Saturday morning, six of us (Double D, Dan V, Kevin T, Double J, Mike Q and myself) met up at the Merrimack River trail in Andover to drive to So. Boston to race in the Ollie Five Mile. Driving duties were split between DD and myself and we made it quickly into Beantown considering there was a massive downpour of rain. This annual race serves as the USATF-NE 5 Mile Championships and historically brings out the areas best road racers. Combine the fast collection of runners with a 64 degree rainy morning and you get a recipe for fast times.
The rain was a serious issue up until race time so there were a few puddles out there and a few slick spots but other than that it did not impact the action whatsoever.
After a 20 minute warmup with the CMS crew it was time to change into the Loco Banditos and a new pair of socks for the race. I barely got in a stride as race time approached quickly and after a quick rendition of the Star Spangled Banner it was off to the races.
Right away there was a wave of speedy men and women hitting the streets of Southie and I once again was using my Garmin to help me out with pacing as I cautiously navigated my way through the windy first 1/2 mile dodging puddles and trying to not get bumped around on the tight curbstones. Once we got onto Summer St. I noticed 3 master/veteran runners (Mark Reader, Reno Stirrat and John Barbour) who I knew had beaten me last year and I wanted to stay close to them and see if I could reverse the results from Ollie 2008. I felt pretty good as I am still in a discovery phase with racing/fitness. I hit the mile in about 5:42 and climbed the hill pretty well as we made our way towards the beach and the long stretch to 2 miles. At about 2 miles CMS teammate Jim Pawlicki (JP) went by looking strong and I attempted to go with him but could not hold that pace with any comfort so I settled in and concentrated on hitting 5:40 pace. At the turnaround, I was with Mark Reader and was pleased to see Double D and MQ right behind running very well. I really worked the 3rd mile and I know I was hitting 5:30 pace for a while as that was the last I saw of Reader and the rest of the pack I was with. I was looking ahead trying to maintain contact with JP at the same time looking to make contact with a Whirlaway master who I could sense was coming back to me. I missed the 3 mile split but figure it was around 17:00. On the uphills (there were 2 the last 2 miles) I was laboring but on the flats and downhills I was feeling strong and very within myself. I hit 4 miles in 22:07 and was gaining on the Whirlaway runner. Mile 4 to 5 features a long stretch of Summer St and the final 3/4 mile is a repeat of the 1st 3/4 mile of the race. It was on the final stretch over the bridge when I passed the Whirlaway runner and held off everyone behind me. I did not get passed by anyone after JP (27:24) passed me at 2 miles. This pleased me greatly. I finished strong and wanted to break 28 minutes which I did by 2 ticks of the clock. 80th place overall /10th place 40-49
My Garmin measured the course as 4.96 miles and the official results are giving the distance as 4.91 miles so race pace has changed considering the race distance was supposed to be 5.0 miles.
This race seems to have a funny history with changing courses and questionable distances. With today's change in distance (due to a missed tunaround???) no records can be recognized but special kudos to CMS's Justin Fyffe for placing 3rd in a blanket finish. Justin has been putting in tremendous workouts throughout the summer and is in great shape. His 23:54 effort today is awesome and should give him more confidence to race with most anyone in New England at any distance.
Great job by all CMS runners. DD with a fine 28:36 in his first race in months as he is back running for only 3 weeks. Give it up for the Aqua Jogger. MQ with a sub 6/mile race pace in his first race since his 16:30 5k victory in Cambridge last spring. More Aqua jogging! JJ with a swift 25:27 top 30 effort - just the 1st race of his day as he pulled another daily double with a 3rd in a seacoast 5 miler later in the day. Dan V with an impressive 27:06 (he's 47 yrs old) and Kevin T hitting 25:22 for a near PR (blame the course distance) coming off his recent Pemi Loop record. Next planned race is the Lone Gull 10k (Gloucester, MA) next Sunday which is the USATF-NE Road championship.
Special thanks to Krissy K. who took photos out on the race course and appeared on Smugmug.