Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Boston University Mini Meet #2

I signed up in advance for another 3K at Boston University. Like last week, my seed time of 9:18 put me into heat two. It had a wide range of abilities from a low nine to a ten minute seed. I got out with only a few folks behind me and ran each lap pretty even. I went through the first kilometer in 3:06 and then the mile around 4:58, a few seconds quicker than last week. I kept up the pace for the next two kilometers for a 9:18.20, good for fourth in the heat. The last kilometer was tough as I was alone other than lapping a few runners. My ‘ol college teammate from Salem State, John Bowser, ran around 10 minutes to run in his first indoor track meet in 14 years. It was great to see him racing. He holds PR’s of sub 8:30 for 3K and sub 15 for the 5K. Kristen patiently captured the race on video below.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Boston University Mini Meet #1

This was mini meet number one in a series of three hosted at Boston University. I signed up for the 3K with a seed time of 9:22. I warmed up inside with CMS teammates Chris Mahoney, Justin Fyffe, Patrick Rich, Jeff Goupil, Kevin Tilton, and Kevin Gorman all of which were racing the 3K as well. Justin and Patrick ran 8:38 and 8:47 respectively in heat one which is the fastest of the heat line up. The rest of the guys including myself got into heat two based on our seed time. In typical fashion, I bolted out into the back of the pack. The race seemed to go out very fast yet my first lap was reasonable at 38 seconds. I went through the half mile in 2:30 behind Jeff Goupil, Stephanie Reilly, and Kevin Gorman who was leading our "second" pack of the heat. My 1K split was 3:07 which if multiplied by three had me on pace for a 9:21 which was reasonable. Mile one passed in 5:00. Jeff Goupil made a move up and away from our pack putting some ground on us over the next few laps. I stayed behind Kevin until two laps to go and then surged around Bruce Davie and his GBTC teammate with a lap to go. Kevin caught me with 100m remaining and he beat me to the finish line by less than 3/10's of a second. My official time was 9:18.59 for 12th place in the heat of 17. Full results are here. I feel pretty good about the time as it is my first indoor track race since a year ago (similar time on the same track). Below is my last 250 meters of the race that Kristen caught on her iPhone.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Andover Country Club 3.5 Mile Cross Country Race

I ran this race in 2004 so I was familiar with the terrain and great atmosphere. CMS teammate Al Bernier won the race back then. I ran 18:31 finishing a few strides in front of Greg Putnam who was running unattached. Race director, Dave Labrode, tagged me as a “fast guy” while registering. “Give him one of those numbers” pointing to a stack of low bib numbers. I got bib # 8. Slowly, more and more CMS guys showed up which was awesome. Jim Johnson, Bob Wiles, Mike Quintal, Dave Quintal, and Dave Dunham were present at the time of our warm up so it was evident that we had a solid team. It was nice to catch up with the guys before and after the race.

The race went by pretty quick. Picture several ups and downs along a golf course. I did not rest for a second (well maybe one hill). I had a nice back and forth duel with Dave Dunham. He advised after the race that he planned on keying off me. It certainly helped having him there in the second half of the race. He would pull away on the downs and I would catch back up on the ups. Dave Quintal entered the fray with about 800m to go and took charge. I was barely able to reel him in on the downhill grass finish for 7th place overall, 19:32 for the 3.5 mile course. Someone got 3.53 miles measured on their Garmin.

I stayed for a great post race meal: salad, pasta with meatballs, and some cookies. Life was good. Good race, good competition, good company, good food, good day. Dave Dunham has a nice write up on the race.

Andover Country Club 3.5 Mile Cross Country Race results November 28, 2010 results

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wikd Turkey 5 mile run Salem, MA

Talk about a last minute, casual approach to a Thanksgiving Day race. I woke up without the alarm just before 7am. It was too late to zip up to Newburyport for a 5K cross country race. Thus, a five minute ride to Salem for the Wild Turkey 5 mile road race (8am start) made sense. I ran the idea past Kristen who was in no mood to wake up but she was supportive as long as it promised a trip to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee. I was able to dash into the registration area at 7:25 and plunk down a check for $25 to freeze my ass off in slightly altered but USATF certified course with more ocean view than in the past. I warmed up over in Pickering Wharf in the racing gear which allowed me to rock a pair of brand new racing flats courtesy of a Marathon Sports gift certificate redemption in Melrose last Sunday. The Saucony Grid Type A4 features a very thin sole and weighs in at 7oz. I noticed a pronounced wind on my return back to the Salem Common which was going to be a factor in the race which I heard featured a round trip ticket in the domestic United States from Air Tran for the male and female winner.

As I got to the starting line of over 1K runners, I was pleased to see Salem State University athletes Alex DeRosa and Alex Gomes. They were coming off strong cross country seasons under the guidance of Dennis Floyd. Furthermore, Ben Strain was rocking the CMS Polar Singlet and admitted his last minute approach to the race was much like mine (in the last 60 minutes). The race went off and I was buried behind 25 runners in no time. I caught up to Alex DeRosa and went through the first mile in 5:25. Ben was ahead of us by ten seconds and I told Alex that I need to catch Ben by mile three. I whipped around Winter Island and was closing in on Ben and Alex Gomes who seemed to be struggling. I caught Ben before three miles and then we hit that nasty head wind in Salem Willows. I got a few strides ahead of Ben at Dead Horse Beach exiting the Salem Willows and was hoping to reel in Gomes but I did not have any surges left to give. I was pretty flat in the next five minutes gaining nothing but seemed to loose nothing. With about 1000m to go, Alex DeRosa came up on me and passed me strong. I encouraged him to catch up to his teammate, Gomes, who did not seem to far ahead. I tried to keep pace with DeRosa but I began to fade and take a nap. About 300m remained and the foot steps of Ben Strain aggressively approached and passed me like I was standing. I was not in the mood for searching for "that" gear. I went after Ben and Alex at the last left hand turn with 100m to go and they held on and kept position. Alex ran 27:41, Ben ran 27:43, and I one second back with a 27:44 which placed me at 8th overall.

Alex asked me what I was looking to run before the race and I thought 28 minutes was in store based on the 5K effort a few weeks ago. Deep inside, however, 5:30 pace or 27:30 is my 5 mile standard for decency. I went off for a cool down with Alex, Ben, and 52 year old phenom, Rich Tabutt. I bailed on the post race food and awards due to my lack of warm clothing and I was freezing my ass off. Kristen, as well, was all over the course snapping photos and needed to exit the cold and get her cup of coffee at Dunkins.

530 1056
533 1630
543 2213
531 27:44

Monday, November 8, 2010

East Boston Savings Bank 5K

This is Kristen's race as she is the race director of the third running of the East Boston Savings Bank Fall Back Challenge. The race takes place on the first day of day light savings. The race was consolidated down to a 5K and new course this year. I heard several local runners were disappointed to not have the 11K that was part of the dual race theme last year and the year before. I had no allegiances to the longer race despite having a good race in the 11K last year. Keeping with tradition, I volunteered my services to help out and if possible, would jump into the race as a participant if possible.

Kristen and I got to the bank two hours before the race started to pick up coworker and assistant race director, Nicole Diano. We drove the course to put out mile markers 1 and 2. This gave me a chance to see the course although I saw a map and knew the neighborhood well. The first mile has a tough hill 200m from the start leading into Brooksby Farm for a turn-around. As you exit the property, mile one is passed. Shortly thereafter, you take a right up a slight grade passing the water stop at 1.4 miles which is followed by generous decent to Lowell Street which contains mile 2 and then into the bike path return to Lahey Clinic. About 800m remains back to the East Boston Savings Bank parking lot where Granite State Race Services set up shop for the finish. The course is more or less flat in the second half. I set up the cones for the home stretch through the parking lot so that cars would not park there. I still had 90 minutes to wait before the start of the race so I waited in the lobby of the bank while bank employees arrived to volunteer their services as course marshalls and set up registration.

