Sunday, April 23, 2017

Doyle's Emerald Necklace 5 Mile Road Race Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain, MA, April 9, 2017

I have always wanted to race the Doyle’s Emerald Necklace 5 mile road race. I seem to always have a conflict and sometimes it is the day after the Merrimack River Trail Run. I rolled into Jamaica Plain, passing the usual fall racing scene of Franklin Park. I met up and warmed up with the TNT/CMS/RI crew of Robert Jackman, David Principe, and Michael Daniels for a warm up which gave me a good look at the first and last miles of the race. After the warm up, I threw on the Somerville Road Runner singlet to support their critical mass in the Pub Series. Robert and David wore their TNT gear. We ran back over to the start which was ¾ of a mile away.

We had 20 minute delay (sounds like this happened last year too), standing on the starting line with no movement wondering what was going on. Nothing big but the starting line crew made us wait it out for the official word to go. The extra time allowed me to catch up with Greg Picklesimer (one of his first road races back I the day) and Joe Navas who seems to have settled on a marathon in Quebec in August.

Finally, the race took off and rolled along the edge of the Franklin Park golf course.  I had a 5:41ish mile and was strides away from the Level singlet of Kevin Gorman, Army singlet of John Page, and CSU’s Kevin Delaney. This was right where I wanted to set myself up to run 28:59 (my race goal). We ran over to Franklin Park and did a 180 at the base of Bear Cage hill. Those guys put some distance on me but I was rolling well with Mike Slinsky who was an absolute stud in the late 90’s when I hit the road race scene. He would tear up the Yankee Homecoming 10 mile race in Newburyport like no one’s business. His name is on his singlet these days and no longer lives in Fishkill, NY – but that is OK ‘cause he is still rocking Oakley’s. Still got respect for the man at 47.

I passed Mike more than half way through the course. I now ran back past the start line and had about a mile back to the finish at Doyle’s CafĂ© where I was running up the back of Robert Jackman and John Page. I yelled to Page and told him he’d better get moving. We had one more hill to climb out of the golf course and then it was all downhill into a nice flat finish. I managed to pass John 100 yards from the line. I finished 21st and timed out for a 29:04, two ticks behind Robert and 6 up on John. 

Check out the results.  

You can learn from the best. I walked over to the tent where the TNT boys and I had our gear. I watched Robert and David closely relaying beers back and forth, laying them out on the table in the tent for which we seemed to own. It was hilarious. In a blink of an eye, the table was full with beers. Like I said, you got to learn from the best. They were content so I scrapped in a few more miles so I did John Page and Kevin Gorman. Let’s just say I did not have to wait in any lines for a beer when I returned.


Please check out the nice photography of Scott Mason who set up shop a half mile from the finish line with runners coming out of the tunnel. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Cohasset Rotary Road Race by the Sea 10K

With the Frank Nealon Boston Tune Up 15K cancelled early on Saturday, I started to consider a replacement race for the weekend. The Cohasset Rotary Road Race by the Sea 10K was an option for Sunday. Dan and Katrina Vassallo were heading down to the race. We picked up Gregory Putnam on the way. Dan has a lot of history at this race (multiple wins) while it was also a local one for Gregory when he lived on the South Shore. I got feedback from both on the course terrain and what to expect which was emphasis on a rolling course after 2.5 miles.

The three CMS jacketed amigos strutted into registration. 2/3 of these guys were locks for overall win and masters win. Me? Get in a hard effort before Boston, break in the shoes, and not embarrass the CMS singlet. I rolled out at the start, finding a 5:42 opening mile on Atlantic Ave. I was in about 13th place. A few strides ahead, I noted what looked like another master runner in a black singlet (Dave Dugan). He was popular among the few spectators on the course. I caught up to him at mile two, the ocean visible to our right. The hills came upon us. I would lose a few strides to Dave going up the hills but I would rebound on the other side with some effort.

The race course took a 90 degree left onto Forest Ave, off Jerusalem Rd, with us now leaving the scenic ocean to our right hand side. It was the steepest hill so far and it took the wind out of my sails (actually all of them did). Dave went by me with encouraging words. Once at the top, I managed to reel him back in and get back ahead of him. Kids were now on the course sporadically, seeking high fives so I reached out. Must have made their day! I passed by any and all water stops along the way. 4 miles went by and it started to get quiet behind me. I did not want to peek pack, just wanted to keep the pressure on myself. I would keep in touch with the applause behind me from there to the finish. Dave was close all the way to the end where I was just 9 seconds up on Dave at the finish line. I placed 8th overall, 2nd master behind Gregory (by 2.5 minutes), with a time of 37:02 (5:58 per mile pace).


