Sunday, November 30, 2008

Training - 11-24 - 11-30

2 races this week and 3 in the last 8 days... One week ago was the Wakefield 5k...Thursday was the Feaster Five (photo of Feaster Five finish to the left -  courtesy of MVS) and then I finished the week off with the Andover Country Club 3.5 Mile (results) cross country race today.  I finished in second place behind Ryan Carrara (NB Boston) who destroys me in every race I've ever seen him at... I went out pretty smooth and steady in the lead for a short bit and then he took over and never looked back.  I tried to keep within a few seconds and a couple times picked up a little bit of ground, but over the last K he was in control and I was just hanging on for 2nd.  He's been sick and just came back running regularly this past it looked a lot closer than it would have been...

It was a pretty fun race with A LOT of twist and turns and short hills throughout the whole course.  The finish has a nice grassy downhill and luckily the bad weather held off, making it a relatively dry run.  The post-race spread was decent...pasta, salad, and all the beer you could handle (although I think I may be coming down with something so I held off on the adult beverages)...  

This week marks week 2 in a row of 70 miles...slowly climbing back up and holding steady...we'll see....

11-24 - 11 miles (1:16:19) - Salem, Methuen, Pelham (Harris' Inn Loop)(roads) - solo.
11-25- 7.5 miles (51:12) - Newburyport (roads) with Al Bernier, Paul LaRosa, Brett Rickenbach...first run of the season w/ headlamp!!! Drizzle and rain...
11-26 - 9.4 miles (1:01:07) - Salem, Methuen - Pelham St. Loop with add on down to Kristin's work and back.. (roads) [Route] - solo.
11-27 - 26:00 w/up before Feaster Five around Andover (solo) + 5k Race - Feaster Five  - 3rd out of 4372 - 16:24 (relatively hilly course) + 26:00 (3 miles) w/ Chris Volante around Andover. - Total - 9.6
11-28 -11 miles (1:24:48) - Bradford, Groveland, Georgetown (trails and roads) - w/ Mark Behan, Mark Kimball, Dan Verrington, and Andy King.
11-29 - 11.2 miles (1:12:32) - Salem, Methuen, Lawrence, North Andover - to my sister's house [Route] (roads) - solo.
11-30 - 26 min w/up w/ dd & Mike Masse + 6k Race - Andover CC XC 3.5 M - 2nd place of 366 - 18:03 (5:10 pace) + 30 min cooldown w/ Pete Cahalane & Mike Masse - Andover, MA. - Total 10+

Total Mileage for the week: 70.2

Barring getting sick. this coming Saturday I'll run one more race (Christine's Crusade 5k Trail Race up in Dover, NH) before heading out to San Jose for the week...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy turkey day to everyone out there from myself and the lovely and talented Kristin...

We spent the day in North Andover at my sisters' house with my family. We'll do Christmas with Kristin's family this year...that's generally how we do it (alternating years)....

I remember 3 years ago, Thanksgiving of 2005, when I got home from a day of stuffing my face, I was tipping the scale at highest 'known' weight...I remember that vividly...but for some reason it took me another 10 months to start doing something about it... 

I started the day by going down to the Feaster Five (results) in Andover for the annual Thanksgiving race that MVS puts on in both the 5k and 8k distances.  I was going to go up to Rochester to do the 5k that the Rochester Runners puts on but decided against making the longer trip...It was a last minute decision for me but I decided to give the Feaster Five a go... 5k was the race of choice....  It was fun to finally do it...nothing too special about my time or performance, but conditions were good and its another race I can say I did and move on....  I ran my slowest 5k of the year time-wise but the effort was OK.  The course was pretty slow as there is a pretty long incline during the first mile... I went through the mile in about 8th or 9th place and then, once we hit the top of the hill and turned onto Elm street, I passed a couple people and ran in 5th place for most of the last 2 miles... Just before the race turns onto the last street (which again is all a steady uphill to the finish), I made a move and passed the guy who was running in 2nd almost the entire way, and then a guy who had been one stride ahead of me for the entire race.  I worked up the last uphill behind Chris Volante but was unable to get him over the last 200 meters....I finished 3rd overall in 16:24.  Chris was 2nd and Dartmouth's Glenn Randall was 1st overall and the only guy to break 16 on this relatively tough 5k...  Randall was the 2007 NCAA 10k Freestyle Cross Country Skiing Champion and is a 30:00 10k guy.  One cool thing about today was that 4372 people ran in the 5k, making this the largest field I've ever run additional 2610 ran in the 8k but started with everyone else, making it a total starting field of just about 7000 people.  

Next up (if the next couple days go to plan) is the Andover Country Club 6k XC race on Sunday...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Training - 11-17 - 11-23

Slight increase in mileage again this week and back up to the 10-a-day average... Incorporated one track workout in there with dq on Wednesday in crazy wind... Had a decent workout on Saturday in the Wakefield 5k.  Good to see dd back at it again...

