Saturday morning I traveled over to Bradford, MA to race in the 19th Annual Valentine 5 mile/6k road race. This is another local road race which has an incredible tradition. It is also another race which I have never competed in before which is amazing since I lived on the course (Salem St) for 5 years. After bumping into Reno Stirrat and his wife Susan and Double D (Dave Dunham) and his wife Cathy, I travelled over to Dan Verrington's house which is at about the 1/3 of a mile mark. Dan and his wife, Martha, open up their doors for a few of us to warmup/warmdown and get ready to race. After walking to the start with Dan (so he could get his bib #) we went out for a 24 minute warmup and got ready to race. I was feeling good considering I did not decide to race until 7:30 AM but with a 10:00 start and clear skies with a nice strong wind I felt pretty good. My workouts over the past week had been good and I definately was not overraced. In fact, this was my first "road race" since Thanksgiving.
I got out really good (leading for about 100 yards) until the big guns showed up (Double J, Matt Germain, Joshua Gordon, snowshoe ace /RI resident Bob Jackman, Chris Mahoney and Dan V.) I thought about going with them but knew that would be a bad decision. Dan V. gapped me pretty quickly but I just tried to maintain enough contact hoping I could reel him back in at some future point. I hit mile 1 in 5:25 and was probably 10 seconds behind the lead pack and about 5 seconds behind Dan. Basically, the entire race was chasing Dan and just trying not to lose any more contact with him. MQ was at Carter's Ice Cream stand "filming the race" offering encouragement. Mile 2 was reached in 10:58 (5:33) and the course starts to get hilly and the wind was pretty strong. I felt real strong on the uphills and actually thought I could catch Dan (who was glancing back at every turn and I would offer a wave :))
At the Bradford CC, the 5 mile race meets up with the 6k race (very similar to the Feaster 5 when the 8k meets the 5k at 3.5). This is mile 3 (16:52) so my split was 5:54 (uphill w/ wind) and I was entertaining thoughts of catching Dan but he must of matched every surge I had. I really worked the climb at 3 miles and I think this is where we were closest to each other as we made a right turn towards the 4 mile mark. Dan hit the 4 mile mark in around 22:25 because he said he needed a 5:35 to break 28:00. I hit the 4 mile mark in 22:32 so I was only 7 seconds back but I was starting to feel the effort a bit with each stride. I kept pushing all the way to the end and finished in 28:18 ( 2 seconds off my PR) and 13 seconds off Dan V. He finished a bit stronger than me and seemed to have more on the downhill finish. Mile 5 was 5:46. 7 th place overall / 2nd master.