Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Winnekenni 4 mile snowshoe race

The Epic run from Beverly to Gloucester that was planned with a group of North Shore runners got cancelled due to the snow coverage. Brett Rickenbach talked about snowshoe running during a recent run so we wanted opted for that to take advantage of the rapidly melting snow. Dave Dunham gave the green light of a fun run snowshoe event at Lake Winnekenni in Haverhill so we went. Greg Putnam and Dave set up the course. Someone from Granite State Timing showed up with a clock and another gent arrived to volunteer his time to record results. Six of us were on the start line. I jumped in the back after we started the run to feel out the pace and snow conditions. The snow was heavy and wet. The depth varied from zero to a foot in one section. I moved slowly up behind Greg and past him before we reached the top of the hill where the castle was (2.5 miles?). I was tentative because I knew he was already out on the course working hard with Dave to mark the course. The good thing is that he knew the course. He had to call my attention when I varied away the course a few times. He even waited for me after I went beyond the course. A gentleman and a scholar (he is a teacher). I was debating what to do and how to finish the race based on his professionalism. It was a fun run and left it at that finishing a few seconds in front of Greg. I hope that Greg does a few more races this winter as I think he will be very good at it and a competitive master. Dave, Brett, and Melissa followed. The Granite State guy who brought the clock walked in from the other end and called it a day. The first snowshoe for this season is in the books. Brett and I helped Dave pick up the mile markers and hundreds of flags. We had breakfast at Heavenly Donuts (awesome Cinnamon Rolls) down the road.

Full results

Resting after the race at Lake Winnekenni
Photo by Dave Dunham

Assault on Mt. Hood

1st place as part of team CMS at Mt Hood
Melrose has an emerald gem – Mt. Hood Golf Course. The event hosted the ninth annual and always challenging 3.5 mile cross country race. The course changes over the years but there is no way around not having to climb up and down the hills. On this particular Saturday, patches of snow cover and ice scattered the greens and cart paths. Overall, footing was safe and the course was laid out to avoid any danger of wiping out on your rear end. It was a cold and cloudy day. CMS had four representing – Nate Jenkins, Greg Putnam, Dan Verrington, and I. Three score for a team in the end and Greg put the word out that he was interested in getting the team prize a week earlier. The start bolted out and single file was the rule. I was in 10th place after 400m. I passed the one mile marker in 5:47 a few steps behind a guy (Patrick Ward per results). The race took a massive hill on that was worthy of the mountain series. I let out a few expletives approaching it in fun. I kept on the heels in front of me and surges continued dependent on terrain and footing. We dropped into mile three where you could see everyone in front and or peek behind to size up what is needed to finish strong or whimper in. I got past Patrick and tried to reel in Andreas Heilmann but I ran out of space at the end which has a generous decline on the road to the finish line. I finished ninth overall. It took me 19:42 to cover the distance. My Garmin measured 3.37 miles (5:52 / mile). The team took the win and we each got an awesome Nutcracker which is pretty cool to put on display at home. The team gathered inside for pasta, salad, chowder and laughs.
Hustling into the finish

An idea of the course

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mill Cities Relay

Jim, Larissa, Elizabeth, and Megan at the finish
The Mill Cities Relay is always a fun event. 27 miles, 5 legs, 2 states, one river and a cold December day sums it up. A post race party at the finish in Lawrence via the Claddagh Pub caps off the day. This was my third year in a row running with SRR and the open coed team. Our team consisted of fast company: Alex White, Elizabeth Jackson, Larissa Park, and Megan Hyland. We secured a team name of SRR - Alex’s Bulk Organic Produce. If you want some organic veggies at a discount and delivered, just let him know. Larissa picked Brett Rickenbach (Winner’s Circle Coed) and I up and got to the Norman Crisp school in Nashua about 55 minutes before the 8:00 start. This gave me ample time to do all the pre-race stuff and safely get to the start line next to SRR’s Greg Picklesimer and Mike Quintal who ended up finishing 1 and 2 for leg one. Larissa drove off to get ready for leg 2. I settled into 10th place or so about 400m into my 5.4 mile leg. Mike and Greg were up front and the pack was single file. I trailed or led a single file pack about 50m behind James Sullivan from GLRR. I got onto his heels after 3 miles and he would proceed to surge each time. Ryan Hayes from the Shamrock Running Club went ahead of us after 4 miles with a hard surge. I noted passing 5 miles in 27:58 and was pleased with that. I managed to pass Ryan 800m before our entry into the parking lot exchange zone and get a stride behind James before handing off to Larissa around 30:01. I think our team was in 8th or 9th place at the time. I collected Brett who also ran leg one and had to find Larissa’s car so we could drive to the next exchange zone for her finish. She picked up some places on her leg which had a few hills and plenty of narrow road. We got into the Greater Lowell High School about five minutes ahead of her exchange with Megan Hyland who was to hand off to Alex White for the long leg along the Merrimac River. Larissa, Brett, and I drove to the last exchange zone to see Elizabeth Jackson take off once Alex came in. She ran the final leg to the pub in Lawrence to a winning coed division time of 2:35:08 and 5th team overall. Gate City and Whirlaway had coed teams finish 6th and 7th overall in the relay for a competitive race in our division. I had a great time hanging out with mates and members of all clubs inside the Claddagh. Huge thanks go out to Brian Cullinane and Brendan Kearney for putting the teams together. Brian would set a marathon PR the same day at the California International Marathon. Furthermore, John Gorvin was relentless for his communication and awareness of the event leading up to race day. In the end, SRR finished 2nd overall to GCS in the club championship which is quite the accomplishment among so many competitive teams. Full Results

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lynne's Kids 5K

Krissy and I were too lazy to get up for the 8:00am Wild Turkey Race in Salem. Thus, we waited for the home town race at 9:30am. It is billed as a 5K with a mid-17 winner last Thanksgiving. I ran over to Rolly's Tavern and Krissy had our race numbers. I pinned it on to my SRR long sleeve shirt and walked over to the start with Dennis Floyd. I jumped into the lead with Dennis and a youngster on my heels. I did not hear anyone behind me at 1 mile (sorry no split). A lady got out of her car and walked over saying I had a good lead. My tail wind turned into a cross wind after another 400m. Then I hit the head wind into mile two. I slowed down considerably. I looked to my right to see my house across Flax Pond. The police car poked along leading my way past the geese on Magnolia Ave. A blast of the sirens got them hustling across the street. More head wind down Euclid Ave. I crossed the finish line in 17:23 for the win. Dennis was a minute behind me for 2nd. I ran the same course, maybe 40 yards shorter in January in 16:11. GPS measured 3.06 miles. Krissy ran 3 seconds slower than her January race so I lost more fitness than her, right? I hung out at Rolly's and ran into ol' friends: Jay Euzikonis and Sara Garofalo. I picked up a gift certificate for the Old Tyme Restaurant which will be put to good use. I hope to find the photos taken by a young lady during and after the race. If you are her, please drop me a line. Lynne's Kids 5K 2013 race results

