Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 Wrap

Mike B and BLS, this is for you :-)
My running year at a glance...  Don W's race history on Athlinks
Didn't want to go all the way through 2014 without a single blog entry lol!

That said, I'll be posting more details of what 2014 was like for me as I progressed into my 60's.

Coming up:

12/21/2014 - Old Mountain 5K Trail Race
1/1/2015 - New Year's Day Run & Plunge - Mystic to Esker Point Beach
2/7/2015 - 2015 Hilton Head Island (SC) Marathon
5/3/2015 - 7 Sisters Trail Race (MA)

More to follow...

Happy Holidays!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Getting caught up on what's been going on the last few weeks...

On the radar:

  • Friday, 9/13/2013 - Jeffrey's Rainbow Run 5k, 6pm, McCook Point Beach, Niantic
  • Sunday, 9/15/2013 - Surftown Half, 7:30am, Misquamicut, RI
  • Sunday, 9/22/2013 - CVS/Caremark Downtown 5k, 11:15am, Providence, RI
  • Sunday, 9/29/2013 - Run with the Lions 5k, 10am, Paddy's, Misquamicut, RI

Summary of 2013 so far:

Without a doubt, 2013 has been my best running year ever. Since returning to running at age 49, here I am at age 60 -- after a decade of trial & error, personal running failures, injuries, health issues unrelated to running and unrealized goals -- amazingly injury-free, as fast as I was in 2007, meeting my goal to defy father time and get better than ever. I am truly loving it.

This year so far, I have made some great new friends, tried doing new things (more trails, off road training, longer longs, run more races, ran a 100-mile team relay, etc) and learned a lot of lessons about running generally, about myself, and about others. I have developed a profound respect for the value of listening to advice from those who have toiled in running for a lifetime. I have learned that no matter what happens, good or bad, keep your nose to the grindstone, tough it out, don't complain, never give up, and learn from your mistakes. Most of all, I have learned that with perseverance and hard work come reward and satisfaction... and the joy of running.

Weekly Summary:


"PR" (for highest weekly mileage ever...41.3 miles) after Saturday's 7.3 tempo/hill workout in Giant's Neck, North Bridebrook Rd and Plant's Dam Rd with Al Litwin. Previous best: 31 miles early 2013. I know that this must seem like a pittance to those who've logged 100-150 mile weeks, but I have never been able to withstand high mileage (off the bike) prior to this year.Took today (Sunday 9/8/2013) off for a much needed rest.


8/28 - Roger Schonning 5k, Westerly RI:

4th fastest 5k time this year (22:12). 1st in 60-69 division. Unbelievable splits, completely ass backwards. 6:45 1st mile (maybe my fastest 1-mile 5k race split ever). Paid for it dearly with a 7:28 mile 2 and 7:31 mile 3. Lesson learned: Don't get swept up in the emotion of the lead pack when the gun goes off.


8/20 - Battle of Stonington 5k, Stonington, CT:

A bit of a disappointment (23:05), but I guess 2 days rest likely wasn't enough after the 100 on 100 relay event. Had hoped to get back under a 22:00. Surprising 1st in the 60-69 division with a bunch of no-shows, including John Sacrey, Wayne Jolley, Tim Smith, etc. Lesson learned: No regrets for showing up.


8/17 - 100 on 100 Relay, Stowe VT:

One of the BEST experiences I have ever had. Period. 6 teammates run 18 legs (3 legs each) covering 100 miles mostly on Vermont Route 100. Start at Trapp Family Lodge 5:45am and finish in Okemo about 8:30pm. Approximately 16.5 very.hilly.miles per runner. Just BEAUTIFUL. Very exciting. Lots of laughs. Lesson learned: Where do I start? How about HUMILITY? I thought I had it bad with my 1st leg, which was almost entirely uphill. Until I witnessed the hills my teammates had to run after mine. And what about Bob Buckingham running the so-called costume leg dressed as Elvis from head to toe complete with wig with sideburns... 4 miles straight up Killington Mountain? Another lesson: Don't judge a book by its cover. It doesn't matter what you look like on the outside if you have grit and determination on the inside. I think every one of us on the team -- big, small, young and old -- didn't matter. Every one of us toughed it out to carry our load for the team, even when we were hurting badly. And may I add here that I have the profoundest respect for Way and Melinda Hedding for doing a masterful job of taking care of the team with some of the most careful driving I have ever witnessed. Love these guys! At the end of the day, it was all about teamwork, taking care of each other, and having fun.

