Sunday I participated in the Nashua Soup Kitchen 10K. I was hoping to do the Great Bay 1/2 Marathon but the online entry wouldn't work for me. I had only run 3 times in the 2 weeks prior to the race due to the problem with my back muscle and it was probably not a good idea to slog through 15 miles on Thursday when my hips were out of alignment so I wasn't feeling fit or balanced for racing. I choose the 10K over the 5K race because I could run a slower pace. I felt running a 1/2 marathon would have been even better as I have more distance in my legs than speed now.
It was a nice running day (except for the wind) but my hips remained uncomfortable and out of alignment. I can't seem to get them back to where they were just a short time ago. But I figured it would be better to run out of whack than not at all.
The race started going north on Main Street and into the wind. My stride was very unbalanced and I went out slow but I was in in fourth place right off the bat. We ran into a head wind and then Library Hill so it was not that fun. Eventually Chris Bougopoulos and Brian Coates caught up and I had some running mates. Heading down into Swart Terrace (2 miles) I started to lose contact with Brian and the guy who went out in 3rd, Chris Stone. Chris B. had already taken off. But then there was a downhill and I caught right back up. On the uphill Brian started taking off and eventually I went ahead of Chris S. in front of Greeley Park. It was very uncomfortable running as I couldn't get my stride right. Twice my left leg gave way and I stumbled forward.
At the turnaround I started to feel better as the wind was behind me and it was more downhill. When we hit the pathway through Greeley Park my legs kept getting confused with the slight changes in terrain and direction. Then I heard someone catching up to me. Along came a runner chanting, throwing his arms up in the air to egg himself on, and with iPod blasting music. I looked and it was a younger guy with a hat, and big muscular tatooed arms, but a nice running stride. He sprinted past me. I slowly reeled him in. He'd see me again and start sprinting. This happened a few times and I realized this was not a running companion, but someone ready to battle. He was still calling out encouragement to himself every so often. I just let him go.
Coming out of Greeley Park I could still see Brian C. up ahead by about 20-30 seconds and wondered if this guy would catch Brian on the downhills to the finish. When we hit Main Street, after merging with the 5K runners, I found we had to run on the sidewalk. I had to weave around slower runners jogging with headphones or in groups. Eventually I moved over to the road to try to keep away from them. I started to notice that Brian was coming back to me and I kept running hard. I didn't think I could catch him but I kept trying. Somehow I kept getting closer. At the final turn to the finish I was about 15 yards behind. I still wasn't sure I could catch him but then all of a sudden I was 5 yards behind. I had a choice that I rarely have in a race: slow down a bit and just surprise him at the finish line or keep pressing and go by with less than 50 yards to go and force a sprint (which I knew I would lose). I decided just to keep running hard. I really had no reason to finish ahead of him. I got to within a couple of steps and he turned around and saw me and took off (very fast)! So much for that. He put 3 seconds on me.
It was a nice course but a little too windy. I don't like my time but I do realize I am not in racing shape. I did win my age group and should get a medal. The 10K medals weren't ready for the race. They said they looked nice. It was fun catching up to Brian when I was thinking it would be impossible. He usually catches me at the end of races. Thomas Wholey was the young runner with the fast 2nd half. He is a Nashua fireman in his 20's and although he said he did the Chicago Marathon, he is still a "rookie with talent" runner. I invited him to join the Striders and come to track workouts. Hopefully he can join us and learn to train and race. He said he has been training by running 3 milers on the treadmill.
Probably the best thing about the race is that I saw former Gate City runner Kevin Gagnon. He was doing his first race since 1999. I used to enjoy training and racing with him and he was an excellent runner (low 2:50 marathon in Chicago). Serious back problems forced him to retire his running shoes but he said that doing hot room yoga is really helping him. I hope Kevin can keep on the comeback trail.
Here are the results and I have listed the top ten finishers:
1 Dan Moriarty 40 M Nashua NH 37:11
2 Tim Burke 45 M Tyngsboro MA 38:45
3 Chris Bougopoulos 35 M Nashua NH 39:24
4 Thomas Wholey 26 M Nashua NH 41:27
5 Brian Coates 39 M Amherst NH 41:36
6 Jim Hansen 50 M Nashua NH 41:39
7 Chris Stone 26 M Bradford MA 42:52
8 Paul Hughes 54 M Chelmsford MA 42:54
9 Lori Lambert 44 F Nashua NH 43:28
10 Christian Rodriguez 37 M Hollis NH 43:31