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.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Frosty Four Miler, Salem

Nakri drove Krissy and I over to the Tavern in the Square in Salem for another round of the Frosty Four Mile road race for the first race of the New Year. The race entry fee goes to a good cause (scholarships for graduating high school seniors).  Like last year, I found myself with John Page at mile 1 getting compliments from his mother and sweet heart, Jill. Second place runner, Dave Long was a few yards up on us and did not look to be slowing down as he entered and exited the Salem Willows. 

John pulled away from me, seemingly trying to catch Dave. The previous day’s 3K reminded my legs up and over the Deadhorse Beadh hill that it was going to be tough to catch anyone. All three of us carried our 10 seconds apart gap from each other into the wind over the last few miles to the finish line in that order 2nd, 3rd, & 4th. I ran 23:29 for 4th place and 2nd master runner behind Dave. It was good to see my dad in attendance, cheering the race and I on at the start and finish. Results

TR Ramsdell and I after at the awards

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Boston University mini meet #2, 3000m

Joe Shairs and I headed into the 2nd of three BU mini meets to run the 3000m. My seed time of 10:10 placed me in heat # 5. The heats start with the fastest heat so that gave me plenty of time to run a few laps inside to warm up.  I picked the 10:10 seed time based off the two 3K’s I raced in February: 10:11.51 in Providence and the 10:05.47 at Harvard.  

The race was just about split between men and women. I raced toward the mid-back of the race after the gun despite having the 2nd fastest seed time for the heat. My focus was to not trip up in traffic and keep my pace as far away from aggressive. I felt like I was in the middle of the competitors after 1K in the 3:24 range. The mile went by around 5:27. 

I felt I had one surge in the legs to move up and waited for a spot with six laps remaining. I carefully made my way up to 2nd with 400m to go. I tried to drop the pace in with 200m to go (I was about 2 seconds back from the leader) and I tied up, even felt a slight buckle from the resisting legs. The lack of mechanical demand in the legs was unfortunate but real. I finished in 3rd place with a time of 10:03.99. Meet results

I was pretty happy with the effort and execution. I had the mid-race bargaining between the head and the legs. I positioned myself well at the end but had to respect the speed that I was requesting to go for it. It reminded me of what someone recently wrote in response to training for the mile (speed), "use it or lose it" - Derrick Jones. I did have fun and it was the greatest takeaway I have had in a track race in several years. It lit a fire that I can break 10 minutes (my unmet goal earlier in 2016) and buried the reluctance about racing indoors. I will shoot for a sub 10 minute 3000m next time. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

USATF 2016 National Club Cross Country Championships

Todd Callaghan planted the seed in August. “We have to get a team down to XC Nationals.” Six masters runners from the Central Mass Striders including myself committed to the December 10th race in Tallahassee, FL. Todd, Joe Shairs, Greg Putnam, and I touched down in Tallahassee the day before the race. Arthur Besse was already in Florida with his family in Jacksonville. Tim Van Orden was on his way via Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Our hotel shuttle driver, a local student, hit it off real well with us tipping us what to check out and what to avoid in terms of pub and grub.  We got a little history of the local academia (Florida State University, Florida Community College, Florida A&M University).

Voted best burgers in town?
We checked into the Four Points, welcomed by the USATF race promotion and schedule of events in the lobby. We got a shuttle in a five passenger golf cart up to the race HQ hotel about a mile away to get our race numbers. The driver smiled when I asked he ever had the thing on two wheels before? Once we were back at our hotel, we hit up Birds Aphrodisiac OysterShack next door, because it was steps away and our shuttle driver claimed the best burgers in town. Oysters mean burgers in Tallahassee…..dozens of Oysters were followed by burgers or Grouper sandwiches. Tim arrived after dinner after a 2.5 hour drive from Jacksonville.

Greg up front in the Golf Cart limmo yelling at the snow birds driving in Tallahassee
Joe questioning the "texting while driving permission" golf cart law in Florida
The following day arrived. A light breakfast of coffee and oatmeal fueled the morning. The Apalachee Regional Park Cross Country course was a 20 minute drive away. Tim drove us over and we settled our bags into a huge party tent about a half mile from the start. It was chilly but the temperatures got up to the high 40’s by the time our 10K race started.  We were unable to warm up on the course so we ran back and forth along the start and finish areas while watching the masters women 6K and masters men 8K (60+) races.

Raw Oysters before a race is always a good idea

It was thrilling to watch John Barbour (GLRR) duke it out stride for stride, sharing the lead with Brian Pilcher from California. John would come up short by a few strides in the end. His age grade effort was the best of the day for the 8K. We checked in as team and got onto the course minutes before our 9:45 start. Just enough time to do a few strides and our Jameis Winston crab leg chant.
The race took off, down a good wide stretch that was sure to thin out the mass of 190 runners.

Hats and gloves in Tallahassee
CMS masters team: Todd Callaghan, Jim Pawlicki, Tim Van Orden, Joe Shairs, Arthur Besse, Greg Putnam

We had four loops waiting with something called “the wall.” It was a two stage hill with the 2nd being a steeper stride breaker. I glued onto Arthur Besse as soon as I could for company. The course rolled and swung us past the finish line area several times making this a great course for photographers and spectators.

