Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Catching up (pre-World Trophy)

Catching up with blogging even though I'm not particularly motivated right now to do so... I am motivated to get back on the running horse after 3 (and counting) days off from running, but not too motivated to recap last weekend's events.  As a quick update going into this past week's World 50K Trophy, I had done 3 races leading up (post-Yankee Homecoming).

Saturday - August 6, 2011
Dam Trail Race (Oxford, MA) (results)

After Yankee Homecoming, I ran my second year in a row at the Dam Trail Race in Oxford, MA.  This year (as opposed to last year's 11.5 mile course) was 10.5 miles.  The race is put on by my club, the Central Mass Striders, and is a great event over some really nice single track and double track mountain biking trails in Oxford, MA.

My feet had been bothering me for most of the last week +, but I still went out to try to defend my title (narrowly edging out Ben Nephew in last year's race by just a couple seconds after he did all of the work over the duration of the race).  This year it was pretty damn hot out and the field was pretty good as my teammates Ross Krause (who destroyed me at Loon this year for a very strong second place) and Jim Pawlicki were both in the house.

At the beginning of the race I shot out and led immediately, as Ben was not there this year.  Usually I let Ben do the pacing, as it is by now certainly evident that he is a much better indicator of proper pacing early in a race.   I shot out like it was a 5k and by a couple miles in, I had a large enough lead where I couldn't see anyone behind.  I backed off a bit after remembering that this race was 10.5 miles long!  The only thing that scared me just a little was the one small climb in the middle, but I hit that without much issue.  I rolled for most of the race, taking it relatively easy after 3 or so miles and maintaining what I thought would be a similar pace that the rest of the field would run (essentially using my lead I built up over the first few miles, as the margin I wanted to hold).  Easier said than done though, as I started to feel it later in the race and the last couple miles (without Ben there) was a little difficult for me.

In the end, I rolled in to a 1:04:31 for another win here, exactly 4 minutes in front of Jim Pawlicki and a surging Ross Krause, who finished 2-3, and only 1 second apart.

Top 10 overall (CMS in Blue):

11:04:31Jim Johnson      Salem, NH      CMS
21:08:31James Pawlicki   Beverly, MA    CMS
31:08:32Ross Krause      Easthampton, MACMS
41:12:53Rob Hult         Harvard, MA    Puma
51:13:28Mike Mazzotta    Marlboro, MA
61:15:14Todd Walker      Amherst, MA
71:15:26John Pajer       Leicester, MA  CMS
81:16:26Scott Cote       Gales Ferry, CT
91:16:42Ross Mungeam     Douglas, MA    TVFR
101:17:02Todd Bennett     Columbia, ?

81 total finishers (10.5 miler).  There was also a 5 miler.

I won $50 for the win.  It was $100 last year, but since we ran a mile shorter this year, it's understandable ;)....

Thursday - August 11, 2011
Cigna (Manchester, NH) (results) 

This race is a big one on my calendar, but it didn't go as planned simply because my feet were giving me major problems.  My plantar problems have been epic lately and leading up to Cigna, I could barely hobble without serious discomfort.  I had run well the past 2 years here (15:12 in 2009 and 15:08 in 2010) and was kind of expecting a better showing this year but it wasn't to be.  I got off the line alright but quickly felt my foot pain and just couldn't keep it going without much discomfort and awkwardness.  I came through mile 1 in 4:54 (slower already than last year) and then struggled over the next (mostly downhill and flat) mile to the tune of 4:55 before the wheels blew off.  I managed a 5:02 last mile and :33 or so last .1 before cruising in in 15:25 (4:58 pace) for 13th place.  I could have picked up maybe 3 more spots had I at least equaled last year's time/effort, but it wasn't meant to be.  It's really too bad because this race is a great place to drop the hammer and run a PR.  The field is good but not crazy (definitely the top in NH though as far as sub 15/14's go).  The course is a fantastic place to run fast.  The only thing that can get in the way is the weather (August is usually pretty warm in Manchester) and time of day/week (6pm on a Thurs).

Top 30 (plus CMS Men's Racing Team in blue):

114:014:31Kumsa Megersa         25Bronx NY        
214:044:32Linus Chumba          31Nyack NY        
314:134:35Derese Denibob        28Bronx NY        
414:264:39Teotaye Dube          27Bronx NY        
514:424:44Andrea Sorgato        30Medford MA      
614:444:45Justin Freeman        34New Hampton NH  
714:454:45Fikadu Lemma          27Bronx NY        
814:484:46Tufa Genna            28Bronx NY        
914:544:48Nate Jenkins          30Andover MA      
1015:084:53Jonathan Gault        20Bedford MA      
1115:144:55Samuel Gagnon         18Hooksett NH     
1215:194:56Andrew Chalmers       21Ashland NH      
1315:254:58Jim Johnson           34Salem NH        
1415:315:00Alex Beaulieu         21Durham NH       
1515:335:01Peter Mallett         28Manchester NH   
1615:375:02Jason Dedonato        25Nashua NH       
1715:405:03Chris Brown           21Chelmsford MA   
1815:445:04Jose Oriiz            22Methuen MA      
1915:485:06Jack Collopy          17Durham NH       
2015:515:07Joe Jourdain          19Hudson NH       
2115:575:08Corey Duchemin        20Manchester NH   
2216:015:10Kevin Alliette        30Methuen MA      
2316:025:10Joseph Ekuom          41New Paltz NY    
2416:045:11Tyler Andrews         21Concord MA      
2516:065:11Mackenzie Kilpatrick  29Belmont NH      
2616:035:10Brenden Repack        21Merrimack NH    
2716:095:12Brandon Davis-O'donnel17Nashua NH       
2816:095:12Nathan Huppe          31Dover NH        
2916:095:12Colton Ham            17Webster NH      
3016:115:13Chris Plankey         20Bristol NH      
3216:205:16Mike Quintal          33North Andover MA
4216:385:22Scott Clark           45Gilmanton NH    
4816:465:24Sam Wood              25Laconia NH  

5343 Total Finishers.

WMUR TV Coverage of Start

WMUR TV News Footage/Recap - CMS' Abby Gosling gets interviewed for being top NH female.

