Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Five College Realtors 10 mile road race Amherst

Todd, Joe, Greg, and I rolled into Amherst for race # 1 in the USATF New England Grand Prix 10 mile road race championship. The snow that fell during the night was a non-issue on the drive and as it turned out – for the race course which was the same as last year yet under a new title sponsor name, Five College Realtors. I warmed up with Andy McCarron and Phil Savoy just long enough to get beyond the mile marker and turned back to get into the race gear. The sun was trying to break out of the cloud cover as I lined up in the 2nd row at the start next to Joe. I took an inventory of the competition and teammates ahead of me in mile one dodging a few pot holes. I settled in to what I figured as a tolerable pace. I wheeled down into mile 2 with a 5:22 mile (my quickest of the day). I was content with my position once getting past the lead women and soon hit the hills where I kept a BAA singlet close. I assumed we were both the 5th men for our respective masters (40+) teams. A look at the results two hours later would prove my theory. 

I reached the dirt road which is always a concern and has been mud, snow, and ice pack over the years. Everyone was aiming for anything that resembled brown dirt laid down in recent hours by the town in the middle of the road. Footing was loose, as expected at the reservoir and beyond. It was a relief to reach pavement and open up the stride. Mile 6 was my second quickest mile with a 5:23, by hustling down the hill away from Joe OLeary and closing the gap on Brian Rusiecki and Rodney Hemingway. I reached mile 8, the valley, with the big three stage hill coming up. My legs were absolutely fighting me every step up and I slowed. I heard a few spectator acknowledgements of the lead women not too far behind. I used that as motivation to moving forward in an ugly 6:24 mile fighting gravity. I held position into the driveway leading into the finish line and a gun time of 59:26.8 (5:57 per mile average). This was six seconds than last year under less training due to the recent record setting snowfall. I collected some feedback from the CMS mates that already finished. I was the 5th man for our masters team and we narrowly won by seconds over the BAA. It was that close where a lapse in a race can cost a team position in the game of seconds. The rest of the team did great with the open team 3rd overall and the Seniors placed 4th.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

GBTC Invitational masters mile

Todd Callaghan (CMS) picked Brett Rickenbach and I up at the house for a quick drive into Harvard at noon. This gave me a chance to sleep in late and have a big breakfast. We got bent for $10 to park which I knew was coming. We stashed our gear next to Joe OLeary and the SRR guys inside. A big group of us headed outside for a 2.3 mile warm up in mud, slush, and ice around the athletic fields. We warmed up early enough to check in a second time to get our hip and chest numbers. We had a long wait. There were five heats of the mile to wait through before our masters race (2 heats) lined up. I got into heat 1. It was going to be competitive between Al Bernier (CMS) and Ethan Nedeau (aR) for the win. Todd and Dan Verrington (CMS) were in the heat as well so I was familiar with half the field. Brett was track-side yelling splits at me. I heard the 36's turn to 38's after a few laps. The race thinned out quickly and I hung back. I was cooked with the 2:27 at 800m running behind Mark Capparella (Mass Velocity). I could see Al and Ethan battling at the end of the straight away that I was on. Todd was going at it as well with a pair of guys. I went around Mark with 400m to go to finish a distant 6th and a time of 5:03.1 - 9 seconds slower than my effort at BU earlier this month. In summary, pretty much a shit-show for me but the effort put on by peers and t'mates kept the overall spirit up. It was nice to see Al win the race as the man has wheels. Todd as well kicked some ass showing he is no rookie to the indoor oval. The CMS masters headed out with Jesse Morrow (SRR) for an out and back on the Charles River on the ice and slush. In the end, I was grateful for the opportunity to race in the masters mile at the track meet today. The mile event is also race #1 in the All Terrain Runner series so I am all in and should be able to run some if not all of the races this year. I am undecided about a race next weekend (Super5 or a track event in Providence). The week after will be the Great Stew Chase 15K in Lynn which will provide for a good tune up for 10 miles in Amherst next month. I think I am done with the indoor track racing but will keep an eye out for maybe one more that I hear is a masters event in Providence.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Lazy Dog Classy 3 mile

The Lazy Dog Classy 3 mile road race in the home town of Lynn was on the SRR Grand Prix. As a result, taking a win like I did the last two years was out of the question. I just wanted to run something respectable and hang on to some of the guys that I train with at the track workouts at Tufts. I ran over to the race changed into some flats and the SRR singlet. I had a few more minutes to jog around with Nakri Dao before getting on the line.

