JFK 50 Miler

March 7th, 2010 - Race - Lawrence, MA - 4

                           (photos courtesy of www.jimrhoades.com)

Day 66 - The pride of Greater Lowell showed up in full force for the Wild Rover #2 Four Miler in Lawrence, MA. Appropriately, we were all decked out in the spiffy new, green singlets.

Off the top of my head, I can think of Fil, Cullen, Jon, Matt, Kevin, Mike, and myself for GLRR reps at this race. Jimmy, Glenn, and Jim S. also made guest appearances throughout the day. Please let me know if I am missing anyone!

The temps at race time was closer to 52 degrees than 32 degrees! It was snowing at this time last year! In other words, it was a near perfect day for a race (stupid wind)!

No parking issues this week as Fil and I got to the race relatively early, plus there was plenty of parking around the Claddagh. Good thing Sovereign doesn't open on Sundays like some other bank!

The crowd was still thin when I went to pick up my race packet inside the very spacious pub. By the time the starting gun (hey, we're in Lawrence after all) went off at 11AM, there were over 900 runners lined up. I later found out (from Andy S.'s Facebook posting) that this was the largest road race EVER in Lawrence! Over 1,000 registrants per Dave C.!

Once the race got underway, the blistering pace was set by about ten runners leading the charge down the first mile of the out and back course. I ran most of the first mile with Eric M. on my left and Jimmie C. once again directly in front of me.

Yesterday's 14 miler on the Heartbreak section of the Boston course was coming back to haunt me as I started to feel the heaviness in my legs. I crossed Mile 1 in about 5:48, about where I expected to be, but I knew that it wasn't going to get any easier as we were coming onto the biggest challenge on this course, the half mile hill section right before Mile 2:

I caught up to Jimmie right around the base of the hill and we exchanged a brief conversation, discussing our prior day mistake of running up a few hills (Jimmie had raced a 6 miler up and down Mt. Sunapee the day before). Well, at least we were on "equal footing" at this point.

Being a masochist, I actually enjoy running up hills (big fan of the NE Mountain Series). Even though I was slowing down going up this hill, I did manage to put in a little more effort, allowing me to pass two to three other runners on this stretch.

Running through my mind was the fact that the steepest portion of the hill was just 1/4th of a mile long, or just one lap around a flat track. It apparently worked because I was up and over the crest of the hill, and through mile two in 6:25. That wasn't so bad!

What goes up must come down, and boy did that hill come back down on the other side! The hill coming back down was just as steep. I was in a controlled free-fall as I started the return trip home, halfway through the race.


It was such an awesome sight to see all of the other runners making their way up the hill as I turned back onto Riverside Dr. It was also a nice boost to get a few "Go Greater Lowell! as I ran past what seemed like an endless flow of runners going in the other direction. The crowd looked more like a marathon than a 4 miler!

Once again, like last weekend, I had trouble getting the turnover I wanted on the downhill portion (Yes, EJ, I even tried "wax on, wax off"! Mr. Miyagi would be proud!), and this was where Jimmie passed me back for good, but not without a few nice words of encouragement. Great run today, Jimmie! More rest next weekend and we'll do it again!

I got through the mostly downhill Mile 3 in 5:50, so I was back on track as far as that mile pace was concerned, but I knew that the uphill had thrashed my overall targe pace (and legs) for good. I was over a 6 minute mile pace at this point.

Survival mode kicked in for me halfway through Mile 3, and I actually couldn't wait for the race to be over with. There was not much more I could give, and Jimmie was pulling further and further away from me down the final stretch.

It got even worse as I made the second to last left turn on the course and was greeted by a wall of wind. I gave it everything I had to get through this short stretch, knowing that the finish line was less than a tenth of a mile around the corner.

I crossed the finish line in 24:18 (6:05 pace) for a 6th place finish. To my surprise, I was actually in 5th for about the hour that I was at the pub and saw the pre-lim results. I also held onto my streak of 1st in Age Group finishes...for about the hour that I was at the pub. Results were later adjusted for a missing runner that finished ahead of me, and just as my luck would have it, he was in my age group, thus pushing me back to 2nd in Age Group! Oh well, can't win them all!

GLLR Boys' order of finish:

Jason - 24:18 - 6th overall
Fil - 27:13 - 29th overall
Cullen - 28:08 - 48th overall
Matt - 28:23 - 53rd overall
Kevin - 28:49 - 63rd overall (12 yrs old! 2nd in Age Group 1-19!)
Mike - 29:27 - 71st overall
Jon - 36:40 - 414th overall (2nd in Age Group 70-99!)

Congrats to the overall winners, Jose Ortiz and Heather Searles!

Great job by all 909 finishers!

Lowell Sun Article

Looking forward to the final Wild Rover next weekend in Lowell (5 Miles). This time, it's on GLRR territory! Let's get out there and show them how to run, GLRR's!!

Notable Notes: Fil broke 400 miles for the year on our planned cooldown run to get him that milestone! Congrats!

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