Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Years Day Frosty Four mile road race

Heading out into single digit weather is never easy. But when the entry fee is paid for and you know you are showing up with several hundred friends, it is easy. The Frosty Four Mile, hosted by the Tavern in the Square and directed by the Wicked Running Club in the Witch City of Salem. The area was several days into a sub-20 degree cold spell.  I was bundled up pretty good head to toe for the race. Two to three layers depending on the area of the body. I saw plenty of people with just their eye balls exposed on the starting line.

Leaving the Salem Willows on the hunt
Photo by Roger Perham

Ice beard anyone?
Photo by Roger Perham

Dave Dunham and Dan Verrington were the top seeds for each of their Senior age groups heading into the race. My opening six minute mile had me in a deficit trailing Dave by what I judged as 12 seconds and Dan by 4.  I was able to take in the beauty of the 4 degree weather in and out of the area behind the Salem Willows. The water to the right sparkled and shined with ice below the surface. A Christmas tree that lights up at night was in the middle of the secluded cove. 

Mile two clocked in 20 seconds slower but I managed to stay in my place in the race by losing one spot and getting it back passing a runner leaving the willows neighborhood.  A nasty head wind waited while stepping on Resttaurant Row to Dead Horse Beach (faces the Beverly Harbor).

The wind was more or less a cross wind from there back to the finish line. I crossed the finish line in good spirits, seeing my dad on the right hand side, freezing his ass off. He would want it no other way. He admitted not feeling his hands. He bolted home and I regrouped with Dave (placed 6th, 23:48) and Dan (placed 8th, 24:27) with a pace I could maintain on a cool down.  

I came back to the Tavern and found myself in the results: 10th place overall, 1st in the 40-45 age group, with a time of 25:05.5, 6:17 pace per mile. Jay Frontierro, the gent I passed around mile two, was 11 seconds back, also the same age. Full Results

Dan, Dave and I cooling down after the race
Photo by Roger Perham

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Chanukah Run a Latke 5K

Doug Bollen was selling this race to Krissy and I the other night. It sounded like a decent way to break up a Sunday morning and keep the journey of miles interesting. The start and finish was outside the Chabad Hall on Burrill St in Swampscott which is 100 yards away from ocean and Kings Beach which is an awesome place to run either toward Nahant or through Swampscott to Marblehead.

I got on the start line after running the first mile for an out and back. I jumped out into the lead and had some company on my heels. I was not sure who it was and did not peek back. I went through the mile around 5:39 and it got quiet. Then the footsteps came right back as the course began to climb. The runner, Sean Kay, passed me and put in a decent little gap (maybe 10 seconds) through mile two. I was trying to keep it together while running into the wind on Humphrey Street. 

I noticed that I was closing the gap and this gave me some confidence that we might just have a good race for the win at the end. I got within a stride at the top of the last hill, 3 miles, and he looked back and took off using his 4:42 mile speed to the finish. I surrendered and finished 5 seconds back in 18:09. Full results. He revenged a 5K loss to me at the Dory Run in run over some of the same roads in the past.

I went out immediately for a cool down after giving Sean a fist bump. Upon return to the temple, Sufganiyah (a jelly doughnut) and coffee was waiting for me. I scored a Dunkin Donuts gift card for placing first in my age group. I caught up with Sean who is continues to run some personal best times in cross country and track for his high school team. He will be breaking 10 minutes for the 2 mile before the year is over. 

Krissy and I after the race with the cool shirts we bought

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Assault on Mount Hood 3.5 mile cross country snowfest

The snow started to fall before Dan Vassallo picked me up. We were heading to the Assault on Mount Hood 3.5 cross country race in Melrose. It was going to be fun. I have not raced on snow and with it falling in a long time without snowshoes. We got to the Mount Hood golf course soon enough and did a warm up out on the golf course sort of checking out the first two miles with Dan and Scott Mindel before I headed back to get into the racing gear. I carefully hand-picked a Brooks Puregrip 4 and was impressed with the traction on the snow covered grass which accumulated 2 inches. However, the cart paths or any pavement were sketchy at best.  We had a team of three and felt decent for a CMS team win.
Terry on my tail after 2.5 miles

The race immediately went down a hill. I saw a few people fall - in a safe slow motion kind of way. I was pretty careful to keep on my feet and stay away from those sliding down the hill on their asses. It was quite funny. I scored a guy from Mystic Runners a 8.0 on his tumble. Being as cautious as I was buried me behind at least 40 runners. I worked to move into the top 20 over the next mile.  I saw several orange singlets ahead from Cambridge Sports Union (CSU). I recognized Kevin Delaney and Terry McNatt. I ended up battling them for a while. Terry was quick and fearless down the hills. I was able to close any deficit up the hills. The footwear I had on was impressive for the traction but was crap on any pavement. I went out of my way to run on the grass even if it caused me to not get the best line or tangent.