I warmed up with teamate Joe Shairs and Bill Jackson from the Wicked Running Club who is a regular Danvers 5K participant. We ran the course backwards so that they got a feel for the last mile of the course. Bill and I then ran up the first mile so that he knew what the hill looked like. I got back to the car with 8 minutes before the race start time. There were plenty of Peabody police on motorcycles to navigate the race and block traffic at Lowell Street. The bank's Chairman and CEO, Dick Gavegnano got the race of almost 100 started. Joe and I jumped right out front and charged the hill that followed less than 40 seconds in. I got a few strides ahead of Joe at the top of the hill and took my awkward stride (felt that I needed a hip/back alignment) through mile 1 in 5:35 with Joe about eight seconds back. I stretched out the legs down to Lowell Street passing mile 2 in 10:53. I hit a headwind exiting the bike path while just trying to maintain form and pace. The last 400m had a slight incline but not enough to whine about. As I began to make out the time on the running clock, I saw that it was going to be close to break 17. I crossed the line in 17:02 with Joe coming in second in 17:28. This was Joe's first race since February and it was great to see him back in action. Meanwhile, it was nice to stretch the racing legs again since the marathon. Official results

Monday, October 18, 2010

BayState Marathon

The plan was to run 6:00 mile pace for as long as possible and finish under 2:40. Based on recent race activity, I felt I was in 2:38-2:39 shape. I wound up in a in a pack of several that included Chris Spinney, Dan Verrington, George Adams, and Jon Chesto in the early miles. The pack broke up and left Chris and I behind as that group began clicking off 5:52's about 5 miles miles into the 26.2 mile trek. Chris fell back a bit as I went over the Rourke Bridge approaching my dad and mile 13. There were some solo miles back to the Tyngsboro bridge where I did manage to pass a few including Martin Tighe who was out pretty quick early on. I also started to run into the back of the marathon runners. Everything was going pretty good up through this stretch and liked the fact that the George Adams group was only 45 seconds up running past Greater Lowell Regional High School. I thought that I could slowly reel them in. Mile 20 passed and I laughed at the painted words on the pavement regarding "hitting the wall."

Going through 21 miles, the legs got heavy, and began to slap my Nike Lunarracer2's to the ground. Joe Donnelley zipped past me and gave me words of encouragement. He looked so good and effortless while my pace was tiring. I tossed my hat and gloves to the side of the road. Shortly thereafter, Dave Kanzajian from Whirlaway offered me water at 22.5 miles. I refused and thanked him. Ten seconds later, I got a sharp cramp in my left hamstring. Uh oh. Actually is was like #@*&?!

I've had such muscle cramps before in marathons. There is no way to come back, recover, from the dehydration and glycogen depletion. I carried forward hoping no more muscle cramps would return. Then I got a calf cramp in the same leg. Now I was playing hop scotch over the last 5K and not having fun. I got desperate over the last 2.2 miles looking for any spectator with liquids, food, or a loaded gun. The 24 mile clock had 2:25:25 with 2.2 miles to go and it was going to be close to break 2:40. I forgot about the .2 and thought to myself that I just needed to run two sub 7:00 miles to get under 2:40. No problem. I finally found someone with water and offered her $100 bucks for it. She gladly gave it up laughing. I took a sip and placed it carefully down 20ft past the hand off. I had no energy to thank her and barely enough to bend over and place it carefully on the curb without spilling it. I recall a water stop around the corner but it was all too late. One more runner passed me and I could not do anything about it while on the Aiken Street Bridge cursing and praying for no more cramps. The hop scotch running routine was getting old. Dave Quintal was on the bike yelling for me. I apologize here as I recall swearing under my breath that I hate this marathon crap. I am positive he saw my unfortunate grimace. A few careful turns here and there put my carcase into the baseball park looking at my watch to gauge what was required to stay under 2:40. I saw something like 2:38:50. I stumbled into some shuffle to restrain any reminder of a cramp. My dad was in the stands yelling with 50 meters to go. I tried to change my stride into a sprint here and there while keeping Martin off my heels along the warning track. I fought the clock and staggered through the finish on the other side of 2:40. I was so pissed not getting under 2:40. Photos show me laughing in disgust before the second finish mat was crossed. How dare I forget how humbing this marathon stuff is. I have so much respect for it, I rarely jump into them. I walked over to Kristen beyond the finish line and had to strech my legs while leaning against the infield wall. I laughed with humble pie. I placed 26th overall with a net time of 2:40:01.1.

My anger and frustration wore off soon enough. Just behind me, Ken Tripp set an 18 minute PR. 12-13 minutes ahead off me our top four CMS guys Andy McCarron, Jim Johnson, Scott Leslie, and Greg Hammett all set PR's. George Adams ran a masters PR. It appeared that CMS won the men's open division. I soaked it the atmosphere and caught up with several relfecting on thier splits and races in the previous hours. I soon got some food while hanging out with Kristen who took several photos (mostly CMS folks). We watched several finishers cross the line in the 3:30-3:50 range. I reflected on my race thinking that it could have been a lot worse. Worse like the guy Kristen and I watched hit the ground 20 feet before the finish line whithering in pain (leg cramps). He needed attention from a group of volunteers to get up and walk across the line a minute later. He had a stretcher waiting for him. The moment got a huge cheer from the crowd and myself. It made me feel better to not sweat the two seconds I did not want on my time for the marathon. I got pretty cold so I shuffled back to the car to change and found a home in the Brewery Exchange with Kristen and my dad. I got my Iron Runner jacket for completing the USATF-New England Grand Prix Road Race series. I got one that I still have from 1997. The marathon was typically the race that I did not partake in each year since then.

I signed up for the Boston Marathon this morning by default (was there a choice?) to jump into it next April. I will research the avoidance of muscle cramps which got me real good in the last five miles at Boston in 1998 and 2000 en route to 2:44 marathons. Reflecting back on the effort from BayState yesterday, I would not change a thing during the race. I will reconsider better opportunities to stay hydrated, perhaps consider salt tablets to set some sodium in the 2nd half of the race.

Overall BayState Marathon Results 2010

Photo credits to Scott Mason (two above more here) and Kristen for the photos.

How I got to 2:40:01.1
12:06 17:46
6:01 23:48
6:02 29:51 5 miles
5:54 35:46
6:01 41:47
5:58 47:46
12:06 59:52 10 miles
6:02 1:05:55
5:59 1:11:55
1:18:38 Half Marathon Split
1:24:00 at 14 miles
6:04 1:30:05 15 miles
6:00 1:36:06
6:02 1:42:09
6:00 1:48:09
12:21 2:00:31 20 miles
6:11 2:06:43
6:15 2:12:58
6:08 2:19:07
6:18 2:25:25
6:20 2:31:46 25 miles
8:19 (last 1.2 miles) 2:40:06 on my Ironman

Facial expressions tell a lot and speak louder than words......

Saturday, October 9, 2010

James Early Cross Country Invitational Westfield, Ma

I laced up the cross country flats today to take part in the James Early Cross Country Invitational race in Westfield, MA at high noon. The Salem State Alumni men had a team that included folks from my era like Brian Beaulieu, John Bowser, Dennis Floyd, Mike Gilmore, and coach Tom Derderian. We could not have asked for a better day for weather; about 60 degrees, dry, sunny, and dry throughout what I think is billed as an 8k course. Brian's Garmin dialed his distance race in 4.98 miles. I was not sure what to expect today for an expected time with the recent marathon training which has been void of interval and oxygen debt running. I warmed up with local CMS teamate Tim Mahoney and John Bowser about a half hour before the race. The first mile of this race consists of jockeying for position around Stanley Park - soccer fields surrounded by a tree-lined boundary. This means a steady diet of carefully envoked surges to pass runners while there is plenty of visibility to look ahead and see the front pack develop. I survived mile one in 5:19 and was OK knowing that I'd settle into 5:30's soon enough.

