Sunday, December 31, 2017


Happy New Year.

A look back at last couple months of running since this is a running blog, at least in name.  Considering I took basically July-October off from racing and any serious training, this wasn't as bad as it could have been.

November: 208.6 (4 days off)
December: 301 (2 days off)

2017 Miles = 2713.5
(2016 miles = 3099.20)

Days off = 70
Races: 19 (counting the RTB relay as 1 'race'). This is almost a career low for me in the past 10 years. Only 2007 (my first full year back racing post-collegiate) did I run less races.
Wins: 6.  Also lowest total since 2007.

I still averaged 7.4 miles per day with the 70 days off...

Last 2 months of training...(only 10 of last 61 days were outside)....

Week of 12-25 - 12-31
71.3 miles (6 days)

12-31 (Sunday) - 15 miles (1:44:40)(mill).
12-30 (Saturday) - 8.3 miles (55:45)(mill).
12-29 (Friday) - 10 miles (1:05:00)(Icy Pembroke, MA roads).
12-28 (Thursday) - 10 miles (1:20:00)(mill).
12-27 (Wednesday) - 12 miles (1:19:28)(mill).
12-26 (Tuesday) - AM: 8 miles (55:48)(mill).  PM: 8 miles (53:10)(mill).
12-25 (Monday) - Merry Christmas.

Week of 12-18 - 12-24 71 miles

12-24 (Sunday) - AM: 9 miles (73:27)(icy dirt roads) with Kevin and Ryan. PM: 3.1 miles (23:18)(mill)
12-23 (Saturday) - 10.3 miles (80:00)(mill) - Happy 5th Birthday Tabby!
12-22 (Friday) - 10.3 miles (75:00)(mill)
12-21 (Thursday) - 10 miles (mill)(w/up + intervals w/ hill program + c/dwn)(66:17).
12-20 (Wednesday) - 8.3 miles (60:00)(mill)
12-19 (Tuesday) - 10 miles (68:37) - roads w/ Nick Brown.
12-18 (Monday) - 10 miles (69:47)(mill)

Week of 12-11 - 12-17
70.4 miles

12-17 (Sunday) - 11.4 miles (76:40)(mill)
12-16 (Saturday) - 10.2 miles (75:00)(mill)
12-15 (Friday) - 10 miles (69:47)(mill)
12-14 (Thursday) - 10.2 miles (75:00)(mill)
12-13 (Wednesday) - 10 miles (63:25)(mill)
12-12 (Tuesday) - 10.3 miles (69:45)(mill)
12-11 (Monday) - 8.3 miles (60:00)(mill)

Week of 12-04 - 12-10 - 70.3 miles

12-10 (Sunday) - 14 miles (1:36:25)(mill)
12-09 (Saturday) - 10 miles (69:45)(mill)
12-08 (Friday) - 8.3 miles (60:00)(mill)
12-07 (Thursday) - 10 miles (65:00)(mill)
12-06 (Wednesday) - 8 miles (62:16) - roads w/ Darin.
12-05 (Tuesday) - 10 miles (75:00)(mill)
12-04 (Monday) - 10 miles (67:08)(mill)

Week of 11-27 - 12-03 - 53.3 miles (6 days)

12-03 (Sunday) - 10 miles (75:00)(mill)
12-02 (Saturday) - off (couch)
12-01 (Friday) - 8 miles (55:45)(mill)
11-30 (Thursday) - 8.3 miles (60:00)(mill)
11-29 (Wednesday) - 10 miles (no watch) - roads w/ Darin.
11-28 (Tuesday) - 8.7 miles (60:00)(mill)
11-27 (Monday) - 8.3 miles (60:00)(mill)

Week of 11-20 - 11-26 - 52.3 miles (6 days)

11-26 (Sunday) - 8.3 miles (60:00)(mill)
11-25 (Saturday) - 5 miles (36:48)(mill)
11-24 (Friday) - 8 miles (60:00)(mill)
11-23 (Thursday) - miles (no watch) - roads solo.
11-22 (Wednesday) - off (couch)
11-21 (Tuesday) - 10 miles (79:00)(mill)
11-20 (Monday) - AM: miles (40:00)(mill) + PM: 8 miles (55:45)(mill)

