Monday, December 15, 2014

USATF Club Cross Country Nationals

Goofing off before the race
I put the word out to the Central Mass Striders racing team several months ago hoping to get interest in the USATF Club Cross Country Nationals race in Bethlehem, PA - Lehigh University. I was thrilled to get a masters and a senior team. We had  eleven in total willing to make the road trip which is about five and a half hours away. USATF New England offered a bus for which I took advantage of. I met up with Martin Tighe, Joe Shairs, Todd Callaghan, and John Gillis for a 7:00 departure in Woburn. The bus had 16 athletes from CMS, Greater Lowell Road Runners, Whirlaway, and Liberty. We dashed over to Westwood to pick up the rest of our passengers that made up Greater Boston Track Club, Hurtin for Certain, and a few more GLRR members. We were also joined by Bob Fitzgerald of New England Runner. I sat with Martin and among the CMS guys in the middle of the bus. We talked with everyone around us and had some great conversation catching up with Mark Reeder, Paul Hammond, and John Barbour. Otherwise, I listened to my iPod or closed my eyes for some light rest. We got to the host hotel around 2:00, allowed people to check in, and folks like myself to change into running clothes. We gathered back onto the bus and drove over to the xc course to preview it. We met up with the rest of the CMS crew breifly - Dave Dunham, Paul Bazanchuk, Dave Lapierre, and Dan Verrington as they were just about to leave. I saw about six miles of the course. The course layout was easy to figure out based on the map I saw earlier in the week. It was wide open fields and paths around the stadium and corn fields. It was a two loop course that was perfect for spectators and easy on the runners aside from a few hills that were not steep as much as they were long enough to slow it down. However, we thought the course was going to be fast. There was some mud at 1.1K and a little here and there at turns but overall the footing was good. I brought spikes and flats. I went with the flats for race day.
Warming up past mile 1

The bus driver was awesome to drop the CMS guys at our hotel which was only 2 miles away from the course and 16 miles from the host hotel. We checked in, showered, and headed off in the two cars that the Senior team had and over to Bella for a nice Italian dinner down the street. We dropped everyone off back at the hotel while Dave Dunham and I headed north to the host hotel to pick up our race number packets and attend the suggested technical meeting for our team. This was the first race I had entered that required back bibs indicating the age group. This is a good idea so you know the age group of the men ahead of you in the race. As soon as I found the starting line box assignment, we left. The Senior team had box 53 and our masters team had box 69 making Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots proud.

The team had breakfast in our hotel. It was cool to see other teams huddled around tables in their team gear. I was the last one to attend breakfast - grabbing some oatmeal, coffee, and yogurt. We got into the cars and headed over to the race at 9:30. Our race started at 11:30. There was plenty of parking when we arrived. Just as we got out of our cars, I saw Al Bernier arrive. We had exactly five 40+ men to make up our masters team. We had five 50+ guys and Paul Bazanchuk (60) but scoring down into the Senior team. We put our racing bags down on a tarp behind the starting line and camped out. Some teams went all out with tents on the other side of the stadium a half mile away. I did my own warm up after we got checked in 30 minutes before our start. The USATF official (clerk) was ensuring we and all other teams had the same style singlet, numbers pinned front and back, and chip secured onto our racing shoes. We were only allowed to have four men in the front box at the starting line so I took the box behind Greg, Todd, Al, and Joe. A field of almost 600 masters runners were soon taking off for the massive start. The course narrowed in about 500 meters away and I kept an eye on Joe and Al who were a few seconds ahead. I went to the right of the muddy spot at 1.1K. Most people went left or through the middle where it looked the slowest. I was next to Martin through mile one, going up an incline. I mentioned our 5:38 mile that I saw on my Garmin. Mark Reeder pulled beside at mile two and I tried my best to stay with him but lost him after mile 2 going down a hill past the stadium. The course was such that you could look ahead and see 400 meters at a time so I could make out my CMS guys ahead. Al seemed to be reeling in Joe and I could see Todd ahead of him. I battled tough in that first full loop and knew lap two was going to be tough with the same hills. The effort got hard in the 2nd loop. I couldn't wait to reach the last hill and open up over the last 2K. Well it looked like every guy around me was thinking the same thing. They were so strong and it did not matter what age. I think I only had one or two guys pass me in that stretch but will say that no one was willing to give an inch. This was cross country nationals. I ran as hard as possible up into inclined finish - scoring as our 5th man. I placed 95th with a time of 35:42.  

photo by Michael Scott
We all changed into some warm clothing and watched the next few races that started each hour. I settled for watching the women's open race and taking a few pictures instead of warming down. I also got my luggage from Paul's truck and into the Bus as we changed our plans and booked rooms at the host hotel. This eased our logistics for the rest of the weekend. Some guys left to head back to New England while the bus crew hung out and watched the rest of the races. The men's open race was particularly awesome to watch as the lead pack was huge for 2/3's of the race only to thin out at the end. It was so exciting to also see the women's race develop as I was rooting for the BAA ladies to take the team title which they did. The races were over and it was time to clean up and enjoy the rest of the events (happy hour, food, awards, et cetera) the race event had planned at the host hotel. Joe, Al, Martin, John, and I caught up with competitors and friends.

photo by Jill Forsythe
We got up early the following morning for a run. We met up with Kevin O'Neal from the BAA before heading back for the rest of his teammates. I took them through some quiet roads behind the hotel long enough until the CMS crew had to get back for breakfast and take our bus back to Boston. It was a great weekend and glad that we had the guys on board to pull this off. I was proud of the guys as I saw unofficial team results showing that we placed 9th as of Saturday night at the host hotel. Our Senior team finished 11th per those same team results, however, we were told the results may change because some age groups needed to be sorted out.

Unofficial Masters Results

By the numbers
119 (0.25) 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mill Cities Relay

Today was the 31st running of the Mill Cities Relay - consisting of 27 miles, 5 legs, two states, and 1 river. Joe and Sandy Armstrong from Wicked Running Club picked Krissy and I up for the ride to Nashua. I met up with Jim Rhoades to give him his number and drop off my running bag before heading out for a 2 mile warm up. I was running leg number one for the Somerville Road Runners Men's Masters team. I went through the mile in 5:26 in about 5 seconds behind Brian Keefe from SRR. My third mile was the slowest (see below) per Garmin. I recall SRR training mate Kieran Condon passing by and I stayed with him for less than 800m before a few more guys went by. We were fortunate to have a tail wind. Mike Paulin from the Wicked Running Club and D5K weekly runs passed me during mile four. Mike and I finished the Vermont City Marathon together back in 2013. I dug down to surge back and pass Mike after mile five and held him off, handing off to Jim Rhoades. I drove his car to the next exchange zone to pick Jim up and watch him hand off to Jesse Morrow. Jim and I then went to the boat house. We missed Jesse finish and hand off to Greg Picklesimer who was taking on the long leg. We drove the back roads over to the fourth exchange zone where Greg was handing off to Joe O'Leary. As we drove past, it was obvious that they were in the midst of the exchange so we drove into Lawrence so Jim could take some photos (see the link in the results below). Joe looked good running past us as did the rest of the SRR folks. We got back in the car to warm up and drive to the finish at the Claddagh Pub in Lawrence. After watching the finish line for a bit, we headed in for some food and drink for a few hours. Team photos were taken and awards were given. Our team got a Mill Cities Brick for the 1st place men's masters team! The post race set up is awesome to catch up with everyone and all things running. There were funny stories all around.........

