Sunday, February 7, 2016

42nd Annual Great Stew Chase 15K

This out and back course is the 3rd oldest 15K in the country. Krissy dropped me off at the Knights of Columbus to drop off my bag and slide an unheard of, scant $20 bill for 15 kilometers over the table with a paper application. Thank you Roger Perham, race director, for keeping it simple. Simple prizes, nice warm bowl of Stew, a dinner roll, and cookie follow in a warm dinning room of the K of C. Plenty of volunteers from various running clubs such as the North Shore Striders and Wicked Running Club help out. Roger was sure to give all credit after the race.

I ran a short warm up over to the start with teammate Nakri Dao. The weather was perfect, sunny, mid to high 30's and getting warmer. The race went off right on time, at 10 o'clock. Wicked Running Club's Dan Chruniak, took the lead and never relented his 5:45 pace. I counted nine spots before my placing 800 meters into the race. Mile one clocked out in the low 6's. Perfect. That was the goal. The other was not to blow up and drag ass over the last three miles. Familiar faces, Dan and Kat Vassallo were running toward the race with reserved low fives. Then I saw David Dunham after mile two taking pictures and supporting us on. He mentioned that Dan Verrington was 10 ticks back. I was expecting Dan to catch up but he never did. I recognized my father driving toward me and the race before mile 3. He gave me the unplanned thumbs up and a smile. Pretty cool. Krissy was down the road taking pictures. The hills started and Alex Morris from Somerville caught me heading to Farm Rd. He charged up the hill and I backed off. Joe Shairs was roadside. I told him that he should be out there leading the race. He is a prior winner, taking out Paul Hammond in the process in his first race with CMS many moons ago.

Up the hill past Krissy. Dan Verrington not far behind.
Photo by KrissyKSmugMug

I saw some familiar faces at the turn around and heading toward the race behind me. I charged along and focused now on the last third of the race. Two guys were ahead and I wanted to catch them. Plus I figured the focus would help keep Danny Francis Verrington behind me. It worked as I caught one of the runners just before 7 miles. I caught up with Alex from Somerville after 8 miles. I did not pass him until the downhill charge into mile 9. Third man in, Scott Foley from Atkinson, NH, got into the fray with them letting me charge up to the final straight away. Alex came from a second behind to blow our doors away in the last 50 meters. I crossed the line getting 9th place and 57:32, 6:11 pace, similar to last year. My last three miles were clocked at 6:00, 6:00, 5:54 for the fastest collective three of the day which was good.

I bounced into a cool down with Tara Paulin, Dan Chruniak, Dan Verrington, and Jason Matuelwicz for 2 miles  before diving into the Stew. If I can drop one more name, I met Michelle Bociek at my table who knows several CMS gents and is a former winner of the Bay State Marathon (1993, 3:02:46). I got a Stew Chase gym bag for the 2nd place age group placing before running home to cap out around 13 miles for Super Bowl Sunday. Looking ahead, I have the Boston Marathon in my line of sight. I am hopeful for a 3 hour race. We'll see how the New Bedford Half Marathon goes.

42nd Annual 15K Great Stew Chase, Lynn, MA February 7, 2016 results
Great Stew Chase 15K photos by KrissyK

