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

31   164 SRR - JESSE AND THE RIPPERS   
MM  JIM PAWLICKI   JOHN WICHERS  DARREN CORMIER   JESSE MORROW    JIM RHOADES   2:53:28


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

547
555
549
554
538
Half mile to go and smiling for Brad Gates
13th annual Wild Turkey 5 mile races. Guess how many shirts are cotton?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

30 miles? Sure, why not....

I put the Nougat IIIIIII event on my tentative running schedule. Take a look at the site. It is pretty funny. William Jackson and I exchanged text messages the day before. I was tempted to run a 50K distance with him. A 50K distance would have consisted of two times (10 mile loop on the left hand side of Lynn Woods and a 5.5 mile loop on the right side).  However, a brush fire on Friday and into Saturday morning squashed any hope of us running on the right hand side loop. Thus, event directors Gregory Esbitt and Jeffrey Lane said that the left hand side would do.

I picked up Nakri on the way to the event. He was on board for one 10 mile loop. William was on board for three 10 mile loops. I committed to two and left a third loop open. Nakri and I were the first vehicle to show up next to Jeffrey a twenty minutes before the run would start at 7:00AM.

There is a rolling start policy meaning that you can show up and and start anytime after writing your name and start time down.  I had a bag of fuel that I left in the truck next to the aid station. Nakri hooked me up with a Tailwind drink. I had some Gels, Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Iced Tea ready to go.
A few minutes before the start
Photo by Mike Fitzgerald

A group of a dozen runners lined up for the 7:02AM start. There was a hint of smoke and smell of fire for the first mile of the loop. We passed a fire truck at the Great Woods entrance which seemed to be on standby with a couple of four wheelers zipping in and out of the right hand side of the woods.

William took charge and toured Nakri, Michael  McKie, and I through the first 5 miles. I was being careful with foot plant in the single track trails that were scattered with leaves. The pace was very conversational. It had to be put the miles that we planned to cover.

I got anxious with picking up the pace a bit once we hit a wide fire road  and went ahead half way through loop one. Nakri came up to keep me company. The loop was a constant up and down covering every landmark in Lynn Woods from Steel Tower, Dungeon Rock, Penny Brook, Stone Tower, views of Gannon Golf Course, Walden and Breeds Pond. The marked loop with orange streamers and the occasional arrow on the ground surrounded by leaves was easy to follow. It is neat to cover 90% of the trails available. 

Nakri pulled out the phone at Stone Tower for a photo, tried to get the Boston City Skyline in the background. Two miles later we wrapped up loop one taking a short break for some fuel.  The pace was comfortable for loop one. We were not racing, covering the 10 miles in 92 minutes.

Me, Michael McKie, William Jackson, and Nakri Dao
Photo by Donald Gerolamo

William and Michael came in a minute later while I was fueling up with a Gel and taking in the pleasant Tailwind drink Nakri made for me. It had a mild berry taste. Former CMS runner and stud Senior Ultra Runner, Paul Young was getting ready to start his run so his company was welcomed. William started his 2nd loop. Michael, Paul, and I headed out 45 seconds later. A lot of conversation made loop two fly by with them. Lap three was optional in my head but decided that if Paul was going out for his 2nd  loop, I would go out for my third. That is exactly what we did after several minutes fueling up after 20 miles.

Nice fall day in Lynn Woods
Photo by Donald Gerolamo

My legs were getting tired in the last five miles. I covered the marathon distance in 4 hours 11 minutes. Paul had threw in a surge (later told me it was on purpose to get us back on pace) for less than two minutes. I tracked the surge wondering if that would come back to haunt me in the last five miles. One more surge came a few minutes later. I had my first stumble and almost  wipe out, a stride beyond Stone Tower heading down the steepest part of the loop with just a few miles to go. It was a reminder of tired legs and to be careful. 

We carried on quietly to the end of the loop. I stopped my Garmin as it showed that I covered 30.01 miles. The time was 4:42:58 (9:26 average pace per mile) which was just the running (did not include a running time in the two aid station stops at 10 and 20 miles).

