Thursday, August 13, 2009
Manchester, NH
Cigna/Elliot 5K

A few times now my father has signed me up to run in the Cigna/Elliot Corporate 5K in Manchester, NH on behalf of the Velcro USA Team. I showed up at Veterans Park about as close to race time as I could possibly be. The team ran over to line up for a photo so I ran in to. The girl from HR asked me what I was doing and I told her I was on her team, “No you’re not!” Oh yes I am… and by the looks of it.. I was gonna be the fastest runner from Velcro as well. My father introduced me, we turned, smiled and the photo was taken. Now I was fired up.. just what I needed.

Not long after we all walked over to the holding area. Runners are separated into Waves according to their skill level. My dad signed me up as a recreational runner rather then a competitive runner. This was spot on given my horrible performance here last year when I first discovered problems with anemia. This was also heavy on my mind. I had a goal… I wanted to break 20 minutes… I wanted to PR… and i knew I was gonna have to work for it. Luckily Adam Wilcox was there as well, and I lined up in the corral with him. Adam also wanted to break 20 minutes and I knew he had a better chance than I considering his training ethics. So we lined up together in anticipation of the start of what would be Adams first ever 5K and my shortest race of the year.

It is AMAZING the wide array of runners (and their styles) that show up. With the “LESS THAN 2 MINUTES!” Announcement, the crowd begins to run in place, jump up and down, finishes final stretches and gets that raised eyebrow “WTF?” look from Adam and I. It’s just way too much to handle… I can;t wait for it to start but first… The National Anthem…

And off we go, headed down Elm Street in Manchester… I try to chase Adam but he got a good jump out of the gate finding his way through the mob. Over 4,000 runners show up for this race and its tough to weave through the people at the beginning. I try to keep an eye on Adam in my periphery and I do pretty well. I weave my own way through the crowd and happen upon the clock for the 1 mile Mark.. it reads 6:38. I now realize that I had a decision to make. Decide that I’m going too fast, ease off and coast in… or hang on tight and go for the PR. I pull the visor on my hat down tight and I decide to hang on. I glance up one more time and Adam is lost in the mix. As I round the corner at the turn I spot Jessica Fleming.. a girl I went to High School with… she was all smiles and it was great to see her. I turn the corner and run through the one aid station on the course, grabbing a cup of water to use only to cool myself in the heat of the evening.

I take the next turn onto Canal Street and start looking for the cleanest line into Mile two. My breathing is heavily labored and I’m starting to tighten up. I squeeze off the throttle just a bit and look ahead for the clock at Mile 2.. 13:14. Mile 2 was faster than 1… I did quick math and knew I needed to run one more sub 7 minute mile to break 20. I take a mental check of my status and i realize its going to be tight. I look ahead for Adam but I don’t see him. I only see people who merely look like him. I try to kick it into a pace for a bit knowing when I’d make my final surge. A runner comes up beside me and we start running stride for stride together. I felt like I was racing him and I started to get winded… I backed off and let him go.. I should have stuck with him. Up ahead I see the street sign for Middle street. I settle in, reach the road and I kick it in. With extra steps and legs flailing I look ahead and see Adam… he turns up Merrimack Street for the finish… the only hill on the course. I take the turn and kick it in even more… I’m dying to catch Adam… I push, tears stream down my face, my eyes close, my arms pump, my legs pound the pavement harder then it ever has before…. I can’t breathe, I get dizzy, I throw up in my mouth a little.. I look ahead and watch Adam cross the line in under 20 minutes… and then the clock hits 20. I slow off and literally collapse across the line in a new PR time of 20:04. I missed sub 20 minutes by just 4 seconds… but I didn’t care… I had just run 3 miles faster then I ever had before. Not bad for a 100 mile slow poke.

I came in 2nd place on The Velcro USA Team
Chip Time: 20:04
Pace: 6:28 Min/Miles
Place: 286 out of 4,950
Div: 28 out of 273 (Males 25-29)


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