Sunday, December 4, 2016

Mill Cities Relay

Today was another edition of the Mill Cities Relay. The men’s masters team for SRR had a few line up changes that had guys move into other divisions this year. I felt bad for declining to run the long leg of 9.4 miles several weeks ago. With XC Nationals coming up, I wanted to save the legs. I got leg one, which is still a 5.4 mile distance but had a new start location from the Wings Bingo Facility which was ripe with the smell of cigarettes as soon as you approached it.

I got a good clean start and settled in. At one point, I had three other SRR runners within arms reach in the 1st mile which I clocked around 5:36. I was a stride behind David Long from Wicked. He would extend that stride to several over the next few miles. As would the SRR mates like Todd Prokop and John Longo. Arthur Besse, running for NMC, went by looking good more than half way through. I encouraged him to keep going and try to catch David (Arthur would run a 30:54 for 5.4 miles). I did keep Alex Hall (Whirlaway) close and managed to pass him just before the end of the leg where I handed off to Jim Rhoades with the 3rd slot in men’s masters position. 

I picked up Jim’s car, changed my shirt and drove off to his exchange point at Greater Lowell. I ran over to the exchange point and gave Darrin Cormier a heads up and to expect Jim. Jim arrived and handed off to Darren who ran 2.4 miles to hand off to Jesse Morrow, our team captain who took one for the team by running the longest leg of the day (9.4 miles). At least we had the wind at our back for the most part. He handed off to John Wichers who took it home to Lawrence. Jim and I parked at the top of the hill on the last leg – 400m before the Lawrence town line. He took several photos for the hour before we packed up and headed to the finish line.

In the end, the our team placed 31st overall. We were the 5th master team for the day, respectable, considering the talent out there. My pace was 5:39 based on the time of 31:14 (I stopped the watch after my hand off) while Alex recorded a 31:06 right behind me. Everyone joined inside the Claddagh Pub for some grub. I had to leave during the awards but I saw several Bricks picked up by SRR. Overall, the club placed 2nd overall, just three points ahead of 3rd place. Every place counted! Results


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wild Turkey 5 mile - Salem

Nice, laid back atmosphere this morning for the Wild Turkey 5 mile in Salem. Race director Doug Bollen said more pre and less post entries this year for 1700 runners looking to get a run in before a Thanksgiving feast. I got in behind two time champ (sub-26 last year & PR), Caleb Evanter, at the start line. He was gone at the gun, took in his 3rd win with 26 flat. I had a good start, top ten early, moved up a few by mile one with Matt Veiga (good to see thy neighbor and CMS mountain stud) next to me. I yelled out the mile split to the group, 5:32. Garmin would summarize later it was only a 5:48? Oops. I must have looked at the "pace at the moment" field.

I followed Matt through Winter Island and lost his pace. He would hold the eventual 10 seconds he had on me through the Bloody Mary/Beer table behind the Salem Willows before 3 miles all the way to the finish line. He did the 50 mile Stonecat Trail race weeks ago. A guy passed me exiting the Salem Willows before Deadhorse Beach (the big hill awaited). He would pass Matt with 500m to go. I finished 7th overall, 1st age group - 30 seconds up on bud, Michael Paulin who nailed a 2:48 marathon PR a few weeks ago. I ran a cool down with Brett Rickenbach down to the Pickering Wharf area with Marblehead on the horizon. My official time was 28:54, 30 seconds slower than my 2015 effort. I will take it. GPS splits below for the 4.99 mile course. 2016 Wild Turkey 5 mile race results, Salem, MA

Half mile to go and smiling for Brad Gates
13th annual Wild Turkey 5 mile races. Guess how many shirts are cotton?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

30 miles? Sure, why not....

I put the Nougat IIIIIII event on my tentative running schedule. Take a look at the site. It is pretty funny. William Jackson and I exchanged text messages the day before. I was tempted to run a 50K distance with him. A 50K distance would have consisted of two times (10 mile loop on the left hand side of Lynn Woods and a 5.5 mile loop on the right side).  However, a brush fire on Friday and into Saturday morning squashed any hope of us running on the right hand side loop. Thus, event directors Gregory Esbitt and Jeffrey Lane said that the left hand side would do.

I picked up Nakri on the way to the event. He was on board for one 10 mile loop. William was on board for three 10 mile loops. I committed to two and left a third loop open. Nakri and I were the first vehicle to show up next to Jeffrey a twenty minutes before the run would start at 7:00AM.

There is a rolling start policy meaning that you can show up and and start anytime after writing your name and start time down.  I had a bag of fuel that I left in the truck next to the aid station. Nakri hooked me up with a Tailwind drink. I had some Gels, Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Iced Tea ready to go.
A few minutes before the start
Photo by Mike Fitzgerald

A group of a dozen runners lined up for the 7:02AM start. There was a hint of smoke and smell of fire for the first mile of the loop. We passed a fire truck at the Great Woods entrance which seemed to be on standby with a couple of four wheelers zipping in and out of the right hand side of the woods.

William took charge and toured Nakri, Michael  McKie, and I through the first 5 miles. I was being careful with foot plant in the single track trails that were scattered with leaves. The pace was very conversational. It had to be put the miles that we planned to cover.

I got anxious with picking up the pace a bit once we hit a wide fire road  and went ahead half way through loop one. Nakri came up to keep me company. The loop was a constant up and down covering every landmark in Lynn Woods from Steel Tower, Dungeon Rock, Penny Brook, Stone Tower, views of Gannon Golf Course, Walden and Breeds Pond. The marked loop with orange streamers and the occasional arrow on the ground surrounded by leaves was easy to follow. It is neat to cover 90% of the trails available. 

Nakri pulled out the phone at Stone Tower for a photo, tried to get the Boston City Skyline in the background. Two miles later we wrapped up loop one taking a short break for some fuel.  The pace was comfortable for loop one. We were not racing, covering the 10 miles in 92 minutes.

Me, Michael McKie, William Jackson, and Nakri Dao
Photo by Donald Gerolamo

William and Michael came in a minute later while I was fueling up with a Gel and taking in the pleasant Tailwind drink Nakri made for me. It had a mild berry taste. Former CMS runner and stud Senior Ultra Runner, Paul Young was getting ready to start his run so his company was welcomed. William started his 2nd loop. Michael, Paul, and I headed out 45 seconds later. A lot of conversation made loop two fly by with them. Lap three was optional in my head but decided that if Paul was going out for his 2nd  loop, I would go out for my third. That is exactly what we did after several minutes fueling up after 20 miles.

