Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Harpoon Point to Point and The Cigna Elliot Corporate 5K

After Leadville, I needed a few lower key weeks; for everyone that knows me that really means I just need to shift gears.  None the less I switched over biking mode / minimal running mode.

The next goal in the calendar was the Harpoon Point to Point 100 mile ride.  After going on a few training rides with Amy and Laura, and reading some emails from the event director, we opted to move to the 50 mile ride (The 100 mile ride had over 7300' of climbing, which was a little big for us with our current training).

I was able to get couple of 30+ mile rides in and one 50+ mile ride.  Included in this were a ride in Napa Valley, a local 50 mile ride with 25 in the pouring rain, and another 37 mile ride that was partially in the rain.

The Harpoon Point to Point
On August 11th, 2007 (My 27th birthday), Amy and I did our first 50 mile bike ride.  Back then they bused you out from the brewery and you biked back, hence the name Point to Point.  I remember on the way out Amy a telling a random person, "This is what he wanted to do on his birthday."  We enjoyed the first ride so much, we came back and did it again the following year.

Jump ahead to 2014, and many many bike rides, triathlons, and road races later; we are back at the Harpoon Brewery, doing another 50 mile ride (this time you started and ended at the brewery).

After a terribly painful car ride up (traffic) to the brewery Friday night, we checked in, had dinner and a couple of beers, and then setup camp at Ascutney Mountain State Park.

The ride started at 10am and after a couple miles of police escort to get out of traffic, we climbed a couple of hills and descended some before reaching the first aid station.

Miles 10 to 25 were almost entirely up hill.  It started with a slight ascent and worked its way up to a pretty steep one.  We worked our way from about 500' elevation to 1400' over this span.  Following this was a nice descent which dropped us over 700' and lasted until mile 35.

Miles 35 - 39, was the part that I remember from my rides back in 2007 / 2008 where the Vermont Food Bank has signs to help inspire you to get up the final hill.  My favorite was the one that read "Having food is a right, not a luxury."

Miles 39 - 46 were either down hill or flat.  You pretty much new at this point you were home free.

Just over 3 hours after starting, we arrived back at the brewery.  After quick shower (best part of Harpoon Rides), we grabbed beers, along with our souvenir pint glasses, a half BBQ chicken, and sat down and enjoyed the afternoon. 

The Cigna Elliot Corporate 5K
A while back one of my co-workers mentioned that he was going to put in a team for the Cigna Elliot Corporate challenge race in Manchester, NH.  I said "Sure, why not."  About a week after I signed up, he asked me if I could win the race.  He told me the winner last year was around 15 minutes so I had a time to shoot for.  Of course, I laughed, and said, on a good day I'll get in just under 18.  There was no amount of training that would be taking me from 18 to 15 in the two months before the race.

Our team Captain, Manju, did an awesome job planning for the event; he got a couple of managers to find funding to buy us singlets, picked up everyone's registration and brought them to work, and made a dinner reservation for us after the race.

On race day, we left work shortly after 3:30 in order to avoid traffic (Only god knows what lanes will be closed where during the summer construction boom).  I arrived just before 5 and chilled out for a while as the rest of the team showed up.  After getting in a few team pictures and goofing off, I did a short warm up before heading over to the start.
The Team - Pic compliments of Manju

The race started promptly at 6:24, was broadcast live on Channel 9 news (NH ABC affiliate), with the Major of Manchester giving us the go.  I had managed to muscle my way all the way to the front / right.  As the gun was fired, the girl next to me hit me square in the chest with an elbow in an attempt to get out quick.  Slightly stunned, I took off after her.

The plan for the race was pretty simple; go out around 5:50 and descend each mile with a hope of getting in under 18:00 (5K PR was 18:02, but terribly out of date -- December 2012).

The first mile had a slight incline for the first half before flattening out.  I clocked a 5:40 at the mile split and was still feeling pretty good.  The second mile had a little bit of a down hill.  My pace was fluctuating between low 5:30s and 5:40.  My new goal was to just try an hold 5:40 for as long as possible.

I hit the two mile marker at 5:37 and decided it was time to pick up the pace.  I ran the next quarter mile at 5:28 pace as everything was starting to catch up with me.  I knew it was going to be a struggle from there.

Smiling, I clicked off each tenth of mile .85, .75, .65 thinking, "Hey, at least I don't have 30 miles left and I am not at 10,000+ ft."  I knew as long as I didn't completely blow up, I was going to smash my PR. 

With .4 miles left I was really starting to suffer.  At some point in each race, the finish line will pull you in.  I was just hoping that it was sooner then later.  With a quarter mile to go, you make a hard left, go straight up hill, and then into the finish.

Yolanda and I after the race - Pic compliments of Manju
As I made that left, the pull came, and I picked the pace way up and immediately passed two people.  As the climb finished I tried to just hold form for the final 100 or so yards.  As the clock came into view, it read 16 something, a sight I had never seen before.

I crossed in 17:26, a 36 second PR, which was good enough for 39 of 5632 OA and 2 of 304 AG.  Probably one of my best showings ever at a race of any distance.

As my co-workers finished we slapped five, took a few more pictures, and then headed over to Milley's Tavern for dinner and drinks.

All and all not to bad a day.
Charity Update
Its a been a little while since my last charity update, but we have been keeping up.

May: We donated all 244 miles to the Appalachian Mountain Club. 
June: The 248 miles were spread out between One Mission Kid's Cancer Buzzoff, WGBH, NYRR Run for Kids, the Alzhemers Association, and the VT Food Bank
July and August: Primarily the VT Food Bank

Next Up
Heading up to Burlington, VT Labor Day weekend with SRR to take on the GMAA 15K.  My first official attempt at a 15K. 

- The Multisport Maniac

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