The race had a tough climb toward the Mount Hood tower but never approached the base of it. As the race started to decline into mile three, Kevin was going after Terry and I followed with astutely. However, once we hit the driveway with 400m to go, I had to downshift into defensive mode. I lost any and all battles going into the downhill finish. Kevin and Terry ran 22:50 and 51 to my 22:56 (20th place). I went through the finish chute and confirmed that Scott and Dan went 1-2 overall. We immediately changed into some warm clothes and ran over the course for a cool down.

Upon return, there was plenty of beer, pasta, salad, bread, and chowder for everyone. In a bit of a surprise, our team never got called up as one of the top three open teams, hence striking out on reclaiming the top team as CMS has done in the past. After the awards, we approached the race director, Brian who is as cool as it gets. After researching the team entry forms, he found ours but it never got entered. He immediately let us pick out any Nutcracker on the table. And we did. 

CMS polar bears: Dan, Scott, and I

Polar Beverages getting free adverisement

Yes, Mount Hood Beer Glass, Nutcracker, and limited edition "Straight Outta Peabody" brew

Dan with the spiffy Nutcracker pick up

Hardware for the day

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

34th Annual Mill Cities Relay

I had leg 1 for the Mill Cities Relay race: 5 runner relay from Nashua, NH along the Merrimack River, finishing up in Lawrence.  27 miles, 5 legs, 2 states, 1 river is the deal here. This is a fun event as it is a great team event of the 19 running clubs that take part. The Somerville Road Runners put some time and effort into this and it is hard not to take part in the fun. I was fortunate enough to get onto a men’s masters team.  I got a good clean start and tried to determine who else was a master runner. My goal was to be as close as possible to the lead for the category after my 5.5 mile leg. I was running either in front of or behind fellow yellow SRR Kyle Pochini most of the way.  

Two runners went past me after 2.5 miles. The first was a GLRR runner who clipped my heels twice followed by apologies. He followed to crush the 2nd half of the leg. The other was a woman from WRT who held me off by 10 seconds or so in the end. I finished up with a time of 33:10, 5:55 per mile pace for the 5.6 that my Garmin captured. I am not certain but think I was in the top 3 for the master category after leg 1. I handed off to Sanjay D’Souza who ran 6:15’s for leg 2.

Dan Verrington, Dave Dunham, Joe OLeary, and Kieran at the boat house in Lowell (3rd exchange zone)

Kieran Condon and Jason Lachapelle were there at the exchange waiting for me. We drove to the next exchange zone along the course cheering on the runners of all teams. We dropped Jason off for his leg 3 (2.5 miles) and then drove to the boat house in Lowell where Kieran got warmed up and ready for leg 4. I snapped a few photos and caught up with some folks. It was nice to be a spectator. Jason came in and handed off to Kieran. Sanjay was cooling down from the finish of his leg over to us so we finally got in the car and I drove us  along leg 4. We watched an epic battle between Kieran and Todd Prokop who had made up a 45 second deficit. They battled after 3 miles into the leg 4 all the way to the exchange zone. I am glad I got photos of that. 545’s for Todd on that leg is solid. I am sure it pushed Kieran as well. He handed off to Eric Ahearn. Our team did not know what place we were in for the masters.

Todd Prokop and Kieran battling during the long leg

Once Kieran cooled down we got in the car and drove along the course to the finish. Eric had moved up several places. He passed Dave Long from Wicked in the process who was on a masters team. I am not sure if he passed the AARC masters team but his strong finish put our team on top in the end by a minute and seven. Pretty close! We got the brick at the awards ceremony at the Claddagh Pub which was cool. Below are the top four masters teams. Our team finished 10th overall in the Mill Cities Relay. Full results.

Sanjay, Kieran, Eric, I, and Jason

10   207 SRR - 40'S THE NEW 20                              SRR     MM  JIM PAWLICKI         SANJAY D'SOUZA       JASON LACHAPELLE     KIERAN CONDON        ERIC AHERN           2:41:22

12     7 VAYA CON DIOS                                      AARC    MM  MIKE VEILLEUX        JAMES PORTER         MIKE PORTER          CHRIS BERNIER        CHRIS CLAPP          2:42:29

13   328 WICKED REPETITIVE                                  WRC     MM  JASON MATULEWICZ     BRETT RICKENBACH     CHRIS NOLIN          JOHN AYERS           DAVE LONG            2:42:42

21   173 NMC MASTER'S MACHINE                               NMC     MM  ED CHARTIER          KEVIN CAVANAUGH      KEN CARABBA          ART BESSE            JOSH CURTIS          2:51:01

My Mill Cities splits below. I raced almost 2 minutes slower than last year where I ran leg one with a 5:41 pace.

Kieran, Jason, Sanjay, and I

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wild Turkey 5 mile road race

Thanksgiving Day brought on an opportunity to jump into the Wild Turkey 5 mile road race in Salem. I warmed up with Joe Shairs, showing him the first mile and the last mile of the race course. I warmed up another mile or so around the Salem Common with Nakri Dao. The race went out pretty fast putting me in the top 20 by the time we reached Derby Street. I made my way past a few guys into the mile (5:41) and holding tangents into Winter Island. 

I got passed by a runner in there as mile two went by. Joe was about 20 seconds ahead. I was flat through the turns behind the Willows. The slowest mile was leaving Salem Willows and through mile 4 with a 6:04 mile. We seemed to have a little head wind. The kid everyone was yelling for, “Billy” passed me before the last turn to the finish. I finished up behind him, good for 10th overall. My time was 29:26 and first in my age group. Mile splits were as follows: 5:41, 5:50, 5:54, 6:04, 5:52 for the 5 miles. I rounded up Joe (6th - 28:32), Nakri (31st - 31:18), and David Corbett (12th - 29:33) and we went out for a cool down which brought me over 10 miles for the day.

Joe Shairs, Nakri Dao, and I

Monday, November 20, 2017

Frost on the Fairways 2.5 mile & Gannon Golf Course 18 Hole Par 70 5K

In the mood to give a “new to me” race a try, I went to Gannon Golf Course next to Lynn Woods for the 18 Hole Par 70 5K. The venue is a stone’s throw from me and I was curious about running through all 18 holes. 

Boston is just at the end of the fairway

Dave Dunham (CMS) and Shawn Conway (GLRR) were in the clubhouse after getting their numbers. We went out for a warm up on the course. We did not run the exact course but we got the picture. Hills are plenty. It was going to be fun – like the Mt. Hood Cross Country race in Melrose every December.

I changed into the racing gear. Joe Abilon came in from outside and gave news that due to frost on the course, the race would be delayed for at least an hour. Dave asked Shawn and I if we would care to race the 2.5 mile Lynn Woods Relay course instead of waiting around for the delay. I was warmed up and ready to rock and roll. Shawn did not hesitate. We got on the start line of the old relay course – start and finish at the gate – the course from about a decade ago. We headed off with the read set go, pressing our GPS watches for the self timing. I took the lead, taking us through the mile. It felt like a weekly summer Wednesday night Lynn Woods race. Dave and Shawn were right behind me through the goat path.

I was gassed a bit at the end of the path but looking forward to the downhill. Dave went by me as we headed down the hill. He looked really smooth. I had to press to keep with him. This was good, I was racing. I was in the moment because the stretch back to the pavement went by so fast. I was so focused on keeping with Dave for as long as possible. I thought I might have a chance to have a push toward the end. I did just that getting to the line .5 seconds ahead of Dave. Shawn rolled in right behind us. I leaned on my knees for a few seconds. The effort hurt but in a good way. Despite the win,  I finished 3rd in the age graded results. Dave gave Shawn and I ATR fleece blankets. Awesome!

Gannon Club House in the background. Taken a few minutes after our 3 man race.

We ran back up to the club house and ran over to Lynn Woods via the golf course for some more miles on the trails. On our return to the club house, I heard that 5K was going to start in 15 minutes. I decided to hang out and give it a run. I knew it was going to hurt but the plan was to ease into it because I had no choice. A guy jumped out into the lead and I had to let him go. Up and down the race went. Joe was in a golf cart as the lead vehicle for Rich Lally (leading). I picked up the pace a bit in the second mile and worked to reduce the lead I had given which looked like 20 seconds.

