For the previous 6 years I had always helped out with the timing of the race with Bay State Race Services. Last year, I told John, the co-owner of BSRS, that I think it's time that I run the race. The only stipulation was that I couldn't win the race or else people would think something was up, like I was on steroids. With that, I agreed not to win the 10 mile race in 2010 if he allowed me to run it.
This year was going to be the first year in awhile that the 10 mile race was not going to be a grand prix race, so I didn't expect it to be as competitive as it was during the GP years. That expectation was thrown out the window when I arrived at the race site with Fil, Cody, Andy, and a few other GLRR's.
There were the CMS boys, the Kenyans, a
(Even the girls from Nantucket were here!)
Crowd-wise, it looked just as chaotic (controlled), as it always has: 1,900+ for the 5K!! 1,300+ for the 10 miler!!
In that crowd were a few of my running buddies, including, Rick Brown (and his dad), Bob Strout, Bob Randall (volunteering), Joe Donnelly, Johnathan Morris, and a lot of hot chicks (see above and below - but eyes right here, buddy!).
I'm usually sitting inside the A/C'ed high school doing data entry before the races begin, so to be able to see the start of the 5K at 6:25PM was pretty cool. It literally looked like a march/protest was underway with the sea of people going down High Street.
10 minutes later, it was my turn to be a part of running history.
Since there was no start mat, I tried to get as close as possible to the front without getting in the way of the faster runners. I ended up dead center, right behind Double J from CMS. Jose Ortiz and the rest of the Whirlaway gang were to my right. Kenyans were to my left in the front row. Cody lined up to the far left, but in the front row. You really can't miss him.
I shot out of the start with the rest of the runners at around 6:37PM, and there was no looking back for the rest of the way.
My goal was to run about a 1:03-04, and at a pace below my half marathon best of 6:22 per mile.
I had debated at the start whether or not to ditch my GLRR singlet since I knew I would get wet, one way or another, during this run. Based on past experience, I knew that the new green singlets could get extremely heavy when wet. I felt too much GLRR pride to not wear it during the run though, so I kept it on.
The first two miles of the course is a steady downhill, so that gave me a chance to pick up some speed without killing myself. I went through miles 1 and 2 averaging a 6:06 pace, but more importantly, I felt comfortable. The long runs of the previous two weeks were really starting to show its value. My legs didn't feel tired or heavy. The rest from constantly racing every weekend for the past 7 months also might have had something to do with my freshness.
I quickly lost sight of Cody (you really can't miss him) and the lead pack by mile 3 (6:20), and I couldn't pick out any familiar faces in the handful of people that were passing me at this point. I was starting to drift into no man's land where you're running alone.
I was running only about a minute off of my typical 5K time at that split, which was surprising to me given the conditions. It was hot, but not oppressively humid, and running through the neighborhood sprinkler systems helped with the cooling. I was warned about the chlorinated-hose water, but didn't realize how bad the water tasted until I took my first gulp (and spit) of NBPT water.
Around 3.5 is where you get your first big crowd of spectators, and a lot of hot chicks, by Cashman Park. It's a nice and convenient vantage point for the crowds, and for me, as it's only a two block walk northeast of the start/finish area.
(Just in case you missed them the first four times)
The course steadily climbs back up to the starting elevation from miles 4 through 6 as you leave the congestion of the town. My splits are a good indication of the climbing that had to be done to get to the outskirts of town:
- Mile 4: 6:19
- Mile 5: 6:24
- Mile 6: 6:35
The climbs took a lot out of me, and my back started to tighten up. I continuously had to tell myself to just relax my face and hands in order to relax my back. It took a couple of tries, but it finally took hold and my back finally let go of its death grip on me.
It wasn't until about 6.5 that I got my legs back under me with the help of a few steep downhills, with the steepest being around Mile 7, out by the Maudslay State Park section.
I think I was running alongside the mayor of NBPT because this guy knew everybody (or everybody knew him)! All I know is that his name is Joe and he's really popular with the locals!