Dan Vassallo passed 61 runners on leg 4
Festus being Festus
Ask Paul Hammond about the story behind the Cowboy boots
Where was Mike Quintal?

Joe O'Leary, Jim Rhoades, Jim Pawlicki, and Greg Picklesimer

Statistics from the Garmin 220
30:25 overall time (30:01 in 2013 and maybe under 30 in 2012 - stopped at 30:22 after hand off)
5.43 miles
5:36 mile pace

2:24 (.43)

Full Results

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wild Turkey 5 Mile Run - Salem

Krissy and I before the start
"Cut your tangents you rookies," I yelled as we turned left around the Salem Common following the start of the race. Same course this year with the exception of the last 300m wrapping up the 5 mile loop just in front of the Knights of Columbus. I felt like junk from the gun - seeing the group I should have been with just ahead and pulling away after my 5:30 opening mile. I saw the leader, Villanova athlete - Justin Williamz ripping around Winter Island after mile 2 absolutely killing it. I plugged away and cheered the group running into Winter Island as I exited. I managed to catch a guy at 2.9 miles and another at 4 to move up two places. CMS t'mate Matt Viega was way ahead battling it out for 5th. I finished 7th overall with a time of 28:31 - well off my reasonable 27:45 expectation. I took the effort in stride. It was a stiff reminder that not all races go as planned and the body told me right away how it was going. I touched base with Justin who took the win to get the scoop on his affiliation to Lynn (as seen in other race results) and his progress at Villanova. His DMR team is one second off the World Record (Taxas and Leo Manzano hold it) and his team is chasing that in 2015. Yes, world record! The Lynn affiliation relates to his girlfriend. Proud to see Krissy finish the race as she had doubts after some knee pain recently. Another turkey day race in the books. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

USATF New England XC Championships

I had a blast today. Joe drove Todd and I into Franklin Park. Dave Dunham did the team a solid by setting up a tent so we could crash and keep our stuff together. He had an assortment of CMS singlets over the past 20 years hanging over the front side of it. I was excited to be racing the masters 8K - same course as Mayor's Cup from two weeks ago. My first mile split was identical to then - just under 5:20 and a step away from Todd. He pulled away and ran down several runners over the next few miles. I had to back off a touch up Bear Cage hill but I was trailing good company in Mark Reeder (GLRR) and Wayne Levy (BAA). It was this company that I kept for the rest of the race, only getting past Wayne up Bear Cage in the last mile. I finished 22nd overall, 3rd CMS runner, with a time of 28:17.51. This was 20 seconds slower than two weeks ago. I will chalk that up to marathon legs from Sunday. However, the execution was good and did my best out there. The CMS masters team finished 3rd overall behind the BAA and Greater Springfield. The Seniors team took first place. I am looking forward to racing with these guys at USATF Club XC Nationals in December.  

Masters 8K results

Paul Bazanchuk, Erik Vandendries, Dave Mingori, Joe Shairs, John Gillis, Todd Callaghan, Jim Pawlicki, Greg Putnam, Martin Tighe, Dave Dunham, Dan Verrington

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Manchester City Marathon

The marathon bag was packed as Krissy, my father, and I left the wind and rain of the North Shore to cloudy and windy skies in Manchester, NH. It was time for the Manchester City Marathon. I watched the race from the bike last year so had a feel for some of the course. I was not really in marathon ready fitness but had plenty of races including the Nahant 30K under my belt. We parked under the host hotel and picked up my number and race packet early so as to ensure Krissy got a map of the course as she planned on taking photos as various points. CMS got a team photo in 10 minutes before the start of the race and before I knew it, the race started and we were into a head wind 800m in. I connected with Martin Tighe as we both had a plan of 2:50 or so. I mentioned each mile split as we passed a mile so we knew what was going on. We were running a little quicker than expected but we just went with it. About four miles into the race, the lead women came up on us (we had Anthony Crudale from GBTC with us now). 

We all hung together clicking the miles past us, working together, with or without wind in our faces. It was nice and took the burden of the marathon thoughts away. We were in sync without a lot of talk. I still yelled out each mile split to assist the group of what we just accomplished. I was concerned that someone would get anxious and take off. Martin did at mile 15 right into a head wind. It stood me right up and started to feel the pacing catch up as the legs hinted they were no longer going to tolerate 6:20’s. Anthony fell back and Martin and the ladies carried on ahead. I started to have those negative signs that the legs wanted to cramp at any moment and then we came upon the half marathon runners. That kind of helped because I did not feel so isolated and alone.

However, I kept an eye on the ladies and Martin ahead. They put a minute on me. It was nice to see Dave Dunham out there offering support or a gel. I was all set and armed with at least one left for the last 8 miles. I came into the downtown area (mile 19) and to a cheer from Joe OLeary (SRR) who had prescribed most of the intervals that I have been doing over the last few years with a solid SRR group at Tufts University. One of those training partners, Joe Lauer, came by looking particularly fresh. I reluctantly hitched on for pick me up. That worked for about 2 minutes and my legs said no way. We crossed the bridge over the Merrimac River and I saw Morgan Kennedy (CMS) sitting down at an intersection. He was done for the day. I wanted to offer him my gel and last salt tablet but the look on his face and my own misery said not to bother. I waived to him and it was mutual. My battle continued and wouldn’t you know it, we had some hills to encounter and I am feeling like crap. My left lower leg was going numb like I sprained my ankle. I motored on and came to terms that the 2:50 was out of the question and now my effort was to finish and limit the legs from cramping outright. I saw Denise bolt out of a yard, marathon style pit stop, and get in front of the 2nd place woman who I was tracking down. She took right off and took the win around 2:51. I remember mile marker 22 very well as we had to run downhill and that hurt. Soon I had to jump a curb to reach a bike path and that was risky with my wobbly state. Eric Narcisi (WRT) came by looking just like Joe did earlier with a lot of energy and looking fresh. I was envious. Not much I could do but shuffle along the bike path which reminded me of the last few miles of the Vermont City Marathon. It had that slight down grade to it and peacefulness. I only wished I had some legs under me.  

Coming into the last 5K of the race gave me a sense that I was close to finishing but the death march continued. The legs had yet to give out to any real sharp cramping but they were hinting. The bike path dropped down to the river behind Delta Dental and I was immediately greeted by a volunteer who gave me a heads up on the turnaround. I got down there and saw runners coming back at me so as to see who I was running with miles ago – Joe, Denise (who would go on to win), Eric Williams (WRT), Martin, and Eric. I reached the 180 degree turn with a huge sign and two volunteers. No big deal I thought until hearing later that the leaders missed this spot and kept running – hence getting lost. I turned and passed a runner in the process facing now a stiff head wind. I immediately saw CMS teammate and fellow master Nick Taormina about 30 seconds back. I was the 3rd CMS master at the moment (behind Al Bernier and Martin Tighe) and I really did not want to give up that spot. I tried to pick up the pace but alas the head wind was not cooperating. The last mile and a half was the longest mile and a half I ever ran. I was losing my mental and physical faculties. The legs were refusing but were still turning over. Each volunteer was supportive as I was in a sea of orange cones taking me up to the Elm Street and the last long straight to the finish. I was so happy to reach that finish line. I finished in 24th place and a chip time of 2:53:15. I was the 4th master (40+) overall. Martin was about a minute ahead of me and Nick was right behind me. I shook some hands and caught up with my dad and Krissy. It was getting cold so I went across the street to get changed. Walking and coming to any stairs was hilarious. I got back to Veterans Park now anxious to get the low down on the team scoring. 