8/11 - Waterford Week (Lions Club) 5 miler, Waterford, CT:

Good outing with a 37:28 (7:29), although there were a few anomalies. Very small turnout (I don't think the race is well-advertised). There were discrepancies regarding actual start time that led to Jeff Vuono getting caught in the men's room when the gun went off. Still, he recovered and blew past me halfway into the race, finishing 3rd overall with a 35:22. I thought the race started at the time Jeff had read also, but I happened to be near the starting line 5 minutes before that, where Scooch Martinson told me I'd better get lined up or I was going to miss the start. WTF??? Lesson learned: Always confirm gun time. I was lucky this time.


Vacation week. Suzan & I relaxed in Castleton, Vermont at our friend Nancy's B&B Thursday-Saturday. I did an 8-mile hill climb near Castleton State College that proved to be a sobering experience and good training for the 100 on 100 relay coming up later in the month.


8/3 - 51st Annual John & Jessie Kelley Ocean Beach 11.6 Miler:

This was a great experience. Hot and humid but overcast and drizzly much of the time. After several previous outings during which I was ill-prepared for the distance (didn't stay adequately hydrated, didn't eat enough before the race, went too fast for conditions, etc...) I got my act together and did a few things right for once! Went shirtless so I wouldn't get waterlogged, drank 2 cups of water at every water stop (and took a "hand grenade" water bottle with me), ate a hearty breakfast 2 hours before rather than 4 hours before, went out a little faster than I should have, but recognized this right away and backed it down from an 8:05 to an 8:20 pace. Managed to get in a groove around an 8:30 pace for the middle part of the race, then picked it up in the later miles to an 8:25, then 8:15, then 8:06 at mile 11. Then I put it in high gear along Pequot Avenue for the final stretch to the finish and amazingly (for me) gas was still in the tank. I kicked it under a 7:00 pace for the last several hundred feet to try to make sure anyone I'd passed in the last mile stayed behind me. Best of all, I felt great when it was over, rather than feeling completely bonked. I really wanted to get this race right, as I wanted to try to run several more half marathons (perhaps Hartford full) to see if I could get my half PR to under an 8:39 pace... preferably close to an 8:30. If I can do this, I think I might take a stab at qualifying for Boston, which for the 60-64 division requires an 8:55 (minimum). That's my bucket list stretch goal (dream). Lesson learned: You CAN teach an old dog new tricks?

  • 2013: 1:36:32 (8:19 pace)
  • 2012: 1:46:42 (9:11 pace)
  • 2009: 1:40:24 (8:39 pace)

Special thanks to Al Litwin, who has been my weekend long run partner off and on for about a year, and who has been as close to being a coach/critic as I've ever had. Al is one tough guy and I'm lucky to know him!

See you out there  :-)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Update - Last 2 weeks

7/9/2013 - Stonington Fun Run

Warm, but not oppressive. Ran hard, as I hadn't run long and hadn't run repeats since the Chester race... only a string of 5-milers at work when time allowed. 22:45 according to the timekeeper. Felt good physically. The upper left hamstring tenderness was clearing. Washed it down on the Dog Watch dock with a couple beers.

7/14/2013 - New London Sailfest 5K

Oppressive. Felt like triple digits. Shirtless by necessity. Well-hydrated for this race, lesson learned from previous outings. 22:37 at the finish (7:16), good enough for 1st place in the over-the-hill division... but not even close to my best Sailfest race.

7/16/2013 - Stonington Fun Run

If Sailfest was oppressive, this was freaking insane. 93 degrees according to my car thermometer and off-the-charts humidity. I showed up intending to run hard, and did my best to stick close to Al Phillips, whose pace seemed where I wanted to be... about a 7:30ish something or other. Wilted at about the 2 mile mark. Amby Burfoot cruised by making it look easy while I held up into a 10-second walk to gauge my survival chances. I limped in with a 24:00, sweating what felt like Niagra Falls. An ice cold Mystic IPA out on the dock really helped. Lesson for the day: Hot = bad.