Monday, November 11, 2013

New England Cross Country Championships

Krissy, Nick, and I got to Franklin Park early enough to set up a tent for the team. I picked up the team packet and waited for our CMS runners to come one by one - trading bib numbers for signatures. The masters race went off first and was fun to watch and cheer on all of the runners and clubs competing. I ran a warm up with Tim and Ryan showing them the wilderness loop and Bear Cage Hill. I got changed into the racing gear and picked the INOV8 f-lite 195's. I got to the line, proud to have six guys on the line representing CMS: Nate Jenkins, Dan Vassallo, Sam Wood, and new-comers Tim Liponis and Ryan Collins from Worcester. I knew as soon as the race got going that I needed to let the massive field go ahead as I settled into the back. The 10K race ahead was going to be tough for me so I wanted to keep the pace reasonable. The mile passed in 5:28 for me and focused on catching Ryan who was ahead by 10 seconds. I rolled through 2 miles around 11:15. I passed Ryan in the next mile and rolled through the 5K around 18 minutes. I went back and forth with a few other guys from SISU and Western Mass passing through the 8K around 28 and a half. I wished I could have finished there. As a master (age 40 - 49) next year, I will be able to run in the masters event where they race 8K instead of 10K. I am looking forward to that. I did my best to compete in the last mile and was fortunate to have company of three or four to mix it up with. I rounded the last turn and got by a few guys and into the finish with a time of 35:39. I placed 82 out of 110 runners. The time might be my slowest for 10K at Franklin Park but I battled from start to finish here. My time is what it is. I did not really promote the goal but thought 35 minutes was possible if all went well. At any rate, I love cross country racing and was proud to be part of the teams out there competing. I got a lot of support from the crowd watching the race. That was huge and if you read this, thank you. I recall giving a shout out to Rodney Hemmingway from GBTC asking for some love out there in my last loop. He sprinted around the corner and snapped a photo of me 200 yards later. Hahaha! CMS placed 5th out of the nine teams (top five fastest times score for a team).  In all it was a good day. Krissy's photos are up. Full Results
The kick is unleashed into the finish at the USATF New England XC championships
Photo by KrissyK

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ravenswood Trail Race - Gloucester

The Ravenswood 4.1 mile Trail Race was the next event in the North Shore Trail Series. I ran a short and easy warm up with John Gillis and Todd Callaghan. It was nice to see these guys. Matt Curran joined us on the way back to the start. We got some race instruction from director, Jenn Brooks and the 160+ runners were off. Getting a good position here is key off the start. I got in behind Todd on the narrow trail with Dave Long in tow. Dave ripped by on a downhill a few minutes in to catch Todd on our first turn down into Magnolia swamp. I had Erich O'Neil hot on my heels through the swamp. He wanted to pass a few times after we came up and out of the swamp but I fought each move. With all of the single track on this course, I wanted to retain my own line of sight and dictate my pace - picking it up and or backing off when I wanted to. 

I had fairly good trail legs on the Ledge Hill trail where Krissy waited behind the Nikon D60 lense at the vista. Erich was a few strides behind. I pushed the pace and lost his presence. I pressed as hard as possible. Todd and Dave were long gone no doubt battling each other. I peeked at the Garmin after the 3 mile marker which was the traditional scarecrow - 21:18. Not much excitement from there to the finish but ran hard to the line for a third place finish with a time of 28:40. My Garmin measured 4.34 miles. Todd picked up the win in 27:05, almost 25 seconds quicker than his previous best a few years back. Dave took a digger, proud of the bloody cut on his left elbow. He finished with a solid 27:29. Erich was right behind me in 29:26 and Matt Curran at age 56 was fifth in 30:10. I cooled down with John, Todd, and Dave for 1.8 miles through the Magnolia swamp talking about our races. They were still hungry for more miles so we did another loop but finished up at the Magnolia Soccer fields. There was a wide assortment of sweets, coffee, and cider awaiting us even though we arrived late. The highlight at this race are the raffles given away by Jenn. Krissy had my bib number when 127 was called and picked up a trustees of reservations membership for the family. 
Ripping past the vista at the Ravenswood Trail Race
Photo by KrissyK

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stone Tower 15K Trail Race

3rd place - Stone Tower 15K
Photos by KrissyK
Sean McDonough dominated this race from the start taking the win in 59:03 at the Stone Tower 15K trail race in Lynn Woods Reservation. This was another stop in the North Shore Trail Series. I battled David Long (59:28) back and forth but he stood tall in the last third of the race. He was crushing the down hills all day. I would close the gap on the flats and climbs. I ran out of gas in the end. Otherwise, this was an awesome course in Lynn Woods from Race Director Liam Brady. I think it was the same as last year. He said it is 9-ish, referring to it being a touch short of 15 kilometers.We got the best of the Lynn Woods landmarks with our entry fee: Dungeon Rock steps, Steel Tower, and Stone Tower three times from different trails. I was a puddle on the last climb up it in the last mile. I can't wait to see the pictures that Mike Fitzgerald got there - no doubt with my head down crawling past each time. I will see Sean and David next week at Ravenswood for a 4.1 mile jaunt. 

Stone Tower 15K Lynn Woods
Lynn, MA, October 13, 2013

3 JAMES PAWLICKI  M  39   LYNN  MA 1:00:40  6:31

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rockin Mad 5K Challenge

I got a taste of an OCR (obstacle course race) via the Rockin Mad 5K Challenge in Lynn Woods. I jumped into the elite heat with friend Brett Rickenbach. He has plenty of experience at these and has hit up several with friend Junyong Pak over the past two years. We started at the gate and headed straight up to Stone Tower under a very light rain/mist mix in the mid-50’s. I jumped into third behind Brett and leader, Ron Cooper. We hit the first challenge, a wall, which was easy enough to jump up and climb over (we would approach at least three more of these in the race). Then we hit some hay bales to jump over half way up to Stone Tower. Then we had a jump down (6ft) off a wall to the left of Stone Tower. There was no volunteer there to turn athletes back onto the course so I yelled for one to come over and stand there. Brett took the lead a few steps into the single track. I was watching my step carefully behind Ron through the slippery rocks while protecting my plantar fascia in my right foot. Brett gained at least a 10 second lead. We opened up into the fire road and to a camouflaged tarp on top of a tarp. I turned my hat around backwards. We had to get under and crawl through. I was a few steps behind them. My back got soaked. They put a few seconds on me as they got to their feet. Minutes later we came upon a ravine chaser where we go off trail down into a steep ravine and climb back out. It was a hand over fist climb over mossy roots. No biggie but I lost ground. A minute later, another wall to climb and I could barely see Brett on the straight away. 

