Sunday, December 2, 2012

Mill Cities Relay

As the Mill Cities Relay slogan goes, 28.3 miles, 5 legs, 2 states, 1 river. I ran my second relay in consecutive years with SRR Coed Open team. I led off with a 5.4 mile leg from Nashua, handing off to Diona Fulton who was responsible for 4.75 miles before passing the baton to Lexi Abel who would rip through 2.5 miles to the boathouse on the Merrimac River in Lowell where Chris Klucznik would run the 9.5 mile leg to hand off to team captain, Sean McDonough, to take it home with a hilly 4.75 miles to commence at the Claddagh Pub in Lawrence. Our team, SRR - Nuke to a Knife Fight, finished 12th overall and fourth overall in the very competitive Coed Open division. All teams by division are here.

Krissy dropped me off at the Claddagh before 7:00 so I could meet up with my team. Lexi and Chris followed Sean and I up to the start. We were surprised how icy the side roads were upon our approach to the start in Nashua. It was somewhat concerning. Someone joked that they forgot their ice skates. I got sorted in my racing gear and waited in the cold Port-O-John line at 7:35. By the time I got out, I only had 12 minutes to warm up for the 8:00 (sharp!) start. I bumped into Todd Callaghan and we ran five minutes out and turned around to head back to the start. We missed the gun. There was a mild panic followed by hustling to get past and up to the front of the race. It took us a few minutes but we were in the top 25 before we knew it. The footing underneath was not too bad aside from ice on a bridge that lasted about 75 yards. I reeled in one runner at a time and got up into 7th place. I could see Mike Quintal way up ahead leading the SRR open. Todd pulled up on me before 3 miles, with a split of 16:42. We had some back and forth with three guys right in front of us (Whirlaway, GLRR, and ?), maybe 8 seconds up. Mile four went by in 22:17 (5:35) as Todd and I continued the back and forth battle, working hard to keep the pace honest and keep the three gents ahead close. Mile 5 went by in 27:50 (5:32). We had just .4 to go. Soon, Todd asked if the exchange was ahead. I was not familiar with the course so I was feeling it out myself. All I knew was that we were looking for a Sears warehouse.

28.3 miles later from L-R, Jim Pawlicki, Sean McDonough, Lexi Abel, Chris Klucznik
We soon started to see runners turn left so we knew that the exchange had to be in there. Todd got a step ahead into that turn. I used discretion and caution not to slip. We ran into the exchange ready to hand off to our teammates. We both slowed down to a crawl as no one was there to accept the exchange from our outreached arms. I walked through the exchange, looking for Diona on the left, right, straight ahead. I saw at least six other SRR mates. Jeers and booing rang from the spectators with their disapproval. One guy told me to keep going. I turned around, walked back to the beginning of the exchange with the baton strip up above my head. Todd found his partner. Then I saw Diona on the side walking in. She had that look of surprise and "oh @#&%?!" She jetted out of there. I think I then stopped my watch at 30:22, not really sure, it was a blur. That .4 accounted for a 2:32 I guess? Sean was huge. He had my bag of dry clothes right there for me. I changed into them a few minutes later after catching up with Krissy and friend Sandy. Sean collected his car and we drove through that second leg cheering mates along the way. We went ahead to the boat house where Chris was getting ready for Lexi. The studs were ready to take off in this exchange...Pat Moulton (GCS), Joe Navas (WRT), Dmitri Drozdov (SRR), Jake Barnett (SRR open), Jose Ortiz (WRT) just to name a few. While hanging out, I was happy to see Chris Simpson come through for the SRR masters. He's a quick dude and it was awesome to see him on the roads as his forte is with spikes on the oval. Lexi came through to hand off to Chris Klucznik who had the longest leg of the day but one that would include a lot of runners to catch. Sean and I drove to the last exchange so he could get ready. While there, I caught up with Scott McGrath (former CMS, then WRT). One thing of note at the last exchange, the Port-O-John's were not there forcing runners to hit the woods. Anyhow, Chris came through to hand off to Sean.

Todd and I entering the exchange zone. Photo by Roger Perham.
I drove Sean's car to the finish with Chris and Lexi in tow. I gave a yell out the car window to anyone that I knew along the way. Sean brought it home and the team finished 12th overall as mentioned above. The next two hours were spent in the Claddagh for the post race festivities. I devoured the meal like a starved fugitive and caught up with several friends. In particular, I spoke with Mike Pelletier of the North Shore Striders, getting the scoop on the Nahant 30K (I got lucky and won this a few years ago) which will be granted as a USATF New England Grand Prix Championship in the next week. I am excited for the opportunity to have a race in my backyard. Soon, it was time to call it a day at the Mill Cities Relay which in summary is the perfect opportunity to get your club to put several teams out there and have fun. I saw that throughout the event and even more so at the Claddagh Pub where members from all teams are in good company. The event for me closed with a team photo which must have been downright intimidating with all of that black and yellow. As I reflect on my leg today, the one thing that sticks out is how quick it went by. I don't mean the time it took run 5.4 miles. I mean how fast it all went by. It felt like it was over in minutes, not a half an hour. I guess that is a good thing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wild Turkey 5 Mile - Salem

This 5 mile road race is just a ten minute drive from the house in Salem. It has become a tradition on Thanksgiving morning. I picked up my number at New England Running Company last night to ease the congestion as the race was expecting over 1600 runners - a record amount. Krissy and I left at 7am for the 8am start. Upon parking, I saw SRR's Jennifer Rapaport and Diona Fulton so I touched base and offered to show the first and last miles which we did for the warmup. I got back to the car at 7:45. It was in the low 40's with partial sun and some wind from the north. Racing gear consisted of my blue CMS Polar Beverages singlet, fleece DION Snowshoe hat, Dungeon Racing gloves, Craft shorts, Feetures! socks, and Scott racing flats. I ran a few more minutes around the Salem Common and saw my dad at Washington Square ready to watch. I got on the starting line next to my 'ol Salem State teamate, John Bowser and Mark Flaherty who ran at Westfield State. We have been running on Sundays together over the past month in Lynn Woods along with Dennis Floyd and Jay Euzikonis of whom was representing a Brooks table of footwear and also racing today.

Just ahead of Nick after exiting Winter Island
Caleb Evanter (GBTC) shot right out with Max Kulbauch (Philadelphia, PA) who has won this race in the past. I chased down a turkey costume and a cook within 200m. Caleb has been running very well this year. I yelled ahead to David Corbett (Mystic Runners) who did not hear me. I pulled along side and shook his hand for an awesome effort at the Manchester City Marathon a few weeks ago (2:46). He missed his PR by 50 seconds on a tough course. Then a gent flew passed as we ran by Pickering Wharf in home made sandles. It turned out to be Nick Sousa (I did not figure this out until after the finish) with whom I never met before but have seen him tear up the North Shore Racing scene over the past 2 years whenever I see racing results. We went through the mile with 5:22. I recorded the split but did not look or acknowledge it at all, just opened the first mile on feel and instinct. We were in 3rd and 4th place with some head wind toward the long straight away before turning right into Winter Island. I passed Krissy who yelled for me. I had a stride or two on Nick but he did not shake as we toured the park, rounded some cones and exited. I recorded mile 2 with a 10:56 split (5:34) again not looking at my watch or acknowledging how fast I was going. At this point we are running against the race and I got several more cheers. Nick looked over at me and said, "popular guy, eh?" Humble as always, I apoligized!