I passed miles two and three in good shape with a controlled 5:35 average pace and ready to throw in a few more battles ahead. I passed a few college guys heading into mile four and up a few rolling hills back onto the soccer fields for the final 800 meters. The hills hurt and found myself watching my steps through the roots to ensure I would not fall or trip. I held my own and a quick glance of the watch indicated that a sub-28 minute effort was a given with 200m remaining. I clocked in with a 27:39 good for 35th overall and 2nd alumni behind Mark Dawson who ran an awesome 26:47 barefoot! Brian, John, and Dennis finished up to complete the team scoring which placed us one spot ahead of Salem State University younsters which is coached by Dennis. Dennis is coaching a talented All-American Senior, Alex Gomes, who finished 2nd overall with a 25:52. Another athlete, Alex Derosa, set a personal best on the course with a 27:10.

Finally, I was surprised by Kristen after the race among friends and the Salem State folks with a huge birthday cake to celebrate my 36th. We manged to demolish more than 3/4 of the cake in five minutes. It was great catching up with alumni, student athletes, coaches, and friends. Special thanks to the team duo of Debra and Brian pulling the alumni team and clothing together. High fives to all the folks who ran the race and hugs and kisses to Kristen for her thoughtfulness and talented photos within.

Before and after photos of the cake.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wicked Half Marathon

I have averaged a half marathon per year since my debut in 1997 in the Bay State Half Marathon in Lowell, MA. Oddly enough, I have never run in a half marathon that was not a USATF New England Championship event. I ran in them to support my team that was competing against other teams from New England. Other than that, I never had the half marathon distance on my agenda. With the Bay State Marathon on my radar next month, I thought it would be a good idea to test out the legs in Salem today for the Wicked Half Marathon. This would be my second half marathon this year as I ran in the New Bedford Half Marathon (New England Championship) in March. Today's weather was a bit humid as I am certain the dew point was higher than the air temperature for the 7am start. I settled into 5th place immediately. The four gents in front, Tim Cataggio (Stonehill), Dan Princic (WRT), Mark Hudson (WRT), and CMS t'mate Scott Leslie were sub-5:20 pace from the gun and I wanted to fluctuate around 6:00 mile pace for 13.1 miles. I went through the first mile in 5:38 which was the quickest of the day. Soon after I began to feel a hot spot on my Achilles from the Lunaracer2 that I just began wear testing yesterday. They felt fine yesterday but were messing with me too early in the race today, especially going up hills. I almost dropped out of the race a few times in the first four miles for fear of making hamburger of my Achilles. All I could think of was raw skin, blood, and doom for the training leading into Bay State.I wanted to do a 180 and walk back to the start. That would have resulted in embarrassment running into 900 plus half marathoners, throw my pride in the dumpster, and leave Kristen wondering where I was as she was out on the course snapping photos.

I managed to make it to Marblehead after a decent hill and the hot spot burned. I kept going as it was not too bad when it was flat and if I changed the stride a bit here and there. Meanwhile, I was familiar with the route out to Marblehead Neck. It was a daily training route from my Salem State College days. Soon, I felt another burning sensation around my ankle from the velcro strapped timing chip to match the hot spot on the Achilles a few inches below. Good times. The only good thing was that the mile splits were fluctuating around the goal pace of six minutes. I saw Kristen several times as she was on the bike and doing her thing with the Nikon D60. Brett Rickenbach was on the bike and provided words of encouragement while exiting Marblehead Neck and heading back toward the finish seven miles away. I cheered several hundred runners now coming at me on the opposite side of the road on the causeway. Giving them support took my mind of my issues. The miles, intersections, police detail, and Kristen went by pretty effortless and without
dwell on the burning ankle from mile 7-12. My ten mile split was 59:37 and from there on in, just wanted to hold the pace. I got into the finish with a time of 1:18:28. It is a personal worst
in terms of
time by at least three minutes.
I owned fifth place the whole race and seemed isolated from those in front and those in back of me. Aside from a healthy blister, the Achilles was not as bad as I expected. I have a nice tattooed cut circling around the ankle from the Velcro timing chip.

Aside from the drama of considering bailing out early in the race and my Achilles burning up from the racing flats, I found that the initial posted had errors such as an erroneous finish time of 1:19:39 for myself. I quickly brought it to the attention of the timing table right at the finish line. Doug Bollen (pictured below with my finish line crossing) actually
had written down the place, bib number, and time that he saw on the clock for the top five men and women so I saw a quick resolution in the making so I walked away with his assurance that it would be corrected. Several other runners complained of mistakes so I am sure there was a bigger issue, even with the chip timing. The young lady in the timing tent said that she'd have a look at it. 30 minutes later, the posted results were updated with a 1:18:39, eleven seconds slower than the photo, Doug's recorded notation, and my watch. I brought it up again with the timing tent on my way out. Thankfully it was corrected when I looked up results tonight.

I am looking forward to running with some teammates tomorrow morning on the trails of Bradley Palmer State Park and Appleton Farms.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nahant 30K

For a coastal town surrounded by the Atlantic ocean, this is not your easy sea-level endeavor hosted by the North Shore Striders. However, if you take a few moments and glance around, you can't beat the scenery in Nahant. The goal for the day was to engage in a marathon paced effort for the 18.6 miles (30 kilometers). After running 6:01 pace on this course in 2008, it was easy to yearn for the same pace. I also nailed that same pace this past Monday at the tough - Cape Ann 25K. It turned out, today, that I was a bit aggressive with the anticipated pace and did not want to go overboard too early. One mile passed in 6:08 with Tomoaki Uchiki (GBTC) and Dan Verrington, master ace from CMS. When asked, Tomoaki agreed that 6:00 per mile pace was his goal so that validated that I was in good company for the outset for Dan and I. However, our pace was averaging 6:08 pace through the first few miles. I did not feel particularly light footed and was reminded of the Cape Ann effort early and often. Dan dropped back and Tomoaki and I kept company through ten miles (60:35) up and down the hills. He began to pull away and chase down Rich Smith (GCS) and Joe Donnelley (GCS) who were less than 30 seconds ahead out around the Northeastern owned campus. I got as close as 15 seconds to Rich but he held his own reeling in Joe as we were out on the bike path of the causeway (16 miles). I started to feel the day's pace as I passed by what was going to be the finish in two miles with a quick loop around red rock and back. My pace slowed in this stretch with mile 17 clocked in with my slowest mile of the day (6:30). As I approached the finish line, Kristen was taking photos with her Nikon D60. To my surprise, my dad was standing there with her and cheering me on (he got there five minutes before my arrival). I gave him a high five while the finish line 40 yards away and around the left hand turn awaiting my tired legs.

My official time was 1:53:30 (6:06 per mile pace), 2nd in my age division (excluding the overall winner) and 7th overall. I did not bother with a cool down, instead opting for a banana and a can of Sprite. I gave Tomoaki, Rich Smith, and Joe Donnelley credit for hanging tough through the wind over the last five miles. These guys, as well as I, hope to toe the starting line at the Bay State Marathon on October 17. I went to the car, traded my flats in for my crocks and a warm long sleeve shirt. Then I headed back onto the course about 200m from the finish and directed runner traffic for the last 1/3 of the race who had about 2 miles left.

Not all is good news. I most certainly flared up my left Achilles which was hinting to me on Wednesday that something may be brewing. This miserable issue kept me out of racing the Bay State Marathon in 2008. I will keep close tabs on this one. Unfortunately, 55K of road racing in six days may put a damper on the running and racing in the near future. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Around Cape Ann 25k

I agreed to run 6:00 pace for this famous Cape Ann race 24 hours earlier with John Ayers. I had my doubts I could hold it but would give it a shot. CMS mates Greg Ward and Neel Tarneja showed up this morning feeling a six minute pace was in store as well. I started out with another CMS mate, Patrick Rich, who moved up into the correct chase pack behind Patrick Moulton after 800m. John Ayers was to my right, sizing up the field ahead. He moved ahead after the 5:58 mile to run with Greg and Neel. GBTC's Jon Chesto and Tomoaki Uchiki caught me and kept me company through 7 miles. Tomoaki felt good and moved ahead to chase down the Ayers pack that seemed to have a 55 second lead on us. I managed to hang with Jon Chesto until we passed Ayers at 13 miles. Pressing the pace a bit, I put a small gap on Jon and finished 9th overall, 1:33:13, 6:01 pace per mile. Hitting the goal pace throughout and for the race felt good. I will see how the legs recover this week. I am sore now (my back and shoulders are beat from three days of Kayaking) but want to heal up for a potential run in the Nahant 30K road race next Sunday.