The slowest and quickest miles for each 10 mile loop:
Loop 1: 9:49 mile 2 and 8:24 last mile
Loop 2: 10:26 mile 2 and 8:15 last mile
Loop 3: 11:07 mile 2 and 7:55 mile 7 (last mile was a 8:03)

This was my longest run I have done. Had I run another mile plus, I would have covered a 50K. Maybe someday.



Jeffrey Lane and Greg Esbitt in the middle of this crazy event


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

USATF New England Cross Country Championships

I was looking forward to the USATF New England XC Championships for the master’s race which is a 8K distance. As Joe Shairs and I drove to Franklin Park, we chatted about the CMS men lining up for more team competition up north in Manchester, NH via Manchester City Marathon. I was anxious and excited for them - wishing to a degree that I was up there being a part of that. While waiting for our race, we were getting updates from Sasha Mindel who was getting a play by play about her husband, Scott Mindel, racing for CMS, leading the marathon in the early miles with Dan Vassallo just a few strides back. Just pure awesome. It pumped me up for my race.

Yes, back to cross country. I was thrilled to have a few extra CMS master runners (Alan Bernier, Steve Brightman, and Martin Tighe) in our race beyond what we had at the Franklin Park 5K two weeks ago.  I jumped out at the start and followed Steve for a short while before having to settle in. I had good position within the race among folks that I usually finish near. Mile 1 went by in 5:28 (per GPS). Up and over Bear Cage Hill and a Wilderness Loop brought me through the 5K right at what I ran two weeks ago in 18:13. 

The wheels came off in the 2nd Wilderness Loop and I felt my cadence back down from Ron Lombardi (GSH) who motored on pretty good. Steve Brightman got into the mix while I was being hunted by Senior’s John Sullivan and Wayne Levy in the last mile. Their presence kept me racing scared to the finish two seconds behind Steve. My time was 29:07, 8th runner for CMS, placing 36 overall out of 107 runners in the race. My goal was 28:45. The team finished 2nd to a strong BAA squad. Results and awesome photos by Scott Mason of all three races (men's open, women's open/masters, and men's masters).

Splits
5:28
5:43
5:59
6:00
5:52


Within an hour after our race we would get random updates for the marathon. Dan would go on to win the race with Scott finishing 2nd. Eric Narcisi rounded out the scoring helping the CMS open team to a first place finish. Our masters team, 2/3 of them Seniors (Ed Sheldon & Dave Dunham), would finish 2nd and also go on to win the Senior team division. 

Striding out with Ron Lombardi and Steve Brighman before 3 miles
Photo by Scott Mason

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Great Bay 5K

I woke up early Saturday morning with no scheduled plan, race, or destination. Not content with a boring solo run for the day, I found the Great Bay 5K in Stratham NH that looked good for competition and age group prizes. I looked up prior year results. My chances of an age group win looked good but you never know who is going to show up. After an easy warm up on nearby trails, I ran over to the start and saw Nate Jenkins in CMS colors. I wore my tuxedo shirt to follow the Halloween theme. 
Before the race with Derek Hamel and Krissy. Derek went on to race a 16:53 and get best costume.
I got on the line next to Steve Dowsett who has run low 16’s on this “known as a fast course” as it drops into Greenland, NH. The race took off and I filtered into around 15th place on Rt. 33. Derek Hamel (short time CMS’r), dressed up as a mime, zipped past me 400m into the race. I held on through mile one which had a clock around 5:20 as the course started to drop down a bit on a curvy road. Mile 2 was reached in 10:50 or so as I was battling a few youngsters with a few Seacoast runners ahead as we climbed the only significant hill. The course dropped back down for a quick finish. 

A high school runner zipped past and encouraged me to go with him just before 3 miles. I kept place, 12th, reaching the line in 17:13 for my quickest 5K of the year. The course is certainly a fast one. I grabbed a water and handed out fist pumps to the guys around me. I was good with the effort. I headed back out onto the course to find Krissy and check out the costumed runners. I found Krissy with less than a mile to go and ran her in. 

We collected our race bags for some dry clothes and filtered through a nice post-race set up where I had some pumpkin bread and clam chowder. A quick peek at the results found me placing 2nd in the age group with a Maine runner about 20 seconds up. Full results. Next race up for me is the New England Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park.