We got a chance to run past a water stop and a left hand turn down goat hill – my first time ever having a chance to race down it. At the bottom of it was a horizontal cargo rope. I asked the volunteer what we had to do as it was not obvious to go under or jump up on top. She said to jump up and roll across it so I did. No biggie. I felt a slight tweak in the left groin for a few seconds after jumping down off of it. I could see Brett trailing Ron by a few seconds as we headed into the last mile. I had another wall to climb up and over, stone wall around, another off trail ravine in and out, and one more wall before descending into the field before the finish where two obstacles remained. As I ran along the dam, I looked over and could see Brett and Ron tied crawling through the barbed wire crawl (second to last obstacle challenge). I was jealous of the battle they had. They were 100 feet from the finish line. 

I turned right and down into the barbed wire crawl. I decided to roll through it. I got dizzy in the process. Getting up and out was hilarious. A few steps ahead was the last obstacle/challenge: a choice of a 10 foot wall climb or a 40 degree rope pull up a 20 foot ramp. I asked the volunteers which one did the first two (Brett and Ron) handle as if to prove that I can do what they did. In reality, I wanted to do the rope pull. The volunteers said that each one picked one. So I went after the rope pull and did it without slipping. The rope and the ramp was doused with baby shampoo earlier so it was not so easy for others. This was comical to watch later after I finished, trust me. I climbed down and wrapped up my first OCR in 23:14 for a respectable 3rd. After talking with Brett and others, they said this was a light course in terms of challenges and obstacles (maybe 11 in total aside from the technical running). I did an easy cool down with Brett, James Mscisz, and Marc Ford. I got dried off and into some warm clothes and waited for Krissy and the Armstrong family who were running in the team wave. I got some breakfast: quiche, pumpkin bread, and sausages. Krissy, Joe, and Sandy came in and battled through the last two obstacles giving me a chance to take photos. It was fun to see them work as a team to help each other up the last challenge where they picked the slippery ramp. It was just too slippery for the ladies who opted for the 10 burpees shall one skip or not be able to complete a challenge. Joe tacked the ramp like a champ. In all, this was fun and low key event. It was and is a perfect start for a first timer or beginner. 

Rockin Mad 5K Challenge results - Lynn Woods - October 6, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Nahant 30K - breaking out of the fog

The Nahant 30K was race # 6 of the USATF New England Road Race Grand Prix on Sunday. I can see Nahant from the house and many Sunday long runs have been run out in Nahant. In addition, I got lucky a few years back and my 6:01 mile pace provided a win at this race in 2008.

This past week of training has been complete crap because of planter fasciitis. I managed to run Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for a total of 16 miles. Thus, I was getting to the starting foggy starting line on Sunday morning with a one mile at a time approach. I kept in mind that Krissy would be on the course taking photos and an easy DNF would be offered if I stopped where she camped out and I could called it a day. A 30K is 18.6 miles – pretty much a marathon by my fitness standards. The early miles and approach of many runners around me had the jolly feel of a marathon. Casual conversations and jokes were bandied about. I liked it. It was fun until the climbing in Nahant began. I got quiet and tried to ignore my previous week of training and why. 6:10 pace was routine for the first 5 miles. I was with Joe Shairs and could not complain about the good race position (top 30 or so) after the first 10K. Then my race unraveled. My legs were junk, muscles in my right hamstring were tight and getting hot. I was not surprised but did not want to accept it half way through the race. I lost ground on each climb in middle third (and last third for that matter) of the race. Joe smartly bolted after Martin Tighe and was out of sight. Spacing between runners at this point is spread out anyway.

In full flight in Nahant
Photo by KrissyK
I never thought about dropping out as slowing down made everything tolerable but not good mentally. The pain in the foot was not flaring up enough to whine but the lower legs were not happy. As bad as I was plodding along (guessing 6:30’s), only a few runners went by over the last 10 miles. Michael Cooney looked the best of them as we rounded the top of the Northeastern lab loop and Krissy for the 2nd time. Running downhill was problematic – legs just hurt - feet slapping and my stride mechanics were sloppy. I saw friend, Patrick Taylor on the corner of the Nahant town hall a mile later. He busted my balls on how far ahead Joe was. True. I told him how I felt, with the PG13 version out loud of course. David Corbett pulled up soon after.  There was less than 25 minutes of running left and the sun burned off the clouds and fog. I forced a second wind and stubbornness to multiply the misery by staying with David no matter what and how tired I was. We ran together trading the effort which I really appreciated over the last 3 miles. Jason Bui blew past us with 1.5 miles to go and looked fresh making me jealous. I managed to pass one more guy and got passed by a BAA runner in the final 400 meters. 37th place, 6:17 average pace per mile, 1:56:58 crossing another finish line that I was glad to meet as there were doubts all week.

I hung out and traded stories with CMS mates and others – seeking to hear their positive efforts, PR’s, and personal wins. They all picked me up. The emotion I saw from Cheryl Taylor Cleary – winning her first New England Gran Prix was priceless. The first two people to call in order was her mom (voice mail) and then her coach, former CMS athlete, Kevin Beck. Dan Vassallo was on top too - I knew how much this meant to him. My dad was in attendance and shook my hand, proud of the effort no matter place or time. Krissy hustled to the finish line to get more photos. Amazing. The CMS men’s open team got the win. They were destined for 2nd place half way through the race but things changed in the 2nd half. Dan Vassallo, Patrick Rich, and Scott Leslie are tough SOB’s, period. The masters team pulled out a strong 2nd place finish behind Jason Porter (top 40+), Joe Shairs, and Martin Tighe (top 50+). The afternoon kicked off by hosting friends, CMS and SRR competitors back at the house for some grilling. We were a tired crowd with good reason.

Monday, September 23, 2013

ECTA 10 mile trail race - Hamilton

Half mile into the second loop. This photo by Krissy is one of my all time favorites. 
This race as part of the North Shore Trail Series. ECTA - Essex County Trail Association conserves and purchases land around the county so my dollar is going to a great resource and service. Furthermore, this race bounces around Hamilton showing runners the various trails in the area including private land opened up just for the race. Thus the start and finish - even the overall distance will vary year to year. Each runner got to enter a raffle and a chance at gaining entry into the Stonecat Trail race in November. I was hoping to win an entry and had several others pulling for me but it was not meant to be. The race waited for the train to pass by at 9:07 and we started off within minutes as we were to cross the train tracks in the first mile. CMS-mate Joe Shairs took the command with David Long and I in tow. David and Joe would trade spots over the next three miles while I kept my head down and focused on footing and proximity. The course is a mix of everything you expect in a New England trail run. There was nothing technical however for footing but you had to pay attention. I pulled beside Joe after three miles and took the lead leaving Appleton Farms. The course got twisty on single track heading back to the half way point (also the start / finish line). I came through 5 miles around 31:15 or so and began the identical 2nd loop. David Long was not too far back and Joe not too far back from him so I had to keep on pressing through the trails. I could feel my legs were much more tired. I some time to think and came to the conclusion around 6.5 miles that if anyone wins a race in the trail series that an automatic lottery by-pass should be granted for the Stonecat Trail Marathon. I started to pass runners who were still on their first lap and I had less than a mile to go. I had to be careful passing them on the single track trail and I made sure that I communicated my passing on the left of them while also supporting their efforts. I crossed the line in 1:02:45 in a pretty tired state but at ease picking up a win in the trail series. I earned the trashed plantar in my right heel that cropped up after Lone Gull the previous weekend. David was right behind me in 1:03:11 and Joe came through in 1:04:55 (top master). The poor guy was limping into the finish and hobbled around post race. I know we both took Sunday off to let the wounds heal. Rumor has it that we plan on running 30 kilometers all while being surrounded by water.
Krissy caught me smiling. I was surprised to see here out there in the swamp.