I turned back to acknowledge Dave for the battle during the race. I headed out for a cool down with Dan (he got the win with his best time on the course) and Gregory. They planned on the 3.75 loop that we warmed up on. I cut that short and went through another neighborhood that dropped me right off to the finish line and common area (about 2 miles). Anthony Everett, news anchor and host of Chronicle, handled the awards and called out the winners, top 3 in each age group in an expedited fashion. The age group winners walked into the hall and did a sweep of one of three tables according to your place. My 2nd place got me a small swag bag from the race sponsors. Earlier, I scored a 1980’s style trucker hat from a free bin. That was worth it. 


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Bedford Half Marathon

I ran another edition of the New Bedford Half Marathon today. The race served as the 2nd race of the USATF New England Grand Prix Series. I car pooled with Nakri and Greg. My results summary was 176th place, chip time 1:23:15 (6:22 pace per mile), and gun time of 1:23:24. It might be a personal worst for the half marathon distance when I was considered healthy.  I ran 1:19:21 last year with similar weekly mileage.

The head wind at 9.5 miles was comical. I do not think the tail wind and head wind offset each other today but I have no excuses. Everyone had to deal with it. I expected to see some early mile splits close to six flat but I was giving 6:20’s from the get go. In the hills through 4, I just got through them to get through them. The stretch after four miles, my legs just could not get going but managed my quicker miles from 4 to 8 as expected. My head was down into the wind for miles 10 and 11. I was surprised that I managed to pass a few people from there and in the closing miles. I felt that I finished strong, lost a spot or two in the last 600m but I competed to the line.

Looking at the splits for the day, I noticed that I did not break out of the 6 minute range per mile. The splits ranged from 6:03 (mile 5) to 6:40 (last mile). The CMS teams ran very well placing 4th, 2nd, and 1st in the open, masters, and seniors divisions respectively. I closed out the day with the chowder, fish sandwich, and plenty of Polar Beverages. I caught up with competitors and CMS teammates regarding their races, results, and upcoming plans. 


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Black Cat 20 mile

The Black Cat 20 mile road race was a change of pace and temperature. In came the cold and wind on Saturday. Single digits with the wind chill? Nick Taormina and I talked about the approach and expectations. He was going to take 6:30 pace out for the first 10 mile and pick it up. I was looking for anything south of seven minute pace and some confidence. We had a few 20 mile runs so far in the past month at 7:24 and 7:21 pace. I would not say those gave me any confidence other than I can cover 20 miles.

As last year, I broke it down into quarters. The first quarter was feeling out the legs without concern for pace as I ran to Devereaux Beach in Marblehead and turned around to hit a head wind. Splits were 6:42, 6:40, 6:47, 6:34, 6:44. I got on the heels of a decent pack of six that included Brian Tinger and Mike Paulin into the wind. This contingent had a mission but it did not include Tinger and I as the pace quickened down Derby Street in Salem. I took my first gel from my pocket and got a bottle of water from the water stop after 8 miles. I would carry that bottle through 11 miles.

It looks like I ran 1:07:34 as I passed the half way point and headed out for the second 10 mile loop. The second quarter of the race had mile splits of 6:38, 6:43, 6:38, 6:57, 6:52. Brian Tinger and I were still keeping company. I took my two Hammer Endurolytes capsules before 11 miles with the water bottle I kept from 8 miles. A few minutes later, I tossed the water to the opposite side of the road next to Salem State. The bottle cap popped off on impact but the bottle settled nicely on the sidewalk in case I needed it on the way back before mile 16.

Back into Marblehead, I got a chance to see the front of the race coming at us on the approach of Devereaux Beach. Nick was running very well in 4th place. Tinger and I took turns fighting the wind going back into Salem as we passed mile 15. The splits for the third quarter of the race were 7:05, 6:52, 6:54, 6:45, 7:06. Mile 16 took us past Salem State.  I did not want to reach for the water on the sidewalk for fear of cramping up. It was a mile later on Lafeyette Street last year where I started to have leg cramps. 

So far all was good for me with Tinger and another runner headed toward the Salem Willows on Derby Street. I could sense that they wanted to pick it up and they did at 18 miles. Then we turned toward Dead Horse Beach. I faced a few gusts of wind that pushed me back. No wonder why the volunteers at the water stop were hunkering down in the SUV. I do not blame them. It was a tough day.

The last two miles had me slowing down and losing pace to Tinger and the other runner. Then the inevitable, calf cramps just before 19 miles. First the left and then the right triggered. I crossed the finish line in 16th place with a time of 2:17:28 (about five full minutes slower than last year, 6:39 pace vs 6:52 pace this year). 

The last five mile splits were 7:01, 7:10, 6:53, 7:12, 7:13. I grabbed the medal and ran back to see if I could find Nick who was yelling for me 400m before the finish. I could not find him so I jogged slowly back to the car and got out of dodge. The run did not fill me with much confidence with the calves blowing up. It was reminiscent of how my last three marathons have gone; calf cramps coming at some point, then shuffle to the finish. Thankfully, today was not a day that required another 10K after 20 miles. Looking forward to Boston…….


