Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sailfest 5K 2016

New London, CT
Sunday, July 10, 2016

Even writing this just nine days in arrears, many a detail have I already forgotten.  How Chris Garvin is able to write race reports with clarity and insight three years after the actual race is beyond me.

We’ve had bigger club representation at Sailfest in past years, but for today, WTAC runners would be Matthew, Jeff V, and me.  I really only had two goals coming in to this race:  A Goal – sub 18, B Goal – new 2016 PR (18:46PR to date).  None of the above two seemed particularly aggressive, but given I was still on my cocktail of drugs fighting nasty tick-borne illnesses, had taken nearly two weeks off from running, and that I haven’t had a single PR all year, they both seemed quite challenging in their own right.  If there was a silver lining, it was that this year was not direct sunlight and not the usual temps in the 80s; it was “only” in the mid-70s.

Mile 1:  I always get great amusement in races like this where at the starting gun, someone takes off like a rocket.  I’m not talking about someone like Jonny Hammett, a seasoned runner who has this as part of his intentional strategy, but rather someone who has just no clue about pacing and may actually think his rocket pace leading the rest of the pack is actually sustainable.  Such was the case today.  A teenager in a cotton shirt (that’s usually a give-away, unless of course it’s Tommy FiveK in a cotton shirt and basketball shorts) rocketed out, arms and legs flailing fast, and he’s in first place.  Yeah, that lasted about ¼ mile, until even I passed him as he sounded gassed already.  Thanks for the entertainment!  Am I sadistic?

Start of 2016 race.  I'm behind the Williams guy checking his watch (overall winner).
Rocket Boy is on far left about to propel himself in front of pack.
At any rate, about this point in the race I figure I’m in about 15th place.  I can see Matthew far ahead in a pack of three leading out the race.   For the rest of the first mile, I am steadily but surely picking out and passing my next competitor.  It is a good feeling, but I am also fully cognizant that mile 1 is the only mile without hills.  End of mile 1:  I have advanced to 9th place.  Split: 5:49.

Mile 2:  Immediately on the left is my second favorite part of the race:  someone with a hose and spray nozzle.  It’s slightly out of the way of the direct and shortest path and thus I know it will cost me a few seconds, but worth it in my opinion.  Ah, relief!  I thank the gentlemen, start my hill ascent, and actually pass another competitor on the hill.  (The hill isn’t long or steep, but I like to whine.)  After a right turn at the top of the hill, the course flattens out for a while, and then it’s downhill back to Bank Street.  On the descent, I am rapidly gaining on two much younger competitors.  I pass the first one with ease, and then at the bottom of the hill, I pass the second.  Or at least I thought I did.  I stand corrected; the teen decides to come with me.  OK, just run my race.  At least he’s running next to me and not “sitting on me”.  He stays with me on the flat Bank Street section to finish out Mile 2.  Split:  6:04.

I hope I was feeling better than I looked.
(All pics by Jana, unless otherwise noted.)
Mile 3 and Finish:  We turn left off Bank Street to start the final uphill, and the teen is matching me stride for stride.  He is with me for the first few uphill blocks, and then a funny thing happens:  he is gone.  He drops far enough back where I can’t hear his breathing or footsteps anymore.  I hold on for two more uphill blocks, and now my favorite part of the race:  downhill to the finish!  It’s never steep, but a fun downhill nonetheless.  You make a final left turn and then between two columns of vendor stalls set up for the festival.  I’ve run this race pretty much based on feel, and am not even sure if I broke 19.  Final mile split: 6:06.

Ah, refreshing.  Look forward to this every time.
Even Matthew is smiling.
Jeff V captured this shot.  Note the irony of the
street name.

WTAC contingent.
Final time:  18:28!  6th overall of 221.  1st in age group.  I broke my B Goal after all.  Full results.




  1. Fantastic! Well done by both Matthew and you.

  2. Nice work! I remember that race as the last time I could keep Matthew in sight for more than the first few hundred yards...ha! Great race, hopefully the first in a string of personal bests this year!

  3. Nice job! Congratulations!