CMS got the team title with Patrick, Greg, and Neel. Thanks to Krissy for biking the course and snapping some photos.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Run Gloucester 7 mile road race

I was looking for a race to do this weekend and Run Gloucester seemed to hit me from a few directions so I plunked down the heavy registration fee. I really appreciate Cape Ann races. In fact, I plan on hitting up the Magnolia 5K next month. I was up at 6am and out the door at 6:45 for a 20 minute ride up Rt. 128 to Patrick and Roberta’s place who live next to Gloucester High School. I got my number, exchanged a few words with Steve Viatones (Gloucester High Graduate ’73) before heading out for a casual warm up on Western Ave. The announcer at the eloborate start and finish line advised of a ten minute delay as runners were running late and parking a bit to close to the official 8am start time. I ran on the other side of the draw bridge, away from the start line and wouldn’t you know that the bridge went up to let some boats through into Gloucester Harbor. I had twenty minutes to get back to the start line which was 400m away so I was not worried but it would have made for an interesting story had it caused me to miss the start.

I lined up in the front of the race a few rows back and stretched out to stay loose during a ceremony introducing the mayor of Gloucester, Dave McGillivary from DMSE, and our national anthem. There was plenty of room as the 6:00 pace crowd gave a lot of realestate to the elite who were in town for the race. Some of them could have very well raced at Beach to Beacon or Falmouth in the past few weeks. They were here for one thing: finish in the money. Cash prizes for male and female brokedown to $1500 for first, $750 for second, and $250 for third. I wondered where I was going to fit in and who I was going to run with today as the gun went off. Three Saucony sponsored athletes including Nate Jenkins ripped up the first hill. They were not wasting any time waiting for a tactical race to cash in. John Ayers and John Gillis were spectating and yelled some encouragement my way. I eased by Tony Darocha and Matt Curran after 800m and set my target on female, Salome Kosgei (Iona College, Westchester Track Club, Kenya), who was trailing fellow Kenyan leader, Lineth Chepkarui (Beach to Beacon 2010 female record holder 30:59), by about ten seconds. I caught her shortly before the mile and we clocked in at 5:34.

I felt pretty good and quickly noticed a lack of competitors at our pacing at this point. The top ten men were already out of sight and Lineth (female leader was solo) in a sea of pavement with only a lead vehicle to keep her company. I did not look back but I knew by mile two (5:37, 11:11 overall) that it was just Salome Kosgei and I. I felt like I was helping her, not really pacing her, but leading the way to protect her second place finish in the money. We went up and down a few hills trading the pace through mile three (5:42, 16:54). It was in these hills, passing Eastern Point, that I ran by Kristen, Roberta, and Patrick who biked out earlier. They laid in some encouragement and Kristen snapped photos. The gap widened between us and our competition as I recognized the course from the Lone Gull 10K that I ran last September. Suddenly around 3.5 miles, Salome slowed down and moved to the side of the road as if she were having some trouble. I was rather concerned as if she was a teammate in battle that needed assistance. I turned back and she bounced back into form as if nothing occurred. She promptly put in a surge into a left hand turn ahead of us.

The course flattened out for the next mile and a half and we traded leads, pace, all while running past the water stops like they did not exist. Mile four was passed in 22:31 (5:37 split) and we climbed a few hills through mile five in 28:09 (5:37 split). She put a few seconds on me on the 2nd half of the hill but I regained it on the backside. This took us onto the Cape Ann 25K course that I know well and begin to ponder – taking an inventory of how I am feeling and how this is going to go down with Salome over the last two miles. There were a few times already that I thought she was going to take off from some dude who has crazy fans on Cape Ann. Yet, she seemed content with my company and I was not hurting her “cash in” position of second overall female. Another thing that I noticed is that she was rather tentative at most intersections which gave me a chance to pull aside or away by a stride - taking the tangent into the turn. Mile six went by with a 5:35 split (33:45 overall). I thought for sure she was going to smoke me going up Main Street on the hill but she was steady and I stayed with her. We were coming up on John Ayers and John Gillis on the backside where I began to open my tired stride. Ayers was yelling and screaming at me to pick it up. I am certain that Salome was laughing inside or felt threatened for her life. Shortly thereafter, she exchanged the first words in our company during the race, “not much longer.” I agreed and let her know that there is only one more hill ahead. Brett Rickenbach was waiting on the side of the road as we exited Main Street and up the last hill throwing me a few words of motivation. I pushed it as Salome and I approached the top and held the two second gap over the last 300m to the finish line on Western Ave where this race began (Joe Shairs said he saw me on a NESN highlight while he was at the Red Sox game). I turned to Salome to greet her with a well deserved hand shake. If it were not for her competitiveness and company, I would have fared a totally different race and slower time.

The last mile with the hills and weary legs clocked in at 5:38t. My official time was 39:24 good for a 5:38 pace, 12th overall, and first in my 30-39 age group. My mile splits were very close on this certified seven mile course with a :08 delta between the quickest (mile 1) and slowest mile (3rd). I picked up a Saucony gift certificate to redeem for a pair of shoes. I have my eyes on a pair of road flats.

5:37 11:11
5:42 16:54
5:37 22:31
5:37 28:09
5:35 33:45
5:38 39:24 12th overall, 5:38 average pace

Kristen, myself, Patrick, and Roberta at the post race festivities

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bridge of Flowers Shelburne Falls 10K recap

Kristen piloted us out to Shelburne Falls which was hosting the 10K road race Championship of New England. I’ve raced this one a few times in the past so knew the logistics of parking, registration, et cetera. Thus I did not panic too much when our commute hit a detour in Greenfield adding an extra twenty minutes to our expected two hour drive. I prefer to arrive at a race at least one hour before the start time. We arrived in Shelburne Falls at 8:19 for a 9:00 start. We were held up on the access road to downtown as the 3K was to start at 8:20. No problem. I jumped out of the car, put my racing flats and singlet on and ran down to the registration area about ¾ of a mile away only to run into another traffic jamb of runners in the pre-registration line that was out the door sprawling into the side walk. I got my number about fifteen minutes later. Good thing I did not have to wait for a porta-john.

The race start had one side of the road dedicated to the women to give them some rare real-estate on the narrow downtown road. The race went off at 9am sharp. The first mile has a few sneaky hills that I always forget about as emphasis or concern is for Crittenden Hill just after mile two. I passed several runners up the hill. This was a slow mile split for me, over seven minutes but was ready to tear it up on the backside. I had my quickest mile into mile four with a 5:10. My legs were beat minutes later where a 5:40 mile got me through mile five. This was one of those races where I wished this was a five mile race. I sucked it up and got a few down hills reeling in Tim Mahoney and ran side by side to the bridge where we raced to the end. He got the best of me but pulled me along for the last 400m. I finished 49th overall with a 35:43 where I was looking for a low 35 minute race. I can’t complain. The splits were honest and I would say this course runs about a minute slow with the hill to make this one of the tougher 10K’s in New England.

