Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Two Weekends- Six Races

Haven't done a race report in a while, but not for lack of races. Actually it may be due to the plentitude that I've stayed away from writing about them which is unfortunate. The weekend of the 19th and 20th, Amber and I did a triple race day with Winter Wild, Beaver Brook Snowshoe Race and Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe. All three were well run and fun. Amber finished the day with three 1st place female finishes. I placed 5th, 5th and 3rd*. Note the asterisk. That is because runners 3-6 all got lost. So instead of coming in 7th, I was sky-rocketed to third losing only to Jim Johnson and Kevin Tilton. Not bad but feeling a little like Mark McGuire. Or at least Roger Maris. This day was a nice long run for me because not only did I do the three races but I helped Geoff Cunningham and Chris Dunn of acidotic Racing set up the course of Kingman Farms. You would think that this would have been an advantage until you realize that Geoff was one of the racers to go off course...

Suffice it to say, after those three races my legs were a little sore. I definitely could feel them the next morning when I drove to Hampton Beach to race the Half at the Hamptons half marathon. Race is a bit of an exaggeration as my legs had it in their minds to meander. We found a happy medium with a pace slower than I would have liked but still allowing me to place 12th overall(12 minutes back from the winner though). My brother joined me at this race as he is racing the Will Run for Beer series with me. He views these races as his workouts and thus doesn't do any running in between the races. This is unfortunate for him because that means there was nearly two months of no running between the Hangover Classic on Jan 1st and the Half at the Hampton. His legs certainly felt it but he was a good sport and still managed to cross the finish line running. Hopefully we can get him back in running form because he is certainly the more athletic of the two of us...

The second weekend wasn't so busy- only two races. However both of them were a little more important in my opinion. The first was the Northeast Snowshoe Championships held in Northfield, MA. This race brought together the majority of the best snowshoers in the region with the likes of: Jim Johnson, Dave Dunham, Kevin Tilton, Ben Nephew, Tim Mahoney and Van Orden of CMS, Geoff Cunningham, Tim Cox, Ryan Kelly, Judson Cake and Charlie Therriault of Acidotic as well as the ever-present strong TNT duo of Dave Principe and Robert Jackman. Throw in a couple of strong New York runners and Amber always on my tail and I was hoping just for a top twenty finish.
  My plan was to stick with Dave Dunham as long as I could- which is always my plan and usually only lasts about 30 seconds or so. However, this race for some reason(I think he was taking it easy) I was able to stick with him up the first climb. We caught up with a train of runners that were surprisingly being held up by Ben Nephew. We passed him and Tim VanOrden, running behind Tim Mahoney and Geoff Cunningham. On the descent Dave let me pass and I trailed Mahoney and Geoff. We ran in this order for some time with TiVo, Nephew and Dunham right on my tail. On the second ascent, Geoff had caught Charlie and the pace slowed to where Geoff passed Charlie and Ben passed the Tim's and me. And just like that Ben and Geoff were gone leaving Charlie to lead Tim M, me and TiVo on the descent in that order. After about fifty tree branches to the face, TiVo finally got frustrated and I let him pass. Poor decision. The three of them all took off while I face planted in the snow. Hurriedly picking myself up I tried as I could to close the gap but never could. The race finished with Geoff followed closely by Ben, Tim M, Charlie, TiVo and then me(the first one not in the top ten). However, with the company I kept for most of the run, I was pretty pleased with myself. I don't care that half of them were sick... Amber had another good race, placing 15th overall and first female.

The second race of the weekend was the Hyannis Marathon. This was a day for redemption. I had done this race in 2007 only two months after starting to run. I finished in a time of 4:44:43. Yikes! It was not pretty. Also it was the first time that I was exposed to the inequities of running. The two other races I had done up to that point(a 15k and Martha's Vineyard 20 miler) I had finished quickly enough to get a good portion of the food and spirits. At this race however, when I finished there were barely any spectators and almost no food left. Probably the number one reason why I have since made myself a faster runner-to get to the food tables.
  My whole plan with training for Ironman St. George is to go into every long run with sore legs. I had definitely done that with the Half at the Hampton and was doing it again for this race. My goal was to break 3 hours.
  The half-marathon and marathon, as well as the 10k, all start together so we went out fast. I was trying to keep up with Cate Snow, Kona's second fastest marathon runner,  but after going through the first two miles at my 5k splits, I realized that wasn't a good strategy. I slowed down a bit making it through the half in 1:21 and change. I got to the half marathon thinking "well my legs feel about as sore as the beginning of the Half at Hamptons last week" so I knew I could put together a decent time. Then everyone disappeared. With the exception of one runner that I passed at mile 21, I did not see or run with a single runner for the whole second half of the race. This definitely was a disadvantage for me as I have very poor pacing skills and do much better when I can mindlessly run after someone. I ended up running seven minutes slower for the second half finishing with a time of 2:49:01. While not my fastest marathon(see Exeter 2010) it was my first podium finish-coming in second overall. I am pleased with the redemption from the 2007 race and now can look back at Hyannis with a little more fondness. Just need to do that for Vermont 88.6.

My splits for the marathon were:

Mile 1: 5:49
Mile 2: 5:48
Mile 3: 5:59
Mile 4: 6:10
Mile 5: 6:22
Mile 6: 6:14
Mile 7: 6:17
Mile 8: 6:33
Mile 9: 6:22
Mile 10: 6:29
Mile 11: 6:24
Mile 12: 6:29
Mile 13: 6:22
Mile 14: 6:31
Mile 15: 6:24
Mile 16: 6:28
Mile 17: 6:28
Mile 18: 6:31
Mile 19: 6:30
Mile 20: 6:52
Mile 21: 6:28
Mile 22: 6:44
Mile 23: 6:48
Mile 24: 6:44
Mile 25: 6:48
Mile 26: 6:53
Mile 26.2: 1:18

Not the most impressive, but I'm happy with the result. Now a much needed rest weekend, then off to Wisconsin for the Snowshoe National Championships!

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