This morning started out with final travel arrangements made at 7 AM. I headed up to Hollis with acidotic Racing teammate Mike O'Conner towards the end of the snow storm that dropped anywhere from 1" to 12"+ inches of snow through out northern NE. The travel was made easy due to my trusty GPS. I love that thing! We arrived and ran into the Cullen's who were doing their first SS race. They mentioned that their daughter Amber and her husband Dan (acidotic teammates) were going to be showing up.
Mike and I threw on our Yak Traks to get a warm up run on the course. As we did Jim Johnson showed up (Yes my record is intact for beating JJ to races). Right away JJ is starting his sandbagging. "My foot hurts, I don't feel well, I wasn't going to run, I think I'll just hang on DD tail" Give me a break!! He has been crushing every field he toes the line with. He won Runner of the Year award for the state of NH, was selected to the Inov-8 mountain running team, and his biggest win of all, announced his engagement to the lovely and talented Kristin. He is one lucky guy. My money was on JJ.
Mike and I did an easy run of the course and even walked a few times on the hill sections so we did wear our legs out before the race.
Soon I was talking to all the usual suspects at the race, Bill Morse the divine leader of Dungeon Rock Racing, Dave Dunham (master mountain runner of the year), Jim Hansen, Phil Erwin, Steve Wolfe, Chris Dunn, Tim Cox, Scott Mason (Racing photographer extraordinare), Dan Scotina (ultra running machine), Brent Tkaczyk, Dan Cooper, Jay Curry, Keith O'Brien, Richard Blake, .... That's enough, I think you get the point, the same old crew was toeing the line and the competition was going to be fierce. As Mike and I were driving to the race he was saying that he hoped that we could finish in the top 10, I responded that we'd be lucky to finish in the top 20, then I started rattling off all the people I thought might show up. Our goal became "Don't embarrass ourselves".
Soon it was time to toe the line. We headed down to the starting line with approximately 90 others. I tucked myself into the third row and got ready. Just before the race started I made a quick change of my cleats to ice cleats because the cover was thin and I didn't want the long cleats under my feet.
The "GO" command was given and snow was flying everywhere. I started off slowly on purpose and was trapped behind quite a few slower shoers but I didn't panic. I waited until we reached the 180 degree turn before I started to push it. Now this is an out and back course and most of the first half is down hill. So I decided to not go all out in the first half because the last 2 times I ran this course I had nothing left in the 2nd half. Slowly but surely I stated picking off shoers. At the turn around point I had a good lead on the the next shoer. Richard Lavers and Brent Tkaczyk had about a 50 yard lead on me and I figured that my chances of cat hing them was slim to none. So I just
focused on maintaining my form and work as hard as I could.
With about 600 yards to go Brent and Richard were
right in front of me, WTF!!! I tried getting around them but there
was no room on the trail. I just hung behind them and settled in until
the last 150 yards. The problem was they had more left and blew me
away those final yards.
I finished 14th over all and Mike finished 15th. To put this race in
perspective I ran 1 minute and 30 seconds faster then I did a month
ago and Mike ran 45 seconds faster. I guess I have to consider this
a good effort for my first race of the season.
acidotic RACING took 1st in the team competition and I was 2nd in the
50 - 59 year old age category. Mike was 7th in the very tough 40 - 49
year old age category. And of course JJ won the race.
I will declare that A Good Time Was Had By All.