JFK 50 Miler

June 10th, 2010 - Race - Hollis, NH - 3.1

(Showing Titus' how it's done in Lowell!)

Day 161 - Going to these races now is like going to a family reunion, but not as painful. Well, sometimes it can be, especially if you pull a groin muscle.

I'm starting to see the same faces at the races: The crazy uncle, the cool aunt, and the grandfather that lets you drink whiskey.

Tonight was the Hollis *HOLY CRAP* Fast 5K family reunion.

The usuals were there: Ben, Titus, Kara, Jim H., Jon M., Double-D, Dan V. and even the crazy uncle that likes to run thousands of miles that I rarely ever see, Jim R. (that's for your little shot at me at the end of the race, Jim :D)!

I left work at 4PM and the weather looked ideal (60's, overcast, cool) as long as the rain stayed away.

I picked up Titus in Lowell and we got up to a wet Hollis by 5:30PM. The rain was coming down in buckets while we were on Route 3 North, but it had subsided by the time we checked in at the Alpine Grove.

Hollis always does an incredible job with their races, as I recall running the Applefest Half late last year. Any race that is point to point and requires bussing is challenge, but the Hollis organizers and their volunteers always do a tremendous job! Thanks, guys and gals, for making it easy for us runners!

Titus, Jill, and myself got ourselves on the school bus in order to get to the start 3.5 miles away. Fortunately, this race isn't like the Comrades Ultra in South Africa where the course goes in reverse every other year. Like at Sugarloaf, the runners get a sneak peak at the course while riding out to the start.

We had about 20 minutes to warmup when we got up to the starting area, which was already jam packed with frigid looking runners huddled together for warmth. Titus and I jogged around the block a few times, running into more familiar faces including Frank the Camera Guy Tonight.

I managed to basically run into every other GLRR member that was supposed to be here tonight including teammates Mike B. and Jeff C. We quickly said our hellos and good lucks and off we went.

All of the youngins' and oldins' lined up in a rush when the RD gave the command to close off the street. I guess everybody was going to run a 5 minute pace tonight.

I had my foot on the now slick "gator" (start mat) when the gun went off, and down I almost went! I managed to catch my balance and move forward with the rushing crowd. Yikes! That would have been bad.

It only got worse after that as runners of all ages surrounded me, whooping and hollering like it was a Miley Cyrus concert. Besides battling with the flowing mass of over-excited teeny-boppers, I also had to dodge some good size puddles.

The experience of the first right-hand turn can only be likened to the experience of a roller coaster ride right before it free falls. Kids are screaming, adults are cheering, and all you can do is go with the flow of gravity.

Kara surged up from behind me and zig-zagged her way through the crowd. I took her cue and followed right in step behind her as we worked our way to the front, where it was a little bit more orderly and less crowded.

It was at least a good half-mile before I was able to get into a comfortable pace and start to focus on the race, instead of trying to survive. The ones that were truly here to race were now all in front of me.

I got through Mile 1 in 5:27. My race plan was to try to stay below 5:28 early on, but to not also go out too fast. Frank later told me that when he ran 17:14 here a few years before, he and Jim went through Mile 1 in about 5 minutes!

Kara was now breaking away from me and had about a 5 second lead, and growing. She looked to be in top form and passing other runners (all male) with ease.

I purposedly wore my Newtons tonight knowing that the ground would be wet. I tend to get poor traction in wet conditions with my Nike Lunars, albiet they tend to be faster when conditions were the same. I knew speed wasn't going to be an issue on a downhill course like this, so traction and footing was the key for tonight.

It didn't appear that I was making much progress on the pack in front of me and Kara was looking smaller and smaller every second. I was either slowing down or they were all picking up the pace. I just stuck to my race plan and got through Mile 2 in about 5:28.

Total elapsed time at this point was about 10:55, so I knew that I would have to have a hell of a fast last 1.1 miles to be anywhere under my race goal of 17 minutes.

For some reason, I kept on thinking in the back of my mind that we were going to come up on a hill at some point. No way could there be a road that was completely downhill for 5K! Boy was I wrong. This is a race that you just have to run once to experience the strange feeling of racing downhill over its entirety. Very cool!

Although "very cool", the downhill action definitely made it difficult to gauge if I was slowing down or not. I began to lean forward at this point to gain whatever advantage I could from this damn course. Apparently it worked as I began to reel in one runner after another.

I was about 5 seconds behind Kara at this point, and she started to look back, more than once. I guess when you're the lead runner, for your gender, you tend to get nervous when you hear footsteps near the end of a race. My guess was right on. Unlike at the Good Times series where Kara is the one catching me and making me all nervous, I managed to repay her the favor here. I caught up to her with about a 3/4th's of a mile to go and she said that she thought I was a female runner. I told her that I get that a lot. I parted ways with Kara by telling her what she has shown me many times before, "Finish Strong!"

I continued on and managed to pick off two more runners at the 3 Mile mark (5:29). Total elapsed time of 16:23, giving me a little more than 30 seconds to sprint the last ".10". The one thing that I've learned is that it's never .10, but whatever it was, it was going to be really close. Also, because this was a Camire timed race, there of course had to be the, by now patented, sharp turn right before the finish. See Wild Rover #1.

All I could remember at this point was just letting my body fall forward and whatever happened, happened. I managed an average pace of 5 min/mile over the final stretch, but unfortunately, it wasn't enough.

I saw 17:03, 04, 05...as I crossed the line. My official time ended up being 17:08.

Kara came in right behind me to capture first place overall female with a time of 17:28 (3rd victory here!).

Teammate Jeff C. arrived shortly thereafter with a time of 17:39. Here's proof:

(I'm just glad he's on our team!)

Ben took 1st overall, for the second time in three years, with a time of 15:15! Titus finished 3rd. Not bad considering he didn't know about the race until the day before.

Jill had a "crappy" race but still managed to take home 1st place in her age group. Hey, you can only race whoever shows up, girl! Nice job and don't be so hard on yourself!

I thought I had entered GLRR in the co-ed club division, but apparently, Dave's super timing computer figured otherwise. Jeff, Titus, and myself ended up taking home 2nd overall in the Male Open division for GLRR (over CMS I might add)!

UPDATE: We also took 1st place for the Co-Ed team! Woohoo!


(Stupid .05, I'll get you next year)

One of my other goals for this year is to crack 60 on the RunningAhead VO2 calc. Like the race itself, this was also a close one. 

Now that I've race down "only one hill", I get to look forward to running up "only one hill" in a little over a week.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff! Good to see you out there.