Striding into the finish line
We got into the neighborhood behind the Salem Willows and we went back and forth, not separating anymore than a stride. I had a step on Nick through mile three, 16:34 (5:37). This time, I looked at my watch to gauge if I was anywhere near the 5:30 pace (27:30) that I hoped to nail today. I felt that I was putting a few seconds on Nick through the Willows (slight tail wind) but he was back on my heels through Deadhorse Beach which exits the Salem Willows. We had a climb and he was back with me beyond the top. I noticed a spectator on the right having a cigarette. We passed mile 4 in 22:15 (5:41) but felt decent to finish this thing up and thought ahead, picturing what would be if it came down to a kick in the closing 200m. I was not too confident as I started to wear down at the Bentley School and I could tell Nick was ready to take charge of this battle. We crossed the last intersection, passing an officer for traffic control. Nick gave me words of encouragement, "let's go, we have 800m to go." I sucked it up and stayed on his heels. Again, he gave words of encouragement with 400m to and I could see our last left hand turn to the finish. He gapped me by two seconds with confidence and I could not match it. He was strong all the way to the line and I was spent. It was a good fight, one of which we ran 98% of the race within a stride or two of eachother. I collected myself after the finish line shute and saw my Salem State college coach, Steve Czarnecki, who was watching his Bishop Fenwick athletes in. He commented to me "not bad for an old guy." I agreed. Nick swung back and handed me a water. To this point, I was embarassed to not know his name and only asked if he was local? He mentioned Salem, and I figured it was Nick Souza as soon as he said that he ran a low 26 time last year on this course.  I took the 4th place and 27:40.2 with pride. Not bad for an old guy......

Wild Turkey 5 Mile
Salem, MA, November 22, 2012
1 CALEB EVANTER MARBLEHEAD MA 34 25 M 1 Top Fin  26:12.8 5:14/M
2 MAX KAULBACH PHILADELPHIA PA 914 23 M 1 20-24    26:43.8 5:21/M
3 NICK SOUSA SALEM MA 1630 29 M 1 25-29                 27:38.3 5:32/M
4 JAMES PAWLICKI LYNN MA 1130 38 M 1 35-39            27:40.2 5:32/M
5 BRYAN MENDES PEABODY MA 352 17 M 1 15-19           28:28.2 5:42/M

Complete results

Two strides behind Nick at the line

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Harold A. King Town Forest Swampscott

While seeking out local trails on google maps (anything with a lack of streets), I could see a good stretch of land with the name of Harold A. King town forest in the upper north west section of Swampscott. This is less than a mile from my house. It is also known as the Oscar Short Conservation land or merely Harold King town forest. It includes 42 acres. I found requests in the WickedLocal site for volunteers for trail maintenance over the past few years and a blog write up from a gent who was visiting each town in MA. Despite a lack of information on the land in terms of maps or friendly entry, I headed out for a mid morning run to explore that area from my doorstep. I got to the official trail head at the end of Nichols Street, a dead end street which dropped down from Windsor Avenue. The sign has been weathered pretty good but you can faintly see the name, Oscar Short Land conservation area. Orange markings on the trees seemed to lead the way. I went in about 200m and it was clear that this was going to be a hike and not conducive to running at the pace I wanted to. I went back there today with Krissy to check out the trail and get some pictures. The trail is marked as you walk counter-clock wise with orange paint on trees or rocks. If you turn around, your in a bit of trouble as the trail is not marked in the clockwise direction and the trail is not obvious. It is clear that this trail is not walked or hiked often due to the amount of down branches, trees, and thorny brush impeding. We came upon an abandoned car from the 1950's in it's own grave about 15 minutes into the hike. The left fender was close by while the hood of the car was up trail about 100 meters. I love to see cars in it's patina state. The stories that the car could tell. I would imagine the car has been there for 40 plus years and entered from the rare fire road that led to the backyard of someone's house 500 meters away up a hill. It had a makeshift fence to keep people out of the secondary backyard that held a shack-like garage with a busted window. The german shepherd from the house 300m away warned me of his presence. In all, it took us about 45 minutes to meander through through the town forest via orange marked trail. I could see just two other entrance ways into this forest but they would certainly require going through someone's yard which I would not advise. We stopped several times to enjoy the scenery and take photos which Krissy has hosted. I would encourage anyone to check this out for a nice hike on little used trails.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012 USATF New England XC Championships

1000m into the race
Photo by Tom Derderian
Stanley Park in Westfield, MA played host to the men's and women's open and masters New England Cross Country Championships. The open race was a rare 8K distance this year as it is usually a 10K. I prefer the 8K anyhow. I am no stranger to the Westfield course as I ran it several times in Division III competition with Salem State College - mostly by means of the MASCAC Championships that brought all of the state schools together. Since then, I have gone back several times each October to compete for the Salem State Alumni team in the James Early Invitational. The team did not compete last month due to missing the entry deadline. Thus this was a great opportunity help the Central Mass Striders fill a team and race. We were fortunate to have five men coming today so that we could score an open (all runners under the age of 40 years old) team. I picked up masters (40 years or older) Joe Shairs, Greg Putnam, and Greg Ward and we were in Westfield in just over 2 hours. I warmed up with three easy miles with the CMS masters team and Scott Mason who planned on taking photos of all races. I showed them and explained the course. To save time, we concentrated on the wilderness loop where I could show them mile 3 and 4. Soon the masters race went off at 11:00. I cheered them on and got my money's worth as they ran their asses off. All seven guys fought for each second. It paid off as they got the bronze - 3rd place out of nine teams. Once the women's race got started at 11:50, I got the open guys going for a warm up to precede our 12:30 start. Again, we previewed the wilderness loop. I got back to the field about 15 minutes before the start of the race. I settled into my Inov8 flats and was soon in our team box on the starting line, next to the five from Whirlaway. 11 teams were represented overall for the massive start.

Closing on the finish line
Photo by Tom Derderian

I got out and stayed composed through the mile which looped around the perimeter of Stanley Park in 5:14. We then dropped into the wilderness for a quick in and out back to the fields to pass mile two in 10:46.93 (5:32). That was the last mile split that I would record as the race dropped back into the wilderness loop that would get me through mile three. This is my "all business loop." I like to press in here and get into a groove. I was in a perfect pack (behind a single file). I matched strides but did not gain on Dan Princic. I got around Steve Dowsett with whom I have had a few battles with in 2012. I saw mile four on the ground. I had to regroup after the climb and rollers that got us back up to Stanley Park. I certainly lost precious seconds in that area. Steve led us out to the field and we kept pace around it. I was looking to let a kick fly but did not want to start too early. I got a step on him on the last turn when someone yelled that I had a chance at 27:30. That was my goal today and I opened up my stride over the last 100m to hit the line in 27:33 (76th out of 107 runners) for the 8K. I was very happy with the time - four seconds quicker than what I ran last October with the Salem State Alumni team. Steve had a good time and was just two seconds behind me. I walked through the finish line shute and gave the bottom of my bib tag to Steve Viatones. I pump fisted a few competitors that I knew, silent acknowledgement for well earned efforts. I walked back to the end of the finish line shute as I traditionally do to see my teammates in. Timothy Mallard, Tim Mahoney were close together. Then Sam Wood came across the line. Just one more to score it out as Thomas Brown wheeled in. The race was in the books. We cooled down out on that wilderness loop again (four times already). I was out there enjoying the company as we discussed our battles on the course. It meant a lot to me to have Central Mass score teams in the open and the masters divisions. My car pool packed the GTI and hit the road for a quick pizza on the way home.

