Strafford, NEW HAMPSHIRE--Life is great when you get to race in your hometown. Actually, I'm technically from Dover but Strafford is where I now call home. The Bow Lake Dam 15k was revived after a several year hiatus and the committee who brought this race back to the Strafford community did a tremendous job. Many of the homeowners along the 15k route set up water stops and there were at least 3 live bands playing music from driveways along the way. Multiple water stops and a ton of volunteers made race day that much more enjoyable. Mother Nature cooperated as well and bathed the beautiful lake loop with sunny skies and temps in the 70's. I met fellow teammate Steve Wolfe before the race and quickly finalized a race plan. Steve is recovering from a mysterious musculoskeletal injury that forced him to shut it down for several weeks. A fierce competitor and incredibly talented runner Steve agreed with the plan to go out together around 6:30's, survive the "hill", and then hammer to the finish. We figured by working together we may be able to pick up a couple of spots late in the race and pull each other to the finish. Our first split was just shy of 6:25's as I worked to find a groove. The rolling nature of the first 6 miles made it somewhat challenging to run consistent splits. A little fast here, a little slower there we stayed within a few meters right up to the monster climb. Funny thing was I sort of lost track of where I was on the course. As we climbed the hill the thought crossed my mind...if this is a roller before we get to the hill I may be in trouble. Little did I know I was actually ascending the hill. As I plugged away I began to slowly open up a gap on Steve. He claimed I opened up a 30 second lead at one point during the climb. When I finally realized I was actually climbing the killer hill I was almost 2/3 of the way to the top. This immediately bolstered my confidence and I set my sights on the guy ahead of me. By the time I finished the climb I was on his shoulder. As we ran down toward Tasker Hill Road I peeked behind me and noticed Steve slowly closing the gap. Flying down Tasker Hill Road (marginally out of control) Steve caught and passed us. He never looked back. The final mile on Bow Lake Road was a struggle as I felt my engine running out of gas. Steve widened the gap between myself and the younger guy whom I had caught and was now pulling away from me as well. In one last ditch effort not to lose another spot I looked behind me and felt the next runner was sufficiently back not to challenge at the finish. I held on for a 1:02:12 (unofficial). It was good enough for 10th place overall and 4th in the 40-49 age category. Imagine that...10th overall and still finish off the podium. Steve's incredible rally and finishing kick were good enough for 8th overall and 3rd in our age group. It was great to see him on the podium after shutting things down for a while. With no rest for the weary, Dwight will be here in less than 24 hours for a 3+ hour Death Race training session. It's a good thing you don't saw logs with your legs.
Next Up: Exeter Trail Race, Fort Rock, Exeter, NEW HAMPSHIRE
2016: Year in Review
3 months ago