Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pack Monadnock 10 Miler

Sunday was the second race in the USATF-NE Mountain Grand Prix, although it was my first go at the series this year (which I'll only be able to run 4 of the 6). It was also my first crack at this race, The Pack Monadnock 10 Miler(results), which I heard is always a good tuneup for Mount Washington (if there is such a thing)...

I made the trip out to Wilton, NH solo, as Kristin was sleeping in... The drive out is very nice once you get off the highway in Manchester and cut across to the southwest. When I arrived at the Lyndeborough/Wilton High School parking lot, I started to see all the usual faces from the mountain and snowshoe scene, as well as a well represented CMS team and a couple other very talented road/trail/mountain runners. In the house for CMS was myself, Dave Dunham, Dave Quintal, Tim Mahoney, Jim Pawlicki, Justin Fyffe, Andy McCarron, Ben Nephew, Tim VanOrden, and a few others that I wasn't familiar with... Also milling around was BAA's Brendan Callahan, Juan Jaramillo (1:08 at Mt. Wash last year), Todd Callaghan (2nd overall finisher in the USATF-NE Mountain GP series last year), and many other guys I knew could run up front. After the patented CMS 24 min. warmup w/ most of the crew over the first part of the course, it was time for a quick change and a short walk down to the finish line.

As the gun went off, I found myself behaving quite nicely for a chance, as I let Brendan, Juan, Justin, Andy, Ben, Jim Pawlicki, and a couple other guys go...I even think dd was in front of me up the first hill. I eased into this one for a change and slowly made my way by a few guys, by Jim, and up along side Ben. I ran next to Ben down the first incline and on for another half mile or so before breaking away and making my way up to Andy. I ran beside Andy for maybe another half mile or so and then picked up a bit of distance on one of the flat sections (yes, I said one of the flat sections)... By mile 3 I think I was solidly in 4th behind Brendan, Justin, and Juan. It basically stayed like that for the rest of the race, except Juan was able to edge ahead of Justin who is one week removed from a 2:27 marathon in Vermont. The course is a back and forth mixture of paved roads and gravel roads but one thing is consistent...hills. Lots of them. I didn't really understand why this was a 'mountain' race at I understand that not only is it the last 2 miles that makes it a mountain race, but also there is no possible way they could get away with having the first 8 miles pass as a regular 'road race'. I had my head on a swivel for the last 4 miles or so as I was looking for Andy to come back on me...I also was slowly making up ground on Justin who was fading just a bit. As late as 8 miles I could see the leader (Brendan) and everyone else on one long section of uphill on Route 101. The last 1.3 miles is a BRUISER... the race website claims 'The last 1.3 miles of the course climb the paved switch-back road in Miller State Park to the summit of Pack Monadnock Mountain. The last 1.3 miles are as steep or steeper than Mt Washington.' They are not kidding... After running 8.7 miles, the last 1.3 up the auto road on Pack Monadnock is brutal. The last 100M + is way steeper than Washington and almost broke me. I was just about at a walk at 9:28 for the last mile... It's funny but I started to get that insane pulse beating on the side of my neck that I've only gotten in Washington, Cranmore, Loon, Ascutney, and a couple of snowshoe races.... The entire last mile, the veins in my neck were throbbing as I struggled to just keep the feet turning over.... But it felt great to finish strong, finish under 1:05, finish in 4th behind 3 very good runners, and to have run strong and done nothing but pass and then hold position during the race. I can't remember the last time I never got passed in a race (aside from some snowshoe stuff and the occasional rare win)...especially a Grand Prix race... Overall I am very pleased with the performance today and will most definitely be back at this race next year (hopefully the entry fee will be still in the double figures by then)...

Splits - 10 Miles - Mountain Race - 4th of 292 Finishers - 1:04:24 (6:26 pace)

Mile 1) 6:11
Mile 2) 5:44 (11:55)
Mile 3) 5:27 (17:22)
Mile 4) 5:59 (23:22)
Mile 5) 5:32 (28:55)
Mile 6) 6:14 (35:09)
Mile 7) 5:44 (40:54)
Mile 8) 6:38 (47:33)
Mile 9) 7:22 (54:55)
Mile 10) 9:28 (1:04:24)

Click image to left to enlarge graph.

