Sunday morning, I drove over to my parent's house in No. Andover and met up with my brother, Michael and we drove to the Cape Ann town of Gloucester to race in the 3rd Annual Lone Gull 10k which served as the USATF-NE 10k road championships. This race is the 6th (out of 7) 2009 Grand prix races with the final being the Bay State Marathon in October. As a result, this race was able to attract a number of the top New England road racers even with stiff competition in the CVS Downtown 5k being held in Providence, RI.
The drive down featured numerous Clash hits as we made good time and had plenty of time to sign up and get great parking in the large parking lot adjacent to Good Harbor beach. After tossing around a nerf football with Double D, Double J, Petey and MQ, it was time for a 22 minute warmup over the first mile plus of the race course. It was a beautiful morning to race with not a cloud in the sky and on top of the fast race field and rolling shoreline course I was optimistic to race well even though I was a little tired from lack of sleep the past two nights.
As the gun went off I immediately was caught behind a sea of runners as the road narrows for the first 1/4 mile. After snaking my way through the pack, I caught up to Mike Q at 1/2 mile and saw in the distance some runners I wanted to be with so I made a brief pickup to get with Double D, Reno Stirrat and John Barbour. The pace seemed quick but I felt good and just went with them through the mile. Our time was 5:33 at the mile and it was right about where I wanted be. I actually wanted to hit 5:45 but it felt good. The 2nd mile featured a little hill and I worked it and everyone I was with responded but we were catching some runners who went out a bit quick and couldn't hold the pace. We hit 2 miles in 11:20 which is 5:40 pace so we were running steady and even. And then it happened. For some reason my left shoe became untied (I swear I triple knotted it) and I was faced with a difficult decision. I wanted to tie it for obvious reasons but did not want to disrupt my rhythm and lose any contact with anyone. So I ran with my left shoe untied for the duration of the race. Fortunately, the Loco Banditos fit pretty snug so it actually did not factor negatively at all. Occasionally I would look down and reconsider but I just ran on. We hit 3 miles in 16:45 and 5k in 17:32 as we made our way back to the first part of the course.
At this point (going to mile 4) I just tried to maintain rhythm and keep pace with Reno, John and Dave. I actually did not realize DD was there until about 5 miles maybe 4.5 as I glanced to my left I saw him running hard. We hit 4 miles in 22:43 and 5 miles in 28:22. Reno and I were making moves on each other but no one got an edge. At about 5.7 (thanks to the Garmin) I started to make some hard surges hoping to crack these guys and I did manage to get a brief lead heading to mile 6 which was at the top of a hill and led to the final .2 off downhill running. My time at 6 was 34:06 and I wanted to get down as close to 35 minutes as I could so I ran as hard as I could. I was rigging up a bit and at about 200 yards to go Reno passed me and I let up for a stride or two and then dug deep for one final push and sprinted to the line ahead of him for a new masters (over 40 and 45) PR 35:13. My final .2 was 1:07.