Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Training 05-30 to 06-05

Wrap Up: 70.8 miles for the week.  1 very good race (a win at Pack Monadnock) and a nice spin afterwards.   Great to see CMS keep rolling, with a win down at Rhody by 6 seconds over Team RUN.  The lead now grows to 7 pts over Whirlaway, as CMS sits atop the USATF-NE Grand Prix Team Standings with 3 more events to go (including the marathon, which we have won the last 2 years).  Looking forward to Stowe next month for sure.  Over the next few weeks I have some of my favorite racing ahead... Market Square, Mount Washington, Cranmore (US Championships), Loon, and Ascutney all on the horizon... Looks like I'll be hitting Spicket Hill a few times between now and then :)... Currently I am 3 race writeups behind again!  Damn.

06-05 - Sunday: 17.5 miles (roads, mountain).  3.5 mile w/up over first part of Pack Monadnock Mountain Race - Wilton, NH with Tomahiro Brown, Pat Ard, and another gentleman (+ strides). Then race: Pack Monadnock 10 Mile Mountain Race - Wilton, Temple, Peterborough, NH.  1st OA - 1:02:46 + 2 mile (approx.) cooldown down the mountain + over to awards area, with large mountain goat contingent.

Then, some spinning w/ Dave Quintal over in N.Salem, Derry, NH.  HILLY 15 miles on the roads w/ the new road bike...

Then, 2 more easy running miles with Julian and Dave Quintal in N. Salem (shakeout) after the spin.

06-04 - Saturday: 8.1 miles (roads) - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill [54:06].  Easy solo run before heading over for a family party in N. Andover.

06-03 - Friday: 10.2 miles (roads) - Salem.  [1:05:15]  Found my new favorite loop in town by far.  Stayed in NH on this run (which is hard to do from my house, being on the border).  Figured I'd go wandering a bit, but after running here for the last 4 years, it's tough to truly wander around new loops from my house. I headed up to Spicket Hill to check out the very top (which I didn't really find the last time I ran over there).  This time, I found the right street and to my delight, found one of the best local climbs to do for a hill workout (it climbs just about 200 feet in a half mile).  Stanwood Rd. off of Bridge St. is a crazy steep neighborhood road that takes you all the way up to the top of Spicket Hill (which is the highest point in Salem, not counting Gordon's Hill, which is technically mostly in Windham). I blow past this road all the time and never once looked up it to see the climb before today.  There is a sign up there on the top of Spicket Hill indicating that it is the highest point in the town (367 feet).  There was also a ski area on this hill back in the 1960s. The entire top was cleared for development but was never finished, so all that remains is a sweet, quiet, open paved road up to the winding top and everything is starting to get grown in again.  There are a couple of water towers up there and a sign with a little history of the area.  The best thing about it though was the view.  I never knew such a view existed from Salem.  You can see the entire Wapack Mountain Range and Mount Monadnock, clear as day...From the top, the entire horizon is dotted with mountain peaks and in the foreground is not much more than trees, cell towers off in the distance, and water towers across town, in Windham, Derry, and surrounding towns.  From up there, it doesn't look like the Salem that I'm used to (crowded neighborhoods, stores, traffic, etc.). From up there it's just spectacular views...it's too bad I'm just finding this now...as I am desperately trying to get out of this area and up to higher grounds...

Below is a snippet about the topography (elevations) in Salem, NH (it is a bit old of course and incorrectly lists the summit of Spicket Hill as being 354 ft, not 367.  Also, it is funny that it states that Zion Hill is open and Spicket Hill is grown in (so no good views)...I think now, the opposites are true.  This is all small potatoes, considering this town is essentially flat...but I think it's neat to at least research the small 'climbs' that we do have here in town and figure out what the highest points actually are... even though most people who are reading this are probably sitting at their computers, at a higher elevation than the hill I ran up today :)


Taking as our base of calculations the land at the townhouse, 
we begin at an altitude of one hundred feet above the sea level. 
The central part of the town may be considered a rolling plain, 
approximately enclosed by the Turnpike, Bluff Street and the 
Spicket. From all sides the land slopes gently upward, here 
and there rising to a considerable height. The highest point 
within the town is the summit of Spicket Hill, which is three 
hundred and fifty-four feet above the sea. The outlook from 
this point is charming, revealing the surrounding villages and 
towns hiding among the wooded hills, which rise one above the 
other until they fade, indistinguishable in the dim distance. The 
river can be clearly traced, twisting its crooked way like a huge 
serpent through the broad meadows, now swirling along the foot 
of the great hill, now by a broad bend carrying its murmured 
message to the silent dwellers in the graveyard yonder. 

The second highest land is along the Salem-Windham bound- 
ary, between Hitty Titty Pond and Crank Corner. It is away 
from the road, therefore not very familiar to many residents of 
the town. It is about three hundred and twenty-five feet high, 
and covered with woods. 

About equal in height to this is the hill on the Cross farm near 
Canobie Lake, where the highway is in one part more than three 
hundred feet above the sea. 

The crest of Zion's Hill, toward the north part of the town, 
rises to a height of two hundred and forty-eight feet. Unlike 
Spicket Hill, this elevation has very little timber growth to ob- 
struct the view, a fact which renders it one of the most sightly 
spots in the town. As the road leads directly over the summit 
the view from here is more easily accessible than that from the 
higher eminence to the south. 

The highest part of Policy Street, near the residence of Mr. 
Arthur Hall at the Depot village, is almost exactly on a level 
with the top of Zion's Hill, or nearly, two hundred and fifty 
feet high. We have already spoken of the scenery in this locality 
as being particularly charming. 