According to dd's post on the all-time top times under 1:05 there, I'd now rank 34th on a list that now is 41 performances deep. Usually I don't make any of dd's many 'lists' so I'll take it when it comes...

My back spasmed a bit as I attempted to run down to the parking lot from the summit... and it is still bothering me pretty bad as I write this entry... I am going to have to watch this this week and I'm passing on the Hollis 5k to make sure I'm healthy for Rhody next weekend.

Special thanks to Kristen (from the 'other' Jim & Kristen fame) for taking the great photos, driving my bag to the finish, and driving me back to the start afterwards.

CMS at the summit (L-R Back Row: Justin Fyffe, Jim Johnson -- L-R Middle Row: Dave Dunham, Dave Quintal, Jim Pawlicki -- L-R Front Row: Andy McCarron, Todd Callahan (GCS but we'll work on that), Tim Mahoney, Ben Nephew)

Top 10 plus CMS in blue:

1Brendan Callahan 27West HartfordCTHELLO KITTY AC 1:02:376:16
2Juan Guillermo Jonam38Milford NH1:03:046:19
3Justin Fyffe 29E Dumberton VTCMS 1:03:286:21
4Jim Johnson 32Salem NHCMS 1:04:246:27
5Andy McCarron 26Keene NHCMS1:06:116:38
6Peter Asaro 20Gloucester MA1:06:426:41
7James Pawlicki 34Beverly MACMS 1:06:446:41
8Ben Nephew 33Mansfield MACMS 1:07:316:46
9Dave Dunham 45Ward Hill MACMS 1:07:366:46
10Todd Callaghan 39Somerville MAGCS TRIAD 1:08:406:52
12David Quintal 45Salem NHCMS1:09:517:00
13Tim Mahoney 29Holyoke MACMS1:09:577:00
14Tim Van Orden 41Bennington VTCMS1:10:347:04
38Abby Mahoney 31Holyoke MACMS1:17:277:45
121David Lapierre 45Chelmsford MACMS1:32:139:14
137Walter Kuklinski60Princeton MACMS1:33:459:23

Abby Mahoney was the overall women's winner...

Monday, May 25, 2009

2009 Redhook Brewery 5k

This weekend I passed on Wachusett to run in my third straight Redhook Brewery 5k (results) in Portsmouth, NH. This was my first real 5k in 2007 (on the comeback trail). This also marks the first race I've done 3 times (also since coming back). Last year I won this race with a last minute kick to pass Dan Princic with about 400 meters to go. This year, I was on the receiving end of that, but I'm still pleased with the effort (at least 95% of it).

I had no real expectations for this race, as I haven't run a fast 5k yet this year (for me) and my shorter races haven't been going that great as of late. As I milled around the start for a bit I noticed a slightly faster crowd than last year, including Chris Mahoney (who has been on fire this season), Mark Hudson, John Mentzer, Scott Rowe, Tim Cox, Christian Muentener, and Seth Williams. All guys I've lost to at one point in time....over various distances... I warmed up solo over the course and thought about my strategy... last year I hung on and waited...this year, I wasn't going to let anyone go early, and would try to use the speed I know I have, near the end if needed. That almost worked...

As the race went off, Scott Rowe was out of the gate hard. He starts really fast and tries to break people early. I wasn't sure how much speed he had for a kick, but I knew (seeing he's got a 2:27 and 2:29 marathon in the past 2 years under his belt) he was strong. He went through the first flat mile in 4:47. I was right in tow with a quick 4:48.51. I knew it was quick from the beginning, but was ready for it. At the halfway point, the only hill on the course starts. Right past the water stop, as the moderate climb started, I took over the lead. I knew we slowed when we hit the hill, I peeked behind to see a trail of guys getting closer, and I felt pretty good. The next mile which has a sharp turn and the only hill was a slow 5:11.80 as I went through the 2 mile mark with the clock just ticking over to 10:00. After that, there's a slight downhill and then long straight back to the original road we started on. I was all alone out front at this point but could hear footsteps and breathing coming. I peeked behind and knew it was John Mentzor (who had beaten me at the Children's Museum race a few weeks back). He's got wheels and I knew it. I took the last turn onto the main road with about a half mile to go and he pulled up next to me and passed. I tucked right in behind him and went with him but my mental toughness laid down hard. I gave up once again and settled. We took the last turn into the Brewery parking lot and I looked at my watch, looked behind to see how much space I had on Scott, and let John go.