Side note, my friends Jon Healey and Dan Vassallo had absolutely tremendous days at Philly yesterday.  Jon ran a 2:29:08 for 10th overall (5:41 pace) and a new PR.  Dan ran his arse off again and placed 2nd overall in the half marathon with a 1:07:52 (5:10 pace).  Knowing Dan and his intensity level, he's probably p*ssed because there was 1 guy in front of him (heck I've even seen him mad when he wins a race)... But I say you gotta be happy with 1:07!  Dan's the type of guy you definitely want on your side ;).... Both of these guys run for MVS' adidas racing team coached by Fernando Braz... On the women's side, Kara Haas (also MVS/adidas) ran to a 5th place finish with a 1:20:10 (6:06 pace).  Christina Sheehan (also coached by Fernando) was 3rd overall in the marathon with a 2:50:21.  I hear there was also a nice battle in the 8k between MVS/adidas runners Crystal Anthony and Melissa Donais who also ran very well....the results are all messed up still so I don't have times/places for that 8k....  Awesome job by all this weekend!

This kind of makes my work this week seem insignificant...but I'm happy to see others I know and run with running VERY well...  

11-17 - 11 miles (1:13:29) - Salem, Methuen, Pelham (Harris' Inn Loop)(roads) - solo.
11-18 - 13 miles (1:34:18) - 5 miles on the River Trail - Andover w/ Dave Dunham, Dave Quintal, Ken Tripp.... + 4 miles w/ Dave Quintal (roads) up into Lawrence + 4 miles back to the river (roads) (solo). Total: 13
11-19 - Workout with Dave Quintal - North Andover Middle School. 24 min w/up + Track Workout: 400 + 800 + 1200 + Mile + 1200 + 800 + 400 all at 78 quarter pace. Wind was incredibly brutal and it was COLD. Effort was probably better than 78s...but conditions made it what it was... 200 jog in between each. + 17 min c/down.. - Total: 10
11-20 - 8 miles (57:26) - First 3 solo around Andover/Phillips Academy while Dave and Dan had a super secret meeting about something... - Last 5 with Dave Dunham and Dan Verrington (trails/roads).
11-21 - 8 miles (54:15) - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill out and back (Lake St. Loop)(roads) - solo.
11-22 - 3.5 mile w/up around the lake in Wakefield, MA w/ dd + 5k race (15:58 - 1st) + 3.5 mile c/down around the lake in Wakefield, MA w/ dd & Jim Goodberlett. - Total - 10.
11-23 - 10 miles (1:09:15) - Salem, Windham, Derry (Windham Rail Trail) - solo.

Total Mileage for the week: 70

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wakefield Burbank YMCA 5k Classic

Saturday it was back to racing and this time the scene of the crime was Wakefield, MA (my old stomping ground)... Aside from a couple of those 'fun runs' on Wednesday nights (back when I was still getting into shape), I've never actually 'raced' the lake before, although I've run it no fewer than 100 times or so... Matty Lyons and I used to bang laps around there back in high school in probably 16 and change on training runs... but I've never hopped into one of these weekend races around the lake (with whatever alias the race is going by that particular week)...  There's 'Take the Lake', 'Bikini Run', and gads of other road races that go around Lake Quannapowitt throughout the year... This time it was the 19th Annual Burbank YMCA 5k Classic (results).  This race seems to have gone by a slightly different name variation from year to year and its also been held at any time between July and November just in the past 8 or 9 years alone.  It also used to be a 4 miler (getting all this info from past results on Coolrunning)...I actually brought all this up with a couple of GCS guys who were doing the timing and they didn't even know about any of that...  We sure did luck out with it being in late November this year on probably the coldest and windiest days we've had so far...  

Dave Dunham graciously offered to drive to this race (only 20 minutes away of course)... We arrived fairly early and practically froze solid, walking from the car to the registration area.  We then ran over the course and timed it so we'd get back right before the race went off (to reduce our time standing around before the start)... Timing it down to about 2 minutes, we made the start and we were off.... As we noticed on our warm up, the first mile was like running straight up Hurricane Katrina's backside... Nothing but headwind for just about the entire first mile... then between mile 1 and 1.5 there was all sorts of crazy cross winds/tail winds/head winds/ winds coming from above and below, and some that seem to come from all directions at the same time... Miles 10-12 at New Bedford all over again...  The good news is that the last mile was rock and roll time... Tail wind the entire way made for a quick last mile and gave me the ability to salvage a sub 16 5k for the 14th out of 15 tries this year.  I had to run out front and solo for the entire race, but felt pretty strong and smooth for the entire way...I actually felt stronger near the end of the race and nothing was bothering me... Good signs for sure...

