Friday, December 26, 2008

CMS race retrospective--2001 Stu's 30K

(Since I have a lot of old race reports that are currently doing nothing besides taking up space on my hard drive, I've decided to start unfurling them here, one at a time.)

STU'S 30K: 3/4/01

Stu's 30K was once a highly competitive event held on a beech of a course. Ever since Stu's relinquished its role as a USATF-NE Grand Prix Series event, it has stopped attracting the best runners in the region, but maintains a lofty reputation as a fitness check and high-yield training run for aspiring Boston Marathon participants - not only because it's 18.64 miles long, but because of what Henry Rono might have fondly called "...da heeeeeels."

Going into the race, teammate and 2000 New England Runner of the Year Dave Dunham and I each hoped to run "just sixes" if such a pace was good enough to win - we had the USATF-NE half-marathon championship the following Sunday and neither of us wanted to trash ourselves in the name of scraping out a definitive win in a popular, but otherwise meaningless, race. The catch: Someone was bound to come along who could break 6:00 pace (three other runners did), and moreover, our independently contrived goals were, by definition, mutually contradictory - not unlike the situation in the NBA where four players enjoy contract clauses stipulating they will be among the three highest-paid players in the league. In other words, neither of us, given the other's presence, was entitled to his hoped-for luxury. With this in mind, we agreed to run "just sixes." Sound familiar?

The race offered few surprises. Dave and I hung back in the early miles, hitting splits of about 5:32 for the first (downill) mile and, as I recall, 23:26 for four miles while Ken Carabba led. I grew impatent somewhere around the six-mile mark and at 10K was leading (36:11) but expecting Dave to pull alongside, which in due time he did. But Carabba made a game move just after 10 miles (58:51), making up a hundred-yard deficit in about ten minutes and re-joining our little CMS parade. I surged again near 20K (1:32:32), just as impatient as before, and just like the last time, Dave eventually caught up while Carabba fell behind, this time for good.

Once we were well out in front (which didn't occur until about mile 15 or 16), we had to decide how to handle things in a sporting fashion. For me that was easy because, operating on the idea that had we been going all-out he would have been a quarter-mile up the road, I was just going to let him cross the line first in any case. He also told me I could win "if I wanted to." He was hinting that he wasn't thrilled with the idea of an intentional tie, perhaps for the same reason I was - maybe doesn't look good to pull a virtual hand-hold when your entry fee has been comped by the RD's, etc. etc. But it wasn't that big a deal. Dave actually said as we entered the last 200m that we should speed up and "look like we're trying really hard" and then cross the line together and let the timing crews sort things out. We did, and just as he'd guessed, they started asking us who had won. We reminded them that was their job, cie la vie, yada yada yada, etc., etc. We wound up running 1:48:33, or 5:49 pace.

All in all it was an excellent way to cap off a 145-mile week, my highest seven-day total ever.

Oh yeah - Dave won the race.

Photos by Rich Bolt


  1. Good stuff. The agreed upon paced heading into these races often don't hold for too long. Can you or Dave shed light on the t-shirt worn by Dave within the race in protest agaist the political issue with HSR?

  2. As I recall, Dave wore the shirt mostly as a joke--he might not have liked the decision to have the relay division of the 30K count toward Grand Pricks points, but I don't think his sense of well-being depended on it.

    But naturally, what with Dave being a runner of no small stature (metaphorically speaking), Dave Camire insisted on interviewing him and elevating the whole thing far above the level of attention anyone involved felt it deserved. Had some midpacker worn a similar shirt, no one would have noticed or cared.

    Camire's hagiography of Dave is great.

    The day also marked my introduction to one Kenneth Carabba, an event which had immediate and lasting implications that transcend the purpose and scope of this blog.

  3. It was no joke. I was pissed at the Hockomock swamp rat using black ribbons to protest the relay. My feeling was that the black ribbons should be used ONLY for the purpose of mourning and I felt it trivialized the usage.

    I didn't think I'd win the race and get interviewed.

    I can't top Beck's 140 mile week, but I did have 120 that week....

  4. Ah. I was under the impression for the last seven years that you were protesting the fact that the 30K relay was a points race, not the HSR's means of showing its displeasure. I guess I didn't bother reading the shirt--I was too busy trying to stay out of ol' Kenny's way, as he had a habit of wobbling back and forth when he ran and bumping into those near him, perhaps on purpose, most likely as a result of some sort of neurological derangement.