Full Results
Scott Mason Photography

Looking ahead, I will be racing the Wild Turkey 5 mile road race on Thanksgiving Day - looking for another 27:30. I was thinking about the Gabe's Run the next day but I might be asking for a torn achilles. I will do a  leg for the Somerville Road Runners in the Mill Cities Relay and then put the flats back on for the Mount Hood golf course cross country race in December. If all goes well, I will get into a few BU mini meet events in late December and get into oxygen debt on the oval.

Navigating into the wilderness loop around 2.5 miles
Photo by Scott Mason

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stone Tower 15k Lynn Woods

I got smoked on a tough trail race in Lynn Woods today. Rolled with John Dudley and a new face, Greg from Arlington for a few miles. Greg pulled away after three miles and John stayed close. Three trips up Stone Tower, one up Steel Tower, and the steps up Dungeon Rock sum this one up. Tricky footing on the Undercliff trail is still my favorite spot in the woods. Rolled my ankle 46 minutes on flat terrain, a sign of tired legs. I was zapped at that point. Hooted and hollered on my last climb over Stone Tower. Parents grabbed the little ones and dogs ducked away at my scowl which told everyone I wanted it over with. Rolled the same ankle on the backside on the descent. Cursing and swearing to the Stone Tower Gods made me feel better. Just a few minutes remained so it was easy to suck it up. Finish time was 58:57 (2nd place), almost three minutes behind the winner - Greg Fullman (56:03). John was about 30 seconds behind me. Collected the gents for a cool down and photo opportunity at the tower where Krissy tooled her trade, bless her. Photos are on SmugMug. I am beat but well worth the effort. Gift certificate to New England Running Company was a bonus. Raffles galore from Northface brought me a pair of SmartWool socks. Proceeds go to the preservation of the Stone Tower. If you have not been to Lynn Woods, please check it out. It is one of the best kept secrets north of Boston because it is not a state owned park. On a side note, Paul Young and the winner, Greg, measured a covered distance of 8.8 miles. Paul is convinced the course was a turn or two different this year. Photos by Krissy at her KrissyK SmugMug page.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Landmark School Homecoming 5K Beverly

Ben closing as we approach the finish line
I woke up early and took a peek at the coolrunning calendar. I found the Landmark 5K in Beverly Farms appealing for cash prizes. I sent a text over to John Ayers (won it last year) and Ben Strain asking them if they wanted to go. Ben got right back to me and said he was in. Kris, my dad, and I drove up Rt. 128 which beamed with the autumn leaves on a cool morning. I handed over a check in exchange for a tech shirt and bib # 127 which equaled Route 127 for which we would be racing on. I was not familiar with the race course despite running these roads for so many years. I did my warm up on the course based on what I read about earlier and the arrowed signs on the telephone poles at each turn. The side roads in Beverly Farms are very quiet. The course had nine turns in total with a few hills. The last 1000m was flat and fast. I lined up one the starting line next to Ben, boasting his CMS singlet and a tall Western Mass Distance Project guy, Kevin Quadrozzi. Ben and I immediately trailed him 400m into the race. We had to yell ahead to alert him of the first turn on the left as he was on the right sight of the road. Ben and I ran together through mile one in 5:21. Again, we yelled ahead as Kevin was about to miss another turn. It was a good thing we were still close enough for him to hear us alerting him. A few twist and turns later I pulled a few strides ahead of Ben. I clocked through mile two in 10:57 (5:36). Based on the spectator acknowledgement, I could tell Ben was very close in the last 800m. I did not hear his foot steps until we turned into the finish line. Krissy's pictures proved he was charging hard. I held him off by one second and we finished in the money, 2nd (17:10) and 3rd (17:11) overall. Kevin took the win in 16:27. We gathered up shortly thereafter and ran a few easy miles out along the course.

Results and Landmark 5K race photos by Krissy

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jack Kerouac 5K - Lowell

Beside Joe O'Leary with 100m to go
This USATF 5K New England Championship in Lowell was a slightly different course than the Brewery Exchange 5K from a decade ago but the same profile. Up and down the Merrimac River, two bridges, and finish in front of the Brewery. I have my 5K PR here in 1999 (15:47). Today, I was about a minute slower and 13 years older. I was behind Todd Callaghan over the 1st bridge. Then I rolled with Ben Strain (good to see you back racing!) through mile 1 in 5:10. Todd and others were pulling away or I was stepping back. My upper arms were feeling the quick pace. By the time I hit the next bridge to find mile two in 10:41, I was dragging a bit. Even with a downhill into downtown Lowell, I was flat, junk. I rolled past Martin Tighe and Kevin Alliette. Then I got past the Tsongas Arena and the familiar yellow singlet of SRR, Joe O'Leary rolled beside me. It was good to see Joe (also getting ready for Chicago) throwing down here in the Grand Prix. We have had battles going back into the late 90's. He tore me apart in the closing 100m. The finish is downhill, yet, I had no drive. I stopped my watch with a 16:51, good for my fastest 5K for the year. Yeah, that Salem Fest 5K I ran three weeks ago is complete bull crap - short. Yankee Timing got me down for a 16:47 net time and a 16:49 gun time. I stood around beyond the finish and caught up with each CMS finisher I could find and get thier story. I cooled down with them and a path along the Riverwalk which meanders along the river. Joe Shairs recalled and compared the ULowell campus and how it changed from his college days. After getting into dry clothing, I crashed at the Brewery for an hour with the Patriots not exactly giving it to the Bills. Krissy and I watched the 2nd half at my aunts in Methuen. Glad they got their crap together. On the high note of the day, the CMS men's open and masters teams finished in second place in both divisions.

Jack Kerouac 5K results
KrissyK photos

GBTC XC Invitational - Wellesley

This race, hosted by GBTC, changed venues from Topsfield's Bradley Palmer State Park to Wellesley's Elm Bank Park. This place was a decent venue and can see it getting bigger in the future. I drove down and signed up before the race. Parking was about a half mile from the start and finish. All races were delayed by 20-25 minutes from clogged registration for the youth race (from what I heard). I was happy to see Adam Malek and Mike Quintal warming up while I was checking it out with some HFC Striders. Too bad CMS could not score a team of five. Anyhow, the course was a mix of grass fields, double path trails, and wide trail along the Charles River with some areas that required careful foot placement around roots. My Inov8 flats handled all terrain nicely within the 3 loop course. I got out of the start without any harm. The race was single file within 400m. I pushed hard to keep Jason Cakouras (HFC) close after the mile. He was really the only guy that was in my radius from then to the finish the I recognized. I had a flat spot after 3 miles but regained some momentum on the last loop cutting through the rooted trail section. A WMDP guy who turned out to be former CMS runner, Jesse Regnier, blew by with 1000m to go. I was keeping Jason close and knew he had a teamate, Lee Danforth, right behind. I never caught Jason but I did get run down in the last 50m by Lee. I finished right in the middle of the race (23rd out of 47) and scored a decent 8K time of 27:26. Any day in the 27's is a good day. I recall just two small hills up to a soccer field during the course. Other than that, this is a fast and flat xc course that I intend to hit up in the future. Adam finished 3rd overall with a blistering 25:17 while Mike had some issues, but still ran 27 flat.

My splits were as follows on my watch.