Splits: 5k - 15:58 (5:08 pace) - 1st place out of 166

Mile 1) 5:07
Mile 2) 5:15 (10:22)
Mile 3) 5:00 (15:22)
last .1) :36 (15:58)

I made off w/ a bag full of stuff and a certificate for a free xmas tree that they sell down by the lake... Since we have a fake tree we use every year, I'm going to have to shop this's worth $30.  I have no clue how much a tree costs, but I can't imagine it being much more than that...

DD has a nice writeup about his day (and the only photo we have) up on his blog.  At the last minute he asked an extremely elderly woman who had just gotten out of her car, to take our picture.  This lady was so old, slow, and obviously oblivious to technology or even the concept of taking a photograph for someone... just at first glance I wouldn't even have asked her for simple directions, let alone to use a digital camera to take a picture of me in frigid weather.  I was concerned for her safety, but Dave wanted the picture because he's obsessed with me.  It took her a couple of tries, but she finally got off a decent shot.

We wrapped up the day at Brothers.  Hand's down my favorite joint in Wakefield to get some grub.  They sure have changed in recent months however, with a completely new, renovated inside....not sure I'm a fan...I like the old, dark, borderline dingy version I grew up with...  But the food still rocks.

Episode 6 (short) is up now... Absolutely no race footage and no redeeming quality whatsoever... but it's up.  You will get nothing out of watching it and in fact, may know less than you did before, after watching this.  Stay away.

*** On a side note, dd and I had our once-a-week difference-of-opinion today and this time the topic was Pink Floyd's 1977 album 'Animals' and more specifically the track on it called 'Pigs (Three Different Ones)'.  Dave was fairly convinced it was 'Pigs (Three Different Kinds)'...but I begged to differ.  Of course, once again I was right on the money... I mean, how can I be wrong about an animal that is in some way or another incorporated in like 75% of my diet?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Training - 11-10 - 11-16

Back to basics this week beginning with a day off on Monday after a no-so-great New England XC race on Sunday. I needed the rest even though my mileage has been super low.  I also needed a weekend off from racing so I bagged the turkey trot I was going to do up in Grantham (but added a couple of other races to the schedule to go into the winter a little sharper). I eased into the week and was able to get in over 60 for the first time in quite a while. This fall has been a disappointment to say the least. Now I'm getting excited for the upcoming winter racing schedule and planning on increasing my mileage back up to a respectable level and incorporating some workouts again, thanks to a great chat w/ Brad K. on Friday night, who filled me in on the importance of speedwork and gave me some great advice going into 2009. We'll see. 

This weekend I got a couple of great trail runs in w/ the crew (less dd who is still working on easing back into his normal routine)... 29 miles between Sat. and Sun.   Other than that, I did practically nothing else but rest, nap, and sit on my can.  

11-10 - Off - Day after NE XC. Well needed rest to clear my head and rest my mediocre arse.
11-11 - 8 miles (56:15) - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill out and back (Lake St. Loop)(roads) - solo.
11-12 - 11 miles (1:15:28) - Salem, Methuen, Pelham (Harris' Inn Loop)(roads) - solo.
11-13 - 9.5 miles (1:04:36) - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill (Whirlaway Loop) (roads) - solo.
11-14 - 9 miles (1:02:23) - Merrimack River Trail - Andover, MA- First 4 solo out to dd's tree and back... + last 5 w/ dd out and back.
11-15 - 12 miles (1:26:17) - Newburyport, MA - Maudslay State Park (trails) w/ Dan Verrington, Mark Behan, Ken Tripp, Dave Quintal, Mark Kimball. Started out slow but then by the end Kimball and Quintal were pushing the pace...calling this 12. Close enough.
11-16 - 17 miles (2:03:00) - Bradford, Groveland, Boxford (trails and roads) with Dan Verrington, Mark Behan, Mark Kimball, Andy King.  Kimball tried dumping me a couple times but I held him off and stayed on my feet.

Total Mileage for the week: 66.5 (6 days).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2009 USATF-NE Road GP Quick Thoughts...

I moved my schedule for 2009 out of the official blogging space and to its own home.  Just a preliminary schedule with more to come...  Now its time to rant slightly about the 2009 USATF-NE Road GP Selections.  We have (as in my favorite movie) the good, the bad, and the ugly.  

First, here they are...

2009 USATF-NE Road Racing Grand Prix:

02-22 - DH Jones 10 Mile (10M) - Amherst, MA
03-15 - New Bedford Half Marathon (13.1M) - New Bedford, MA
05-16 - Bedford Rotary 12k (12k) - Bedford, NH
06-07 - Rhody 5k (5k) - Lincoln, RI 
09-12 - Ollie Road Race (5M)- South Boston, MA
09-20 - Lone Gull 10k (10K) - Gloucester, MA
10-18 - Baystate Marathon (26.2M) - Lowell, MA

Now let me quickly analyze (I'm sure dd will have a much more in depth description of the night including vote tallies, etc)....  He'll probably find something to rant about when it comes to my driving, what I ordered at the sub shop, what I was wearing, or something lame like that...It's best just to let him go with it...