Joe and I carefully calculating our steps. Photo by Roger Perham
ECTA 10 mile trail race photos by KrissyK

Lone Gull 10K - USATF New England Championship

Charging through at the Lone Gull 10K
Photo KrissyK

The Lone Gull 10K in Gloucester from Good Harbor Beach is a puddle jump for Krissy and I. Temps were ideal and no humidity under sunny skies. The race was the New England Championship for the 10K distance so all of the teams were in town for the competition. I was aiming for a sub 35 minute race and was on pace for such running behind CMS teammates Kevin Gorman and Tim Mahoney through miles one, two, and three. That 3rd one gave me the drama to set up the 2nd half of the race. I tweaked my right hamstring during the week and was reminded of it on a little climb to mile three. I backed off from my mates heels and ran a race of survival to the finish line. I was OK to run but my mind was all over the place taking inventories of how muscles were feeling and how bad I was going to rig for the last few miles. Stephanie Reilly (1st female and sub 35 for the day) and only four others went by me in the last three miles so that was not too bad. I was proud of hanging in and battling Justin Soucy all the way to the final 100 meters. The CMS men's open and masters teams got a big boost by capturing the team titles outright for the first time this year.

Lone Gull 10K 2013 results
KrissyK photos

Place Name  Ag Div/Tot  Div        City St Team NameNettime Pace  Guntime Pace
67 James Pawlicki 38 20/110 M3039 Lynn MA CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS 35:29 5:43 35:30 5:43 

Relay Around Lake Winnipesaukee

Jane's Addiction - "Coming down the mountain"
25th Annual Fred Brown Relay Around Lake Winnipesaukee
Weirs Beach, NH, September 7, 2013

Question: What do you get when you ask a relay team of eight runners to pedal every mile around Lake Winnipesaukee except for running their leg?

Answer: 8 tired bodies

Wrapping up my leg in Alton Bay. 
Brian Cullinan, Brian Keefe, and Alex White under the tent picking corn
Yes, the relay course around the lake is 65.1 miles. The Somerville Road Runners had several teams going. The team that I was on caved into my desire to run leg 2 which measured out to 10.8 miles via my Garmin GPS. The team biked over (about four miles) to the start at Fun Spot for the 8:00 start. Brian Cullinan started our team off for a tough 10.7 miles with the tough stretch really over the last 3 miles. About a minute after 80+ teams started, the rest of our team biked to exchange zone #1 where I needed to get ready for my leg at Arlberg Ski Shop.  I had about 10 minutes to hit the porta-john after getting my bike stuff off and running gear on. I was not rushed but there was not any time to waste before Brian came in and handed the baton off to me. My legs were heavy from the get go as I started up the hills. I ran this leg two years ago so I was pretty relaxed. This leg, although, rolling, offers fair downhill into Alton Bay. I caught two runners (one SRR runner) in the first few miles. Meanwhile, I knew Larissa was right behind me. I kept my head down and ran as hard as the legs would allow. I had the lake to my left for the last few miles of the leg. I barely held Larissa off. I ran 1:04:05. It was a few minutes slower than what I ran for this leg two years back. I handed off to Brian Keefe who was getting boos from the crowd as he was not ready and waiting for me in the exchange zone. We lost just a few seconds there though. Brian soon rolled into the exchange zone in time for me to get changed back into some bike gear and set off for the biking along the teams and course for the rest of the day. Biking along changed my perspective on how hilly the course is as well as how lonely it can get for the runners. Fortunately, cars are driving along with other runners - supporting all runners. Examples of pulling over and handing a water bottle to a teammate or for a competitor is routine. It is a friendly atmosphere. My legs were really giving me fits on any and all climbing so I faded back away from my SRR mates as they are pretty good at the biking. I took my time for the next few hours and stopped along most of the exchange zones to refill my water bottle, take a break, and rest. I found getting back on the bike and pedaling up the inclines really tough and legs were starting to cramp in the early afternoon. I was on my own for the last two exchange zones. I took my time and took my last stop at a store about five miles from the finish line. I camped on a bench in the shade outside the store after buying health food - gummy bears, iced tea, and twizzlers. The last five miles were brutal. I think I rolled into the finish at Fun Spot around 3:30 in the afternoon. What a day. Our team finished 3rd overall - not bad for a team that biked and ran all day. Would I do it again? Likely. Special thanks to the teammates in no specific order: Brian Cullinan, Brian Keefe, Greg Soutiea, Brian Tinger, John Longo, Alex White, and Sean McDonough who were all not only brave enough to take on the run and bike challenge - but accepted it graciously. Full results
My ride and a rare break at a farm stand

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Level Renner 10K

Joe and Jim keeping it Level before mile 1
Photo by KrissyK
Krissy got an invite to attend this 10K from kevbalance (KG) and she transferred it over to me. I was excited to get a chance to run in D.W.Field Park in Brockton. I had no idea what to expect. When Krissy, Joe, and I rolled into the park, it was obvious that this place was a gem. It felt like Break Heart Reservation in Saugus and Wakefield. Kevin welcomed us right away once we saw him. Joe and I connected with CMS mate Scott Deslongchamps for a warm up on the 2nd loop of the course (3.78 miles) as I felt a longer warm up would help me out and we had the time. We got a chance to see what we were up against on the roads that followed two bodies of water. It was a nice course that had at least 75% shade. This race brought in the big guns like Ruben Sanca and Glarius Rop. Joe and I did not discuss our racing plan before the race but before we knew it, we were side by side from the start which went up Tower Hill (3 times by the way). I felt good and Joe and I joked after the race that neither of us took the tangents properly. Loop one was a quickie around the first pond and up Tower Hill again. There was plenty of shade and it was appreciated. Our pacing through three miles was around 5:42 pace and we were off into the bigger of the two loops. We were not chasing anyone down nor was anyone clipping our heels so we kept pressing as much as possible. We took turns in front of the other navigating through our mutual silence. I started to wear a bit at 4.5 miles but we hit a fair stretch of down grade which was just in time for me. We took our last turn at the entrance and went after the last hill at 6 miles. I got a few steps on Joe. He told me to go for it about half way up but I did not see the point in killing it so I backed off for him as I knew he was top master. We rolled into the finish in 35:39. Not too bad for a days work and a busy weekend. I would not trade this for anything.  I love racing and had some great company today. Joe and I hope to be in the 34's at Lone Gull. There was plenty of post race food. I took down some Watermelon before heading out for a cool down with Joe and Scott. We bumped into Ruben who won with a sub 30 (road PR?). He filled us in on his race break down and upcoming racing plans. We got back in time for some refreshments and vendor displays before getting to the awards. I picked up 2nd in my age group. Joe took top master. Scott was 3rd master. We combined for the top team (three score). Good day for CMS as the ladies also picked up the top prize. There were a ton of raffle prizes given out. In summary, this race is only going to get bigger so don't miss out next year.