Nice fall day in Lynn Woods
Photo by Donald Gerolamo

My legs were getting tired in the last five miles. I covered the marathon distance in 4 hours 11 minutes. Paul had threw in a surge (later told me it was on purpose to get us back on pace) for less than two minutes. I tracked the surge wondering if that would come back to haunt me in the last five miles. One more surge came a few minutes later. I had my first stumble and almost  wipe out, a stride beyond Stone Tower heading down the steepest part of the loop with just a few miles to go. It was a reminder of tired legs and to be careful. 

We carried on quietly to the end of the loop. I stopped my Garmin as it showed that I covered 30.01 miles. The time was 4:42:58 (9:26 average pace per mile) which was just the running (did not include a running time in the two aid station stops at 10 and 20 miles).

The slowest and quickest miles for each 10 mile loop:
Loop 1: 9:49 mile 2 and 8:24 last mile
Loop 2: 10:26 mile 2 and 8:15 last mile
Loop 3: 11:07 mile 2 and 7:55 mile 7 (last mile was a 8:03)

This was my longest run I have done. Had I run another mile plus, I would have covered a 50K. Maybe someday.

Jeffrey Lane and Greg Esbitt in the middle of this crazy event

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

USATF New England Cross Country Championships

I was looking forward to the USATF New England XC Championships for the master’s race which is a 8K distance. As Joe Shairs and I drove to Franklin Park, we chatted about the CMS men lining up for more team competition up north in Manchester, NH via Manchester City Marathon. I was anxious and excited for them - wishing to a degree that I was up there being a part of that. While waiting for our race, we were getting updates from Sasha Mindel who was getting a play by play about her husband, Scott Mindel, racing for CMS, leading the marathon in the early miles with Dan Vassallo just a few strides back. Just pure awesome. It pumped me up for my race.

Yes, back to cross country. I was thrilled to have a few extra CMS master runners (Alan Bernier, Steve Brightman, and Martin Tighe) in our race beyond what we had at the Franklin Park 5K two weeks ago.  I jumped out at the start and followed Steve for a short while before having to settle in. I had good position within the race among folks that I usually finish near. Mile 1 went by in 5:28 (per GPS). Up and over Bear Cage Hill and a Wilderness Loop brought me through the 5K right at what I ran two weeks ago in 18:13. 

The wheels came off in the 2nd Wilderness Loop and I felt my cadence back down from Ron Lombardi (GSH) who motored on pretty good. Steve Brightman got into the mix while I was being hunted by Senior’s John Sullivan and Wayne Levy in the last mile. Their presence kept me racing scared to the finish two seconds behind Steve. My time was 29:07, 8th runner for CMS, placing 36 overall out of 107 runners in the race. My goal was 28:45. The team finished 2nd to a strong BAA squad. Results and awesome photos by Scott Mason of all three races (men's open, women's open/masters, and men's masters).


Within an hour after our race we would get random updates for the marathon. Dan would go on to win the race with Scott finishing 2nd. Eric Narcisi rounded out the scoring helping the CMS open team to a first place finish. Our masters team, 2/3 of them Seniors (Ed Sheldon & Dave Dunham), would finish 2nd and also go on to win the Senior team division. 

Striding out with Ron Lombardi and Steve Brighman before 3 miles
Photo by Scott Mason

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Great Bay 5K

I woke up early Saturday morning with no scheduled plan, race, or destination. Not content with a boring solo run for the day, I found the Great Bay 5K in Stratham NH that looked good for competition and age group prizes. I looked up prior year results. My chances of an age group win looked good but you never know who is going to show up. After an easy warm up on nearby trails, I ran over to the start and saw Nate Jenkins in CMS colors. I wore my tuxedo shirt to follow the Halloween theme. 
Before the race with Derek Hamel and Krissy. Derek went on to race a 16:53 and get best costume.
I got on the line next to Steve Dowsett who has run low 16’s on this “known as a fast course” as it drops into Greenland, NH. The race took off and I filtered into around 15th place on Rt. 33. Derek Hamel (short time CMS’r), dressed up as a mime, zipped past me 400m into the race. I held on through mile one which had a clock around 5:20 as the course started to drop down a bit on a curvy road. Mile 2 was reached in 10:50 or so as I was battling a few youngsters with a few Seacoast runners ahead as we climbed the only significant hill. The course dropped back down for a quick finish. 

A high school runner zipped past and encouraged me to go with him just before 3 miles. I kept place, 12th, reaching the line in 17:13 for my quickest 5K of the year. The course is certainly a fast one. I grabbed a water and handed out fist pumps to the guys around me. I was good with the effort. I headed back out onto the course to find Krissy and check out the costumed runners. I found Krissy with less than a mile to go and ran her in. 

We collected our race bags for some dry clothes and filtered through a nice post-race set up where I had some pumpkin bread and clam chowder. A quick peek at the results found me placing 2nd in the age group with a Maine runner about 20 seconds up. Full results. Next race up for me is the New England Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park.

Great Bay 5K course and my splits slowing while dropping elevation
18th Annual Great Bay 5K - Greenland, NH, October 29, 2016
12 2/49   M4049   17:13   5:33 James Pawlicki  42 M  Lynn MA  CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS

Tracks ahead crossed after the finish line

Krissy captured what I found was fitting in the trails behind the Sandy Point Discovery Center

More fun behind the Discovery Center

Monday, October 24, 2016

My apologies - Mayors Cup - Franklin Park Open 5K

This was my second year tour of the 5K within the Mayor's Cup races at Franklin Park. This is, after all, the New England Masters Grand Prix race (my 1st GP XC race this year after 3 passed already). I used to joke that the 5K was the Junior Varsity race at Mayor’s Cup while I was still capable of bringing up the rear in the 8K. Times have changed. I apologize. This is where my slowing stride belongs. My last race in the big boy race, Men’s Championship 8K, was when I turned 40 in 2014. I managed a respectable 27:58 to help the team score with just five guys.

Joe and I arrived just before the ladies 6K. We got our numbers and parked our gear 50 yards away from our traditional spot so as to take advantage of the sun and warmth. The temps were warmer than expected although the wind was slicing into our grill at the start and anytime we had raced toward the wilderness loop. A two mile warm up with the team found the course to be surprisingly dry after Saturday’s rain. This was to my benefit as I left my racing shoes at home (realized this about 15 minutes into the drive to Franklin Park). The training shoes had to do and I worried no more.