It was then that I heard about the unfortunate news about the top guys getting lost. It still makes me sick to think about that. As recently as yesterday, the guys were given the prize money they missed out on by the Machester Marathon. CMS took the team win in the open and masters divisions. The Senior team placed 3rd. USATF New England is/was to review the team scoring impact this week as Jason Ayr from WMDP would have, if finished in his leading spot, taken the team open win and overall Grand Prix Series for 2014. Regardless, I have to hand it to all that ran in the event as conditions were far from favorable. I took in some hot chocolate and left for a nice lunch at the Common Man down the road. 

Plc Name                  Div        10KSPLIT   13.1MISPLI 19.3MSPLIT  Pace      Time     
24 PAWLICKI, JAMES  M40-49 38:56     1:23:34         2:04:27           6:37        2:53:15 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mayor's Cup 8K cross country race

Photo by Joe O'Leary
Todd and I got to Franklin Park finding parking what seemed like a mile away. It was certainly a packed house. I headed out for a warm up with Ryan Collins and found Todd to cover 2 plus miles to check on the course which was dry if not for a few stretches of mud. Overall, the course was in great shape. The race went out fast as usual. I hooked up with Todd after 200 meters. The course mile came around in 5:20 (GPS showed 5:14). I lost some space as Todd pulled away up Bear Cage Hill. The quick pace caught up with me after two miles. Bernat Olle passed by and my legs were just flat. I looked ahead in the wilderness loop and saw Todd gaining on Ryan. I came around for the 5K around 17:30 and into the wilderness loop again trying to keep it together. Runners around me were suffering but occasionally I would latch onto someone for a bit. I came around to mile 4 around 22:40 (5:40 pace) and had a WMDP guy to work with for the last mile. We went back and forth into Bear Cage and I encouraged him to give it a go talking him through the top telling him to open it up. He was hurting so I proceeded with my own advice knowing that I had to hustle to break 28 minutes which was my goal. I counted that finish line clock all the way down the home stretch from 27:30. Official results had me at 27:58 so that made for a happy guy and a clear head for the ride home. I was the 4th CMS runner behind Greg Putnam, Todd Callaghan, and Ryan Collins. Dave Dunham capped off the scoring for us as the all critical 5th man. I headed out for a cool down with the team, Bernat, Jon Longo (training for the Philadelphia Marathon), and Kieran Condon (training for the New York City Marathon).

Mayor's Cup Cross Country Race Results

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ravenswood 4.1 mile trail race - Gloucester

The trail race tour continued today at Ravenswood park in Gloucester. CMS teammates Dave Dunham and Todd Callaghan were signed up so I was looking forward to seeing them. Todd and David Long hustled out at the start and I took a back seat. The back seat got comfortable apparently as I never got back in touch, only seeing David at one point shortly after 3 miles. Leaf covered single track, fire roads, boulders, planks, you name it - we ran over it. Eric Narcisi shadowed me for the first two and a half miles - keeping me from letting up at all which was good thing. Todd took the win (26:50) followed by David (27:26). I was third (27:53) and Eric was 4th at 28:06. The first three guys were over 40! Dave Dunham took 5th and top 50+ honors. A joined a big group (Dave X 2, Eric, Emma, and Doug) and headed out to run the course again. We reached the post race party that already kicked off with the fun raffles done by race director, Jen Brooks! I swear I saw Bonnie Halliman win a box of Yodels as I arrived. I was light headed (low blood sugar or bonking) and was tempted to ask if I could tear the box open before I passed out (maybe a little dramatic). Thankfully there were plenty of baked goods still on the table. I was all over Matt Curran's peanut butter fudge snacks and a coffee cake muffin. My life was saved. A bottle of water and I was good to go! My award for the day was a pair of Eddie Bauer wool socks (always appreciated) that are warming my feet right now. 2014 Ravenswood 4.1 mile trail race results

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hills & Hops 5K Trail Run - Bartlett, NH

pre-race at the base
Krissy and I headed up to the White Mountains for a few days to celebrate my 40th as well as our 24 year anniversary. While having dinner at the Red Fox, Krissy and I peeked over the events in the Bartlett NH area for the near peak foliage Columbus Day weekend. I saw an advertisement for the Hills and Hops 5KTrail Run at Attitash Mountain Resort. The race was kicking off their 17th Annual Oktoberfest. Last years results showed 40 year old Ken Lubin took the win with a time of 19:47. I shrugged it off and was more intent to run long with the likes of Kevin Tilton and Jim Johnson in their back yard. I got a few miles in with Jim Johnson the night before the race. He did not have any details on the race when I brought it up. Our schedules did not line up for a long run so I had 12 hours to gear up for my first race after turning a master (40+).

Krissy and I arrived at the Attitash Mountain Resort early so I could check out the course. It was well marked with arrows where you had to make a turn which was literally to go up or down. I imagined that I was in for an eastern Mass style trail race but I was so wrong with my assumptions. Despite the course not hitting any peaks, this course was an ass kicker. I gave Krissy the 411 and she signed up after I compared it to Lynn Woods with some climbs that were the equivalent of Stone Tower grade and length. I stripped down to single layers (orange Adidas tech short sleeve, gloves, and my Volkswagen GTI winter hat) only to hear about a 10 minute delay 10 minutes before our race. Argh! My scientific calculations of the warmup time ratio went right out the window. I kept moving right until the race was called to the line. A gent jumped into the lead (turned out to be Ken Lubin – last year’s winner) on the first climb. My breathing was heavier than his as I took over 300 meters into the race. I boogied along, up and down the course. My pace slowed a lot on the climbing after one mile. 

Gifts from the race
 My lead grew a little longer each time I looked back at the top of the hills. The last hill was the long one. Once at the top, a generous decline in elevation awaited to grades lucky to be seen at Dunham’s Northfield Mountain races of the past. Each step was careful on the descent for various reasons. Alas, the finish came into view and a not so shocking 20 minute something on the clock (crossed the line in 21:05). The Garmin nailed this as 3.14 miles. One has to throw times out the window on any race that is off road. Ken was about a minute behind me and felt the race was a little different as in longer than last year. He too measured 3.14 miles. The race director asked for our feedback and all I could say was not to make it any tougher in the future. I would like to see this course as a snowshoe race. I put a long sleeve on and headed out for a very slow cool down, however, running against the race, doing the loop clockwise. I cheered on every runner – giving the good news to those who only had one hill left and a long down hill finish. Krissy was one of them, hiking up the last beast. Later she would share that she finished strong and passed a few doing so. I was in hustle mood after I wrapped that up as the condo exit was to take place at 11:00 so I left Krissy at the race to score a bottle opener in the raffle. I picked up a race Mug and Nike gift card which magically turned into three pairs of socks three hours later.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Stone Tower Trail Run 15K

I ran over to the race and signed up for the Stone Tower 15K. The race course goes up Stone Tower three times, Steel Tower once, and Dungeon Rock once. Tough as it can get for a trail race. The weather was perfect after the rain yesterday. I chatted with Dennis Floyd (SpiderOne) before heading over to the line next to David Long (Wicked Running Club) who was 2nd last year. Chris Smith (Somerville Road Runners) charged into the lead from the Great Woosd gate driveway and into Lynn Woods. I caught him toward the top of the first hill and taking the race up the single track to Stone Tower. The lead was short lived as I had my eyes on a sign for the 15K and an arrow pointing left. I was scolded to screams of many after I took the turn (where were you on Thursday). I turned back only to be behind Bernat Olle (Cambridge Running Club) and David Long who bolted down the hill. They traded off leads as I had a birds eye view before I was able to catch David after Penny Bridge. Bernat was holding his own about five seconds in front. I kept him close for the next few miles but never got any closer than I did going up the Dungeon Rock steps - maybe 10 seconds.

