Thursday, November 17, 2011

Training - 11-14 - 11-20

11-20 - Sunday: 8 miles (roads) with Emery Bickford, Jose Ortiz, Dave Quintal.  First half of Derry Prep course (with my last mile being towards Salem rather than into Derry).  Started off OK. Had my calf (the bad one) start tweaking bad at about 3-4 miles.  Stopped a couple times to stretch. No help.  It started to get bad again, just like at Winni back on Oct. 1.  Ended up stopping and calling for a ride, rather than go on and have it tear on me over the last hilly 8 miles of the course.  Very depressing.  Now I'm limping again and will no doubt be missing some more time.  Not sure what to do at this point.

11-19 - Saturday: 10.5 miles (roads) with Emery Bickford in Salem, Methuen, Haverhill.  Big loop out to  97.  Beautiful weather, good solid run.  Bad calf seemed OK.  Right calf was a little tight.  Everything else played along nicely. [1:11:45].

11-18 - Friday: 5.2 miles (roads) with E.Bick in Salem. Short, easy headlamp run. Both left and right calf bothering me.  Same old story.  [35:26]

11-17 - Thursday: 9 miles (trails and roads) with Mike Quintal, yes, MIKE Quintal in Andover and Lawrence, MA.  River trail from hotel, but went right instead of left to the 'River Trail Less Travelled'.  We ran towards the condos in Lawrence (the technical end/beginning of the river trail as it stands today). I have only been able to actually get all the way through only twice ever. Every other time I try to get all the way out, I always run into a flooded out section before the end, which makes it impossible to pass.  Today, we ran into the same problem. We ended up running around some streets near where the GTD winter workouts happen, and then back around the hotel and surrounding offices. [1:03:51] Calves started to be a pain (literally) again.  But.... 4 days in a row... Do I smell a comeback?

11-16 - Wednesday: 11.2 miles (roads) with Emery Bickford in Salem, Methuen, Pelham.  Good ole' Harris' Pelham Inn loop in the dark (headlamp run).  Took all 4 townlines from Emery.  Calves started getting tight late. [1:18:51]

11-15 - Tuesday: 5 miles (roads) solo.  Late road run when I got home.  Headlamp run in neighborhoods in Salem, Methuen. Calves still an issue. [33:59]

11-14 - Monday: 5 miles (roads) with Emery Bickford.  Salem, Methuen out and back in neighborhoods.  Very uneventful but better than a zero.  Still trying to get healthy.  Calves still bothering me. [34:02]

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Manchester City Marathon

One week removed from my Cape Cod marathon, I decided to hop into the Manchester City Marathon (results) in Manchester, NH to see if I could somehow place in maybe the top 3 if it was a weak field this year.  I figured since I just limped to a 2:42 at the Cape off of no training and being injured, I could maybe run the same time on a slower Manchester course now that I have some confidence that my calves won't go on me.  On Sunday night after Cape, I felt good enough to make a decision to give Manchester a go.  I had 6 full days to recover between marathons and figured I could just go out there and muscle through it.  I took it relatively easy that week between races and ran just enough to stay loose.  I did a bunch of Epsom salt soaks, massage, stretching, proper hydration, used my night splints, and did just about everything I could to make the 6 days enough of a recovery.

On Sunday morning I headed up to Manchester (about 25-30 min drive from my house) and got there in time to talk to Pat Moulton and a few other guys before getting ready to go over to the line for some light jogging, strides, and then 26.2 miles of 'going through the motions'.  I had seen the list of entrants on Saturday afternoon when I picked up my number, and I saw that Pat was running, as was Judson Cake, David Ndungu, and a couple others.  David had beaten me at Cape, Patrick was an obvious choice for an easy win, and Judson was always a threat for a top spot or even the win if he was healthy.  The morning was relatively cool and I went with the calf guards and half tights again to try to minimize the muscles getting cold and spasming on me.

