Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pack Monadnock

This was a tough race today. I ran this 10 mile in 2007 clocking in at 1:06:25 where the first half was cautious with a 30:48 five mile split. Today, I went through 5 miles about a minute quicker (29:51). Peter Asaro from Gloucester and of William & Mary had just caught up to me before 5 miles after I passed Ben Nephew before the 4 mile mark.

I was spent after a climb in the 5th mile. I was crawling up each of the hills that followed. Peter must have had 30 seconds on me when I got out to Rt. 101 (7.5 miles). I could see Andy McCarron ahead of him by another 40 seconds and barely see Jim Johnson ahead of Andy. As spent as I was, I managed to catch Peter about 100 yards from the finish in Miller State Park (not an easy task in the last mile here unless someone is walking). However, I was drained and couldn't find any energy to pass him. I settled for 7th place in a very competitive field in the trek from Wilton, NH to Pack Monadnock in Temple, NH. My unofficial 1:06:44 is about :20 behind my previous effort in 2007. The delta today was going out harder and crashing harder in the 2nd half. I will chalk this up to a learning experience and solid effort on a day that I knew four miles from the finish line that it was going to get ugly.

The CMS held serious court in the race today. Without seeing the results yet, it looked like Justin Fyffe (3rd), Jim Johnson (4th), Andy McCarron (5th), myself (7th), Ben Nephew (8th), Dave Dunham (9th), Dave Quintal (12th), Tim Mahoney (13th), and Tim Van Orden (14th) all had solid races.

Bottom row (3): Andy McCarron, Todd Callaghan, Tim Mahoney

Top row: Dave Dunham, Justin Fyffe, Jim Johnson, Dave Quintal, Jim Pawlicki, & Ben Nephew

Photos by Kristen

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wachusett Mountain road race report

The 2009 USATF New England Mountain series kicked off with the Wachusett Mountain Road Race. Due to construction of the access road up the mountain, the race course had to be changed and diverted into the beautiful trails. Runners were warned or at least advised with plenty of signage in and around the registration area. I even recall a refund was offered in advance if the course change was beyond expectations. Mountain runners are hardy souls and did not seem to mind. I welcomed the change of scenery and like the idea of having some generous downhill in the 2nd half of the race.

I went out pretty hard for the 1st mile, settling in behind Andy McCarron and Craig Fram. I did not get a mile split but the effort was quicker than I usually put forth. Kevin Tilton and Ryan Carrera took command after the mile and took off as we approached the entrance to the park. I opened the stride as we then got off the road and into single track trail. It was in this part of the race (1.5) miles that Craig Fram stepped aside to let me by as he was very cautious with the tricky footing, descending beside the 1st mile along Mountain Road. I ran past Kristen who was taking photos shortly before mile 2. I could see Andy way ahead. Meanwhile, I think Tim Van Orden was a few seconds behind me.
Then the grind began up Old Indian Head Trail. This was a steep half mile section that was pretty tough. Tim passed me about half way up. He looked pretty strong and I felt that I could hang on with him through the top . Seconds later, Middlesex Fells training partner, Todd Callaghan, passed by chasing Tim before we got to the top of the trail. I was suffering a bit but was counting on the down hill that awaited a bit after 3 miles.

I looked at my watch at the top of Indian Head and saw 21 minutes or so and wondered how long it would take to see the finish line. Tim and Todd had a 8-10 second lead at the water stop somewhere beyond 3 miles. I opened my stride and tried to reel them in. I made slow progress of that as we were all flying at the same pace. This was a controlled down hill section and thought that it was far from the reckless free-fall that I encounter at Northfield Mountain. I was closing the gap a bit as we ran past the Indian Head Trail that we ran up earlier. I caught Tim on the last uphill climb for the day and a few seconds later got around Todd.

Meanwhile, I looked left and down toward the ski lodge where the finish line awaited. I was not too sure how much longer it would take before we would arrive and what the course was like approaching the finish line area. I did not research the last mile so it was a big unknown. Todd checked out the course on Thursday so he had an advantage. My college coach at Salem State, Tom Derderian, always reinforced to me that you must know the course before the finish line. At any rate, I was in the midst of a battle.

We turned left off the fire road and down toward the duck pond beside the ski lodge. I took the inside turn and surged down the hill. I still had no idea how much race was left and how to get there besides the course flagging. I was trying the shake Tim and Todd. I remember taking the inside lane around the duck pond, even dropping my left arm, pointing to claim the lane as we approached a boulder about 20 yards from an upcoming narrow footbridge. Tim and Todd were hot on my tail as I navigated, carefully around a tree and onto the asphalt, taking a sharp left turn toward the finish chute 10 feet away. It was like the last 100m of a mile race on the track with three hungry wolves fighting for the kill. I crossed the line just ahead of Tim and Todd. I turned to see Tim in the chute right behind me and then Todd followed. I was exhausted.