5:30    10:46
5:40    16:26
5:27    21:53
5:33    27:27 - 27:26 per AB-MAC timing

Full results

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Salem Fest 5K - Salem, NH

I was looking for a competitive and fast 5K to tune up for the Jack Kerouac 5K at the end of the month. Mike Quintal emailed me late on Friday about this Salem Fest 5K road race. I read the email at 6:30am on Saturday. I checked out prior year results and noted the quick times. It was a 9am start on a Saturday which favors my weekend, allowing me to do work around the house, car, and get a long run on Sunday. I ate some yogurt and a granola bar, packed a race bag, and hit the road just after 7. I had a short 40 minute ride in the Nissan pickup which gave me an opportunity to let it breathe on the highway (first since I bought it last month). CMS teamate, Dan Vassallo showed up as I was filling out the race registration form. I wish I knew he was coming as he lives one town away and we could have car-pooled. We grabbed a map to check out the course. There were quite a few turns (counted 24 of the 90 degree variety) on the course. In addition, there were numbered markers everywhere directing us where to go along the course. There were 30 in total as the course meandered around quiet residential neighborhoods.

Dan took off the the start leaving me in a pack of four which included former winner Patrick Ard, Dan LeBeouf, and Sam Fazioli. I brought them through mile 1 in 5:09. Patrick said that was too fast but proceeded to pull away about a half mile later with Dan and Sam following. I missed mile two but was keeping within a few strides of Sam. I passed Sam in the last mile and noticed that marker 26 was coming up - just four more remained so I tried to pick it up. There was a small gradual hill up Briar Ave where I lost a step or two to Dan but there was no way I was catching him with 150 yards to go. I crossed the line in 16:08 for 4th place overall. I was spent but then imediately started to question the quick time and came to the conlusion that the course was short. I cooled down with the guys and we discussed that Jim Johnson went over this course with a car and bike in 2010 after setting a 14:54 5K PR. He measured it out to be 3.16 miles. Patrick said this course was no different that what he has raced in the past. He would know as he has run it every year. Here is the map. The start and finish were about 15 yards from Main Street. I did the google-pedometer measurement and got 3.15 miles. I guess the effort is going in my log as a legit 5K and my quickest in 2012.

Salem Fest 5K 2012 race results

Salem Fest 5K
Salem, NH September 15, 2012
1 205 Dan Vassallo 27 M PEABODY MA 14:56 4:49
2 207 Patrick Ard 28 M RAYMOND NH 15:44 5:04
3 203 Dan LeBoeuf 35 M SALEM NH    15:57 5:08
4 206 James Pawlicki 37 M LYNN MA   16:08 5:12
5 127 Samuel Fazioli 20 M SALEM NH   16:12 5:13

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Marcia Lemkin 5K Lowell

Krissy has been training our neighbor and close friend, Sandy Armstrong, to run her first 5K road race. Thus, they targeted this race back in June. As for some background on the race, Marcia Lemkin died of lung cancer and never smoked a day in her life. She was an avid runner and mother of North Shore Strider and friend, Melissa Behl. There is a foundation in Marcia's name - Marcia Lemkin Lung Cancer Foundation. The Greater Lowell Road Runners assist putting the race on and had a new course this year. It started in front of Lowell High School and finished outside the Tsongas Center. I warmed up on the course to see the first and last miles along the Merrimac River. I felt OK considering I spent most of yesterday in the backyard doing yard work (tree and brush removal) and not running one step since the Danvers 5K on Wednesday (17:29, 2nd, behind Junyong Pak who ran 17:09).

Not ten strides into the race did I feel my right shoe (Scott racing flat) loosen up (untied). It was double tied but still came unraveled. I never checked the shoes out before hitting the starting line. Having a shoe come untied was a first. I put my right hand directional on and safely got to the sidewalk. As soon as I finished tying the shoe and double knotting it, I was 24 seconds in to the race. I kept composure and got back up to the front of the race in a few minutes. I moved into second place. Ben Ndaya was in command and not going to be caught. Festus Mbuva kept stride for a few minutes. I went through mile one in 5:34. Ben stretched his lead while I no longer heard any steps behind me. I passed mile mile 2 in 11:14 (5:40). I ran past mile 25 of the Bay State Marathon course (memories of calf and hamstring cramps two years ago). By the time I got to the bridge, Ben had the whole length of it ahead of me. I was trying to just keep within a minute of him. Once on the other side of the bridge, the course meandered back down to the walkway along the river back to the opening 3/4 of a mile. I charged up the last incline past the Tsongas Center to the finish line (2nd overall) in 17:09. I placed second for the Shedd Park Fisfits team which finished first overall in the team competition. Ben ran 16:22 for 1st and Festus ran 17:59 for 4th.

I ran back into the race to cheer on Krissy and Sandy. The were looking good. I let them pass me and I ran back to the finish area, parallel to the course. I caught them and managed to get Sandy's iPhone from her while she was running, ran ahead while she had 100m left, and took a few photos of the girls. They ran 39:34. Sandy is looking forward to another race so now she has a time to beat. I chilled out at the post race festivities back at Lowell High. I caught up with Ben Ndaya and Festus Mbuva. Ben is training for at least two fall marathons. Festus admitted that he needs to get more training to support the shorter races that he prefers. Keep an eye out for race photos on the GLRR facebook page on Tuesday.

10th Annual Marcia Lemkin 5K road race results
Lowell, MA, August 26, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Intervals - looking back on the outdoor oval

Track intervals once a week are usually a staple in my training. Life has been complicated with plenty of excuses, traffic, injuries, and distractions to keep me away from running circles. I have found a steady group and consistency by doing intervals on the track with the Somerville Road Runners under the guidance of Joe O'Leary a few years ago. Tonight, I ran 5 X 1 mile (actually 1600m) with a 60 second rest in between each at Tufts University. I started running the miles at Threshold pace but picked up the pace for the last three intervals. My splits are below.

5:52, 5:42, 5:34, 5:28, 5:27

It got me thinking about the Tuesday night intervals that I have embarked on since the late 1990's. Intervals under Tom Derderian and the Greater Boston Track Club at MIT were routine from tail end of my college years (1996/1997) until the fall of 2003. When I started running with CMS in 2004, regular track intervals became inconsistent during the summer. However, we had a small group (mostly with Joe Shairs) that would do some intervals at Beverly High and then to a larger group (dare I say critical mass) at Gordon College. Our group, mostly CMS folks, were self coached and everyone was of similar fitness. I was curious so I picked up the oldest running log that I could find in my office at home - 2006 (I have some from college in a box somewhere). I opened up to August 8. I ran 4 X 1 mile (1600m) at Gordon College with 800m rest. My splits are below.

5:17, 5:18, 5:20, 5:12

My notes indicated that the group was looking to run 5:20's. Patrick Rich, Ben Strain, Dan Verrington, and Joe Shairs were the band of brothers on the oval that night six years ago. No doubt, our warm up and cool down were to cross the street and loop through the quad and around the pond and back. It is only fitting that Patrick is now the Gordon College head coach for all running programs. Some day, I want to go back to a running log from 1997. I am certain that I had mile repeat workouts with each mile under five minutes. Ah, those were the days......