I cruised in for 2nd place in 15:38. Both the time and the place were far better than I was expecting so I wasn't particularly annoyed at how I ran the race until afterwards, while I had time to think about it... I've got to find that 'kick' and mental toughness I used to have at the end of races... right now I have a bad habit of settling for second or third or whatever... I've got to find a way to change that soon. John ran a really smart race and did exactly what I did last year. He got me right where I pulled up on Dan and held me off by about the same amount and also ran just about what I ran last year. He's got a 1 point lead in the Seacoast series ahead of Chris Mahoney. I've yet to officially put throw my hat in the series but will probably do it after Market Square. As of now, I'd be sitting 1 point behind Chris and 2 behind John. We'll see how it plays out and whether my desire for another jacket is strong enough to warrant toeing the line with these guys week after week :)...

Another really cool trophy (like the one last year, but different), a free night stay for 2 at the Courtyard by Marriot in Portsmouth, and $100 cash all for 2nd place.... I also filled up my growler from last year's 'Free Beer for a Year'...

Splits (from my watch) - 5k - 15:38 (2nd place of 1958)

Mile 1) - 4:48.51
Mile 2) - 5:11.80 (10:00.31)
Last 3.1) - 5:36.13 (15:37.04)

Photos taken by the lovely and talented Kristin.

My Year by Year at Redhook:

2007 - 7th of 1824 - 16:33 (5:20 pace) [results] [photos]
2008 - 1st of 1898 - 15:32 (5:00 pace) [results] [photos]
2009 - 2nd of 1958 - 15:38 (5:02 pace) [results] [photos]

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mount Washington - Top Finishers Video - 1988-1990

I'll refer to this batch of videos as "The Dunham Dynasty". Featured here are snippets from the years 1988, 1989, and 1990. 1988 and 1989 were the two years that dd won back-to-back and 1989 was the year he nipped Hodgie at the line by 2 seconds. DD loaned me a video he made, of the top 10 or so finishers from each year, and with race director Bob Teschek's permission, I ripped them onto the computer and labelled each finisher with name, age, place, and time. We'll include the top 10 or so finishers (some will be a little more). The full videos from each year can be purchased here.
(**Once you start playing the video, press the HQ button to enable High Quality playback...Considering this was from a VHS cassette that was a copy of a copy of a copy, it won't be that great as far as quality goes, but it's better than the standard playback quality.)

1988 - Top 10 Finishers

Featured finishers in this video:

1Dave Dunham24Lowell MAGLRR1:00:50
2Jay Johnson28Boulder CO 1:03:09
3Sheldon Larson27Boulder CO 1:04:25
4Martin Kryska23Hanover NH 1:06:11
5Keith Woodward37E Corinth VT 1:06:40
6John Fiola25Arlington MA 1:07:53
7Sean Hanley27Sharon MA 1:08:46
8Mike Casner 26Bristol NHCNE1:09:00
9Joseph Stanley Jr.35Prospect CT 1:09:08
10Steve Peterson22Lowell MAGLRR1:09:11

From dd's book:

June 18, 1988
800 Finishers

Temperatures of 70 degrees at the base and 47 at the summit with winds a mild 25 mph...

1989 - Top 23 Finishers

Featured finishers in this video:

1Dave Dunham25Lowell MAGLRR1:02:59
2Bob Hodge33Clinton MAGLRR 1:03:01
3Keith Woodward38E Corinth VT 1:06:57
4Sean Hanley28Sharon MA 1:07:05
5Sheldon Larson28Boulder CO 1:07:56
6Chris Cameron22Methuen MA 1:09:10
7Joel Somerall27W Townsend MA 1:09:59
8Jeffrey Robie32Kingston NH 1:10:45
9John Fiola26Arlington MA 1:11:23
10Rick Stuart31Phoenix AZCMeS1:12:25
11Paul Shepardson32Pittsfield MA 1:12:41
12Paul Merrill35Portland ME 1:12:54
13Sumner Brown45Belmont MACSU1:13:30
14Jacqueline Gareau36St Bruno CAN 1:13:13
15Joe Stanley36Prospect CT 1:13:16
16Peg Donovan34Auburn NHGLRR1:13:26
17Bern Kohler25Cambridge MA 1:13:41
18John Swartz41Breckenridge CO 1:13:43
19Arthur Demers28Pelham NHGLRR1:13:53
20Peter Gallenz24Hanover NH 1:14:23
21David Johnston35Brattleboro VT 1:14:36
22Bill O'Mara31Acushnet MA 1:14:40
23Stephen Peterson23Lowell MAGLRR1:14:53

From dd's book:

June 17, 1989
820 Finishers

The weather was 50 degrees at the base and rain and fog for the last two miles...