Stew Chase after six miles
Photo by KrissyKSmugMug

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

USATF East Region & New England Masters Meet

I met up with Dave Dunham, Dan Verrington, and Joe O’Leary in Woburn at 7:30 for the drive down to Providence, RI for the USATF East Region & New England Masters Meet. The meet and facility were new to me so I was soaking it all in. I watched the men and ladies run the 5000m, cheering them on. BAA’s Chris Magill was pacing t’mate Doug McLucas and they went 1-2 looking comfortable in the 16:30's. Dave and Joe battled in the closing laps. Joe finished 2nd in his age group while Dan and Dave went 1-2. I ran 10:11.51 in the 3000m. The laps went by pretty fast and the race was down to the final lap before I knew it. I recall my mile split was 5:23. Dave cheered me on which helped, egging me to catch Dan for which I closed within three seconds at the end. I was looking for a 9:50 but was not too down with running 20 seconds slower as that was just the fun attitude for the day. CMS ladies Alicia Eno and Leslie O'Dell bettered their previous 3K times on this, a flat track. I had a wonderful day warming up outside with Brian Cullinan (won his age group in the 3K) from SRR and cooling down with Dan Verrington in downtown Providence. We got back in to watch a furious men’s mile, where Chris Magill made up a 100m gap in the last three laps to take the win. Meanwhile, Jesse Morrow (SRR) ran on to a 5:18 – adult mile PR which capped off a perfect day. There was talk about putting together 4 X 800m with the SRR guys but we nixed it and my legs are glad. I was impressed with the meet, organization, and the whole vibe. Everyone was so nice and chill. Thus, I would highly recommend that you come to the meet next year if you are a master (over 30 in track). You will not regret it. Full Meet Results

Monday, January 25, 2016

Mixed Mile GBTC Invite

I signed up for the 3000 meter race at the Greater Boston Invitational hosted at Harvard University. I car pooled in with Regina Loiacano, Jennifer Brooks, Nick Taormina, and Katie Misuraca. It was nice to catch up and talk about training, racing, et cetera. We got to the meet early, settled in, and I checked in for the 3K which was going to start two hours later. I watched the gals run the 3000m Invitational race. Katie went on to win and Jennifer and Regina had solid races. I ended up missing the start of my heat as I mis-judged how much time I had to warm up and get down to the track. My heat was #3 (heats ran fast to slowest) so it was totally my fault. By the time I got to my bag to grab my singlet and racing flats, my heat was lining up. I ran down to cheer on Dan Verrington and Nick Taormina who both ran 9:51 and 10:10 respectively.

I found the race director, Dave Callum, who allowed me to enter into the masters mile which was fine with me. I had a banana and Powerade that Regina was nice enough to give me as I had another two hours until my event. I carefully timed my warm up and got down to the check in area while all of the heats of the mile were going on. I waited through 3 heats before my mixed masters mile went off. I jumped into the middle of the pack at the gun and saw the first two laps go by in 37, 75 and then a 2:31 800m split. I was behind Chris Lawrence only for those laps and he began to move up a place. I caught up to 52 year old Adam Harder from GBTC and I ran in his pocket for the last 400m to finish 6th out of the 11 in the heat with a time of 5:04.86. I was wiped out in those last three laps but glad Adam was there to help me out and he agreed. This event was totally out of my comfort zone but glad I got a race in for the day after missing my heat. Krissy picked me up and we headed out for pizza and unfortunately watched the Patriots run into a solid Broncos defense and lose.

6th overall in the mixed 40+ mile event

Monday, January 11, 2016

Lazy Dog Classy 3 mile

I stopped by the Lazy Dog Sports Bar to register and buy a few raffle tickets. It was raining out and windy. It was sure to scare a few people away which was a shame as the proceeds support the Lynn Classical Girls Track and Field program. Classical coach and race director, Stephen Martin, gave me a hug and thanked me for coming. As Joe O’Leary said to me years ago, Stephen is one of the nicest guys in the sport.  He is doing a great job with assistant coaches like Warren McPhail at Lynn Classical. I drove home, changed, and ran back over to the race. I got to the line greeting training partners Joe O’Leary and Nakri Dao. The three of us jumped right out at the start. Joe and I ran side by side down Euclid Ave through mile 1 in 5:44. I did not check the split but the effort felt like a 5:30. I lost a step at 1.5 miles to Joe. He floated away down Broadway. My 2nd mile was a 5:29. He had five seconds on me. I was just trying to keep it close in the last mile. Joe broke tape with a 17:09 and I for 2nd place and 17:20 (last mile was 5:52). Nakri came in at 18:06 for 3rd. All three of us are 40+, taking the top three.  With the wind and rain not letting up, we headed back out to get a cool down and discussed our races. After two miles with them, I broke away, headed home for a shower. Krissy and I went back for the awards for which I was late but Stephen handed me envelopes for Tides in Nahant. They will be put to good use. We stayed for lunch and caught up with Stephen and Bill Mullen.