No money this year.  I won $300 beans at this race last year for 4th place, but then again, all the Ethiopians missed the bus! ;)

Saturday - August 13, 2011
Crisman Memorial 5k (Amherst, NH) (results)

Coming off of a very disappointing Cigna, I immediately wanted to redeem myself and looked for a 5k to do just a couple days later.

I picked the 9th Annual Crisman 5k in Amherst because it looked super low-key.  I figured nobody would show up other than the usual locals and headed over the 45 minute ride with the plan of being able to run maybe around 16 minutes for a win (to help with my confidence).  I got to the race and there was hardly anyone there.  I walked over to register and noticed, as I was filling out my race app, a fast looking dude across from me at the table, filling out his app.  I looked up to see that it was my CMS teammate Tim Pipp.  I immediately just had to smile because he was there with obviously the same intentions as me.  Now, it was looking to be a potentially fast race after all.

We warmed up together over the course and joked about how there'd most likely be the fastest two times ever run at this race, today. When we got back, it was feeling pretty hot out and we changed and headed over to the track for some last minute strides and loosening up.  As soon as I got over to the track, I noticed Jason Dedonato (R.UN) and couldn't believe it.  Now there were 3 possible fastest times ever.  Jason had been right behind me at Cigna just two days prior (and he is also a UML Alumn).  We went over and talked to him for a bit and found that he too had thought this would be an 'easy win'.  It is funny how that happens, but worlds had definitely collided with us 3 now toeing the line in one of the lowest-key races on the schedule.

The race began (and finished) on the track. Tim jolted out ahead and Jason and I got right behind him as the first 300 meters is on the track before going through the fence and out into the parking lot of the school.  The lot is quite long and by the time it dumped out onto the road, the three of us had a pretty large lead.  From there, Tim and I changed the lead a couple times.  I rolled up past him maybe a half mile or so in, and when we hit a slight climb for the first time, he rolled up past me and looked to be making a big move.  I reacted and stayed behind, while Jason seemed to fall back just a bit.

The first mile was a blazing 4:41 but since the course was run in reverse this year (at the request of the Amherst Police), I seem to think that may have been placed slightly off.  Just after the mile, I rolled past Tim and took the lead for good (although I certainly didn't think that would be the case).  Jason fell back even more and it became spread out pretty good by a mile and a half.  The course takes a couple of left hand turns and I kept up the pace as much as I could with my feet giving me problems. Fitness-wise I felt OK and kept up the pace, but looked back every once in a while to see Tim not too far behind.

I clicked through the 2 mile mark in 4:58 and continued to push around this big loop course.  I was surprised to see a sub 5 again, but I think that is where my fitness is right now and I may be a little faster had my feet and calf issues been a non-factor.  The last mile is very deceiving as you dump back out onto the main road you started on but then you can see the school almost immediately.  Looking at my watch I was only about 2 minutes or so into the last mile, when you can see the school (almost like the end of Redhook, when you can see the brewery from a mile away).  I thought for sure I'd run a smoking time, but had no idea how long the last half mile would be.  It is a slight incline up through a very long school parking lot.  Longer than I was expecting.  As I ran this stretch, I got an idea of how far back Tim was and knew for the first time that I'd be able to hold him off.   I hit the track and went through the 3 mile mark in 14:48.  I was 31 for my last .1 (like usual) on the track, and came through in 15:20, which was 5 seconds faster than my 5k at Cigna two days prior.  It was also a course record (USATF # NH08015RF).

Myself, Tim, and Jason ran the 1st, 2nd, and 4th fastest times in the 9 years of the race...

Top 10 Overall (CMS in blue)

115:204:57JIM JOHNSON        34SALEM           NH
215:385:02TIMOTHY PIPP       23KEENE           NH
315:585:09JASON DEDONATO     25NASHUA          NH
417:155:33JASON PORTER       41BEDFORD         NH
617:445:43JASON BENDER       17AMHERST         NH
718:325:58PATRICK LYNCH      15AMHERST         NH
818:486:03ELI MASKOWITZ      14AMHERST         NH
1019:116:11RYAN LYNCH         15AMHERST         NH

185 Total Finishers.

I won $50 beans and a $100 gift cert to Runner's Alley in Nashua.  I stopped in on the way home and visited with my old UML teammate BJ Bottomley and bought $100 worth of Injinji socks ;)...sorry BJ!


  1. JJ,

    I'm the biggest skeptic of all when it comes to quick fixes for injuries or whatever - but that being said I had PF most of last year and absolutely cured it with the info in this book: on Amazon. No joke this works. Check out the Amazon feedback on the book. I've helped several friends with PF and other issues clear them up completely with this book. I have a feeling it could work for you.

    Congrats on the races. Here's to getting rid of the PF for good.

    Michael C

  2. JJ-
    First off, I wanted to say I'm sorry things didn't turn out as planned at World Trophy.
    Secondly, I have been following your blog for a couple years now and I have enjoyed it very much. Thank you for taking the time.
    Lastly, I was wondering if at some point you could make a post about 1) your diet and 2) what it was like starting back after not running for a few years from what I understand. I'm just curious what your fitness was like at first, how you restarted your training, and how quickly you regained fitness.

    Thanks and get healed up!