I lost some time in the Boulder Path which is a single track ankle buster. I knew I was losing precious time and being cautious instead of reckless. I asked myself - what would Jim Johnson do here? Upon reaching Stone Tower a second time, I managed to see Bernat at the bottom of the hill (100 yards?) and not slowing down. That was the last time I saw him. The rest of the tour took me through a personal favorite of Lynn Woods - Undercliff Path. I think I heard David behind me so I could not dare take a nap at the wheel. The legs were absolutely zapped for the rest of the race. I don't think I could have held anyone off if I got run down in the last two miles. It was all downhill from the third exhaustive visit to Stone Tower. I rolled into the finish for 2nd place overall and a time of 1:00:22. Bernat crushed it in 59:19. David rolled in about a minute behind me. Full results I was pretty beat following the race so I shut it down and hung out for some refreshments. Looking ahead, it looks like I will be racing Ravenswood (1st race as a master), Mayors Cup XC, and the Manchester City Marathon.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Clock to the Rock 5K - Lynn

The Downtown Lynn Cultural District hosted the Clock to the Rock 5K in Central Square. The awesome Boston traffic got it the way and was pretty sure I was not going to make the 6:00 start. It took me over ninety minutes to reach downtown Lynn. I had 8 minutes to park, change, sign up, and get to the line. I reached the registration table while the race was getting lined up on the starting line. I made it to the line with about two minutes to spare. I sprinted out into fourth place. Up front was a young kid running with a back pack. William Jackson and Michael Smith followed as we ran along the barriers on the side of the road marking the course. William took the lead and I got behind him when we reached the Lynn/Nahant rotary maybe .75 miles in. A police officer said we were going the wrong direction. We were running the last mile instead of the first. We slowed down and nearly stopped - looking confused. William and Michael shrugged it off and started running again. I followed knowing that we were doing the course in a counter clockwise direction.

We were supposed to be going clockwise so we missed a turn 400 meters into the race. As William said, "what's done is done." We stayed together but at a slower pace now. I was thinking that we were going mess up the results and or get disqualified. By nature of the course and our misdirection, we ran into the race to jeers that we were going the wrong way. I felt pretty silly but kept a sense of humor about it. Michael picked up the pace at the end to cross the line in 1st and I followed Bill. In fact, I walked across it and told the timing truck what had happened. Another conversation took place with someone affiliated with the race. I stayed out of it and was ready to write off us getting credit. We did run 3.15 miles but in the wrong direction. They recognized our efforts and let the results stand. I ran a cool down with William and Michael, running the course in the correct direction. We followed up with hanging out at the after-party in the Lynn Museum and live music by a local funk band. It was a pretty cool scene. It was easy to forgot about our mishap. Awards were given out and I grabbed an age group trophy and managed to pick up a race shirt that I missed at registration. Patrick Taylor swung by to check out the festivities and we hit the road for a burrito at Taco Lupita around the corner. At least I will be prepared for the course next year!

Lynn Item article and photos: Quirky finish to the Clock to the Rock 5K

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Nahant 30K

I hit up the Nahant 30K hosted by the North Shore Striders today to get in a long sustained effort run. CMS mates Martin Tighe and Arthur Besse were going so I wanted to ensure a team of three would score. Upon my arrival, I was glad to see Scott Leslie there. He is training for the Hartford Marathon as an invited athlete. The start took off and a bunch of GBTC guys moved in behind Scott who would end up taking the win in 5:45 pace. I settled in around Arthur, Martin, and Andrew from SRR. I had some laughs with EJ and James who were busting on "those guys from CMS." My Garmin was useful today as I was mindful of keeping my pace in check each mile. I had no business running sub 6:00 pace as that was bound to explode in my face on a warm day. I thought mid to low sixes was sustainable. Time would tell. The other factor was electrolyte replacement for which I was testing today. I packed three saltstick capsules and two PowerGel's for old time sake for the adventure. I popped the first capsule after five miles. There were water/gatorade stops every three miles. Martin started to take off after the lead woman while I stayed back with the gents above.

Krissy was taking photos about at the top of the Northeastern University loop. The mile splits to this point were any where from 6:10 to 6:25. The miles rolled by and I chased any shade on the road and hit all tangents. I took on the second saltstick capsule after 11 miles. I pulled away from the guys and concentrated on going after the lead woman who was about a minute ahead. I found myself alone for the first time in the race only getting by some sunshine starters and the oncoming runners who were heading into their mile 9. James pulled up next to me when we saw Krissy for the 2nd time on Northeastern University loop. He said he had to run a sub six to catch me. James pulled away going up the hills past the Nahant Library. I caught both just before the Nahant Life Saving station. Little Nahant was a beast as usual with the hills. I took my last saltstick at the last water stop where the Kay family was working. I ripped my fastest mile, 6:02, from 17 to 18. I was tired but excited that I had no muscle cramps. I approached the finish where my dad watched on one side and Krissy on the ocean side taking photos. I placed 9th overall with a time of 1:57:56, 6:20 / mile pace. For perspective, I ran 6:17 pace, 1:57 last year in the USATF New England Championship. I picked up a New Balance running hat for third place in my age group. I was pleased how my race shook out. 