Monday, March 6, 2017

Amherst 10 mile

The Amherst 10 mile road race kicked off the 2017 USATF New England Road Race Grand Prix on Sunday. I ran my first Amherst 10 mile road race 20 years ago in 1997 (9th place for 56:35). It was not a championship race that year (it was a year later). My coach, Tom Derderian, who designed the course back in 1975, was getting me ready for a slew of races in ’97 which included the Grand Prix Road Race Series. 

Nakri Dao, Joe Armstrong, Greg Putnam and I arrived in Amherst in just under 2 hours. The weather was fair for February – clear pavement, mostly cloudy, average temperature of 38 degrees and a steady WNW wind of over 15mph. I ran two light warm up sessions before the start after settling into my racing flats and lined up about six rows back from the front of the start.

My goal was to break 60 minutes. However, each mile that I passed race showed that an average of 6 minute miles were out of the question. The early hills put me behind the 8-ball and a disappointing 5 mile split of just under 32 minutes. The good news is that some downhill stretches were to follow. The legs responded a bit with low 6 minute miles until the last two miles where I was in the hurt locker physically and mentally. Friend, Mike Paulin tried encourage me to go with him in the last mile (up the hill and into the wind) but I was cooked. I finished in just under 63 minutes. Glad my team did not need that effort to score. Fortunately, CMS had plenty of depth to take the masters team win (open placed 2nd and 50+ won).

Place 137
Gun Time 1:02:56.9
Net Elapsed 1:02:55.0
6:17 pace per mile
23rd - 40-49 age category

So that is where I am for a 10 mile effort, about 2 minutes slower than the NH 10 mile race last summer (just under 61 minutes) and over 3 minutes slower than the Amherst 10 mile two years ago. I will keep the mileage up around 60 mile per week with a day per week of interval based training.

Can you tell where the hills were?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Great Stew Chase 15K

I ran 57:24.7 today at the Great Stew Chase 15K in Lynn. The pace breaks down to 6:10 per mile. This placed me 12th overall, a second in front of Central Mass teammate, Nick Taormina. He and I ran together for many of the miles today. Both of us have the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day.

With Nick beyond mile 6
Photo by KrissyK
I had a solid pack to run with in the middle miles where the elevation fluctuated. David Corbett, Nick, John Page, Kevin Hill, & Brandan Ring were in a mix on Farm Road hitting the hill up around the parking lot and back down. David Corbett broke all of us and smoked the last four miles. Nick and I chased but it was futile.

The weather was decent for a January day with some wind but it seemed to benefit us some in the closing miles. I was about 8 seconds better than last year. I am happy with the effort, got just about every second out of the legs as possible. It was good to catch up with some faces that I have not seen in a while.

John Page, David Corbett, myself, Brenden Ring, Nick Taormina after 3 miles
Photo by KrissyK
43rd Annual Great Stew Chase 15K, Lynn, MA 2017 results

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lazy Dog Classy 3 mile

Stephen Martin is the race director of this one hosted by the Lazy Dog Sports Bar in Wyoma Sqaure in Lynn. The proceeds from the race go to the Lynn Classical Girls Track Team. I have lined up and finished on Broadway Street since 2013. See below. I got in a four mile warm up running over to the race and then ran the course with Nakri Dao and Martin Tighe. At the gun, I jumped right out into the lead. John Page kept pace with me down Euclid Ave. As we approached mile one and a hill, he took the lead and surged up and through the hill dropping me by several strides. I could not close that gap as the course flattened out. We hit some head wind on Broadway and mile 2. John had about a five second lead, took the right onto Magnolia Ave with his dad Mike Page and John Ayers yelling for both of us.

I thought that is how the race was going to finish but I gained a bit on John approaching Euclid Ave. That gave me some energy. It got interesting as I caught John at the corner of Broadway and Euclid Ave (Minos Roast Beef). I put on a surge there all the way to the finish holding John off and taking the win in the Somerville Road Runner yellow. It was unexpected as it looked like John was going to hold his lead after the mile. My time was 17:05 and my 3rd win at the race. John ran 17:13. Results

Krissy was not only at the finish line ready to take the photos, but she was at 2.5 miles and at .5 miles. Photos to come soon.

My Lazy Dog Classy 3 mile fun run history
Year Place Time
2013  1 16:11
2014  1    16:54
2015  7    16:42
2016  2 17:20
2017  1    17:05

I had a nice cool down with Martin, Nakri, John, and Gilley Kabamba (Lynn Classical Senior with a 2 mile PR of 10:29) who finished 3rd. Krissy and I stayed for the awards, raffle, and lunch. I recommend the Lazy Dog Burger. It looks like John and I are going to have a few more races together this year. I just hope that I can keep up with him. He already beat me at the Frosty Four Mile in Salem earlier this month.

800m with John Page on Euclid Ave
Photo by KrissyK

Trailing John with 800m to go on Magnolia Ave
Photo by KrissyK

Upon the finish outside the Lazy Dog on Broadway, just ahead of John
Photo by KrissyK