Sunday, July 12, 2015

Run for the Hills 10K - Hamilton

The Run for the Hills race is aptly named behind Pingree High School. There are several short momentum breakers on the course. I had to sign up so I got to the race early to fill out an application. I was still laughing about a closed online registration portal on a Tuesday afternoon. I introduced Greg Putnam to Colin Carroll before showing Greg the course. It was muddy in the swampy sections. The course is one loop for the 5K and two loop (repeat the 5K loop) for the 10K. It was awesome to have the CMS teammates on the line. Colin was undefeated in the North Shore Trail Series in 2015. Greg has been racing well and looking to take no prisoners. Therefore, there was no surprise when they passed me a few minutes into the race - making me look like I was in the JV race. I somehow kept Colin in sight - only if there was a straight away on the first lap. He was not his usual self. The gap was getting smaller as we started the 2nd round of hills in the second lap. I told Greg earlier that the second lap was going to hurt. It did. I caught Colin in the middle of that second lap. We were both hurting, he admitted later that the lack of training caught up. I managed to get a little room and hold onto 2nd in the end. Greg smoked the course in what has to be a course record (edit - Joe Shairs ran quicker in 2008, 36:57). Colin was on my heels - 11 seconds behind. I drank a ton of Gatorade and ran a cooldown with Jason Matuelwicz over the loop for 4th time for the day. My reward beside muddy legs was a half dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies made by RD Cathy Lanois.

2015 Run for the Hills Race Results

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Loon Mountain Race - New England Mountain Running Championship

Krissy and I headed up to the Loon Mountain Race (6.6 miles). The ride to 60 Mountain Road in Lincoln, NH was about 2 hours. After getting my number and talking to Scott Mason about his GTI, I went out for warm up just shy of a mile. I changed into my racing gear and CMS singlet. Krissy headed to the top of Loon Mountain with Scott to work their craft behind the lenses. I got on the starting line with several team mates who have been crushing it within not only the USATF New England Mountain Series but the All Terrain Running Series. I have hit all of the ATR races so far but nothing to speak of in terms of an outdoor track 5,000m. Thus, I need to get to the remaining races which should not be a problem as long as I stay healthy.

There was a new start this year at LMR which was behind the lodge instead of down at the river. As a result, they extended the finish line back to the top of the gondola or about three minutes beyond the top of Upper Walking Boss. My expectations for the race were really simple, give my best effort and don't give in to walking until UWB as it is just inevitable. I started out huffing and puffing right away and I really thought I was taking it easy. There were some ups and downs and we hit the nordic trails which I really like. Dave Dunham and I traded spots in there. It was wet and muddy in several areas. Any standing water was ankle deep. I put on a little hustle to pass Dave and get after Kasie Enman and Kim Nedeau. I clocked my fastest mile of the day in 7 flat.

Heading down to Upper Walking Boss
Photo by KrissyK
I never did catch Kasie but got as close as a few seconds. I appreciated any shade on the course. I was slow on all climbing but resisted walking among those that had to. I was just waiting for Upper Walking Boss which is a devil including some 40%. I was running with Alex Hall from Whirlaway. While we were walking up, I tried to crack some jokes - making it up on the fly to cope with the misery. Some worked, some didn't. I kept it light. Had to. Running or hiking up this is insane. Kim Nedeau was the only runner to go past us on UWB. We seemed to get to the top sooner than in the past. Why? We did not have the switch backs up. Why? They did not mow it. I am OK with that.

Alex and I got into a trot before we got to the top and we hauled ass to the finish which took another three minutes of a steep down hill and a little steep hill up into the finish where Krissy was. I finished 25th overall with a time of 1:06:28. That is 10:05 average mile pace if you are keeping score at home. Josh Ferenc crushed it running 8:37's!

Head down and up into the finish
Photo by KrissyK
CMS did pretty well getting 6 guys in the top 17. Todd Callaghan (7th), Scott Leslie (11th), Chris Mahoney (12th), Dave Dunham (13th), Erik Vandendries (16th), & Matt Veiga (17th). I got some water and chatted it up with some of the guys I battled with. Then I headed over and hung out with Krissy and cheered on the next 45 minutes worth of runners into the finish. We headed down in the gondola and took a quick soak in the Pemigewasset River before hitting the road to beat some of the traffic.

Loon Mountain Race New England Mountain Running Championship 2015 results

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hollis Fast 5K

The Hollis Fast 5K was the next race in the USATF New England Grand Prix in Hollis, NH. This one is quick being that it rolls downhill, gently. The race is on a Thursday night so proper planning is in order. The rule of the day is to leave as early as possible no matter what direction you are coming from. I left work early and met up with Joe Shairs and Greg Putnam in Stoneham. The traffic heading to the race even at 4pm was tough but expected. We got to the even with an hour to spare, pick up our numbers, and run to the start via the finish. We arrived with about 10 minutes before the start. I shook some hands and got on the line. The start bolted out. I got out and passed a few people in the opening 400m and settled in. The pace did not settle but the jostling of runners cleared up. Mile 1 passed by in 5:07 via my watch with Joe just ahead of me. I went by him and kept in contact with Wayne Levy from the BAA. Mile two went by a little slower than mile 1. The race around me started to thin and the legs started to warn me that the course was flattening out. Joe, Patrick Callaghan, Joe OLeary, and Harry Stants flew by in the last 800m. I had no juice to react. A 5:31 last mile said it all. 16:21 official. 16:08 was my time from two years ago, a GP year.  Still a good effort to help out CMS take the masters team win. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Vermont City Marathon