Photos by Kristen

Looking ahead, I just signed up for RunGloucester, a new 7 mile race in Gloucester for this Sunday. It is marketed to be the last of the Trilogy of Cape races trailing the third consecutive weekend that featured the Beach to Beacon 10K (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) and the Falmouth Road Race (Cape Cod). The entry fee was steep but curious on the event so I am going. I know the terrain and expect the hills to slow the pace for all but I am sure to see some elites show up for the cash prizes. I will muck it up and shoot for sub 5:45’s.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Beverly Homecoming 5K August 5, 2010

The rain cleared about an hour before the 6:30 start. I ran over to the race from the house to get a 21 minute warm up. Kristen picked up my bib number. No shirt tonight due to the high humidity. The race went out and off as expected with CMS t'mate Patrick Rich and Tim Richard (Holy Cross grad heading into the Air Force in two weeks) taking no prisoners. I passed John Ayers into third place 400m after the start. Mile 1 passed in 5:08. John passed me and I hung with him, trading places few times until the end where there is downhill once we entered Lynch Park. I had a little extra but John was not giving much finishing three seconds back. My watch had 16:33 but official time seems to be 16:34 (5:21 mile pace) for third place. Patrick fought hard to the finish and got a PR just behind Tim. My dad was in attendance and picked up my 3rd place plaque for while I was running the course again with Brett Rickenbach (bandit), Heather (ran a PR too), and Patrick Rich. I also picked up first Beverly resident. I thanked John after the race for a great race, keeping the pace honest, and giving me a hard time. He was very supportive in the last 800m - encouraging us to pick it up or telling me to get going into home stretch. We help each other sometimes when we feel like backing off the throttle. All in all, it was a good race, over 30 seconds quicker than a 5K last Thursday and bettered my best time this year by four seconds.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Camp Harbor View Island 5k

Kristen met me at work tonight and we drove a mile to Marina Bay for a 5:15 ferry full of runners heading to Long Island about two miles away. It is one of 34 islands in the Boston Harbor. The race is almost an out and back on the island. I caught up with Mike Digennaro - 2004 Olympic Trialist in the Steeple Chase on a warm up while finding the course rather hilly for the two mile warm up. I expected a flat course. I slid into 2nd place after 1200m, through the turn around until just before two miles in 10:50. Mike blew by me and the leader who had a stride on me and enroute to the course record, 16:38. I got passed the early leader, Christopher Kantos with about 1k remaining and finished in 2nd overall with a 17:06. A huge BBQ followed. I feasted on two Buffalo Chicken Burritos from Boloco while checking on my coworkers who ran the race. A total of ten Boston Scientific team members ran tonight. DMSE directed a fine race. I had a chance to talk to Dave McGillivray to see what he may have in store for future races like Mount Washington. I picked up a Dunkin Donuts Gift Card and Water Bottle for the effort then caught a 9:30 ferry back to Marina Bay.

Splits: 5:21 mile, 10:50 2 mile, mile 3 was ugly!
Full results
July 29, 2010 Event Direction: DMSE SPORTS Long Island, Boston Harbor, MA
Place Divpl Tot Div Nettime Pace Guntime Name Ag S Race# City/state

1 1/ 99 M3039 16:38 5:21 16:38 Michael Digennaro 32 M 686 Wilmington DE
New record. Old record 16:41 by Scott Munro in 2009
2 2/ 99 M3039 17:06 5:30 17:06 James Pawlicki 35 M 523 Beverly MA
3 1/105 M2029 17:18 5:34 17:18 Christopher Kantos 24 M 530 Boston MA
4 3/ 99 M3039 17:31 5:39 17:31 Murray McCutcheon 35 M 180 Boston MA
5 1/ 35 M4049 17:49 5:44 17:49 Jim Dina 48 M 573 Boston MA

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stowe 8 miler

Stowe, VT was the next stop in the USATF New England Grand Prix series. An odd distance of 8 miles is rare, however, not to the Grand Prix series as this race has hosted the championship in the past. The trip to Vermont allows me to visit some family so this weekend is a pleasure each time. Kristen booked us at the Old England Inn which turned out to be the race headquarters. In addition, the start and finish line were steps away from the property as well. I was able to get my bib number and shirt on Saturday just before a race reception was held out on the deck at the Inn. Following the reception, Kristen and I grabbed some dinner at the Pie in the Sky for a BBQ Chicken Pizza.

Logistics getting to the start was as easy. I rolled down the hill and was at the start with a four minute walk. CMS had over twenty five runners combined representing the racing team. Our open team got box four in a cross country style start on a field. Thus everyone but the leaders ate dust for the first 300m. I went through the first mile around 5:37 per Jeff Goupil who planned on starting the race with me. I failed to wear a watch so the rest of the splits are unknown and a good thing as I could tell that my pace began to crawl in second half of this rolling and scenic course. Most of the race was uneventful and I never really got into the race. Dave Dunham ran past me at mile seven and I had to get involved to keep up with him. Soon we were closing in on the finish where I kept a step in front of Dave. I finished in 55th place out of 885 runners. My official time of 46:28.2 was good for a 5:49 pace per mile. I was shooting for 5:40 pace. Thus missed it and not terribly down about the slower pacing.

Complete results with photos by Ted Tyler

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5 Miler

The 23rd annual Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5 miler is hosted by the L Street Running Club. I began running this race due to the proximity near my work (2 miles away by ocean, 3 by car) a few years ago. The race moved from the Bay Side Expo to Boston College High School this year without issue. There was plenty of parking and the race expo with several shoe, sports, medical, and food vendors continued. My first mile was 5:20 and very comfortable in a lead pack of seven guys including Beverly neighbor, John Ayers. A tall lanky fellow was cheering the race on as we approached him, holding to ice cold bottles of water. He looked familiar but was not sure. It was Peter Brook (Sommerville Road Runners) who I have not seen in years (running or spectating). I tossed him a “nice to see you Peter, where the $#@!* have you been hiding?” I have not seen him in years. He was always a friendly face when I was kicking around at races a long time ago. I guess it was nice of me to break out conversation with Peter as if I owned the race during the 5:20 pace. It must have pissed off my competitors. The pace got spicy shortly there after when Andreas Heilmann picked it up and the pack went immediately into a single file.

We did a 180 and headed back to the school (start/finish area) shortly after the 2nd mile marker on Day Blvd. I fell one spot into fourth place by a few strides and passed mile three just under 16:00. This stretch was hot and the sun was in our eyes going toward Carson Beach before breaking left for some shade along the Dorchester Harbor Walk. I was right behind 3rd place heading past the 4 mile clock, 21:55, and already thinking about “what if this comes down to a kick or am I going to suck this up and take this guy down now.” Such a thought process is hilarious but I am sure we’ve all been there. To have some fire in the belly as the races closes into the last mile is good. It was as if I was running for a 3rd place pay off or something. I was pleased that the overall pace was still under 5:30 pace but we both were slowing as I took an inventory - soaking all of this in. There was less than 400m left and I knew exactly where the finish line was – it was hiding about 50 yards from the corner of the school and driveway we just entered. I dropped in a surge to pass him and wound up 3rd with a 27:30 in the last 60 yards.

I turned in the finish line shute to thank him for staying tough and having a great race. He complained of tightening up with cramps at the end. It happens. I was happy to be back in the 27’s for a 5 miler. I felt like I accomplished a lot with the effort and having a race within the race toward the end. Kristen and I are off for the Stowe 8 miler. It should be a hot one.
23rd Annual Sugar Bowl 5 Miler
Boston, MA, July 15, 2010
PLC Time Pace PLC/Group Name Town, State
1 26:40 5:20 1 25-29 Andreas Heilmann Boston,MA
2 27:05 5:25 1 20-24 Luke Dodge Brookline,MA
3 27:30 5:30 1 35-39 James Pawlicki Beverly,MA
4 27:32 5:30 1 16-19 Brendan Adams
5 27:49 5:34 2 25-29 Mike Brown Dowling Boston,MA
6 28:04 5:37 1 40-44 John Ayers Beverly,MA

Photo credits to Ted Tyler. You can see the rest of his photos here.