As the race was about to get underway, I glanced around to notice a bunch of VERY fast dudes, but most were running the half marathon, which starts at the same time as the marathon and runs concurrent to the marathon for the entire first half (obviously). As the gun went off, I settled back and went out pretty easy, as most of the guys up front were running the half and you could tell by the color of the bibs.  They all went out fast and I settled back to try to run my planned 6 min. pace for as long as possible.  I did notice that Paul Ryan (BAA) was up with Patrick and it looked like he was running the full.  I missed his name on the registrants list, but it was looking now like a top 3 spot (in the money) was out of the question.  I looked around for Judson and didn't notice him in the race.  By now, we were spreading out as the top half marathon guys were all well out in front and I was hanging back with a few guys including top masters runner Jason Porter (CMS). We went through the first mile a little quick, but it is downhill and flat.  I was running next to Roger Donaghy (BAA) who I also didn't notice on the reg list initially.  I was now thinking that with Roger in the race, David Ndungu (RUN) behind me, and Pat and Ryan up front, I could maybe swing 5th place.  I knew that none of those guys were from NH and the top NH runner got $150, so I was thinking that could be my outside goal.

The second and third miles are slow and there is a lot of climbing, but I hung out with Roger and Jason as I just tried to settle in. There was a long way to go and I didn't want to do anything stupid.  Miles 4 and 5 had some drops, but overall the first half of the course is hilly with constant ups and downs (not quite as hilly as the second half seems though).  Jason and I talked a bit about racing, our goals, etc. as he was cranking along in his half marathon and me in the full.  He was going for the top master and top NH double dip, but Titus Mutinda was lingering up front a bit but within striking distance.  We both started to catch Heidi Westover, who was running the half and was still in front of us.

Somewhere around 4 or 5 miles I rolled up past Heidi on an uphill stretch and Jason and some other folks weren't too far back.  I then caught Titus and went on by as well.   Around mile 7 or so you start to roll on through some neighborhoods and there was one slick section on a sharp turn, where there was ice all over the road.  The volunteer told me to watch out for the ice as I made a wide turn around the corner.  About 10 or so seconds later as I was on my way up yet another hill, I heard someone slip behind me and turned quick enough to see Jason take a bad tumble across the ice.  The volunteer neglected to mention the ice to everyone I guess and Jason went flying.

Between miles 9 and 10, Titus Mutinda rolled on past me with David Ndungu in tow.  I wasn't concerned with Titus, but David was running the full marathon and he had beaten me at the Cape so I was now focusing on being 5th at that point as they passed.  But shortly after they passed me, David seemed to slow up and fell back a bit.  I went past him again and he started to hack a bit, making me think he was having problems...but soon after that, he rolled up next to me again and we talked for a bit.  He said he was just hanging on and was definitely feeling last weekend's marathon.  We ran together down to mile 11 and then up to mile 12.  Him and I discussed just running together and trying to catch the BAA runner up ahead, who was still in view.

Down to mile 13, we went by his coach and he handed David a bottle.  David shared it with me (it was a mixture of sports drink, water, etc.). We ran together through the half, turned onto the second half of the marathon course, and started to roll all by ourselves now, as a spectator on the bridge told us we were 4th and 5th.  At the end of the long Bridge St. section, we looked back and couldn't see anyone at all.  He indicated that no one was going to make up that much ground on us and we started climbing up to mile 14,15.

By mile 15, I had fallen off the back of David a little and started to realize that my calves and hamstrings and back and hips were all getting a little tight.   But my cardio was really playing along well, so I was really only nervous about cramping at that point.  I continued to take water at every water stop and sports drink when I could.  By mile 16, 17, I was probably 20-30 seconds behind David but could see him the whole time.  Once at 17, 18, mentally I knew I could probably get through another 8 or 9 miles and things were looking up.  I couldn't see anyone else behind me and figured that first NH runner would be mine for the taking (and maybe 4th if David fell off the pace, but I wasn't planning on that).