Monday, August 6, 2012

Beverly Homecoming 5K

In flight with 1000m to go.
Photo by Roger Perham
I could not resist going back to my former home town race that starts and finishes at Lynch Park. I left work early to give me extra time to haul up to Beverly. Krissy got there before me so she picked up my bib number and race t-shirt (simple design without a huge screen on the front). I warmed up with Jonathan May (SRR) and John Ayers. It was a typical warm August evening. I got out with a very quick start and found my self seeking oxygen earlier than normal. My 5:10 split at the mile, next to Jonathan May, summed up my point. The leader, Jordan Kinley, had a Craft/Karhu singlet on and looked legit. He was all business and certainly sub five at the mile. He would continue to average fives all the way to the finish line. Meanwhile, Jonathan dropped me after seven minutes. I was toast. By the time I hit the hill before mile two, I had no fight left. Mile two passed  in 10:52 and the oxygen deprived math for that second mile made me mentally sour. I just tried to keep steady in the last mile and not let any more pavement get between Jonathan and I. I kept track of the spectator cheering for those behind me - fearing that I was getting reeled in. The results showed several hungry runners not too far behind in the end. I wrapped up my race with a 16:52, 5:26 average pace per mile, good for my quickest 5K of the year (shaving three ticks off the 16:55 run at the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl a few weeks ago). It was nice to run on Beverly soil again. My dad was on hand to watch and I also ran into my high school x/c coach, Dave Jellerson. Sean Dunleavy, a training partner from the ol' days ran the race again, reminding everyone that he is still running a bit while coaching the high school kids. I caught up with Matt Curran and Lacey Alves on a cool down jaunt over the course. Full results of the Beverly Homecoming 5K

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Carver Cranberry 5 mile Road Race

Ten minutes before the race was going to start, Joe Shairs said the car was locked. Our racing flats and singlets were in the car, locked. Krissy had the keys and was out on the course setting up to take photos. I was OK because I thankfully had a pair of Scott flats that I warmed up with. However, knowing that Joe had his trainers on, really bummed me out. I ran over to the Scott tent display and asked if he had any inventory, size 8? He had nothing for inventory. I found Al Bernier a few minutes later hoping he had some gear in his ride. No dice. He just gave a size 8 Scott flat to Adam Malek. However, they were in Adam's car behind the school - too far and too late to go flag them down for Joe. I informed a few CMS masters what was going on just to clue them in and step it up in the race in case the trainers cost Joe time. It is a mental wrecking ball when your pre-race routine is messed up along with reduced confidence of extra ounces on your feet. I was embarrassed as it was my car, my keys, and my fault. I left the car unlocked on our arrival, but I think the car locked the doors when I put some gear in the hatch.
Steps away from the line at the Carver Cranberry 5 mile race
Photo by KrissyK
I set up shop in row two after Dan Verrington refused to move up. I got a good clean start in the massive crowd. I found myself behind Kevin Gorman and eventually moved up next to him. He ribbed me about the lack of a shirt. I threw my arms up in the air, as if attempting to explain but I did not want to waste any breath on it. I saw Joe ahead of me doing his thing but I could tell he was frustrated with his footwear. I saw Krissy on the side of the road taking photos. The ass that I am - made a comment about the locked car. I ruined her day with the comment as we caught up later. Again, I was angry, mad, and embarrassed at the situation. I am now beyond the mile and I am wheeling along so I accepted it as I pulled up on Joe who was struggling and I knew why. I told him to forget it and get his butt going - let it go. He fell behind a bit as I went after Dan Verrington. I am feeling good until 3.5 miles when Dave Dunham and Joe ease on by. I am very happy to see this occur, meaning Joe is back in the race physically and mentally. Dave looks good and in charge. I roll on his heels for a bit and KG is there too. Dave and Joe are hunting Greg Putnam down. Shortly after four miles has a little down and up (only hill on this course). Stick a fork in me. I am all done coming up into the shady stretch to the finish. The clock still had 27 on it. I could not make out the last two digits as the crowd was in the way. I finally catch all numbers when I cross the line and see a mid-27. I was very happy for several reasons. 27:31 was the official time in 65th out of 586 finishers. My goal, as I wrote Dave Dunham earlier in the week, was to run a sub 28. He wanted to get a masters PR - sub 27:49 and he crushed it. Joe ran a solid 27:21, just a step ahead of Dave. I felt so much better now and pretty much was able to laugh about what happened 40 minutes earlier.

The CMS men's open (3rd) and masters teams (2nd) ran very well. Several ran solid races and I could see that most were happy with their efforts. I had a nice cool down with the guys and finally settled down to some chips and salsa with Krissy, Greg Ward, Greg Putnam, and Joe. I am signed up for the Beverly Homecoming 5K for Thursday. I am shooting for another sub-17. I had my best race of 2011 there with an awesome battle with Jonathan May, Ben Strain, and Todd Callaghan. Todd is in the best shape of his life right now (PR'd at Carver) so we'll see what happens. I predict another PR for him. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

I am a Marathon Runner. I am injured.

If you have five minutes, check this out. It is pretty funny yet scary that I can relate to most of it. I am sure some of you can too. Raise of hands?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K Boston

This race has been a long time 5 mile distance. The L Street Running Club had to cut it down to 5K as they could not secure BC High or the far end of the former Bay Side Expo Center for the race HQ. Although the five mile distance is my favorite, I will take a 5K on a mid summer evening. The weather was decent but still an 80 degree night. The race takes off and I get a good start from the 2nd row, holding the right hand side of the road. The race is getting a head wind out past Carson Beach. I hold my own through 1 mile in 5:22 solo, not caring to draft. We pass the L Street bath house on the right and a water stop which I decline. At the turn around (half way point), master Mark Mayall is a step in the lead. I yell for him as he is the only guy I know as the top seven guys come at me. I do my 180 degree turn around the cone and head back toward Dorchester. I feel pretty good and keep fighting. Mile 2 gives a split of 10:41 (5:18 mile) and I am bound to crack my goal of 17 minutes. I labor a bit but have one guy in striking distance with 1000m to go. I try to hold form, pass mile three with a time around 16:22. I sprint for that guy in front of me and barely catch him at the line. We both get the same time: 16:55 (5:27/mile pace). I grabbed a gatorade and a chocolate chip cookie right away and headed out for a solo cool down over to the JFK Library and UMass Boston Campus - about a 3.5 mile run in total. I came back to the post race food and expo. I grabbed a B Good burger. I chilled out at the Level Renner tent and had some good laughs with Kevin Gorman and EJN. I also caught up with Tim Pipp. He is alive and well, just working too many hours. Interview with EJN from the drivers seat of the Kevin Gorman family wagon to follow......

Greenbelt's Run for the Hills Trail 10K Hamilton

I warmed up with the SRR crew to get a feel for the terrain as this was my first time at this race. One lap/loop for the 5K, and twice for the 10K which I signed up for. Deer flies were in abundance but they were kept at bay during the race. I caught a glance of CMS'r Chris Mahoney before the race. It was good to see him racing again. I settled in behind Michael Paulin (Wicked Running Club) and Chris Mahoney about 800m into the race. There were a few ups and downs to work out. Some downs had some mud - where I usually run through with no worries. Yet, 1.5 miles in, for the first time for me, I lose a shoe in said mud. $%#!@? I run back for it as SRR's Sean McDonough and Jon May fly at me and past. Jon was willing to wait but I told him to get back into the race. He did. A few other guys zipped past on the trail while I am fighting to get my right shoe back on. It is harder than it looks. I may have lost 45 seconds. I roll past Wes Lassen and David Long. I did not panic but it was clear I lost sight of the front pack for good. I laugh as the sole on the other shoe ripped half way off and is flapping in the air with each stride - slapping my right calf in the process. The guys behind me must have been laughing their ass off with my technical difficulties. I continue on with no sense of urgency, really flat and beat from losing the pack. I wait until the half way point of the course at Pingree to stop. I see Chris Smith taking off into the 2nd loop which catches my amusement with hope to reel him in - anything for motivation. I throw a water down, laugh with the volunteers, and rip the sole off my shoe and left it at the park bench to the statement of "this is for the hall of shame." I set off for the 2nd loop, same as the first but much tougher. I chase but fail to see Chris. There are so few straight sections on the trail that it is hard to see if your in touch with anyone further than 150m ahead. The 2nd pass on this loop was tough. I wondered how the front line guys were shaking out. I slogged through to wrap up this mess. Then I see Chris up ahead with about 1000m to go. I woke up and sprinted after him. I passed him about 200m from the finish and encouraged him to come along but he was zapped. I came in 5th place, 40:09. Full results. Chris Mahoney came in 1st, followed by Sean McDonough, Jon May, and Michael Paulin (his first trail race). Chris was six seconds behind me. My two loops were pretty close to each other in terms of time. 20:13 for loop one (includes time for fighting with lost shoe and water stop at 1/2 way), 19:56 for loop 2. After the folks got their awards, SRR's Diona Fulton (1st place female - just a week removed from top female honors on a tough Vermont trail Marathon), Jon, Sean, and I headed out for a cool down over to Appleton Farms. I show off a few loops and proceed to get us all turned around, tired, thirsty, hungry, and exhausted. We finally find a driveway back out to Highland Ave. We ran over 65 minutes for a cool down. Hey, it's all about the journey, right? Many photos taken by Roger Perham.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

