JFK 50 Miler

Jan 24th, 2010 - Race - Derry, NH - 16

Day 24 - There's only one Boston Prep 16 Miler, and thank heavens! I don't know if I could handle doing another race like this. Oh wait, there is another race like this, it's called the Boston Marathon: A fast start, lots of early downhills, a demoralizing uphill portion near the end, and a finish filled with delight! The only things missing are screaming Wellesley girls, drunk BC students, a Sox game in progress, and a left turn finish.

The 15th edition of the Prep was put on by the great folks over at GDTC. Dave Breeden & Co always put on an incredible event with an incredible spread afterwards. I've timed this race for Dave many times in the past (including the year where our timing devices froze!!), so I made it a note last year that I wanted to run this race in 2010. Thanks for the entry, Dave!!

Fil, myself, and 705 of our closest running friends and enemies descended (ascended) onto Derry for this annual rite of passage. For many of the runners today, Fil and I included, it was a stop on our journey towards Boston 2010.

I got to the Derry Village School (race central) relatively early and was ready by the time 10AM rolled around. Temps were in the mid 20's when the gun went off at 10:10. Patrick Moulton (2007 winner) and Andy McCarron (2009 winner) led the lead pack (pretty much for the entire race). Patrick won in a time of 1:25 (gulp). To put things in perspective, I was at about mile 12.5 at this point!

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Shortly after the start, I dropped in behind a fellow running buddy who I knew wanted to run about the same pace (7's ) as myself. Fil on the other hand, was battling a head cold, so he dropped a little further back and wanted to run his own race. An amazing effort by Fil considering all of his whining, some of it must have been true:)

I continued on my race agenda of starting "slow", but miles 3 through 8 made it extremely difficult as there were a lot more steep downhills then I had antipicated. Everybody talks about the hills after 9, but nobody mentions the downhills (except for Andy C, but I didn't get his message until I got home from the race!). I can't imagine running these downhills, like in prior years, when the conditions are a lot slicker. Like Andy said, it could be a suicide romp.

My left calf muscle didn't take too well to the beating dished out by the Derry downhills. The muscle (stupid muscle) decided to call it a day at some point after mile 5. It started with a slight "tweak" that continued to tighten, and that's when I knew I could be in for a long day. I just prayed that it didn't tighten up any further or else I would be walking real quick, and real slow. This is what I get for stretching, for the first time ever, before a race. I should have taken the lion's advice. Does he stretch before chasing his prey?

I was way ahead of my pace at this point in the race (6:35's). On the one hand, it was nice to have a pace buffer heading into the hills, on the other hand, I knew I was going out way too fast and could not keep up that pace without dying before the finish.

The first serious hill around mile 9 was a blessing and a bane. A blessing in that it helped me stretch out my calves without stopping. A bane because it was a god damn hill! I was actually looking forward to the hills to see what all the hype was about, and to get them out of the way. Overrated! Just kidding.

The uphills were as nasty as advertised, but they flew by for me at this point. Fortunately, I had finally managed to settle into the runner's high around mile 8, where my breathing was matching up perfectly with my turnover. Everything felt effortless, but the thought of my left calf muscle cramping up, completely, was always in the back of my mind. This probably cost me at least five minutes in the overall picture as I did everything I could, short of stopping/stretching, to prevent it from locking up.

I reached the half-marathon mark right around 1 hr 30 mins, just about what I had projected. The final 2.5 miles of the course is a steady downhill leading right to the final quarter mile, uphill finish. I didn't want to, but had to take some GU around mile 14 in order to get a much needed boost for the final stretch. I was completely out of the runner's high of earlier, and right into a runner's low around mile 14.5. I couldn't have been happier when I finally saw the mile 15 marker. Whatever adrenaline (GU) I had left in my body kicked in and that in turn help me kick it in for the final uphill portion.

I crossed the finish line in 1 hr 52 mins with a nice finishing kick, which is what I am most proud of. I take pride in my finish, and today was no different. Thankfully, my left calf muscle cooperated in my effort (sorry for calling you stupid earlier). 57th overall, (15/41 Age Group), 7:01 pace...so close!

Fil finished in 151st place (48/139) with a time of 2:03 (7:44 pace) and one nasty head cold. Way to go, sicko!:)

Needless to say, Fil and I got in our 3 mile run for today.

Other fellow GLRR members/Facebook friends (that I recognize) finishing the race. Please let me know if you find others that I can add to this list:

Alton Eckel: 149th (4/51) - 2:03 (7:44) - 2nd in Age Group award winner!
Cullen Madden: 310th (34/41) - 2:14 (8:26)
Jessica Costa: 522nd (63/105) - 2:32 (9:31)
Doug Sylvester: 696th (122/124) - 3:16 (12:17)

2010 Boston Prep 16 Miler Results

Overall, it was definitely a VERY difficult race, but the ideal race conditions (30's, overcast, clear roads), considering the weather history of this race, made it relatively "easier". I now look forward to taking on its Big Brother, Boston 2010.


I jumped in the shower after getting back home, and got the shock of my life. I think other fellow male distance runners can relate to the pain that I am talking about:)

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