The “bye week” in between the An Ras Mor 5k (3/6) and the New Bedford Half Marathon (3/20), both USATF-NE championship races, left runners with some free time on their hands. Luckily there was no shortage of races for those who wanted to toe the line again to stay sharp.
The Guinness Celtic 5k in Worcester on Saturday represented one such chance contenders to get another crack at a 5k. Scott Leslie (CMS), fresh off of his 15:26 last weekend at An Ras Mor, broke the tape with a commanding 15:51. “My legs were a bit tired, but not really from An Ras Mor, a week is usually plenty of recoup time for another 5k.” Scott took a day off to recover after the race and then still put in a heavy 80 miles over the 5 days leading up to his win in Worcester.
Sonja Kent was the women’s champ in 18:49, and her win was almost as dominate as Leslie’s was. Caroline McBride was the next woman to cross the line (in 19:06).
The course was of the out & back variety and featured a downhill tailwind on the way out which runners then of course had to repay via an uphill headwind on the way home. Scott led the big field right from the gun and by end he was all alone. Considering Scott ended up winning by nearly 30 seconds (Ben Coughlin was next in 16:21), it seems like he handled the headwind just fine. Of course, having a little help from a big crowd is always a plus. “The race course goes out and back over the Worcester St Paddy’s parade route so the crowd support was awesome. Hopefully this race gains some more momentum with some support from the organizers.”
Next up for Leslie is the New Bedford Half Marathon, and perhaps a down week is in order? “A mini-taper might help with the recovery right beforehand but I know the weather/wind is always a factor down there. NB is always a good test to see how the Winter training has been going and CMS should have a good squad of guys to work with.” Joining Leslie in New Bedford will be CMS teammates Nate Jenkins and Dan Vassallo as CMS looks to continue rolling with the momentum they earned in winning the Grand Prix series opener at An Ras Mor.
A few spots behind Leslie came Sisu’s Matt Germain, who finished in 4th with a 16:51. Matt was also fresh off of An Ras Mor where he ran a 16:38. Matt & wife Caitlyn are both on the comeback trail this season. Making the comeback a little trickier (but in a good way!) is that they are both new parents too (a beautiful baby girl named Raea that you’ll most likely see at road races in the future!).
Matt might not be in tip top shape right now, but you’ll still find him out there helping his Sisu team. “I have never been one to shy away from putting a time next to my name, no matter what state of fitness I am in. I will soldier myself out there for the Sisu Project or to represent Sneakerama, my employer. The cold and bitter taste of reality is sometimes the perfect antidote to sucking. It gets you back out there everyday so you can scrape away that awful taste off your tongue.” Amen!
Caitlyn was the third woman in Worcester (19:44), which was a slight improvement over her time the prior week at An Ras Mor (19:52). The going has been tough for Caitlyn as she’s been dealing with a knee injury since January of 2014, one that took nearly a year to even get diagnosed. Once it was discovered that she had Fat Pad Impingement Syndrome, she found out she was pregnant via pre-surgery tests and had to delay getting it fixed even more.
Finally, during the second trimester, Caitlyn was able to get it taken care of. By then it was too late to really start the comeback since she was so far along in her pregnancy. Then there was childbirth, recovery from that, PT for the knee…so you can see it’s been a long road back for Caitlyn. On her performance in Worcester, Caitlyn said “I don’t necessarily feel like I “sucked”… more that I have literally needed to relearn EVERYTHING.”
It seems that she’s a quick study and that things might be coming together rather quickly for the tenacious pavement pounder. “It’s been hard at times because as Matt said I still have such a strong desire to be performing at the highest level, and that just seems so far away! However, Matt’s been coaching me, and I think I’m coming along quickly. I ran two sub 20 minute performances back to back with less than 40 miles per week, and I guess the plan is to just take it one day at a time, stay healthy, and train consistently. The plan is to “not suck”… and to run fast enough that I can be proud, and that Raea can be proud.”
Through all the change, the couple has an amazing outlook and are impressively attacking with a vigor that shows they won’t be in comeback mode for much longer. “After the birth of our daughter Raea, Caitlyn and I have experienced a tidal wave of amazing life realizations. One of the most surprising of these is we still burn to perform at a high level in this sport. We are a partnership in every way imaginable and it is our every intention to return the best runners we can be.”
Caitlyn echoed her husbands comments in saying that “Matt has been amazingly supportive. It’s easy for me to have excuses, but Matt does so much of the parenting duties, no one realizes how much it effects the dad as well. He’s done an amazing job keeping up his training with all the new responsibilities and has really kept me motivated no matter how much sleep we’ve missed, which fortunately Raea is a teamplayer, too… because shes the most easy going, happy baby. Her flexibility makes this even more possible!”
Images courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.