Two hills in North Salem should be mentioned here, one near 
King's Corner being twenty feet higher than either Zion's Hill 
or Policy Street, the other known as Pattee's Hill, the same 
height as Zion's Hill, southeast of Cowbell Corner. Toward the 
foot of Providence Hill on the east, and also in the southwest 
part of the town, the land rises slightly above two hundred feet 
in several places. Many of the roads are very conveniently ( ? ) 
laid out directly over these steep hills, a condition, however, by 
no means peculiar to Salem. The early settlers, as a safeguard 
against Indian surprises, built their homes upon the hills. To 
these homes the roads were gradually trodden until they became 

06-02 - Thursday: 10.5 miles (roads) - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill loop... solo.  VERY windy most of the way.  Had stomach issues for last half and tried to get home as fast as I could... other than that, no complaints.

06-01 - Wednesday: 9 miles (rail trail) - Salem, Windham, Derry - out and back on Windham Rail Trail w/ Sully. [62:53].  Looked like the skies were going to open up but never did...nice breezy, dry, and quiet run.  Nobody else in there the entire time.

05-31 - Tuesday: 10 miles (trails) - River trail from hotel with Chris Searles-Mahoney and Mike Quintal. [1:12:34].

05-30 - Monday: 5.5 miles easy with my sister up in E.Wakefield, NH (roads). Very hot out.  Nice easy shake out with her...recovering from the weekend of racing. [48:00]  I really like running on the roads up there.  Very little traffic, nice wide shoulders to run on, wide open stretches of road, and some nice ups and downs through some quiet woods and farmlands... much different than the streets around here for sure.

Later on, I caught 8 delicious bass on Lake Ivanhoe, E.Wakefield, NH in about an hour's time...  Using Texas rigged lizards close to shore.  The black flies and mosquitoes (NH State Bird) were brutal.  I had to wear long sleeves, long pants, and a net (seen to the left)... I hate bugs....but bass are tasty.

Race reports from Redhook and Wachusett still to come...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Training 05-23 to 05-29

Wrap Up: 70.6 miles for the week and 2 good races.  Ran up Mt. Washington with KT on Wednesday after doing a very light track session (with Caroline) on Tuesday.  Then 1 mountain race and 1 5k this weekend.  Good results.  Legs held up amazingly well and I had some turnover and 'game' late in the race on Sunday which was surprising.  Good swag, cash (both days), and fun times this weekend for sure...  This coming week will be more of the same + a longer mountain race on the weekend (Pack).  Hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend.  Congrats to Danny Vassallo for once again winning a major marathon with his run up in VT this weekend in tough conditions.

05-29 - Sunday: 10 miles (roads) - 5k warmup over course at Redhook in Portsmouth, NH with Bob Wiles and Ben Jenkins + strides then race: Redhook Brewery 5k - 2nd OA (15:28) + cooldown over course again with Bob Wiles, Nick Crowell, Ben Jenkins.

05-28 - Saturday: 10.3 miles (mountain, trails, roads) - 3+ mile w/up with large crew up Wachusett Mtn. in Princeton, MA + strides and running down to starting area.  + Race: 4.3 mile mountain race (Wachusett Mountain) - 1st OA - 28:54 + cooldown (roads and backcountry area of Wachusett Mtn) with large group of CMS and others.

05-27 - Friday: 11 miles (roads and trails) - Salem, Pelham, Methuen roads with Kevin Alliette from my house, out to the soccer fields in Methuen off of Hampshire St.  From there, we explored some nice snowmobile trails Kevin found out about from Paul McGovern.  The trails actually are in Salem and Pelham and start right behind the upper soccer field which is right on the state border.   We went up Clark Hill, which is the highest point in those particular woods, just northeast of Methuen Ski Area.   I've run past this many many times over the past few years and never knew they were there.  I knew that the snowmobilers rip down off the old ski area and across the road and across the swamp off of Hampshire St. but I never knew how many trails were back up in those woods on the other side of the swamp.  We ran in there for quite a while and there were many other trails we didn't have time to go down.... good run...HOT out. [1:17:59].

05-26 - Thursday: 5 miles (trails) - Windham Town Forest - nice and easy...warm and muggy.  Legs were a little heavy and wanted to go easy and light...explored the same wide snowmobile trails as before.  [35:11] solo.

05-25 - Wednesday: 15.2 miles (mountain).  Mount Washington Auto Road - Green's Grant NH, Pinkham's Grant NH, Thompson & Meserve's Purchase NH, Sargent's Purchase NH, up and down with Kevin Tilton.  Started at the starting line (the post holes for the starting banner) and ran up to the finish line. 7.6 miles ascent at 11% grade average.  No stopping, no walking, no whining...OK, well maybe a little whining...  Conversation pace (barely).  Kevin and I talked the entire time but towards the end it was a lot of huffing and puffing, mixed in with very short sentences.  Ran 1:11:45 up, which was way faster than I thought we were going to run. We decided at the beginning to just do a tempo effort and do it to 'just do it'...but you quickly learn that you can only run Mt. Washington so slow (and so fast).  The good news out of this is that I set out to essentially run this steady and just finish as a training run and I ended up running a sub 1:12 feeling great.  I really never was in danger of stopping, walking, etc.  This is a really good sign I think for the race in 4 weeks!

We ended up running down, which always hurts.  It's only my second time running down after running up (did it last year after the race).  It HURTS.  Running downhill for 7.6 miles, at that grade is not easy on ANY part of the body.  We stopped a couple times on the way down to pose for shots such as this (left) against some lingering snow, that will most likely be gone by race day...but some of the snowfields off in the distance will still most definitely be holding onto some of the white stuff, long enough to spot as you weave your way up the rock pile on June 18th.  I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do when I go out a little more conservatively.  Also, I think seeing the hill a month out definitely helps the psyche a bit as well.  It's not going to be quite as intimidating on race day (hopefully)...