2:52:19, more to follow
Overall results
Vermont City Marathon photos by KrissyK

In a nut shell, I was looking for a sub 2:50 at VCM. I had some company early with rock star and ex-teammate Jeff Goupil. His friends had a “Fathead” of him on the side of the course which had me cracking up. I kept it light, talking, and lurking behind Joe Shairs and the BAA crew of masters/seniors for the first 10K. I kept my game plan and did not chase. Jeff got anxious and took off ahead. I caught Wayne Levy and ran for a bit through 10 miles. “Brother Narcisi” (Michael) was in the mix and stepped ahead of me at half way (1:24). He looked good and pulled away. I motored up the big hill at 15 and shared some smiles and blew some kisses to Krissy. Only 11 miles to go! A light sprinkle of rain felt good. A few Narragansett masters flew by and then we hit the neighborhood with a million turns. I was getting tired and felt the first calf cramp of the day before 19 miles. My mind filled with horrible thoughts of depleted muscles and was not looking forward to the cramp game over the last seven miles. One can fly over the last four pretty easy on the bike path and I was a complete mess as then both calves were cramping every few minutes. I had to slow down to as slow as 7:00 per mile. Michael Narcisi was coming back in the last two miles. His presence kept me going and motivated to try to close in. It worked and I passed him as we got into Battery Park. He PR’d and I ran a minute faster than my result here in 2013. Net time was 2:52:19 and the gun time was 2:52:23. 46th place overall and 7th in the 40-44 year old age group.

2015 Vermont City Marathon Results

In closing, it was a good experience and a great weekend. Several friends ran great races. It was awesome to see Joe Shairs win his age group. We had an interesting winter of training and really focused on some decent long runs in April. I was a scoring member for CMS (open/masters) in the USATF New England Grand Prix standings (3rd runner for the open team and 2nd runner for the masters team). Both teams placed 3rd overall. Krissy and my father were in attendance. She took a ton of photos and I was clear headed enough to hear her yelling each time I ran past her. Lastly, I need to figure out the muscle cramps (calves). I took enough fluids (either water or Gatorade) at almost each available offer, expended four Powergels (first two at 55 minute intervals), and three salt stick tablets (one before the hour, another before 2 hours, and the last in desperation a mile after the 1st calf cramp). I actually spit out the last one as I was reaching for water. That was hilarious stopping and bending over for it off the ground at 20 miles. I am surprised that I was able to get back up and run. 

My splits below:

Nice summary from VCM after I finished the race
Coming into mile 9 solo. Dan Verrington is lurking behind.
Photo by KrissyK

Smiling after the hill at 15 miles
Photo by KrissyK

Sprint mode into the finish waiting for calves to cramp again
Photo by KrissyK

Crossing the finish line
Photo by KrissyK

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Trav's Trail Run

Headed up to the race with the girls (Krissy, Maryann, and Katie) to Maudsley State Park in Newburyport for Trav's Trail Run (almost 3 miles). I warmed up with Greg Putnam and a big Wicked Running Club group over the three mile course. I saw Nate Jenkins at the start next to Melissa (wearing the CMS singlet!) and gave them a fist bump. We bolted down the hill and rolled through. I got passed twice after 800m. I passed one of them up a hill soon after. I caught up to Dan Chruniak (Wicked RC) shortly about half way through the race encouraging him to come along. I wanted to run hard to the stone bridge and not give anyone a chance to pull up from behind. I could see Greg Putnam ahead putting the hurt on three youngsters up the hill. Steve Dowsett (of New England Runner cover hall of fame) seemed to fall back a bit but no one was close to me to offer a surge on the hill. Nate cheered for me as I crested the last bump before flattening out into the finish line. 6th overall, 2nd 40+ to Greg. The 16:44 this year was slower than the 16:27 last year. I high fived a few and cheered some on into the finish before heading out on a cool down with Greg and Steve for close to another three miles. I picked up a Trav's Trail 2015 mug and a card to redeem a pair of New Balance shoes. The girls got some gear in the raffle. It was a good day. Full results
Please recycle!
Photo by KrissyK

Monday, May 11, 2015

New England Trail Championships - Merrimack River Trail Race

I recently measured the Merrimack River Trail race to be 9.4 miles long by a GPS Garmin product. The course is out and back along the Merrimack River. The middle four miles are rolling (as in, hills). Thus the first three and last three miles are flat. The start and finish is at the trail head in the back of the Wyndham parking lot. You will hear the buzz of Rt. 93 commuters going north and south minding their own business.