In my pursuit, Rich went off course – up and over a hill instead of following Joe who took a left at the marker and down the hill. I paused and looked at Joe who stopped and looked back at us. I yelled for Rich but he did not hear me. I took the left and ran after the golf cart. Rich popped out back onto the course 30 seconds later. I said “no problem, we are 1 and 2.” I kept the lead and opened up a touch in the last mile to average a hard 7:04 pace for the win. Rich finished 25 seconds behind me.

It was a fun and tough course. No 5K records will be set on this one. A nice breakfast buffet awaited the runners and volunteers inside. French toast, sausage, and bacon was my cool down after 12 miles some quicker than others. I had a time hanging out with Stephen Martin (race director of the Lazy Dog 3 mile every January) and Joe Abilon. Joe does a lot for the sport so it was nice to talk some history for a bit.

Frost on the fairways - Lynn Woods 2.5m
Lynn Woods, MA, November 18, 2017
Gannon race delayed so impromptu race on the CLASSIC Lynn Woods 2.5 mile course
Age Graded

Gannon Golf Course 18 Hole-Par 70 5K
Lynn-Gannon Golf Course, MA, November 18, 2017

                            18 Hole-Par 70 - 5K
           Lynn,MA  Gannon Golf Course November 18,2017 8:30 am
     Results by AB-MAC Finish Systems 781-593-6562  jsa777@verizon.net
Place Name                No.  S Div Ag City       St Team         Time    Pace 
===== =================== ==== = === == ========== == ============ ======= =====
    1 JAMES PAWLICKI        90 M   1 43 LYNN       MA CENTRAL MASS 21:57  7:04
    2 RICH LALLY           106 M   1 34 LYNN       MA              22:22  7:12
    3 PATRICK FAY           29 M   1 58 WINCHESTER MA              26:14  8:27
    4 PAUL QUINN           142 M   2 58 LYNN       MA              26:38  8:35
    5 JAMES LAMOTHE         40 M   3 59 LYNN       MA              27:39  8:54

Gannon Club House

Golfers waiting

Views from the club

More views

Off the dining area



Post race

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

USATF New England Cross Country Championships

I got a chance to lace up for the USATF New England Cross Country Championships. The weather was about perfect for a cross country race – a cloudy mid 50’s, dry, and no wind to whine about. I got there early with Joe Shairs. Dave Dunham and Dan Verrington pulled up as I backed into the parking spot. We set up the CMS tent behind the starting. One by one, CMS runners arrived and huddled at the tent. It is nice to have a new club tent to promote the club and allow a centralized area for the team. Thanks to Kim Gordon and the board to make that happen.

I warmed up and got back to the tent about 20 minutes before the 10am start to prepare into my Adidas road flats (no waffle racers or spikes needed) and singlet. I got on the line with six other masters (age 40-49), seven seniors (50-59), and one 60+ runner.  There was no pressure but was a bit concerned how the legs would feel after some time off in September and no races since August.
A few minutes in, I got the taste of racing right back. 

Mile 1 went by in 5:51. I did not want to go out too fast and that was just about right. I slowed down but was passing a few people during mile two (6:13) which includes the up and over Bear Cage hill. Mile 3 was a trip through the Wilderness loop bringing me out to the 5K. Mile 3 was passed in 6:09 (5K around 19:19). I could make out two CMS singlets ahead:  Tim Van Orden and Martin Tighe. The chase was on. 

I gave Tivo some encouragement as I went by. He too was toughing out his first race in a while. Martin was hanging tough too when I snuck by just before 4 miles. In the last mile, I recognized Shawn Conway from GLRR. Good guy who puts the kudos out to the CMS dudes on Strava. I caught up while cresting Bear Cage Hill. We flew down the backside. He put a little gap on me in the roots in front of the team tents holding that second lead on me all the way to the finish line. I finished in 52nd place, right about in the middle of the race with 106 finishers. My time was 30:27 on the day. 2017Results.  I ran 29:07 last year.

Not only was it good to be racing, I had fun and walked away feeling that competitive juice. I ran a smart race and slowly passed some runners in the field throughout. No one passed me and beat me to the finish after 800m into the race. The masters and senior teams finished in 2nd place having a pretty good day among the teams. The open team was short for a scoring team. 

Martin and I at mile 4
Photo by Rodney Hemingway