KrissyK photos

Scott Mason photography

The end
Photo by KrissyK
Level Renner 10K Road Race results August 25, 2013

Level Renner

My splits per course mile markings:
Distance     Time     Avg Pace
6.24          35:38.32  5:43/mi
0.99          5:36.72    5:39/mi
1.00          5:38.85    5:37/mi
1.01          5:51.80    5:52/mi
1.00          5:50.22    5:48/mi
1.00          5:44.45    5:43/mi
1.02          5:38.90    5:34/mi
0.21          1:17.38    6:08/mi

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thomas Chamberas 6K XC race

Narrow start at the Thomas Chamberas 6K XC race in Carlisle.
Photo by KrissyK
Trailing Jason Cakouros before 1 mile
This race kicks off the USATF New England Cross Country Grand Prix for 2013. I was scheduled to race in the trails in Beverly but I also wanted to field a CMS team in Carlisle. So I donated the entry fee for the Beverly Commons trail race and sacrificed North Shore Trail Series points (I was leading the series) for the team event. Dan Vassallo picked up Krissy and I and we were at the 6K race 35 minutes later. Upon arrival, we found CMS mates Arthur Besse (nice Corvette by the way), Michael Quintal, and Dan Verrington. Thankfully we had five guys otherwise we would not have scored as a team. We warmed up on the course along with Dave Menard (BAA) and Steve Dowsett (Whirlaway) which was the usual course, however, with a new narrow start and different finish. I did not mind the narrow start but the long winded Michael P. Mahone speech was a stretch.
Maybe five minutes long while the race is on the starting line is too much. It was concluded with the star spangled banner and cheers from two hundred plus runners and spectators. I started in row two and got a clear start with a few light handed pushes on my back on the up hill start around the corn field. Dust kicked up as it usually does. The race went out fast as one has to jockey for position as single track a mile in awaited. I ran behind Jason Cakouros (HFC Striders) for the first mile or so. The single track and tight s-turns were fun and the pace was good. Once we got to open up on wider trails I tried to battle with some GBTC guys. I came out of the lolli-pop loop chasing down top master Justin Renz (HFC Striders) with whom I have not been able to beat this year so I was motivated to go for it today. I passed him with less than 800 meters to go and held him off crossing the line in 19:52 and 29th place. The team finished 4th overall with the bare minimum to score (five). I cooled down the team and reflected on how our races went. It was awesome to hear Arthur Besse have so much fun out there as he experiences these races for the first time. My Garmin measured 3.35 miles and calculated 5:56 pace.....

Photos by KrissyK

Thomas Chamberas 6K XC Race
Carlisle,MA August 24, 2013
Place  Name             No. S Ag City          St Div Team  Time   Pace
29  JAMES PAWLICKI 10 M 38 BEVERLY   MA   5 CMS   19:52  5:20

Lynn Woods Relay

Mark Flaherty, John Bowser, Jim Pawlicki, and Dennis Floyd
Photo by Bill Jackson via Samsung Galaxy S3
Lynn Woods is one of the best kept secrets for trail running on the North Shore. A record number of 109 teams were on the starting line for the annual Lynn Woods Relay race. Our team was made up of four former State College runners: hence 4 Vikings and an Owl. The lineup consisted of Dennis Floyd, Mark Flaherty, John Bowser, and I. We each run 2.5 miles of hilly terrain and hand off to the teammate. The four of us run in the Lynn Woods weekly races during the summer and on Sunday mornings as schedules allow. In addition, John and Dennis were teammates of mine at Salem State while Mark was a competitor at Westfield State in the mid to late 1990's. I started off leg 1 chasing down a former Salem State runner, Ryan Collins. He was tough in the first mile. I got into second place once I got past him. First place was way ahead so I held my position and crossed the finish in 14:33 which was the sixth fastest split for all runners. Mark Flaherty took off and held his own despite some tweaked rib cage muscles. He handed off to John Bowser to kept the 3rd place position he received. Then Dennis got passed at the start of his leg by David Long but finished strong. The team finished 4th overall. It has been a while since I ran the relay and am glad that I did it. Krissy and I made our way over to Prince Pizza with the Wicked Running Club for a great night.


4 . 3 VIKINGS AND AN OWL (101)         1:02:35
  JIM PAWLICKI               14:33     14:33
  MARK FLAHERTY              30:29     15:56
  JOHN BOWSER                45:45     15:16
  DENNIS FLOYD             1:02:35     16:50

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Carver Cranberry 5 mile

400m to go in Carver
Krissy and I connected with Joe Shairs and Greg Putnam in Stoneham for the ride down to Carver. Hilarious conversation took place over Zoos and questionable AM radio audio. We got to the land of Cranberry bogs early, just a few cars away from Dave Dunham. The bib number pick up was too easy (need to give positive feedback to the race director). Tents were set up outside the school and sorted by team name. This was a huge improvement over last year. I met up with the CMS women’s team and saw their new Saucony threads. I also got a chance to introduce new CMS President, Stephen Laska to some of the masters team. I warmed up with the CMS crew of Dave Dunham, Martin Tighe, Joe Shairs, Greg Putnam, and the real Dan Vassallo. We collected Jason Porter and Adam Malek on the way back to the school. The temperature was warm in the sun, bearable in the shade. It was humid. I got in about four rows back at the starting line and took off with the race. The pace was quick but was a matter of just keeping up with traffic. Mile one passed by in 5:19 for which I had to repeat the split for Stephanie Rielly who was on my left. I ran a bit with Alex Gomes through mile 2 as I put a step on Stephanie. He was breathing hard and quick. My forward progress of passing runners began to slow down as did my pace. I ran through each hose on the side of the road. It felt good each time to dash under them to beat the heat and humidity for a few seconds. A big thanks to the Carver residents and the trees along the course that provided some honest shade. Stephanie Rielly passed by after three miles before I came upon a walking Adam Malek. I yelled for him to get back in and hustling (he went through three miles in 14:56). He did. I told him to just look ahead and finish up the race. He was the 2nd scoring member for CMS last year. I kept plugging away and came upon Jason Porter. I passed through 4 miles and noted the mile split of 5:35. I was ready for the finish line and happy to reach crest the last of the few hills on the course into the shaded straight away finish. I got under 28 minutes, barely, with a 27:58 (5:36 / mile). Not too shabby. I wanted to run closer to 27:30 but that is where my fitness is. The CMS open team finished 6th overall while the masters finished 4th overall. It was the usual super competitive USATF New England.

