Sunday, April 10, 2016

Merrimack River Trail Race

I headed up to Andover for the Merrimack River Trail Race. 10 miles (5 out and 5 back) along the Merrimack River. The race was host to the New England Trail Championship and part of the All Terrain Series. I was torn about going, not wanting to race a week before the Boston Marathon and get hurt or stress the muscles too much. I went anyway planning on taking it easy somehow and limiting any risks. I got off to an unfortunate start by missing the start by 10 seconds - putting me behind 100 runners or so in a single file mob at the trail head. I came to a dead stop as people navigated the mud bog. I guess it was best as I was forced to a gentle start for the next few miles. Passing people on the single track was hard but I did not stress out. I got a few comments "Pawlicki, what are you doing back here?" My response of trying to just stay on my feet was true. I had a scare at 4.5 miles and had a mild collision with an oncoming runner (Ryan Kelley?) who was heading back. I was with a runner who went to the left and I went to the right as we jumped over a drainage pass. Ryan was coming at us and it looked like he was going to split us in the middle. But he leaned my way as we were both mid-flight. His knee grazed my right quad. We both landed with apologies there and at the post race food tables. We were fine, just shaken. Today, my upper quad is sore and tight. I picked up the pace a little bit after the turn around but but more so after the hills settled down with about 3 miles to go. Mile 9 was my quickest at around 6:30 pace. I finished 48th overall and a time of 1:12:29. I hung around and caught up with peeps and awaited the famous Stephen Peterson raffle. The team did well by placing 1st for the open and masters divisions. I was the 4th master on the team where 3 scored. Results

Sunday, March 20, 2016

New Bedford Half Marathon

- Race # 2 for the USATF New England Road Race Grand Prix - 

Gregory Putnam drove Krissy, Joe, and I down to New Bedford for the Half Marathon. It was Greg’s first crack at the distance since 1999 in Melrose at the Law Enforcement Half Marathon. We hit up registration, got our numbers, caught up with CMS teammates and competitors. That was followed by a 22 minute warm up. It was cool and breezy. Ready for the race with the flats and racing gear, I filtered into the start corral further back than usual camping out a good 14 rows back. Gun off, I am off once I can move and crossed the start about 8 seconds later.  My goal was to run under 6:00 pace for a 4th consecutive year of a 1:17 and change here at New Bedford.

Mile 1 was just under 6:00 but the hills that would follow put me a touch slower than that. I rolled with Arthur Besse after 3 miles. After mile 4 is my wheel-house area but today was not the day for that or any risks. I played nice and even keeled through the 10K (36:38). I could not resist not tossing in a surge so I threw in a few after six miles but it was short lived. Dave Dunham and Mike Paulin pulled up with a healthy pack of wolves and I tagged along after mile 7.

The wind was all over the place while single file was the rule.  I struggled a bit but hung in with Dave getting ahead after taking on a Carb-Boom and two Endurolyte caps in the next few miles. The wind broke a bit for the last 2.5 miles which was helpful. My legs were tired but surprisingly just a few guys went by from there to the finish line. I finished in 135th place with a gun time of 1:19:21, chip time was 1:19:13 (6:03 pace per mile). I was lucky to be the 4th scorer on the masters team. The CMS teams did well: open was 2nd, masters 2nd, and Seniors were 5th.

My GPS splits are off as they were beeping after the course mile markers. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Black Cat 20 miler

I had an opportunity to run the Black Cat 20 mile race in Salem so I signed up during the week. I needed a long run (at least 2 hours) with the impending Patriots Day circus. The justification concept was to run the race between 6:35 and 6:55 per mile pace overall. I also planned on trying Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes for electrolyte replenishment. I have severe muscle cramps targeting me in long races like the marathon (Boston, Manchester City, & Vermont City). The Hammer product is similar to the Salt Stick product that I have tried in the last two marathons but still cramped after 15 and 18 miles respectively.  I took two caps 90 minutes before the race. For breakfast, I had oatmeal with Peanut Butter Granola, a cup of coffee and 30 oz of water. I drained a RedBull ten minutes before the start of the race. I got to the starting line with two minutes to spare after a 2 mile warm up with Dan Chruniak and Bradley Gates.

The weather was perfect;  sunny and temperature in the high 40’s with a warm up into the 50’s by late morning. I wore the Level Renner singlet as there was no critical mass from SRR or CMS for team competition (3 coed score).

The course is a 10 mile loop from the Hawthorn Hotel down Lafayette Street, past Salem State (Rt 114) into Marblehead for a turnaround at Devereaux Beach. The course runs back to Salem via 114 and a 2.75 mile loop to the Salem Willows and back to the Hotel. The 10 mile folks stop right there and the 20 mile folks go out for another loop. The B&S Fitness site, host event management, bills the race as flat and fast. I knew better but the ones to whine about is the one at the Salem and Marblehead line (heading into Marblehead) and the hill rising to Salem State University heading into Salem.

To recap, I will break the race into 5 mile segments. The first five contained quickest mile (6:24 for mile 2) feeling out my legs and determining who was in the race, who was doing 10 vs 20, and who is a master. I backed off the pace after two opening sub 6:30’s and ran solo for the most part. It was hard to watch the front runners move away but I had to stick to my plan which was really not to run too fast and be a mess beyond my fitness.

The 2nd five miles was more solo isolation with a few guys going by me. I took a PowerGel and two Endurolyte Caps before mile 8 near the entrance of Winter Island. I had trouble getting the caps out of my sandwich bag so I stopped at the water stop to finger them out and drink water. I added at least 15 seconds there creating  my slowest mile of the day (7:04). Dan Chruniak went by after 8 miles, asked how I was feeling, and proceeded to pick up the pace. He looked way too comfortable. I went through 10 miles right around 1:06.