6:02 (for last .7)

Interestingly enough, here is a graphic of my fastest mile splits in 3 years of racing vs the training run yesterday:

2nd Fastest

Mile Training Run - May 2011 2010 Race 2009 Race 2008 Race
1 8:02 6:46 6:49 6:52
2 9:20 8:26 8:39 8:32
3 9:35 8:59 9:07 9:04
4 9:28 9:12 9:20 9:23
5 9:57 9:52 10:16 10:06
6 9:46 9:38 9:58 9:52
7 9:32 9:48 10:08 9:58
last .6 6:02 6:04 6:00 6:14
Total 1:11:45 1:08:49 1:10:21 1:10:06

Moral of the story is that it may pay to go out a little slower at first...

Photos from the trip can be seen here.

Some video below of the summit and some of the way down (above tree line).

05-24 - Tuesday: 11 miles (track, roads, trails).  Lawrence Voc.  Track workout w/ Caroline Bjune and Chris Healey. Caroline's workout (her last before Vermont City Marathon this weekend).  Nice and easy 2x1000 + Mile + 2x1000.  400 lap jog in between each. 1000s were around 80 sec. pace, mile was 5:55.  Tempo effort (or slightly slower) but felt good just piggybacking off of her workout and getting a little turnover.  No warmup at all.  Got there just as they were starting.  Cooled down back to her house on the roads and then added on in the river trail with Chris Healey for 5+ miles.  Hot out there!

05-23 - Monday: 8.1 miles (roads).  N.Salem, Derry, Windham w/ Dave Quintal (ULowell All American XC) from his house, out to 28 via back roads and back...just beat the rain.  Nice and easy. [1:00:00].

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Northfield Mountain Race

(photo above courtesy of Scott Mason)

Skipping ahead (over 2 other races) I wanted to blog first about the most recent race, which was the first race in the 2011 USATF-New England Mountain Series.  The mountains are my favorite season (closely followed by snowshoe).  I love the feeling of grinding out 8-9 minute pace up some of the steepest, toughest climbs in the country, in sometimes brutal heat, with unpredictable footing, and that all too familiar neck-pounding, heart-racing condition I refer to as my 'mountain-pulse'.  That is when you can actually HEAR your heart beating and you feel like your neck is going to burst.  You are all hunched over like a 100 year old man, and your hands occasionally have to hit the muddy ground to pull you up some of the steeper sections.  Who doesn't enjoy that?!

(photo above by Joe Viger)

I headed over to Northfield Mountain in Northfield, MA for the Northfield Mountain Race (results) with Patrick Ard in tow.  Northfield is probably the 2nd 'easiest' race in the series after Wachusett in my opinion, but it is a great race put on by Dave Dunham and his DRC volunteers.  This was Dave's last year as RD and he put on a great event, which always makes this one of the more popular mountain/trail races.  This race has been in multiple series over the years and has also served as the USATF-NE trail championship numerous times.  It has a good mixture of flats, ups, and downs and is mostly on wide grassy xc ski trails.  It almost feels like a cross country race except it's got way more climbing than a typical xc race.  Let's put it this way...if they just advertised this as an XC race, people would consider it the toughest in the history of XC races...

The field was pretty deep this year with a slew of CMS guys and some others like Mark Miller (previous winner), Paul Morris (2nd last year), and a couple of fast Keene State guys.  As the gun went off, a pack of 10 or so guys all went out together and it appeared to be anyone's race.  The pace was relatively conservative and a big pack of us wound our way slightly up to the mile mark with Andy McCarron and Mark Miller doing a lot of the heavy lifting during this time.  I stayed behind those guys for a bit, going back and forth for 3rd-5th places with the two Keene guys (Tim Pipp and Eric MacKnight) and Paul Morris.  Once the climbing began, I moved into 3rd for a bit, with Pipp, MacKnight, and Morris close behind.  Deeper into the climb, I moved past Andy and out in front of those other 3 and only trailed Mark up most of the rest of the 2nd and 3rd miles, which were all up with some occasional leveling off between climbs.

Somewhere right around the 3 mile mark (in this approx. 10k race), Eric went bombing past me and caught up to Mark.  He may have taken the lead temporarily, but I can't remember. I thought for a moment that he might have thought the climbing was over... What I do know is that not soon after that, there is one last climb up to the halfway point (approx.) and the summit.  I found myself catching up to, and passing both Mark and Eric and I arrived at the summit in first place.  I touched the lookout deck, turned and headed back against traffic.   I was surprised that I had taken the lead and very surprised to see just about everyone in that initial pack of 10 or so guys, right behind and together.  I knew it was going to be a make-or-break descent and it could be anyone's race to take... but I thought for a brief moment about winning the race for the first time.

(photo left courtesy of Scott Mason)

As I hit the downhill, I lasted about 20-30 seconds before Mark Miller regained the lead and went past me.  I  maintained a few second gap and stayed there, with him only picking up a very slight lead as the downhills began to play out.  At one point, I turned to look and had a big lead on Eric and couldn't see anyone else behind me, as I continued to descend, with the occasional uphill between steep drops.  The course is rolling in both directions, but the majority of the 1st half is obviously up and the 2nd is down.  On the small uphill sections on the way down, I knew I was OK and not losing any time (I may have been gaining time), but the steep downs were definitely favoring the younger legs of Eric as just past the 5 mile marker, he blew past me like I was jogging (although I was rocking sub 5s).  He was killing the downhills and it looked like he got a second wind and quickly caught and passed right by Mark Miller.

