Wednesday, September 13, 2017

No so Around Cape Ann 25K

With a plan to run the Bay State Marathon, I wanted to put the legs into a steady state of uncomfortable miles. The ACA25K, Around Cape Ann 25K, road race sounded like a good idea. The course rolls around the perimeter of Cape Ann via Gloucester and Rockport. There are some hills but the scenery usually takes that concern away until the later stages of the course where there is no shade.

The weather was outstanding, a comfortable 60’s and sunny. I was with Nick Taormina (CMS) and Kieran Condon (SRR) after a minute into the race – a good spot I figured and only six runners ahead of us. Kieran dropped us after 5K to reel in those ahead.

After we passed 5 miles in 31:20, Nick asked me how I was doing? I had just felt a twinge and dull ache behind my left knee about 10 seconds earlier. I backed off the pace. A mile later, a sharp stabbing pain attacked the troubled area and ended my effort right there. I could not put any pressure on the leg. I pulled off to the left shoulder on the road and had a seat in a hurry. Matt Curran stopped by on his bike to check on me but not much could be done. I told him I would flag down a ride one way or the other. I hobbled over to the other side of the street and had a seat on a rock.

About 25 runners went by when Nick’s sister, Katie Misuraca stopped by and offered a ride. We continued to drive along the race and cheer the race on. Kieran moved up a spot and Nick was right on top of catching a Colgate runner near Good Harbor Beach. They looked exhausted. Katie got us back to the finish line about 20 minutes ahead of the race so I changed into some warm clothes where I found Krissy confused. I hobbled over to the finish and waited for the runners to come in. Nick finished in 6th place with a 6:35 pace. Kieran took the top 40+ spot, 4th overall with a 6:16 pace.

Below were my splits.

Mile 1    6:10
Mile 2    6:08
Mile 3    6:11
Mile 4    6:14
Mile 5    6:24
Mile 6    7:07
0.3          7:29

Over the course of the next few days, I got an MRI. Initial diagnosis was a lateral tear of the meniscus. The official word was a minor tear of the medial meniscus (inside toward the back of the knee). It is odd because the pain I feel/felt is on the lateral side.



“Abnormal high signal from the posterior horn medial meniscus with increased signal extending to the lateral aspect of its superior articular surface consistent with a tear.”


The good news is surgery is not needed and it was suggested to give it a few weeks. I spent a day on crutches. Each day the knee is getting better. I went out for a bike ride six days later. I am still walking gingerly and I will feel some pain if I twist or land on the knee wrong while walking. I am not going to rush it but have a feeling I will be back on the road by the end of the month and full contact football by end of October. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Lynn Woods Relay

Last night was the Lynn Woods Relay. Four people make up a team and each run 2.5 miles. I put the word out to the team, CMS, to see who was interested. I got interest to fill a masters and senior team. Chris Smith, who has been racing at Lynn Woods all summer, was nice enough to put down his SRR singlet and chip in for the CMS Senior team. Meanwhile, Nick Taormina saved the masters team as we were short one person and he stepped up late last week. 

Patrick Rich led off the masters team with the lead leg running 14:34. I had the second leg and took off up the hill. I was breathing pretty hard at the top of the hill so I knew the effort was good. I went through the mile in 6:01. I caught and passed the co-ed team. Shortly after that, I caught another runner going down to the turnaround spot. The next runner ahead was the 1st place team, Erich O’Neil from Wicked. I was closing the gap but I could not catch him through the goat path and back down to the finish. I got within 6 seconds at the end (my split was 15:07) before passing off to Nick Taormina who ran 15:04. Nakri Dao kept the 2nd place position in the end by just 5 seconds with a 15:47. The 3rd place team (Filthy James had a 4th leg race a 14:11). Our masters team won the division with a combined time of 1:00:32.


The Central Mass Striders 50+ team of Dave Dunham, Chris Smith, Martin Tighe, and Paul Young broke the Lynn Woods Senior team record, won the division, and placed 5th overall. 

In summary, it was a fun evening for the teams. The low key atmosphere yet competitive enough on the trails make it fun for all, In addition, the team picked up half zip “The Woods” sweatshirts. This was the first time that I got a sweatshirt (1st place team award) and twenty years after picking up what might have been my first Lynn Woods open team trophy that I gave back to Bill Mullen recently so he could recycle for the future. The night was capped off with a Pizza party with Krissy and the Wicked Running Club at Polcari’s on Route 1.

CMS 40+ team: Nick Taormina, Nakri Dai, Jim Pawlicki, Patrick Rich

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bobby Doyle Summer Classic 5 mile

Joe Shairs and I soaked to the bone after the race.
Photo by Nakri Dao
Joe Shairs, Nakri Dao and I headed down to Narragansett, RI for the Bobby Doyle Summer Classic 5 mile. It was the USATF 5 mile championship the last two years. It was not so for this year but all club representatives got invited down several months ago. The race has been really good to CMS based on our performances and Linda Hurteau is so nice to work with. I put it out there to CMS and got some interest to field a team.

