Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Boston University mini meet #1

This was the first of three mini meets hosted by Boston University. I encourage anyone to run these. There is no pressure. Put down $10 and run your race. That said, I should have stayed home. I seeded myself at 9:20 and ran 9:36, DFL in the heat. No drama, kept last place for all but maybe two laps around the 4:59 mile split. I recall putting in a surge there but to no avail. I had no energy in the last six laps and faded away. I recall 1K splits of 3:07 and 6:15 (yeah the last 1K was ugly). I had a few environmental factors that may have attributed to the dead legs but can’t dwell too much. I still feel like a chump for not meeting my seed time expectation and I looked bad on the oval finishing 10 seconds behind the race. Maybe it’s a good thing the results spelled my last name wrong: Pawlioki.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Epic North Shore Trail Run Gloucester to Beverly

An idea is born.....

I could not wait to show Todd Callaghan the trails that surrounded Beverly as soon as he moved here a year ago. Since I gave him a tour, he scoured more trails and researched a plan suggesting a run from his house to the Cape Ann Brewery via the trail network that parallels along Rt. 128. A run from Beverly to Gloucester? Why not? Afterall, over 100 mountain bike riders converge every October at the Monserrat Train Station in Beverly to ride the trails commencing at Lobstaland in Gloucester. It is referred to as the Big Kahuna. It is not advertised and is a bit of an underground event that you will not hear about unless you are in the right circles. The vision was to go through the following trail networks: Beverly Commons Trails (Witches Woods), Gordon College Woods in Wenham, Manchester Essex Woods (see Cheever Commons Conservation Area), Red Rocks Conservation in Gloucester, and finally Ravenswood in Gloucester. The "Epic North Shore Trail Run" was founded - a proposed twenty mile run with less than six of them on paved roads. The response to embark on this expedition was solid. Jonathan May, Jeffrey Silveira, Sean McDonough, Matthew Fuhrmeister, and Dan Verrington wasted no time accepting the challenge.

Man's it's cold outside......

It's Sunday morning, maybe 25 degrees outside, and the alarm wakes Krissy up at 5:30. I woke up ten minutes before, gathering inventory for the run. I bagged up two six packs of Gatorade, a few bottles of water, a dozen GU packets, assorted gels, and granola bars that would fuel us just beyond the halfway point in Manchester. I bagged up extra shirts for everyone in case they forgot to bring warm clothes for the finish. Otherwise, I had a Chico bag so that everyone could fill up with whatever they needed at the finish. Krissy followed me to Todd's house just before 6:00. Each of us drove up to Gloucester and dropped off two cars. I left some water in the car and a change of clothes. I took the rest of the inventory and the three of us headed back down Rt. 128 to Todd's with a quick detour dropping off the fluids and fuel in Manchester. It was now 6:45 and we were back at Todd's trying not to wake up his wife and daughter upstairs. Everyone started to arrive along with daylight. Ben Strain ran over from his house. My friend, Patrick Taylor (two time Big Kahuna participant) arrived to bike along. We collected outside for a photo and a few words from Todd on the expectations. We left about ten past seven from the sleepy neighborhood to the Sandy Milligan Woods. 40 minutes later, we navigated through the Beverly Commons where Todd, Dan, and Sean raced in August. While running through the trails, we are reminded how close we are to Rt 128, as we hear cars going about their speed limit to our left. Meanwhile, we respect our pacing knowing we are going to be running for 3.5 to 4 hours. The group exits onto Grapevine Road while seeing two deer. I am in the back of our pack of eight so I don't see them until a minute later crossing the street. Ben had to get home so he took a left down Hull Street and we went right into the Gordon College Campus and toward Manchester's Ancient Line trail which I was looking forward to for the first time. 

Getting your money's worth.....

We reached our at the water stop an hour later. I took two GU's and drank a Gatorade. The group was now more than half way through with our sights now toward the Red Rocks Convervation area. We reached Haskell Pond quicker than I expected and now we are running with Rt. 128 on our right and Haskell Pond to our left. The topic of conversation among the group is hiking up north and bagging 4000 ft peaks. We ran into John Gillis who was hoping would run into us. His family dropped him off about 15 minutes earlier. I was pumped to see him as he gave Todd and I a tour of this very area three weeks ago. He took us up to a scenic vista within Red Rocks overlooking the Gloucester Harbor to the right, Annisquam River in the middle, and Cranes Beach to the left. I wished I had a camera. When we climbed down from there, my hips started to tighten up. John had to turn around and head home to Manchester as we reached Rt. 133 where we had a 1.6 mile stretch of road. We took a right into Fernwood Lake for the blue dot trail which got us into Ravenswood. Ravenswood had some tricky footing but it was worth it as we took the Ledge Hill Trail with another scenic vista of Eastern Point and Gloucester Harbor. Soon we left the trails and onto New Salem Road which dumped us out at Stage Fort Park. We ran through there and wrapped up the Epic run at the Cape Ann Brewery. It was awesome to tackle this run with a great bunch of guys. I know several of us never spent that much time on our feet (running) before. After getting into some warm clothing, we heading in for some beverage and food. I was wiped out and was not looking forward to a plane ride with no leg room to Nashville four hours later. Would I do it again? Of course. I am looking forward to this again in the Spring.