For the last mile +, it was more of the same as the course rolled a bit and then rode along the power lines for an up and down last mile.  Eric continued to pull away, Mark remained about 10 seconds up on me, and I could not see 4th place behind me until halfway down the power lines, where you can see way back.  It was a bunch of guys pretty close. I knew it was Andy and Tim for sure...with Greg Hammett no doubt in that mix.

(photo left courtesy of Scott Mason)

In the end, I came in 11 seconds back of Mark for 3rd place.  Eric beat me by a convincing 26 seconds, all within the last 1.2 miles.  For my win and podium spot, I got a nice USATF-NE medal (as this was once again also the USATF-NE Trail Championships) and some cash.

For footwear, I decided to wear the Mudclaw 272s, as I felt the footing (rocks and unpredictable thick grass in spots) dictated a shoe with more cushion for my delicate feet.


Mile 1) 5:36
Mile 2) 5:47 (11:24)
Mile 3) 7:23 (18:47)
Mile 4) 6:30 (25:17)
Mile 5) 4:58 (30:15)
Mile 6) 4:40 (34:55)
last .2) 1:57 (36:53)

Top 20 plus CMS in Blue

Place Time Name Age Team 
1 0:36:27 Eric MacKnight 22 Keene State College
2 0:36:42 Mark Miller 30 BAA
3 0:36:53 Jim Johnson 33 CMS
4 0:37:22 Andy McCarron 28 CMS
5 0:37:26 Tim Pipp 22 CMS
6 0:37:51 Greg Hammett 33 CMS
7 0:37:55 Ben Nephew 35 CMS
8 0:37:57 Tim Van Orden 43 CMS
9 0:38:45 Todd Callaghan 41 GCS
10 0:39:07 Paul Morris 24
11 0:39:13 Tom Brown 25 CMS
12 0:39:20 Patrick Ard 27 Whirlaway
13 0:39:24 Ross Krause 31 CMS
14 0:39:24 Dave Dunham 47 CMS
15 0:39:52 Tim Mahoney 31 CMS
16 0:40:21 George Adams 41 CMS
17 0:40:33 Joe Shairs 43 CMS
18 0:40:39 Ryan Aschbrenner 33 GBTC
19 0:40:40 Allan Serrano 43 Sahwangunk Runners
20 0:40:47 Kasie Enman 31 BAA
23 0:41:31 John Kinnee 32 CMS
43 0:45:06 John Pajer 48 CMS
44 0:45:08 Abby Mahoney 32 CMS
83 0:50:30 Jacqueline Shakar 51 CMS
169 1:02:44 Lisa Paciello 28 CMS
183 1:04:06 Water Kuklinski 62 CMS
196 1:08:21 David LaPierre 47 CMS
218 1:23:27 George Boudreau Jr 42 CMS

225 Total Finishers.

Photos: Joe Viger
Photos: Scott Mason
Photos: Dave Dunham

Next up: Wachusett Mountain!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Training 05-16 to 05-22

Wrap Up: 70 miles running for the week on just 6 days, with 1 day off and 1 day with 20 miles on the new road bike (with 1 minor crash).  1 good race at Northfield.   It's great to be back in the mountains.  I am now 3 race writeups behind.  D'oh!  I'm feeling pretty good right now.  No complaints.  Weather has been a bit crappy, but it's going to warm up this week.  27 days until the hill...

Sunday: 18 miles (trails).  Andover, MA.  1 mile solo on trails while waiting for Dan, then 4 miles in th river trail with Dan before DQ and DD joined us.  Then, river trail from hotel with DV, DD, DQ out across Forest Hill Wetlands and up to the radio towers and back down to the river trail again. Good solid run. [2:19:11].

Saturday: 13 miles (trails/mountain).  3+ miles w/up over last and first miles at Northfield Mountain with Patrick Ard + strides.  + Race: Northfield Mountain (10.3K) - 3rd OA - 36:53 + 3+ mile cooldown over last part of course w/ Patrick Ard.

Then hit the bike for 20 miles (10 out to my brothers in N.Andover from Salem, NH and back).  First time on my new road bike and first time being clipped into the pedals. I wiped out hard 1.5 miles from my house on the way out.  Came to a stop at rt. 110 intersection and couldn't clip out in time and went flying over the side of the island in the middle of the road.  Banged (and bruised) my knee.  But it's all good...continued on afterwards once I figured out how to get the bike off of me, unclip my twisted feet and legs from the pedals, and then clip back in once I got across the intersection.  Oh yeah, the roads around here STINK for cycling.

Friday: Off

Thursday: 10 miles (roads and rail trail). N.Salem, Derry roads and some of the Rockingham Rail Trail w/ Dave Quintal. [1:11:46]

Wednesday: 11 miles (roads). Haverhill - w/ Chris Mahoney and his Garmin.  From Cedarland aquatic center around Haverhill and along the Bradford course, past Bradford Ski Area, and back.  [1:14:46]

Tuesday: 12 miles (trails). Lawrence, Andover - river trail from the track.  Ran w/ Kevin Alliette who is back wh*ring for Whirlaway these days.  The rain held off but it was relatively cool and damp.  Good easy run, as my legs felt a bit better today.  We saw a nice deer running right in front of us on the trail for a bit and then she let us run past her as she just stood and watched.  We also saw a bunch of turkeys too... No, not Whirlaway runners, but actually wild turkeys. ;). [1:28:04]