At the finish

Myself, Arthur Besse, Scott Leslie, Martin Tighe

With Dad

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lone Gull 10K - Gloucester

Sunday lined up the Lone Gull 10K in Gloucester which was race six of the USATF New England Road Race Grand Prix. The weather conditions were awesome with temps in the 60’s and sunny. I started about five rows from the starting line on the right. The early miles are easy along the water and getting pulled by the colorful flow of runners ahead and around. Hearing a mile split of 5:25, I looked ahead to catch teammate Arthur Besse who would end up running a PR for the day. A climb into mile two gave me some separation away from Craig Fram and Arthur just under 11 minutes. I cruised on the downhill out to the water and the level road toward Eastern Point. I was eyeing Robert Cipriano about five seconds ahead into the rare shade into three miles (16:28). He remained elusive as failed to catch him. Mile four went by and one could see way ahead as we headed back to the water. I could see CMS teammates Joe Shairs and Todd Callaghan working together and I wanted some of that as I closed in along the water. I hung onto Joe Lauer (SRR) and Mark Larosa (BAA) for a bit as they looked in command when they passed me. They pulled me into mile five around 27:47. I was closing in on Todd and Heather Cappello who turned out to be women's winner. We were biting right into the wind and that was challenging along with the tired legs. I managed to pass Todd and Heather after six miles on the downhill into the final stretch for a 34:40 (net time) or 34:43 (gun time and 5:36 / mile) and placed 72nd. This 10K was 12 seconds faster than the Level Renner 10K effort back on August 17th. The CMS teams ran well with a team finish of 2nd in the open/masters and third in the Senior division. Full results of the 2014 Lone Gull 10K.
Photo by Scott Mason
Check out his photos at
Below are my USATF New England 10K championship results over the last six years.
2014 34:40 (net time) Lone Gull 10K - Gloucester, MA
2013 35:29 (net time) Lone Gull 10K - Gloucester, MA
2012 35:22 Newton 10K - Newton, MA
2011 34:17 James Joyce Ramble 10K – Dedham, MA
2010 35:43 Bridge of Flowers – Shelburne Falls, MA
2009 34:30 Lone Gull 10K - Gloucester, MA
2008 35:12 Bridge of Flowers – Shelburne Falls, MA

Sunday, September 7, 2014

GBTC XC Festival - Wellesley

The Greater Boston Track Club was hosting the first race of the USATF New England Cross Country Grand Prix at Elm Park in Wellesley. They hosted an 8K two years ago. Today was cut down to a 5K which I approve of as a fine start to the cross country season. The open race (39 masters had a race 30 minutes before us) got started about twenty minutes late. I did a 3 mile warm up with Rodney Hemingway and Dennis Floyd on the course and had to hang around for a while. Michael P. Mahone did the Star Spangled Banner just after Tom Derderian busted out the Harmonica for some Dixie. The race went out fast as it should. 300m into the race narrowed onto a trail along the Charles River. I was way back with a 5:28 mile according to Garmin. The second mile had the only hill up onto a soccer field. I passed a few runners before mile 2 (5:34) before heading into the shaded roots along the Charles River for a loop. I slowed in here and I knew it. Time was running out and I was just watching my steps along the roots. I got to the finish line in 30th place (out of 56 runners) and a time of 17:18. I did a 4.25 mile cool down with a big group out to Wellesley College (Boston Marathon Course) and back via Pond Street. Next on the racing schedule is the Lone Gull 10K.

2014 Greater Boston Track Club Cross Country Festival results

Monday, September 1, 2014

GMAA Labor Day 15K

August 31, 2014 - South Burlington, VT
The Green Mountain Athletic Association hosted a rolling 15K USATF New England Championship today. Very light rain and humidity did not damper the effort. I jumped out to a 5:48 mile - a little slower than my goal of 5:40. The miles rolled by and a few hills thinned out the crowd ahead of me. I managed to catch up to Joe Shairs and Morgan Kennedy at the same time - before 4 miles. I did not bother looking at my splits but was motoring good with Morgan. I hit a wall climbing on the bike path and he got away. He battled Daniel Button (GLRR) for a bit. I kept them in sight and navigated behind, finally catching them on a downhill stretch over a highway. I was doing good on the downhills but was losing a step climbing so I had to focus on the down and uphill finish stretch. I passed Daniel on the down hill heading back to the school and got beside Morgan who encouraged me to go for it. I kept the little bit of momentum and struggled up the last of the hill into the school driveway. I held them off but got passed just before the line by Adron Pitman. I was satisfied with the effort even though I know I had a garbage mile in the middle somewhere where the hills took the wind out of me and the legs. 47th place, 53:46.8 (3:35/kilometer). CMS finished 2nd overall in the open and masters divisions which was awesome. I got a cool down in with Joe and Al before having some post race goodies in the school. An early checkout at the hotel had Krissy and I bailing sooner than I wanted to. We cleaned up and spent the rest of the day in downtown having brunch with ol' friend Derek and chilling out in the park overlooking Lake Champlain. The umbrellas were mandatory.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lynn Woods Relay

Dennis, I, Maggie, and Dawn
August 20, 2014
Dennis Floyd asked me if I would do the relay with him, Maggie Doben, and Dawn McGrath. Why not? It would be fun to be on a coed team - first time for me at the relay. The relay is 4 X 2.5 miles. I submitted the entry and team name of SpiderOne a week before the race. I led off with a 14:19 which put the team in 4th place overall - behind Greg Putnam and the Central Mass Striders team that also included Aaron Baldwin, Matt Veiga, and Dan Verrington. Maggie Doben got a course PR and handed off to Dennis. He picked up a few spots and handed off to Dawn McGrath who also set a course PR. At the end of the night, we scored a 2nd place showing in the coed division and 9th overall out of 100+ teams. I capped off the night with Krissy and the Wicked Running Club at Prince Pizza.

Level Renner 10K Brockton

August 17, 2014
The Level Renner 10K is beautiful two loop road course with rolling hills within D.W. Field Park in Brockton. 80% of the course is in the shade. CMS had more than seven men in the race including Nate Jenkins, Greg Putnam, Joe Shairs, Al Bernier (making his 40 year old debut), Jason Porter, and Scott Deslongchamps. We were gunning for the team prize money. Five scored this year as opposed to the three from last year. The start headed up the road passing the lookout tower. This hill is a beast as we encounter it two more times. I was with Jason Porter, Joe Shairs, and Robert Cipriano in the early miles. Al was about five seconds ahead and looking very strong after my 5:35 opening mile. I got a little room away from those guys about half way through. Al was not coming back as he built up 15 seconds on me. I recall going through mile 5 around 28:00. Robert passed me and caught Al with 800 meters to go. They had an envious battle up the last hill. Al stopped and dry heaved just after six miles. I urged him to get back in it - he did but lost time and three spots. Meanwhile, I had someone breathing down my neck - John Bigoutte from CT. He edged me at the very end. Joe was ten seconds back and Al was in behind him. My time was 34:52 for 10th - almost a minute quicker than last year. The team won but no team prize exchanged hands due to lack of teams. Race director, KG has to pay the bills which is fine by me. No problem as I picked up a Garmin GPS watch that went to Krissy's sister.
A mess upon finishing the Level Renner 10K
Full Results

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Asbury Grove Duathlon - Hamilton

August 9, 2014
This is how I roll - about to jump into the run in Asbury Grove
The weekend was clear (free to race) and always wanted to do this duathlon (2.4 mile run, 9.0 mile bike, 2.4 mile run)from Asbury Grove. Roger Perham and Asbury Grove host the event. You can’t beat this event which cost just $10 (used to be $5). A little more thought in terms of preparation must go into an event like this from an athlete point of view. One must ensure all gear, bike, clothing, hydration, et cetera is in order. I really don’t know what I am doing out there so just went with the flow in terms of effort. In doing so, I led through the first run, 2.4 miles. – 13:24 and transitioned into my shoes to clip into the bike. Meanwhile, 2nd place, Jeffrey Capoianco, flew past on his bike. I never saw him again as he traveled the next 9.7 miles (full bike distance) on the bike at a 24.4 mph clip. Pretty fast. The bike is not my strength and I don’t pretend. I just pedaled and assumed a few athletes would pass me. We biked past Bradley Palmer State Park, Willowdale, and Turner Hill. There were a few hills but not too bad. Two athletes did pass me and one included friend, Brett Rickenbach with a few miles to go before we would transition into the last 2.4 mile run. The bike portion took me 31:01 with an average speed of 18.8 mph (6th overall). I reeled Brett in after a mile on the run taking over third place. I ran out of room but was gaining on second place, Shane Sherwood. I finished 3rd overall (58:01) but again had the quickest time for that run (13:46). It was fun and hard at the same time. Meanwhile, Krissy finished her first ever duathlon. She rocked it. We had a nice pancake breakfast inside the Grove and then paid a visit with the Rich family. It was a good day and nice way to start the vacation.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Squantum 5 mile road race Quincy