7/21/2013 - Montville Masters 10K

Hilly. HOT. Humid. 4 miles of up; 2 miles of screaming down. 50:23 humbling minutes, good enough for third in the 60-64 division behind Wayne Jolley and John Sacrey.

Next up: long run with Al Litwin Wednesday, then trip to Vermont for several days. Looking forward to the Ocean Beach Kelley run August 3rd.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Ahhh... Summer

Thank goodness it's finally here. I said the same thing when Spring arrived, even ran a trail race in Manchester with a similar name (It's Finally Spring 5K). But I truly love the emancipation from bulky clothing and that weighted down feeling when Summer arrives. HOT? Yes. Worth it? Definitely.

Sunday 6/23 I ran 10 long with Al Litwin, then hit the beach at GiantsNeck Heights Beach Association beach to relax for a couple hours. Went for a brief swim to see how my right shoulder would respond after experiencing rotator issues for the last 9 months. Not bad.

Tuesday 6/25 I ran the Stonington Dog Watch Fun Run. HOT. After warming up with Jeff Walker and Mike Boumenot, I went shirtless and wound up doing about a 23:35 if I recall correctly. Great to get to chat with Jeff finally and meet his wife, whom Mike credited with all the great race captures at WTAC events.

Over the next few days I noticed a persistent soreness in my upper left hamstring. It felt mostly like tendonitis.This seemed to present itself most noticeably when sitting at my desk for long periods. Stretching and rolling with a foam roller seemed to alleviate the symptoms. No races the weekend prior to Fourth of July.

Ro DiRoma arranged a get together with Steve Dinsmore and me me to jog the next Dog Watch Fun Run on 7/2. I think we eased across the finish line with about a 31:00. Didn't want to overdo it with the Chester Four on the Fourth coming up on Thursday with the hamstring thing going on.

Ran the Chester race on the Fourth of July. It was a logistical nightmare! I'd gone with an anticipated race start of 10am as noted on the SNERRO site, but as they advise and as I always do I checked the official race site for the gun time that morning about 8am just to be sure. OMG, it said 9am. I put the hammer down and jammed down I95 and RT 9, got lucky & found a parking spot close to registration, ran over and got in line with 20 minutes to spare. Whew! Not as bad as I thought it would be.

Another freaking hot day. Felt like it was about 100 degrees. Did I mention how much I love Summer? To me it looked like a huge field. Someone said they thought it wasn't as big as past races, but to me it looked like there were hundreds in attendance. After chatting with a few Mohegan Striders, including Way Hedding...who mentioned they'd heard about the start time change late... I made my way to the head of the pack a few rows back to make sure I didn't get trampled to death. I knew I wasn't going to be setting any new earth land speed records on a day like this, not to mention this is a known hilly course and I wasn't sure if the hamstring issue was going to be a factor.

Gun. Course goes out a quarter mile, then sharp left onto a long half mile climb. I found myself passing runners on the uphill. As the first uphill leveled off, the course weaved through several turns with more uphill climbs and leveling off. Eventually we got to mile two, where one of the volunteers barked out 15:30. So I knew I was under an 8-minute pace, which seemed attractive on the hottest racing day of my 2013. I really struggled on the uphills after that point because the heat was just sapping my strength. I wound up deciding I'd walk the water stops for 10 seconds to see if I got rejuvenated enough to run the final half mile hard. Ultimately I was forced to walk 4 times, for an approximately 40 second hit. But I think it paid off in the end. I was able to finish strong and didn't feel beat up. Had no idea where I'd place in my division with such a large field. All I knew was sweat was pouring off me like a waterfall and I needed to get some water and orange slices pronto.