Monday: 6 miles (trails). Mixed it up a bit as I was really still sore from the weekend of racing.  I wanted to take it real easy and do something different.  Ran over in the Windham Town Forest from trailhead off of Rt. 28.  Ran up the west side of Gordon Hill off of Gordon Mountain Rd, which is actually a higher spot at over 400 feet, than the summit of Gordon Hill, which is the high point in Salem.  400 feet doesn't sound like much, but it is good for this area.  There was a small building up on top with a 'high voltage' sign on it and a locked door.  There was a small radio antenna on the top, but nothing else.  I'm not sure exactly what it was.  I really like the trails in there.  They are mostly wide jeep road, with plenty of room to run, but it would need to be multiple loops to do any significant mileage in there.  I was the only one in there the whole time, but I attribute that to the weather.  I just mainly explored the area and tried to keep out of the rain.  It was raining pretty good but there is good cover in those trails. I never got to any of the areas that I ran over last time when I ran w/ DQ, so there is more exploring to do. [46:26]

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Medical Center 6k

Now that I'm 3 race reports behind, here's a quick recap of the Medical Center 6k (results) in Nashua, NH from last weekend.  This was the 3rd race in the 2011 USATF-NE Grand Prix and we (CMS) had a loaded team ready for action.  After our 10k victory the previous week, we were back to try to defend our win and stay ahead in the overall GP standings.

I ran this race one time previously, back in 2008, when it was the Grand Prix 'wild card' race (as the 6k distance is quite unusual). Because it is (to my knowledge) one of, if not the only '6'k road race in the state of NH, I have the very unimpressive NH State Record for a 6k for a 31 year old NH runner (from that race in 2008).  My 31-year-old time is still safe for at least another year, as nobody from NH (who was 31) ran faster this year.  Both Justin Freeman and myself destroyed the previous record for a 34 year old, this year, but only he gets his name in lights :)  See all the NH state age group records here.  See the overall records for 6k (and other events) here.  Currently, I have the 4th fastest time ever for a NH resident in a 6k in NH.  I trail Casey Moulton, Wilson Perez, and Justin Freeman.  I am one place ahead of teammate Kevin Tilton. Great company to be in for sure.  All 5 of us and every other person on the performance list have run their 6k time at the Medical Center race.  It's a little funny because it is not particularly a fast course.  There are a few rolling spots and a decent climb during the second mile.

We had a great, large crew toe the line in our newly screened Asics singlets and I was rocking my new favorite road kicks (the Inov-8 bare-X lite 150s).  As the gun went off, the usual suspects darted out ahead and I focused very intensely on staying in front of the many good Whirlaway runners who were right with me.  I knew that Whirlaway was going to be the team we needed to outrun today, as BAA was again, non-existent in the team category.  Bob Wiles headed out with Justin Freeman, Matt Ely, a late surging Dan Vassallo, and some RUN guys.  I settled into 7th or so place and eventually was able to move into 6th (passing Ben Ndaya) and kept relatively close as the course moves up a couple of decent climbs over the first 1.5 miles.  I was very focused on trying to stay in front of the Whirlaway guys but knew Pat Ard, Brandon Newbould, and a few others would be right there.  I could see them out of the corner of my eye for much of the first mile and just tried to stay a step ahead.

As I crested the top of the last major climb, I was still riding 6th place until Kent Lemme and Brandon Newbould both went by me on the downhill.  I reacted well though and within a quarter mile (not even) I was back in front of Brandon and chasing down Kent Lemme, who is FIT.  After 2 miles, there is a slight uphill section and I was able to go by Kent again and this time, I thought I was going to lose them, but Kent jumped aboard and stayed right on my shoulder.  I could sense that Brandon was still there too but I just continued to push on down the nice downhill sections from 2-3 miles.  Kent was breathing hard but not dropping.  We started to put a little distance on Brandon and it became clear that Kent and I would be battling for the 6th and 7th spots.  

Before the 3 mile mark I noticed that we were catching Joseph Koech (RUN), who I had beaten last week in the 10k.  Kent started to pull along side me and once we were at the bottom of the descent, he went past me pretty quickly.  I knew he had more in the tank than I and I told him to 'go catch Joe'.  I knew it was going to be a good close call for those two guys and the master's win (Koech is 41 and Lemme is 44).  Kent was able to stretch out a few seconds on me and I settled in for 7th place as the last long stretch came and went and I didn't catch back up to him or Joe. 

The finish is uphill and I came up and through in a little slower of a time than I was expecting (18:59).  It was only 7 seconds faster than I ran back in 2008. I was happy with the top 10 finish at a Grand Prix however (my second top 10 finish in 2 weeks at a Grand Prix).  The field was definitely a little lighter than normal (as was the 10k) because the bulk of BAA's squad wasn't there.

The lack of BAA presence (they actually didn't have have a full team score) and a great performance by Bob Wiles (4th OA) and the rest of our team (Andy, Chris Mahoney-Searles, Greg Hammett, and Tivo all finishing in the top 15) gave us the victory...our second team title in 2 weeks and back to back Grand Prix events.  It was a blast having all the guys there, Al Bernier (team manager) there cheering us on and delivering some great gear from our sponsor (Native), and the highlight of the day for me was turning around at the finish line (knowing Bob was ahead of me) and seeing Andy, Chris, Greg, and Tim all coming in in a tight group, ahead of most of our competition, and  many of our other guys coming in soon after.  Everyone seemed to really step it up and again, I was very proud to be part of this team again for the second week in a row at a New England Championship.  We ended up ahead of RUN by 39 seconds, with Whirlaway in 3rd place and GBTC 4th.