SRR 26.2 mile relay, Squantum 5 mile, John Carson 2 mile

A few weeks ago, I ran a mile leg for the Somerville Road Runners "Lions" team in the Marathon Relay at Tufts University. I had leg # 13 of 26. Each person runs one mile before handing off to another. I ran some warm up laps with Mike Quintal who ran for another SRR team. Elizabeth Jackson was handing the baton off to me so I got ready and stretched out while she ran her four laps around the Tufts outdoor track. I got the baton and focused on not going out too quick for the first of four laps. I glanced a :75 at 400m so that was good. 2:30 at the half way point. I pretty much duplicated that in the 2nd 800m to stop my watch at 5:00 for four laps (just shy of a mile). The team could not overcome a strong showing by the Cambridge Running Club who in the process, broke the SRR and event record by 90 seconds, while winning it overall. My SRR Lions team combined for a 2:22:52. Team Results

This past Thursday was the Squantum 5 mile road race. This race is held about a mile from my Boston Scientific office in Marina Bay. I run along most of the course during the week. The area is very quiet, limited traffic, plenty of scenic ocean views, and a Boston Skyline to remind you that your just a few miles away from town. I did not have a watch so I was running the race on feel. I did not see anyone on the starting line that I felt would take the race out too hard but you never know. Once the race started, no one took command, so I did and never looked back. I got clipped on the heels once in the first mile to an apologetic runner. Once I started the climb up Bellvue Ave, the sound of foot steps and breathing trailing me were gone. I hammered the next mile and cruised though 3.5 miles before glancing back to see a cushion. I ran hard to keep up with the pace bike on the paths of Squantum Point Park and to the finish for a time of 28:52, 1st place. This was my first win of 2012. I picked up a Marathon Sports gift certificate for the effort. I chilled out after the race for pasta, hot dogs, and salad. I chatted with John Goodwin (50+) who was a 14:20 5K stud at Boston State under the Bill Squires coached era. It was nice to run into him and encouraged him to get to the next few New England Grand Prix Road Races. Results

Lastly, I ran the John Carson 2 mile road race this morning in Chelmsford. I have some history here. I am too lazy to look up the results but know that I have a sub 10:00 there in the first year that I ran it. I was booking for a 10:18 today or ten twenty something if I was off. I brought my dad who likes to walk the two plus miles to the finish line and wait for me to finish. Then he grabs a water and walks back to the start after I finish the race. I missed my planned warm up with Mike Quintal, Dave Dunham, and Dan Verrington at 8:40am. I warmed up alone until I ran into Eric Beauchesne. On the way back to the start, I ran into friend, Dave Menard, and then into the CMS amigos (Mike, Dave, and Dan).

Closing on the finish at the John Carson 2 mile
with Jen Donovan and Dave Dunham. Photo by Gianina Lindsey.
I really did not get a good spot at the starting line, opting and accepting a 5th row vantage behind Dan Verrington. Typically, Dan would not make a good lead fullback but I dealt with it and did not feel like elbowing my way up the sweaty crowd. Dave Dunham took the smart route and owned a spot on the precious front line. So be it. Gun is off and miraculously, I got off without a trip, fall, or any eblow to the chops. It seems like everyone and their brother sprint out at this race and today was no different. Once I got 800m in, I found my rhythm and went to work passing, slowly, a few ambitious runners. I saw Jen Donovan ahead and Dave Dunham ahead of her. Mile one was 5:17 and I did not panic.  I was working it but wanted to now get under 10:30. I passed Paul Hammond and Eric Beachesne over the next 800m. Once I got to the 495 overpass, I focused on getting after Dave Dunham who was battling Jen Donovan (1st place female). As I caught up to them on the incline, they were two wide and we had 200m left. I did not want to spook Dave so I gave him a fullback push to the lower back to both encourage him to start hustling away from Jen and to alert him of my presence. I split the two judiciously and went ahead and up the rest of the incline, right hand turn to the finish. I saw the clock at 10:28 when I passed it. I got a 10:30. I grabbed a "top 100 Sullivan Farms" t-shirt. I gave it to Dave Menard who was bummed out that he did not get one. I placed 31st overall which may be my worst placing here. I ran a few ticks faster in the second mile but I had to earn it. Results

The rest of July is busy for races with at least one race per week. The trend has been just that - at least a race per week since the end of May. I like where I am at with the racing and frequency. I am back to the SRR workouts which I really need. Also on the agenda is getting back into some long runs with perhaps an attempt at a fall marathon but it is too early to say.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kupenda 5 mile trail race - Wenham

I hit up the Kupenda 5 mile trail at Gordon College in Wenham on Saturday. It was race number two of the North Shore Trail Series. I jumped into the lead in the first mile shortly after we hit dirt. Dmitry Drozdov, Jonathan May, and Sean McDonough were in the mix. The lead felt comfortable through mile 1 and 2. My legs were light, quick, and hitting the terrain and hills with authority. Dmitry went by and I trailed him onto the quad (half way mark). It was just a matter of time before he took command. I stayed on his heels until my wheels fell off in the second trail loop around 3.5 miles. He floated to the finish for the win (28:06) and I held 2nd place (28:31). Jonathan followed with 28:57. Full results. I picked up a gift certificate for New England Running Company. Rumor has it that they have Inov8 on the shelf now and I could use some new treads. Roger Perham took over 300 photos

After a nice workout last night with SRR, the plan is to rest up and hit the track for a mile leg in the 26 X 1 mile relay at Tufts on Saturday. I am not looking to repeat any episodes of hamstring issues. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Newton 10K

Today was nice to venture over to a new race that I have never done before. The Newton 10K played host to the USATF New England Championship of which was race number four of seven. I warmed up with the CMS masters team over the first and last miles. They drove the course earlier so I got clued in on what to expect - rolling hills, generous descent in the later miles, and more shade than sun exposure. I set up shop four rows from the starting line behind the ladies. The weather was warm and recalled a very light wind on the warm up. The starting line announcer puzzled the actual take off as some runners stumbled out while others bolted off the line with confidence. Either way, I followed the ladies off the line and had a clear line up the left hand side of the road until the race exited the park and onto the residential roads. I used the opening miles to reel in some women and the CMS teammates. I encouraged each while I went by (Dave Quintal, Martin Tighe, and Sam Wood). Then I set my sights on the women's leader, Brett Ely from the BAA. I passed her after 3 miles. From that point on, I put effort into opening the stride down each hill. Each time I was really feeling like crap, I would hit another downhill and fly down. Sean McDonough (SRR) and I worked together into 5 miles, 28:36, about ten seconds quicker than my 5 mile split at the Bedford 12K three weeks ago. I took a cup of water there and dumped it over my head. The last mile was a matter of survival. I wanted to make sure to hold my distance from the top woman (which I did). I was trying to chase down two guys in front of me with 400m to go but they held the same pace I had right to the finish line. I was exhausted, knew that I gave everything I had today for the 35:22.3 chip time (5:42 mile pace) and 57th place on page two of the results.