I was surprised to find I placed 2nd in my division with a 32:32. The guy who took 1st with a 29:something was George Sanders from Guilford, who like me had just turned 60. Spy Barres from Mystic, at age 50, finished 3rd overall. Amazing. It looked like the heat played a big part in slowing older runners down, based on the placements I saw later. The best news  of the day for me was the soreness didn't show up after I cooled down. I'm wondering if the 3 beers I had at the Pattaconk Tavern with Way Hedding didn't help. I drove to Al Litwin' s place to join him for a walk to the beach to relax the rest of the day.

Friday 7/5 I had to work, so I hooked up with Ro DiRoma and Steve Dinsmore for an easy run to Eastern Point Beach, then continued on to Avery Point and Jupter Point to make it a 7-miler. After work I drove home to take care of the cat, then drove to Lake Winnipesauke to hook up with Suzan for a long holiday weekend with family and friends. Hoping to do an easy run Sunday afternoon back in Niantic, then start preparing to work on my speed to get ready for the Sailfest 5k on 7/14.

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Quick Update of the Previous Week

Thursday, Suzan and I drove to Cape Cod to join my sister Barb & brother-in-law Jim in Truro, where they had rented a house for the week to get away. The house, likely built in the 1970's judging from the design, was beautifully situated on top of the highest point in town with a view of the water looking West. Our plan was to R&R for a couple days, maybe do a mountain bike ride, then head to Harwich Port Saturday morning to run the Harwich 5K at 9:30am. After the race, we'd make tracks to Niantic, where we'd change and then drive to Latitude 41 Restaurant & Tavern in Mystic to attend Suzan's friend Bonnie's daughter's wedding at 4:30pm. Funny, the real cost of R&R in drive time and white knuckle highway drive experience. But it always seems to be worth it in the end.

We arrived about noon. Jim had made plans to mountain bike about 10 miles south to hook up with an old Pfizer workmate and friend Ed, who was long retired and now age 69 and spending the Summer on the Cape, where he and wife Marilyn had bought an escape house in Orleans. I wound up going on my 1st mountain bike ride of the year, with Ed leading the way on roads passing through Cape Cod National Seashore to the East, Wellfleet to the West, and Truro to the North. All told, about 23 miles before I graciously bowed out to return to the house rather than subject my posterior to known soreness that comes from higher miles I would have incurred had I continued on into Provincetown for a total of 40+ miles that Ed and Jim had planned. Felt good. Chilled on the deck out back with some red wine and that view the rest of the day.

Friday, Suzan I went for an easy hike in Cape Cod National Seashore near an old cranberry bog with gorgeous views of the Atlantic looking East. Lunch in Wellfleet. More chillin' and wine on the deck after, followed by a great grilled tuna dinner with way too much MORE wine that evening out on the deck. Probably not the wisest of pre-race nutrition choices, but I certainly wasn't stressing over it!

Saturday morning we hit the road at 7:30 to make our way down cape with a little buffer time built in to account for traffic contingencies. Arrived in Harwich Port with plenty of time to park the car in the shade, pick up the pre-registration packet, pin up, survey the landscape and do an easy half mile warm-up prior to race start. The race director got on the blower and announced a record turnout of approximately 650 runners. The start was in front of the Chamber of Commerce right on RT 28, the main drag downtown. The temperature was in the 70's but humidity elevated over the previous several gorgeous days, so I opted to run shirtless and handed it to my trusty life partner. This turned out to be a wise decision, as the race course headed inland away from the water and things heated up quickly.

As was the case with the past month's races, I knew this wasn't going to be a landmark performance, given the previous evening's indiscretions. I lined up close to the front of the pack to, if nothing else, make myself feel confident. For what, I had no idea.

At the gun, I didn't feel too bad but didn't have that certain bounce in my step that characterized my better performances, so right away I adjusted for splits to try to not go out too fast and wind up killing myself. I elected to not look at the GPS and to run focusing on turnover, economy and form. Ha. Well, at least I was able to hold the turnover! The other stuff not so much. Things heated up quickly, but I wasn't concerned with that too much because I was well hydrated. It felt like the course was a constant uphill, but easy incline. Just enough to feel a little labored in the heat. I was fairly aware of the ebb and flow of the pack. About mid race, I was passed by a runner who definitely looked like he was in his 60's. Then another a minute after that. On downhill stretches I found I didn't have the gas to  stick close to my age group competition. I chose to latch on to both of them as best I could as a psychological pull. This seemed to work, right through the 3rd mile. As the course rounded the last block heading for the finish after the mile marker, I gave it a kick and had a little something there, so I tried to get as close as I could to the guy in front of me and try to fend off anyone trying to pass. I heard Suzan imploring me to go at the finish line.