Week of 11-13 - 11-19 - 50 miles (6 days)

11-19 (Sunday) - off (couch)
11-18 (Saturday) - 8 miles (60:00)(mill)
11-17 (Friday) - 10 miles (69:40)(mill)
11-16 (Thursday) - miles (60:00)(mill)
11-15 (Wednesday) - miles (60:00)(mill)
11-14 (Tuesday) - miles (55:45)(mill)
11-13 (Monday) - miles (60:00)(mill)

Week of 11-06 - 11-12 - 45 miles (6 days)

11-12 (Sunday) - 8 miles (55:45)(mill)
11-11 (Saturday) - off (couch)
11-10 (Friday) - 8 miles (60:00)(mill)
11-09 (Thursday) - miles (55:45)(mill)
11-08 (Wednesday) - miles (37:30)(mill)
11-07 (Tuesday) - miles (60:00)(mill)
11-06 (Monday) - miles (63:00) - roads in rain/dark w/ Darin.


11-05 (Sunday) - off (couch)
11-04 (Saturday) - off (couch)
11-03 (Friday) - miles (64:13) - w/ Darin. Out and back on 113/41.
11-02 (Thursday) - 10 miles (80:24) - w/ Darin from beach down Depot Rd. and back.
11-01 (Wednesday) - miles (64:56) - w/ Darin. Out and back on High St neighborhoods.

Winter running tip from me: Get a treadmill or join a gym.

Winter running tip from Bob Wiles: Grow some f*#king balls.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Training Week: June 05 - June 11 - Market Square Day 10K

Derrick and myself enjoying the 'roaring falls' on the Castle in the Clouds property... Photo by Andrew Drummond -

Week of June 05 - June 11

06-05 - [Monday] - PM: 7.5 miles roads with Darin and Nick. On the chilly side.

06-06 - [Tuesday] - Off. Legs needed a break after Cranmore. Should have gone easier on Sunday and maybe even Monday... Going to try to run easy miles this week to recover for a 10k on Saturday.

06-07 - [Wednesday] - AM: 10.7 roads solo.  Moores Pond loop.  PM: 6.7 miles trails w/ Kevin in Albany from his house.  Yanked some clad from his yard after.... He made me help him move the heaviest picnic table I've ever seen (or tried to pick up)...

06-08 - [Thursday] - AM: 3 miles roads at lunch. Was going to go more but my buddy swung over... PM: 11 miles roads and class vi (off) road w/ Andy.  Big High St. loop + New Rd. cut-through. Very warm out. Bonked at 3 miles and felt like crap the rest of the way. Good times.

06-09 - [Friday] - AM: 6 miles roads w/ Andy easy.  Was going to do another run later but then...I didn't.

06-10 - [Saturday] - AM: 2.5 miles warm up w/ Quints, Ruben, Aguila, Switaj, Garfield, Hamel + 10k race (6.3 on the Garmin) - Market Square Day 10k - 5th OA - 34:08 (results) + 2.5 miles c/down out to New Castle and back w/ Quints, Hamel, and Downtown D. Brown.

06-11 - [Sunday] - AM: 19 miles trails w/ Derrick Hamel and Andy Drummond. Ossipee Range loop. Roberts/Shaw/Black Snout/Turtleback/Bald Knob.  VERY HOT but great run. Awesome views. Great trails.  Too bad I indirectly made Derrick wipe out about 12 miles in....He finished up like a trooper...but a little bloodied...

75.2 miles for the week on 10 runs.

Not a disaster of a week by any means.  Had to take a zero on Tuesday but still managed 75 miles on 6 days which is good (for me).  Ran w/ Kevin for the first time since late in the first Obama administration and saw Mike Quintal for the first time in a year or so...maybe more.

On Saturday I had a borderline abysmal race on one hand and OK on the other... depending on which way you look at it.  On the one hand, I ran my 10th Market Square Day 10k.  I have run it every year since 2007 except 2015 when I had a stress fracture.  I was 5th this year.  I've finished worse.  On the other hand, I was surprisingly slow 'time-wise'.

My history at the Market Square Day 10K...