Todd quickly pointed to his leg and mentioned a wipe out. I did not recall seeing him go down in the last two miles of the course and asked him where he dumped. He took a fall in the heat of the battle with Tim and I on the tough corner just before the parking lot. Kristen happened to get it on video and did not even know he went down because she lost us behind the tree and she stopped recording as we bolted into the finish line. You'll notice how Todd was making ground before we approached the bridge and then the three of us approach the tree and two make it out.

We ran a nice relaxing cool down over the last few miles of the course and certainly shared some good laughs over the battle for the finish. I hope to have many more with these guys in the future.

Wachusett Mountain (5.2? miles) road race
May 23, 2009

1. Ryan Carrera 30:44
2. Kevin Tilton 30:48
3. Andy McCarron 31:46
4. Jim Pawlicki 32:44
5. Tim Van Orden 32:45
6. Todd Callaghan 32:48
7. Tim Mahoney 33:26
8. Allen Spencer(?) 33:31
9. Dave Dunham 33:35

Course profile

Cooling down while Todd points to the scene on the corner before the finish line straight. Dave Dunham, myself, Todd Callaghan, Francis Burdett, and Tim Mahoney. Photos by Kristen Kozlosky.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bedford Memorial 12K

It has been a few days since the race. I was not too sure what to expect as I have had very few races and no speed work other than a hard effort at the Danvers 5K races here and there. I rolled through the 1st mile around 5:14 and two miles in 10:37. From there I had some consistent, albeit slower, mile splits averaging 5:33 until 6-7 where I ran the slowest (5:41) for the day. I had a nice battle with former teammate at GBTC several years ago, Ethan Crain (former All American at MIT). However, I was wiped out by the time I reached the last uphill leading to the track and he rolled on. I told him to use his mile speed from his MIT days. He did. But so did Scott Anderson and Ted Breen. You can see their arms in the photo (taken by Kristen Wainwright) above, bookending me. It was on this track where the race finished, that I got called out and the weakness was apparent that I lacked speed sessions. I wound up in 36th place with a 40:13 (5:32 pace/mile).

On that note, I was thankful for the downhills where I could stretch my stride and recover from the hills. Overall, this is a fair course and look forward to getting back here next year if it is in for the Grand Prix. Next up for me is the Mt. Wachusett race and then the Rhody 5K which is race number four in the USATF-NE Grand Prix Road Race series.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wellness Fair 5K at Salem State College

I got a chance to lace up the racing flats in a rare 5K road race yesterday at Salem State College. I was looking for a race before the upcoming Bedford Memorial 12K road race and this was also an an opportunity to do a Salem State College Alumni event. Several former SSC alumni have won this race which was being held for the 13th year. Dan Smith who ran sub 15's in college and Fabian Meija, sub 4:15 miler come to mind. The new course for at least the last five years is a certified 5K. It was previously 3 miles long. I checked out the winners plaque before the race that has the male and female winner of each year before the race. I know most of the previous men's winners and noted that none were there to race this one. Fabian was in attendance, however, recovering from surgery a few months ago.

I got a short warm up through Forrest River Park with Scott Carrier from Beverly and Dennis Floyd. Dennis who is the Salem State College Track & Field coach was running his 2nd race in consecutive weeks, looking to run 6 minute pace. He and I have been teammates in college and two running clubs. His last competitive race was a 16:22 for CMS in the USATF-NE Indoor Championships in 2008. It is awesome to see him healthy as he has been battling Achilles issues over the past few years.

I jumped out into 2nd place about 200m into the race. David Long, Beverly resident, was in front and I caught him before 800m on Canal Street. I went through a 5:00 1st mile which was way off and inched away from David. I'd say it was a 5:25 mile. I just kept rolling along and having fun with the Salem Police Car holding up traffic as I cruised by Kristen and Jeff Rockwood, assistant Salem State Track Coach after mile 2. A few more turns and I bolted in for the finish, staring the clock down from when I began to make out the time around 16:20. It was a long straight away to the finish line and just got under 17 minutes with a 16:55. David Long finished in 2nd at 17:50 and Dennis ran 18:06 for 3rd far exceeding what he wanted to run for the day.

13th Annual North Shore Wellness 5K
Salem, MA, May 3, 2009
1 James Pawlicki 16:55 5:27 SSC Alumni
2 David Long 17:50 5:45
3 Dennis Floyd 18:06 5:50 SSC Alumni

All in all, it was a good day. We got a nice photo of some alumni athletes from the old days after the race. Note the hardware that Marissa and I got.

From left to right: Marissa Petrillo, Jim Pawlicki, Dennis Floyd, Shawn McCannon, Jeff Rockwood, Fabian Meija, Brian Beaulieu, Deb Bealieu. Gunnar and Annie Bealieau seated in the stroller will be running in no time. Photo credit to Kristen Kozlosky.