The Good:  Having 3 different races from last year.  Even though DH Jones and Bedford have been GP's in the past, this is different from last year, so that's definitely good.  Lone Gull looks and sounds promising.  I do like the date because its one week after Ollie, which means that if you're in shape for Ollie, you can hold out one more week and run a good 10k too... I didn't mind Bedford, and they have a new and improved course since 2007.  Lastly, these don't step on the toes of anything else on my calendar...very pleased with that.  

The Bad:  There is more bad than anything...First, DH Jones is a tough course.  It's in February.  Yankee Homecoming (which I actually enjoyed) got 40 votes to 31 in the first round of voting for the 'middle distances' (again I'm sure dd will get into this)... Then, by the time the last round of voting happened between DH and Yankee, DH ended up coming out with 37 to 35.   I liked having the Tuesday night race in the summer...I may still go back and do that one... I'm kind of indifferent about Rhody...but I will say that it is a long drive to go and run around in a parking lot...  Baystate being picked over Manchester and Cape Cod is also a little disheartening for me... Even though its fast, I've already done it...I would have preferred one of the other ones to mix it up a bit....but I'll take it.

The Ugly:  Ollie.  Just not thrilled about it. I'm absolutely floored that for 2 years in a row now that I've been going to the selections meeting, NOT ONE OTHER RACE BID AGAINST IT.  I swear, if I started a race around my yard with NO frills, no t-shirts, no toilets, and no parking, and went up against Ollie, I'd win.  I just don't get it.  If you are a race director with an 8k or 5M distance race and you just happen to see this, PLEASE bid next year. Please.  New Bedford is also another 'urban' jaunt we will need to again partake in, and in cold weather to boot... A bad experience there last year leads me to just overall bad memories and thoughts about going back... It got a majority right away I think, so it's certainly popular enough... The race spokesperson did do a nice job presenting his case, I'll give them that.  Lastly, having 6 people in my car going down to the selections meeting, all slamming me continuously (they tend to do that when they are in a pack)... Dave Quintal and Al Bernier were holding back a bit and being nice, but Dave Dunham, Paul Kirsch, and Dan Verrington can be brutal when they're all together.  Let's see... I've driven to Ascutney, Bridge of Flowers, and the selections meeting now with a full load of lunatics...2009 anyone, anyone?

Races that bid, but didn't get in:

04-26 - James Joyce Ramble (10k) - Dedham, MA
05-03 - Westford 5k (5k) - Westford, MA
05-10 - Medical Center 6k (6k) - Nashua, NH
07-28 - Yankee Homecoming (10M) - Newburyport, MA
10-25 - Cape Cod Marathon (26.2M) - Falmouth, MA
11-01 - Manchester Marathon (26.2M) - Manchester, NH

Monday, November 10, 2008

2008 USATF-NE XC Championships

As the year winds down and I look ahead to 2009, one large thing sticks out in my mind... I have to start doing workouts again to get better. Bottom line. I haven't raced 'fast' in some time now (fast for me that is)... In fact, the last part of this year after the mountain stuff has been pretty mediocre and below. I'm struggling to run 15:50s now in a 5k and my 10k this weekend was a clear indication that I am just running on fumes right now and need to make some adjustments...

Even though I ran essentially the identical time I ran last year, Sunday at the USATF-New England Cross Country Championships (results), I had fun because I was there with an actual full team. This was the first time I toed the line with a team at a XC race in 10 years. It felt really good to get out there and stand next to some guys who all shared the same common bond of running to score for a team... I knew regardless of how fast or slow I ran, I'd have some fun racing and scoring (barely) for a team.

The bright spots this weekend were definitely warm weather, having Kristin and my parents both go to the race (like old times), just being at Franklin Park at a XC race (always fun), and circling back with Coach George Davis (pictured left with myself and Kevin Alliette) who I haven't seen or talked to in almost 10 years. Not only did he look healthy, fit, and younger than I remember, but he was talking to me this time around as just a friend (like we sometimes did back at Lowell all those years ago). Our relationship was sometimes real good and sometime volatile to say the least...and the way we left it (or the way I left it) never sat right with me all this time... Sunday all that kinda went away with a simple glance up to see him walking towards me with a smile on his face...edging slowly towards me with that grin that was immediately familiar to me... This time around, no beard...clean shaven but the same GD I knew. It actually took me about 5 seconds to recognize him without the beard... We had a great talk. He was genuinely happy I was running again and very pleased to hear that not only was I running with some of the old familiars, but that I was enjoying myself doing it. He actually gave me some pointers and chatted with me for quite some time...I listened intently and became aware after a minute or so that it was just like back in the old days...but this time things were different. This time we were talking about running, racing, and strategy like we used to...but were doing it with smiles and a light heartiness that was a breath of fresh longer was it an intense coach to athlete dictation of was just different..and it was great. I'm really glad he was there...and I heard him cheering for me on the sidelines a few times...(which was rare back in the day...mainly because I would do everything he WOULDN'T want me to do during the race...but things have changed and for the better).

