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.