Top 10 plus CMS in blue:

Place Time Pace Name Age Town/State Team/Club
1 18:27 4:57 Dan Vassallo         26 Reading MA         ADIDA 
2 18:31 4:58 Justin Freeman       34 New Hampton NH     RUN   
3 18:37 5:00 Matthew Ely          35 Natick MA          BAA   
4 18:44 5:02 Bob Wiles            33 Kittery ME         CMS   
5 18:49 5:03 Joseph Koech         41 Chelmsford MA      RUN   
6 18:54 5:05 Kent Lemme           44 Williamstown MA    GSH   
7 18:59 5:06 Jim Johnson          34 Salem NH           CMS   
8 19:14 5:10 Brandon Newbould     29 Nottingham NH      WRT   
9 19:16 5:10 Andy McCarron        28 Keene NH           CMS   
10 19:24 5:13 Edward Breen         29 Somerville MA      GBTC
13 19:30 5:14 Chris Mahoney        33 Haverhill MA       CMS   
14 19:38 5:16 Greg Hammett         33 Chesterfield NH    CMS   
15 19:39 5:17 Tim Van Orden        43 Bennington VT      CMS   
19 19:47 5:19 Greg Ward            39 West Boylston MA   CMS   
25 19:57 5:21 Greg Putnam          41 Wakefield MA       CMS   
26 19:58 5:22 Matt Clark           28 Amherst MA         CMS   
29 20:09 5:25 Ben Jenkins          23 Durham NH          CMS   
32 20:16 5:26 Mike Quintal         33 North Andover MA   CMS   
33 20:17 5:27 Dave Dunham          47 Bradford MA        CMS   
35 20:19 5:27 Jeff Goupil          23 Keene NH           CMS   
38 20:28 5:30 Dan Verrington       48 Bradford MA        CMS   
40 20:31 5:30 Ben Strain           32 Beverly MA         CMS   
41 20:32 5:31 Jim Pawlicki         36 Beverly MA         CMS   
42 20:33 5:31 Rod Viens            43 Grantham NH        CMS   
43 20:37 5:32 Joe Shairs           42 Peabody MA         CMS   
55 20:54 5:37 Scott Clark          45 Gilmanton NH       CMS   
58 20:59 5:38 Scott McGrath        24 Amesbury MA        CMS  
68 21:24 5:45 Tim Mahoney          31 Holyoke MA         CMS   
96 22:28 6:02 John Pajer           48 Leicester MA       CMS   
104 22:46 6:07 Bryan Johnston       31 Keene NH           CMS 

714 Total Finishers.



   1.  CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS              
            18:44   18:59   19:16   19:30   19:38 (  19:39) (  19:47) = 1:36:07
         Bob Wiles, Jim Johnson, Andy McCarron, Chris Mahoney, Greg Hammett,
         Tim Van Orden, Greg Ward

   2.  TEAM RUN                           
            18:31   18:49   19:26   19:42   20:18 (  20:38) (  21:37) = 1:36:46
         Justin Freeman, Joseph Koech, Jim St. Pierre, Ben Ndaya, David Ndungu,
         Rex Radloff, Titus Mutinda

   3.  WHIRLAWAY RACING TEAM              
            19:14   19:29   19:46   19:48   19:51 (  19:59) (  20:26) = 1:38:08
         Brandon Newbould, Kevin Alliette, Joseph Navas, Patrick Ard, Craig
         Fram, Joe Donnelly, Jason Porter

            19:24   19:45   19:48   20:46   20:50 (  21:00) (  24:43) = 1:40:33
         Edward Breen, Xaviour Walker, Matthew Haringa, Eric Mendoza, Ryan
         Aschbrenner, Michael Guarascio, Tom Derderian

   5.  CAMBRIDGE RUNNING CLUB             
            19:52   20:12   20:48   21:19   21:30 (  23:34) = 1:43:41
         Chad Carr, Adam Daoud, Ryan Graf, Jason Salony, Marcus Alexander,
         Brian Burg

15 Total Teams Scoring.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Training 05-09 to 05-15

Wrap Up: 74.9 miles for the week.  1 mountain / trail run up north w/ Tilton and a light track workout w/ DQ.  Then, 2 really good races.  6k road PR over my old high school course (well, some of it) and a repeat win down in CT at Soapstone, where I ran 2-3 minutes faster than last year and my fastest time there over 3 tries.  I'm trying to find time to type up some race recaps...hopefully soon.

05-15 - Sunday: 17+ miles (trails) - Stafford Springs, CT.  3+ mile warmup over trails and dirt roads + race: Soapstone Mountain 24k Trail Race - 1st OA 1:36:30 (new CR I think) in the pouring rain.  Very wet, very muddy.

05-14 - Saturday: 10 miles (roads and trails) Wakefield, Saugus, MA. 3 mile warmup + strides with Nate Jenkins and Melissa Donais in Breakheart Reservation, then race: 6k - Breakheart Classic - rolly (not the 'flat and fast' they actually advertise) course, but not the old school course which was a bruiser.  This course went the 'flatter' of the two routes, but did have some good climbs.  It's been this version of the course for a bunch of years now. I last ran this in 1997 and also ran it in 1995... both times when it was the much slower version. I hammered this race today and PR'd (officially) in the 6k with an 18:35 (5:00 pace) on a slow and challenging course (screwing up and having to stop and turn and get back on course at the turn around).  My effort was far better than last week in Nashua, so I'm very pleased...but I got smoked by a senior from Brandeis who went by me right at two miles and never looked back... I ran super fast and raced relatively smart (just beating Matt Carter, who's won the race a couple times previously)...nothing I could have done better.... won $100 for second place...not bad.  Both 6k writeups to come....  3 or so miles with Zack Schwartz (race winner) after the race up in Breakheart trails.