Kudos to Racewire for up to the date notifications of registration, result, and finish line photo. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K

Just not enough sack at the end of this barn-burner. 17:06, 8th overall with the bib mat to mat tracking. My wheels came off in the last mile and lost two placings in the last 100 yards. 90 degree hot? Yeah but we all know the potential for a July event. We had a slight head wind until the the turn around cone 1.55 miles on Day Blvd. I wish I had that on the way back to the finish for a cooling effect. Two splits: 5:11, 10:57 show a serious positive split mess. I ran a cool down with Joe Lauer (17:05, just joined SRR) and Kieran Condon (18 flat, SRR) and came back to the longest lines ever for the burger that I should have gotten before cooling down. Argh! Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K results

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Greenbelt’s Run for the Hills 10K

Muddy and beaten to the finish
Photos by KrissyK
Progress. I managed to keep my shoes on this year. I lost a shoe in the mud last year, finished 5th with a time of 40:09. I managed 38:14 (6:10) on Saturday, good for 2nd place and stayed in front of Dave Long which has been a challenge (he dusted me at Kupenda and the Firecracker Four). This was race number three of the North Shore Trail Series. I trailed a group that included Matt Curran, Chris Smith, and David Long early in the 1st of two loops that start and finish on the Pingree school athletic fields. I passed Matt half way through and got past Chris and David 200 yards before entering the 2nd loop. They were hammering the down hills pretty hard. Me, not so much, kept it under control and would catch up any lost ground on the flat sections. The mud was manageable, however, nearly stopped me in my stride once. The deer flies were not bad at all – rare for this time of the year. I caught second place, John Dudley, shortly after the 2nd loop began. We chatted briefly and made him aware of the potential stalking behind me. I kept the pace and put a few seconds on the gap to the finish line. I never saw the winner, Zack Schwartz, after 2 miles. He killed it despite losing a shoe at some point. It looks like will be joining the ranks of SRR after I talked to him during the cool down. Photos by KrissyK.

I am going to run some mile repeats tonight with the SRR crew, run easy tomorrow, and give the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K a test this week.

Hamilton, MA, July 13, 2013
Place No.  Name                Time    Pace  Div/Tot  Div   City            St
===== ==== =================== ======= ===== ========
1  227 Zack Schwartz      37:13  6:00   1/11   M2029 Medford     MA
2  186 James Pawlicki     38:14  6:10   1/19   M3039 Lynn            MA
3  249 John Dudley          38:42  6:14   2/19   M3039 JamaicaPlain MA
4  163 David Long            38:57  6:17   3/19   M3039 Beverly         MA

Finish line came almost two minutes quicker this year

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Firecracker 4 mile Swampscott

I printed two applications the night before the 4th: John Carson 2 mile in Chelmsford and Firecracker 4 in Swampscott. The later won the coin flip based on a short commute of three miles. My dad came over as it has been tradition for him to walk while I run. He was not too bummed out about not going to Chelmsford. It was warm out, but not out of reach for July. My back has been feeling better. Thus, feeling better about racing. A race broke out with Alex Gomes and Jordan Kinley side by side after the siren. Not messing with that. I took a back seat to Dave Long from Beverly. His gap on me in terms of seconds doubled as each mile went by. 11 second gap on me to the end and I really had no balls to surge anywhere. The hill up Rt 1A was rude, period. I gathered the top three for a cool down on the roads. Jordan is looking to kick ass at the Beverly Homecoming. I will see Dave Long next weekend at Pingree on the trails and Alex is putting some training in to kill it at Carver. Firecracker results.

Place No. Name Div/Tot Div Ag S City St Nettime Pace Guntime Pace
===== ==== =================== ======== ===== == = =======
1 3209 Jordan Kinley 1/33 M2029 29 M Salem MA 20:56 5:14 20:58 5:15
2 3273 Alex Gomes 2/33 M2029 24 M Peabody MA 21:31 5:23 21:33 5:24
3 3265 David Long 1/55 M3039 39 M Beverly MA 22:08 5:32 22:10 5:33
4 3215 James Pawlicki 2/55 M3039 38 M Lynn MA 22:19 5:35 22:21 5:36

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Squantum 5 miler

I ran into Hassan Haydar the mornig of the race while on a run - still debating if my legs were up for the race that night. We asked each other if we were racing the Squantum 5. He said JJ Larner (race director) needed help at a water stop so he was going to volunteer his time. I was still on the fence, as evidence by running already. I rarely run a double (two runs in one day) but was looking for trouble or in denial. JJ Larner was nice enough to give me a complimentary entry as part of the "race of champions" theme as we touched base via email a week earlier. Meanwhile, my QL - Quadratus Lumborum - has been flared up for almost two weeks so I was fussy about racing. I got it worked on Monday night so I was left with some stretching to do but it was feeling a little better. I need to strengthen the QL.

I mentally registered that I would go to the race after I ate lunch. I arrived at the race an hour before start time. After thanking JJ for having me at the race, I asked if any other champions were in house and he confirmed Brendan Lynch. He's fast. Like 2:34 marathon fast. He ran a 1:15 half marathon in early May in Quincy - four minutes ahead of me. Hassan asked me if I was going to take it easy or race. Race of course. I warmed up in the light drizzle. It was humid than earlier in the week so comfortable for racing. In addition, this is the fourth consecutive race that I have been at where it was wet or raining since the Vermont City Marathon. I stretched a bit inside race HQ but really did not have the strength to put an effort into the back stuff. I proceeded to the start paying no attention to who was lining up in the front row to my right. I never met Brendan and did not know what he looked like. Two HFC (Hurtin for Certain) gents jumped right out front after the starting siren. One was in white (Brendan) and one in green (his brother Sean). There was another young guy in the mix. The four of us went through the mile in 5:48. The beautiful Boston City skyline, albeit on a foggy evening, was on our far left as we approached Squantum. Brendan had a step on us into the first and largest hill on the course. I stepped around Sean and into second putting some effort to close the short lead Brendan had while climbing. I felt OK but did not want to cramp his heels and force the pace any faster. So much for that as the young guy went past and after Brendan on a down hill. I wanted to tell the guy to chill but I did not. He faded shortly and I regrouped in behind Brendan up and down another set of hills. I gave him a verbal prop at one point "lookin' good Brendan." He returned the verbal and that made me feel good (hey, this guy knows me by my name). I got beside him and took the lead around 2.5 miles. He sat, comfortably from what I could tell, behind me as we went through 3 miles and exiting Squantum for an all out flat remainder to the finish.