I stood next to Dan Verrington at the start with Tim Van Orden, Gregory Putnam, Todd Callaghan, Joe Shairs, and Arthur Besse in our non-existent cross country starting box. Our seven bolted across the field among the three hundred strong seeking a cross country battle under sunny skies and foliage falling with the wind. I held the far right line, a step behind Arthur Besse. I ran up next to former GBTC teammate John Blouin after a half mile – still crowded. I signaled to cut in front to get on the heels of BAA’s Christopher Lawrence which John allowed. I heard a mile split of 5:32. I moved on dodging the only mud bath charged up (more like crawled up) Bear Cage Hill. Arthur, 5th man for our team, started to gap me on the exit of the hill. His workout on this course weeks prior proved to pay off.

Now facing the wind, heading toward mile two, I considered ordering a hot dog and coke from a vendor. However, I could not find enough money. Onward. Arthur Besse was wheeling and dealing a can of whoop ass on me and his company through shade and shelter within the Wilderness loop. I had a battle with a young pup exiting the loop out to the field. I was drained but managed to hold him off.

I expected a group to blow past me on the final stretch but it never came. I reached the line in 18:14 and 26th place, 6th CMS runner. Arthur buried me in the last mile, passed two BAA runners with his 17:51. As slow as I felt and ran in the last mile, no one passed me and beat me to the finish line. Despite the awesome effort from the five CMS gents ahead of me, the team fell 3 points shy (30 to 33) to the BAA. I waited until today to lookup what I ran last year, 17:36. If only I could have run that time yesterday…..

Crossing the finish line in the 5K at Franklin Park
Photo credit to Granite State Race Services

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ravenswood Trail Race

A couple of new faces at the Ravenswood Trail Race in Gloucester were abound, however, the usual old guys including teammate Todd Callaghan, David Long wearing Team Gloucester, and Chris Smith (SRR) were on the start line. This mid-October 4.1 mile trail race did not disappoint with peak foliage. I settled into 5th after 800m before the descent into the swamp. I felt very unbalanced on the boardwalks. It was scary how much fear and caution I had despite them being dry and clear.

The four out front were gone. Fortunately, I had Chris Smith right behind me pushing and keeping my attention on the up and down trails. Half way through, I surged a few times but Chris was hanging on like glue. It took a longer climb and push through some discomfort to shake him loose and have a quiet presence for the last 1.5 miles. I managed to see David Long once in that last mile that had a long enough stretch. There was no chance to close in. I finished 5th overall, and fourth master with a  time of 29:01. My last race here was in 2014 with a time of 27:53. I ran a cool down with a group before hanging out for the raffles and awards.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

BAA Half Marathon

This was my first race since July (excluding any fun runs and relays) that was not designated as Championship via USATF or USATF New England. I put the BAA Half Marathon on my radar over the summer for a few reasons. First, Krissy was running it. Secondly, I wanted a tune-up race in case I lost my mind to enter a Fall Marathon. Lastly and selfishly, I planned on going to a car show at the Larz Anderson Museum in Brookline which was just a few miles away from the race. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate for the car show. Rain and wind consumed the day but I refused to let it dampen the race.

I was not thrilled about the logistics of getting to and from this race. There is no parking at Franklin Park. Almost 7K runners are required to park at one of three designated parking garages and shuttle in and out. Krissy and I parked in one of two South Boston garages offered. The bus rides was about 20 minutes to the race at 6:20. I arrived to the soggy Franklin Park more than an hour before the race start at 8AM. I grabbed my race shirt and hung out with Krissy, Maryanne, Katie, and Liz under a tree to shelter from the rain as much as possible.

I got into my racing flats and warmed up one mile before getting right into the front of the race with at least twenty five elite runners who were seeking the top 10 cash prizes for men and women. My bib number 156 hardly gave me any credibility to line up with men who can run 1:02 for a Half Marathon so I backed off several rows back where surprisingly, it was not shoulder to shoulder crowded. The start of over 6K runners got going out of Franklin Park and headed toward Brookline with a generous downhill through slight ponding and puddles. 

I looked around for some familiar faces and or running clubs. Both were rare. I did see John Sullivan and Justin Renz from the HFC Striders. I hung in the back pocket of them down the hill to a blistering 5:48 mile. Too hot for a sustainable pace so I backed off in mile two to a low six minute mile. Titus Mitunda came by and I struck a conversation because I was scoping out the Monson Half Marathon race and noticed he finished in the money last year as a Senior age grouper. I asked him if he was headed to Monson? He was like, “what?” Yeah, “are you doing the Monson Half?” He finally caught on, smiled with a yes.

Soaked at the BAA Half Marathon among the umbrellas
With the HFC dudes up ahead and pulling away, I decided that Titus was good company. We went back and forth over the next several rolling miles without a word. The course rolled but nothing crazy during the “closed to vehicle traffic” course. I remember a 180 degree turn so that we were then running with the runners behind us on the other side of the street about 4 miles in. The Central Mass Striders were set up at the mile 6 water stop which was cool as I got some love with my team singlet. I grabbed a Clif Shot just before the stop. That was my only fuel other than Gatorade or Water replenishment throughout the race. 

Titus fell back at mile 9 on the approach to the golf course (up a hill) near Franklin Park. We did a one mile out and back on an access road. This road was tricky with a few spots almost flooded across. It rolled just like a golf course would too. Mile 10 was pretty much at the 180 degree turn around. I tried to pick up the pace and was looking forward to pushing the last three miles. However, I neglected to factor in the longest climb of the day past mile 11 as we rose back up to the main entrance of the Franklin Park zoo. I got a calf twinge at 11.75 trying to hold of a BAA runner (he went on to beat me by 10 seconds).

It was like another world in the Franklin Park Zoo. It was quiet and peaceful with animal exhibits on both sides.  The course exited into Franklin Park (recall having to jump off a curb which is dangerous). We were then running along the bike path past mile 1 of the Franklin Park Cross Country races. Less than a half mile remained before entering White Stadium for a 150m run on the track to a straightaway finish. My chip time was 1:22:52 (1:22:54 gun time), good for 70th place. 

I hate to compare recent results at the distance but I was almost four minutes slower than the New Bedford Half Marathon in March. Racing under 6:00 pace for anything shorter than 10 miles now might be a thing of the past. I got a BAA medal and walked with the other finishers through the grass and out of the stadium where photographers tackled us, giving us a Hollywood moment posing like a rock star. I got under a tent for a B.Good burger. 