I wound up finishing 5th in the 60-69 division with a 22:51, 4 seconds behind the guy who finished 4th, and 76th overall in a field of 669. A 7:22 effort. Better than recent performances and not bad considering the soreness from Thursday's bike ride and otherwise complete lack of pre-race discipline. GPS splits told the tale of my progression through the race. Mile 1 about a 7:09; mile 2 about a 7:17; mile 3 about 7:30. Going to be working on those negative splits in the next few races. Those stats certainly explain why yours truly got passed.

It was a very well-organized race, with a great after party and awards ceremony located down the street at a gourmet pizzeria.

Sunday I ran long with Al Litwin, about 8 easy miles. We were joined heading out on Giant's Neck Road by Noelle Fox, who was with husband Mark in front of their home about to run over to Rocky Neck State Park. Al charted a course out to RT 156, East to Roxbury, to Riverview, Dean, then through the new development to North Bridebrook and back down Giant's Neck to Long Island Sound. Al punctuated the uphills with tempo hard efforts that really felt good and gave some purpose to the outing. After saying goodbyes to Noelle, Al and I completed the run to the shoreline and worked our way to his house, where we changed and then headed to Giant's Neck Heights Beach and Rocky Neck Beach for the next several hours to swim and relax.

Monday, I ran an easy 5 miles at noon on the usual route along Eastern Point, Avery Point, Tyler Avenue, Meech, and back to the fitness center for some stretching.

Tuesday I ran the 6:15pm Stonington fun run at Dog Watch Cafe, about a 23:35 effort. Got to chat with Mike Boumenot and Jeff Walker, Tom Sullivan, Sr. (RD of Strides for the Handicapped for many years), Al Phillips, Way-Way, Paul Gray, many others. Good Mystic pale ale after. Great breeze and conversation to cool down with out on the dock.

Today... Day off. Need the rest!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On the Radar...

Here's some events I'm looking at... sure to be updated...


Harwich 5K Road Race (running on Saturday 6/22)
Stonington Village Fun Run Series (Tuesdays)


Chester (Rotary) Four on the 4th (7/4)
New London Sailfest Road Race 5K (7/14)
Caroline's Miracle Foundation 5K (7/27)


John & Jessie Kelley OBP 11.6M (8/3)
Run 4 Kerri 4M (8/4)
Clinton Liberty Bank Bluefish 5K (8/4)
Waterford Week 5 Mile Road Race (8/11)
Battle Of Stonington 5K (8/20)
Roger Schonning 5K (8/28)


Run Around the Block 15K (9/7)
Surftown Half Marathon (9/15)
CVS Caremark Downtown 5k (9/15)
Niantic Bay Half Marathon & 5K (9/22)
Run with the Lions 5K (9/29)
Rock N' Roll Providence Half Marathon (9/29)


Jack O'Keefe Memorial Strides 5/10K (10/6)
ING Hartford Marathon & Half Marathon (10/12)
Run for the Penguins 5K (10/19)
Cape Cod Half Marathon & Marathon (10/26 & 10/27)


Tarzan Brown Mystic River Run 5.5M (11/3)
Airline Trail Ghost Run 13.8M (11/4)
EBAC Fall Challenge 4.75M (11/9)
Setting the Pace for Conservation 5K (11/10)


Pearl Harbor Masters 5.2 Mile Race (12/8)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Reality Check

So, I'm 60. I thought this running thing was supposed to be a piece of cake. New bracket. New kid on the block. Thin competition. No injuries. Quality training. More miles. Faster times.


Ever since I rose to meet my 2013 personal challenge to run a sub 7-minute mile 5K in late April/early May I've been backsliding. Wallowing in mediocrity. Not where I want to be. Seems I've fallen into a chasm of 7:30-ish finishes, culminating in a 7:45 Niantic Bay 10K this past Friday evening. Really?