1990 - Top 15 Finishers

Featured finishers in this video:

1Derek Froude31Boulder CO (NZL) 59:17
2Dave Dunham26Londonderry NHGLRR 1:01:37
3Scott Elliott26Boulder CO 1:01:53
4Brian Reinhold36Akersberga SWE 1:05:36
5Keith Woodward39E Corinth VT 1:06:12
6Erich Wilbrech28Jackson WY 1:06:26
7Joel Somerall28W Townsend MAGCS 1:06:32
8Matthew Cull29Bristol VT 1:07:22
9Peter Heesen35Bethlehem PA 1:07:24
10Bob Hodge34Clinton MAGLRR1:07:35
11Daniel Verrington27Bradford MAWCRC1:07:58
12Peter Farwell39Williamstown MABRR1:08:49
13John Fiola27Arlington MA 1:08:58
14Stephen Peterson29Lowell MAGLRR1:09:08
15Brent Brown35Durango CO 1:09:11

From dd's book:

June 16, 1990
839 Finishers

The weather was a bit warm in the early stages of the race, with temperatures in the 70s. It cooled to 54 at the summit and winds were only 2-3 mph...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Soapstone Mountain 24k

Sunday morning I shot down to Stafford, CT for the Soapstone Mountain 24k Trail Race (results) put on by the Shenipsit Striders.  It is also part of the WMAC's Grand Tree Trail Race Series. Now, I know absolutely squadoosh about trail racing, but I know I had nothing going on today so I figured I'd jet on down and give it a go, even though I ran the 12k yesterday up in Bedford, NH.  This race went slightly better than yesterday I think, and it was definitely more fun.

As the alarm went off at 5am, I laid awake and pondered making the 2 hour ride out.  Around 5:30am, fresh out of the shower, I almost convinced myself to get back into bed and just do a regular run later.    By 6am, I was out the door.  I got down to Stafford in just under 2hrs and was amazed at how many cars were in the lot (field) already.  The line for post and pre registrations were both very long and the weather was shockingly cold and wet.  I was unprepared (what else is new) for the cold fault for just 'assuming' May is always gonna warm.  I recognized only Dan Scotina and Ben Nephew before the race, although there were tons of people getting ready to hit the trails.  After a brief warmup with Ben (a multiple time winner of the race), we got ready and headed on down to the line.  He gave me a lot of pointers and info about the race as we headed down, but I knew the best plan of action was to let him give me a tour of the woods today, and that's exactly what he did.

As the race went off, Ben and I were chatting a bit while still on a relatively tame dirt road (full course description here) and a third guy was right with us and then quickly headed on up and took the lead.  He looked familiar to me, but as I said to Ben, I had thought I had seen him a few times on the roads.... He ran very strong up front and seemed to really handle the climbs better than both Ben and I (Ben was coming off of a 50 miler from last week).  We came to what was probably the single most ungodly climb I've done in a race, but it was so early in, that it wasn't that bad surprisingly.  A quick power-hike was in order for most of it, but it was so early on that it really didn't affect my rhythm.  Had it been at the end, I would have been in serious trouble.  Because it was so soon into the race, I still have to say that the climb up the Upper Walking Boss at Loon is worse (keeping in mind, I am only speaking about races I've run in), but this climb was way steeper.  I ran right behind Ben for almost the entire race and even clipped his heels once (again, I'm a newbie at this single-track stuff).  We both would reel in the leader and get within 10 yards or so and then he would take off again.  Ben and I made quick chatter back and forth for about half the race before things started to get a little more serious.  Ben made a move on the leader down a very rocky decent and splashed by him through a muddy and wet section where we were running in a river bed.  I didn't get a chance to go by the other runner and settled in for third as we hit the next climb single file.  As soon as the brief climb was over and the trail hooked a left onto a wider, more gentler slope, the dude screwed by Ben and put the hammer down.  That was the last we saw of him.  I got right up behind Ben again and we ran together for probably the first 13.5 miles of the race in all.