I got cold and was soaked to the bone. I went after my checked in bag and was greeted with about 25 other runners digging through the pile of “1-500” checked bags. My bag got moved and I could not find it. I turned back and found it several feet from where I dropped it off. I had enough will to change my top layer and put my wet jacket back on and shuffle off to the shuttle about a half mile away. The heat from the bus felt so good. Everyone was in pretty good spirits. I was back at the car in the parking garage about 30 minutes later – now changed into my warm clothes.

In reflection, this is a good race. Nice hlly scenic course. Only one runner passed me in the last half hour of the race and I was not exactly running negative splits. It is as professionally run as the Boston Marathon so kudos to Dave McGilvary and the BAA. Logistics and all, not a bad event to try for next year with hopefully better weather.

2016 BAA Half Marathon Results

Place: 70/6205
Net Time: 1:22:52
In Division: 5/354 (M40-44)
5 mile checkpoint: 31:11
10 mile checkpoint: 1:03:03

Monday, October 3, 2016

Syracuse Festival of Races 5K - US National Masters 5K Championship

Gregory Putnam put a call out back in August to see if there was any CMS runners interested in the 2016 US National Masters 5K Championship in Syracuse, NY (Festival of Races).  I raised my hand. Joe Shairs and Tim Van Orden did as well. This was going to be a solid team competing in the 40+ age group where 3 men score. The Atlanta Track Club has placed 1st for as long as I went back in the results (at least six years back). Dave Dunham and Tim Van Orden have run what is known as a fast course in the past so they gave me all I needed to know – it’s a fast out and back with a small rise at the start and back up and over at 2.8 miles.

The room was booked and the car was packed on Saturday morning with Gregory, Joe and I heading west on Rt 90 for about 5 hours to the Maplewood Inn – race site HQ. Joe and I did an easy 5 miles in the afternoon and then we grabbed our bib numbers. You know it is a serious event when you have the age group bib required for the back of your singlet. The three of us had dinner at the Blue Spruce, hotel restaurant. My Caprese salad with steak was awesome. Francis Burdett and Bill Newsham swung by before they got seated. FB recently ran a 33:XX 10K in South Africa! They both reassured me that the 5K course was quick.

I woke up on race day at 5:20 for a walk across the street with Joe for a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts. New Yorkers do not know what a “regular” means for coffee at Dunks on the North Shore J Back to the room, I whipped up some Oatmeal with Craisins. We left the hotel for the race just after 7:10. The race started at 8:50 and the course was about 20 minutes away. I wanted to get there early to scope out the course with Tivo and the team.  We arrived to an extravaganza of activity – tents, balloons, vendors, raffles – all within steps of the athletic facilities at Syracuse University. Team jackets from various areas of the country were milling around. We ran the first 1.25 miles of the course turned and ran back. It was going to be a fast one as the weather was perfect – cloudy, no wind, and maybe high 50’s.

I lined up and started with Joe, three rows back. The race bolted out and got up and over the hill. It was no problem. I looked ahead after 500m and Joe was about 7 seconds up on me. I pushed through the 1st mile in 5:17 and was in a sea of masters that I did not recognize. The course was set up with kilometers as well as mile markers which was cool. I came upon the turn-around which was wide in order to run around an island. I saw the leaders heading back. Greg and Tim were next to each other, about 20 runners deep. Joe was about 20 seconds up on me. I started to slow up and I could tell. Mile two was around 11 minutes. I tried to hang in and get through the hill at 2.75 in one piece. 

I lost a few places but held on to stride out the last 400 meters without giving up too much. My time was 17:29 (gun time) or 17:27 (chip). That placed me 55th among masters and 79th with the open runners combined. My 2.5K splits were 8:27 and 9:00. Yes, 33 seconds slower in the 2nd half of the race. I felt that too. It was great to air it out early and see what the legs and lungs could handle.

Greg (15:53 gun), Tim (15:58 gun), & Joe (16:50 gun) placed the Central Mass Striders to a 2nd place finish behind the Atlanta Track Club and ahead of the Syracuse Track Club in the 40+ age group. Greg and Tim placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in their 5 year age groups. We had to hit the road early so we missed the awards that were held several hours later at the hotel. Tivo hung out and picked up the plaque for the team.  

Greg, myself, and Joe an hour before the start of the race
Records broken news story and video from Central NY

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lone Gull 10K

The USATF New England Road Race Grand Prix continued with the 6th of 7 races this year with the 10th Annual Lone Gull 10K in Gloucester. I warmed up with Joe Shairs, Gregory Putnam, Tim Van Orden and Martin Tighe. The conditions were perfect. Soon enough, I got into the starting area, six rows back. A good clean start rolled out. This is one of the best courses I see all year in terms of the scenery with the ocean within view for 75 percent of the course. I settled into the race in the opening mile seeing a 5:43 and moved up a few spots to rock with some Whirlaway guys: Scott Anderson, Mike Cooney, and Charlie Bemis. I heard 11:30 for mile two and was focusing on catching up with Dave Dunham about five seconds up. This led to my fastest mile of the day to mile three (5:36). 

I caught Dave around there but my momentum did not last too long. I felt flat in the stretch up St Louis Ave and Farrington Ave where Dave and I started to get some verbal support from Matt Curran who was on the bike. I bounced back a bit on Atlantic Rd to keep pace and connect again with Dave in the final mile. I pushed up the hill at mile six and came down to the finishing  stretch. I held Dave off but Charlie Bemis zipped by as I got over the finish line with a gun time of 36:07 (chip time of 36:02, 102nd place overall) – a little slower than my 35:45 from last year. 2016 Lone Gull 10K results. The Central Mass Striders masters team placed 2nd to BAA. Next few races coming up: USATF Masters National 5K Championship in Syracuse and BAA Half Marathon.  Mile splits below. 