The pleasantly surprising shade cover on the course also helped with the heat of the evening. I love running in heat (insert sex joke here)
I was starting to feel the mild effects of drinking pool water for 8 miles, where I clocked a split of 6:30. The second slowest split of the day was mainly due to the climb over the 95 overpass (I hate overpass hills!). My mouth was dry, but I couldn't handle any more of the chlorinated water. I started dumping cup after cup of water onto my head, letting it somehow seep into my digestive system without going down my mouth. I don't think it worked.
I just told myself to hang in there for two more miles.
At the bottom of the overpass at mile 8.5 was Mike Giberti, a runner that I've raced against numerous times this year, and he's always kicked my ass, easily. He was limping when I came up on him and I asked him if it was a muscle. I just heard him say, tight, shoes, blisters.
Ah, good ole Nike Lunar Racers. I was wearing the same pair tonight, so I knew what he was talking about. 10 miles are my limits with these great racing sneakers, anything more than that, is just uncivilized. I suffered the same fate as Mike on a 21 mile Boston training run a few months prior, but fortunately, that was just a training run, and not a race. Mike ended up DNF'ing because of the blisters.
By the home straight away stretch of mile 9 (6:17), I was actually thinking about ditching my two lbs of a soakin' wet singlet. I decided against that since I didn't think I could manage even a cool down (to retrieve the singlet) after this run was over with.
It was gut check time, literally. To my utter amazement, I came up on Cody at about 9.5 (you really, really can't miss him), and he was grabbing his stomach! He was ready to sit down by the side of the road in agony, but I screamed at him to WALK! I thought it must have been because of the NBPT water, but I later learned the opposite. He didn't drink any water on the course! He took my pre-race chlorinated water warning to heart and avoided ingesting any. I don't blame him, but a little bit would have helped.
The last thing I heard before leaving Cody behind was a loud BANG! Sounded like a fist hitting a street sign. Poor street sign.
I managed to pass about three other runners with a quarter mile-to-go, two of them on the last stretch which included the dastard hill leading up onto the field finish. Think of the crowds lining the streets at the Tour de France and you'll get an idea of what it is like on the final climb towards the finish. I just remember closing my eyes and taking in the noise from the excited crowd, giving it my all.
I crossed the finish in 1:02:51! Well below my upper goal limit of 1:04. It was a great feeling to finally hit my A goal for the first time in a long time at a race. Glenn Stewart is right, there is something to be said about resting.
My left foot felt great and there was no lingering pains anywhere.
Cody was only a minute behind me and was a trooper about finishing strong. Live and learn my friend. You're only getting stronger.
The rest of the GLRR crew came in steady and strong as always (I'm pretty sure I'm missing some GLRR folks, below, that didn't get entered in under the GLRR banner. Please post a comment below if you ran the race for GLRR and I did not include you!):
Place Name Time Pace
56 Jason Bui 1:02:51 6:18
67 Cody Freihofer 1:03:57 6:24
107 Fil Faria 1:08:10 6:49
168 Andrew Pupa 1:11:30 7:09
170 Ken Goodin 1:11:33 7:10
314 David Pecchia 1:16:42 7:41
327 Kathy Burley 1:17:13 7:44 (2nd in AG!)
492 Marli Piccolo 1:22:24 8:15
843 John Ducharme 1:30:56 9:06
1010 Jonathan MacKenzie 1:35:57 9:36 (1st in AG!)
1372 Deborah White 1:59:26 11:57
GLRR didn't do too shabby in the team standings either, with the Male Open and Male Masters team both finishing in 7th place (out of 14 and 9 teams, respectively).
I finally felt the full effect of drinking hose water, during the race, when I tried to go for a cool down. My stomach just screamed at me and I came to a screeching stop.
We all hung out for a bit after the race, sharing our war stories, hitting the showers, and forming cavities in our eyes as a result of all of the eye candy at this race.
(No need for words...DOH!)
Footnote: I spent the rest of the evening tossing and turning in bed, dry heaving and detoxing all of the chlorine and bacteria out of my system...and I'd do it all over again for this race.