The course was to change back to a former course and I must say I like it better. It offered a little more shade and fairly flat for the last couple of miles. I got out with a 5:37 mile out to the ocean. I hung out with WTAC’s Jeff Walker as we seemed matched well for the pacing. We have been battling at a few trail races this summer. Mile 2 had some climb to it and I recall a 5:59 split. Three miles brought me a 6:14 and I was dragging from there on. I lost Jeff and he rolled away into mile 4 battling Kayla O'Neil from the BAA.

I faded where I should have been cranking back down into the 5:50’s but  I was all done battling. I got to the finish line in 30:08. I managed 6th in the 40-49 age group and 5th CMS master runner. The team ran really well with Josh Perks, Robert Jackman, Joe Shairs, David Principe, and Kevin Gorman scoring the open team all within 20 seconds (28:40 to 29:00)! The Open and Masters teams took first place. Nakri ran a PR too. It was quick and fun road trip on another humid day in RI. Here are the results. Quick 5 mile period! I can't wait to see Scott Mason's photos of the race. 


Monday, July 31, 2017

Fred Warren 5.5 mile road race

Krissy and I headed out to Holden and the home of Stephen Laska who was hosting a post-race BBQ. He lives .3 miles away from the Fred Warren road race which is listed as 5.5 miles. 54 years have gone by with the race on the calendar. I have seen it on the Central Mass Striders list of races for years as they host, run, and time it. Both Stephen Laska and Kim Gordon have done a solid job on the social media to promote the race. When I asked Krissy if she would consider the race, given that it is on a Sunday evening, she was game.

We parked at Stephen’s house and walked down to the race. CMS just started to set up the registration tent. I helped (or got in the way) Jorge Landeo set up the club banner on the tent. The race is an ol’ fashion throwback to offer a scant $15 for a challenging course, a t-shirt, official results (still waiting for them to be posted), et cetera. I did not do any research on the course and profile so I got filled in from the CMS locals. In short, hills, plenty of them, period. Enough said. Maybe 75 runners lined up for the 6:30 start.

I went out hard, taking the race out with a generous downhill, in 5:41. No other takers so it was me chasing the patient police car up and down the rolling hills. The foot steps behind me went silent before mile 2. There was a volunteer at each mile marker, calling out the time. There was also a volunteer at each of the (maybe five turns overall on the course). It would be hard to get lost. Mile two slowed down to a 6:09 because of, some hills. 

The rolling hills and evening shade reminded me of the roads in Hamilton and Wenham (Weiner Run) out of Asbury Grove and through Bradley Palmer. Mile 3 rolled off the road and onto a paved trail leading past the Holden Reservoir. As I exited the path, a sharp right hand turn and hill slapped me in the chops. I was warned about this hill so I joked with the volunteer if this is where I start cursing?  

I crawled up the hill and through mile four with a, might as well retire, 6:39 split. The reward was a view of Wachusett Mountain at 4.5 miles. I did not expect that so it was nice. 

After the sight-seeing finished, it was time to roll down the hill. I did so in 5:31. The problem though was two shadows gaining on me. I was not in the mood to mix it up and kick to the line. I was a hurtin’ puppy and the two Wachusett Regional kiddos took no mercy, passing me before the last right hand turn as the course leveled out for a fast finish. I threw in a surge to pull even with them and make it a race. One of them broke down but the other (Isaac) was up for the battle to the line. I showed my cards and put them on the table. I had a losing hand and threw in. 

The Wachusett lads crossed the line holding hands. Four seconds later, I crossed the line for 3rd. Hey, 1st master right? It was all good. I congratulated the kids. Isaac turned out to be Tom Steele’s son. Tom and I warmed up before the race and I talked him into racing for CMS earlier this year. We went off for a cool down and he got me up to speed on his son’s talents – a 10:02 2 miler this past winter for Wachusett Regional. Good stuff. Let’s hope we see these lads in CMS uniforms in the future!

After the cooldown, I found Krissy who ran awesome, nearly breaking 10 minute pace over the hills. We spent the next few hours at the post race party BBQ at Stephen’s house. I caught up with come CMS folks while having plenty to eat and drink before the long ride home. I am glad I went and hope to take on the race again. Oh, and for the record, the GPS measured out 5.28 miles.




Friday, July 21, 2017

Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K

I headed over to the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K (30th Anniversary for the L Street hosted race) which is 10 minutes away from the office. I signed up earlier in the morning after confirming that my legs were up for it. The runner’s expo beside Carson Beach was active with vendors. I caught up with Michael McGrane and Bob Fitzgerald in the BAA tent (I did not get kicked out for wearing New Balance sneakers) after grabbing my bib number and shirt. I ran the course as a warm up – an easy, flat, out and back along William J. Day Blvd. I got back to the car and changed into my Asics flats and singlet – representing Poland for the night.