Suffering in the middle on Magnolia Ave
Chris Antunes (SRR) and Steve Gendron took the lead and I was fourth. I moved up to third before the mile in 5:16. Aharon Wright, Bradley Harris, and Andrew Clifford went by on a down hill and I slipped off my pace in an ugly way. Kieran Condon got past me shortly after and I had about enough of the passing. I stayed behind Kieran but he was holding the 15 yard gap into mile two. I started to hear some foot steps before reaching the parking lot through Equitable Bank. I gave up two more places in the next 30 seconds as I ran past Krissy at Magnolia Park. I had to wake up but the legs flat. I turned left on Euclid Ave and kept those two guys close until the last turn onto Broadway. I picked up the pace and charged past them before reached the finish line in 7th place overall - 6th for SRR. GPS got 3.03 miles and mile splits were as follows: 514, 534, 541. Pretty rough. I should have skipped the race in favor of the Ice Fishing Tournement at Flax Pond. Dennis Floyd, Nakri, and I did a slow run back over the course. The next race will be the masters mile at the GBTC Invitational. The race will also serve as the first in the All Terrain Series.

The Lazy Dog Classy 3 mile race results
KrissyK smugmug photos

Monday, January 5, 2015

1 mile BU mini meet

I picked up Martin and drove to the last of the three mini-meets at Boston University. I got there in time to catch CMS teammate Scott Leslie take his heat of the 3K. There were several heats of the 3K and 400m before the mile event came up. My seed time of 4:52 put me into heat nine. My heat had seed times on the sheet two seconds quicker to three seconds slower. This gave me an idea where I sat among the competitors. I encouraged David Long to come to the meet at the Frosty Four and was excited to see him there in my heat. I warmed up inside the facility with laps outside the banked track with Rod Hemingway and Caleb Evanter from GBTC after watching the 1st heat of the mile.

The plan was to push a lap after 800m and see what happens. The race went out hard and I cautiously latched into the back of the race. Lap one was quick and noted a split of 35 after lap one. I was right behind Kevin Delaney, David, and Rod for the first four laps - seeing a 2:26 as I approached the clock (unsure of actual 800m split). I waited one more lap and wound up for a move into lane two passing the previously mentioned guys over that lap. I ran scared into the last 200m and just held them off where I could feel myself losing form. I got a time of 4:54.03 in a distant 5th place (4:45 won the heat). Check out the video of the race. My legs were pretty week as soon as I finished.

My goal was to break 4:50 but had a feeling based on recent workouts that such would be a challenge. I had some fun cheering on anyone I knew in the races and had to leave before the mile races ended. Looking ahead, I intend to run the Lazy Dog 3 mile road race in Lynn and enter into the GBTC Invitational with another mile. That mile event will get me started with the USATF All Terrain Race series.

Boston University Mini Meet #3 race results

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Wicked Frosty Four Salem

Arrived early with Krissy to score primo parking and a table inside the Tavern in the Sqaure. Headed out for a 2 mile warm up with Dennis Floyd, Joe Shairs, and Martin Tighe as late as possible so as to not sit around for fifteen minutes before the ten o'clock start. The wind was going to be in the grill for the 2nd half of the race. Noted. Cold only if you were not moving. The sun felt good. New Balance flats and CMS singlet ready for battle with eight minutes to spare. Jordan Williamsz was in the house chasing the lead police vehicle from the word go. Dan Chruniak was in second with Joe hunting him down after a mile. He got close at mile two. I found a partner in David Long. Matched strides from start to finish. Not even separated by two seconds, ever. Tough as nails as mentioned in the past. Surged as if I was coaching him. I followed and matched where applicable. Tried to help at mile three. Lasted thirty seconds while the wind resisted any forward motion. Settled in like a vet, waiting to open up at an opportune time. However, Dave got a good jump down the stretch into the finish besting me by a tick. The crowd was into it but my legs were tap city. 22:45 (5:42/mile), 5th place, third 40+ behind Joe and David. I got some warm clothes on and ran the course in the opposite direction with the guys. I will get back on the horse for eight laps of oxygen debt at BU in a few days. Is a sub 4:50 possible? 4:52 seed time is in.

