2013 Finally Spring 5K!

The great irony of today’s Finally Spring 5K! in Manchester, Connecticut is that it was far from spring-like. It was one of those classic New England weather days more like late-February or late-November. It was freezing. The temperature didn’t get out of the 30’s (Fahrenheit) and despite pockets of deep blue sky, intermittent snow squalls rolled through as angry clouds dotted the sky. It was ugly! But…it was a great day for running.

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All along, the Saturday plan was for Debbie to run 25+ miles and for me to go along as far as I could. I was supposed to do a track workout, but good luck finding a track in these parts that doesn’t have six inches of ice and snow on it. Last night, we were on the Bolton Land Trust’s Bogsucker Slog and met up with Kevin Glenn and Laurie Brooks. They mentioned the Finally Spring 5K! which I had forgotten about.

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Like the Bolton Road Race two weeks ago, this presented a unique opportunity. I could do my three-mile track workout on road/trails in the middle of a long run. Fantastic! Our kids were with Deb’s parents, so we ran the long way over to the Howard/Porter Reservoir for this hybrid event. Neither of us had run this race before, though it was the 5th edition. I go through those reservoir trails frequently, but Deb hadn’t even been in there, so while we were racing, she explored the trail system and kept piling up the miles.

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We met up with fellow Shenipsit Striders David Merkt, Tony Bonanno, Kate Bonanno, Summer Rabida, and David Sutherland. After doing a loop of the course, I got to the start with 90 seconds to spare. I changed into my “papaya” jersey and we were off. My goal was to run a steady pace like the workout described, which from the looks of my Garmin results, was pretty good despite the hills, snow, ice, and variety of surfaces. It was a fun run, but I had no oomph…until the end. You see, these high schoolers are unreal. They make you earn your spot in the rankings.

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I hit my lowest heart rate of the race at 171 with 90 seconds to go as I started to fade badly and then this 17 year-old kid makes his move to bridge up to me. I looked back once and told myself that I wanted to hold on to my spot, but I knew that it was going to hurt. Boy, did it hurt. 90 seconds later I crossed the line with a heart rate of 192, which is a number I rarely see anymore. We ran neck and neck for the final downhill 1/4 mile and I clocked it in 64 seconds. Ouch. I’m supposed to be training for an Ironman. I don’t need to run that fast, but I’m not letting some kid get the best of me in the last bit of a race, no matter how short it is.

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I was already well behind Merkt. He had a great race in his Vibram Five Fingers, which were an interesting choice for the course conditions, but that is one reason why he makes me smile so much. Some guys wore track spikes. Spikes? They ought to come out to Traprock next month or Soapstone in May and bring their spikes! At least no one wore snowshoes.

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Another guy who crushed me is 17 year-old (making embarasing frown as I type) Henry Domnarski from Palmer, Massachusetts who is getting stronger by the day. His Dad, Matt, is one of my best cycling buddies and a long time teammate on Team Horst Sports. Matt was a champ runner in his day with like a 2:50 Boston Marathon on his resume, but like me, he now seeks glory against other age groupers. Nowadays, all of his racing is on his bicycles. I could see Henry, who took the very competitive under-18 age group, up with Merkt but could never close the gap. I made up for any disappointment with my burst at the end to hold off another young buck.

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First overall went to Jacob Gurzler in 16:10. The course was modified because of the snow, but that is still a fast time. He was followed by Kevin Brandon and Andrew Chalmers who both cracked 17. The first woman was Beth Kraseman in 19:37. She was hot on my heels! It was nice to see Beth. She used to do many of the New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series races and is a past Soapstone winner. She has a fast family. Her family ran the race too. She was followed in the women’s field by Jennifer Racine and Alyssa Hamel.

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The Manchester Running Company attracted 315 people to this race, though only 255 crossed the line, which is amazing. It was great to see so many folks out there not minding the mud and snow. Merkt and I were both missing chips on our bib numbers and initially they missed us in the results. When we were talking to the guys from Last Mile Timing, they told us that MRC planned on 250 runners so they brought 50 extra chips. Even that wasn’t enough!

It was fitting that for my age group award, I scored a season pass to the Bolton Summer XC Series. If you haven’t been to one of our Wednesday night XC races at the Bolton Heritage Farm, then you have to join us for some fun. After the race, Debbie dragged me home and I got in another 10 miles up and over the top of Birch Mountain. She kept going for five more and we both ended up reaching our training goals for the day. The weather wasn’t pretty. I’m not so sure that spring is here. It may say so on the calendar, but I’m ready for the Finally Summer 5k, or rather 50K.

Race Results

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I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏 #Repost @horsteng
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