Matt downloaded the GPS data here.
Distance: 22.45 miles
Time: 3:41:53
Pace: 9:53 min/mile

Jeffrey Sliveira, Patrick Taylor, Jim Pawlicki, Matt Fuhrmeister, Todd Callaghan, Jonatahan May, Sean McDonough, Ben Strain, Dan Verrington. Photo by Krissy Kozlosky

Sunday, December 4, 2011

2011 Mill Cities Relay

Smiling and asking about the competion ahead
The Mill Cities relay website sums it up best - 27 miles, five legs, two states, and 1 river. The race starts in Nashua and finishes right outside the Claddagh Pub in downtown Lawrence, Massachusetts. Five person teams are compiled with distances that vary from 2.5 to 9.5 miles along the Merrimac River. I was fortunate to get on a coed open team with the Somerville Road Runners. 2011 USATF New England Mountain Series winner, Kath Hardcastle led off the charge at the 8am start in Nashua, traversing 5.4 miles to Hudson, handing off to Andy Schneider. Andy hustled 4.75 miles over the state line and into Tyngsboro handing off to Kevin Guarnotta. Kevin ran 2.5 miles along the Merrimac River into Lowell handing off to me. I covered 9.5 miles through Lowell, Dracut, and into Methuen. I handed off to recent Larissa Park who recently ran a 2:52 marathon in Philadelphia. She wasted no time over the last 4.75 miles, finding her way to Canal Street in Lawrence to help the team finish 1st over in the coed open division.

I went to sleep last night pretty nervous about the relay. I was not too sure how the logistics were going to play out for me. I was worried about getting to the start of my leg, securing warm clothing at the end of my leg, and was uncertain how to get myself to the finish. Fortunately, Todd Callaghan put me at ease this morning in Nashua and let me ride with him as we were running the same leg. Todd and I got to the start of our leg around 8am when the relay started. We were not expecting our teammates to come through our exchange zone until after 9:10. I went out for a warm up with Todd at 8:45. The clouds broke for sun as I put on my yellow SRR singlet. I wore my Nike Lunaracer 2 flats. I walked over to the exchange zone and Kevin came in to hand off the slap band to me. I took off and set my sights on the runners that were about twenty seconds ahead which included Dave Corbett, Jim Rhoades, and Joe O'Leary.

While running through Lowell with the Merrimac River on my right, I recalled memories of my 2010 Bay State Marathon where I had a tough stretch in the last four miles. I ran through the water stop taking Gatorade from Jen Arnott (formerly Jen Lavoie) with whom I went to high school with. It took me a while to catch Chris Spinney who I was tracking down for a bit. I ran beside him for a few strides checking in. He mentioned that he rolled his ankle at 2.5 miles. He hung in there and was seen two hours later icing his ankle. I felt pretty good, still on my toes, with the sun now over my rear right shoulder. The river was flowing in the same direction as the runners. Everything was good.

Larissa Park, Andy Schneider (with the brick), Kath Hardcastle, and I

I peeked at my watch at 40 minutes into my run. Then I saw John Gillis for the third time on my leg - yelling encouragement and offering water. He told me that I was getting closer to Todd Callaghan who was hurting (turned out he had a stitch that haunted him for miles). I was guessing that I had two miles left and tried to close the gap. I passed mile eight and just then realized the leg mile markers where painted in orange all along (duh!). Todd was too far ahead to reel in. I turned left into the industrial park where the exchange point was. I could see someone driving Todd's Subaru Wagon into the parking lot. I came through the exchange to handing off to Larissa. I felt good about the effort (just under 54 minutes - 5:41 / mile pace). Joe O'Leary came in behind me. My relay mates, Kevin and Andy were there so I got an update on how the SRR teams were doing. Our coed open was in 1st place for the division. They offered me a ride to the finish but I passed so that I could find Todd and get my warm clothes and dump my flats for my trainers. I let Todd out of my sights and could not find him for the next 25 minutes. The sun disappeared into the clouds and I started to get cold. I finally found Todd walking with Dave Quintal who ran with Winners Circle. Todd drove us through the last leg and to the finish line where a huge after party awaited at the Claddagh Pub off Canal Street in Lawrence. I sat down to pasta, salad, and bread while catching up with teammates and friends. Our coed team finished first in our division so we got a coveted brick as tribute to the Mill City.