Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Gobble and Mill Cities

Fall racing has become my ideal time of the year to set personal records.  I am not sure if it is the cooler weather or just the build up of miles over the course of the year, but I always seem to race well in the fall.

Gobble X 3
Location: Somerville, MA
Date: 11/26/2015
Distance: 4 miles
Goal: 23:20  (1 sec PR)
Stretch Goal: 22:59
Actual: 23:14 (5:49 / mile) (7 sec PR)
Place: 30 / 2649 OA, 17 / 386 AG

This year I ran the Gobble Gobble Gobble for the 6th time.  Each year I have run the Gobble I have progressively gotten faster, from an initial time of 28:54 back in 2007 to 23:21 last year.  I joke that it is my annual 4 mile PR (It also happens to be the only time each year I run a 4 mile race).  

After 2013, my time was down to 23:35.  I was able to improve on the time by 14 seconds, but was a little under the weather after our friends annual "Twas the night before Thanksgiving" party or now known simply as "Twas."

This year I was feeling pretty solid with my training and was ready to blast the PR out of the water.  Unfortunately, I managed to catch a stomach bug and was not at 100% on race day.  

None the less, when the race started I was still going for a PR.  The goal this year was to hold 5:50 for the first 3 miles and then throw down a sub 5:30 for the final mile (which has a net 60' elevation drop).  If all went to plan I would arrive at the finish a hair under 23 minutes.  

As we took off for mile one, the whole group I was in was putting in waaaaay too much of an effort.  Even with a major effort to slow down, I still clocked a 5:39.  As I started mile 2, I was still feeling alright and settled into a nice 5:50 pace.  As we continued through Powder House Square and up pass Cedar Street I was starting to feel it.  With over 2 miles to go, I knew I was going to be in for some pain. 

I clocked a 5:52 for the second mile and had faint glimpse of hope that I could sustain pace before the rolling hills of Medford and Central Street got me. Mile 3 seemed to go on forever.  I finally finished with a 6:05, a far cry from my plan.  

Nat napping at the Burren
As I started to climb the final hill on Summer Street before the long descent to the finish, I told myself, just keep digging, a PR is still in reach.  I ran the next quarter mile around 6:10 pace before I began my pick up to the finish.  With a half mile to go I still had a chance and I just kept pushing with everything I had.  

With about 20 yards to go as I started to take my foot off the gas, a 17 year old tried to make a move past me.  With one final burst of effort I was able to hold him off and finish in 23:14, a 7 second PR, 5:49 per mile and final mile of 5:27 (fastest mile ever in a race of 5k or longer).  

Not exactly what I as hoping for, but a PR is a PR.  I would later describe the effort to my teammates as "Good Enough."

Mill Cities Relay
Location: Nashua, NH to Lawrence, MA
Date: 12/6/2015
Distance: 9.5 miles (Leg 40
Goal: 56:59  (Under 6 min pace)
Actual: 56:10 (5:55 / mile) (10K and 15 PRs En Route)
Place: 23 OA, 1st Coed Sub-Masters Team

A week and a half after the Gobble was the 32 annual Mill Cities relay.  This would be my 3rd year running and after placing third in our division (coed open and bringing home a coveted brick), I was eager to see what we could do this year.  

As with last year, I was appointed captain (organizer) of my team again.  This year we would be competing in the coed sub-masters (over 30) division and our team name was "Siblings (me and my sister), Spouses (Todd and Megan), and Keith (Keith)."  I also drew the long leg (9.5 miles), which meant that if we were going to place I needed to put in solid effort (Keith was leg 1 - 5.4, C-A leg 2 - 4.75, Megan leg 3 - 2.5, and Todd Leg 5 - 4.75). 

Race day started bright and early (6:15am) and ended up being a little more hectic then planned as I left the bibs and baton / bracelet at home and had to go back and get it.  None the less, we got Keith to the start with 9 minutes to spare and I quickly headed to leg 2.  

The night before the race upon request, I assigned everyone on the team paces (I think the request was for a schedule, but you can't have a schedule without a pace :).  My goal here was to be aggressive, but realistic.  My estimation had us completing the 26.9 miles in 2:47:20 (An average of 6:13 / mile).  

As Keith came around the final turn and handed the baton off we were nearly on track (within 30 seconds) and C-A flew off down the road.  Keith and I then headed directly to leg 4.  

I began to warm up and chatted briefly with a few teammates.  My goal here was simple, hold sub 6 minute pace for 9.5 miles.  If I were to do so, I would hit new 10k and 15 PR's en route.  I felt ready. 

Shortly I received word that C-A finished ahead of schedule and now had an estimated arrival time for Megan.  A few minutes later Todd and C-A arrived and before I knew it I had the baton and was flying down the road.  

Over the next few miles I kept my speed in check and stayed directly with the plan (the opposite of what I did just a week and a half earlier).  Each of the first three miles clocked in within 2/10's of a second of 5:57 and I was still feeling solid.  I began passing people, some young, some old, some my age.  

I got passed by one guy from GLRR and tried to keep him in sight, wondering if he was in my division (he was).  Between miles 3 and 6, I managed to speed up a little dropping a 5:55 and a pair of 5:53s.  At this point I was starting to feel it a little, but was showing no signs of slowing down.  

After a set of three more 5:53 miles, I passed my 27-29th runners (the first of who was the GLRR runner who had passed me) and new I was nearly out of gas.  As I made my way up to the parking lot to hand off the baton, I just kept telling myself to hold form.  Finally I handed off to Todd and told him to bring us in strong and then went and laid down in the parking lot, completely spent.  

56:10 -- 5:55 per mile, new 10K - 36:38 PR, and 15k - 55:07 PR

After a few minutes recovery, we made our way to finish, arriving right after Todd (Who passed another 9 runners).  Together we finished in 2:47:41 (21 seconds off my crazy estimation) and later found out was good enough for 1st in the coed sub masters category. We were extremely happy with our performance. 

Congratulations to the rest of my team and SRR as a whole, who took 3rd overall in the team standings.  

SRR Teams that bricked (placed)
1st Coed Open - SRR- K.H. AND THE SUNSHINE BAND - 2:31:23 (Coed Course Record)
1st Male Sub Masters - SRR- BLOOD, SWEAT, AND BEERS - 2:33:26
1st Male Masters - SRR-JOE O'LEARY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS - 2:34:46
1st Coed Sub Mastes - SRR- SIBLINGS, SPOUSES, AND KEITH - 2:47:41
1st Coed Masters - SRR- TOM MORROW NEVER DIES - 2:51:09
3rd Female Open SRR- TAKIN' CARE OF BUSINESS - 2:56:51
3rd Female Masters - SRR- FASTER THAN YOUR BOYFRIEND - 3:11:20
2nd Female Sub Mastes - SRR- KOPF-RIDOUT OVERDRIVE - 3:13:04

The Team (Minus Keith) - Compliments of Urvi


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