2007 - 10th of 1398 - [34:07]
2008 - 4th of 1536 - [33:01]
2009 - 3rd of 1665 - [32:45]
2010 - 7th of 1730 - [32:47]
2011 - 3rd of 1740 - [31:56]
2012 - 2nd of 1771 - [32:33]
2013 - 5th of 1694 - [33:10]
2014 - 5th of 1898 - [34:06]
2016 - 9th of 1590 - [33:57]
2017 - 5th of 1367 - [34:08]

I've never finished 1st, 6th, or 8th... but I have every other place in the top 10 covered.... I peaked out at 2nd OA in 2012 and a sub 32 effort in 2011 when I was essentially PR'ing all over the place. Ahh to be young again.

As you can see I ran my slowest time by 1 second this year.... Not pleased about that but also know it was a bit warm out there and I have Cranmore still a bit in my legs.  I did manage to run an OK race 'race-wise' meaning that the top 3 guys that beat me are basically never going to find their way behind me in a race unless (ahem, Nick) it's up a ski slope in North Conway.... However I did manage to dual back and forth with Andy Huebner and Matt Garfield for a bit early, then Derrick Hamel later on in the end miles.  Derrick was able to dump me at about 5 miles give or take....and it was for good. I was actually in front of him at 4.5 and sitting in 4th OA but he outran me in the last mile and really pulled away.  I kind of wallowed back in 5th for the rest of the race once he broke free and I just tried to keep my place. I knew my time was going to be atrocious.  But a lot of guys had tougher days than I did out there....Won my age group though!  :).

We hung out for the majority of the late morning and early afternoon walking around Portsmouth and shopping. We had lunch with my parents and aunt and then walked around (maybe a bit too long) in the blazing hot sun...but it was a great family day (as it usually is).

Some video from the lovely and talented Kristin...

All my MSD 10k medals (age or overall) since 2007. Only missed 2015 as I had a stress fracture and didn't race.

Wrapped up the week with a great run in the Ossipees with Andy and Derrick.  It was pretty damn hot but fortunately (except for the peaks) most of the run was in the woods and some decent shade.  Got in 19 miles with about 3700 feet of climbing.  Some great VT 50 training! (Just kidding).

Photo by Andrew Drummond -

Ended Sunday with a few hours at the beach down the rd. w/ the family.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Training Week: May 29 - June 04 - US Mountain Running Championship

2017 US Mountain Championships - North Conway, NH. JJ, Viega, Carrara.... Photo by Michael Scott

Week of May 29 - June 04 - Cranmore HillClimb - 2017 US Mountain Running Championship

05-29 - [Monday] - PM: 6 miles roads. Easy shakeout late in the day in the rain.

05-30 - [Tuesday] - AM: 5 miles roads. PM: 10 miles track workout with Andy as 3 mile w/up in the trails then 6 x 800 with 400 meter recovery (under 2 min each) + cooldown on the roads/trails near the school.  Andy and I took turns leading the 800s. Mid to low 2:30s down to 2:26 for my last one.  Nice and relaxed.  Trying to ease into track workouts without blowing out a hamstring or calf too early (like the last couple years).  Last one Andy led and I went around him and blasted the last quarter.  Cool and raining.  No wind though.  Perfect for a track workout. Tim Livingston was also there doing his own workout.  The sheer amount of talent collected in one small location like that is staggering.

05-31 - [Wednesday] - AM: 5.2 miles easy roads w/ Andy.  PM: 7.2 miles roads and snowmobile trails w/ Nick Brown.  This was a near hammer-fest (for me anyways).  He was calm, cool, and collected. I was working way too much for my liking (especially the day after a workout)... 6:30 pace for the run including 2 miles of snowmobile trails and all of the Lead Mine hills.  Good run though.

06-01 - [Thursday] - PM: 10 miles roads w/ Andy. Down from Shackford Notch into Freedom and back. Originally planned tempo turned into only an easy run and a couple of townline sprints.

06-02 - [Friday] - PM: 6 miles roads. Easy shakeout mid day just before the rain came.  Found another cellar hole....giddy up.