Great Bay 5K course and my splits slowing while dropping elevation
18th Annual Great Bay 5K - Greenland, NH, October 29, 2016
12 2/49   M4049   17:13   5:33 James Pawlicki  42 M  Lynn MA  CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS

Tracks ahead crossed after the finish line

Krissy captured what I found was fitting in the trails behind the Sandy Point Discovery Center

More fun behind the Discovery Center

Monday, October 24, 2016

My apologies - Mayors Cup - Franklin Park Open 5K

This was my second year tour of the 5K within the Mayor's Cup races at Franklin Park. This is, after all, the New England Masters Grand Prix race (my 1st GP XC race this year after 3 passed already). I used to joke that the 5K was the Junior Varsity race at Mayor’s Cup while I was still capable of bringing up the rear in the 8K. Times have changed. I apologize. This is where my slowing stride belongs. My last race in the big boy race, Men’s Championship 8K, was when I turned 40 in 2014. I managed a respectable 27:58 to help the team score with just five guys.

Joe and I arrived just before the ladies 6K. We got our numbers and parked our gear 50 yards away from our traditional spot so as to take advantage of the sun and warmth. The temps were warmer than expected although the wind was slicing into our grill at the start and anytime we had raced toward the wilderness loop. A two mile warm up with the team found the course to be surprisingly dry after Saturday’s rain. This was to my benefit as I left my racing shoes at home (realized this about 15 minutes into the drive to Franklin Park). The training shoes had to do and I worried no more.

I stood next to Dan Verrington at the start with Tim Van Orden, Gregory Putnam, Todd Callaghan, Joe Shairs, and Arthur Besse in our non-existent cross country starting box. Our seven bolted across the field among the three hundred strong seeking a cross country battle under sunny skies and foliage falling with the wind. I held the far right line, a step behind Arthur Besse. I ran up next to former GBTC teammate John Blouin after a half mile – still crowded. I signaled to cut in front to get on the heels of BAA’s Christopher Lawrence which John allowed. I heard a mile split of 5:32. I moved on dodging the only mud bath charged up (more like crawled up) Bear Cage Hill. Arthur, 5th man for our team, started to gap me on the exit of the hill. His workout on this course weeks prior proved to pay off.

Now facing the wind, heading toward mile two, I considered ordering a hot dog and coke from a vendor. However, I could not find enough money. Onward. Arthur Besse was wheeling and dealing a can of whoop ass on me and his company through shade and shelter within the Wilderness loop. I had a battle with a young pup exiting the loop out to the field. I was drained but managed to hold him off.

I expected a group to blow past me on the final stretch but it never came. I reached the line in 18:14 and 26th place, 6th CMS runner. Arthur buried me in the last mile, passed two BAA runners with his 17:51. As slow as I felt and ran in the last mile, no one passed me and beat me to the finish line. Despite the awesome effort from the five CMS gents ahead of me, the team fell 3 points shy (30 to 33) to the BAA. I waited until today to lookup what I ran last year, 17:36. If only I could have run that time yesterday…..


Crossing the finish line in the 5K at Franklin Park
Photo credit to Granite State Race Services

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ravenswood Trail Race

A couple of new faces at the Ravenswood Trail Race in Gloucester were abound, however, the usual old guys including teammate Todd Callaghan, David Long wearing Team Gloucester, and Chris Smith (SRR) were on the start line. This mid-October 4.1 mile trail race did not disappoint with peak foliage. I settled into 5th after 800m before the descent into the swamp. I felt very unbalanced on the boardwalks. It was scary how much fear and caution I had despite them being dry and clear.

The four out front were gone. Fortunately, I had Chris Smith right behind me pushing and keeping my attention on the up and down trails. Half way through, I surged a few times but Chris was hanging on like glue. It took a longer climb and push through some discomfort to shake him loose and have a quiet presence for the last 1.5 miles. I managed to see David Long once in that last mile that had a long enough stretch. There was no chance to close in. I finished 5th overall, and fourth master with a  time of 29:01. My last race here was in 2014 with a time of 27:53. I ran a cool down with a group before hanging out for the raffles and awards.