Approaching 19 miles, I was really starting to rig up.  Miles 18 and 19 are a slow, steady climb up to St. Anselms College and I was really beginning to feel my muscles start to get really tight and a dull pain all over.  I got very nervous around this stretch and just wanted to finish.  I got my first real scare of thinking that I'd get through 20 and have to stop due to a pull or massive cramp.  As I hit the turn into St. A's, I could still see David in front and that at least gave me the sense I was still in it.

Through 20 and 21 I was really barely hanging on but was just slightly over 6 minute pace still so it wasn't a total disaster.  I passed by Steve Moland around Mile 21 as he was announcing runners passing by, in front of a pretty group of spectators.  When I turned onto Boynton St. and through mile 22, I thought 'ok, just finish this thing!'... but my legs were pretty much as stiff as I'ver had them while running.  I had been taking my NUUN tabs (2 of them) without water for the past couple miles.  Just popping them whole, into my mouth without water.  It was gross, but I was getting desperate.

Mile 23-24 weaves through some neighborhoods off of the main street and the ups and downs continued.  My 23rd mile was my slowest of the day and I thought it was curtains in that stretch.  I wasn't sure I could do another 3 miles running and got really concerned as everything started to lock up.  6:46 for my 23'rd mile was looking like 7 min. pace was right around the corner.

Mile 24 was some well placed downhill and I was able to drop down to 6:11 again as a lot of the folks on the course started to tell me I was getting close and offering me support and encouragement.  I wasn't even looking at overall time and had no clue what I'd run, but knew it would be faster than the Cape unless something bad happened.  I was back in the city and approaching the footbridge, so I knew I was getting very close.

Mile 25 was one of the hardest miles I've run in a long while.  Over the foot bridge, down past the ballpark, and up to Granite St. it felt like I was barely running.  I hit mile 25 and the volunteer there said ' great job, thanks for running'.  I thought to myself 'whoa lady, slow your roll...I ain't done yet'.  I STILL was not sure I'd be able to finish.  The first part of the last mile feels like it is all uphill and it's ridiculous. I was almost jogging at this point and stifflegging it up the hills because of my calves.  I turned onto Auburn St. and then onto Pine St. and could see David once again up taking the turn onto Hanover St.  I glanced behind again and couldn't see anyone else.  I stifflegged it down the last turn onto Elm St. again and looked at my watch.  2:38 and ticking.  I rolled on past and into the finish in just under 2:39.  I couldn't believe I had actually been able to run faster for my second marathon, one week removed from the Cape, on a slower course!  I was pretty happy that my body held up.

It was really a fun experience to test myself and experiment with my abilities.  I now know that even out of shape, slightly injured, and with little recovery, I can still run at a decent level.  But most of all, it helped me try to get used to running and racing long again, which is going to be one of my goals for 2012.

388 Total Finishers.

1Patrick Moulton     29Providence      RI2:29:315:43
2Paul Ryan           31Boston          MA2:31:425:48
3Roger Donaghy       33South Boston    MA2:35:445:57
4David Ndungu        31Worcester       MA2:37:416:01
5Jim Johnson         34Salem           NH2:38:576:04
6Timothy Tapply      36Sherborn        MA2:46:586:23
7Aaron Ladd          28Lexington       MA2:51:586:34
8Alexsandro Moreira  31Melrose         MA2:58:416:50
9Christopher Lesenski26Northampton     MA2:58:576:50
10Benjamin Pangie     28Augusta         GA2:59:316:51

388 Total Finishers.

For anyone interested, here are the splits for my 2 marathons in one week, off of zero training, a lot of time off, and whilst injured.

