Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sidehiller 4 mile snowshoe

Todd Callaghan drove us up to Sandwich NH for the Sidehiller 4 mile Snowshoe which was the first qualifier event for Snowshoe Nationals which is to be held in Vermont. It was cold and windy. It was in the single digits with the wind chill. Multiple layers was key. The race was super competitive and it was awesome to see so many CMS members out for this. The guy responsible for me getting into snowshoe racing and CMS, Ben Nephew, was in attendance. It was like old times. Furthermore, Jim Johnson is back with the team dominating like his old self. Speaking of old self, Dave Dunham put a whooping on me.

I got a good clean start and settled in for the two loop course around the fairgrounds. My early placing of fourth was short lived. I remember Paul Kirsch’s words before the race to JJ and I that the course will benefit a strength guy. I wanted to get in one lap and see what I was in for. Paul designed the best possible course. That said, he made it as tough as he could by keeping the course contained in the fairgrounds. Thus, most of the loop was taken off groomed trail. The snow was loose and light. I could call it sandy when the depth exceeded a foot at times. It was tough and slowed pacing down. I saw several bottlenecks but they would not last for more than a few minutes.

I went through lap one around 14:56 and finished with a time of 29:27. The 2nd lap felt much harder but was quicker due the track widening after all competitors went over the course. I was exhausted but finished strong as I got real good pressure from Ryan Welts and Nate Bassett was strong over the last mile. I was good with the 10th place finish. Todd ran a solid – first race. He is going to crush the rest of the races we head to this winter. As a bonus, I won a pair of Dion snowshoes at the raffle after the race. Acidotic led by Chris Dunn and director Paul Kirsch put on a solid event as usual. Full Results  Check out photos by Joe Viger and Scott Mason.  

Ryan, Ethan, Ben, and I before the end of lap one
Photo by Joe Viger

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lazy Dog 3 mile

Krissy took this photo 600m across Flax Pond as I passed 1 mile
If you live in New England, don't complain about the weather. If you do, wait an hour, it may change. A few inches of snow hit the ground on Saturday and a dusting fell on Sunday morning. By the time I ran over to the race, the pavement was fine for running. I gave the race director, Stephen Martin, my word three weeks ago that I would be there. He coaches the Lynn Classical Girls Track team and proceeds from the race support their program. The course is a loop around Flax Pond with a hill going into mile 1, slight hill beyond mile 2, and one has a slide rise up Magnolia Ave. There are plenty of volunteers on the course to make sure no one takes a wrong turn. My dad happened to drive past me on my warm up so he swung by and watched the race. I took the lead on the first right hand turn onto Euclid Ave. I ran into the Armstrong Family who were all smiles as they were driving by. I went by the mile marker in 5:34 where I thought I would see Krissy taking photos. She was not there. I was pleasantly surprised as she was on a side road around the corner. This brought more smiles from me (2 in a mile). She is fast as she set up quickly at 2.4 miles and then at the finish. The Lynn Police SUV kept the coast clear the whole way as I crossed the line in 16:54 - certain at least 30 seconds slower than last year - not bothered by it at all. I warmed down with Jason Euzikonis and planted myself at the Lazy Dog for an hour. I picked up some gift certificates and a Lazy Dog t-shirt. The day was capped off with a thank you from Stephen that night. Class act from a classy guy from Somerville.
Finding Krissy made me smile
Lazy Dog 3 mile road race photos by KrissyK
Lazy Dog 3 mile road race results January 19, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Maudslay State Park 5K snowshoe run

Brett, Krissy, and I arrived at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport for a 5K fun run on snowshoes. We waited for a few more folks to arrive before heading out for a warm up on the roads. Dave Dunham said the course would be fast and that was good to hear. The atmosphere was fun, low key, but organized as Dave flagged a loop. The competition was deep and fast. Scott McGrath wasted no time bolting down from the field into the valley. Steve Dowsett and Mark Larosa followed keeping company. I kept the fourth position throughout the race, solo all the way. The conditions were great for me, stayed on top of the snow layer all the way which was packed down from the previous day that seemed to have plenty of cross country skiers and hikers about. The course was essentially the Trav’s Trail XC loop so it was that fun rolling course with thick pines all around. I had no chance of catching Steve who found himself in 3rd after 1.5 miles. We finished the course with the infamous climb up back to the field we started on. Classic lung and muscle burner. I closed into the line in 4th,  21:27. Steve was 18 seconds in front of me and Greg Putnam was a bit over 30 ticks behind. My GPS picked up 3.09 miles. A group of us collected for some photos and cheered the last of the runners in before we headed out to pick up course markings. Krissy ran/hiked through the course in 55 minutes and seemed to enjoy herself. Brett was out there for more than 25 minutes, just behind Derek Dorval – who will be racing for CMS this year on the masters team. [Results]

Saturday, January 4, 2014

BU mini meet 1 mile

BU - known as Boston University - hosted the last of three mini meets today. Dennis Floyd, Larissa Park and I arrived while the 3K was going on so we had plenty of time to get our numbers, relax, and then warm up for the mile. The three of us were signed up with seed times pretty close to each other. I seeded myself at 4:56. We had to wait for all heats of the 3K and 400m to finish before we were called over to check in for the 1 mile. We got into heat 7. I grabbed hip and chest #2 and warmed up with Dennis and Larissa inside.