My splits while missing mile 6:

5:47 11:24.94
5:48 17:12.99
5:47 23:00.46
5:36 28:36.83
6:48 35:25.57
Official Chip Time: 35:22.3

Closing in past mile 6 at the Newton 10K. Photo by KrissyK

Kristen took some great photos. I wish I had more room to display them here. The photos show how the last 400m were to shake out for some. It proved that there was some jockeying all the way to the finish line. I ran a short cool down with the CMS teammates and caught up with their races. That followed with some vendor offerings at the post race swag like Coconut Water to refresh before the ride home. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Kennebunk Beach Classic 5K

Joe Shairs and I invaded the Villange of Kennebunk, ME for an advertised "blazing fast 5K course" on the ocean." It was pretty wet (pelting drizzle) and windy which consumed our 80 minute drive north. There must have been over two dozen appreciative surfers catching 20 footers. There were plenty of fast guys on the starting line due to cash prizes for the top three. My money was on Robet Gomez for the win (which he nailed). A crowd of eight hammered the slightly downhill opening 400m. I trailed Joe by six strides through the first mile in 5:19. I was breathing pretty hard and must have sounded like a chump who went out too fast but this is a race. The race had a generous tail wind once we hit the beach (1.2 miles?). I got passed by one runner (Aaron Chelate) along this area who ended up passing Joe in the last .10 of the race. I missed the 2nd mile split but found myself in a battle with Jenna Boren - who caught me around 1.75 miles. Jenna is a 2008 / 2012 US Olympic Marathon trials qualifier from MN.

This next mile was the toughest with gently rolling hills. I was determined to not let Jenna get away so I kept on her heels coupled with some back and forth over the next few minutes. I got ahead of her on a up and down and kept that distance over the last 800m into the finish for 9th place and a time of 17:11 (a few seconds quicker than my 5K last week). The goal of sub-17 eluded me again. Joe finished in 8th place with a time of 16:57, 1st master (40+). A quick peek at the "rare" age graded results showed that Joe Shairs nailed 1st place (excluding the top three overall males). His age graded effort is the equivalent of a 15:32. Take that Kennebunk!

Kennebunk Classic 5K race results June 3, 2012

It was great to see Cathy Dunham and family (Dave Dunham was taking on Pack Monadnock) before the start. Joe and I cooled down on the course and replayed our battles. We made our way down the road for French Toast (can't say I would recommend it) at All Day Breakfast on Rt 9. At least the coffee was decent. Overall, it was a good morning despite the weather and tight race headquarters at the Senior Center which were not inviting for indoor housing for pre or post race.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dory Run 5K, Swampscott

Foot prints in cinder to run away from Dan.
Photo by Kristen Kozlosky and her iPhone
I tried to drum up interest to get some bodies over to the Dory Run in Swampscott all weekend. The race is about three miles from my house. My goal was to break 17 flat and would need the company to do so. Dan Verrington gave word that he was going to the race. Ben Strain (Dory Run champ last year) pushed a baby stroller on Saturday at 6:30 pace and was not sure if he'd recover for Monday. Joe Shairs had no interest in the course (yeah it has a few hills) and John Ayers was unavailable. My friend, Patrick Taylor, was game for a 5K. He manages to run sub 7:00 mile pace in a 5K with zero training. Krissy's running club, North Shore Striders were hosting the race so she volunteered to help out. Patrick, Krissy, and I got to the race an hour before it started. The race is a bargain at a twenty spot at race day registration. I warmed up on the course with Dan Verrington and lined up at the starting line on Humphries Street in the welcomed shade. I was glad to see Ben on the starting line, knowing he'd set the pace. He took command in the first 400m. He pulled Dan and I along. I clocked in at 5:31 through mile 1 in third place. Along for the ride was a youngster who matched Ben stride for stride. He dropped Ben shortly after said mile. I managed to get by Ben before 2 miles but had no chance to catch the kid ahead who now had a 10 second lead. Dan caught me with about 1K to go. His company was appreciated as we pushed together down Humphries Street and into the right hand turn onto the cinder, square shaped track. I managed to gain a few strides ahead of Dan to finish second overall with a time of 17:14. The kid ahead ran 17 flat. Ben rolled in at 17:33 while Patrick ran sub sevens to run his 2nd fastest 5K. I picked up a North Face gift certificate at the awards. On my way back to the car, I caught up with the winner, Matt Mahoney, a sophmore at Swampscott High. He ran a 9:59 two mile at a state meet the previous weekend to end his spring track season. His preference is for cross country and aims to hit up a few races at Lynn Woods this summer. I hope to have a few more battles with him.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bedford Rotary 12K

20 yards from the finish line at the Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K road race.
Photo by KrissyK
It was time to lace up the road flats again for a CMS team race. Bedford, NH played host for the 12K Grand Prix Championship. I really appreciate the team races for the competition and to see friends and CMS teammates. I was looking forward to the race as the goal was to run under 5:45 per mile pace. I went through mile one in 5:32 and felt good. I made some moves to catch up with CMS 'mate Sam Wood and former CMS' mate Scott McGrath who sports the Whirlaway singlet now before mile two. Scott dropped out around mile three, walking back toward me when Sam convinced him to get back into the race. Scott ended up beating me by a minute. After the climb through four miles, I was battling Paul Doe, a senior. Mile 5 passed in 28:46 while Paul got some strides ahead. I was looking for more downhills to get back up to him but not much happened until Joe O'Leary (SRR) wheeled up on me before mile six. I decided to suck it up get back to racing and hung on to Joe, even got a surge around him leading him through seven miles. He passed me going up the left hand turn into the track area. I was wiped out but managed to stay close enough to catch Brian Allen (WRT) on the final 60 yards and one spot behind Joe. I placed 65th overall, 43:13, and a 5:48 pace. I felt good about how I finished because I was in tough shape at 5 miles. The CMS teams ran well with both the open and masters picking up wins. Several guys were stoked with their effort. It was great to hear the chatter while I enjoyed a popsicle beyond the finish line. Only then did I realize it was a warm day. I ran a slow cool down with Kevin Gorman and Kevin Tilton. I broke bread in the cafe in the school for decent Lasagna and beyond decent Tomato Basil soup from Carrabas. Two helpings of each hit the spot. Conversation over what races to compete in over the coming Memorial Day weekend filled the air. There are many options. Krissy took several awesome photos. I liked this one because she caught me in rare form - a decent looking stride - only because I shook my ugly form (body twisting) focusing on reaching that finish line.