5:46 for the last .3

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Seasons 20K road race

I was rolling along with Dave Dunham early in the race. I did not feel sharp but planned on rolling hard down the hills and press in the middle of the race. The hills continued with the humid air and cloud cover. We were racing the Seasons 20K, race number five of the New England Grand Prix, touring the back roads of Acton. I couldn’t believe the splits consistent in sixes, slower than what I wanted. I said to Dave “it is what it is.” He was quiet but steady company. We went back and forth through the hills until I was gassed out shortly after the wind and rain that passed through after 7 miles? It felt good, temps dropped a few degrees. Runners ahead including Dave and several Whirlaway guys ran past Shaker Lane (after 10 miles?) which was coned. I followed the runners for a few seconds trusting them for just that long before telling/asking Matt Germain “isn’t the course back over there?” He agreed and we yelled ahead for the guys to come on back to the course. Maybe 15 seconds were lost for me but far more for the guys ahead to had to come back to the course. I kept with Matt and Dan Chruniak for as long as I could back out on Rt 2A but relented in the final mile. I crossed the line in 1:18:21 (1:18:18 chip time) good for 43rd but should have been maybe 15 to 20 spots behind that if the guys did not run off course.  My teammates of Todd Callaghan, Ed Sheldon, and Dave Dunham lost a minute to two minutes out there with the course mix up. Oh well. Our masters team came in 2nd place in a good battle with Whirlaway. While reflecting, my time was almost five minutes slower than last year, 1:18:18 vs 1:13:23. Not sure what to make of that while my effort on Sunday was “race pace.” Full race results

Charlie Bemis leading the charge after the rain fell. I am way back in our pack starting to fade before Shaker Lane.
Photo by Paul Hammond

Coming into the finish area with Joe Navas chasing. He was impacted by the Shaker Lane missed turn three miles earlier.
Photo by Paul Hammond

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New Hampshire 10 miler

Joe Shairs drove the North Shore bus of Gregory Putnam, Todd Callaghan, and I from Peabody to Auburn NH in just under 50 minutes. I have never been to Auburn and frankly never heard of Lake Massabesic or Massabesic Lake. The area was hosting the USATF New England 10 mile road race championship – race number 4 of 7 in 2016. All I knew about the race was that it had some hills as CMS teammates Ed Sheldon, Dave Dunham checked out the course recently. Scott Mindel agreed after racing his 54:40 winning time there a year ago. The 10 mile race was a perimeter loop around the lake. I got my number and then headed over to the timing van to confirm and validate some team stuff. I got set up in the racing gear and did a warm up on the bike path which was nice to see.

The race lined up and I started next to Joe about three rows from the line. The sun was out and temps were in the 70’s and waiting to pop into the 80’s. The race bolted out and I settled in behind some ladies. We got strict instruction from race director John Mortimer to stay to the right of the yellow lines on the street at all times. That was really restrictive in the first few miles of the race. With a course of all right hand turns, it did not matter after 10 minutes of racing.

Joe Shairs, Todd Callaghan, and Josh Perks were about 10 seconds ahead after two miles. I was jealous but respected the pace and distance for which we were up against. I did not want to risk a heavy surge to connect with them. The mile splits were just under or just over six minutes per mile which was in order of my abilities for 10 miles. My goal was to compete well and finish under one hour (wanted to run 58:59). I could not help but be reminded that the course felt like I was running around Lake Winnipesaukee as it related to a lake and the hills.

I got tired of seeing the Aubrun hills as I got to the half way point on the course which was reached in 30:28 (thought my watch had me around 30:19). SRR training partner Kieran Condon passed me right around then and I gave him advice shortly after to continue to fly down any hills he saw for the rest of the course. I am glad the course had the in and out of Hunting Way (even the dreaded pace killer 180 around the cones) so that I could see who I was chasing and who was chasing me. I noted Dan Verrington and Dave Dunham were chasing me. The Perks, Callaghan, Shairs trio was broken up a bit with competitors in between about 20 seconds ahead. Strangely, I did not see any other master runners among them so with me as the 5th scoring runner for the team at the moment, it looked pretty good for CMS.

I was feeling listless into mile 6 but the down hills were helping me. I put a good effort on all that rolled down using it to my benefit and gave me some back and forth with the guys around me like Kieran. I caught up to Joe after 7 miles along Rt. 28. It was nice to finally run with a teammate. A few minutes later, we came upon a hill that looked to be the longest of the course. Joe mumbled a few f-bombs and admitted to be backing off. Dan Verrington flew by on the hill looking very good. He would soon finish as the top Senior (50+) runner of the day. He put a few seconds on me to the top as we reached mile 9. The course would drop right down to set us both up for a few right hand turns into the finish where I scooted ahead of Dan to the finish.

My time was 1:00:53 (gun time) or 1:00:49.4 chip time, placed me 68th overall. The 5 mile splits were: 30:28 and 30:22 – a negative split. Dan was 4 seconds back and Joe was 27 seconds back. Josh and Todd crossed the line in 1:00:11 & 1:00:18. Gregory Putnam ran 56:59 to score as our top master for the team and top master of the race. The masters team picked up the win while the Seniors team placed 2nd and open team 3rd.

The team headed out for an easy cool down on the trails nearby along the lake about 15 minutes later. My right calf cramped on two occasions. The post race venue under the pines trees was cool. I had ice cream and muscle milk which the team appreciated. Looking back on the race, I am glad the race had more shade than I expected. The next USATF races next month for the team and I are the Seasons 20K in Acton and the Lone Gull 10K in Gloucester. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Lynn Woods Relay

The Lynn Woods relay has been a summer tradition. Four runners each take a run at 2.5 miles of up and down hills in Lynn Woods. As of 3pm yesterday, I was homeless, letting my CMS mates who have frequented the Lynn Woods races all summer recruit another to fill out a team. My attempt to get a CMS masters team fell through too. So it did not look good so I planned on just running over to to watch the race. But, a tip from Brett Rickenbach advised Junyong Pak was seeking to fill out his team. Boom, I was in as of hours before the race. Junyong and I were on a previous Lynn Woods relay team moons ago. I sprinted home and met up with Brett and we ran over to the race. I found Junyong to get my number and then with Manuel Rednon and Kyle Hewson who made up our team.

Pak led off with a 14:10 (7th fastest split of the day) and handed off to Manuel (owner of Los Chamos -  a Venezuelan Restaurant on Union Street) who turned an ankle out on the goat path but toughed it out on his first run (18:26) in Lynn Woods. He handed off to Kyle, a sophomore at Beverly High School aiming to crack the top 5 in cross country next month. He got through in 17:38. I was the anchor and took off out onto the course. I cheered on every person and club runner in sight. There was no pressure but wanted to run the 15 minutes that I said I would do. I felt pretty good but all climbing was taxing. I saw Oti Pizarro at the turn-around and thought I might have a chance to catch him on the way back to the finish. I pressed on and made up the gap only at the top of the last hill (400m before the finish). I passed him on the way down and brought it home with a split of 15:08 – good for 2nd fastest master time behind David Long. The team finished 9th overall. Not too bad. Team Results

I capped off the night with Krissy and the Wicked Running Club at Polcaris on Rt. 1 for Pizza. It gave me some time to catch up with friends.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bobby Doyle 5 mile road race - Narragansett, RI

Gregory Putman drove Joe Shairs and I to Narragansett, RI for the USATF New England 5 mile road race Championships. The 9th Annual Bobby Doyle race was race number three for the 2016 road race Grand Prix Series. The series has waited since the New Bedford Half Marathon in March. I picked up my new team jacket from Steve and went out for a warm up which was not really needed with the temps and humidity rising. I got in about 10 minutes before lining up at the start, five rows back next to Joe. The race bolted out of the school driveway and took a right down a slight hill before climbing up a bit. I settled in with a 5:29 1st mile. I got behind Joe after 2 miles which my pace slowed down to a 5:43 mile (pretty normal for me). 