2546 (1122)610 (1142) - uphill
3546 (1709)611 (1753) - uphill
4543 (2252)533 (2327)
5555 (2848)544 (2912)
6559 (3447)556 (3508)
7626 (4113) - bathroom stop602 (4111)
8600 (4713)555 (4707) 
9601 (5315)552 (5259) 
10601 (5917)601 (5901)
11613 (10530)556 (10458)
12615 (11145)614 (11112)
13616 (11802)536 (11648)
14610 (12412)603 (12252)
15610 (13022)610 (12902)
16622 (13645)545 (13447)
17617 (14302)602 (14050)
18621 (14924)601 (14651)
19626 (15551)627 (15319)
20622 (20213)613 (15932)
21630 (20843)605 (20537)
22626 (21510)608 (21146)
23631 (22141)646 (21832)
24640 (22821)611 (22444)
25627 (23449)623 (23107)
26616 (24105)641 (23749)
last. 2124 (24229) hamstring cramp111 (23900)

Next year I may try to be IN SHAPE for this one!  I liked the race, had a great time out there, and am starting to warm up to road marathons...  Now just to get healthy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

CMS - 19th USATF-NE Team Championship Title

I am thrilled once again to have been a part of a USATF-NE GP Team Overall Championship.  As we did in 2009, we returned to form in 2011 and took the overall team championship in the USATF-New England Road Racing Grand Prix.  This is my 2nd time being a part of a GP winning team in only 5 years of technically racing in a GP. I spent 2 years running for MVS in the GP and the last 3 running for CMS.  It is Central Mass Striders' 19th title in the 26 year history of the championship series.  That is impressive to say the least.  This year, like in 2009, I was extremely proud of our team and every member who toed the line at the 7 races from March to October.  CMS is a team of friends who work hard and buck the trend when it comes to racing.  Unlike most other clubs, CMS takes to not only the roads and track, but also XC, trails, ultras, mountains, towers, orienteering courses, and snow like no one else.  We are loaded with a fantastic group of hard working guys who just like to show up and race and race often.  We don't have any strict performance standards or guidelines.  Teammates come around from word of mouth and from seeing the CMS presence at races all over New England and the country.  We are made up of members from every New England state, despite being the 'Central Mass' Striders.  The long standing history and tradition of the racing team at CMS, coupled with the true feeling of team and friendship is what attracts the quality membership we have on the racing team.  I am proud to be teammates and friends with all these fine lads and once again we stepped it up with wins at FIVE of the seven GP events this year and two 2nd place finishes in the other events.  Topping the season off by scoring our 3rd straight Marathon team title and an even 100 points was the way to go out.  The only other thing that could have made this season more special is having an individual champion and Patrick Rich did just that, by becoming the first CMS USATF-NE Road Champion at an event since Justin Fyffe did it at Bedford in 2010.  The New England affiliation of USATF has to be one of if not the deepest and most competitive fields around.  It is something special when you can get enough guys together week in and week out to compete at this level and with quality teams like BAA, Whirlaway, RUN, GBTC, etc. it is an honor to be able to put our name in that mix and come out on top.  I have always enjoyed the team concept and nothing excites me more than being part of this team and having won 5 team titles this year has truly been amazing.

This makes CMS titles in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2011.  Move over Canadiens, Yankees, Celts, and Lakers...


TEAM STANDINGS - As of October 31

MEN'S OPEN                    13.1  10K   6K   5K   8M   5M 26.2M PTS
CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS           18   14   13   15   13   13   14 100
WHIRLAWAY RACING TEAM           17   13   11   12   12   11   12  88
TEAM RUN                        12   10   12   14    9    9   13  79
BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION     19   12        13   14   12    8  78
GREATER BOSTON TRACK CLUB       16   11   10   11   10   10       68
CAMBRIDGE RUNNING CLUB          14    8    9    9    7    8    9  64
SOMERVILLE ROAD RUNNERS         11    3    8    8    5    6   11  52
GR SPRINGFIELD HARRIERS          7    2        10   11    7    7  44
GATE CITY STRIDERS               9    5    7    6    6    2    6  41
GREEN MOUNTAIN AA               15    7    1         8        10  41
CAMBRIDGE SPORTS UNION          10    4    5    7    4    4       34
GREATER LOWELL ROAD RUNNERS      8    6    6    5    3    3    3  34
HFC STRIDERS                    13    9                   5       27
WINNERS CIRCLE                   5    1    4    4    2            16
NORTH MEDFORD CLUB               4         3    3              5  15
MERRIMACK VALLEY STRIDERS        1         2    2    1    1    2   9
HEARTBREAK HILL STRIDERS         3                             4   7
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE PROV.      6                                 6
TRI VALLEY FRONTRUNNERS          2                                 2
NORTH SHORE STRIDERS                            1              1   2

