NH
12         Matthew  Veiga                M2529   1:10:58 9:21      1:10:59 29         M          Lynn      A
15         Todd     Callaghan          M4549   1:11:24 9:24      1:11:24 46         M          Beverly  MA
18         Erik       Vandendries       M5054   1:11:50 9:27      1:11:51 51         M          Chestnut Hill      
19         Dave     Dunham                        M5054   1:12:05 9:30      1:12:05 52         M                 MA
23         Eric       Narcisi               M3539   1:13:59 9:45      1:14:00 36         M          North Andover   
31         Francis  Burdett              M5054   1:15:00 9:52      1:15:01 51         M          Worcester         
37         Kevin     Tilton                M3034   1:15:35 9:57      1:15:36 34         M          Conway NH
38         Jeff       Hunt                  M5054   1:15:50 9:59      1:15:51 52         M          Concord MA
48         Tim       Mahoney                        M3539   1:18:45 10:22    1:18:47 36         M          Holyoke
50         Dan       Verrington          M5054   1:19:07 10:25    1:19:10 53         M          Bradford           
68         Ernest   Brake                M5054   1:22:41 10:53    1:22:43 54         M          N.Sutton           
80         Layce    Alves                 F3539    1:24:05 11:04    1:24:09 36         F           Gloucester        
82         David    Lapierre             M5054   1:24:27 11:07    1:24:31 52         M          Chelmsford       
101       Jennifer Brooks               F3539    1:27:40 11:33    1:27:45 37         F           Gloucester        
146       Leslie    O'Dell                F4044    1:31:52 12:06    1:31:57 40         F           Albany   NH
149       John      Pajer                 M5054   1:32:11 12:08    1:32:14 53         M          Leicester           
171       Stephen Peterson                        M5054   1:34:13 12:24    1:34:22 50         M                 MA
297       Alicia     Eno                   F3539    1:43:27 13:37    1:43:40 38         F           Shrewsbury       
417       Stephen Laska                M5054   1:50:07 14:30    1:50:19 54         M          Holden  MA
749       Walter   Kuklinski                        M6569   2:07:37 16:48    2:07:48 67         M                  MA
1095     Debra    Pinto                 F5054    2:43:49 21:34    2:45:10 52         F           Sutton   MA

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