The 3rd quarter of the race felt lonely and the legs were tired. I backed off the pace a bit, now running some 6:40’s. A BAA runner passed me before reaching Marblehead. Letting him go by and not racing him frustrated me but I stuck to my plan, having no choice. The leaders did their turn around and were coming at me, giving me a chance to count places and monitor who was behind me once I did the turnaround.  The Wicked tandem of Michael Paulin and Bradley Gates were about 20 seconds behind me. I yelled over “uh oh” joking but aware they were likely going to catch me. I was tired but looking forward to the last quarter of the race. 

Now heading back into Salem for the last five miles, I took my last PowerGel and last two Endurolytes caps. Michael caught me on the hill up to Salem State. I hung with him down Lafayette street to bounce back with a low 6:30 mile and feel my first muscle cramp – my right calf. I had four miles to go and was really concerned how many more times that was going to trigger. I told Michael about it and he told me what I knew – back off. I did and in turn, Bradley Gates caught up. He shared that he was hurting, as did I. Like two wounded birds, we stumbled along, supporting each other with company and a few words all the way to the finish. It was nice to see Krissy at Pickering Wharf and at the finish. My time was 2:12:44. I was not sure of the place, but Michael was a good minute and a half in front of me and Bradley was about five seconds behind me. I had to leave the race in a hurry.

To the finish line
The race is put on and managed by B&S Fitness. They hired Racewire for the timing. I checked the results yesterday and today and found several runners missing in the 20 mile results, including myself. Dan Chruniak, Jason Bui, Brandon Ring, and Bradley Gates are missing. I sent Racewire a message yesterday evening.  They have not returned a response, per their 24 hour policy. Too bad, but we’ll assume they have been working around the clock to fix the results. Meanwhile, B&S Fitness responded to my email inquiry about the issue today. They felt bad but deferred to Racewire to clean up the results. Let's hope they resolve the issue.

Fist bumps
Myself, Michael Paulin, and Bradley Gates

Myself, Michael Paulin, and Bradley Gates

Sunday, February 21, 2016

USATF New England Indoor Track & Field Championships, 3000m

I jumped into the 3000m event at Harvard University for the USATF New England Indoor Track and Field Championships to lower my time of 10:11 from late January in Providence. I got to the race just after 12:30  with Krissy. My race did not plan to start until after 3:10. I chilled out, caught up with friends. I ran a 3 mile warm up outside with Francis Burdett. Once inside, I waited out the rest of the 200m event and made my way down to check in for the 3K which I got into the slower 2nd heat. Meanwhile, the rest of my teammates: Pat , Fullerton, Colin Carroll, Scott Leslie, Chris Mahoney, Eric Narcisi, and Scott Mindel were in heat 1. That gave me the chance to cheer and yell for them. Scott and Eric went on to set PR's. The race was pretty exciting to watch. No one was giving in and fought all the way to the line. Awesome race. My race went pretty well early on. My instincts were to go with the flow at the back of the race as my seed time was the 2nd slowest. I was hitting some 39's in the first mile. I did not get a split at mile 1. After 2K, I slowed and blew my opportunity to break 10 minutes. I ran 10:05.47 and beat four guys in my heat. I chilled out for a bit and collected a few folks before heading out for another 3 miles. I don't have a race next weekend so I plan on a 2 hour long run. Later in the evening, Krissy showed me some video that she took of the races. I highlighted how clumsy and awkward my racing form is. I look like a twisted pretzel.

Still sweating after the race.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Snowshoe Classic at Brooksby Farm

The truck was pretty angry when I started it up. -5 degrees outside. Fifteen minutes later, I pulled into the Brooksby Farm parking lot, shocked  that it was only half full thirty minutes before the 10AM start. I went inside the retail store and glad to see Bob and Denise Dion from Dion Snowshoes.  I grabbed my goodie bag (contained a pair of gloves, socks, hand warmers, caramel candy, a stick of honey) and number and headed back to the truck to start a warm up with Brett Rickenbach. It was chilly into the wind but not too bad otherwise in the layers that I had on. I saw Dave Dunham after I got my snowshoes on and we traded notes on the course for which he said was a little tricky in terms of being able to see arrows in and on the snow in a few areas. He was right.

We were off after few words from the race crew and I jumped into the lead with Dave right behind. I was working hard and stumbling a bit to stay on top of the snow. Dave floated by a half mile in and got us into the woods. After a mile, I mentioned our split, just for awareness (7:53?). I moved around Dave a minute later as I felt good and wanted to bear some of the load. The footing was fast and ideal in the woods. I wish we had more trail portions within the race. We got out into the field and I did not see any arrows so I gambled on one of three ways to go. I picked the path based on what I recall the course was a few years ago and common sense that would get us back up to the finish area. I was right as a red arrow in the snow awaited 30 seconds later taking us up the hill. 

Dave was on my heels making sure I did not take any time off on the deeper snow or in the last climb. I held on for the win with Dave just four seconds back. The course measured out to 2.7 miles, shorter than the 3 miles/5K that I knew of in the past. Brett mentioned where they changed the course this year during our cool down. My time was 21:21. I got the shoes off right away and wanted to cool down just as fast after giving a few answers to a local Peabody Patch reporter. Dave, Brett, and I did a short cool down on the roads before heading inside to enjoy hot apple cider, Apple Crisp, soups, sandwiches, and raffle prizes. Race results

Brett and Dave post race

Dave and I in the CMS gear

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