Guest blog by James DeLuca
Where to start? The storm that came through New England this weekend pushed back the start of the race but the course for the Jones 10 Miler was in pretty decent condition. Of course the bibs were the talk of the day.
To what should I compare the bibs? It would be an exaggeration to say that they were the size of Texas. They were more like Rhode Island. Rhode Island is tiny as far as states go. The next smallest state (Delaware) has ~1000 more square miles of land area than Rhode Island but at ~1500 square miles Rhode Island is enormous as far as race bibs usually go.
Last year Kevin Johnson (WMDP, then running for GBTC) won in 51:12 and this year he repeated his victory in 51:48. There have been some rumors that Kevin just had a “crappy” race this year but I’m going to assume that everyone’s finish was just delayed 36 seconds by the massive bibs.
Enough about the bibs: now for the race.
Sarah and I got delayed on the way out to Amherst by some snow plows so I didn’t get to warm up with the rest of GLRR but there was a real flock of Angry Chickens all ready to go when I got to the start.
I couldn’t make out a word from the announcer before the race but eventually it started and for the stretch from the start out to the first turn it was the normal confusion as everyone got themselves sorted to their proper paces. I went out with the plan of just doing a tempo run; I was thinking a 1:02:30-1:03:00 finish time which was all I thought I needed to be on track for my 2:55:00 May marathon goal.
James DeLuca (L) in action at Amherst. Courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.
I was standing just a bit behind Mike at the start so I basically followed him through the first mile in 6:11. We were running on the left side of the road; EJ was over to the right and ended up getting caught up in traffic and falling back a bit. Mike caught Bui first and I thought I was going to fall back and let them go but mile 2 was downhill and thanks to relatively long legs I can cruise downhill at a pretty competitive pace without having to work and the three of us went through mile 2 together in about 11:54.
Then we hit the first real hill of the course. I took the lead for a few moments but Bui ended up moving to the front and pushing the pace up the hill. Somewhere up the hill there was a water stop; Bui said he was going for water so I went wide to give him room and tried to push the pace a little but Jason’s a bit stronger on the hills so he was back to leading the way by the time we got to the mud.
We passed mile 3 in about 18:22 and pushed into the off road bit. Last year it was all frozen ruts and this year it was mud. Fortunately the ground was solid below a thin layer of mud so it wasn’t as bad of a slog as it could have been. Bui and I traded off leading a few times until I pushed ahead around the 5 mile marker.
I missed my split at mile 4; mile 5 was a few seconds on the slow side of 31 minutes. 1:02:30, I thought, that’s okay: it will be a PR. At mile 6 I had worked my way to a few seconds faster than 37 minutes and soon we hit the end of the mud.
Hitting the tarmac on the far side of the mud felt like I hit one of those boost strips in Mario Kart. I worked my way down to 42:44 for mile 7 and then 48:29 for mile 8. I felt as strong as I ever have in a race and was passing people left and right…actually mostly on the left because we were running on the right side of the road at this point but the colloquialism remains. Somewhere in there Mike Smith and I traded places a few times and I reeled in Matt Theodoros and wished him best of luck with the rest of the course. When I went through mile 9 in 54:16 I thought I might have a legitimate shot at breaking 60.
Then there was the last hill. I kept passing people up the hill, but it felt like a death march. The clock will show I ran a 6:14 for that mile but no 6:14 mile has ever felt that hard to me. I managed to pass Titus Mutinda toward the middle of that last mile making this the first time I’ve ever finished ahead of him.
I crossed the finish line in 1:00:30 for a 0:06:09 PR and wrapped my race bib around my shoulders to keep warm. I found Sarah and we found out that Sully crushed the course to the tune of 56:22 and we watched Mike Smith, Mike Girouard and Jason Bui all come in within 5 seconds of each other (1:01:08, 1:01:09, 1:01:13) and Matt Theodoros finish not far behind in 1:01:52.
We gathered by the finish and I found out that Cody Freihofer had dominated in 58:46. I met Justin Patronick (59:11) and Andrew Downey (1:00:17) and congratulated EJ Hrynowski when he came in at 1:03:26 a bit ahead of Jim Garcia (1:04:00) and Kevin Carnabucci at 1:06:06. Despite the massive bibs it was getting really cold so when Fil Faria finished in 1:08:29 I abandoned the finish line to get back to the school for coffee, food and heat. Back at the school I ran into Jim Pawlicki (CMS) and found out he had run a solid 58:26.
In team results GLRR took 8th place in Men’s Open. Top 3 were WMDP, GBTC and CMS. GLRR Women in 10th. GLRR Masters Men and Women both in 5th. EJ led the GLRR Senior team to 2nd place! GLRR Veteran Men took 3rd!
In all despite the weather and the hills it was a day of inspiring performances. SMAC definitely made the right call by keeping the race on.
May your training miles be ever hilly and may all your races have free beer!
LEVEL NOTE: I have to give credit to E-J Hrynowski for bringing this (and all its great bib references) to our attention. Be sure to check out Jim’s blog, which is part of our blog network. Is your blog part of it yet? Get started here.