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

Monday, January 16, 2017

Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble

I met Dave Dunham at the Newburyport Park and Ride. Two hours later, we arrived at Whitaker Woods in North Conway for my first snowshoe race of the year. CMS teammate Kevin Tilton is the race director. Several CMS mates also arrived: Ed Shelton, Paul Bazanchuk, Sam Wood, & John Pajer. It was sunny and temps warmed up to maybe 20 degrees. I did a warm up in sneakers on top of the groomed trail with Dave and Paul. Once I got on a single track down hill, it was suicidal, and lost them so I shuttled around on my own. I got back and changed into my racing gear and Dion Snowshoes. I did another 10 minutes out on the course.

At the start line, I saw a lot of new faces (new comers). I got out at the start and settled in behind Kevin Tilton who had enough volunteers to let him race. I held my own on a few climbs in the first few miles. Kevin put a gap on us that I could not make up. The groomed trails were nice and I would say that this made the course pretty fast. The single track trail was manageable in all respects. I had a battle in the 2nd half of the race with John Corona in what was mostly flat groomed terrain. I finished in 8th place, time of 27:29.7, 1st in my age group for the 3.9 mile course. I did a cool down with Dave and we settled inside for some soup and waited for the awards where I scored home baked goods courtesy of Jess Tilton. I devoured the cookies and brownies as soon as I got home. Check out the sweet photos that Joe Viger took.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

3000m Boston University Mini-Meet #3

Joe Shairs and I headed over to the 3rd and last installment of the BU mini-meets to shave some time off our 3000m times we set a week ago. Our seed times (mine being 10:00) put us both in the same heat. The number 12 hip number put me up on the barrel start (lane 6) which is always fun. I jumped into the back end of the competition once we got going and settled in, seeing 39 to 40 second laps. I saw a 3:20 at 1K, on pace for a 10 minute race (goal was to break 10 minutes). After 8 laps, the clock time was 5:20. Joe was a few seconds up ahead. I did not take any advantage of Justin Renz moving by and chasing Joe with 6 laps to go. I was pretty flat but consistent. I passed a few runners that were coming back more than me pressing. I wound up with a finish time of 10:01.64, four seconds back from Joe (9:57.93) and matched my hip number, placing 12th out of the 16 runners.  The 2.5 seconds delta (faster) than last week is progress. Meet results

On a side note, Shaun Dever from Greater Boston Track Club introduced himself to me. He saw my name in archives of the Wingfoot Express (newsletter). It was nice to see that he and the club have uncovered some archives going back into the mid to late 1990's.