I went out conservative (way back in the pack which in itself is pretty disheartening to do) for the first mile... There was a coach on the sidelines at the 1/2 mile yelling out splits. I never paid attention to where the half mile split was at Franklin Park I know it's right behind the stadium. I went through WAY back but in 2:31...then limped through the mile in 5:04 and was getting destroyed. Typical New England cross first mile... Mile 2 introduces you to Bear Cage Hill and hence a much slower and more honest mile split... From there, it became a sh*tshow (to coin the phrase used by Matt Pimentel on many occasions)... Justin Fyffe (new CMS ringer) started out ahead of me and never looked back. Greg Putnam went by me during the first half mile with authority and also ran steadily out of my range... Paul Noone and Kevin Tilton passed me after the first mile and I stuck within ear shot of them for most of the race (more so with Kevin whom I thought at one point I was going to catch)... Looking back at it now, I should have made it a goal to catch up to Kevin over the last mile and a half or so. It would have made all the difference in my opinion of the race...

Typical story here...I went by guys, I got passed by guys, I battled back and forth, and got blown around (as did everyone) by the killer wind. No matter where you were out on the field, the wind was hitting you from what always seemed to be head on. Many guys were indicating after that the wind was a factor that made the day really slow... With Dylan Wykes' close to 30 flat winning time, it's a pretty scary thought...Many familiar faces went by me for the next few miles... Ryan C, Terry, etc. Ben Strain (image by Jim Pawlicki) went down somewhere near Bear Cage (I think) and got pretty bloody. It was hard core and pretty cool looking (blood all over his number)... He had to get stitched up at the ambulance and when I saw him after the race, it was all bandaged up and he was icing it. I guess he fell on a sharp rock...that's cross country!

I went back and forth with a few Dartmouth guys, some GBTC guys, and a couple of SISU guys including Matt Germain who ran a very nice last part of the race to take me on the last straightaway... I had nothing left and basically coasted in... What a feeling it was though, to be riding 5th for the team...that hasn't happened to me since my sophomore year in college when I was coming off of a broken foot... Even at my lowest point on MVS this year, I was 4th man at New Bedford... Also, a new stat for me, but this time not the one I was looking for... Sunday, my 64th place finish is my highest (highest in the wrong direction) finish all year. Granted, the size of this years race and certainly the depth, was a huge factor. I was 38th last year at this race, with an identical time. This year, I finished 26 places worse. The field was pretty loaded. Fun..but humbling.

Incomplete Splits for 10K XC - 33:25 (5:22 pace) - 64th Place.

Mile 1) 5:04
Mile 2) 5:32 (10:36)
Mile 3) 5:24 (16:01)
Mile 4) 5:33 (21:35)
Mile 5-6.2) 11:49

Incomplete splits for miles 5 and 6 because I didn't see the 5 and 6 mile markers and have no real idea where they are anyways. I would imagine 5 is somewhere near the finish line and 6 is somewhere on the playstead after the base of Bear Cage...

CMS Finishers for Men's Open 10K

44th - Paul Noone - 32:42
46th - Justin Fyffe - 32:43
49th - Greg Putnam - 32:52
55th - Kevin Tilton - 33:06
64th - Jim Johnson - 33:25 (5:22 pace)
105th - Louis Cote - 35:31
114th - Jeremy Huckins - 36:12
DNF - Ben Strain - (rock)

The spread here was only 43 seconds between the top 5 of us.... Not too bad. Had Matt Clark, Dan Verrington, Dan Ostiguy, Jim Pawlicki, Al Bernier, Ben Nephew or potentially any other CMS open guy I've missed that didn't run this weekend, been there....I wouldn't even have scored.... I got work to do...

Men's Open 10K Team - Overall

1Boston Athletic Association33
2New Balance Boston59
3Greater Boston TC114
4Nike Central Park TC116
6Central Mass Striders156
7Whirlaway RT166
8UMass Lowell192
9Green Mountain AA237
10 Hfc Striders263
11 PR Racing Team291

Men's Open 10k Team - USATF-NE Clubs Only

1Boston Athletic Association  33
2New Balance Boston 48
3Greater Boston TC 87
4Central Mass Striders113
5Whirlaway RT117
6Green Mountain AA167
7Hfc Striders183
8PR Racing Team203

CMS Finishers for Men's Masters 8k

12th - Joe Shairs - 27:36
18th - Dave Quintal - 28:13
56th - Joseph Hall - 32:05
73rd - Paul Grogan - 34:24
85th - Roger Nasatka - 36:44

Also, running super amazingly awesome (although he refuses to accept any race where he doesn't PR as a 'good race') was MVS Ace Dan Vassallo (pictured left with yours truly) who ran to a 13th place finish with a 31:37.