I broke out the blue Level Renner singlet for the 5 mile race around the corner from the office in the beautiful Marina Bay - Quincy. The race had a new calendar date in August in order to have a post-race venue. The race is usually held in June. The night was warm but lacked the humidity. I spoke with race director JJ Larner before the race to consult on the slight course adaptation to work around construction in Squantum Point Park. This would cut off about 1/10th of a mile. Indeed, I measured out 4.92 miles on the GPS. I jumped out to 5:25 1st mile – unchallenged chasing the police car that paved the way along the roads I frequently train on. I pressed as hard as possible solo which is hard in the hills of Squantum. I backed off the pace with 200m to go to make sure I did not break 27:29 which is my PR on the course and stay out of the top ten of the fastest times here. With the shortened course, I did not want the time to mistakenly get on that list. I took the win with a 27:37 on the 4.92 mile course. Another 10th of a mile would provide a low 28 effort which is solid. The post-race venue at the Water Club, upstairs, in Marina Bay was welcomed. The view of the city of Boston skyline and sun going down with a pink sky was perfect to end the day. There were plenty of hops and hot dogs were available. I caught up with Michelle and Bob (age group award winner) from New England Runner. The household subscription is in Krissy’s name so I came clean that I am still supporting it. Full results 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Yankee Homecoming 10 mile - Newburyport

The Central Mass Striders team heading to the Yankee Homecoming 10 mile road race in Newburyport only had four men on the day of the race. Five are needed to score. I decided that morning to fill in as the 5th guy. I left work 3:00, picked up Krissy, and sat back for a quick ride up Rt 95. I signed up at registration and made sure I made contact with Jason Porter, Dan Verrington, Nick Taormina, and Patrick Rich to confirm we were all there for a potential scoring team. I tried to recall the last time I ran the race. 2008 was the last time I was there and it was a USATF New England Championship event. I ran 56:48 (5:41) and placed 48th. My expectations last night were to get under 58:00. I got a light warm up running from the parking lot to the high school to hear the 5K go off at 6:00. I jogged around Anna Jaques Hospital, did some light stretching, and got into the starting line three rows from the line two minutes before the starting gun. The start is flat and easy to find room on the wide street. I heard a 5:28 1st mile split. A nice downhill to the water and heard a 2nd mile of 11:00. I was in the back of a solid group of at least 10 guys including Jason Porter (CMS), Caleb Evanter (GBTC), Matt Germain (SISU), and Robert Cipriano (SRR). I did not know the other guys as they were all new young faces to me.
Heading up the driveway to the finish line
Photo by KrissyK

Photo by KrissyK
My pace was quicker than what I felt I could sustain for 10 miles but just went with it knowing that I would be positioned very well if I kept with that group for as long as possible. I was really pumped to be in that competitive group. We took on the first real climb up toward Maudsley State Park and a water stop just after 5 miles. I heard a split of 28:10. That was a good half way split considering my all out five mile race for the year was around 27:43 in May. The pack thinned out on that hill and I slipped off that group. I got back into the back of that group crossing the Rt. 95 overpass behind Eric Williams (Whirlaway) and Caleb Evanter. We took a left into residential neighborhood to the left of Maudsley and watched Caleb take off with authority. I started to feel the effect of my quicker than usual pacing. I hung in there and battled anyone around me leaving the Maudsley area up a hill where I felt I was running so slow. I crossed over Rt 95 once again with less than 2.5 miles to go. I was beat and just looking for the finish line. I ran with a young guy into the last mile. I lost a few spots in the last mile as my wheels were coming off. It was a good sight to see the orange cones leading us into the Newburyport High School driveway. I maintained stride up the driveway and into the finish to a delighted sight of the clock ticking in the 56 minutes. I finished with a time of 56:47 (5:41) – chip time of 56:45 – 22nd place overall. I was very happy with the time and effort. I had absolutely nothing left. It has been a while since I had a ten mile time that quick. I caught up with some competitors and headed out for a cool down with Patrick Rich and Steve Dowsett who ran us past his house off High Street. I ran another mile with Jason Porter and Dan Verrington. CMS placed 4th overall. My stomach was a mess so I headed back to find Krissy and get some nourishment as I was very light headed.  I will post up some photos that Krissy took once they are uploaded

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K

Full Results 
By the numbers: 16:53, 5:27 per mile
9th place overall, 2nd age group 35-39
Garmin Splits:

It was a warm July night but absent of the brutal humidity over the past few days. I even cooled off after the warm up, standing on the starting line. I got a good start - nothing crazy fast and inserted myself in the top 15 and moved up to and through a few BAA. My GPS mile chimed in early before the 1st mile marker near the L Street (host running club for the race) bath house. A volunteer yelled out a 5:26 mile split for my group and I. I got around green singlet guy just before the turn-around cone. I took a wide turn to avoid trouble and be good to my knees. I proceeded to battle it out with two blue singlets - youngsters from Wheaton (based on someone yelling for them). They were sucking air but the one who was doing less of the oxygen intake pulled ahead through mile 2 (I heard a split of 10:40). Something did not feel right with my right hamstring. It felt like it was going to cramp. I collected myself passing one Wheaton guy and another black singlet dude soon after. I was a mess with 400m to go past the Carson Beach Bath House. I gave up a spot to the black singlet dude and zombied my way to the finish line. 16:53 for 9th place. I have run two other serious 5K's this year; An Ras Mor road race (16:56) and the USATF New England Outdoor 5000m (16:53) with similar times so call me consistent regardless of temperature. I got a cold face cloth from the L Street volunteers after the finish. Cool treat in the heat that I have seen in Florida road races. My cool down consisted of a bGood burger with Tomato and Mustard on a wheat bun. Yes, good! No more miles for the night but chilled and caught up with Kevin Balance - founder of Level Renner. He is on the mend. Look for him to be running soon and please support the Level Renner 10K next month in Brockton. There is individual and team prize money.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Greenbelt Run for the Hills Trail 10K

Photo by Roger Perham
I headed over to Pingree to sign up for the 10K trail run. There was 5K too which is one loop and the 10K is two. I warmed up with Doug and Dan. On our way back to the start, a crowd was staring at the foot bridge as bees were stirred up and had stung several runners. This was 200 meters into the race so the race director made the wise decision to delay the start and re-route the course away from the area for everyone’s safety. This shortened the course a bit (I measured out 5.7 at the end of the race). I jumped out at the start into the lead with Mike Demauro in tow. The change in the course was simple – just head across the baseball field and into the trail to pick up the orange surveyor flags. There were two volunteers out on the field just in case as well. The footsteps behind began to fade after 1.5 miles. I went through half way in just over 18 minutes. I noted how warm it was but 90% of the course was under tree cover in the woods. Based on the cheering at half way, my lead was less than 15 seconds. Come to find out Mike was finishing his race (5K) and Eric Narcisi was now in chase. I heard him twice in the next mile or so. I was tiring out and could not sustain the pace of the first lap. I had to keep honest and did not want to get caught. I pressed on with small surges and it seemed to give me some operating room. I finished up and held Eric off by 19 seconds to take a win. My time was 36:34 which suggests that my 2nd lap was about 30 seconds slower. In keeping with the trend of not doing back to back races on the same terrain, my next race will be the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K this Thursday night in South Boston.

