Jesseman Crushes It At Hollis

The USATF-NE 5k championship was hosted last week at the Hollis Fast 5k in Hollis, NH. Runners battled the mid-week commuter traffic and then battled each other on the speedy downhill course to see who had it that day. In the end, Eric Jesseman of Dirigo RC was standing alone at the top of the mountain (or in this case, the bottom of the valley?) as she responded to her loss to Steph Reilly at New Bedford with a win of her own.

As you could see in the video above, the ladies took advantage of their exclusive starting space and hammered it from the gun. Jesseman’s pace was just too much for the rest of the ladies to keep up with, including 2012 Olympian Steph Reilly. Speaking of Steph, she was took quick for us to capture on camera but we did get a quick interview with her anyway:

How’s training been going lately?

The last 6 weeks have been messy to say the least. Up until the end of April training was going very smooth and I was getting really fit and strong. I was putting in a great base and I was really starting to feel the benefits. Unfortunately then I injured my lower back and this literally brought me to a standstill for 3-4 weeks. One of those really annoying, frustrating injuries (SI joint and piriformis) that you have no clue how long it will take to heal….you could be looking at weeks or worse case scenario, months. Anyways I am back now and progressing nicely. I would say the injury I am at about 85%, and volume of training 65%. I feel pretty good now, and cross training and the work I put in this fall and winter kept me so fit that I don’t feel like I lost a whole lot. Just really rusty now but ready to get going again.

What did you think of the set up for the start?

I would say interesting, and I would have preferred the men’s start….But I had a one track mind at that race, and the only thing that was bothering my mind was the downhill. Downhill running is literally the only thing that bothers my back right now, the start was very downhill but thankfully short, the rest was gradual so that was fine. The merge was a bit scary as it happened very fast, like 30 seconds into the race. I thought it was going to be 3mins into the race. Bit of a difference there. Those guys were hauling so I think the women had no choice but to either haul or get trampled.

You and Erica went out hard in that first mile. Did you have a pace that you wanted to stick to or did you try to cover her initial surge?

Yes, incredibly hard, and I was not expecting that at all. I had no pace in mind… is an unusual race, so very hard to pin down a pace I guess. I ran a 5k the Sunday before as I needed to test the body out before I jumped in that race. I ran 16:35 there so was happy enough to make the trip to Hollis. But I never had any expectations to go out that hard. I felt like I was sprinting the entire way - flat 5ks are so much easier haha. You know when you get in a race, you race, and I tried my hardest to run with the leader. I love the competition and it is not like me to sit back and not go for it. But no matter how hard I ran Erica was running faster. She was hauling and had an awesome race, and like myself is a fierce competitor. I was delighted with my effort despite getting whipped. You got to take away perspective from every race you do. I was just glad to be on the line at all and be competitive. Speaking of competitive that Hollis race for the women was incredible, such talent out there. I love to see the women’s side of road racing coming on strong again. Gets me going!!

What’s coming up for you this summer?

The number one thing is stay healthy, and get some consistency in my training. Keep the volume down, but get the quality sessions in again. No major plans, some road races locally around New England. I will be at Carver for the GP race 4. This was always my plan this summer. After three years of spending summers on the elite track scene I need a nice vacation from that. I want to chill out with husband and sons. Do some road races, and enjoy some other outdoor activities.

But as impressive as those solo efforts were for those two, it wasn’t enough for them to push their teams to the top. Whirlaway, led by Tammie Robie’s 16:52, took home that honor. The GBTC was a mere seven seconds behind the Whirlaway ladies. Leading the charge for Greater Boston was Aly Millett and her 16:53 (only a second behind Whirlaway leader Robie, too).

In the masters competition, Kara Molloy Haas was having a banner day of her own. Kara’s 16:30 was a whopping 43 seconds ahead of the next masters runner (Mary Pardi of Dirigo RC). It was also a lifetime PR for Kara, set on the same course where she attained her last one six years ago.

Did you think you had that PR in you that day?

I know it’s not a real PR due to the drop, but yes I did think I could beat my old “pr” on that course (16:34). I had trained really hard for Friehofers, and then my daughter got sick and I couldn’t go so I chose Hollis to focus on instead.

Were you trying to get out faster to be in good position for when the men’s and women’s fields merged?

I did try to get a fast start, not so much due to the men merging but because I ‘d run this course many times and it lends itself to a blast out of there hold on for dear life race!

What does it feel like to get a new lifetime PR, and on the same course that your previous one was on?

I was really fired up to run my “pr” ( see above disclaimer ) here in my twilight years of 42! All kidding aside, it makes me feel good to know that the balancing of training, work, baby, is paying off right now!

Feeling more confident heading into Carver now?

Yes it does help my confidence heading into Carver, but I know I have a lot of work to do between now and then to prepare for the 2 extra, not downhill miles!

The GLRR masters women teamed up to finish a strong second, but again here it was the Whirlaway ladies taking the team title. Christin Doneski proved she was just as effective on the downhill as she is in scaling the mountains by leading the victorious Whirlaway group with a 17:27. That was also good enough for 4th amongst her masters peers.

Men’s coverage coming soon!

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