He retook the lead as we went back into Marina Bay and I was totally cool with that. 4 miles passed and he looked comfortable as if he were going to drop the hammer on me soon. Sure enough, we had a few tight turns in Squantum Point Park and he got a gap that would not be closed in the last 800m. He won in 28:24 (5:41 / mile pace) while I followed, 28:31 (5:42 / mile pace). Full results. Brendan, Sean, and I cooled down for an easy 15 minutes. I got a chance to learn what Brendan has been up to for racing and training over the years. He is a down to earth - decent guy who knows the running scene, competitors, and coaches really well. He is smart with his racing opportunities. I dropped some race results that included us in the same race half way accross the country - Chicago Marathon, 2003, on Brendan. He crushed it that October running under 2:35 while I ran just under 2:38. We seemed to both have the same agenda that day - run 6:00 pace for as long as you can, then go for it. His plan worked where as mine put me in my place but I still ran about that (6:00 / mile) pace at the end of the day.

I peeked at the 2009 Squantum 5 Results. It was a Pub Series event so it was a loaded field resulting in me and my quickest time, 27:29. I just edged out Terry McNatt as we battled neck and neck over the last two miles. Brendan was just behind us (I did not know this when I caught up with Brendan the other night). We will commence racing where I suspect his leg speed will prosper in the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K in a few weeks in Dorchester - his home town.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Meeting the challenge

Here is a shameless plug for an article that came out in the Daily Item last week that was written by Rich Tenorio.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hollis Fast 5K

Still rolling down through 3 miles in Hollis
Photo by KrissyK
It took me nearly two full hours to get to the Hollis Fast 5K. The traffic was as hyped for race number three of the USATF New England Grand Prix. This was a race I always wanted to do so coming here for the race series to take on all other teams from the region is always a treat. The weather was at least consistent with the last few races I have done, rain. It let up as I ran the course from the finish line with some SRR and CMS guys up to the start. Joe OLeary gave me some history as he has run very well on this course in the past. The point to point course drops 224 feet making it a barn burner. It was nice to see some CMS mates at the starting line that I have not seen in a while. I got off to a good start among the men (not trip up) and rolled away. The women came in from another direction and merged in from the left. It took a while to open up and see what was going on ahead. I did not have a game plan and did not wear a watch so I just put the head down and rolled with it. It was fast. Mile one according to the bib split was at 5:07. The gang I was near continued to pull and I could not get any quicker coming through 2 miles in 10:23. I held tangents and was holding my own without really having any back and forth with anyone until with Paul Doe through 3 miles (15:36). He finished strong with another 50 plus year old and I followed. I rolled into the finish with a time of 16:08.8 (chip/bib time) or 16:10 (gun time). I was good with the time but would have felt better around 16:00. Jason Porter had to remind me that I was just two and a half weeks removed from a marathon effort. His point was well taken. The consensus is that this course offers a time 45 seconds quicker than your average 5K (with a little up and down). The CMS open and masters team ran very well placing 3rd in both divisions. Results 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Kupenda 5 mile - Wenham

Just beyond half way. Dave Long and Matt Curran lurk behind. 
This was race number two in the North Shore Trail Series. The Kupenda 5 mile course is a two loop course that heads out into Chebacco Woods. It was one of those days. Each stride was heavy and the stride was mechanical. I took the lead 400m in and more or less kept that through 3 miles before Dave Long took over up a hill. I faded into third and kept Matt Curran as close as I could. I was wiped but was thinking that maybe I could find a surge in the last mile. However, it was not meant to be. It was frustrating to have the leader so close but it seemed like 200m as we went around the quad at Gordon College for the last 600m on a spectator friendly course (despite the rain which stopped during the race). I pulled along side Matt on the last right hand turn on the grass leading into the finish and that was it. He had made a statement matching my kick. He earned it holding second place. Dave ran a smart race running winning it with a time of 29:13. Matt and I were 29:24 and 29:25 (5:53/mile) respectively. Full results.
Matt Curran taking command before the finish. John Ayers watches in the backdrop.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Vermont City Marathon

Pulling out, removing gloves, seeking new shoes at 3 miles.
Photo by Krissy

The Vermont City Marathon has been on my list of races to run and had an open window this year. In addition, I knew several people from the North Shore (Wicked Running Club) that were running it. I made the decision about a week after the Boston Marathon to sign up. This was good timing as I really did not want to vest a quarter of the year into the rigid marathon training. I put in a six week dose of weekly long runs and a half marathon to prep for this marathon. Brett Rickenbach (2:48 personal best), Mike Paulin (2:54 personal best), and Brad Gates are regulars at the Danvers 5K races and we talked about running a sub three hour race in Burlington, VT. So we had a plan as well as getting Brad through his first marathon.

The forecast was mid 50's and rain all weekend in Burlington. When we got into Burlington on Saturday, it was in the low 40's. There was a fair amount of wind. I went to the marathon expo to not only get my number but to purchase some gloves for the race. I had a nice dinner with Krissy and the Wicked Running Club members later in the evening. I got plenty of sleep and woke up ten minutes before the 5:30 alarm for a quick shower. I looked out the hotel window hoping to see clear skies but it was not meant to be. Rain. I had some oat meal, 4oz of Cranberry juice, 20oz of water, a coffee, and a banana before taking a 20 minute shuttle from the hotel to the start. I borrowed a trash bag from the hotel kitchen (wink, wink) to stay dry before the race. I found the gang and we dropped off our bags at the bag drop and walked over and into the start coral about ten rows from the front line. We stood for 15 minutes with zero warm up in the cold windy rain. I removed the bag about a minute before our start. We were off. There were several turns and we were navigating around puddles. Brett would let us know if we were too fast or too slow.

Shoe changeout in pit row. Krissy at the ready.
Photo by Scott Mason
Around 2.5 miles, I felt a sharp pain in my calf. I freaked out. I was ready to blame the thin Inov8 flats I had on. I looked for Krissy around 3 miles for which I knew she would be at taking photos. I also packed my Nike Lunaracer 2 flats in her bag along with GU and Sport Beans just in case I needed them at mile 3, 9, and 15. I only had the shoes in there with anticipation of getting a blister in the Inov8 flats in the wet weather. I found her on the left hand side of the road in her yellow Boston Marathon Volunteer jacket. She was easy to find in the surprisingly large crowd of spectators. I yelled over to her and pointed down at the ground - my sign langauge for "I need to change out these f@!?$& shoes" while removing my gloves. She let her camera go and took the Nike flats out of her bag. My hands were cold and I could barely untie my shoes. I got one off and fumbled to get one Nike on and get it tied. I took my time to get it right and not have to deal with having them come untied later in the race. I recall whining about my calf to her and Scott Mason who
was on camera too. I had a Vermont Sta
Smiling up the hill at 15 miles.
Photo by Krissy
te Police Officer holding me up to get the other shoe on. It must have been comical to all spectators. Check out the photos that Scott got on page three. Before I left the scene in my new footwear, I gave Scott that worried look and said "I won't be finishing this race today." I was certain that calf was going to cramp up later or cause other issues. I took off and got back into the race losing at least 90 seconds. The calf felt the same but did not get worse. My mind was heavy on defeat already. However, I imediately felt more cushion from the Lunaracer and was able to run on my heels more than I could in the Inov8. The race had an out and back so I could see the front of the race come at me and allowed me to judge how far behind I was from the gang. They were not too far but it took me to about mile 9 to catch them without any surging as I was not sure how the calf was going to react. It was stable and so was I when I got back to them. Finally. I kept the drama to myself as they were happy to see me back in the fold.