06-03 - [Saturday] - AM: 3.5 miles w/up + 6.2 mile race (US Mountain Running Championship - 11th OA - First Master. National Masters Champion (Results)).  Terrible blister after the first descent.  Unable to cooldown (or even walk afterward).

06-04 - [Sunday] - PM: 10.1 miles roads and some 'off road' w/ Andy.  From his house, up to the highest points in Madison (Downs Rd) and up to the cabin atop the peak in the northwest point of the Hocking estate...then back down.  My legs were pretty trashed but not as awful as I thought it would be. Foot is getting better. Drained the blister multiple times since the race...

70.2 miles for the week on 10 runs.

2017 US National Champions - Central Mass Striders
L-R: Todd Callaghan, JJ, Doubles, Matty Viega, Tivo. Matty V is the only non-master (or senior)! :)

Saturday was the US National Mountain Running Championships in North Conway, NH.  It was the '15th' Mountain National Championship in USATF history (even though I think technically there was no championship in 2005) and it was 12th time since 2003 that New Hampshire has hosted.  Only Vail, Colorado (2003) and Bend, Oregon (2015) have hosted the event other than either Loon, Cranmore, or Mt. Washington...all in NH.

Since Cranmore Mountain is 15 minutes up the road from me (if I hit all the lights and the bridge is open), and since I am a newly knighted master this year, I decided to go and see how I could do against some of the other masters runners ... maybe get a medal...but most importantly to me, get another team Gold Medal and National Championship with CMS (or two, as the Open and Masters teams were now both on my radar).... I got 12th here in 2009 at the US Championship and 10th in 2011.  Both at Cranmore.

The race began with a load of guys all hammering out to a near-immediate climb up the slope and then small section of single track that bottlenecked up pretty quickly. I had to stop and walk a few steps just before popping back out of the single track because of all the bodies in front.  Eventually out on the first real long climb, I was immediately reminded of what mountain running feels like and it doesn't feel good.  I was in the hurtbox pretty quick.  I felt OLD.  I struggled to stay near Ryan Carrara and Chris Grauch (both 40+ runners). They were virtually the only ones I cared about.  I wanted to do as well as I could in the age group and definitely beat all the older age group guys (45+ etc).  Ryan and Chris were running strong and I was seemingly fading back as I was trying to find my climbing legs (and lungs).

Looks like fun....Photo by Scott Mason
By the second big climb (the steepest, longest section of the course) I was reduced to a powerhike (like most people).  At this point, my teammates Todd Callaghan, Tim VanOrden, Matt Viega, etc. all went by me and continued to put distance on me.  I was fading back pretty good and a bunch of guys were going by.  I would occasionally pass one or two guys here and there that went out way too quick and were now getting the full taste of Cranmore shoved down their throats...  By the top of that climb, near the summit, I had lost a load of distance on all the guys I was supposed to try to stay with.

Not too soon after that final long climb, there was another down/up section that I was able to pass a few guys on immediately.  Once over the summit, there's one more small down/up loop you do before really starting the long descent down the mountain to complete lap 1 of 2.  I passed a ton of guys here and went by Tivo on the top of the loop.  He pointed out that Chris was just up ahead and had already started the descent.  I had already gone by Ryan on the small loop near the top.  So I was gunning for the first master now on the way down.  I caught Chris not too far down the slopes and kept pushing but no one really got shaken completely. I didn't really run the downs that great or nearly as well as I used to because I was suddenly starting to realize that the bottom of my left heel was beginning to catch fire (thanks 7 year-old Inov-8s...). I started to struggle on the steep stuff.  I was running within myself and knew I had quite a bit in the tank if I needed it.  I also was very aware of the 2nd lap and wanted to be recovered by the start of it.

Photo by Michael Scott
When I got to the bottom I only had a slight lead on Tim and Chris and a few others who were right behind.  I was very aware that I sucked on the climb the first time and all those guys were a lot better and would surely pass me again but I also was aware that I had beaten them to the bottom of lap 1.  All I had to do now, other than not blow up, is to run the same exact type of race again on the 2nd loop.  Try to keep in contact as much as possible and then pass everyone on the way down.