Dennis asked me today while we were warming up "when was the last time we toed the line together on a track?" I was not ready for the question but I surprised us both that I did know what race it was (the year was fuzzy so I had to look it up tonight). We finished 19th (16:22.67) and 20th (16:24.56) in the USATF New England Indoor Track and Field 5000 meter championship race at Harvard in February of 2008. I was DFL (dead freaking last) and Dennis was bothered by an achilles issue. [meet results]

I was pretty nervous before the start as expected. It has been a few years since I raced on the indoor oval. I got sorted with my flats taking a few strides with one foot having an Inov8 and the other a Saucony A4. I went with Saucony. They called for heat seven as soon as heat six finished. I saw former CMS 'mate Jeff Goupil finish his mile in 4:57. I lined up in between seed #1 (a female) and seed #3 - Larissa. Dennis was a few runners down, maybe the 6th person to my right. The starting gun got us off in a hurry. I jumped toward the back and waited for those on the stagger fill in after the 1st turn. I planned on taking the first few laps cautiously to not worry about place but pay attention to the splits - staying in the hunt of 37 or 38 seconds per lap. Lap one and two were around just that. Three laps down and I was around 1:52 just behind Larissa and Dennis. I felt good and noted a good bounce to the track. I wanted to get aggressive and move up - get competitive with the 10 or so in front of me. I had to wait though and use patience. I passed half way (half mile or 800m) in 2:30 and moved out and put in a hard lap. This is risky. I could put in that surge and it could cost me a few laps later. I carried the momentum and found myself closing in on the two leading the race so I went after them keeping my aggressive move now for three laps. I passed them at the bell lap taking the lead. My inexperienced legs wobbled on the back straight, form started to break down, and I heard steps coming back on me. The guy blew by (he would win with 4:50.95) and then one more on the final straight into the finish line (he finished with 4:52.4). I finished 3rd with a time of 4:53.2. Dennis ran quicker than last week dropping his time down to 5:02.26 and Larissa was the 3rd fastest female in the mile (5:12.92).

I was good with the time and beat my seeded expectation of 4:56. I had so much fun ripping through the 2nd half of the race. I had a negative split by comparing the 1st 800m (2:30) and 2nd 800m (2:23). Moving up through the race after 800 meters reminded me of my younger and fitter days when my mile times were under 4:40. I had the fitness to make the aggressive surges, back it up, and have the kick in the last lap. Today, it was all there in terms of instinct and execution minus the follow through (and slower pace) to the finish line. I had fun today and did not expect that. I expected the hurt box for 7 out of 8 laps and a physical break down in the 2nd half of the race. The race exceeded all expectations but I was purposely careful on the approach by keeping the first four laps within myself and staying out of traffic. The experience has me wanting more of this indoor track racing: what can I do if I ran another mile but ran the 1st 800m in 2:23? 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wicked Frosty Four

The Wicked Frosty Four mile race was the objective today to bring in the new year. I warmed up with Christopher Klucznik, Jordan Kinley, and Megan Nedlo. It was in the mid 20's with a westerly wind. That relates to having it at our back for two miles and in our grill for the last two or so. The start and finish moved from the usual Front Street to Charter Street - just 250m away - keeping runners off the Cobblestone. Otherwise, the rest of the course remained the same. Nate Jenkins and another guy took right off (turned out to be a Villanova stud and Australian, Jordan Williamsz). They proceeded to hit the mile in 4:39. I found myself in 7th place behind Christopher Chapruet from Danvers. My first mile was 5:08 and it felt OK. I got a stride closer in the second mile to him. My split was 10:32 (5:24). As we exited the neighborhood behind the Salem Willows we got the wind in our face and then it was full on beyond Dead Horse Beach. I tried to get onto his shoulder over the next 400m after the tough hill. That never materialized so I settled in behind and lost him a bit. He pulled away after mile three (16:11 - 5:39  mile split). I tried to hang tough knowing the race would be over in a few minutes. He held me off by four seconds while I crossed the finish line in 7th place overall and a time of 21:46 (5:27 / mile average). It was my worst placing in the race but quickest time (see below). I was pleased with running almost thirty seconds quicker than last year. I thanked my dad for cheering me on and changed my flats for my trainers while catching up with Alex Gomes who is headed off to serve in the Army. I collected Nate, Jordan, Megan, Geoff Nelson, and Christopher Kluckznik for a four mile loop into and around Winter Island which was hosting a polar plunge. Ouch!

Wicked Frosty Four mile history
Date        Place   Time    Pace  Age
1/1/2014   7       21:46  5:27    39
1/1/2013   1       22:22  5:36    38
1/1/2012   4       21:51  5:28    37

Wicked Frosty Four mile start in Salem
Place Name Ag S City St Nettime Pace Guntime Pace 1 Jordan Williamsz 21 M Lynn MA 19:14 4:49 19:14 4:49 2 Nate Jenkins 33 M N.Andover MA 19:28 4:52 19:28 4:52 3 Geoff Nelson 28 M Providence RI 20:40 5:10 20:41 5:11 4 Jordan Kinley 29 M Salem MA 20:48 5:12 20:48 5:12 5 Christopher Klucznik 31 M Somerville MA 21:15 5:19 21:16 5:19 6 Christopher Chapruet 21 M Danvers MA 21:42 5:26 21:42 5:26 7 James Pawlicki 39 M Lynn MA 21:46 5:27 21:46 5:27 8 Erich O'Neil 22 M Beverly MA 22:22 5:36 22:22 5:36 9 Alex Gomes 25 M Peabody MA 22:37 5:40 22:38 5:40