Today's mile splits per Garmin

Wicked Frosty Four results - January 1, 2015
Last three years at Frosty
2015: 5th 22:45 (5:42)
2014: 7th 21:46 (5:27)
2013: 1st 22:22 (5:36)

Monday, December 15, 2014

USATF Club Cross Country Nationals

Goofing off before the race
I put the word out to the Central Mass Striders racing team several months ago hoping to get interest in the USATF Club Cross Country Nationals race in Bethlehem, PA - Lehigh University. I was thrilled to get a masters and a senior team. We had  eleven in total willing to make the road trip which is about five and a half hours away. USATF New England offered a bus for which I took advantage of. I met up with Martin Tighe, Joe Shairs, Todd Callaghan, and John Gillis for a 7:00 departure in Woburn. The bus had 16 athletes from CMS, Greater Lowell Road Runners, Whirlaway, and Liberty. We dashed over to Westwood to pick up the rest of our passengers that made up Greater Boston Track Club, Hurtin for Certain, and a few more GLRR members. We were also joined by Bob Fitzgerald of New England Runner. I sat with Martin and among the CMS guys in the middle of the bus. We talked with everyone around us and had some great conversation catching up with Mark Reeder, Paul Hammond, and John Barbour. Otherwise, I listened to my iPod or closed my eyes for some light rest. We got to the host hotel around 2:00, allowed people to check in, and folks like myself to change into running clothes. We gathered back onto the bus and drove over to the xc course to preview it. We met up with the rest of the CMS crew breifly - Dave Dunham, Paul Bazanchuk, Dave Lapierre, and Dan Verrington as they were just about to leave. I saw about six miles of the course. The course layout was easy to figure out based on the map I saw earlier in the week. It was wide open fields and paths around the stadium and corn fields. It was a two loop course that was perfect for spectators and easy on the runners aside from a few hills that were not steep as much as they were long enough to slow it down. However, we thought the course was going to be fast. There was some mud at 1.1K and a little here and there at turns but overall the footing was good. I brought spikes and flats. I went with the flats for race day.
Warming up past mile 1

The bus driver was awesome to drop the CMS guys at our hotel which was only 2 miles away from the course and 16 miles from the host hotel. We checked in, showered, and headed off in the two cars that the Senior team had and over to Bella for a nice Italian dinner down the street. We dropped everyone off back at the hotel while Dave Dunham and I headed north to the host hotel to pick up our race number packets and attend the suggested technical meeting for our team. This was the first race I had entered that required back bibs indicating the age group. This is a good idea so you know the age group of the men ahead of you in the race. As soon as I found the starting line box assignment, we left. The Senior team had box 53 and our masters team had box 69 making Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots proud.

The team had breakfast in our hotel. It was cool to see other teams huddled around tables in their team gear. I was the last one to attend breakfast - grabbing some oatmeal, coffee, and yogurt. We got into the cars and headed over to the race at 9:30. Our race started at 11:30. There was plenty of parking when we arrived. Just as we got out of our cars, I saw Al Bernier arrive. We had exactly five 40+ men to make up our masters team. We had five 50+ guys and Paul Bazanchuk (60) but scoring down into the Senior team. We put our racing bags down on a tarp behind the starting line and camped out. Some teams went all out with tents on the other side of the stadium a half mile away. I did my own warm up after we got checked in 30 minutes before our start. The USATF official (clerk) was ensuring we and all other teams had the same style singlet, numbers pinned front and back, and chip secured onto our racing shoes. We were only allowed to have four men in the front box at the starting line so I took the box behind Greg, Todd, Al, and Joe. A field of almost 600 masters runners were soon taking off for the massive start. The course narrowed in about 500 meters away and I kept an eye on Joe and Al who were a few seconds ahead. I went to the right of the muddy spot at 1.1K. Most people went left or through the middle where it looked the slowest. I was next to Martin through mile one, going up an incline. I mentioned our 5:38 mile that I saw on my Garmin. Mark Reeder pulled beside at mile two and I tried my best to stay with him but lost him after mile 2 going down a hill past the stadium. The course was such that you could look ahead and see 400 meters at a time so I could make out my CMS guys ahead. Al seemed to be reeling in Joe and I could see Todd ahead of him. I battled tough in that first full loop and knew lap two was going to be tough with the same hills. The effort got hard in the 2nd loop. I couldn't wait to reach the last hill and open up over the last 2K. Well it looked like every guy around me was thinking the same thing. They were so strong and it did not matter what age. I think I only had one or two guys pass me in that stretch but will say that no one was willing to give an inch. This was cross country nationals. I ran as hard as possible up into inclined finish - scoring as our 5th man. I placed 95th with a time of 35:42.  

