Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Vermont City Marathon

2:52:19, more to follow
Overall results
Vermont City Marathon photos by KrissyK

In a nut shell, I was looking for a sub 2:50 at VCM. I had some company early with rock star and ex-teammate Jeff Goupil. His friends had a “Fathead” of him on the side of the course which had me cracking up. I kept it light, talking, and lurking behind Joe Shairs and the BAA crew of masters/seniors for the first 10K. I kept my game plan and did not chase. Jeff got anxious and took off ahead. I caught Wayne Levy and ran for a bit through 10 miles. “Brother Narcisi” (Michael) was in the mix and stepped ahead of me at half way (1:24). He looked good and pulled away. I motored up the big hill at 15 and shared some smiles and blew some kisses to Krissy. Only 11 miles to go! A light sprinkle of rain felt good. A few Narragansett masters flew by and then we hit the neighborhood with a million turns. I was getting tired and felt the first calf cramp of the day before 19 miles. My mind filled with horrible thoughts of depleted muscles and was not looking forward to the cramp game over the last seven miles. One can fly over the last four pretty easy on the bike path and I was a complete mess as then both calves were cramping every few minutes. I had to slow down to as slow as 7:00 per mile. Michael Narcisi was coming back in the last two miles. His presence kept me going and motivated to try to close in. It worked and I passed him as we got into Battery Park. He PR’d and I ran a minute faster than my result here in 2013. Net time was 2:52:19 and the gun time was 2:52:23. 46th place overall and 7th in the 40-44 year old age group.

2015 Vermont City Marathon Results

In closing, it was a good experience and a great weekend. Several friends ran great races. It was awesome to see Joe Shairs win his age group. We had an interesting winter of training and really focused on some decent long runs in April. I was a scoring member for CMS (open/masters) in the USATF New England Grand Prix standings (3rd runner for the open team and 2nd runner for the masters team). Both teams placed 3rd overall. Krissy and my father were in attendance. She took a ton of photos and I was clear headed enough to hear her yelling each time I ran past her. Lastly, I need to figure out the muscle cramps (calves). I took enough fluids (either water or Gatorade) at almost each available offer, expended four Powergels (first two at 55 minute intervals), and three salt stick tablets (one before the hour, another before 2 hours, and the last in desperation a mile after the 1st calf cramp). I actually spit out the last one as I was reaching for water. That was hilarious stopping and bending over for it off the ground at 20 miles. I am surprised that I was able to get back up and run. 

My splits below:

Nice summary from VCM after I finished the race
Coming into mile 9 solo. Dan Verrington is lurking behind.
Photo by KrissyK

Smiling after the hill at 15 miles
Photo by KrissyK

Sprint mode into the finish waiting for calves to cramp again
Photo by KrissyK

Crossing the finish line
Photo by KrissyK

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Trav's Trail Run

Headed up to the race with the girls (Krissy, Maryann, and Katie) to Maudsley State Park in Newburyport for Trav's Trail Run (almost 3 miles). I warmed up with Greg Putnam and a big Wicked Running Club group over the three mile course. I saw Nate Jenkins at the start next to Melissa (wearing the CMS singlet!) and gave them a fist bump. We bolted down the hill and rolled through. I got passed twice after 800m. I passed one of them up a hill soon after. I caught up to Dan Chruniak (Wicked RC) shortly about half way through the race encouraging him to come along. I wanted to run hard to the stone bridge and not give anyone a chance to pull up from behind. I could see Greg Putnam ahead putting the hurt on three youngsters up the hill. Steve Dowsett (of New England Runner cover hall of fame) seemed to fall back a bit but no one was close to me to offer a surge on the hill. Nate cheered for me as I crested the last bump before flattening out into the finish line. 6th overall, 2nd 40+ to Greg. The 16:44 this year was slower than the 16:27 last year. I high fived a few and cheered some on into the finish before heading out on a cool down with Greg and Steve for close to another three miles. I picked up a Trav's Trail 2015 mug and a card to redeem a pair of New Balance shoes. The girls got some gear in the raffle. It was a good day. Full results
Please recycle!
Photo by KrissyK

