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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Exeter Trail Race - USATF New England Trail Championship

Todd Callaghan picked me up and headed to Exeter, NH for the 10 mile Exeter Trail Race which was a New England Trail Championship for 2017. I knew zip about the course and terrain but was looking forward to racing on the trails which were sure to be competitive with $1K in prize money. Here is a nice description of the course (found after I ran the race).

"This a very technical trail race. There is arguably no better urban trail running and mountain biking network in the northeast than the Oaklands & Henderson-Swasey Town Forests. Located just minutes from downtown Exeter, NH these trails are better known as Fort Rock. If it’s technical trail running you are looking for…search no further. This may be the most technical trail race anywhere in New England!" - Visit Exeter New Hampshire

I warmed up on the course with CMS mates Ed Sheldon and Paul Bazanchuk and got a feel for what the legs would be in for. I would compare it to the single track found in Ravenswood in Gloucester or Greenwood Ave in Beverly Farms. One eye would be needed on the ground and the other up looking ahead for trail markings.

The start of the race narrowed down after 300m of road down to the single track trail in a hurry. I settled into about 14th place. I quickly determined that I had to move up and around the gent in front of me. I wanted to keep Ed Sheldon close and his orange shirt was quickly getting out of sight after a few miles. I passed the runner in front of me and was rolling pretty well. After 3.5 miles, I found Ed on the ground. He was in pain, taking a hard one to the earth. I asked if he was OK and he confirmed. I was not convinced yet I ran by certain he would be back on his feet chasing me soon enough.

My failure to have my Garmin watch on me was biting me big time. I was lost without it. I wanted to know how far into the race I was on several occasions. I had nothing to go by except for knowing water stops were at 3, 6, and 9 miles. The trails continued to roll. Not once did the course have a wide flat fire road. Miles of single track, navigating the turns, rock hopping, planks, and board walks got surprisingly tiring.

I managed to pass a few more runners in the middle of the race, the last of which was one of the two Jeff Walker’s – this one from RI who is in his 50’s. He hung close behind me in the 2nd half of the race. His presence kept me honest and to keep attention to the course markings which were a bit sparse in several areas. We managed to keep course all the way but was not too confident on several occasions. The legs were junk over the last few miles. The goal was to not get passed and to stay on my feet.

I finished 10th overall with a time of 1:13:07.4. Jeff was just 23 seconds back. I finished a whopping 4 minutes behind the 3rd place master, Ryan Carrara and almost two and a half minutes behind 9th place (Scott Leslie).

After finishing, I turned my attention to looking for Ed. Soon enough, he would come in with a bloody elbow. I have said it before, and will say it again, this guy is tough as nails. I got him a bag of ice where I had to poke a hole to get water to clear out his wound on the elbow. He was in good spirits and carried a great sense of humor. If that were me, I am not so sure I would be as positive as he was. He deserves a hard hat of the race award!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ribfest 5 mile

Steps before the finish line
Courtesy of Millennium Running
I headed up to the 3rd USATF New England Grand Prix race in Merrimack, NH (Ribfest 5 miler) with Nakri and Krissy. It was cloudy but warm and humid. I met up with new CMS racing team member Ben Fazio and DJ Raboin to get some team gear to them. That was followed by a half mile bus ride from the parking lot to the race. The layout was easy to navigate so getting the race number and shirt was easy. I warmed up with Nakri and Kevin Gorman covering the 1st and last miles. I ran a mid-27 minute race back in 2014, thus familiar with the course.

I got to the starting line and settled in next to teammates about five rows deep. Getting a clean start with a few quick turns in the 1st 300m was the goal. I did hear someone go down right behind me at the first right turn up the hill. My first two miles were decent, around 5:45 pace and I was in CMS master company with Josh Perks and Arthur Besse. Kevin Gorman and Jason Dunklee were about 20 seconds ahead on the lollipop loop. I came out of that loop into 3 miles very flat and that set the tone for my last two miles milking 6 minute pace from there into the finish. I got a net time of 29:54.5, 96th place, and 14th in the 40-49 age group.



Passing mile 4 at the Ribfest 5 mile
Photo by KrissyK
Finish line video, thanks to the Millennium Running crew who put on a 1st class event. Wish I stayed around for the post race festivities.