On the individual scoring front, I was able to weasel my way into the top 10 overall with 13 GP points this year.  Before this year, I had only ever scored in 1 GP (last year's Baystate Marathon).  This year, I scored in 4 of the 6 events I ran, for a total point value of 13.  Despite having a lackluster year, I call that a great performance for me individually.  We had 8 (EIGHT) different guys score in the GP this year.  That is the most since 2001, when CMS had 9 men score in the overall GP.

FINAL Series Standings after 7 events

MEN'S OPEN                   13.1 10K  6K  5K  8M  5M 26.2 PTS
Justin Freeman        RUN           7   9   9   9   9   6   49
Dan Vassallo          adiNE     9  10  10       7   8       44
Matt Ely              BAA       3   9   8   7   2           29
Kevin Johnson         GSH                  10   1  10       21
Bob Wiles             CMS           5   7   6               18
Eric Narcisi          WRT                   5   5   6       16
Dan Smith             BAA       7               8           15
Brandon Newbould      WRT               5       4   5       14
Jim Johnson           CMS           2   6           4   1   13
Patrick Moulton       BAA       6   6                       12
Justin Fyffe          BAA       5                   7       12
Ruben Sanca           BAA      10                           10
Brian Harvey          BAA                      10           10
Nicholas Wheeler      adiNE         8       2               10
Kevin Alliette        WRT               2               8   10
Patrick Rich          CMS                              10   10
Hari Iyer             BAA                               9    9
Nate Krah             BAA       8                            8
David Johnson         GSH                   8                8
Tom Deeg              WRT                               7    7
Josh Ferenc           BAA                       6            6
Daniel Princic        WRT           1       4                5
Coleman Hatton        BAA       2               3            5
Greg Hammett          CMS                               5    5
Robert Gomez          DIR       4                            4
Nicolai Naranjo       GBTC          4                        4
Andy McCarron         CMS               4                    4
Nick Crowell          CMS                   3       1        4
Danilo Cordeiro       RUN                               4    4
Brennan Bonner        GBTC          3                        3
Ted Breen             GBTC              3                    3
Will Dobbie           BAA                           3        3
Scott Leslie          CMS                               3    3
Terry Shea            BAA                           2        2
David Ndungu          RUN                               2    2
Brendan Callahan      BAA       1                            1
Chris Mahoney         CMS               1                    1
David Bedoya          GBTC                  1                1

Cape Cod Marathon

The blog has been stale lately and it's just that I have a lot going on here and most of it doesn't involve serious running or racing...I have to make some changes and get back into gear, but for now, I'll just discuss my marathon down at the Cape this past weekend.

For starters, the obvious point is that I'm not in marathon shape and have been hurt since just after Pisgah in the last month and a half has been filled (or should I say not filled) with mediocre running, days off, pain and stiffness, and very limited miles.  Almost no races except a trail race and a couple DNFs, and certainly no hard efforts that would have prepared me for a road marathon.  But I did it because I'm stubborn and because I knew I had an outside shot of at least running near 6 minute pace or at least near 2:40 off of limited fitness...that is, IF I could finish without my calf tearing on me.   This is the most 'out of shape' I've been since I got back to serious running and racing.  But I didn't want to let an opportunity to maybe help my team win another marathon title (if they needed me) and secure the USATF-NE Grand Prix Overall Team Championship (the 19th in the 26 year history of the Grand Prix).

I decided to give the GP a go essentially also to be able to try to stay on par with Greg Hammett, who won our internal CMS grand prix last year and was right behind Andy McCarron and I this year.  Andy was stopped at 73 points because he had to have surgery. So if I didn't do the marathon, I'd also be stuck at 73 points, and Greg would jump ahead of us (him being at 67 points) because not only would there surely be enough CMS MORT members at the race to get that many points, but also because the points for the marathon are DOUBLE.  We offer double points for the longer race to entice folks to enter. I think this is a good move, but it kills guys like Wiles-Thing because they 'think' they can't run 26.2 measly miles ;).  The difference between finishing 1st and 2nd is not worth too much, but any time there is a series or internal/external competition in a series, I can't seem to get away.