Surprisingly I held my own on the climb.  I was absolutely shocked that none of those guys passed me on the first long 'runnable' section of climbing.  I was a bag of crap on that part but I was still out front and actually passed a couple more guys.  When we hit the long steep climb to the top, I was just a little ahead of Chris and Tim and they were slowly gaining on me up the climb.  I walked the entire thing short of a few strides here and there to try to keep out front when I could.  I got to the top only a few seconds ahead of Chris and Tim and immediately started to try to pull away a little and recover at the same time when we hit that little down/up loop.  My mission now was to simply try to keep ahead of those guys and not let anyone go by me on the way down.

On the way down I picked off a couple more guys and rolled up on Tristan Williams (who I had yoyo'd with a bit during different parts of the course).  I ran with him for a bit and then went by and continued to try to push despite my heel absolutely killing me.  Landing on my left side was super painful.  The climbing didn't really hurt it but the descent was a killer.  One one of the trail cut-across sections I had Tristan in tow and went by Zach Ornealas who looked to be struggling a bit with the descent as well. Right before I went by him, Zach wiped out and did a barrel roll. I yelled out 'woah you OK?' and he responded quick that he was...then about 5 steps later, I did the exact same thing and ate sh*t on a similar section of the trail.  It was his turn now to ask me if I was dead.  Surprisingly I jumped up and started running before anyone passed me.

Right before 'the fall'...Tristan Williams in red... Photo by Michael Scott
Eventually I started catching the very last guy (who I didn't know at the time was Dan Button).  I thought I'd probably be able to get him but as the course started to bottom out, I started looking back and noticing my gap on a now charging Tim VanOrden and knew that I was going to be able to hold off any last charge by the masters field.  I stopped caring about moving up through the field and just stayed enough in front to make sure I got the masters title and was the first CMS guy to cross the line.

bringin' it on home... Photo by Roger Marcoux
In the end, aside from my blister, I was pretty pleased that I had pulled off (or shall I say squeaked out) a Masters National Championship... my first ever individual National Championship.  I've had many team Gold Medals with CMS but never an individual.  I was glad the team did so well. That was my main goal.  I wanted to add to an already loaded CMS team and grab another gold (or 2 for open and masters)... I knew we had done that just based on knowing how closely bunched we all were.  Having guys like Kevin Tilton or Scott Leslie outside of the top 5 means we are doing very well.  I was a little disappointed when I found out that I was frickin' 11th!  In the Mountain Championships, the top 10 get medals.  It's always a goal to try to get into that top 10, get a medal, and get into that top 10 photo.  I was 5 seconds behind Dan Button who ran a great race and is really running well this year.  I was gaining on him on the way down but over the last little bit, I was unable to catch him. I was holding off a charging Tivo and Chris Grauch for the masters spots and once I knew I was ahead for good, I kind of put the breaks on and started to just maintain.  I regret at least not pushing a little bit to try to pull closer to that 10th spot. Dan would have certainly clicked over one more gear when he saw me get closer, but at least I would have tried. I got temporarily complacent on the way down and instead of continuing to pick off spots, after I went by Zach and Tristan, I just kind of stopped trying to advance and went into 'hold my place' mode.  It stings because neither Dan nor I knew our placement. I thought for sure I was in the 'twenties' did Dan when I talked to him later on at the awards.  We both thought we were nowhere close to top 10.  I'm glad he got it though.  Good to have a couple of New England guys in the top 10 (with Brandon Newbould getting 8th). Dan also 'looks' like a runner now...he's not doughy and pale and old looking now like I am.

Despite not getting that 10th place medal, at the awards later in the day (with my family by my side) I got THREE medals.  All Gold in color.  I got the Masters individual Gold medal (and National Champion patch) and then I got TWO Golds for team.  A Gold for Men's Open team national champions (CMS) and a Gold for Men's Masters team national champions.

Triple Gold....

I also then caught wind of the fact that I am going to be getting 3 checks from USATF.  One for being the overall Master for USATF and one for being the overall Master for USATF-New England, and the last for being 3rd overall in USATF-New England Open (Brandon got 1st and Dan got 2nd).  I heard the estimate was possibly around $400 total or something give or take.... They weren't quite sure.  I'll take it regardless!  I'm in the sweet spot right now with USATF stuff... especially mountain :).