05-13 - Friday: 9.6 miles (roads) Salem, Methuen, Haverhill (solo).  Went through the regular motions today but decided to call it just shy of 10, as I may be doing a couple of races this weekend (one of them long), so I didn't want to overdo it today...especially after back to back races last weekend, a mountain run on Monday, and some light track work on Tuesday... Tomorrow's racing may be a gametime decision.  Soapstone on Sunday is the plan...seems like it will be a wet one though.

05-12 - Thursday: 7.3 miles (roads) N.Salem, Derry w/ Dave Quintal from the Quintal Compound. Nice and easy running around near Arlington Mills Pond, hit a small patch of trail, and a lot of quiet neighborhoods.  A much nicer area of Salem than I'm used to.

05-11 - Wednesday: 10 miles (roads) Methuen, Haverhill from Whirlaway with Chris Mahoney. Normal 10 loop (Chris' Garmin) - [1:07:34]. Felt decent. No real issues other than feeling a wee bit tired from the last 4 days...

05-10 - Tuesday: 9 miles (track workout). Salem, NH high school track w/ Dave Quintal. Warmup 19 min on grass and trails near the school (xc course) then 10 x 400 at 77-80 sec. with 200m jog in between (continuous)...alternating each one.  This was DQ's workout and I just tagged along and kept him honest.  My quads and calves were sore from the two races this weekend and the mountain run with KT yesterday...  Felt nice and strong and easy on the quarters...good to shake things out and stay sharp.  Kind of windy out there.  60 minutes of total running.

05-09 - Monday: 11 miles (trails/mountain/roads) - w/ Kevin Tilton up in Effingham, NH.  Trailhead on High Watch Rd. up to the Green Mountain firetower (1907 ft) then back down the other side (old steep jeep road) and out to the main roads that go around the perimeter of Green Mtn and back up to the trailhead.  Very steep climb up to the summit of Green.  760 ft. up to 1907 in 16:06 (over a span of only a mile and a half or so).  Kevin's Garmin Data here (in km and meters).  We climbed up the top of the tower but the cab was locked as it is now only a part-time / high risk-only status tower (since 2009).  The views were still pretty awesome as you could see Ossipee Lake, Province Lake (Wakefield, NH), Mt. Washington (with it's snowy summit), and lots of other Maine and NH vantage points (including a really cool view of part of the 50 mile corridor that the tornado ripped through back in July of 2008)...  My legs were pretty heavy from the weekend's racing and my right heel was killing me on the way up the steep climb up Green.  Tight and heavy legs, quads, calves on the way back on the hilly roads leading back up to High Watch.  [1:26:29]

I took some photos w/ my phone..posted them here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Children's Museum of NH 5k

On Saturday, I went up to Dover, NH once again to run in the Children's Museum of NH 5k (results) (also known as the Footbridge 5k).  This was the 3rd year in a row it's been in Dover.  4 years ago and prior it was in Portsmouth, NH.  The Portsmouth course seemed a lot easier and the Dover course is fairly slow as it climbs for most of the first half of the race, then has a steep descent around 2 miles, and then rolls the last mile.  This is also the first race in the 2011 Seacoast Road Race Series (one of my favorite series).  I headed up in anticipation of just hopefully either being able to run relatively easy and still either win or come in top 3 or so.  In prior years, I lost to Sam Wood (in 2008), Chris Mahoney and John Mentzer in 2009, and Bob Wiles and John Mentzer in 2010.  In 2009 and 2010 I didn't run particularly well.  This year, I knew Chris and Bob were not going to be there because of the Grand Prix event on Sunday (which I was also going to run).  I wasn't sure about John, but he hasn't missed the race in the past few years (he's run it every year I have).  I was thinking that if there was a Mentzer or someone else like that there, I'd just let them go and try to save a bit for Sunday.

I showed up pretty early and checked the board of registrants.  The race hadn't sold out yet so I knew that the names on the board wasn't the definitive list, but I also knew that there certainly could be guys on the list that I just didn't recognize by name.  Bob Wiles had mentioned to me last week that a friend of his was going and was planning on trying to run 15:40 or so, so I knew there might be some decent guys despite the usual suspects not being there.  I warmed up by running over the course and again was amazed at the amount of climbing over the first 1.5 miles or so (for a local 5k).  I got back, switched into my bare Xlite 150s and headed over to the start for some strides.  I saw a few guys that looked like they could be pretty good and then I saw Nick Crowell from Navy, whom I had forgotten about.  Nick won the Great Bay 5k last October by running a 15:21.  He was a 14:36 guy at Navy and I knew was going to be able to run fast.

As the gun went off, Nick headed out all alone and I stayed back just a bit.  A second runner, Rob Levey, took off fast as well and was in front of me, looking like he was going to go after Nick.  I stayed in 3rd place for the entire first mile, as Rob made a surge up to Nick, who was out in a commanding lead.  The first mile climbs up pretty good and keeps going, with 3 or so major hills.  I came through the first mile in 5:08, which is about right for the amount of climb.  I was losing ground on Nick and was hanging a little closer to Rob. We were way out in front of the rest of the field and I assumed I'd be a good third place and be able to save some  for Sunday.