I rode down to the Cape Cod Marathon (results) with Dan Verrington the morning of the race and we got a very early start (5:15am from Salem, NH).  I was up at 4 (after going to bed at probably around 1am and getting very spotty sleep).  The weather was awful, with the October snowstorm happening as we made our way down to the Cape.  We made good time however, and got down there in time to hobnob with the rest of the CMS guys who were running.  We had a solid team toeing the line, with Scott Leslie (3rd for us at the Marathon last year with a 2:28:13), Greg Hammett (who has been a scorer for us all year), Patrick Rich (my darkhorse for winning this entire thing), George Adams (one of our top master's runners), Dan Verrington (another top master with a 2:21 PR), Scott McGrath (in his marathon debut), and Sam Wood (also, I believe his first marathon).  I felt confident in the squad and knew with Leslie, Rich, and Hammett, we'd be fine without me factoring in to the scoring.

After some last minute prep and too many trips to the bathroom (which was scaring me), I pinned on my #4 bib (which was almost comical at this point) and headed over to the line on a cold and slightly windy morning.

After some strides, we were off and I was immediately toying with 10th place or so as I was completely content with letting everyone who was trying to go for a legitimate time, go on ahead.  I stayed side by side with Greg Hammett for the first few miles as a slew of R.UN guys, a BAA guy, Patrick Rich, and a couple others headed out in a couple of groups.  Greg and I hit the first mile way too quick (for my plan) and the next couple were also fast.  I told him I was backing off to around 6 minute pace and let him go on ahead.  Scott Leslie pulled up and went around me as did Kevin Alliette.  My first 6 miles were all under 6 minutes which isn't what I was looking for (because I knew that was going to sink me later).

During mile 6 I suddenly got another stomach fairy visit and decided for the first time ever in a race of any distance, to stop and use the bathroom.  I hit a porta-john right before the 7 mile mark as I was fading fast from seeing Scott and Greg ahead of me.  I dipped in, did my business, and hopped back out.  I may have lost 30-45 seconds or so.  As I stepped out onto the road, George Adams had caught me and was about to pass.  He asked if I was OK as he pulled up along side me.  We ran together for another mile or so before he started to pull away.  That would be the last individual marathoner that would pass me the entire race.  Other than Alliette and Leslie and Adams, everyone else ahead of me was ahead of me essentially at the start.

After the slow7th mile, I dropped back to a few 6 minute miles again and at one point, as I was trailing George Adams for a while, I came around a corner to find Greg Hammett popping out of the woods right in front of me.  He had stopped himself for a bathroom break but quickly picked up the pace again and was off.  Shortly after that, the same thing happened again, but this time it was Justin Freeman who popped out of the woods.  It didn't take him long to once again get out of sight.

By mile 10, I was in no man's land.  I came through in 59:17 for 10 and it was rather bizarre.  I never would have thought I would be that slow, but it was happening and what was also happening was bigtime tightness and soreness in my calves and hamstrings.  I was beginning to really struggle and wanted to make sure I wasn't going to have that same massively painful issue with my calf again (like I had at the Winni race).  I had been really holding back because of my calf but now it was starting to be an issue (or at least I thought it was at the time) and I really took it easy on the rolling hills.  I started running between 6:10-6:15 for the next 5 miles.

From mile 10 to mile 13 I had major thoughts about dropping out.  I could hardly see George Adams on the long lonely stretches ahead of me and there was no one to be seen behind me.  I was hurting really bad from top to bottom.  My breathing was OK, but my mechanics were suffering and I started to fall apart all over the place.  I was  holding firm in the low 6's but it wasn't getting any easier.  I was 1:18 through 13 and really thought I was going to only be good for 15 or so.

