Friday, January 2, 2009
I headed out to Temple, NH for the 31st annual "freeze your butt off" 5k on New Years Day, or what locals call the Peanut Butter Chip Chase 5k. It's a nice small town race (put on by the local Lions Club) on a somewhat challenging course (on a normal day) but a tad more difficult with snow covered roads and a wind chill waaaaay below zero. At least it wasn't snowing this year...
The race starts on West Rd near the center of town, climbing right from the start and continuing on for about 1.5 miles before turning back onto Hill Rd. Unfortunately for us today, West Rd surprisingly heads due west, right into the nice 20+mph winds coming in from the west. Uphill into the wind is not how I like to start a race! Thankfully we run DOWN Hill Rd for about a mile (with a tail wind), turn left on a dirt road at about 2.75 miles and then left again on RT 45 for a final 400m uphill push to the finish right in the center of town (near where we started).
I scanned the field at the start for familiar faces, spotted a bunch of Gate City Striders including my current arch nemesis Mike Wright. Mike has a habit of passing me in the last few seconds of a race. With a Ready, Set, Go we were off. 5 or 6 young guns immediately got out in front and I settled in close behind, running with local Temple resident Sean Radcliffe (also a masters). We ran side by side for 1.5 miles before I was able to put a little distance between us on the downhill section. I wore my screw shoes which worked great. Unfortuanetly I was not alone so no real advantage was gained.
I generally don't like to look behind me during a race, choosing to run 'scared' instead. I always assume someone is really close. I knew Mike Wright was back there but I didn't know how close. I have to admit I was a little nervous on the last uphill stretch to the finish. I was tired, cold and running out of gas (might have been those black and tans from New Years Eve!). With about 100m to go I finally took a peak and realized today I would win the battle with Mr Wright :-)
I managed a 6th place overall, 1st in the 40-49 division with a time of 19:43.I t was the toughest 19:43 5k I've run in a while, that's for sure...Results can be found here.
In addition to the table full of cookies plus bagels and gallons of soup for post race grub, they also give out unique chocolate chip cookie shaped medals. There seems to be a theme. Heck, the 1st Temple resident (Sean Radcliffe) also takes home a pizza sized chocolate chip cookie. Sweet.