Oh yeah, and I also won a sweet pair of Julbos in the raffle after!

Good day all around...except for my foot. Initially I thought I'd not be running for a few days possibly....we'll see how it goes. I was able to hobble on Sunday to 10+ miles so maybe it won't be as bad.


US MASTERS TEAM CHAMPIONS!  Central Mass Striders... JJ, Todd, Tivo.  Only top 3 Score for Masters.


Top 5 CMS Men - US OPEN TEAM Champs!  Again!

My aunt Patty from Florida and my parents....with me and the little ladies. 

Tabby Rose and yours truly.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Some late May Dirt Fishin'

Swung up at Andy's for about 45 minutes before a quick storm rolled through and scored another large British copper and a sterling silver ring.... check it out.

Memorial Day Part Deux and the War of 1812

Memorial Day Part Deux....

After posting an update about the Memorial Day 'parade' in Madison on Monday, I went out back to do a little dirt fishin'.  I haven't detected too much in my backyard (in the grass anyways) because I don't want holes all over the place... but seeing my house is the oldest house in town (still standing)...built in 1779, I figure there's still some history buried out there. The house was an inn a couple times over, in the 1800s and early 1900s.  I've found some very interesting things including some old Spanish silver, British coppers, and some other nice coins and relics from the period.  But I went out with the sniper coil on my newer machine and did some slow swinging up on the hill just at the edge of the woods and landed one my best finds so far, as well as another 1700s colonial flat button, a nice old spoon, and a few other small relics.

I haven't been doing too many videos (I've been taking video here and there while detecting, but I find it takes too much time/effort and I'd rather just focus on getting more detecting in rather than trying to record all the possible good signals I get).  I didn't' film the extraction of the relic but I also wasn't 100% sure what it was until I got back inside... I have found a lot of good things this season so far and have been detecting nearly every day for at least a little bit (weather-permitting).  I just haven't posted much about it.  Maybe I'll start back up. I have a lot of footage from past hunts this year that maybe I can piece together...if I can find the time and desire to do some more video editing... I do find though that this was a very fitting find for Memorial Day.

It turns out, it's a silver plated War of 1812 US 1st Regiment Infantry Coat Button.  Apparently they are a rare find and I have found examples of these in far worse shape than the one I pulled out of the ground, for hundreds of dollars online (not that I'd ever sell these things).

Here's the one I found (a bit tarnished) and below it are examples of others online (most are NOT metal detecting finds, so they are in slightly better shape, not having been in the ground for 200 years)...Mine DOES have the shank on the back too!

the front of my War of 1812 US 1st Regiment Infantry Coat Button.

Other examples of the same button online:

Video of another NH detectorist finding the same forward to 9 minutes in....

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

Nick winning and me in the distance (still in 2nd).  Derrick passes me right after this pic was taken.

Redhook 5k writeup:

And the annual Memorial Day Parade today rolled on by the house today....rough weather but still good enough to excite the girls...

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Training Week: May 22 - May 28 - Redhook 5k

Top 3 men in reverse order (me, Hamel, Nick) and then two of the 3 top women.

Week of May 22 - May 28

05-22 - [Monday] - AM: 10 miles roads (dirt/class vi/some pavement loop) from SOLO w/ Robert Molnar. Tasker to Townline to Modock to Glines to Bickford and back.

05-23 - [Tuesday] - PM: 10 miles trackwork.  3.1 mile w/ up (trails) and then 800 meters of straightaway sprints + corner floats into 10 x 400 at 74-75 with 200 continuous in between. I ran in the 2nd lane most of the time w/ Andy on the inside...Then cooldown around the track and school (all w/ Andy). Not too hard but better than nothing. Head wasn't in it today. Coming down with a cold (the entire family is now sick) and we had a rough couple days w/ one of our cats.  We ended up losing him in the morning after a 5 month battle with cancer.  We got him right after we got Deacon (our oldest cat) in 2004 when we moved into our first home in Salem.  We'll all miss him.

during happier, healthier times.
RIP Sheldon.  2004-2017.