I hung with Arthur for about 3.25 miles before fading like a Florida Oak tree. The 5K split was around 17:45. Arthur kept pace and passed several over the next few miles. I battled out with a few other guys in fade mode. One guy with a backwards facing hat got some cheer support. “Red,” Matthew Whitis’ presence and local pace kept me going in an otherwise dismal wrap up. Read about Matthew and his second chance.  I finished up in 74th place (6th man on the team) with a time of 36:28 (5:53 pace per mile). Arthur finished in 35:50 and 64th place.

Several loops at Apalachee resemble a whale

The team placed 7th out of 16 teams, just 3 behind Cal Coast and 7 behind Bull City TC. In order: Tim Van Orden, Greg Putnam, Todd Callaghan, Joe Shairs, Arthur Besse, & I.

40+ team results

Tim reaching for an Orange
We ran a cool down in some loops away from the course and then came back to watch the end of the women’s and men’s open races where Melissa Donais and Nate Jenkins represented CMS well. The rest of the day consisted of hanging out with the team at the hotel pool, round number two at Bird’s (yes more Oysters!), and then shuttled downtown for the after party in College Town. We bumped elbows with teams and runners from our USATF New England Region as well as from other USATF regions. Get ready for 2017 in Kentucky!

Please check out Greg Putnam’s recap of the end to end CMS trip to Tallahassee on LevelRenner. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Mill Cities Relay

Today was another edition of the Mill Cities Relay. The men’s masters team for SRR had a few line up changes that had guys move into other divisions this year. I felt bad for declining to run the long leg of 9.4 miles several weeks ago. With XC Nationals coming up, I wanted to save the legs. I got leg one, which is still a 5.4 mile distance but had a new start location from the Wings Bingo Facility which was ripe with the smell of cigarettes as soon as you approached it.

I got a good clean start and settled in. At one point, I had three other SRR runners within arms reach in the 1st mile which I clocked around 5:36. I was a stride behind David Long from Wicked. He would extend that stride to several over the next few miles. As would the SRR mates like Todd Prokop and John Longo. Arthur Besse, running for NMC, went by looking good more than half way through. I encouraged him to keep going and try to catch David (Arthur would run a 30:54 for 5.4 miles). I did keep Alex Hall (Whirlaway) close and managed to pass him just before the end of the leg where I handed off to Jim Rhoades with the 3rd slot in men’s masters position. 

I picked up Jim’s car, changed my shirt and drove off to his exchange point at Greater Lowell. I ran over to the exchange point and gave Darrin Cormier a heads up and to expect Jim. Jim arrived and handed off to Darren who ran 2.4 miles to hand off to Jesse Morrow, our team captain who took one for the team by running the longest leg of the day (9.4 miles). At least we had the wind at our back for the most part. He handed off to John Wichers who took it home to Lawrence. Jim and I parked at the top of the hill on the last leg – 400m before the Lawrence town line. He took several photos for the hour before we packed up and headed to the finish line.

In the end, the our team placed 31st overall. We were the 5th master team for the day, respectable, considering the talent out there. My pace was 5:39 based on the time of 31:14 (I stopped the watch after my hand off) while Alex recorded a 31:06 right behind me. Everyone joined inside the Claddagh Pub for some grub. I had to leave during the awards but I saw several Bricks picked up by SRR. Overall, the club placed 2nd overall, just three points ahead of 3rd place. Every place counted! Results


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wild Turkey 5 mile - Salem

Nice, laid back atmosphere this morning for the Wild Turkey 5 mile in Salem. Race director Doug Bollen said more pre and less post entries this year for 1700 runners looking to get a run in before a Thanksgiving feast. I got in behind two time champ (sub-26 last year & PR), Caleb Evanter, at the start line. He was gone at the gun, took in his 3rd win with 26 flat. I had a good start, top ten early, moved up a few by mile one with Matt Veiga (good to see thy neighbor and CMS mountain stud) next to me. I yelled out the mile split to the group, 5:32. Garmin would summarize later it was only a 5:48? Oops. I must have looked at the "pace at the moment" field.

I followed Matt through Winter Island and lost his pace. He would hold the eventual 10 seconds he had on me through the Bloody Mary/Beer table behind the Salem Willows before 3 miles all the way to the finish line. He did the 50 mile Stonecat Trail race weeks ago. A guy passed me exiting the Salem Willows before Deadhorse Beach (the big hill awaited). He would pass Matt with 500m to go. I finished 7th overall, 1st age group - 30 seconds up on bud, Michael Paulin who nailed a 2:48 marathon PR a few weeks ago. I ran a cool down with Brett Rickenbach down to the Pickering Wharf area with Marblehead on the horizon. My official time was 28:54, 30 seconds slower than my 2015 effort. I will take it. GPS splits below for the 4.99 mile course. 2016 Wild Turkey 5 mile race results, Salem, MA

Half mile to go and smiling for Brad Gates
13th annual Wild Turkey 5 mile races. Guess how many shirts are cotton?