Monday, July 7, 2014

US Mountain Running Championship - Loon Mountain

The skinny:
53rd place
Time: 1:03:36.7
First time I had to walk: 39 minutes
I walked/hiked 90% of upper walking boss

Loon Mountain was hosting the 2014 US Mountain Running Championships and I had the day open so I committed to it. CMS was going to have plenty of guys there and I had to get them some gear so I was a man on a mission. I have some history at Loon and each time I get to Upper Walking Boss, I curse it. A 40% grade will do that to a sane person, trust me. The course was changed this year with more cross country early on which I loved. There was mud, elevation changes, flats, and more importantly, shade. The serious climbing was all in the 2nd half of the race. Even in the 2nd half, there is a little bit of down hill to break up the pain. 

I was doing pretty good, passing folks, slowly, on the climbs and caught up to Ethan Nedeau before the descent to Upper Walking Boss. However, I drove that descent with no aggression and he put 20 seconds on me. I checked out a bit while allowing the legs to recover from the ascent before. I collapsed to a crawl and started the hike and walk up the ‘boss as did most ahead of me. It seemed acceptable and running seemed useless as either effort gained the same distance (not entirely true but my legs fell for it). About eight guys passed me on the way up and I did not care too much about it. I don’t mean that negatively. I was in a world of suffering and walk or run, it was tough. Ask anyone who did it. The top of Upper Walking Boss did come quicker than I remember in the past. That was a good thing. Looking back down on the ‘boss gave me a 2 second sense of accomplishment but I still had to crest the top and finish it up. I was completely on empty on this one folks. I won’t lie. 1:03 and 36 seconds. 

On the way down to find the Upper Walking Boss
Photo by KrissyK
The scenery all around – surrounded by mountains on a clear sunny day was absolutely worth it. I met up with CMS teammates for some chat, photos, and a slow jog to the Gondola with Arthur Besse with whom I talked into doing such the race 18 hours earlier. He handled himself just fine helping the masters team take the win. The CMS men’s open and senior teams also took team wins! Good stuff. I caught Krissy who was wrapping up her photo session of the day for a nice Gondola ride down. I soaked the legs in the ice cold river. It was ice cold and won’t lie that I refused to take that for more than a minute on the legs. We went back to check out the awards and get a bagel before heading out for a traffic filled ride home. I am glad I went and was very happy and proud to see the guys run so well at Loon. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

John Carson 2 mile road race

19th place
3/103 Male 30 – 39
10:30  or 5:15 average pace per mile

The 4th of July tradition for my racing schedule is the John Carson 2 mile road race in Chelmsford. I opted for a YMCA run race last year in Swampscott and regretted it each day since (just kidding). It is fast, competitive, and the pain is over in ten minutes or so. I did a slow and easy warm up with Dave Menard, and CMS teammates Heidi Besse and Colby Chrusciel . It was great to see them. We ran the first mile of the course and back to the start. I put on the singlet and Nike Lunaracer, version 2. I did another ¾ of a mile warm up and did some light stretching. I got just about on the front row of this one and took off at the start on a slight decline. I did not want to head out too quick as plenty of runners sprint out too quick so 40th place was per the usual here for me. We had a grade going up at 800m and I stopped passing the over-zealous runners by 1200m. I could see CMS mate, Adam Malek in 3rd place up ahead. He would finish in the same place with a 9:19. 

The mile came up pretty quick which was a good sign. My Garmin said 5:17 (noticing after the race) and I did not hear any split given. Water was given out but it was too fast of a race to consider reaching for. I was running on how I felt and had two Greater Lowell guys and the first female (Karen Roa from Boston) ahead of me.  We had a fair decline now and I slowly caught the GLRR guys. I told the 2nd one that we got to catch the female ahead. I had to put in some effort as the course dipped down again to an overpass which I would say 400m remain. I caught and passed Karen in there and now we had to climb up a bit for the last 300m to the finish where my place remained. I finished in 19th place and a time of 10:30. My Garmin had me at 5:11 and change for the 2nd mile. My goal as I was quoted at the start was 10:25 so I was close. Karen was four seconds back. I collected those that I warmed up with plus Adam for a cool down after drinking a bottle of iced tea. My plan was to take them off the parade route for a 3.5 mile cool down but I changed my mind about a mile into that and we went back onto the course where we ran into the parade coming at us with sirens, horns, cars, candy, et cetera.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

USATF New England Outdoor 5000m championships

Start of the 5000m with me staring right into Krissy's lense

Dan, myself, and Todd between 1 and 2 miles

Some CMS teammates that were talking about racing the 5,000m at the New England Outdoor Championships at Regis College in Weston. The 5K was the first event in the morning which is easier to plan for and around on a Sunday so I signed up an hour before the race. I put down a seed time of 16:54 based on my An Ras Mor result back in March (the New England 5K Road Race Championship). This put me into the 16th seed in heat one. My start position was to the far outside lane which suited me well to slide in carefully after the starting gun went off. I settled into the back of the race of over 20 athletes. After a few careful laps, I put in a surge to get behind Todd Callaghan. Dan Verrington was right behind me and his goal was to run 16:52 which was fine with me. Mile one passed around 5:22. The track was warm. A water table was out there but I did not see anyone take any water (had to reach out into lane 3). I kept behind Todd as his pace was good. We slowly caught a few runners. I missed the 2nd mile split but had started to focus on the count down of laps. I figured to give a good effort with two laps to go but my body had other thoughts in the heat. I was wiped out but told Todd that we could catch Rod Hemingway who was just ahead and coming back to us. We both did and went around him. Todd picked up his pace with a lap to go and I was fading fast. I knew Rod would come back and make a race of it. Come back he did! He passed me and charged after Todd with 150m to go. I yelled to Todd “man on” and he picked it up to finish just ahead of Rod. I finished 11th in 16:53. Not too bad and close to the seed time and my expectations. I collected myself and chatted up the event with others. I ran a few miles with Todd following the race and then another set of miles with Jason Coukouras and Francis Burdett. Next races on the calendar is the John Carson 2 mile and then Loon Mountain – US Mountain Running Championships. Krissy took a lot of photos of the 5,000m events that broke down into a women’s race and two heats of the men’s race. Full results.