The 3rd mile out on the water pinged a 5:41 mile (hey not too bad) and I got a step in front of Joe. The 5K split was 18 minutes. My personal temperature gauge was maxing out. I wilted shortly thereafter and it got ugly with the next mile coming in a 6:12. There was a hill in there that I would not typically call a hill with the mountain races that I witness. But this hill felt like a mountain and it was not too bad. Runners past by and I all I could do was keep my head down and just shuffle along. The last mile was no faster as I saw some carnage with a few folks stopping or dropping out. I managed to find some energy to get close to Dan Verrington at the very end to score as our 5th master runner of the day. The 29:47 chip time is a good minute plus slower than my time last year. It is what it is. On the good news front, the open team placed 2nd while the Masters and Senior teams took first place. A flurry of Grand Prix races are coming up: 10 mile, 20K, 10K.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Friday Night Lights 10,000m

I jumped into a 10,000 meter track race on Friday night. It was hosted by the Western Mass Distance Project and Greater Boston Track Club. This is the 2nd year of the race, however, the field was expanded out for extra heats to allow for athletes to participate in the USATF New England Championship (for the outdoor track meet to be held on July 29 & 30). It was also available for All Terrain Runner points which was my objective. I was not going to participate in a 10K on a track but this opportunity came up and this was the last chance.

My heat, #2, was scheduled to start at 7:40PM at Danehy Park in Cambridge (800 meters from Fresh Pond and the Alwife T-stop). It was a hot night with some lightning that followed after my race. That lightning delayed the elite women's race by a half hour. I passed a few runners during the 25 lap race, as well as, got passed by the top four runners in the race which was won by TJ Unger who ran just under 34 minutes. My quickest lap was my last one, 84 seconds. My slowest lap was the 14th in 91 seconds. It looks like I had five laps at 90 seconds, all of which came after that 91 in the second half of the race.

The top master of the race, Chad Carr passed me during the race. I managed to keep him close in the last 8 laps of my race. His presence helped me stay somewhat focused in the long and hot race. I finished in 12th place, 36:42.9, in the heat (not bad considering I was seed # 31) and 2nd master runner. I was pretty exhausted as I could see that in everyone out there competing. Thank you Stephen Peckiconis for tracking my lap splits and more importantly, keeping count of my laps. He was also keeping track of Patrick Bugbee's laps too. Also, I need to thank Dave Dunham and Krissy for the vocal support during the race.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Level Renner 10K

I headed down to D.W. Field Park, the gem in Brockton for the Level Renner 10K with Joe Shairs, Gregory Putnam, and Krissy. We met up with Dan Vassallo and looked for the rest of our team. Where were the other four guys? DL? We were concerned with team not scoring. We needed a few more to cross the finish line. I could not convince Eric Narcisi to put the Dunkin flatbread and Iced Mocha down and jog for a 10K. Actually, he was in the midst of race duty so he was out. I swung a last minute deal for Dave Kraal and Samuel Fazioli to run with us.

Joe and I ran together for the 1st mile and a half under a mix of shade and sun. It was warm. The 1st mile was around 5:46 and I heard a 2nd mile split that just about doubled that. Up tower hill for the 2nd time, I ran with Jake Barnett for the next couple of miles during the rolling hills before he woke up and dusted me by 33 ticks. I stayed in the same position, 13th all the way to the finish line, in an exhausted manner. I posted up an average of 5:51 pace per mile, and 36:19, with zero turn-over in the last two miles.

Kevin Balance, CEO of Level Renner enterprises and team put on a good show for the 200+ runners. Tons of raffle prizes were given away. Our team picked up the first place prize which was cool. My 3rd place age group got me a gift certificate to Charles River Running in Norwood. I gave it to Dave as he lives in Weymouth - a lot closer to him. Lastly, my bib number was called pretty early and afforded me a New Balance gift card for some new kicks. All in all, a pretty good day for all.

I am back at it with a last minute decision to run in the Friday Night Lights 10K for some All Terrain points.

KrissyK SmugMug 2016 Level Renner 10K photos
Scott Mason photos
2016 Level Renner 10K results

Joe Shairs and I after the first climb up tower hill. Dave Kraal has the white hat behind Joe.
Photo by KrissyK
Jake Barnett and I just after the 2nd climb up Tower Hill around 2.25 miles
Photo by KrissyK
3rd and final time past Tower Hill and to the finish
Photo by KrissyK

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Miles Over the Moon 4 mile - Salem

Krissy and I post-race
I won a free entry to the Miles Over the Moon 4 mile race courtesy of the North Shore Road Race Guide a few weeks ago. The race is unique with a  Friday night, 8:00PM start. I picked up my number, ran a warm up with Bradley Gates and Chris Nolin, showing them as much of the 1st and last mile that I studied prior. The race opened up with a loop around the Salem Common on the road (not inside the common via the path). Four guys were immediately out quick wasting no time taking charge. Once the dust settled, I went by three runners within the first mile and was now in 4th place cranking through a 5:19 mile on Derby Street. I noticed ahead that Jordan Kinley was dropping off the lead pack now down to 2 that included Dan Chruniak. I would maintain my place heading behind the Salem Willows and out of it hitting mile 2 with a 5:39 split. The hill at Deadhorse beach is a beast and provided me with a 5:44 split now heading back to the Salem Commons. A few turns later, I was on the Salem Common for a full lap around it on the stone dust path. I knew I would be close to 5:30 pace so I tried to stay with that stride while the legs tired. I saw the clock at 21:39 and I made a sprint to break 22 minutes. I would end up with a 22:00 bib time and 22:01 gun time. 4th place, 1st master runner. I was happy with the effort and it has been a while since I was in the 5:30’s for a race distance beyond 5K. My GPS measured out 3.93 so that calculated out to 5:36 pace per mile. I ran a 4 mile race in Salem (Frosty 4) over pretty much the same course on January 1 with a 5:50 pace per mile. A little progress since then! Full results of the Miles Over the Moon event. I ran a cool down with Dan (won with 5:00/mile average), 2nd place runner Jon Lindenauer (new to the area from Hudson Valley who ran 5:03/mile pace), and Chris Nolin who was the 4th place master over to the Pickering Wharf and more of Derby Street before the darkness fell on the evening.