The first mile went well sneaking just under 5:30 for the mile. Just after the turn-around, Allison McCabe from GBTC went by me. I was slowing down and knew it heading into mile 2. I had no energy for even one surge in the last mile. No fight. Sorry. I was just trying to get to the finish line without getting run down by anyone. I got to the line 6 seconds behind Allison (first female) with a time of 17:52 and in 14th place, 2nd 40-49 (Matt Herman ran 17:40). I hung by the finish, drinking two bottles of water. I waited for Mike Paulin and Suzanne Chavez and we did a short cooldown. Full Results

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Run for the Beavers Trail Races

Teammate, Robert Jackman, had a one day flash sale over the winter for his Run for the Beavers 5 and 10 mile trail race in Casmir Pulaski Memorial State Park in Chepachet, RI.  I did not have a Beaver shirt in my wardrobe so I signed up welcoming a new trail race to my portfolio and an excuse for a road trip in the Volkswagen Scirocco. The drive to the park was about 85 minutes. I got my race bib and exclusive Beaver t-shirt and a sticker. Robert caught me up on what to expect out on the course which was noted on the web site as intermediate on the Jackman Scale of Difficulty.

We consider this course to be intermediate on the difficulty scale.  It is a good transistion from a cross country race or trails that do not have any rocks and roots.   The loop has a great variety of terrain.  You will run on some fast dirt roads and double track trails, but will be slowed down a bit with some technical single track trails to keep you on your toes.  If you can keep your head up when you come around Peck Pond, you might get a glimpse of the infamous beaver at which this race takes its name.

Chris Mahoney and Steve Brightman were in attendance to make up a CMS team (3 runners score) with myself.  I warmed up on the first mile and last 800m of the course to familiarize myself with the two loop for 10 mile course. I got on the starting line soon enough in the CMS singlet a step off the front row. A WTAC runner had some comments for Steve regarding his team affiliation to CMS (Steve was shirtless so someone did some research). I wondered where the trash talk was coming from. I bit my tongue not knowing that the two runners have had years of competition and sweat among them albeit in opposing uniforms. In the end, WTAC put a hurtin’ to us with me being weak link, minutes behind the 3rd WTAC runner.  WTAC has historically done very well at this race.

Robert Jackman provided hilarious, dry sense of humor, instructions for us, trail runners before sending us off. One loop was to be run for the 5 mile runners and for me and the folks who signed up for 10 – run the loop once more. I ran off the start line surveying the runners around me as we headed up a slight incline on the fire road. I settled into what I felt was a good spot before dashing into the single track. It was so good that I owned the 8th place for the whole race. I had a few visitors on my heels like Michael Daniels who won the 5 mile and Ed Cullen during the 2nd loop.

The course was a lot of fun. The mix of terrain was evenly dispersed so that you did not get sick of any one thing. The loop offered single track, wide fire road, hills, swamp, boarded bridges, roots, rocks, mud, scenic view of ponds, and reluctant Beaver sightings who wanted no business with the group of runners. Robert offered free lifetime entry to anyone who saw one during the race.

I would really like to see this race as a New England Trail Championship in the future. In the end, I ran 1:10:57.8, for 8th place. For what is worth, 9.5 miles on the Garmin GPS. As Robert says, it is a trail race! Check out the outstanding photography by Scott Mason (lap 1lap 2). I had just enough time to cool down with a group after the race and then rinse off in the local pond below the parking lot. For an added bonus, the cool down run of an out and back for 1.7 miles allowed me to run into CT for a few minutes.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

John Carson 2 mile road race

I recognized the bearded face but not the Volvo wagon pulling into the Hannaford parking lot. I barked “Holy crap, that is Patrick Rich” to Joe Shairs as we waited for the start of the John Carson 2 mile road race in Chelmsford -  a July 4th tradition of sorts recently. It was awesome to see Patrick. This race would be his first in a while (18 months?) and certainly his first as a master runner. The CMS masters team is certainly going to get a boost this year with the addition of Patrick, Jim Johnson, and Chris Mahoney.

The three of us headed out for a warm up. Each of us knew the course which is a rolling point to point 2 mile course along a parade route. We were on the starting line after a 2.5 mile warm up. My goal was to run a pair of 5:29 miles and sneak under 11:00. I trailed Patrick and Joe heading through 400m. The key is to not get tripped up after the start as so many young lads bolt right out.  
I passed the mile in 5:30 a step behind Joe and Patrick. The next 400m drops down a bit and I pushed past them. The last 400m seems so long as the course climbs back up into the finish around a corner. I was tiring out in the last 150m for sure. I finished in 22nd place, 4th master, and barely ahead of Joe (11:06) and Patrick (11:07). We collected ourselves with a quick drink and ran back to the start catching just the beginning of the parade vehicles.


I have to mention a friendly face that I have seen at this race for years. He is the "gunman" or official starter of the race. His name is Tom Hildreth. He went out of his way to run over and shake my hand after I picked my number up, welcoming me again to the race. He volunteers his time and I have seen him helping at other races in recent years such as the Lynn Woods Relay race in August and the Merrimack River Trail race in April. It is people like this that make this sport so great for everyone.


Almost done with the 2 mile in Chelmsford
Photo by Jim Rhoades