Rod and I with 250m to go behind Todd

5000 Meter Run Men
    Name                     Age Team                    Finals
  1   236 SEAN DUNCAN         24 Western Mass          15:06.71 
  2    36 Eric Couture        26 02-Unattache          15:17.79 
  3    75 Alex Hall           27 Boston Athle          15:58.95 
  4   128 Greg Putnam         44 Central Mass          16:01.48 
  5   130 Jeffrey Ragazzini   24 Greater Bost          16:12.60 
  6   106 Mark Mayall         42 New Balance           16:32.43 
  7   213 NATHANIEL WEBBER    22 02-Unattache          16:34.14 
  8    18 Francis Burdett     49 Greater Spri          16:35.94 
  9    23 Todd Callaghan      44 Central Mass          16:49.27 
 10    80 Rodney Hemingway    38 Greater Bost          16:50.04 
 11   412 James Pawlicki      39 Central Mass          16:53.17 
 12   359 Titus Mutinda       49 Team RUN              17:07.35 
 13   115 Eric Narcisi        34 Whirlaway Ra          17:10.44 
 14    48 Dave Dunham         50 Central Mass          17:21.74 
 15   154 Daniel Verrington   52 Central Mass          17:22.99 
 16   925 Joe O'Leary         43 Somerville R          17:27.44 
 17    71 Thomas Grenier Jr   43 02-Unattache          17:31.20 
 18    37 Anthony Crudale     37 Greater Bost          17:39.62 
 19   163 Ian Wright          27 SISU Project          18:04.34
 20    33 Shawn Conway        43 Greater Lowe          18:12.86  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ipswich Rotary 5K/10K Trail Ramble at Appleton Farms

Off the start
Photo by Roger Perham
I woke up on Saturday morning with no plan (training or racing) so I went to the coolrunning race calendar to see what was available. I found the Ipswich Rotary 5K/10K Trail Ramble at Appleton Farms. My previous history was a 4th place finish behind gents such as Mike Degennaro, John Ayers, Patrick Rich back in 2005 in the 5K (the 10K did not exist). I ran a warm up with Alex Vlahos from Ipswich and then added in another 12 minutes on my own before lining up at the start. The race goes up hill over the Newburyport line (rail road) and then down to Rt 1 where we took a right and entered Appleton Farms. Aside from Mark Mayall and Alex, I did not know anyone else. 5:39 at the first mile while the group of six was still collected. I was anxious but chilled out next to the leader on the dirt road as we slowly pulled away. We came to the point on the course where the 10K runners go left and the 5K goes straight. The young man I was next to took a left and wished me luck in my race (5K) and I yelled back the same to him. I peeked back a minute later and all was quiet – maybe 40 yard lead. I pressed along – the course now winding along beside what we used to race on back in 2005 (roads) this time on the trails. A few hills later popped me out to the road back to the finish for one last dirt road sprint for the win in 17:21. 2nd place, Fabio Piergentili, was 17:59. Alex finished 4th. I cooled down with Alex and then added in more miles to get in 10 for the day.

Finish Photo by Roger Perham

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ribfest 5 miler

Larissa Park and I arrived early as planned. I had to set up shop and hand out clothing to half a dozen CMS guys who have been waiting patiently for their order. It is so good to look like a uniformed team - as in wearing the same Saucony threads and colors. The BAE parking lot was just a 1/3 of a mile away from registration so I headed over with Scott Leslie around 8:15 to grab my bib number and technical shirt. I did a light warm up and then came upon a frantic Morgan Kennedy who just arrived. There was no time to spare so I helped him get his bib number. Two minutes later, we were getting the call to line up. The start was narrow but I got in five rows from the front - my usual seeding. The start went off and up a hill and onto a very wide highway for 1.8 miles. I was in good company - around Joe Navas, Jason Porter, and Wayne Levy in mile 1. The head wind was a factor but dealt with it. The mile marker seemed early as my Garmin beeped several seconds later (my Garmin feedback seemed off the whole time so who knows). Joe Shairs, Matt Veiga, and Andy McCarron were about 5-7 seconds ahead of me into mile 2 which was in a shaded neighborhood. Mile three was reached leaving the residential 'hood and back up onto the highway lined with orange cones.

I managed to reel in Andy just before 4 miles. The road was long and straight so it was easy to see who was ahead. There was no hiding anywhere on this course. I started to accept that I had no chance of catching Joe or Matt without a huge surge. I was all out and the internal effort gauge said I was at max. I was seeking that left hand turn and into the downhill finish in a hurry. I got there without any finishing kick highlight - just wrapped it up type of finish - 27:54.91 chip time and 67th place overall. My average pace per mile, 5:35, was good for the 9th CMS team runner. My time was about 10 seconds slower than the Back Shore 5 that I did last month in Gloucester. Not sure what to make of that but my goal for the day was to run between 27:30 and certainly under 28 minutes which was accomplished. I slowly regrouped with the mates and recapped a few stories before heading out for a cool down with Larissa, Morgan, and Matt. The highly anticipated Ribfest festivities awaited. I rushed in and out for a slice of pizza and a soda as it was fathers day and I had to hustle back home to chill with dad. It was good to see the CMS masters team take a win and the open and senior teams placing 4th place respectively in an always competitive team competition. So many good stories in there that don't get print like PR's set by Colby, Arthur, and Morgan. New CMS member and neighbor, Matt Veiga raced well even though he'd prefer a mountain to ascend and descend. Martin raced with broken ribs. Talk about man'g up.

My bogus Garmin splits are below. They are off all the way so I will blame the GPS powers for the mess.

Mile 1 5:54
Mile 2 5:41
Mile 3 5:42
Mile 4 5:47
Mile 5 4:48 (measured 0.93)
Final 27:53

Monday, June 9, 2014

Kupenda 5 mile cross country

Photo by David Dunham
This was a new course laid out by Patrick Rich within the trails behind Gordon College in Wenham. I took the lead about 800m from EJN on a trail that I love - chipped wood footing in the shade. I pressed hard on the terrain and built a lead. David Dunham was on hand taking photos and filling me in on the lead which was helpful. I faded on the 2nd big loop but the lead was good as I could not see anyone behind me. I chased a few snakes off trail on the closing loop to find the finish in 29:10...would have placed me 11th in the Pop Crowell Cross Country Invitational held in October of 2013. I cooled down with the gang - Robert Molnar, David Dunahm, Jenn Brooks, Matt Curran, and Dan Verrington who placed 3rd, just behind David Long. I am glad I went. It was a rare win but was pleased with the effort. My right achilles is bugging me as of yesterday afternoon so I will be keeping an eye on that heading into the Ribfest this weekend.

Kupenda 5 Mile Cross Country Race
Wenham, MA, June 7, 2014
1 JAMES PAWLICKI  29:15  5:51   

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gold Star Run for Honor 10K

Krissy scored a few comp entries as her employer, East Boston Savings Bank, sponsored the Gold Star Run for Honor 5K/10K. Thus, Joe Shairs and I headed over to Saugus for the 10K that started in front of the town hall. Joe pressed the pace in the opening mile and I followed along. He did most of the heavy lifting as it was just he and I and the open road with light vehicle traffic around Saugus. We knew the course was going to be short, as in 6.10 miles. We would have been sub 35 if this was a 10K distance. Joe took the win here so don’t be fooled by the same time below (shame on racewire and B&S Fitness). I was pleased with the effort and mile splits as follows.

:27 for the last .10 mile

Gold Star Run for Honor 10K
Saugus, MA May 24, 2014
1 Joe Shairs Peabody MA 321 10K 46 M Top Fin *** 34:19 5:32/M
2 James Pawlicki Lynn MA 315 10K 39 M Top Fin *** 34:19 5:32/M