Myself, Bill Mullen, Nakri Dao
Photo by Krissy

Friday, January 1, 2016

Wicked Frosty Four

Nakri, Krissy, and I rolled over to Salem for the Wicked Frosty Four mile road race. We headed out for a warm up and hit the starting line for the reasonable 10AM start time. Not that I needed my beauty sleep but much prefer races on the early side of day light. The race started and I yelled over to EJ Hrynowski, “let’s go EJ!” just because it is good to see him and he’s good for the chirp. He promptly smoked the senior field and missed out on a PR by ten ticks of the North Shore Timing in the end.

Speaking of North Shore Timing, it was a family affair with father and owner Mike, in charge of timing command, son - John Page ahead of me by a few seconds at mile 1, and mom, Jill, cheering the race on.  I’ve known the Page family since I got introduced to club running and the North Shore Striders in the early 1990’s. Jill is a sweet heart, always smiling and supporting even in the midst of competition. “John is looking good up there,” I mentioned to her as I ran past mile 1. Without hesitation, “well, you look better” Jill said to me.

I was in fifth place and had that envious desire to move up five seconds and roll with the lead pack that included David Long and John Page. I was thinking that I should be up there mixing it up with them. My envy and legs were at odds a half mile later, confirming that I was not going to make up any gap, just see it get bigger. The highlight of mile two, was a storm trooper (are you reading this Joe Shairs?) pointing us toward the force - force of a little head wind.  The four up front extended the gap through mile 3 with John Page breaking off as he climbed the hill beyond Dead Horse Beach. This gave me hope to shake out of my suck-fest and maybe close in on him. Well......thankfully I did not look at the mile split until after the race.

My legs were junk and so was that last mile (5:57). I closed the gap between John (also missing his PR by 9 seconds set last year) and I to seven ticks at the end (last mile 5:54) good for 2nd master behind David Long (3rd, 22:52 - off by 8 seconds from last year). My time of 23:17 and pace of 5:50 placed me 5th overall. I won’t go all out negative but was disappointed with the effort. I ran 22:45 last year (5:42).

All was forgotten seeing Nakri (3rd 40+) busting down into the finish and a few other familiar faces crossing the first finish line of the New Year. Nakri and I did a short cool down before hanging out at post race festivities within the Tavern in the Square, both of us grabbing age group medals. Krissy, Maryann, Nakri, and I crossed the street and feasted on breakfast at The Ugly Mug Diner wrapping up the journey.

Wicked Frosty Four mile results

top three masters Nakri Dao, I, and David Long

Monday, December 28, 2015

2016 Snowshoe Racing schedules for New England and beyond

2014 Snowshoe Nationals, Prospect Mountain, Woodford VT
Photo by KrissyK
In the spirit of the white stuff touching down upon us tonight, I wanted to share three 2016 Snowshoe racing schedules for those in New England: Granite State, Western Mass Athletic Club, and Central MA. All sites are currently getting updates for event URL's and finalized race distances which can often be dictated by snow conditions (if there is snow). Keep track of the links below for updates. 

The Granite State web site is pretty good with advising if the race is still happening the evening before the race. 

The WMAC series will send out an email update the Friday or afternoon before the race. If you do not get those updates, let me know and I will get your email added to the list. 

Lastly, the Central MA snowshoe series will hold their races regardless of a lack of snow (sneakers with use of traction device permitted). Otherwise, they will communicate through Facebook, web site series below, or through email to registered athletes. 