Complete results

Monday, July 5, 2010

John Carson 2 mile road race

I should have known something was wrong when the pre-reg table gals gave me bib #5. I got out pretty good at the start, careful not to rush out too fast. I was surprised how many people came back during the 1 mile. Mile 1 went by in 5:07 and felt pretty chipper. A surge or two later caught up with me as Andy Wedlake began to pull away. I heard cheers for "1st woman" over the last 800m. Steve Peterson "Petey" yelled at me to get going. My hammy screamed in pain but I hustled up the hill seeing the "monument" finish waiting. Andy finished just ahead of me at the line. The young lady, Andrea Walkonen, was right on me with a 10:16. She mentioned that she was trying to break her coaches, wifes, course record (she missed it). My dad walked over to shake my hand before he headed for a walk back to the start. I mused earlier in the morning that I was not sure I wanted to go to the race with the sore hamstring. He headed back for the 2 mile walk back to the car. I chatted with Andy Wedlake and Joe Doherty who spanked me at Washington a few weeks ago and then headed back with Dave Menard for a slow and sore 2 mile run back to the car. 10:12 in the books, four seconds slower than two years ago. I just saw coolrunning results six hours ago. The results have a Stephen Gendron where I was supposed to be, 10:12 for 12th place. Upon closer look at my bib, his name is scribbled on it. I was given the wrong bib.

**Granite State updated the results**
JOHN CARSON 2 MILE ROAD RACE July 5, 2010 2 Miles Chelmsford, Mass.
Place Div/Tot Div Time Pace Name Ag S Race# City/State
1 1/116 M1929 8:49.85 4:25 Louie Luchini 29 M 1521 Ellsworth ME
2 2/116 M1929 9:16.90 4:39 Jeffrey Veiga 19 M 158 Lowell MA
3 3/116 M1929 9:37.64 4:49 Brian Gagnon 22 M 25 Dracut MA
4 1/141 M3039 9:46.19 4:54 James St Pierre 39 M 1037 Dracut MA
5 4/116 M1929 9:49.62 4:55 Christopher Estrella 19 M 527 Lowell MA
6 5/116 M1929 9:52.80 4:57 David Metzger 24 M 1725 Medford MA
7 6/116 M1929 9:56.07 4:59 Jon Healey 27 M 1700 Chelmsford MA
8 1/225 M4049 10:03.22 5:02 Mike Cooney 48 M 1268 Chelmsford MA
9 7/116 M1929 10:05.83 5:03 Chris Brown 20 M 20 Chelmsford MA
10 2/141 M3039 10:08.51 5:05 Scott Ouellet 31 M 1560 Lowell MA
11 3/141 M3039 10:11.45 5:06 Andrew Wedlake 38 M 852 Westford MA
12 4/141 M3039 10:11.99 5:06 James Pawlicki 35 M 5 Beverly MA
13 1/102 F1929 10:15.54 5:08 Andrea Walkonen 23 F 1548 Boston MA
14 8/116 M1929 10:19.69 5:10 John Doherty 21 M 856 Chelmsford MA
15 1/40 M1718 10:20.86 5:11 Billy Warren 18 M 957 Chelmsford MA
16 2/225 M4049 10:22.39 5:12 Joe Donnelly 42 M 338 Dracut MA

Friday, June 25, 2010

Squantum 5 miler

This is a cool race in terms of scenery, atmosphere, and the location to my work, Boston Scientific. The Squantum 5 mile race course starts and finishes less than a mile from where I spend 40 hours a week. Throughout the course there are glimpses of waterfront views with half the race spent out in the rather hilly neighborhood of Squantum. I would be remiss if I did not thank race director, JJ Larner, here (already thanked him several times last night). He awarded me a complimentary entry as he was seeking to carry a theme – race of champions – if one had won a race recently. I appreciated the fact that JJ wanted to bring in the competition for this race as it had last year. It was part of the New England Runner Pub Series, however, not this year. I got buried in 8th place with a 27:29, my fastest time, yet worst place finish last year.

I could only recognize one runner at the starting line, Andew Holmes from the HFC Striders who spanked me by 13 seconds last year on this course. His teammate, Justin Renz, was on my heels from the start. Andrew was a step or two back as I lead us out of Marina Bay and into Squantum where the view of Boston was about five miles away to our left. I tossed a surge in at the top of the longest hill, maybe 1.5 miles to open a gap on Justin and fought as hard as I could to leave the sound of foot steps. It worked to give me a few second lead into mile two. I recorded no other mile splits aside from mile two (11:13) and never looked at my watch during the race so I ran it blind but on feel. I could feel my pace slow shortly after 3.5 miles heading back into Marina Bay. I looked across and saw Elliot Columb in 2nd trailed by Justin less than 30 seconds back with a half mile to go. I pulled in with a 28:39 for the win.

I scored a Marathon Sports Gift Certificate for win. Harpoon beer, hot dogs, and pasta were available after the race with a live band jamming in the background within the Marina Bay Beach Club. Some co-workers braved threatening thunderstorms and tackled the course themselves. They agreed to come back again. I will too.

10th Annual Squantum 5 Mile Road Race
PLC Time Pace PLC/Group PLC/Sex Bib# Name Town, State
1 28:39 5:44 1 01-39 1 M 553 James Pawlicki Beverly,MA
2 29:03 5:49 2 01-39 2 M 554 Justin Renz Milton,MA
3 29:06 5:49 3 01-39 3 M 422 Elliott Columb Quincy,MA
4 29:42 5:56 4 01-39 4 M 552 Andrew Holmes Quincy,MA

Patriot Ledger story & pictures: Runners head to Marina Bay in Quincy to support Dana Farber Hospital

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mt. Washington 50th Anniversary Road Race

Kristen drove us up to Attitash in the Gti where a large contingent of CMS runners were staying and running a few miles at 1pm on Friday. I got there late so I missed the run but got some quality time shooting the breeze. It was said that there was a bear sighting that interrupted a simple whiffle ball game. I am certain someone will have photos or a movie clip on their blog. Later on, we checked in at the condo that Ken Tripp allowed Kristen and I to crash at. Then Ken drove us to the Eagle Mountain House to get my bib number, 574. I got to catch up with Scott Mason and his new Gti. Shortly thereafter, we headed to the hall adjacent to the EMH for the first four runners to be inducted into the newly formed Hall of Fame. Dave Dunham introduced the first inductee, Bob Hodge, which he was thrilled about. Not too long after that, a team dinner was planned at the Spaghetti Shed where Beth's Lasagna sat before me. Arguments over the plate sizes "2 car garage" vs "shed" ensued. Everyone seemed satisfied with the exception of the meatballs which did not fare well at my table.

Onto the race.....some would say that it was so hot, the soles of their shoes melted before mile 3 was reached. So how hot was it? Ask around. I was already freaking out on my warm up and hit the first 800m of the course. The auto road was roasting and radiating heat, end of story. I lined up several rows back at the line and greeted friends that I have not seen in a while....Peter Maskimow, Patrick Rich & Derek Sawyer to name a few. The cannon went off and I had to keep form to not run over a female elite who was pin-balling around a few steps into the race. I eased in and quickly noticed a pack surrounding Dave Dunham who I knew was going to ace the run (he went on to run 1:12!). I would have loved to join but had to hang back and hold my end of the bargain (what ever that means).

I saw runners walking in the early miles - Chris Mahoney, Mike Quintal, and Henry Scollard. I asked the latter two to keep me company to get them trotting again. They obliged for as long as they could. I trotted on, hunched over, fighting gravity, while my singlet - soaked - hung far away from my chest. I was honestly not in the mood to do this in the heat but I charged on barely lifting my legs up and ahead. My half way split was 35:39. It did not mean much to me but recall being quicker in the past at this point. Teammates Tim Van Orden, Tim Mahoney, and Dave Quintal were not too far ahead. When ever the grade let up just a bit, I would open my stride and make some ground with anyone who I was following. Above the tree line, the air cooled a bit and the light breeze felt so good. It was welcomed.

I had some back and forth with a few gents but most of the race was a blur. One thing that was constant in the 2nd half was Scott Rowe sprinting by only to have me pass him a minute later while he fell back to a walk. He went on to run a good time too and over a minute ahead of me. Bruce Davie was there in the last mile and was holding form. I tried to keep a step on him knowing only a few minutes remained. Bruce and I were not letting up as we began to approach the steepest part of the race, about 40 yards from the finish. Man did that hurt. All I remember is everyone around yelling for him. I must have looked pretty funny staggering into the finish line. We wound up with the same time of 1:15:14. It was his first Mt. Washington. He mentioned that he would like to come back when I interviewed him hours later. That is what I wanted to hear, that the first timers would be back. I also respect those that said this effort was enough for them. If they were sour on their result, I told them to give it some time before deciding if they want to embark on this in 2011.

In summary, I felt privileged to run up in the 50th anniversary of the race with my team who takes this event pretty serious - evident by 26 open men and masters that were registered. The race must turn away almost 1,000 runners so I was pretty lucky to get in even if relying on my mountain goat status (had to run each of the mountain races in 2009) lottery bypass. I finished 49th overall and 4th in my 35-39 age grouping. My time was in between my quickest (1:13:23 in 2004) and slowest (1:16:03 in 2007). Later Saturday night, I went through Kristen's photos and looked at each person she captured. Heads were down, heads were up. Shirts were soaked. Most had smiles and or gave an acknowledgement of their appreciation while they trotted up the mountain. Getting up this mountain is hard.

Finally, I was able to appreciate something in what was my first in three visits to this race - a 360 degree view from the top of Mount Washington. I wish I had my camera. It was certainly worth those few moments to reflect on what I just done and accomplished. As I said before, this is hard stuff.

The first photo above by Kristen shows why my lower back was sore yesterday. I was barely moving where she was set up beyond 3 miles. She took the photo at an angle so it looks like I am going down hill. The 2nd and 3rd photos taken by Scott Mason give some perspective of the climb as I approached 7.4 miles.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Market Square 10K

This is a great event with the Market Square section of Portsmouth, NH closed down for an arts festival. They kick it off with a 10k road race on a fair and honest course. A plethora of Polar singlets came out to represent CMS with aggression led by Kevin Tilton who finished in the money (3rd) with a PR. Bob Wiles came over the bridge from Kittery, Maine to better his time from last year (PR?). Jim Johnson raced very close to his time from last year. Tim Mahoney and I ran in lock step from 400m after the gun keeping each of us honest for over 33 minutes. Tim unleashed a kick that put the finish line spectators in awe. Tim and I faded a bit after 3 miles thus losing ground to Rich Smith who nailed the 5:30 pace we all sought to the tape. I finished up right behind Tim with a 34:18 net time (5:32/mile pace) for 12th place overall. CMS finished as a team in 1st place overall. Abby Mahoney set a 10K PR and Tim Van Orden was 3rd master overall.

However, the bonus of the day was chilling out in Market Square after the race listening to live music and sampling Starbucks under the awning to stay dry while drizzle fell from the overcast sky. Finally the troops to gathered into JJ's XTerra for lunch at Margaritas one exit away off Rt. 95. Chille Rellenos and a few Coronas made the day with great company. Next up is the Mt. Washington Road Race which should be fun.

My splits....
5:26 10:43
5:32 16:16
5:46 22:02
5:29 27:32 5 miles
5:37 33:10
1:09 34:19, 34:18 official, 12th place overall

Photos by Kristen
Complete results

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rhody 5K

Twin River Casino in Lincoln Rhode Island was host of the New England Grand Prix Road Race Championship. A hazy sun bled through a rather high dew point. I ran two easy miles for a warm up with my CMS teamates. Soon enough the gun went off and I took off from about five rows back in the crowd. After a slight hill up to the rotary and down hill to mile 1, I clicked off a 5:17 split and passed Kristen who was taking some photos. I passed new CMS t'mate Sam Wood who was off to a great start. I pushed on and reeled in a few gents en route through a 10:43 2 mile (5:26 mile split). I maintained the pacing but hit the wall a bit as I was starting to tire a few minutes later. Jeff Goupil and Tim Van Orden from CMS were not too far up but I had no chance to catch them. I went through mile three in 16:05 (5:21 mile) and hustled into the finish line for 16:38, 5:22. Current results have me in 40th place but I think a few bib tags did not trigger results for a few. This happened to CMS team manager Al Bernier and New Balance Boston harrier, Ryan Carrera who as of this write up is not in the results.

I feel very good about the effort today and hit my goal of 16:3X and ten seconds quicker than the Dory Run on Memorial Day. My next race will be the Market Square 10K in Portsmouth, NH where I own my fastest 10K times (PR of 33:03 in 1999). I had a solid race there two years ago with a 33:54. I would throw out a Chuck Norris round-house if I broke 34 minutes in 2010.

Photo credits to Kristen who caught me heading to the finish line in the shot above and Scott Mason who captured me getting a step on Robert Jackman of the Tuesday Night Turtles at 2.85 miles.

Photos by Scott Mason & Photos by Kristen

Complete results 2010 Rhody 5K Lincoln, RI

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

North Shore Trail Series

New England Running Company and Montrail are introducing a trail series to the North Shore which kicks off this Saturday at Gordon College. The North Shore Trail Series showcases some of the best trails in the area. I have either run some of these races in the past or frequent the trails that these resources offer. Get out there and support these if you can.

June 5: Kupenda 5K Trail Race
July 17: ECG's Run For The Hills
August 28: ECG's Beverly Commons 8 Mile Trail Run
September 18: ECTA 10 Mile Trail Run
October 17: Ravenswood 4.1 Mile Trail Race
November 6: Stonecat 26.2 Mile Trail Run

Monday, May 31, 2010

Swampscott Dory Run 5K

I won this race in 2007, a few days after running Mt. Wachusett, with a 16:33 effort. Thus, after a two year absence, I wanted to get in a 5K race prior to the Rhody 5K and had this tentative on my radar over the past week. Not feeling 100% did not stop my initiative so I picked up my dad who had some free time and we headed over to Swampscott which is only 15 minutes away. The Dory Run which was once a 5 miler, changed to a 5K in 2000, where Joe Shairs was the 1st winner on the new course. The race has been managed and directed by the North Shore Striders for several years. Gary Freedman is the race director and does a great job. The race pulls in 150-200 runners each year without aggressive marketing. This is a rolling course for the first 1.75 miles and levels out and finishes on a cinder track. The scenery can't be beat over 2nd half of this seacoast event. At one point, you can look out on your left and see Nahant with the sun flickering off the Atlantic Ocean.

I ran the course for a warm up, knocked down a few strides, made a pit stop, and stretched out. I caught up with Brian & Deb Bealieau (teammates at Salem Stage College), Tom Derderian (my coach at Salem State and GBTC), Brian Crane who is coming back from a broken leg, and Doug Chick who was spectating in the minutes leading up to the 10am start. I jumped out with John Ayers immediately for the lead. We both pressed the pace over the rolling hills passing mile one in 5:26. We went back and forth and came upon the longest hill of the course around 1.5 miles. He faded slightly as his breathing and foot steps faded. Another 500 meters down the road, I was passing mile two in 10:49 and did not hear John behind me. The last mile as mentioned before has the best scenery but I was focused on the police car - lead vehicle ahead, and keeping John behind me. I entered the cinder track and opened the stride kicking into the finish line with a 16:48. I drank a cup Gatorade which tasted so good then got one for John who came in right behind me with a 17:15.

I cooled down by doing the course again. I came back to the field just in time to have my name called to pick up a plaque and gift certificate for New Balance sneakers at Athletes Corner in Swampscott. By winning, I will also have my name engraved on a trophy-cup that contains all of the male and female winners over the history of the race. There are some solid names on that list like Craig Fram, W.F. Newhall, Lou Ristaino, and Joe Shairs. In all, I am happy with the effort considering that the legs were not 100%. I am aiming for the 16:30's at Rhody next weekend.