Over the last half mile+, there was one last climb that broke my rhythm and forced me to slow to an almost power-hike.  Ben kept pedaling the bike and put 10-20 yards on me.  That's where we stayed.  At the top, it dumped out onto a paved section but my legs were toast from the back to back days.  My cardio was great, but my calves and quads were screaming for a break.  Up a ways the road turned to dirt and then the last bit of trail then open field to the end.  I looked down at my watch on the last bit and noticed I'd be under 1:39, which (after doing my homework last night and looking at all the previous times to get a general idea) was actually a decent time.  I finished third overall out of a solid 169 runners, with a time of 1:38:37.  Only 10 seconds back of Ben.  

All in all, it was a fun day...perfect weather for racing, perfect scenario for me (having Ben to work off of the whole time), and a really well organized event w/ nice people all around.  Most importantly, I had no difficulties on the course today.  Of course it's tough to say for sure (because I followed Ben the entire race), but I did pay attention to the blazes that were laid down before the race and there would have been no way I could have gotten lost even if I was by myself.  They did a very nice job marking the course for sure.

After the race, I walked over to Ben's car and noticed the guy who won was standing there talking with him.  Right away I knew who he was.  My instinct during the race was that he was Brendan Callahan from BAA. I turned out to be right.... Legit road racer from CT who has placed very high in the first two Grand Prix road championships (1:08:23 at New Bedford and 51:40 at the DH Jones 10 Miler) this year.  He's also got a 1:07 half on his resume, as well as a truckload of other fast road times.  He'll be at Mount Washington this year and I think he'll be right up there in the hunt, after seeing how strong he was on the climbs.  

For my efforts, I got a very cool trophy and some BBQ before hitting the road to make the 2hr ride back to this dump.  I only fell asleep a half dozen times or so, and had maybe somewhere between 10 and 20 calf cramps and lower back spasms...but other than that I feel great.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

USATF-NE 12k Road Championships - Bedford 12k

Somewhat of a slow and disappointing day personally, but not a total disaster. Team-wise I'm happy that the CMS Men's Open team placed a solid 3rd place overall (without my help) at the USATF-NE Grand Prix 12k Road Championships today in Bedford, NH (results). This was the first Grand Prix race that I didn't place (team-wise) in, but as long as my teammates are all running well, I can't complain. I do wish I 'raced' a little better and stayed with some guys I usually can run with, but just another off day I I try to climb back into shape.

The goal was to run 5:20 pace and crack 40 minutes. I ended up with 5:25s and 40:23. Not a total loss but not what I was expecting. Felt very sluggish from the get-go, ran a tad too fast for the first 2 miles, then got a cramp in the middle of my abdomen around mile 3 that lingered for about 2 miles. Didn't really pass anyone after about mile 2 and didn't really get passed by anyone either. A couple guys near the end out dueled me, including a GBTC guy who had stopped to walk (probably cramped up) and then started jogging just as I got up to him. As we hopped on the track for the last 300 meters, he motored by me.

In the end, 26th place is about right for me at a Grand Prix...but factor in that virtually no BAA big guns were here, and it changes the story a little bit...The good news is that I was CMS' 6th man at 26th place.  That's pretty solid considering we were missing a couple of guys that I've never beat.  Side note, Al Bernier had the race of his life today (well, not really, but still) as he placed 19th overall, having run only 8 miles all week, and having given up serious running like 3 or 4 years ago.