MVS' Brad Klinedinst made his appearance this year as did Janos Maku in the men's masters race.

Now on to a couple more smaller races where I can surely do much better than 65th in...then (snow-permitting) it will be snowshoe time! I hate to say it, but seeing how the weather was this weekend and how its been, Al Gore may have been right with all this hodge podge about global warming....he may be on to something...he did in fact after all, invent the each time I blog, I have to take a moment to pause and give thanks to him for all he's given us ;)... jk.

Photos of this lovely day (minus my performance) can be seen in the usual spot but split into three parts (all taken by the captivating and gorgeous Kristin):

Men's Masters 8k

I only took a few shots of the Masters start and half way before I had to warm up. Kristin got a limited amount of the women's race...

And lastly... Episode 5 in my viral video series containing mediocre running exploits and no rants this time......

Below are the usual kicka$ photos (click to enlarge) from Mr. Scott Mason (blog) (Galleries). Scott was there this weekend taking photos of not only our race, but also the NCAA D2 XC NE Regionals for New England Runner magazine...and speaking of that, if you've picked up this month's version of NE Runner, that's his handy work on the front....

Friday, November 7, 2008

Looking to NE XC

Looking forward to Sunday's USATF-New England Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.  Last year I only had 1 teammate join me for the festivities (thanks Jon!)... It would have been great to score with a team, regardless of how well or poorly I run... There's nothing worse (to me) than running a great team event like this and having no team score... This year we have a few diehards up for the challenge and I can't wait to toe the line with other people wearing the same jersey as will feel weird at an XC race... The last time I got on the line with a full team in an XC race was 1998 - Slippery Rock, PA - NCAA Regionals.  T-Minus 2 days and counting until I rewrite the date on that stat...

Looking back last year.... CMS results. The highlighted runners are ones who are current CMS members.

2007 New England XC Championships

Men's Open 10K: 

23Kevin Tilton  Central Mass Striders32:40:00
25Matt Clark    Central Mass Striders32:44:00
38Jim Johnson   Merrimack Valley33:22:00
47Joe Shairs    Central Mass Striders33:40:00
58Jim Pawlicki  Central Mass Striders34:41:00
69Jeremy HuckinsCentral Mass Striders36:01:00

This year, we have some additional guys (not listed above) who will be running for CMS...

A nice Youtube video of both the Masters race and the Men's Open race

(I'm wearing the red MVS colors of course)... 

Also, my photos from last year's race HERE

Looking back 10 years....

(Numbers courtesy of dd)... 10 years ago (over the same course) CMS put 5 in the top 10 at New England's. That elusive 'guy from Vermont' (Eric Morse) that everyone talks about, was 11th and actually didn't score for the team...that's how loaded CMS was at the time... Eric was the winner at Ascutney this year, 2nd to Eric Blake at Loon, and has numerous other impressive PRs (3:59 mile, 14:17 5K, 29:20 10K, and 1:03:50 for the half marathon). The highlighted runners are ones who are current CMS members.  The rest of the CMS contingent is listed as well... (I would have been the 18th man on the team in 1998 with my time from last year!)

1998 New England XC Championships

Men's Open 10K: 

1Peter SherryReebok Enclave29:58:00
2Darin ShearerCentral Mass Striders 30:14:00
3Scott BagleyCentral Mass Striders 30:29:00
4Kevin GrahamAtlanta TC 30:35:00
5Jason CullinaneCentral Mass Striders 30:41:00
6Jack DwyerCentral Mass Striders 30:43:00
7Chris MagillBoston A.A30:47:00
8Bill StewartAtlanta TC 30:49:00
9Brian ClasNew York AC 30:53:00
10Adam Stuhlfaut Central Mass Striders 30:54:00
11Eric MorseCentral Mass Striders 30:55:00
12Brian QuinnCentral Mass Striders 30:58:00
14Harry StantsCentral Mass Striders 31:05:00
25Alan BernierCentral Mass Striders 31:44:00
27Chris KarasCentral Mass Striders 31:48:00
28Craig GemmellCentral Mass Striders 31:49:00
31Scott ClarkCentral Mass Striders 31:52:00
37Francis BurdettGreater Lowell RR 32:06:00
42Richard BoltCentral Mass Striders 32:29:00
48Matt KocybaCentral Mass Striders 32:47:00
53Michael ToomeyCentral Mass Striders 32:55:00
57Greg PutnamGreater Boston TC 33:07:00
62James PawlickiGreater Boston TC 33:24:00
65Ben NephewGreater Boston TC 33:30:00
74Pat CallahanCentral Mass Striders 34:13:00
82Chris VoceCentral Mass Striders 34:59:00

Monday, November 3, 2008

2008 Manchester Marathon / Half Marathon

Yesterday I went up to watch the 2nd Annual Manchester Half Marathon and Marathon (results) in Manchester NH. Dan Verrington (left) was running the full marathon to get his fall marathon in and take advantage of his fitness that he'd built up in training for Baystate, for which he was sick w/ strep throat. He rebounded nicely to cruise to a second place finish behind Lowell's Ben Ndaya, who had run a 2:37:54 marathon only 14 days prior at Baystate. Dan ran the last 13.1 completely alone after the half marathoners finished.