What went wrong?

Poor discipline. Pure and simple. I've backed down on quality easy long runs and been inconsistent with scheduling  speed intervals and hill workouts. This is probably due in part to an inner disappointment with my performances over the last several weeks (Delaney Dash 7:11 4-miler not withstanding). I had hoped that scheduling a bunch of races in a short period of time would force me to train at a higher level of effort, but instead it has had a reverse effect. Perhaps this can be attributed partly to my tender advanced age (lol) but realistically, I have to put the whole picture in perspective. I'm too freaking undisciplined. Time to get back on track. Back to basics. Up my weekly mileage to 30+. Hill repeats. Trail runs. VO2 max threshold intervals. Road bike sprints as time alows. Maybe a hike or two with Mike Crutchley on his portion of the Narragansett Blue Blazed Trail?

Niantic Bay 10K

Actually, I'm being a little hard on myself. Considering I ran the Jamestown Bridge 10K and the Niantic Bay 10K both at a 7:45, I didn't really backslide. In fact, unlike Jamestown, I ran negative splits in the Niantic Bay. I decided to not run the St. Catherine's race the evening before in Preston, as I thought it would compromise any effort for a good showing at Niantic. Thursday afternoon in the Pfizer fitness center I dreadmilled a Raunig ladder of short 100M intervals between a 9-minute pace and a 5:10 pace with full recovery in between to get my legs juiced with a 90-100 cycles per minute turnover. I felt really good after, as I usually do. This feeling held right into race evening.

I coordinated arrival with Suzan: I from work in Groton and she from home practically next door in Niantic. We'd meet in the McCook's Beach parking lot, then I'd do the race day registration thing, look for friends and chissy-chat a little, then do a 5-minute warmup a few minutes before race start. Right away Mike Crutchley spotted me while with some friends and I gave him a hard time about being clean shaven, aerodynamic, etc. The omnipresent and always smiling Beth Lazor-Smith was there. Talked with Bob Buckingham a little about his ultra experiences. Paul Gray was there. Saw Dave Jacobs for the 1st time in forever (what's up with that Dave??? Used to see you running on Giant's Neck Road almost every morning... Another 60-something with discipline issues? Sure... Dream on Don...). The two WTAC Jeffs: Walker and Vuono. Always top contenders. Not surprisingly, Niantic neighbor Bill Ghio was in attendance (is there a race in the State of CT Bill doesn't run?).

Interesting aside: Jeff Vuono and Bob Buckingham are two individuals I've come to associate with high-volume road biking. I'd met Jeff for the 1st time a number of years ago when I ran my 1st Waterford Week 5 miler in 2007. When I spotted Jeff, he was tending to logistics with his road bike, which it turned out he'd rode to Waterford from Westerly to run the race! One of several in his bike stable I seem to recall him telling me. Bob B commutes on his bike to work at Pfizer in Groton from his home in New London when possible. Given their usual standings in the race results, maybe there's something to be said about regular cross-training that warrants my attention?

Notably missing in action were Mike Boumenot (who would have added depth to the WTAC "murderer's row" top 10 finish compliment), Clem McGrath (whom I later chatted with Sunday evening at a Mohegan Sun women's game against Seattle) and my neighbor (and, although he probably wouldn't admit it, outstanding, talented runner) Al Litwin, who I thought would surprise me by throwing his hat in the ring along with Bill Shea. I believe a number of runners who didn't run Niantic had likely elected to hold off for the Branford Road Race on Sunday.

I lined up fairly close to the starting line after warming up and trading "good luck" wishes with friends. At the gun, I knew almost instantly I didn't have the juice for a good effort, completely contrary to what I anticipated based on warmups. The head of the pack that was pulling away was large... about 60+. I felt like it was going to be one of those completely enigmatic efforts on my part. Mike Crutchley and Paul Gray pushed out ahead. Dave Jacobs took off like a shot. At age 68, he never ceases to amaze me. I decided to do something completely different... back the pace down to a slow start and see if my legs became energized. The mile 1 support staff barked out "7:59!!!" That slow? I was still being passed. Down on the Old Black Point Road flat I was passed by Bob Buckingham and Dave Blair, both of whom made me look like I was standing still. I found some solace in recognizing that they, too, had started slow and picked it up.

