Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hobby Jogging: 8/15/10 - Falmouth, MA - Falmouth Road Race

I had always heard great things about the Falmouth Road Race growing up and through friends in the running community, so when I saw information on the race's website this spring about the lottery to get in, I figured "why not?" I knew it was tough to get in out of state, but luckily they selected my ping pong ball and I began planning the trip. Had to fly into Boston and take a rental from there (about 75 miles) and it was a busy weekend on the cape.

Falmouth was beautiful and the race was run perfectly. The first night we arrived, there was an event called the Falmouth Mile at Falmouth High School where the packet pickup was and everyone got right up on the track to cheer the runners on. It was pretty cool seeing Olympic Silver Medalist Nick Willis from 2 lanes out in his first comeback race after injury. He was outkicked in the final meters by Russell Brown from the Oregon Track Club. Here's a photo I took at about the 650 meter mark with Rob Novak leading Brown and Willis. Laid low after this and went to the Falmouth Cinema Pub to see "The Other Guys" before calling it a night and resting up for the race.
Rob Novak leads Nick Willis and Russell Brown

Race day started about 6:30am as the race didn't start until 10am. Got everything together and hopped on a school bus at the Lawrence School to head to the starting line at Woods Hole. Was on the first bus and got there very early, so had time to kill. Searched out the area around the start and found a nice shaded backyard of a restaurant right on the water with picnic tables. Set up shop there early and soon after all the pros found my location. I knew I had picked the right place at this point. After relaxing for a bit, did a 2 mile warmup and went pretty slow, but still passed all the Kenyans and Scotty Bauhs. I was going slow, but they must have been going 10 minute mile pace. Am I missing something? Was lucky enough to get seeded in the first corral, which I have found is essential for big races. As long as I can run the times to get me up front for the start, it's worth it! Lined up and a slightly older gentleman bumped into me at the starting line, just some guy named Frank Shorter, gold medalist in the 1972 Olympic Marathon & Silver Medalist in '76. Not a bad resume. 

The gun went off and it was a pretty controlled and rolling first mile around 5:45. The hills kept coming in mile 2 and a big cheer came up from behind me at about 1.5 miles. I look to the side and Joan Benoit Samuelson had drawn beside me; gold medalist in the 1984 Olympic Marathon. I did my best to hang with her for a mile or so. On the up and downhills, I would pass her (or catch up) and she would speed away on the flats. Hit the 3 mile around 17:45 before the long run along the cape and that's where she took off. I ran the hillier sections of the course much better than I did the flats, probably due to all the base and strength work in my training cycle thus far and my lack of speed/track work. That's fine though, 2 more big races this fall. Miles 3-6 were pretty tough as it got a little humid and we were fighting some strong cross winds off the ocean that felt like they were going to blow my number off. Turning back into the neighborhoods shortly before the 10k was a godsend as I was able to get my legs back under me and start the drive home. Went through the 10k in 37:55 and started to roll past people. Maybe I had saved too much, but I think the heat just zaps me as all my best races are in the far cooler weather. We headed back out to the cape and had one more big hill before the downhill finish. I charged it and then took the brakes off for the downhill finish, getting home in a respectable 42:44 for 7.1 miles (6:01 avg) and 128th overall in a field of 10,000 or so.

After the race, we hung out at the big field beside the beach and had a few gatorades, hot dogs, clif bars, cape cod potato chips and Sam Adams (from the British Beer Company). That afternoon was finally able to get some chowda! Everyone was very nice and it was a great experience. New Englanders take their running seriously and know how to put on a race! I hope to make it back next year!

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  1. Great work Pat, blazing time! Must have been pretty awesome to run along side Olympic medalist.