Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sailfest 5K

New London, CT
Sunday, July 12, 2015

You know those times you go to a race thinking, "Why did I sign up for this?".  Well, that sums up my sentiments pre-race.  As readers may know, I don't like hot weather at all, and even less so for running.  The temperature was already approaching 80 degrees with direct sun as we checked in at registration about 8:30am, and having run this race twice before, I remembered both the two hills and that the course offered virtually little shade at all.  Went out for a short, but sure enough, hot and sweaty warm-up with Matthew.  With previous race finishes of 18:19 ('12) and 18:04 ('13),  I dialed back expectations to Goal A of 18:15 and Goal B of 18:30.  Time to line up; can we get this thing started?  I've got a lot of nervousness and try to tell myself to relax and just do the best I can.

Chatting with Matthew before the start.  Row 2 - center.
(All pics by Jana)

Mile 1:  After the typical race start shuffling, I settle into about 10th place at about 1/4 mile.  At about 1/2 mile I have momentary confusion as a fire truck is behind us and I can't figure out which I side I should run to as it's trying to get by runners with its siren on.  Otherwise, the first mile goes by quickly as I follow behind Matthew to a 5:43 split.

Mile 2:  The start of the mile brings temporary relief in the form of a kind soul hosing down runners.  The relief is soon supplanted by a 100' hill climb.  Near the end of the ascent, I glance at my watch to find a disappointing 6:36 pace.  Ugh.  The rest of the mile is mostly downhill playing to my strength and I'm going to have to pick it up considerably to avoid a total disappointment of a race.  I watch and follow Matthew as he passes a runner, then a second runner, and finally a third.  One youngster tries to hold on, but they're all breathing even harder and noisier than the aging gazelle, so this is a good sign.  Mile 2 split:  5:51!  With the hill, really?  Wow, OK, maybe this race won't be a total loss after all.

Looking like death,
but almost done

Hanging on the for the final strides

Mile 3:  OK, one hill to go, and then a downhill finish.  I reel in and pass one more runner on the uphill, and now I'm behind Matthew, although by quite a gap.  When I turn at the top of the hill, I can't see Matthew at all.  He must have turned on the afterburners, as in his place I see another teen that he presumably just passed.  I'm gaining on the teen, but at the final turn for the finish between the festival's vendor stalls, he looks back and sees me and sprints to the finish.  Mile 3 split 5:47.

Seeking relief

Felt so good.  Definitely a highlight of the race.
Final results:  17:53, 6th overall out of 235.  Full results here.

Super psyched with my time and relatively consistent splits!  Despite a number of attempts, this was my first time running sub-18 in more than 8 months, and I honestly didn't know if I had any sub-18 finishes left in me.  So how did I accomplish this on a hot day on a course with hills?  First, I tried hard to run the tangents, even bypassing a luring second hose spray.  Second, while I had no illusions of catching him, following in Matthew's footsteps on the hardest mile of the course (Mile 2) definitely gave me inspiration.  Congrats to him for another PR, with undoubtedly many more to come.  Glad I went to this race!

What's up next for me?  Two back-to-back double-header weekends, heading into a Half Ironman at which I'll probably ask...  "Why did I sign up for this?"  Race schedule.


  1. Well done!! Nice you can chase Matthew after he's been chasing you. Nice to see you guys at the begining. Hopefully I provided some comic relief, if not just shoo me away... Sailfest, not Surftown... Mind going in your advancing age?

    1. Sailtown, Surffest, what is the name of this race? This is just all too confusing for my old mind ...

      Keep the comedic relief coming!