Mt Washington Road race
I just was not feeling “it” before Mt Washington this year. This was my 27th time running the race and a rare time that I was not all that excited about it. My major focus the last 6 months had been the USA Mountain running championships which was held at Cranmore on June 3rd. I was pretty beat up after Cranmore and was in a bit of a post-big-race blahs. Added to that I was hit with a really bad migraine on Monday which left me short on miles and feeling like ass all week. I guess the flip side to all of this was I felt no pressure (basically I’ve felt no pressure since a sub-1:10 is out of reach). My goal was to give a good effort and support my team. CMS has a long history at Mt Washington and I want to see that history continue.
Petey and I met up for the ride on Friday morning (Petey was doing his 30th consecutive Mt W) and we met up with Kevin Tilton for a very enjoyable run on Old Town Hall road. It was a pretty relaxing afternoon hanging out at the hotel, getting our numbers, meeting up with Ed Sheldon, his wife, and Francis Burdett for dinner at the Spaghetti Shed. Race morning dawned humid and cloudy but that’d probably burn off before we got going. The drive should have taken us 20 minutes but the last 1 mile to the auto road took 40 minutes! We had left ample time so it was not an issue.
I met up with a bunch of CMS guys and we headed out for 2.5 miles on the dirt Great Glen trails. It was very humid and warming up. The clouds burned off during the run and the summit came into view. Finally, I was getting “race nervous”. A quick change into race flats and a dunk in the Peabody River to cool a bit. I was already thirsty and took advantage as multi-time winner Joe Gray tossed his water bottle to the side of the road, I swiped it and took a drink. NOW I was ready to race!
I got a clean start from the second row and settled in as we made our way to the base of the mountain. I counted 37 people ahead of me as we started to climb. Right away another 10 or so runners went past. Bad move increasing tempo as you hit the climb, I’d see them all later. I tried to find the right pace and dodge around people who were not cutting tangents. Why would anyone run even one foot more than they have to? I hit the mile in 7:21 which was the same as last year, that made me feel a lot better. I was doing what I do which is to run my own race but also be aware of what others are doing. Basically after the mile people start to realize how tough this is going to be and the slow-down begins. I started catching people by being steady. I kept thinking “relax it is early” and “get to half-way and it’ll cool”. It was humid and I was already drenched. Jim Johnson bailed at 2 miles with a back ailment and suddenly I’d gone from 6th man on CMS to catching Todd Callaghan for the top spot on the team. It was good running with Todd as neither of us slacked or the other moved ahead. We rolled on together from 2 miles to somewhere beyond four. All of the passing was done by then. It never cooled off above tree-line and it seemed unusually warm with the clouds burned off and no wind at all. Not your typical day on the slopes of Mt Washington.
I didn’t really track my splits as I went I just savored every beep of my GPS chiming that I’d completed another ½ mile. I definitely felt my lack of long runs (I rarely, if ever, go beyond 8 miles in a single run) after 6 miles I started to run out of steam. The tough switch-back climb had me gasping and dizzy. I looked back for the first time to see if any of the 50+ guys were closing on me. I didn’t see anyone but didn’t take solace in that. A mile to go meant a tough 10 minutes of running. I could see the summit building and felt that I was pushing pretty hard but I was definitely spent. I somehow managed to maintain my place and crossed the line in 14th in 1:13:21. I was not happy with the time (thought I had a 1:12 in the cards based on the my half-way split) but pleasantly surprised with the place which is my best in the last 10 years. Maybe the higher entry fee is keeping away some of the better runners?
I was happy to see that the CMS men’s teams took first in the Open, 40+, and 50+ and I was the top guy on each team. I don’t think that has ever happened before. A win is a win but our open team time was the slowest winning time since 1974. Simon G won the 50+ for the second straight year and I took second, we were the top 2 runners over the age of 38.
1 58:57 Joseph Gray M3034 Colorado Spring, CO MERRELL
2 1:00:44 Sage Canaday M3034 Boulder, CO HOKA ONE ONE
3 1:01:35 Eric Blake M3539 West Hartford, CT
4 1:07:02 Francis Wangari M2529 Kanjuku Kenya RUN2GETHER
5 1:07:16 Noah Hoffman M2529 Park City, UT
6 1:08:35 Drew Best M3539 Amherst, MA ACIDOTIC
7 1:08:47 Brandon NewbouldM3539 Nottingham, NH WHIRLAWAY
8 1:09:18 Nick Aguila M2529 Manchester, NH MILLENNIUM
9 1:09:37 Nacho Hernando M2024 Bay Shore, NY MILLENNIUM
10 1:10:13 Simon Gutierrez M5054 Alamosa, CO TEAM COLORADO
11 1:10:59 Sam Gray M2024 Exeter, NH WHIRLAWAY
12 1:11:21Shannon PayneF3034 Franktown, CO TEAM COLORADO
13 1:11:50 Gregory Krathwohl M2529Ipswich, MA
14 1:13:21Dave Dunham M5054 Ward Hill, MA CMS
15 1:13:31 Matt Lipsey M2529 Waterford, PA TEAM RUN SCRANTON
16 1:13:41 Patrick Caron M2024 Needham, MA JANJI
17 1:14:04 Bryce Murdick M2024 Falmouth, ME
18 1:14:29 Todd Callaghan M4549 Beverly, MA CMS
19 1:14:30 Mark Larosa M3539 North Andover, MA BAA
20 1:14:49 Daniel Princic M3539 Reading, MA WHIRLAWAY