USATF NE 5m championships (Ribfest) – One of my goals this year is to complete the USATF NE Grand Prix, a series of 7 races of varying distance. Each of the races is the New England road running championship at whatever distance. Last year I earned my “Iron-Runner” jacket by completing the series and I did okay in the 50-54 age group along the way. This was the one race I was NOT looking forward to. Unfortunately it was the day after Mt Washington and my days of being able to recover and race on back-to-back days are well behind me. My hope was to minimize the damage and get through the 5 mile without making any of my nagging ailments any worse. I also wanted to help my team CMS as we are doing very well in the GP so far this year.
Dan picked me up and we made good time getting to the race well ahead of our planned arrival. We decided the walk to number pick-up would be a good way to loosen up. The advertised ¼ mile turned out to be .6 but we had enough time to mosey over and back. I’d never seen a round race bib number before. We both gave away our beer tickets and I got rid of my t-shirt as well. No need collecting stuff that’ll just collect dust.
We warmed-up on the course which is among the ugliest courses this side of the Rhody 5k. Basically it is an out & back on a divided highway. No shade, no escape from wind, one water-stop (theoretically two but they are never set up for the people coming back) and a long uphill from 3-4 miles. Not a tough course by any stretch but not easy either. I felt tired and a little dizzy (remnants of the migraine) as we got 25 minutes of running in. After a quick change into racing flats we jogged the .6 over to the start line. I was already soaked from the 100% humidity and maybe 80 degree temps.
I looked around for the pace signs and plunked myself right behind the 6:00 – 7:00 pace one. I would be disappointed with 7’s, felt that 6:30’s would be do-able and if I had a very good day I might get as fast as 6:00’s. I had a look around while waiting for the start and I seemed to be about in the right spot. Dan and many of the CMS guys were just a row or two ahead. No need to sprint out anyone especially with the 180 degree turn 100 meters in and a 100 meter climb after that. It took me about 8 seconds to cross the line and the first 50 meters were slow jogging as things thinned out a bit. Once I got to the top of the hill things opened up a bit and I slowly accelerated. It was kind of “fun” passing a lot of people. I kept my head up and focused ahead, every time I recognized someone up ahead I worked to catch and pass them. I hit the half-mile in 3:08 (so 3:00 after passing the line) right on 6’s. Dan was just a bit ahead and I aimed for him. We reached the mile together in 6:00 and then he pulled ahead a bit as we got rolling a little faster. We were still constantly passing people which made it seem like we were going faster than the splits would indicate. Dan was just a bit ahead at 2 miles and I reeled him in by the time we got into the neighborhood for the only part off the highway. I got by him and then focused on Kristin Doneski (my marathon rival a couple of years ago J ). After Kristin I hit the 5k mark in 18:30, so a little under 6’s but the next mile climbed 50’ and it was pretty warm (and even a bit of a headwind stirred up now). I had stopped passing people but a big group about 10-15 seconds ahead was coming back to me. I could see fellow 50+ runner Brian Ruhm and 60+ ace John Barbour and set my sites on them. I got up to Brian a little past the 4m mark and we had a great back-forth battle. As we slowly closed on John Barbour I gapped Brian on the final downhill but he flew around me on the final straight and put a couple of seconds on me before the line.
I was spent when I hit the line and needed a moment on my hands and knees to regroup. I’d run 30:11 gun time and my chip time (from start line to finish line) was 30:03. I couldn’t have been more pleased, especially after racing the day before. I’m not sure I could have done much better had I not raced the day before. I was surprised to find that I’d gotten 6th in the 50-54 (although Ruhm actually beat me, he was behind me based on chip time which is just stupid). Our 50+ team kept the streak going with another Grand Prix victory! Ed Sheldon bounced back from a tough run at Mt Washington to take the 50+ title. We put four in the top 9 with Dan finishing ninth 30 seconds after me.
We went out for another couple of miles and thoroughly soaked called it a day. We’ll now have a long wait until the next Grand Prix race (5k in September).
1 28:10 Ed Sheldon 52 CMS
2 29:01 David Principe 50 CMS
3 29:02 Scott Anderson 52 WRT
4 29:11 Charlie Bemis 54 WRT
5 29:34 Rob Edson 53 WRT
6 30:03 Dave Dunham 53 CMS
7 30:05 Brian Ruhm 52 GCS
8 30:33 Paul Davies 50 BAA
9 30:36 Dan Verrington 54 CMS
10 30:39 Terrance McNatt 52 CSU
1 CMS 2:31:12 (Sheldon, Principe, Dunham, Verrington, Lindsay)
2 WRT 2:33:26 (Anderson, Bemis, Edson, Hammond, Warren)
3 GLRR 2:38:53 (Barbour, Reeder, Hrynowski, Lagoy, Dixon)