About 1.5 miles in I settled in with a mixed pack of multi-aged runners, both male and female, mostly in their 20's and 30's. I started to get in a groove. I started to pass folks in front of me, but I felt this was more due to them slowing down than me speeding up. My pace seemed pretty consistent and my oxygen uptake well-controlled. I felt that if I held this pace, even though I didn't know what it was...) I'd have a good shot at getting stronger on the downhill finish if I could hold pace up the only real hill on the entire course about 1.5 miles from race end.

Nearing the "lolipop" at the end of the "out" portion of the out and back course, suddenly the race leaders emerged behind the East Lyme police car. I recognized the leader as WTAC's Johnathan Hammett but didn't know who the guy in 2nd place was. Jeff Walker was 3rd. After that, I was in the lolipop and couldn't see placements ahead of me. Except for Dave Jacobs, whom I focused on as my "rabbit" thereafter. He was still a good 300 yards+ ahead of me.

It was about this time that an interesting dynamic began to unfold that definitely played a part in how I performed for the remaining 3 miles of the race. I heard a woman grunting loudly, nipping on my heels. Some imperative inside told me "That's it!... No more being passed!" I turned it on a little to prevent her from going past me, especially around a couple sharp corners in the lolipop during which it seemed she was right on my butt. On the Old Black Point Road straightaway she stayed right behind me. Then as we neared the beginning of the hill, we were joined by a guy who, judging from *his* grunting, was under age 30. But I really didn't know... I never turned around to have a look at either of them.

The hill was the deal maker. I fended them both off and held for the stretch all the way to the finish, passing about 3 other runners along the way. I did my utmost to focus on my form and pacing (to try to salvage something out of this lackluster perfomance, if nothing else). After peaking over the top of the hill and recognizing those behind me who were close had fallen back, I focused on Dave, who definitely slowed down on the hill. The gap had narrowed significantly. I picked it up in the last half mile, as I always try my best to do. I closed on Dave as we neared the finish. I heard those grunters behind me! I think something primal kicked in after that and I stuck it in overdrive. I had a monster kick. Felt like I was doing a 5-something. But them it was over, right as I was on top of Dave as we entered the chute. He finished less than a second ahead of me. Way Hedding was on the SNERRO blower, announcing the neck and neck tight finish of the two 60-somethings! It was pretty exciting, even though I was unable to ultimately catch Dave but being able to hold off the grunters! Turns out the guy was one second behind me and the woman was 5 seconds behind him. He was 42-year-old Brian Hickey; She was 37-year-old Ashley Dickinson. WTAC had 4 finishers in the top 10. Just amazing. In the end, however, I truly believe we all gave it our best effort. I congratulated Mike Crutchley on an excellent effort. He'd finished a good 2 minutes ahead, along with it seemed just about everyone else I knew :-)  We greeted Beth as she finished with our cameras and snapped her in a victory pose.

It was a very rewarding moment for a 60-something who seemingly had felt like an also ran only a few minutes before. It was funny to get 1st place in the 60-64 division as one of only two participants. Had there been a 60-69 division I would have finished 2nd behind Dave.

Saturday was a day off. Lounged at Giant's Neck Heights Beach Association beach. It was a beautiful day.

Sunday, I ran long with Al Litwin. 10 miles, all outside of Rocky Neck State Park, which for us is very unusual. Starting at Al's house, we ran down the backside of Giant's Neck Heights, up Giant's Neck Road, up North Bridebrook, onto Rt 1 East, onto Dean Road, onto West Society Road, then back down to the beach on North Bridebrook and Giant's Neck Roads.

Next race is the Harwich 5K in Harwich Port, MA on Saturday, which I'll be running after staying with my sister Barb for a couple days in Truro.

6.2 on Friday; 10 on Sunday. Halfway to 30+ in three days.

I think I'm almost back on track already.