Looking surprised by the camera out from under Rt 93 overpass
Photo by Denise Underwood
Brett Rickenbach and I arrived at the race early so as to get primo parking, register, give Cath a hug, catch up with teammates and spread out some CMS threads. I managed to educate a few new comers to the race on what to expect on the course. The race was part of the North Shore Trail Series and the All Terrain Series. I got a 2 mile warm up in before heading to the start for the pre-race instructions from the always hilarious, race director, Stephen Peterson. He does a great job of keeping the atmosphere light and funny. Smiles and laughs all day in his presence for sure. I was careful to get a good clean start while not getting tripped up or tripping anyone as the race funnels into single track after twenty feet. We also had to contend with a leaning tree so anyone over 5ft tall had to navigate under at full stride carefully 50 yards into the course.

Up power hill with Scott in tow
Photo by Michael Quintal
My positioning was spot on, early, on the single track. I passed one runner on the field on the other side getting a few seconds behind Ethan Nedeau and Matthew Veiga. Scott McGrath was behind me and I heard Todd give instruction to get up and after the next group (Ethan) but I was content with my effort. The gap widened between Ethan and team Jim, Scott, Todd as we hit some hills. Todd pranced by before the mile 4 mark. I kept my thing going on and Scott seemed content a step behind. My time was approximately 31:15 at the turn-around. Now we are going against the race - runners heading out to the turn-around so it does get rather interesting. I kept to the far right of the single track as much as possible heading into oncoming traffic. I do keep the safety of myself and others in mind. I appreciated those runners that did show awareness of my approach (coming at them). I cheered or thanked as many as I could. Some bailed off the single track (am I that intimidating?). Some stopped. Some wanted the same part of the trail as me (very few). I did hear that Chris Mahoney took a knee to the quad and this knocked him down right in front of Scott Leslie. That incident, for both involved, is something that can happen, but I would rather avoid.

Through the power lines heading back to the finish with Scott
Photo by Michael Quintal

I threw in some surges in the technical areas back to the power lines to shake Scott. I recall telling him to focus on his leg lift on the way back so as not to get lazy and trip up. The key is to also give yourself some space so you can see a few feet ahead of your stride and the runner in front. Therefore you can visually see and plan for the next maneuver on the trails. Once Scott and I got on the comfortable flat section, he flew past me. He looked so fresh and comfortable. I encouraged him to close in on Todd who I could only see on the longest of straights. At this point, I was done and mailed it in. I looked back and did not see any pressure (still had 2.5 miles to go ) so I got in cruise control until I saw 1:03 on the watch and hustled to the finish.  I finished up with a time of 1:03:58, 11th overall, and 3rd master runner behind Ethan and Todd.
Brett and I with raffles and chocolate bars
Photo by Bonnie Hallinan
My post race warm down took me to the post race spread for liquid and a lot of it. Also getting my attention was chocolate bars, Oreo Cookies, and Coconut water. The best part of the race was to share the stories, cuts, bruises, and laughs that followed. Stephen Peterson handed out raffles with the usual humor and stories along the way. The CMS team did great with a team win for the open, masters, and 2nd for the Seniors. The CMS ladies team took a team win as well. Next up, recover and get out to Trav’s Trail Run. Full results

Sunday, April 26, 2015

James Joyce Ramble USATF National Masters 10K Championship

I ran a pretty good race today, placing 11th overall (net time of 34:42 and gun time of 34:44) in the USATF National Masters 10K Championship hosted via James Joyce Ramble in Dedham. The masters championship had their own race that started three minutes ahead of the non-masters championship event. I got through mile 1 with Dan Verrington. My goal was to hit his goal of a mid 34 minute effort. Joe Shairs was with Todd Callaghan about 15 seconds ahead and Greg Putnam was in between us around mile 2 as I started to move up in place through the rolling hills. I was hitting the climbing with good effort and got through the Noble and Greenough school with a confident command that I could reel in more guys. I went by Kevin O'Neal (BAA) whom I don't recall ever getting in front of. I gave him some words of encouragement, respecting his speed. Greg was just ahead so I went after him while battling a tall gent from the Atlanta Track Club. I caught up to Greg and we soon passed Christopher Lawrence from the BAA with Todd and Joe not too far ahead within a mile to go. We managed to close in on Todd with 150 yards to go and our pack of three flooded the finish line to place 2nd as a team by only one second (every second counts) over the BAA and behind the winning Atlanta Track Club. The CMS Senior Team raced well too and placed 4th overall. It was cool to accomplish this with these guys and hang out after the race on the Endicott Estate. I have to give a warm and appreciated shout to Kevin Gorman who seemed to be at several points on the course cheering us along. It really helped.

2015 USATF National Masters 10K Championship (James Joyce Ramble) results
KrissyK photos of the James Joyce Ramble 10K

Greg, Todd and I coming toward Krissy and the finish line

Split (pace) via Garmin
5:15 pace for the last .3
Net Time 34:42
Gun Time 34:44
average pace 5:36

2. 1:43:59 CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS                   (  34:40)
  1    34:32  Joe Shairs            Peabody MA      CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS                  
  2    34:43  Todd Callaghan    Beverly MA        CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS                  
  3    34:44  James Pawlicki     Lynn MA            CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS                  
  4 (  34:45) Greg Putnam        Stoneham MA    CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS