Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ravenswood Trail Race 4.1 miles

I called Todd earlier in the week and made sure that he was going to the Ravenswood Trail Race. He was game. Krissy, Roberta, Todd Callaghan and I arrived an hour before the start in Gloucester, just a 20 minute drive up Rt. 127 from our Beverly domain. Todd was anxious to see the course so we hit the trails as soon as we picked up our bib numbers. I ran the course in 2007 and knew the course so navigating along was easy. I had enough time to change into the New Balance 790's and my CMS singlet five minutes before the race went off. Todd jumped right to the front and I followed. After we crossed the first board walk across the Magnolia swamp, it was clear that he was on his "A" game for trail legs. Meanwhile, I felt some rust while he pulled away. I chicken stepped a few spots and lost ground and sight of him after the first mile. I had some foot steps come upon me after mile two. It was not until after the race that I found out that it was SRR and Tuesday night training partner, Sean McDonough. He has been ripping up the trail series this summer on the North Shore. I never let him get by and the presence woke me up so I surged a few times when footing was appropriate. I was dogging it after mile three, completely wasted on any hills to climb which are frequent but not too long. With 800m to go, I was alerted to some sudden heel pain in my good foot (the other has been a mess with plantar fascia related aches for months) with every foot plant. I thought it was a stress fracture as I finished the race.

Todd crushed the course in 26:50 for the win. I was second in 28:00. Sean closed the gap a bit, just thirteen seconds back. My heel was killing me but the stubborn runner in me tried to ignore it through a cool down with the top five finishers of the race. Gloucester resident, Matt Curran (GLRR) and Dan Verrington (CMS) kept the conversation light while we covered over 80% of the course again. I was delighted to come back to the awards and raffle with some cookies and fudge still left for my appetite. Race director, Jennifer Brooks gave away all sorts of fun prizes such a Christmas Ornaments to a eight pack of YooHoo. Todd picked up some cash for the well deserved win. I got a gift certificate for New England Running Company which I hope to apply toward some new trail shoes in the future.

As the day wore on, I could not put any pressure on my heel. I went the doctor on Monday night and got an x-ray on Tuesday night. I got the call today that I have a "large bone spur" and got referred to a Podiatrist with whom I will visit on Friday. So, it appears that I will be on the shelf for a bit as I consult with Dr. Tobin to determine what I need to do in order to break up the spur in my heel. For all I know, I probably have one in the foot that has been thought to have "plantar" issues over the past few months. I will have to take it one day at a time. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has dealt with bone spurs.

Timex IronMan Splits minus mile four: 6:16, 7:15, 7:03, 7:24 for the last 1.1 miles

2011 Ravenswood Trail Race Results
October 16, 2011 Gloucester, MA
1 26:50 Todd Callaghan      4049M Beverly MA
2 28:00 James Pawlicki       3039M Beverly MA
3 28:12 Sean McDonough   2029M Somerville MA
4 28:45 Dan Verrington       4049M Bradford MA
5 28:50 Matthew Curran     5059M Gloucester MA

Saturday, October 8, 2011

James Earley Invitational 8K XC

Krissy (KrissyK) and I headed out to Westfield State University this morning for the James Early Invitational where I was competing with the Salem State Alumni team. I raced James "Jim" Earley while I was at Salem State. He lost his life in a motorcycle accident heading into his Senior year. This race is the 16th year in a row with funds from the race going toward scholarships in his honor. As usual practice, Westfield State had a competitive Alumni team. Otherwise, there were 30 or so collegiate teams (mostly Division III) along with the Greater Boston Track Club. My goal was to run under 28 minutes. The weather was perfect, maybe the high sixties and sunny. There was a minute scattering of mud in the wilderness loop but it was not going to be a factor so I wore my New Balance 790's. Our Alumni team took a major blow as Dan Smith was not 100% and did not make the trip from Cambridge. He ran 1:07:50 (missed his PR by three seconds) three weeks ago in the Philadelphia Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. Still, we had Mark Dawson, Alex Derosa, John Bowser, and Brian Beaulieau. John, the jester of the group, had us laughing as usual. While we were in our starting box waiting for the official starter to raise his hand and fire the starting gun, he said "we will be waiting for Chistmas!" He was right, the starter took at least a minute to drop the white flag and raise the gun to get the 300 racers going around the soccer fields in this spectator friendly course. I found myself battling for position and trying to stay out of any bottlenecks that occur on the 90 degree turns. At one point, CMS teammate, Tim Mahoney and I had to jump over a bag of soccer balls as the race ran right by a soccer game's sideline. I saw it coming and yelled over to Tim to watch out! The soccer coaches were not too happy with our race on the edge of their game. I put in several surges to move up and get decent position. I got through the mile in 5:22 still surging past college guys. Mile two split with Mark Dawson along side was 5:35, just under 11:00. I got up to Eric Mendoza from GBTC and bolted into the wilderness loop. I held my own through mile three (5:47 split) hanging onto another GBTC runner, Adrian MacDonald, all the way back up to the fields. It was with about 800m remaining that I encouraged him to go after the single file group of 8 runners a few seconds ahead. I was giving him the advice that I wanted to employ, but I was all out already. We kept our positions into the finish line. I got an official time of 27:37.72 with a placing of 33rd. I was the first Alumni from Salem State. Mark Dawson and Alex rolled in behind me. Brian, who is training for the New York City Marathon, and John Bowser wrapped up the scoring for our team. We finished 16th out of 31 teams. Westfield State Alumni crushed us with a 5th place showing. The awesome news for that day was Alex Gomes, a Senior with Salem State, won the meet outright, improving on his 2nd place showing last year. He was seven seconds quicker this year and his nearest competitor was 17 seconds behind him. He is certainly up for some accolades later this fall if he stays healthy.

5:35 10:58
5:47 16:45
10:49 (missed mile 4 split) 27:37

16th Annual James Earley Invitational Cross Country Results, Westfield MA, October 8, 2011
Photos taken by KrissyK

Monday, October 3, 2011

Topsfield Cross Country Festival

It was time to get racing again. Kevin Tilton and I were the only CMS guys to get to this fun cross country race hosted by the Greater Boston Track Club at Bradley Palmer State Park. Pies and cash are awarded to the top teams and individuals. Greater Boston beat out the men's team from HFC - Hurtin' For Certain. No other team had five guys. Thus, pies were given out to the individuals so Kevin and I picked up a pie each which two days later I am proud to say, the Apple Pie (Krissy picked it out) is half gone. As for the race, I went through the mile in 5:32 right where I wanted to be. Over the next three miles of rolling hills, I battled Junyong Pak (GBTC), Mark McDermott (HFC), and Ben Wheatley (GBTC). By the time we got into the last mile, I got spanked on the downhill back to the field that returns the race to the finish line. Mr. Pak and Mr. Wheatly finished very strong. I meanwhile had the form of twisted pretzel (see the photos) in the closing 1000m. I finished 15th overall with a time of 28:27 for the 8K distance. All I have to say is shame on the teams and folks that did not come to support this race. Money and good times were left on the table. Justin Lutz and Nate Jenkins both nearly raced each other to a course record. Justin got the win and missed the record by a few ticks. The rain held off during the race, leaving just a trace of mud returning from Moon Hill to the fields. Only one runner, Lee Danforth - HFC, went down as far as I could tell. My New Balance 790's held up well but admit I hit grass a few times to get out of the mud which we went over twice during the spectator friendly race.

I am off to Westfield State University this coming weekend for the James Early Cross Country Invitational. I am on a rather competitive Salem State Alumni team with the likes of Alex Derosa (Max Potential), Mark Dawson, John Bowser (Max Potential), and Dan Smith (BAA). It should be fun and I aim to break 28 minutes.

Complete results
Photos by KrissyK