I continued on, for the next few miles with the same thoughts of my calf going at any time.  I was figuring that as soon as it started to really go on me, I would pull off, find a ride back and be done with it.  But the next thing I knew, I was at mile 17.  That was a big moment for me because I knew at that point I'd probably be able to get through it (for the first time all day).  I thought to myself 'I can muscle out another 9 miles'....but in the back of my mind I knew what my calf felt like a few weeks ago and knew nothing was a sure thing.

Somewhere during the 19th mile, I turned and looked to finally see someone behind me.  It took me a bit to realize that it was Scott McGrath (CMS) who was running me down in his first marathon.  Scott had been running only about 40 or so miles a week and wasn't coming into this super fit, but then again, I was not in top form either and he was running me down quick.  He pulled along side me somewhere maybe around 20 miles or so.  It was rather strange because neither one of us were hurting cardio-wise... but my fitness is definitely junk and my legs and hips were turning to stone.  We chatted for a bit and he told me that he had dropped a 5:49 or something like that, to catch me.  He said there was a pack of 4 or 5 about a minute or so back as well.  He pulled away a bit as I told him he was running great and to go catch George Adams.  He then told me that he had been cramping all over and that I should just come with him.  I thought for a second and figured why the hell not.  So I picked it up a bit and stayed with him.  We climbed a hill and up to a water stop.  As he broke left, I went right and I noticed he stopped completely at the water stop.  I ran through the other side and missed a cup as the one woman on the right, pulled it back mistakenly and I missed it.  I ran right through and down the hill.  Scott lagged behind a bit but once out onto the main road and up another climb, he caught back up to me.  As we turned right onto the road that eventually would wind up to the lighthouse, we were side by side....until the start of the downhill....all of the sudden I heard 'OH GOD' and I looked back to see Scott stopped dead in his tracks.  He was in full cramp mode and stopped right in the middle of the street.  I kept plugging and another minute or so I looked behind and he was no where to be found.

At the end of that strip of road, and up near the lighthouse, I looked back again to actually see, for the first time, the pack of runners.  They were too close for comfort.  I knew they were gaining and I had all I could do to keep moving.  I passed Scotty Mason, who was snapping shots at the lighthouse and he offered me some encouragement as I started running through the first of what would be a few flooded street sections.  My hips and lower back and calves and hamstrings and ass and feet and ankles and toes and knees and everything else you can think of was killing me.  I also became very aware of some (ahem) chaffing that was beginning in areas I won't even begin to discuss.

I hit miles 22, 23, etc. Just doing the shuffle.  I slammed 2 gels in a row (my only 2 I took) and started to feel a little better.  When I hit 24, I started running with my head on backwards, waiting for the pack to catch me.  I knew that Scott was out of the picture and now, my hopes of finishing at least looked good, but my hopes of winning the internal GP looked to be going the way of a tie, with Greg most likely having caught Scott Leslie and George Adams being behind Greg as well (but in front of me). I had to stay 3 places or better behind Greg.  Any more and I would have gotten pushed to 2nd in the CMS GP standings.  If I finished 3 CMS places behind Greg, we tie.  I figured at the very worst, it was a tie and I was kind of bummed I wasn't helping the team score, but I knew, barring a R.UN victory, we would have it in the bank with 4 CMS guys up ahead of me.  I also knew that we were going to beat Whirlaway and we had won the overall GP Team Title for 2011. I was pumped.  Lots of emotions running through my mind, but trumping all of that was my wheels blowing apart all over the tarmac.

As miles 24 and 25 ticked by along the ocean, the streets began to get flooded with water...a few inches deep or more in spots.  I slammed right through and passed a lot of people cheering on the sides.  I kept looking back and the pack was lingering. I could make out the singlets was getting close.

I hit a left turn onto a side street and I was now in the last full mile of the race.  I knew for the first time I wouldn't lose a spot and thought I was in 15th place at the time.  I figured I would hold it and it wasn't bad for a GP, but in the back of my mind I was really sad because had I come into this fit and healthy and trained, I could have had an outside shot.  I knew it.  But it wasn't to be and I gave it my best as I hit mile 26. Literally clicking my split on my watch through the 26 mile marker, my hamstring cramped up on me fully and I stiff-legged it over the last .2, through the streets of Falmouth to the finish.