Finish line in the Salem Commons
photo via video, KrissyK

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

John Carson 2 mile road race

Joe Shairs and I talked about the possibility of running this race, just the day before while at a cookout. I was not sure how my legs would respond 24 hours after Loon Mountain. However, I love the race, setting, and early start which allows one to enjoy the rest of the day for whatever the 4th of July brings (cookouts, rest, fireworks, et cetera). I picked up Joe the following day and we got to post registration early at the back of Hannaford Supermarket in Chelmsford. We found Terry McNatt (CSU, would go on to run 11:18, 2nd 50+) on our warm up and went 1.75 miles into the 2 mile course in order to show Joe the terrain. Back at the car, I put on the race gear, did a few strides, and got on the line behind Joe and Jim St. Pierre (would go on to run 10:58) who always runs very well at this race. He joked that was his last race, one year ago. Jim and I were teammates for a year way back in the day. 

The key in the first 400m is to stay clear of the little ones who are all over the first few rows of the start. They sprint out and fade before you know it but they are a risk to race around. Indeed, I saw one go right down to my right. It would appear he tripped over his own feet . I was keeping pace with Kara Haas in the opening 800m which got us up a short hill to turn left. Once up and over, I focused on what and who was ahead. Joe was a few seconds up. I would catch Joe just after the mile (recall a 5:26 on the watch). Passing him slowly, I focused on catching up with Jim who seemed to be struggling as I found a good stride going downhill. 

I went by and now was facing the hill up to the finish where of which reminded me of the Loon legs underneath. With 400 to go, I tried and managed to hold my spot for 17th place, 3rd master behind Bob Tremblay (10:36) and Jared Nyamora (10:42). My 10:52 on my watch confused me because I thought that I saw 10:41 on the finish line clock. I grabbed a Sullivan Farms t-shirt that were being handed out immediately after the finish line, handed out some fist pumps to the competitors around, and found Joe who ran 11:07. I swallowed a lemonade and some watermelon before he and I headed back to the start line. We ran a bit of the course which we came upon the very start of the parade coming through which reminded me of our countries independence and freedom. 

Two short miles with elevation profile

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Loon Mountain Race – US Mountain Running Championships

Loon Mountain
photo by Gianina Lindsay / snapAcidotic
Dave Dunham let me to crash with him, Tim Van Orden, and Jamie Woolsey the night before the race, saving me from a multiple hour drive the morning of the race (to and from). I ran a warm up with the team, did my thing in the woods, as the group turned around and headed back to the lodge at Loon Mountain for the 8am men’s start. As a ran back, I saw Ed Sheldon running funny, leaned over, slowly, with two others keeping him company. The company looked as concerned as I was puzzled. As I caught up, I asked what is going on, thinking the worst, that Ed hurt his back? With the sun directly in his line of sight, he hit his head on a sign a few minutes earlier near the entrance to the condos. He had 1 inch cut and blood to make you wonder if he would even bother racing 15 minutes later. I gave him my toilet paper and he applied it on the wound to stop and clean the blood. We were back at the lodge in minutes as he went inside to clean up. I went back to my car to get my racing gear on. Five minutes later, I ran over to the start to find Ed all cleaned up, with a bandage, ready to go. I would not see him again until 2.5 miles into the race. Tough guy for sure!

It was great to see all of the CMS runners at the start of the race. The went off quick and I seemed to be buried behind 100 runners in no time as we climbed the dirt road in the US Mountain Running Championships. No surprise. We had some downhill mixed in the early miles to break up the 3100 ft of ascent to the top of Loon and the Upper Walking Boss. I settled into my race pace in the first few miles, passing a few tactically to ensure I had good visibility in the shaded trails. I passed William Jackson after two miles and set my sights on Ed Sheldon who was running pretty well considering what happened earlier. I got by him on one of the climbs. I grinded up all the hills, passed a few men in the process, noting who had a 40-44 age group bib on the back. The 2nd half of the 6.3 mile race was in the open sun and it was getting warmer. I would say however, conditions for air quality (no humidity) and temps were perfect. The miles went by quickly for me despite the hard effort climbing and occasional downhill. I took it easy going down the hill to the Upper Walking Boss on purpose. 

Then I came upon UWB with a timing company table and equipment right there to time the segment going up. Pretty funny actually to see how slow or fast you are against the race after the fact.
I tried to take little steps, big steps, side steps, run, jog, hike, walk, et cetera. I found no comfort or relief from the fight with 30% grades up. It was steep and tricky enough in a few sections to get on all fours to ensure you got up the rough patch. I got passed by teammates Dan Verrington and William Jackson (hiked by with his long stride) over the next 11 minutes up. Although the course line was straight up, I was wobbly at best, legs weak, just trying to stand up and keep going up and not fall over. Chris Smith went by too earlier but he was close enough at the top with 200m to go that I got motivated to get out of hike mode and run the last of UWB. I made it up and could hear people at the finish line. I reached the line in 1:05:08. If you add in the women’s times, this placed me 87th overall. I seemed to have placed 4th within my 40-44 age group. Here are the fullresults.

CMS ended up getting 1st place in the men’s open, masters, and senior divisions. The women picked up gold in the open and silver in the masters. Several picked up age division win’s outright such as Dave Dunham (top 50-54) and Todd Callaghan (top 45-49). They were followed by other teammates as the Seniors swept with Dave, Erik Vandendries, and Jeff Hunt going 1-3. Tim Van Orden was the 2nd 45-49 runner.

Here are my splits per mile to give you an idea of what this race is all about. You can tell where the climbing was.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Asbury Grove Wiener Run 10K

Asics Gel Hyperspeed 6
Roger Perham and I
First time for me to race Roger Perhams's Wiener 10K out of Asbury Grove in Hamilton. Krissy reminded me of the race while she was driving home from work and I said sure why not. It sounded better than a planned interval workout. We drove over and parked among 10 other cars. I expected a small crowd for a Tuesday evening race. I caught up with the Rich family who live 50 yards from the start and finish. Patrick is nursing a knee issue and turns 40 in August. Now for the race, starting at 6:30. I put on the Asics Gel Hyperspeed 6 that I picked up on Saturday from Whirlaway. 

