Friday, July 21, 2017

Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K

I headed over to the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5K (30th Anniversary for the L Street hosted race) which is 10 minutes away from the office. I signed up earlier in the morning after confirming that my legs were up for it. The runner’s expo beside Carson Beach was active with vendors. I caught up with Michael McGrane and Bob Fitzgerald in the BAA tent (I did not get kicked out for wearing New Balance sneakers) after grabbing my bib number and shirt. I ran the course as a warm up – an easy, flat, out and back along William J. Day Blvd. I got back to the car and changed into my Asics flats and singlet – representing Poland for the night.

The first mile went well sneaking just under 5:30 for the mile. Just after the turn-around, Allison McCabe from GBTC went by me. I was slowing down and knew it heading into mile 2. I had no energy for even one surge in the last mile. No fight. Sorry. I was just trying to get to the finish line without getting run down by anyone. I got to the line 6 seconds behind Allison (first female) with a time of 17:52 and in 14th place, 2nd 40-49 (Matt Herman ran 17:40). I hung by the finish, drinking two bottles of water. I waited for Mike Paulin and Suzanne Chavez and we did a short cooldown. Full Results

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Run for the Beavers Trail Races

Teammate, Robert Jackman, had a one day flash sale over the winter for his Run for the Beavers 5 and 10 mile trail race in Casmir Pulaski Memorial State Park in Chepachet, RI.  I did not have a Beaver shirt in my wardrobe so I signed up welcoming a new trail race to my portfolio and an excuse for a road trip in the Volkswagen Scirocco. The drive to the park was about 85 minutes. I got my race bib and exclusive Beaver t-shirt and a sticker. Robert caught me up on what to expect out on the course which was noted on the web site as intermediate on the Jackman Scale of Difficulty.

We consider this course to be intermediate on the difficulty scale.  It is a good transistion from a cross country race or trails that do not have any rocks and roots.   The loop has a great variety of terrain.  You will run on some fast dirt roads and double track trails, but will be slowed down a bit with some technical single track trails to keep you on your toes.  If you can keep your head up when you come around Peck Pond, you might get a glimpse of the infamous beaver at which this race takes its name.

Chris Mahoney and Steve Brightman were in attendance to make up a CMS team (3 runners score) with myself.  I warmed up on the first mile and last 800m of the course to familiarize myself with the two loop for 10 mile course. I got on the starting line soon enough in the CMS singlet a step off the front row. A WTAC runner had some comments for Steve regarding his team affiliation to CMS (Steve was shirtless so someone did some research). I wondered where the trash talk was coming from. I bit my tongue not knowing that the two runners have had years of competition and sweat among them albeit in opposing uniforms. In the end, WTAC put a hurtin’ to us with me being weak link, minutes behind the 3rd WTAC runner.  WTAC has historically done very well at this race.

Robert Jackman provided hilarious, dry sense of humor, instructions for us, trail runners before sending us off. One loop was to be run for the 5 mile runners and for me and the folks who signed up for 10 – run the loop once more. I ran off the start line surveying the runners around me as we headed up a slight incline on the fire road. I settled into what I felt was a good spot before dashing into the single track. It was so good that I owned the 8th place for the whole race. I had a few visitors on my heels like Michael Daniels who won the 5 mile and Ed Cullen during the 2nd loop.

The course was a lot of fun. The mix of terrain was evenly dispersed so that you did not get sick of any one thing. The loop offered single track, wide fire road, hills, swamp, boarded bridges, roots, rocks, mud, scenic view of ponds, and reluctant Beaver sightings who wanted no business with the group of runners. Robert offered free lifetime entry to anyone who saw one during the race.

I would really like to see this race as a New England Trail Championship in the future. In the end, I ran 1:10:57.8, for 8th place. For what is worth, 9.5 miles on the Garmin GPS. As Robert says, it is a trail race! Check out the outstanding photography by Scott Mason (lap 1lap 2). I had just enough time to cool down with a group after the race and then rinse off in the local pond below the parking lot. For an added bonus, the cool down run of an out and back for 1.7 miles allowed me to run into CT for a few minutes.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

John Carson 2 mile road race

I recognized the bearded face but not the Volvo wagon pulling into the Hannaford parking lot. I barked “Holy crap, that is Patrick Rich” to Joe Shairs as we waited for the start of the John Carson 2 mile road race in Chelmsford -  a July 4th tradition of sorts recently. It was awesome to see Patrick. This race would be his first in a while (18 months?) and certainly his first as a master runner. The CMS masters team is certainly going to get a boost this year with the addition of Patrick, Jim Johnson, and Chris Mahoney.

The three of us headed out for a warm up. Each of us knew the course which is a rolling point to point 2 mile course along a parade route. We were on the starting line after a 2.5 mile warm up. My goal was to run a pair of 5:29 miles and sneak under 11:00. I trailed Patrick and Joe heading through 400m. The key is to not get tripped up after the start as so many young lads bolt right out.  
I passed the mile in 5:30 a step behind Joe and Patrick. The next 400m drops down a bit and I pushed past them. The last 400m seems so long as the course climbs back up into the finish around a corner. I was tiring out in the last 150m for sure. I finished in 22nd place, 4th master, and barely ahead of Joe (11:06) and Patrick (11:07). We collected ourselves with a quick drink and ran back to the start catching just the beginning of the parade vehicles.


I have to mention a friendly face that I have seen at this race for years. He is the "gunman" or official starter of the race. His name is Tom Hildreth. He went out of his way to run over and shake my hand after I picked my number up, welcoming me again to the race. He volunteers his time and I have seen him helping at other races in recent years such as the Lynn Woods Relay race in August and the Merrimack River Trail race in April. It is people like this that make this sport so great for everyone.


Almost done with the 2 mile in Chelmsford
Photo by Jim Rhoades