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