Pretty good course here from Asbury Grove, through Bradley Palmer Statre Park and back to the Grove. I was hitting low sixes early while leading the race. I was focused but rather chill with the previous day that provided a 5K effort at the same pace.

The 2nd half rolls but I negative split this to make sure I finished under a six minute mile average. I did see a deer on a field at 4.3 miles which was cool to see - reminding me that yes, I am in the country side on a summer night. My last two miles were under six minute pace. 1st overall., 36:54 off my watch and recall official results were 36:56. Hot Dogs, burgers, watermelon, beans, et cetera for a ten spot on a weeknight is a bargain.

Mile splits and course

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Swampscott Dory Run 5K

Heading into mile two with a 2 second lead
Photo by KrissyK
Nakri and I headed over to the Dory Run 5K in Swampscott. This has been a Memorial Day fixture on the North Shore for years. The temperatures were much cooler than Saturday. A light rain was coming down but seemed to be a non issue for the race as it lightened up. I got on the start after a 2 mile warm up, getting instruction from Dan Vassallo to beat the guy in the red hat. th place 400m into the race up to 3rd after the mile where the hills start. Krissy was road side taking photos at 1.8 miles where I just passed the red hat. Mile 2 split was coming from Race Director Gary Freedman, in 11:20. I held on to the 2nd place with a lap around the track into the finish.  I was first place for 40+ and the time was 17:50 (5:45/ mile pace). I turned around to the red hat who ran 18:08 and introduced myself. He was 8th grader, Sean Kay who is already off to a good start for racing. Kat, Dan, Nakri (5th in 18:41 and a PR) and I ran the course for a cool down. We hung out for the awards where I had a nice talk with WF Newhall from Marblehead. The former winner thanked me for the support of the race. Below are a few pictures of the Dory Run Cup and historical male and female winners. Who do you recognize?
The red hat was ahead of me from the gun. I moved up from 6

James "Jim" Green (3rd place Boston Marathon 1960), WF Newhall, and 2016 Dory Run 5K race winner Dan Vassallo

Mt Wachusett Road Race - King of the Mountain 3 mile

The USATF Mountain Series scored the up portion of the race (3 miles to the summit) so that was my focus. My hamstring has been sore so racing down the mountain was not an option. Heading up one mile hill was a strenuous grind, just steps behind Dave Dunham. We got into the park and he pulled away. I settled in for the rest of the race up the auto road. It was hot, and any shade was sought after but limited. Chris Smith went by after 2 miles and made some ground on the seniors. I was ready to end the race and finally got to the summit in 22:38, 22nd place. I had 9 CMS runners ahead of me which within a race hosted by the Central Mass Striders, was pretty cool. We have two new Seniors that made their debut: Ed Sheldon and Jeff Hunt. I waited at the top for five minuntes, drank a few cups of Gatorade and headed down the mountain with Tim Mahoney and Dave Lapierre. I opted to not go through the finish at the base as the run down was too casual. I headed over to the Wachusett Brewery with Stephen Laska for a plant tour and some samples. Then we headed over to West Boylston for lunch. On the way over there, the fuel pump on the Rabbit decided to fail. Needless to say, I and the Rabbit got towed home.  

The heat got to both the Rabbit and I

Monday, May 23, 2016

Trav’s Trail Run

The rain held off for Trav’s Trail Run (3 mile) cross country / trail race at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport. The course is an up and down affair in a course that sees single track, fire roads, and fields. This is a scenic course and a gem for age group prizes as the goal was to get a coveted ‘Stina' mug. The race went out fast as Nate Jenkins and Greg Putnam (representing CMS) took no prisoners. They would go on to place 1-2 overall. I would go on to place 9th overall. The results missed Chris Kealy who was a few places ahead of me. I ran 17:16 about 30 ticks slower than last year. I felt the effort was good with a little “off throttle” in the middle of the race. Chris Kealy and Paul Larosa went by me before the mile and my legs were fading. Jochen Steinbrecher who was on my heels at the mile, would be held off by yours truly by 11 seconds at the end where I was gassed. I kept my place and position which was established at the mile. With Greg Putnam placing in the top 3 overall, that allowed me to sneak into the 3rd place 40+, master age group to get a mug and New Balance bag.

After 600m into the race
Photo by Joe Armstrong

50m before the finish "mid-air"
Photo by Joe Armstrong

Prizes for 3rd place
Photo by Krissy Kozlosky


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race

This was race # 1 within the USATF New England Mountain Series. This was the 5th year of the race in Huntington, VT, home of Kasie Enman. Her house and property host the race via Sleepy Hollow Inn and XC Ski resort. This was my first time there and was excited about car pooling with Matt Veiga and William Jackson. Matt made the 3 hour trip each way look easy. After arriving super early and warming up on the last mile of the course with Chris Smith (SRR and training partner this past Tuesday for 5 X 1K) and some CMS guys, the race took off up the hill.

The temps were in the low 50’s and a few light drops of rain dropped upon but overall, dry aside from mud here and there. The course, as I saw the profile was three up and down efforts through a 6.3 mile course on wide xc ski trails and single track. I went out conservative, based on my placing after 400m, but the breathing was heavy (welcome back to racing).

There were spots of slick mud that were easy to navigate on the flats and climbs with my ol’ New Balance 100’s. However, it was dicey on the steep drops after the mile. I lost a lot of time on the first stretch going down, getting gapped by Chris Smith and Dave Dunham. I mean from next to them and then out of sight after 3 minutes. I gingerly moved my way down the hills preferring to stay on my feet. From the bottom of that hill (1.75 miles?), I took a more aggressive approach and reeled in runners one by one. Up, down, flat, did not matter. I felt strong and carried momentum where I could but respecting the miles ahead. I was not familiar with the runners in the race other than teammates so it was cool to have them as a beacon after not seeing them and then I would see a CMS singlet coming back into my target.

Much respect from competitors on some single track which was really appreciated when they stepped aside once I was on the heels for 30 seconds. Dave Dunham, was my last beacon to catch with 800m to go on a downhill stretch, giving him a love tap on the ass as I went by.  It was easy to cruise down the hill but had to deal with a 100 yard up hill to the finish in a field. I just held Dave off at the end. My time was 49:51. Overall, I was as happy as I have been in the last seven months with my racing effort. 22nd overall,  6th guy in his 40’s. The post race after a 1.5 mile cool down was capped with a Burrito bar. It was a good appetizer before Matt, William, and I stopped in Richmond, for some sandwiches at Hatchet.