Complete results

Monday, April 16, 2012

Boston Marathon blur

A smile for Kristen 400m from the finish line at the Boston Marathon
In summary, I crossed the line in 3:14:10 - a personal worst by almost 30 minutes. Today was a brutal day for everyone. Congrats to everyone who finished. I was tempted to walk off the course at 30K. However, I had Krissy and my father at the finish line expecting me to finish in what I predicted around 3 hours. The last eight miles were a blur. I checked the results and saw names that I recognize, and had no idea they passed me. Calf and hamstring cramps cropped up earlier than ever for me in a marathon. I hit up each water stop for Gatorade or water. I saw a temperature reading of 85 degrees just outside Cleveland Circle. Good times, eh? I took four GU's (one handed off by Kevin Gorman at 19), a Gel from the Gatorade stop at 17, and a half banana from a spectator (I tossed the other half right back to her to share with another desperate runner). In the end, I was grateful to reach the finish line, no matter how much time it took. I had some serious doubts that I would reach it today.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Recovery Run 5K

Kristen and I have been reading about this race in the Lynn Item newspaper. In addition, I felt it would be a good idea to support a local race as it seems that Lynn does not have too many road races. I missed out on the Great Stew Chase 15K last month. I was pleased to see friends Solomon Tsegai, Doug Chick, and Jason Euzikonis at registration. Jay, was representing Brooks and was showing off the 2012 running shoe lineup at a table. Doug and I went out for a 10 minute warm up before lining up for the National Anthem. Mark Mayall from New Balance Boston jumped right out  right out with Nick Sousa and a high school kid. I was all alone watching the three climb up Tower Hill which took some effort. Mark took a commanding lead that he would not give up. I managed to catch the high school kid shortly after the mile where I had a 5:25 mile split. Nick was so far ahead so I tried to keep the legs turning over and keep anyone from catching me over the rest of the course which was pretty flat. I rolled into the finish line in 3rd place, 1st Lynn resident, in 17:17. Mark took the win in 16:17 and Nick ran 16:38 which was his second race of the morning. He won the Olde Salem Greens cross country race earlier edging out Mike Quintal and Dave Dunham! I did a cool down with Solomon and came back to a very long line for the food inside the Hibernian Club. The whole place was buzzing with a good vibe of food, drink, raffles and awards.

St. Patrick's Day Recovery 5K Run results - Lynn, MA March 25, 2012
Race photos by KrissyK
Lynn shows its Irish Pride at Hibernians 5K

New Bedford Half Marathon

Finishing up at the New Bedford Half Marathon
With my entry into the Boston Marathon next month, I needed to get in a long run/race. After all, I have not raced since January 1 (5 miles in Salem). So I plunked down the fifty spot a few weeks after some healthy weeks of running. The game plan was to see how 6:00 pace felt early on and play out whatever the legs cared for. Once I got over the hills early on, I had the lead vehicle for the women right at my shoulder. I found this distracting so I picked up the pace for my quickest mile split of the day (5:48). The truck and ladies went by after mile seven and found myself heading straight into the wind and losing my pace and the string of runners ahead. I faded in this stretch and by the time I got wind at my back (8.75 miles), I was spent – looking for the finish line without too many embarrassing miles ahead. In the end, I ran my slowest ½ marathon time but am not too worried as it is progress for the big picture which is to survive the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day. Kristen took several photos at 800m, 5 miles, and just after 13 miles.  

New Bedford, MA, March 18, 2012
148  JAMES PAWLICKI   37 Lynn MA  1:20:54 1:20:56  6:11 Central Mass Striders

Monday, January 16, 2012

Epic Train Trail Run Bradford to Salisbury 20 miles

20 miles and tired
Top Row L-R: Dan Verrington, Scott Mason, Todd Callaghan, Jim Pawlicki, Joe Shairs, Robert Jackman, Joe O'Leary, Dave Principe
Bottom Row L-R: Dave Dunham, Dave Lapierre, Ken Tripp, Thor Kirleis
 Dave Dunham and Dan Verrington planned out a run from Dan's house in Bradford (Haverhill) to Winner's Circle in Salisbury a few weeks ago. The course is a combination of flat roads (6 miles) and trails (14 miles) for a grand total of 20.5 miles. Here is a course map. Joe Shairs and I drove up to Winner's Circle to meet up with seven others to brave the cold morning. It was about eight degrees outside. Ten of us piled into three cars and drove down Rt. 495 to Dan's house to begin the run at 8:13. The oldest runner of our group was Scott Mason (54 years young) while Robert Jackman (29) was the youngest. They and Dave Principe drove up from Rhode Island for the festivities. Also within the pack was Todd Callaghan, Ken Tripp, and Joe O'Leary. We ran southeast along some trails and roads until we picked up the rail trail from Georgetown center. I was familiar with the trail trail that heads northeast toward Newburyport as Dave and I biked it a few years ago. It was fun to run with the group, share stories, and talk about the previous day's United States Olympic Trials Marathon (men and women). We had a water stop at 9.8 miles in Byfield where we met up with a few others such as Dave Lapierre and Thor Kirleis. The cold miles clicked by, eased by the conversation. It took us two hours and forty two minutes to reach the Winner's Circle in Salisbury. It was pretty cold so everyone wasted no time getting into our cars and dispersing. Dave Dunham took several pictures along the way that highlighted some landmarks and icey beards.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fifth Annual Wicked Frosty Four 2012

Dan Verrington, Dave Dunham, and I after the race
in Collins Cove, Salem
January 1, 2012 - Salem, MA

I was in the midst of packing boxes for the move to the new home in Lynn. The training all week was light, as in a few days of a mere 30 minutes per day. However, the Wicked Frosty Four mile road race was an option on Sunday morning so I took a break from the move. I ran from the apartment in Beverly to the race in Salem with a bag of racing gear on my back, 2.9 miles away. This was the perfect warm up distance. I registered and chatted with Joe Shairs who was timing the race and entering the "day of" entries into the database. The weather was great for January, low 40's with some wind. Dan Verrington, Dave Dunham, and Ben Strain were representing CMS and on the starting line. Ben got a great start and I settled behind Dan. Dave was right behind me. I missed all mile splits, did not care too much, just raced along. Four guys, including Ben were in the lead for the mile. I was in the next pack behind Dan. I caught Ben and Dan heading into mile two behind the Salem Willows. Dave Dunham came up on us as we exited that neighborhood. Dan, Dave, and I worked together, shared the lead of our pack of through 3 miles. I got a few steps ahead of them with 1000m to go. I felt all right and was ready to battle if anyone pulled aside me into the last 400m. Dave Dunham did just that and as we stepped on the cobblestones on Front Street. I edged him out for the fourth place finish, 21:51, 5:28 per mile pace. I shook hands with the competitors and ran into the race headquarters, Tavern in the Square, to get some dry clothes on, pack my bag and run back to Beverly. In doing so, I caught up on the cool down with Dan and Dave and did some of the course backwards until I found a street that would get me home to continue packing.

I am in the new homestead in Lynn as I write this. I have trails 800m from the front door that Joe and I covered over the weekend. Lynn Woods are two miles away. Another two miles toward the ocean puts me in Swamscott and four miles away is Nahant. Joe and I tore up a long run on Sunday, hitting every hill we could find in Nahant (think of the Nahant 30K in September).

1 Eric Sofen 26 M SEATTLE WA 21:25 21:25 5:22
2 Nick Sousa 28 M Salem MA 21:31 21:31 5:23
3 Michael Nickerson 22 M Salem MA 21:33 21:33 5:24
4 James Pawlicki 37 M Lynn MA 21:51 21:51 5:28
5 Dave Dunham 47 M Bradford MA 21:54 21:54 5:29
6 Dan Verrington 49 M Bradford MA 21:58 21:59 5:30
7 Ben Strain 33 M Beverly MA 22:07 22:08 5:32

2012 Frosty Four full results