Monday, May 11, 2015

New England Trail Championships - Merrimack River Trail Race

I recently measured the Merrimack River Trail race to be 9.4 miles long by a GPS Garmin product. The course is out and back along the Merrimack River. The middle four miles are rolling (as in, hills). Thus the first three and last three miles are flat. The start and finish is at the trail head in the back of the Wyndham parking lot. You will hear the buzz of Rt. 93 commuters going north and south minding their own business.

Looking surprised by the camera out from under Rt 93 overpass
Photo by Denise Underwood
Brett Rickenbach and I arrived at the race early so as to get primo parking, register, give Cath a hug, catch up with teammates and spread out some CMS threads. I managed to educate a few new comers to the race on what to expect on the course. The race was part of the North Shore Trail Series and the All Terrain Series. I got a 2 mile warm up in before heading to the start for the pre-race instructions from the always hilarious, race director, Stephen Peterson. He does a great job of keeping the atmosphere light and funny. Smiles and laughs all day in his presence for sure. I was careful to get a good clean start while not getting tripped up or tripping anyone as the race funnels into single track after twenty feet. We also had to contend with a leaning tree so anyone over 5ft tall had to navigate under at full stride carefully 50 yards into the course.

Up power hill with Scott in tow
Photo by Michael Quintal
My positioning was spot on, early, on the single track. I passed one runner on the field on the other side getting a few seconds behind Ethan Nedeau and Matthew Veiga. Scott McGrath was behind me and I heard Todd give instruction to get up and after the next group (Ethan) but I was content with my effort. The gap widened between Ethan and team Jim, Scott, Todd as we hit some hills. Todd pranced by before the mile 4 mark. I kept my thing going on and Scott seemed content a step behind. My time was approximately 31:15 at the turn-around. Now we are going against the race - runners heading out to the turn-around so it does get rather interesting. I kept to the far right of the single track as much as possible heading into oncoming traffic. I do keep the safety of myself and others in mind. I appreciated those runners that did show awareness of my approach (coming at them). I cheered or thanked as many as I could. Some bailed off the single track (am I that intimidating?). Some stopped. Some wanted the same part of the trail as me (very few). I did hear that Chris Mahoney took a knee to the quad and this knocked him down right in front of Scott Leslie. That incident, for both involved, is something that can happen, but I would rather avoid.

Through the power lines heading back to the finish with Scott
Photo by Michael Quintal

I threw in some surges in the technical areas back to the power lines to shake Scott. I recall telling him to focus on his leg lift on the way back so as not to get lazy and trip up. The key is to also give yourself some space so you can see a few feet ahead of your stride and the runner in front. Therefore you can visually see and plan for the next maneuver on the trails. Once Scott and I got on the comfortable flat section, he flew past me. He looked so fresh and comfortable. I encouraged him to close in on Todd who I could only see on the longest of straights. At this point, I was done and mailed it in. I looked back and did not see any pressure (still had 2.5 miles to go ) so I got in cruise control until I saw 1:03 on the watch and hustled to the finish.  I finished up with a time of 1:03:58, 11th overall, and 3rd master runner behind Ethan and Todd.
Brett and I with raffles and chocolate bars
Photo by Bonnie Hallinan
My post race warm down took me to the post race spread for liquid and a lot of it. Also getting my attention was chocolate bars, Oreo Cookies, and Coconut water. The best part of the race was to share the stories, cuts, bruises, and laughs that followed. Stephen Peterson handed out raffles with the usual humor and stories along the way. The CMS team did great with a team win for the open, masters, and 2nd for the Seniors. The CMS ladies team took a team win as well. Next up, recover and get out to Trav’s Trail Run. Full results