When I came across I was surprisingly fine and not cramping at all.  I was able to walk around, congratulate my mates, and got the GREAT news from Greg Hammett that we had not only won the title, but Patrick Rich won the WHOLE THING!  I wish I could say I was shocked, but I wasn't. I was just absolutely thrilled.  It made my day.  It could not have happened to a nicer, more deserving man and I was elated for him.  It must have been really special coming down that last stretch, winning the race, the New England Championship title, and an extra 1500 beans doesn't hurt either!

I wandered around a bit before heading back to the school and to Dan's truck, where him and I sat and got warm for a bit before heading inside to hit the showers to wash the chill off.  Dan finished a little behind me in 2:48 and Scotty was a bit further back, having had to stop for 4-5 minutes to take care of his cramp.  Sam Wood also finished strong in his first full marathon as well.  Sam has won some big races in New England and NH especially in the past and is getting back into form.

Top 20 Plus CMS MORT Members in Blue

1Patrick Rich      35S. Hamilton MA   2:28:542:28:545:41CMS  
2Hari Iyer         23Cambridge MA     2:31:002:30:595:46BAA  
3Kevin Alliette    30Methuen MA       2:34:212:34:205:54WHIRL
4Tom Deeg          30Eastham MA       2:35:022:35:015:55WHIRL
5Justin Freeman    34New Hampton NH   2:35:512:35:505:57RUN  
6Eneas N. Freyre   35Norwalk CT       2:36:122:36:125:58
7Greg Hammett      34Chesterfield NH  2:36:462:36:465:59CMS  
8Danilo Cordeiro   30Melrose MA       2:37:292:37:286:01RUN  
9Bryan Morseman    26Addison NY       2:37:542:37:546:02
10Scott Leslie      30Rutland MA       2:38:022:38:026:02CMS  
11David Ndungu      32Worcester MA     2:38:562:38:566:04RUN  
12George Adams      41Gilsum NH        2:40:202:40:206:07CMS  
13Titus Mutinda     46Lowell MA        2:41:282:41:286:10RUN  
14Jim Johnson       34Salem NH         2:42:292:42:296:12CMS  
15Jonathan May      42Charlestown MA   2:43:412:43:396:15SRR  
16Robert Cipriano   51Belmont MA       2:43:432:43:426:15SRR  
17Joe O'Leary       43Medford MA       2:43:482:43:466:15SRR  
18Jon Chesto        40S. Boston MA     2:44:222:44:206:17GBTC 
19Jim St. Pierre    40Dracut MA        2:45:192:45:186:19RUN  
20Eric Beauchesne   41Chelmsford MA    2:46:052:46:056:21WHIRL
22Dan Verrington    49Bradford MA      2:48:132:48:136:25CMS  
35Scott McGrath     24Andover MA       2:55:042:55:036:41CMS  
48Sam Wood          25Laconia NH       3:03:023:03:016:59CMS  

909 Total Finishers.

News Article from Cape Cod Online

What I took away from this was renewed confidence in myself that I can run/race on this calf and I shook some demons out for sure by just finishing this thing. It's been a tough couple months (really since the Netherlands) and I was just glad to go down there under tough conditions and circumstances and finish the race.  I now know my calf isn't THAT serious if I can run 6:12s on it for 26.2 miles.  I am hoping to continue to build up fitness and work on my conditioning.  It's going to be a long road back but the timing is good (except for missing out on all the loot that the Cape had to offer).  There really isn't a whole lot going on between now and snowshoe season.  Mill Cities will be fun and hopefully I will be fit by then.  All in all I just really had a ton of fun being part of the marathon and being there to see my teammates and friends run great.  Those guys made me proud down there.  That's what CMS is all about to me.  Good mates who got your back and guys who just go and get it done.