Boston 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Perfect Storm

(See, there's no mention of 'liquid refreshments')

Super Bowl Sunday, 2011 - I knew the running gods were smiling down on the Super 5K in Lowell when another supposed wintry blast turned into a mild drizzle the night before the race, melting away much of the hazardous snow. This is the same hazard that forced a number of the other local races to cancel on Sunday. In the end this would indeed turn out to be the perfect storm.

Sunday started out cold, but it soon warmed up and melted away the thin layer of black ice covering the surrounding area. The temps were in the upper 30's by 10:30AM, and the big ball of fire complimented the rare blue of  the winter sky. The only real danger now were the dickhead speedsters on the boulevard, and the sharp elbows of the SRR's.

I got out to the Elks club, registered, and did a warm up loop on the 5K course by 11AM. I managed to time it perfectly as Glenn & Co. (thanks guys!) were in the process of putting out the safety cones and signs. I even succeeded in beating Glenn, and his tree-battered Baja, back to the finish line. Ba-Ha!

My original plan was to put in 5 easy miles before the race, run the race, and then put in at least 8-12 after the race to get in a total of 18-20 on the day. By the time I got back to the Elks all of the usual suspects from GLRR were there including future GLRR'er Bash Z.

Bash and I went back out on the course for his warm up and my second loop. We nearly got clipped by one of the boulevard dickheads as we tried to avoid 1 of 4 large puddles on the course. There was also definitely some wind, but it was a tailwind for 1.5 miles, and then a crosswind for the rest of the way up the boulevard to the finish. At this point this was turning into an ideal day to race along the mighty Merrimack. Of course, the key phrase being, "at this point".

I told Bash that I was looking to break my time from last year (18:27) or go for sub-18. Whichever came first. With the current conditions and my training-to-date I knew I could easily beat my course PR, since I recall a nasty headwind during last year's race. There's no way we would get the same nasty headwind...

The race crowd was busting and bustling out the front door of the Elk's by the time Bash and I got back to the start at 11:40AM, 20 minutes before race time. Everyone and everyone was now here for the race.

I actually wasn't that shocked to see some of the runners in attendance given the fact that all of the other Super Sunday races were cancelled. The top Whirlaway, CMS, RUN and SRR runners were here, including the brothers Quintal (Dave & Mike), defending champ Joe O'Leary, two-time winner and GLRR'er Eric Beauchesne, Titus, EJ, and Lou Peters. Needless to say, this year's field was stacked.

Double J was in also attendance, but he arrived shortly before the start just to wish everyone luck. He came by foot....from Salem, NH....17 miles away.

Other familiar sneakers included a few that I hadn't seen since Good Times including Jonathan Morris and Tom O'Leary. Former SRR runner Frank Georges was decked out and debuting his slime green jersey. It's no coincidence that Frank ran faster this year than last. It's all about the singlet.

The race itself, specifically mine, was uneventful. Not surprisingly, I fell back behind the lead pack of 10 right away, and only gave up one pole position during the run and that occurred before Mile 1. And as it so often happens, the headwind was back with a vengeance over the final 1.5 miles along the boulevard. It was just as bad as last year.

EJ hung with with me over the first part of the course, but he fell back only to be replaced by the women's winner who had to check out my ass over the final 2 miles. Poor girl, but I hear her eyes are recovering well.

I completed the run with a time of 18:08, which was good for 12th overall and 2nd in AG. I bettered my time from last year by 19 seconds, so I haven't peaked just yet.

Splits comparison:
Mile 15:375:40
Mile 25:465:53
Mile 35:536:07



I completed my 18 mile day with a 9 miler around the surrounding neighborhood. John Rheaume and Frank accompanied me for the first two miles as part of their cool down. Unfortunately, by the time I got back to the Elks all of the liquid refreshments were gone, along with all of the satisfied and slap-happy runners. Must have been one hell of an after-party!

Only Richie the Timer, Frank the Green, Jim the RD, and a handful of broken imitation Oreo cookies were there to greet me.

A perfect end to a perfect day.

The only other race on my schedule before Boston is the New Bedford Half in March. After Boston? Super 5K 2012 of course.

(Over here, Jim!)


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