Splits - 12k (40:23 / 5:25 pace - 26th place out of 480)

Mile 1) 5:07
Mile 2) 5:16 (10:24)
Mile 3) 5:25 (15:50)
Mile 4) 5:30 (21:20)
Mile 5) 5:30 (26:50)
Mile 6) 5:28 (32:19)
Mile 7) 5:33 (37:53)
last .4) 2:28 (40:23)

Top 25 plus CMS Placement:

137:505:05Joseph Koech           40Melrose MA              RUN   
238:045:07Dan Vassallo    24Wilmington MA   ADIDA 
338:115:08Nicholas Wheeler23Buxton ME       ADIDA 
438:195:09Justin Fyffe    29E. Dummerston VT CMS   
538:535:13Dan Smith       30Boston MA       GBTC  
639:005:14Justin Freeman  32New Hampton NH  RUN   
739:075:15Titus Mutinda   45Lowell MA       RUN   
839:085:15Nathan Krah     23Boston MA       ADIDA 
939:135:16Sean Livingston 40Barrington RI   WHIRL 
1039:155:16Alex Taylor     29Somerville MA   SRR   
1139:175:16Andrew Wommack  25Jamaica Plain MA GBTC  
1239:195:17Chris Mahoney   31Haverhill MA    WHIRL 
1339:345:19Matthew Haringa 25Brighton MA     GBTC  
1439:365:19Joe Hegarty     24Springfield MA  WHIRL 
1539:375:19Andy McCarron   26Keene NH        CMS   
1639:385:19Pat Ard         24Raymond NH      WHIRL 
1739:395:19Jimmy Butcher   23Cambridge MA    ADIDA 
1839:565:22Jon Healey      26Chelmsford MA   ADIDA 
1940:005:22Alan Bernier    34Newton MA       CMS   
2040:055:23Joe Shairs      41Peabody MA      CMS   
2140:075:23Jose Ortiz    20Methuen MA      WHIRL 
2240:115:24Kevin Tilton    27N.Conway NH     CMS   
2340:135:24Joe Navas       38N Eastham MA    WHIRL 
2440:185:25Daniel Mazzocco 25Cambridge MA    GBTC  
2540:215:25Tom Doody       47Pelham NH       GLRR  
2640:235:25Jim Johnson     32Salem NH        CMS  
3641:135:32Jim Pawlicki   34Beverly MA       CMS
3841:225:33Greg Ward      37West Boylston MA CMS
4641:455:36Dave Dunham    45Bradford MA      CMS
5042:155:40Larry Sayers   49Bellows Falls VT CMS
5342:315:43Kim Duclos     27Worchester MA    CMS
6643:345:51Tim Van Orden  41Bennington VT    CMS
8645:476:09Kevin McCusker 51Ashby MA         CMS
9546:196:13Kevin Connor   44Paxton MA        CMS
11047:066:19Barbara McManus41Worcester MA     CMS
12948:316:31Cheryl Cleary  35Dudley MA        CMS
14449:346:39Edward Coleman 46Auburn MA        CMS
14949:516:42David Krom     50Worcester MA     CMS
15750:256:46Amanda Learned 25Manchester CT    CMS
18052:067:00Shanna Hauver  39Holden MA        CMS
21154:047:15Sidney Letendre54Florence MA      CMS

480 total finishers.

Men's Open Team Results:

1. ADIDAS N.E. 38:04 38:11 39:08 39:39 39:56 = 3:14:58

2. WHIRLAWAY RACING TEAM 39:13 39:19 39:36 39:38 40:07 ( 40:13) ( 40:38) = 3:17:53

CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS 38:19 39:37 40:00 40:05 40:11 ( 40:23) ( 41:13) = 3:18:12

...16 Teams.

Men's Masters Team Results:
WHIRLAWAY RACING TEAM 39:13 40:53 41:09 41:24 42:12 ( 42:46) ( 42:58) = 3:24:51

CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS 40:05 41:45 42:15 43:34 45:47 ( 46:19) ( 49:34) = 3:33:26

...11 Teams.

Women's Open Team Results:
CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS 42:31 47:06 48:31 ( 50:25) ( 52:06) ( 54:04) ( 55:27)= 2:18:08

...13 Teams.

Women's Masters Team Results:
WHIRLAWAY RACING TEAM 46:35 49:36 50:35 ( 51:33) ( 57:45) = 2:26:46

GCS TRIAD 48:05 49:17 49:54 ( 51:59) ( 55:24) ( 58:30) ( 59:26)= 2:27:16

GOON SQUAD RUNNERS 47:46 53:03 54:10 = 2:34:59

CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS 47:06 54:04 55:27 = 2:36:37

...9 Teams.

Kristin took some nice pix that can be seen in the usual spot. Feel free to use any you like...