I met up with JJ, Dan V and Bob Wiles at the river as JJ drove down to New Bedford for the 2nd installment of the 2010 NE-USATF Grand prix series, the New Bedford Half Marathon. Caught up with DV on the way down as he updated me on his recent AR age group record for 50k and also informed me he was running on a broken big toe courtesy of the river trails in Andover. Aside from that he was ready as usual to attack a race where he holds a sub 1:06 PR. JJ and Bob W appeared ready to race as well.
After finding the race headquarters and signing up it was time for a quick gathering of fellow CMS runners and we headed out for a 2 mile warmup. I was feeling good and really had no issues to speak of and felt ready to race. I chose to race in my Adidas Tempo's because one of my Loco Banditos was missing (probably in that garage I need to clean out). My goal as usual was to score for the masters team and try to PR. Since I had run 1:15:57 last year I set that as my goal time. I was not, however, going to hit the first mile in 5:17 like I did last year. 5:50 was the time I wanted and I wanted to run even so I had something in the tank for the final tough 5k.
The race was a bit disorganized (probably due to the record # of runners) so there was a delay of about 15 minutes which resulted in a slightly angry mob and a terrible announced start. But, no matter we were off and I was about 10 rows back and just started to run at 5:50 pace (with a slight bit of stiffnesss due to the long wait). I would say the conditions were perfect for racing and I felt good as we made our way to mile 1 which I hit in 5:46. I looked ahead and saw a bunch of familiar runners and just tried to stay at the same pace without making any sudden surge or unnecessary attack. My plan today was run even and try to catch people as they slowed down because this course is fast (early on) and can get you into trouble if you go out over your head. Mile 2 went by smoothly in 5:50 (11:36) as did mile 3 in 5:57 (slight hill) and I hit 3 miles in 17:33. I took water at every station as the temp's were rising as the race went on. My 4th mile was slow at 6:06 and I hit 4 miles in 23:39. I was a bit above my 5:50 pace goal but was content because no one was passing me and I was passing runner by runner and keeping contact with several runners in the near distance. I had my eye on Whirlaway runners and wanted to keep close to as many of my masters teammates as I could. At about mile 4 , Marc Leblanc (1:13:00) went flying by and he would be one of only 2 or 3 runners that would pass me the entire race. At this time I joined up with Paul Hammond of Whirlaway who was running hard (and coming back from surgery) and this is when I put a bit more focus on going a bit quicker because the course just rolls along and is quite agreeable to picking up the tempo. My 5th mile was 5:44 and it put me at 29:25 for 5 miles.
Mile six was 5:48 and I noticed John Barbour (1:16:34) , who always runs well, so I decided to try to hang with him as we hit mile 7 in 5:55, mile 8 in 5:48 and at about 8.5 he dropped me as I slowed a bit during mile 9 (6:09) but continued to pass runners who by now were feeling the heat and also the strong headwind to the 10 mile mark. I ran a 5:52 10th mile which put me at 59:00 (29:35 2nd 5). I was pretty pumped because I felt strong and told myself to stay tough for the last 5k. I ran another 5:51 for mile 11 (1:04:51) and knew mile 12 offered a long uphill but I was really fired up for it and felt great going up and ran the penultimate mile in 6:02 which put me at 1:10:53. I knew I wasn't going to PR but I was not bothered by it and just ran as hard as I could to the finish managing to run the final 1.1 in 6:38 to finish in 1:17:31. 3rd man for the masters as we managed 2nd overall. Huge run by Ernest Brake (1:16:53), who led the squad followed by Dan V (who ran a 2:39 marathon enroute to his AR for 50k 2 weeks ago) (1:17:10), nice efforts by Scott Clark (1:17:57), John Pajer (1:18:33), Rod Viens (1:22:15), Dave Harper (1:31:46) and Kevin Fallon (1:32:15).
JJ PR'd (1:10:07) as did Bob Wiles (1:10:51) to lead the men's team to a solid 3rd place.
Congrats to everyone for great races.
splits 546/550/557/606/544 (29:25)/548/555/548/609/552 (59:00)/551/602/638 (1.1)
1:17:31 5:54 pace 109 overall