In the middle of the race, the course loops down around a nice neighborhood and climbs back up a bit to come out of it.  Nick was continuing to chug along and I was able to pass Rob as we were in the neighborhood.  Rob came back to try to pass me on the way out of the neighborhood, but I held him off just a bit (contrary to me just wanting to 'settle' for third).  I figured that if it came down to a race between us, I would have to run hard to at least get 2nd if it was going to be close.  The course then goes back against the traffic and hooks left to go down a very steep descent (essentially losing all of the previous climb in a very short distance).  I passed 2 miles in 10:16 and hit a second 5:08 mile.  Pretty even so far.  At about 2.5 miles in, at the base of the big climb, I had just moved up enough to get Nick actually within striking distance and soon found myself going by him.  He started to dangle his arms down and I knew he was slowing down.  I figured he wasn't in the same shape he was in October, and certainly wasn't in his 14:30s shape just yet, but I knew I could take advantage and just kept moving past him.  I had lost Rob, moved past Nick, and just tried to power on home.  There was one last uphill grind and then the course hooks down across the bridge and on to the finish. I went through 3 miles in 15:14 (4:57 mile) and kicked to the finish line in a very surprising and unexpected win.

In the end, I came through in 15:46 (about 7 seconds faster than last year).  I was able to hold off Nick and Rob and was very pleased to have won my 3rd race in Dover this year (and 2nd time I've come across a finish line to break tape on Henry Law Ave. this year (previously winning Reds in April).  The first Dover win came in early April at the Helping Children Hear in NH race across town.

After the race, I cooled down w/ Nate Huppe, who took me on his promised (and much publicized and anticipated) 'Tour of Dover'.

For the win, I got my hands on some more Weathervane lobster dinners...this time for 10 people!  This kicked my Seacoast Series off in style, but I will say that I am probably in for a tough fight at Redhook and beyond, as Nick and Rob are planning on doing the series, as well as (I'm sure) the rest of the usual suspects.  This was the 4th different Seacoast Series race I've won (out of 8).  Previously I've won Redhook, York Days, and Fox Point Sunset.  The races that still elude me as far as wins go in the series are Market Square, Saunders, Great Island, and Great Bay.  I've scored a 3rd place best at Market Square (definitely the toughest race to win even though it is not my 'worst-best' placing), a 2nd place best at Saunders, a 4th place best at Great Island, and a 2nd place best at Great Bay.  Regardless of how I do in the series, I still enjoy these races and can't wait for Redhook. It should be a great field as usual...looking to maybe run a big race there....

Photos in this article (except finish line photo) courtesy of Margaret Theobald.

Fosters article.
Seacoast Online article.

Top 10 Overall.

Place Time Pace Name Age Town/State
1 15:46 5:05 Jim Johnson     34 Salem NH         
2 16:07 5:11 Nick Crowell    24 Portsmouth NH    
3 16:09 5:12 Rob Levey       36 Somersworth NH   
4 17:05 5:30 Chris Ritchie   28 Hampton NH       
5 17:17 5:34 Fergus Cullen   39 Dover NH         
6 17:29 5:38 Matt Weber      30 York Beach ME    
7 17:46 5:44 Ryan Proulx     31 Portsmouth NH    
8 17:53 5:46 Tyler Doyle     27 Sagamore Beach MA
9 18:05 5:50 Cameron Barth   14 Lee NH           
10 18:27 5:57 Jacob Eisler    29 Dover NH      

952 Total Finishers.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Training 05-02 to 05-08

Wrap Up: 71.5 miles for the week with 2 good races (including 1 GP event).  Feel pretty good this week, but still have lingering cold that is almost gone thank god.  Race write-ups to come.

05-08 - Sunday: 10.5 miles (roads) - Nashua, NH. Warmed up over course (3+ miles) with CMS crew  + strides and other running around the starting area) + race: Medical Center 6K - 7th OA - 18:59 + cooldown (3.7 miles) over course with CMS crew.

05-07 - Saturday: 10.5 miles (roads) - Dover, NH. Warmed up over course (solo) (3.1 miles + strides and other running around the starting area) + race: Children's Museum 5k - 1st OA - 15:46 + cooldown (3.8) miles around Dover on the 'Tour of Dover' with Nate Huppe.

05-06 - Friday: 7.5 miles (roads) - Salem, Methuen.  Ran up to Spicket Hill in Salem (367 ft). Solo. [47:46]

05-05 - Thursday: 10 miles (roads and trails) - Andover, Tewksbury.  River trail out from hotel.  Roads on the way back from the golf course.  Ran super slow on the trails with Sully.  He's coming back into shape now and is only 3 weeks back running (plus he can't run trails to save his life).  We came back on the roads a little quicker, but nice and easy run overall. [1:16:47].  Going that way may be over 10.  Saw a mother and baby red fox just chilling in the grass on the way back.  We were able to get real close and the baby actually came over to us as we ran by...I thought it was going to run out into the street with us.  The mother was big and looked like it wanted to bite us.

05-04 - Wednesday: 10 miles (roads and trails) - N.Salem, Windham w/ Dave Quintal.  Went exploring in the Windham Town Forest and some snowmobile trails...got lost.  Ended up doing two big loops and had to come back via 28 and Shadow Lake Rd.  Ended up running 1:12:45 instead of our planned 5 miles.  Oh well...good fun run...nice to finally explore those trails.  Hit the highest point in Salem for the first time ever.  It was a pretty good climb up some sweet snowmobile trails and carriage roads.   The highest point in Salem is the summit of Gordons Hill, at 380 feet (120 m) above sea level, along the town's western border (just off of Rt. 111). DQ lives right next to all these trails and never sets foot in them!!!!!  Blasphemy.  Oh yeah, I'm still sick.

05-03 - Tuesday: 13 miles (roads and trails) - 2.25 mile loop in Lawrence/Andover (roads) from track + 8 miles river trail from track + 2.25 mile loop in Lawrence/Andover (roads) [1:30:15]. Still sick!!

05-02 - Monday: 10 miles (trails) - river trail from hotel with Christopher Mahoney-Searles (CMS). Nice and easy [1:10:19].