The miles went by as we got into a nasty head wind at the 1/2 way mark of the marathon. The split was around 1:29:17 so we were on pace for a 2:58 marathon. Good so far but we had many miles to go. Our group started to dodge puddles and the Lake Champlain waves on the bike path. Soon we charged up the big hill at mile 15. Krissy was there smiling. It was nice to see her and nice to still be running this race. I was right next to Mike. Brett looked like he was pulling away by a few seconds and Brad was behind us. We all got together a few miles later when Brett brought up that he got some pain in behind his knee. He fell back a bit and Mike pulled ahead. I stayed in between them while still taking inventory of how I was feeling. At this point, I did not want to do anything to distrupt a good swing and introduce any muscle cramps. I was starting to pass people while keeping my sub 6:50 pace through 20 miles. By 22 miles I reeled in Mike who got at least 10 seconds ahead at one point. We shared the bike path for the last four miles of the race with the wind now at our backs. We pulled into Waterfront park which had healthy crowd all the way into the finish line. Our last 100 yards were on the muddy grass. A look at the clock on approach showed we were well under 2:58, pretty much our goal. We crossed the line side by side with a 2:57:26 (net time), 2:57:33 (gun time). I earned my 2014 Boston Qualifying time (needed a sub 3:10). I am pretty sure I will register this September for Boston. Brett pulled in just over 3 hours and Brad toughed out a 3:04 for a solid marathon debut. I shuffled through after getting the heaviest finishers medal ever (I need to hit the weights), got some warm clothes on, food in the belly, got into a few photos, found Krissy and took the first shuttle back for a hot shower at the hotel. Despite the drama early in the race, I am happy with how the execution went. Although I was super cautious, it was really spot on through out the race.
Mike Paulin and I approaching the finish line.
Photo by Krissy
KeyBank Vermont City Marathon text updates:
10 miles course time 1:08:12, pace 6:50 min/mi
Half marathon course time 1:29:17, pace 6:49 min/mi
20 miles course time 2:16:01, pace 6:49 min/mi
Finish 2:57:26, pace 6:47 min/mi
72nd second place out of 2608 runners
Full Results

Monday, May 6, 2013

Quincy Half Marathon

With the upcoming Vermont City Marathon, I felt getting a ½ marathon under the belt would be a good idea. I like the idea of a sustained effort for a good duration leading up to a marathon. I searched around the running calendar and found the Quincy Half Marathon of which I always wanted to run but had conflicts in the past. It sort of fell into my favor this year as the race was to be held on March 10 but was postponed due to weather and safety concerns from the town of Quincy. I reached out to Brett Rickenbach (WCRC) last week and he was game for the effort as he too is running VCM. Thus, we headed down to Quincy early Sunday morning. My mind was heavy as I was sore from some piriformis issues and some previous day yard work.

I changed my racing plan from requesting for 6:00 pace per mile to whatever the legs would provide without embarrassment. After a 1.6 mile warm up and stretching I was on the starting line, front row, with Brett. I followed Brett for 200m and settled next to him by our first of many turns together on the course. My legs felt OK, not great. The temperature warranted a singlet up top, Native glasses to ease the potential poke of sun which was never seen. My red and white Invo8 233’s felt smooth. Thin ragged, throw away gloves were worn for just three miles before coming off in time for a drink of water from the friendly water stop on Wollaston Beach. I found it comforting to run next to Brett. He was keeping track of Garmin mile splits vs actual course mile markers. We were averaging a low six minute pace early on while there were about 12 runners ahead of us. The miles went by fast mentally as I think we took the pressure off and just did our thing letting those in front pull away as they please. We dropped those on our heels just by our consistent pacing as we toured through downtown Quincy thanking each police officer we ran by. They were in full force to hold up several intersections of traffic to make way for the runners.  We rolled through 5 miles around 30:38. We took turns on Newport Ave leading into the wind, allowing the other to tuck in. Newport Ave turned out to be longer than it seemed on paper.

Next to Brett (1034) after the start at 8:00
Photo credit Gregg Derr, The Patriot Ledger
I recall taking my only Gatorade Gel around mile six before a water stop. I took water at each stop along the way. The Dixie cups had the perfect water to cup ratio. Brett and I would have a few words here and there.  Brett was holding a strong pace, quicker than what I thought he wanted. He told me that he was good with the pace, meaning, not looking to dip but hold it – encouraged me to drop pace when I wanted to. I was content though wanted to get some wind at my back later in the race and tee up a few targets ahead. I had two runners in my target when I pulled away just before 10 miles. My 10 mile split was 1:01:33 (about a minute slower for the 2nd 5 miles). It was just after that point where I had a two stage hill that took some time to climb. I caught the two guys over the next mile and set sight on the last guy visible to my eye. I worked hard to catch up over the next mile and finally pulled beside at 12.5 miles. We were running side by side along the road that took us to the new Quincy High School outdoor track for which the finish line awaited after a full lap. The best trash talk line I ever heard was dropped on me while I pointed over to the track and said that we still have to run a lap around that track. He said “I am a 400 meter All American.”  That got my attention but was not sure if he was serious. I felt good but was in no mood for a battle on the track at the end of a half marathon. I passed him two turns away and stepped onto the track not knowing how close he was. I went around that track as hard as I could, coming into the finish line, 6th overall with a time of 1:19:29 (6:04 mile pace). He came through a few seconds behind me. Brett followed with a solid 1:20:33 (6:09 mile pace). The guy who finished in between us is currently not in the results so I don’t know what happened there. However, I had to ask him if he was an “All American 400m runner?” He confirmed that he was at Wheaton, a relay (49.X) and is now training for an Ironman. Cool. I barely made it through a cool down with Brett and Kieran Condon (SRR) who ran a solid 1:17:59 just three weeks after running the Boston Marathon. It was nice to chill out inside to plenty of soup and sandwich wraps. I was tired but glad I got to the race and put down a solid effort. 

Quincy Half Marathon results May 5, 2013
Patriot Ledger race article