Before the half way point, the race was littered with both half and full marathon competitors wearing blue numbers for the full and yellow numbers for the half. The course was also VERY hilly in my opinion (maybe more so over the last half...). I decided to bike the entire course, as it doesn't really circle back to the same spot like Baystate does, and also I wanted to follow Justin and Dan's progress and carry water in case they needed it....Dan ended up actually racing with his fuel belt on under his singlet, although you'd never know it by looking at any of the pictures or by even watching him go by (which really fries dd...touchy subject)... I ended up getting in the entire course plus a little bit (30 miles on my bikes computer)... I'm glad I biked...It was a great workout cardio-wise and I needed a little bit of a break from the pounding, to try to suppress my IT band issue and every other ache and pain in my feet and legs that I'm currently dealing with right now....

At the start of the race it was very hands were getting really numb and I had gloves on.... By the later stages of the marathon it had warmed up considerably... I waited at the start for a bit, to snap shots of everyone starting....big mistake though, as I then was unable to catch up to the leaders of the half. I did make my way up to Mark Miller who was 5th and was able to get photos of Justin Fyffe (left) out enjoying himself in his new CMS gear... For someone who was PR'ing in the half over a hilly course, he seemed to be overly content and relaxed... I am predicting big things to come for this kid in 2009... Already having jumped back into running like I did, after a long break, he has thrown up some very impressive times this past year and won the USATF-NE Mountain Series for 2008.... Now, getting into road racing again (and just fresh off of an injury), he finished very strong, only 40 seconds back of Mark in 6th overall place, beating out Wilson Perez and Titus Mutinda (although credited as Titus Nzwili) who ran together for most of the race, and Jared Markowitz and Mark Mayall who weren't far back, to round out a very good top 10 field.

I stopped for a while at 13.1 to get some people coming in that I knew (like Heidi Westerling and Tammie Robie, etc) and then I continued on with Dan for the remainder of the marathon. Dan came through in 3rd place but then quickly passed and put major distance on the 2nd place runner and ran next behind Ben for the rest of the race. I only got shots of Dan and then sped up to catch Ben for a bit near St. A's to get some pictures before dropping back. I couldn't hang around too long afterwards to get pictures of other finishers unfortunately.

Watching the entire race really made me want to give this another go...I'm not sure about Manchester per se because of the obvious conflict it will have w/ the Grand Prix (unless they bid)... and also because again, I'd say this marathon is HILLY. But I am only comparing it to Baystate, and anything beside Baystate will look hilly.... I was really sucking wind on my bike over a lot of this course and a few times wished I was running up the hills because I had to think it would have actually been easier! I can't bike for squat.

Half Marathon Top 10 out of 934: (CMS in blue)

1 ELIJAH KITUR 36 - BRONX NY - 1:07:31 (5:10 pace)
2 JOSEPH EKUOM 38 - BRONX NY - 1:07:45 (5:11 pace)
3 MICHAEL CHETTLE 31 - BOSTON MA - 1:07:51 (5:11 pace)
4 CURTIS WHEELER 22 - BUXTON ME - 1:09:25 (5:18 pace)
5 MARK MILLER 28 - PORTLAND ME - 1:10:14 (5:22 pace)
6 JUSTIN FYFFE 28 - E. DUMMERSTON VT - 1:10:54 (5:25 pace)
7 WILSON PEREZ 30 - KEENE NH - 1:11:09 (5:26 pace)
8 TITUS NZWILI 43 - LOWELL MA - 1:11:31 (5:28 pace)
9 JARED MARKOWITZ 25 - CAMBRIDGE MA - 1:12:33 (5:33 pace)
10 MARK MAYALL 37 - MAYNARD MA - 1:13:22 (5:36pace)

Marathon Top 10 out of 434: (CMS in blue)

