JFK 50 Miler

May 11th, 2010 - Race - Lowell, MA - 3.1

Day 131 - Tonight was "Predict Your Time" at Good Times #4. I predicted a PR of 17:40. I lost.

Weather was perfect. Overcast in the high 50's. Hardly any wind.

I got to down to Hookslide's around 6:30, feeling really good. I had spent all weekend timing races, and could only manage to fit in 5K's on both Saturday and Sunday to keep the running streak going. This was definitely a blessing, as this was the first weekend in a few weeks that I did not race leading into Good Times.

My legs felt fresh on my warm-up run out to the start and around the finish area.

Only regular that was missing tonight was Icky, but he was replaced by a former regular and defending spring series champ, Tim Burke.

It was nice to see Tim back out at Good Times after not being here since the end of last year's spring series. I later learned that his victories at the spring series in 2009, along with other races, really burnt him out for the remainder of 2009. He was being more cautious about his racing schedule this year.

He still remembered me from our duel at Groton, three weeks prior, and I of course couldn't wait to see if that race was just a fluke on my part. We shook hands, lined up, and waited for the G-O signal from Dave.

I entered the first turn with Joe D., Titus, and Joe M. on my left. Tim was right behind us.

Even without my Garmin tonight, I could tell we were all going out a lot faster than usual. With three weeks under out belts and some new speedsters in the race, we were all pushing hard down the first straightaway.

I could definitely feel the difference between a weekend of low impact, low mileage running vs. a weekend of racing. I could clearly tell my legs were hanging in there, and gave me the turnover I was looking for on. No heavy leg feeling like in prior weeks.

Entering the first water stop, I was about 5 seconds behind the leaders. This is the longest that I've managed to hang with the lead pack, and on a positive note, I felt really relaxed and not struggling with my breathing.

Titus and Joe D. really pulled away on the first bridge crossing, with Joe M. still in my sights as we headed down the VFW. I knew that Joe M. was still recovering from a blistering 8th place finish at the Big Lake Half on Saturday, so it was only a matter of time before his legs would catch up to him, and I could reel him in.

This happened around the Mile 2 mark. I was able to continue to build my momentum without pain, and I could tell that Joe's legs were giving out on him. His form, especially his legs, told the tell-tale signs of fatigue and he was doing everything in his power to keep pushing.

I eventually passed him early on the final bridge stretch, and I kept my lead going past the final water stop, but not by much. I could definitely still hear him on my tail.

Joe was no more than five seconds behind me for the final stretch, and I knew that Tim was still on my tail.

My legs still felt great at a point in the race when I typically feel like crap. I just told myself to hang in there with about a quarter of a mile to go. I managed a final kick at the three mile mark just in case Joe decided to do the same.

The finish clock was turned around to prevent any Predict Your Time sandbaggers from dogging it at the finish, so I had no idea if I was close to my PR of 17:44 from the previous week. I knew I ran a better race than last week, so it was just a matter of how much better.

I could see Glenn staring at the finish clock, on the other side of the line, as I sprinted into the finish. I quickly glanced back after finishing, but couldn't make out the time without my glasses. All I heard from Glenn was "17:33" and "PR".

I slapped Glenn a high-five and let out a big sigh of relief.

There were over 90 PR's set tonight (280 finishers - new record)!

Included in this group is Fil (19:02 - Thanks Eric!), Matt S. (19:24), Tom O., Joe D (Winner! But dead last in Predict Your Time results), Owey P., and Deric F.


Tim and I cooled down together by running the entire course in reverse. We forgot that there were now over 200 people running this race, so it made the first quarter mile a little hairy going in reverse!

I've never really spoken to Tim until tonight, and I discovered that he's been my parents' neighbor in Tyngsboro for over 10 years! He lives less than a quarter-of-a-mile from them, and I've never once "ran" into him on my training runs through the neighborhood. The world just got a little smaller!

I managed to move into the Lowell section of the all-time PR list with my time:

(Next to a Legend)
Still plan on running Sugarloaf Marathon this weekend, against the wishes of a couple of people.

My only regret running the marathon this weekend is that I won't be 100% at next week's GP race in Bedford, NH. I should be OK at Good Times on Tuesday, but highly unlikely that I'll be able to set another PR.

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