photo by Michael Scott
We all changed into some warm clothing and watched the next few races that started each hour. I settled for watching the women's open race and taking a few pictures instead of warming down. I also got my luggage from Paul's truck and into the Bus as we changed our plans and booked rooms at the host hotel. This eased our logistics for the rest of the weekend. Some guys left to head back to New England while the bus crew hung out and watched the rest of the races. The men's open race was particularly awesome to watch as the lead pack was huge for 2/3's of the race only to thin out at the end. It was so exciting to also see the women's race develop as I was rooting for the BAA ladies to take the team title which they did. The races were over and it was time to clean up and enjoy the rest of the events (happy hour, food, awards, et cetera) the race event had planned at the host hotel. Joe, Al, Martin, John, and I caught up with competitors and friends.

photo by Jill Forsythe
We got up early the following morning for a run. We met up with Kevin O'Neal from the BAA before heading back for the rest of his teammates. I took them through some quiet roads behind the hotel long enough until the CMS crew had to get back for breakfast and take our bus back to Boston. It was a great weekend and glad that we had the guys on board to pull this off. I was proud of the guys as I saw unofficial team results showing that we placed 9th as of Saturday night at the host hotel. Our Senior team finished 11th per those same team results, however, we were told the results may change because some age groups needed to be sorted out.

Unofficial Masters Results

By the numbers
119 (0.25) 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mill Cities Relay

Today was the 31st running of the Mill Cities Relay - consisting of 27 miles, 5 legs, two states, and 1 river. Joe and Sandy Armstrong from Wicked Running Club picked Krissy and I up for the ride to Nashua. I met up with Jim Rhoades to give him his number and drop off my running bag before heading out for a 2 mile warm up. I was running leg number one for the Somerville Road Runners Men's Masters team. I went through the mile in 5:26 in about 5 seconds behind Brian Keefe from SRR. My third mile was the slowest (see below) per Garmin. I recall SRR training mate Kieran Condon passing by and I stayed with him for less than 800m before a few more guys went by. We were fortunate to have a tail wind. Mike Paulin from the Wicked Running Club and D5K weekly runs passed me during mile four. Mike and I finished the Vermont City Marathon together back in 2013. I dug down to surge back and pass Mike after mile five and held him off, handing off to Jim Rhoades. I drove his car to the next exchange zone to pick Jim up and watch him hand off to Jesse Morrow. Jim and I then went to the boat house. We missed Jesse finish and hand off to Greg Picklesimer who was taking on the long leg. We drove the back roads over to the fourth exchange zone where Greg was handing off to Joe O'Leary. As we drove past, it was obvious that they were in the midst of the exchange so we drove into Lawrence so Jim could take some photos (see the link in the results below). Joe looked good running past us as did the rest of the SRR folks. We got back in the car to warm up and drive to the finish at the Claddagh Pub in Lawrence. After watching the finish line for a bit, we headed in for some food and drink for a few hours. Team photos were taken and awards were given. Our team got a Mill Cities Brick for the 1st place men's masters team! The post race set up is awesome to catch up with everyone and all things running. There were funny stories all around.........

Dan Vassallo passed 61 runners on leg 4
Festus being Festus
Ask Paul Hammond about the story behind the Cowboy boots
Where was Mike Quintal?

Joe O'Leary, Jim Rhoades, Jim Pawlicki, and Greg Picklesimer

Statistics from the Garmin 220
30:25 overall time (30:01 in 2013 and maybe under 30 in 2012 - stopped at 30:22 after hand off)
5.43 miles
5:36 mile pace

2:24 (.43)

Full Results