Best 4 races score in the series
January 16, 2016 Whitaker Woods (4 miles) - North Conway NH
January 23, 2016 Moose Mountain Runaround – Brookfield NH
January 31, 2016 Beaver Brook – Hollis NH
February 7, 2016 Horsehill – Merrimack NH
February 13, 2016 Kingman Farm Moonlight (4.5 miles) – Madbury NH
February 20, 2016 Exeter Snowshoe Hullabaloo (4 miles) – Exeter NH
March 5, 2016 Granite State Championships – Wolfeboro NH
March 12, 2016 Northeast Championships* Woodford VT
*not part of the GSSS scoring

January 9, 2016 Hilltop Orchard 5K – Richmond MA
January 17, 2016 Greenwood Gallop 5K – Mt Prospect, Woodford VT
January 23, 2016 Hoot Toot & Whistle 5K – Readsboro VT
January 31, 2016 Curly’s 4 miles? - Pittsfield MA
February 6, 2016 Northfield Mountain 4 miles– Northfield MA
February 7, 2016 Saratoga Winterfest 5K – Saratoga NY
February 13, 2016 Camp Saratoga 8K – Wilton, NY
February 20, 2016 WMDP Snowshoe Scramble 5K/10K – Holyoke MA
February 21, 2016 Brave The Blizzard 5K? – Guilderland NY
February 27, 2016 Snow Summit 5K – Woodford VT
February 28, 2016 Bay State Games – Becket MA
March 6, 2016 Thunderfest 5K - Adams MA
March 12, 2016 Northeast Regional Championship – Woodford VT

Central MA Snowshoe Series presented by DION Snowshoes

January 17, 2016 Moore State Park 5K – Paxton MA
January 31, 2016 Newton Hill 5K – Worcester MA
February 13, 2016 Wallum Lake Twilight Tour 5K – Douglas MA
February 27, 2016 For the Love of Snowshoe 5K – Holden MA
March 5, 2016 Leominster State Forest 4.5 miles – Leominster MA 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

CMS 52 week 5K series, race # 48

I had plans to run at the BU development meet but an opportunity came up to run the CMS 52 week 5K series (race #48) in Worcester. It provided an opportunity to pick up some uniforms for the team. I have been a member of CMS since 2004 and never ran in the CMS 52 week 5K series out of Worcester State University. They are held each Saturday at 9:00. Students pay a dollar, CMS members pay $3, and non-CMS runners pay $5. The course alternates from clockwise one week to counter clockwise the next. This was a clockwise direction. I saw Patrick Caron from Needham and yelled out to him so we could warm up for the race. We had a nice battle at the Stone Tower 15K trail race a few months ago. I was glad he showed up because he knows the course and he is fast. He ran the course and won a few weeks ago in 17:44. We ran the first 3/4’s of a mile on the course before having to get back so we did not miss the start.

It was chilly (32 degrees), sunny, and windy. We got some announcements at the starting line from CMS team president Stephen Laska about CMS events including the Freezer Five in January. There were plenty of CMS volunteers ready with hand held timing and Popsicle sticks for us when we finish. He also mentioned cones were at each turn except for the last right hand turn at the gas station where we would have less than ¾’s of a mile left. Patrick bolted out and I followed a few strides behind breathing heavy. He was flying. We had a good downhill stretch through the mile where I saw a 5:23 split and a half second behind Patrick. I passed him after a hill in a side-neighborhood and seemed to lose him through 2 miles where I slowed to a 5:51 mile. There was some elevation in this mile and a head wind. I took the right hand turn at the gas station and now had the wind at my back. Patrick caught me at 2.6 miles and I gave him kudos for catching up. He looked really good and effortless. I had to bear down and dig to keep him close. I trailed him by a half second all the way to the finish line. I had no extra gear, just maxed out, unfortunately. I ran 17:28 to his 17:27 (results). We headed out for a cool down on the course in the counter clockwise direction and discussed racing plans for 2016. I expect him to have a solid year filled with personal records.