1 BENJAMIN NDAYA - 33 - LOWELL MA - 2:40:39 (6:08 pace)
2 DANIEL VERRINGTON - 46 - BRADFORD MA - 2:50:37 (6:31 pace)
3 BRIAN MCNEIECE 36 - NARRAGANSETT RI - 2:51:43 (6:34 pace)
4 TIMOTHYP ROY 44 - MANCHESTER NH - 2:53:06 (6:37 pace)
5 KYLE BOWERS 42 - BOXBOROUGH MA - 2:57:00 (6:46 pace)
6 WILLIAM NEWTON 53 - PORTLAND ME - 2:59:36 (6:52 pace)
7 DANIEL DOMINIE 44 - CANTON NY - 2:59:48 (6:52 pace)
8 JEFFREY BROOKS 38 - COLEBROOK NH - 3:01:10 (6:55 pace)
9 DAVID BIRSE 49 - HANCOCK NH - 3:01:35 (6:56 pace)
10 KEITH NEAL 36 - UPTON MA - 3:03:29 (7:01 pace)

I took a bunch of photos on the day which can be seen here on my SmugMug page.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Vasque Jack London 10K Trail Race

Saturday I shot over to Nashua, NH and Mine Falls Park for the third annual Vasque Jack London 10K Trail Race (results).  I didn't have a clue on who would be going or how I would do here but looking at the schedule for races in this range for this weekend, this appealed the most to me so I put it on the schedule.  It ended up working out because not only did I run pretty well but I also got a bit of confidence going into next week's XC championships.

I went out pretty conservative for the first mile, although the mile marker for the first mile had to have been short (4:48 by my watch).  The second mile marker split me at 6:08 so I know there was an issue w/ the spot of mile marker 1.  I settled in after mile 1 and just started cranking.  The course starts out on a pretty wide dirt path (flat and wide enough for vehicles) and it runs along the canal for about 8 tenths of a mile before you go over a small foot bridge and turn onto single track trails.  The course is constant up and down dips on the single track but is VERY well marked and the footing is quite good (I'm talking like I am a trail expert here)... Roots are everywhere but the course is not rocky which is good, and there was practically zero mud.  There were quite a few older people walking their dogs on the course which got to be a little annoying...especially when they all seemed to be going in the same direction as me so they don't see me coming...but what can you's a public park and a nice one at that.  The entire course was covered in leaves and pine needles so it was tough to pick out potential hazards but I didn't have any issues whatsoever with roots, holes, or rocks.  There are a couple of spots where the single tracks meet back up with the road that runs through the park, but you aren't on that for long at all...just long enough to pop right back onto the single track again.  There were volunteers at every major intersection, nice bright yellow markers everywhere you looked, and white chalked arrows on the leaves.  Even a complete trail-idiot like myself couldn't screw it up.  

I did find myself looking back again an awful lot...I am not sure why I am developing this habit but I am finding it pretty annoying.  After about a mile and a half I could no longer see 2nd place which is exactly the way I wanted it.  I kept banging along at a fairly even pace and ran slightly over my comfort threshold.  I knew at about 5 miles that I had a pretty good shot at the course record (only 2 years old).  I figured if I just kept up the same pace and effort I'd be well under and I ended up just under a minute faster than Justin Fyffe's 2007 course record winning time.  Justin did me a huge favor this year and showed up late and missed the he was a good sport and waited to the end to see my finish.  I then threw him his CMS gear and it is now official as his unattached period is coming to an end this week and he will be competing for the CMS men's open team this coming weekend at the New England XC Championships at Franklin Park.  This ended up being a really nice warm up for that race and I am pretty happy with the results from today.  The course is by far slower than Franklin Park without a doubt...If I can run faster than I did today at Franklin, I'll call that a small win for me.  Between now and then, Justin will be running tomorrow at the Manchester Half Marathon and fellow CMS masters stud Dan Verrington will be running the full Marathon, only 2 weeks removed from his Baystate attempt, which he had to cut short due to illness...but he's still fit and in good marathon shape, so he's going to try and take advantage of it.  I am going to snap some shots and cheer on the guys tomorrow... Look for whatever pix and vid I can get soon.

Also very nice to see Mark Behan and his Timberlane XC team at the race today, as well as 2nd place finisher Mark Kimball, who is STILL rocking his Whirlaway jersey for some reason...

Splits (incomplete) for 10K Trail - 33:48 (5:27 pace) - 1st place overall out of 128:

Mile 1) 4:48 (definitely off)
Mile 2) 6:08 (10:57) (2 mile overall is more believable)
Mile 3) 5:13 (16:11)
Mile 4) No Split - didn't see any markers
Mile 5) 10:35 for miles 4 and 5 combined and a total running time of 26:46.
Mile 6) 5:49 (32:36)
Last .2) 1:11 (33:47)

Past winners (and consecutive course record holders):

2006 - DAVE DUNHAM - 42 CMS - BRADFORD, MA - 36:20 (5:52 pace)
2007 - JUSTIN FYFFE - 27 - DUMMERSTON VT - 34:43 (5:36 pace)
2008 - JIM JOHNSON - 31 - CMS - SALEM, NH - 33:47 (5:26 pace)

Swag presented to yours truly at the end was a nice bottle of wine and a pint glass from the race....not to mention everyone gets a nice pair of the coveted Jack London socks!