2010 Swamscott Dory Run Results by North Shore Timing Co.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wachusett Mountain

Kristen and I rolled into the Wachusett parking lot about 8:40 in the Gti. I had 50 minutes to grab my number, warm up, and make a pit stop. I ran into Tim Mahoney and Todd Callaghan on the warm up. I have not seen Tim in a while and he’s been racing very well recently. Meanwhile, Todd was so far satisfied with a pair of Nike Lunar Racer's that are usually for the roads and was going to give them a test run on this mix of road and trail today. Not before long, we were getting pre-race instruction from former CMS President Kevin Fallon. At this point, Dave Dunham almost tackled me for a greeting. It is great to see Dave lacing the flats up again and getting into races. We ran the D5K (Danvers weekly fun run) on Wednesday. It will not be long before he is whipping us in the mountain races. The start went off and I casually slid into twentieth place or so about 400m into the immediate climb up to the entrance of the auto road. The course was the same as last year, minus the last .10 of a mile around the duck pond. Mile one passed and I glanced at the watch without any effort to see the split. I carried on into the entrance trailing Ryan Aschbrenner from GBTC. Ryan was tuning up along with Ted Breen who are both racing the Mount Washington Road Race next month.

I caught Ryan at the end of the single track trail heading past the lodge. We began a climb into mile two. Bob Jackman pulled along side and I followed. A left hand turn into Old Indian Trail brought about the steepest part of the trail. Bob did a solid job, keeping a steady effort running up and I focused to stay as close as I could. Mile three passed and I was definitely feeling better at this point this year than last year. I know I went out quicker last year, but this just felt right today. We exited the trail, found pavement and knew the rest of the course was pretty much downhill – almost two miles worth. Only two seconds behind Bob, I told him to “let ‘er fly, it’s all downhill from there.” We would not separate more than a stride all the way down. We exchanged the pacing at least twice. We caught a younger gent on the way down and were reeling in Ross Krause with about 800m to go. Our strides seemed to be all out when Bob found another gear with about 100 yards to go. I had nothing left, finishing three ticks behind him for a 33:14 and 15th place in a very competitive field this year.

CMS folks represented very well with Kevin Tilton, Andy McCarron, Jim Johnson, Tim Van Orden, Tim Mahoney all finishing in the top 12. John Kinnee, Sam Wood, Jeff Goupil, and Bryan Johnston were not too far behind me and ran solid races. My Garmin measured 5.08 miles today. Someone said the course was touted to be 5.2 miles on the application. Either way, I would say everyone enjoyed themselves on a fair mountain course. This was the second race of the USATF-New England Mountain series and I am sure there will be at least 100 mountain goats by the time Ascutney (VT) is finished in July. I missed Northfield Mountain last week so it won’t happen to this guy in 2010.
Post race included some a Polar drink, bagel, and a banana. Scott Mason and I caught up on serious training that was done when he was a young stud ripping up the roads. He was heading up the VCM - Vermont City Marathon after the race to take some photos. Here is a plug for Justin Fyffe who is going to surprise some folks tomorrow.
Big thanks to Wachusett for hosting the race, CMS for organizing the race, Polar Beverages, and Kristen for her company and photos. She took over 150 photos. Scott Mason should have a ton set up as well soon. Looking ahead, I will be running the Rhody 5K, Market Square 10K, and the Mount Washington Road Race in the near future. If I feel good on Monday and have nothing going on, I may jump into the Dory Run 5K with Dennis Floyd.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K

Last Saturday was the third New England Grand Prix championship race for 2010 with a 12K distance to cover in Bedford, NH. In addition, this was my first race since the Merrimac River Trail Run in April. I had expectations to run a pace close to last year at 5:32 per mile. I ran next to teammate Dan Navaroli for the first two miles with a pair of 5:25's. Those were the first and last splits that I would acknowledge on my Garmin. The long incline through mile four left the group I was running with a bit spent. I faded a bit but was carrying a few guys through which was fine. I could see several master runners ahead but I was starting to feel heavy legs around five miles. Terry McNatt flew by me. I got on his heels but that lasted about a minute. I just wanted to get the race over with. I could not wait to see the left hand turn to enter the high school track. The stretch into mile seven seemed to take forever. I battled a Whirlaway runner, Mark Gibson, all the way into the finish. Thanks to him, he kept me motivated over the last mile and a half of the race.

I finished with a 41:54 (5:38 mile pace) good for 50th out of 536 runners, just barely getting on page one of the results. Meanwhile, the team ran out of their minds. Justin Fyffe won his first New England Gran Prix event and crushed the course record. Bob Wiles continued his incredible racing in 5th, trailed by Andy McCarron (yes he just ran the Boston Marathon) in 9th, Kevin Gorman nailed this course like it was no ones business, and Mike Quintal ripped the course a new one to round out the scoring for CMS. Greg Hammett, Al Bernier, Dan Navaroli, Dave Quintal, and Jeff Goupil all had solid races.

The next month is rather busy. I will be at Wachusett Mountain this Saturday followed by the Rhody 5K one week later.
Photo credit to Ted Tyler.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Merrimack River Trail Run

Where do I begin? Dave Dunham and Steve Peterson put on a solid event at the Merrimack River Trail Race. The post race raffle is kept light with "Petey's" enthusiasm and sense of humor. I think half the race went home with a raffle. There were cameras every where during the race. All races should have this type of coverage. I think I saw some highlights on ESPN and NESN later that day. They showed yours truly, clearly out of breath on the first power line climb, cursing Mike Quintal's choice of a Montreal Canadians shirt. Rumor has it that his cousin is Stephane Quintal, a Boston Bruins 1st round draft pick from 1987. Don't watch his movie clip with little kids around.

I traded in the CMS Polar Bear singlet in favor of the Polish Eagle Singlet. Poland was mourning the loss of the Polish President - Lech Kaczynski, and other significant military leaders and politicians who died earlier in the day in a horrific plane crash in Russia. After a three mile warm up with Tom Brown and Dan Scotina, the race of 200 were off for race. I got out quickly, pounced through some mud and settled into third behind Ben and Kevin Tilton about 600 meters into the race. I encouraged Tom Brown to go get after them reminding him that the tough part of the race is the middle four miles. Now in fourth place and hitting some hills, I could not keep Geoff Cunningham off my shoulder. He was relentless on the hills and I tried to offset it with surges on the flats. I stayed in 5th place for the remainder of the race after he passed me sometime before the power lines on the way out. On my way back to the finish beyond the power lines, I peeked back and saw Dave Quintal closing in and Scott Clark not too far back. So much for backing off and trotting back to the finish. I hustled on the flats and stayed honest on the ups and downs. A quick look at the watch with about 200m to go forced me to hustle to the finish line through the mud to secure a sub 1:03 for my second fastest (I need to confirm this) time on the course. I got a 1:02:57 for 5th place.

I did not take any splits other than seeing a 5:00 first mile split. I regret not seeing my turn around time for the day. I was exhausted by four miles in the race but had no choice to hang in there with DQ and SC chasing me in the second half of the course. As I write this on Monday night, I can confirm my legs are more sore today than yesterday. My IT bands and lower hamstrings are screaming. And to think I was going to go race a 5K in Salem on Sunday morning. It is a good thing that Dennis Floyd called me an hour before the race yesterday and talked me into a training run at Lynn Woods instead. I limped through a 6.9 mile run with him and Brett Rickenbach.

Rest and recovery is in order for a few days. I will lick my wounds and seek a race before now and the next New England Grand Prix Road Race Championship, Bedford Rotary 12K in May. The above photo credits go to KrissyK and Scott Mason who caught me hurting even holding back descending the power line hill.

Results CMS runners packed in 8 out of the top 10 spots
KrissyK photos
Scott Mason Photos
More photos, race footage from Mike Quintal, stats, and details.
Merrimack River Trail Race Blog