Sunday, May 2, 2010

Two 5K's: One Thumbs Up and One Thumbs Down

After having a really poor race at the Red's Shoe Barn 5 miler on Sunday, I ended up with at Tuesday night 5k in Lowell to try to redeem myself. Brain Bigelow invited me to head down and work on our 5k times in the Good Times Spring Series. I haven't done much racing in Lowell unless it involved a marathon (a few Bay State Marathons and the 1981 Lowell Oktoberfest Marathon) or the Mill City Relays. Even though I was just on a class field trip earlier in the week to the Lowell Mills, I still got lost on the way to the race and had no time to really warm up on a cold damp night.

Before the start of the race, it was announced that this week's version would be the Jack and Phil Remembrance Run in honor of Jack Kelleher and Phil Riley, two Good Times Series' regulars who passed away recently. Whovever finished in 160 something place would get an award in memory of Jack and the first senior runner would get an award on honor of Phil. Brian and I looked at each other and tried to figure out if we were seniors. It sounds so much older than just saying the 50 year old age group. Brian had been the first runner in this age group the previous week.

At the gun, I felt really good for a change and went out hard at the tail of the lead pack. I found it disconcerting to follow the course through the twists and turns and didn't want to trip or stumble over something in the road, but I remained upright. After about a 1/2 mile, I fell behind a group of about 4 runners, but after awhile I got ahead of them as I felt feisty and loose. I have no idea what the splits were or where the course went. I found it confusing, but after awhile it straightened out (around 2 miles) and I slowed a bit. The twists had knocked my hips around and I started losing my stride. I got it back the last mile and felt that I ran a strong race. The finish time was 19:46 and I finished 13th overall (results). I found out that I won my age group and won a 2009 yellow Boston Marathon jacket and a case of beer. I gave the beer to Brian since he would have won if I didn't show up and I don't drink. I enjoyed the race and will probably show up again to try to better my time. I left the race feeling pumped as I felt my running was strong and I could see lots of improvement coming.

Saturday, I showed up just in time again for another 5k. This time it was the 19th annual Derry Foothealth 5k, the third race in the New Hampshire Grand Prix. Just like the previous two GP races, my hips were off again. It was a pathetic struggle of a race and I couldn't move my legs properly (results). Maybe I should stop doing the Grand Prix races as my hips never want to cooperate. I ended up a minute slower than Tuesday and it felt 10 times as worse. I feel like quitting running when I can't get the hip muscles working right as it is uncomfortable to run and move. Fortunately, I can remember how good it felt to run the previous race and I have to just make sure to get more good days going and to find out what is triggering my hips to get so out of alignment (it may have been the many hours driving a car the previous three days).

Congratulations to Carl Hefflefinger, running his first time as a "senior" and finishing in 19:49. This was after a 30 mile bike ride to the race and then a ride back to his home! Tom Kolb also gets a nod for finishing the race and then jumping into the lake. I guess he does this every year for some strange reason that sounds both crazy and admirable.

I stayed up that night to watch the track meet in Stanford hoping to see Galen Rupp set an American record in the 10,000 meters. I watched a great race and an American record, but it was Chris Solinsky, in his debut 10,000m who set the record with a blazing last 800m and a time of 26:59.60. Simply Amazing!

See the race here:

More video here.

My race times are really making me feel old and it is not just that they call my age group the "seniors". This week I found a long lost log book of most of my runs from 1978-1980 (probably the best log book I have kept as I am not that good at keeping track of my running). The back cover had my first five marathons listed, so now I can start making a list and doing the detective work to find out how many marathons I have run. My first marathons were:

Dec. 3 1977 Dallas White Rock Marathon, Dallas, Texas 3:25:44
Nov. 25 1979 Philadelphia Marathon 3:03:57
April 13, 1980 Fox Valley Marathon Aurora, Illinois 2:54:38
May 17, 1980 Gill Dodds Marathon Wheaton, Illinois 2:50:07
Nov. 23 1980 Cape Cod Marathon 2:51:57

What I found interesting was how little running I did for some of those races. I run so much more now, but boy those times and my track times were so much faster for the little bit of effort I put in. For example, I ran that third marathon in the middle of April and had only done 264 miles from January up to the race. My long runs were two 10 milers and one 11 miler. Imagine getting away with that today! Of course that was 30 years ago and sadly deterioation certainly has set in!


Scotty "PHAT" Graham said...


Glad you won the Phil Riley award the other night. Phil was a good friend. I ran 1000's of miles with him and he was always very upbeat and a very smart person. As you most likely know he as a HS teacher. So the two of you would have a lot in common.

BTW were you insane back in 1979-1980 You ran 4 marathons in a 1 year span. Imagine if you did that now?

Jim Hansen said...

I read on your post that he was a good friend of yours. I am not sure that I ever met him, but he sounds like my type of runner and person!

What I didn't mention in my post was that 2 weeks after I ran the November marathon on Cape Cod in that year, I did a spur of the moment 50 mile run on the track. My college teammates were doing a 24 hour relay. I had done that the year before and said "never again". I like to get some sleep at night and was thinking of being an ultramarathoner, so I ran 50 miles while they did their relay (200 laps). I went home to sleep and came back the next day to cheer on their finish! I never did an ultramarathon after that, but it had more to do with getting into triathlons.

Scotty "PHAT" Graham said...

50 miles!!! on a track!!! that's insane. You were a running machine back then. I guess I was doing the same sort of thing back then. Thank goodness I got older and smarter..yeah right!!