05-24 - [Wednesday] - PM: 8 miles trails in Conway w/ Robert.

05-25 - [Thursday] - PM: 12 miles trails w/ Andy.

05-26 - [Friday] - AM: 5 miles roads/trails.

05-27 - [Saturday] - AM: 5 miles roads. PM:  6 miles roads with Andy.

05-28 - [Sunday] - PM: 3.5 mile w/ up + 5k race (Redhook 5k - 15:59 - 3rd OA (results)+ 4 mile cooldown.  New Masters 5k PR!!!!

66.6 miles for the week on 10 runs.  Big step in the right direction w/ a track workout, longer easy run, and the race. Was sick most of the week and surprised I ran as well as I did with the entire family being sick.  Also w/ losing Sheldon, it really was a mix of highs and very low lows...

It was my 8th run at Redhook this year.  I've been in the top 3 every year except the first year I ran it (in 2007). I've also broken 16 every year except the first year.  Last year it was close, getting 3rd and squeaking in in 15:58.  This year, it was no exception. It was by the thinnest of margins.  I not only 'technically' got 3rd place but I also broke 16 by ONE second...

The race was playing out to be a pretty fast one. The depth of the field was pretty good considering.  I warmed up with Andy Drummond and Zac Switaj and Nick Aguila. I fully expected Nick to win and was picking an 'out of shape' Zac to still crush me.  I also saw 2:17 marathoner Andy Huebner warming up right before the start and was now pushing myself out of the top 3.  I was kind of OK with it at first, thinking I would still have a good shot at being top master.  There were a handful of other good guys in the race too including Derrick Hamel who SHOULD be beating me daily...although I've been able to get a few 'W's this year against him.

The gun went off and the pace was fairly hot.  There was a gigantic pack of guys all together for the entire first mile. It was crazy. I would have loved to have seen video of the race from the lead vehicle perspective.  I led early with Nick. We were side by side and cutting into a pretty strong headwind that was steady on the way out.  There were easily 10 back behind in a tight pack including 11 year old sensation Aiden Cox.  Shortly before the first mile, I dropped back a bit and 4 or 5 guys moved up.  Hamel came up and took the lead with Nick and a couple others.  Zac was in front of me and Chris Dunn was pushing up with the leaders.

We went through in a tick over 5 minutes for the first mile and Andy looked at me and said 'this isn't slow'.  I agreed.  It felt hot but I didn't want to let the pack go.  I stubbornly hung on but Derrick and Nick started to gap everyone a little bit.  Probably at about 1.25 or so I counted 6 guys in front of me and Andy was right next to me.  I started thinking that 7th was my worst place here (in 2007).  If Andy dropped me, I'd be in 8th.  I wasn't having it.  I moved on ahead and Andy and I both split by Justin Trott.  Then I moved ahead of Andy just a bit and came up past Zac on the only real slight uphill on the course at around 1.5 miles.  Not soon after that I caught and passed Chris.  I then had my sights on Hamel and soon found myself in 3rd place at 2 miles.

I occasionally peeked back and it was a who's who of guys right on my tail. I wasn't really dropping anyone.  I kept my foot on the gas and went through 2 in around 10:04-10:05.  I then focused solely on keeping the pedal down because Andy was closing and it seemed like Zac and Chris weren't letting go either.  As I took the turn onto the last road (about .6 to the finish), Andy pulled right up behind me and was breathing loudly.  He really sounded like he was pushing and I put the pedal down again and tried to pull away a couple times. I could only put a little bit of distance on him at a time and it seemed like he was coming right back.  Chris was right behind him and closing.  I then found myself right up to Derrick and just went clean on by him but I was laboring.  I had been slowly catching him and ASSUMED that once I went by and kept moving at the same pace passed him, that he'd eventually fall out of range.  I was wrong.

I hit the last turn into the Redhook parking lot and the 3 mile mark and could hear and see the finish.  I was in 2nd but then Derrick blew past me like I was standing still (video evidence below).  I was completely done and was just focusing on not letting a complete disaster happen in the last 25 yards.   Derrick had come back from the dead after doing a lot of work early with Nick but getting dropped at about 1.5.  He decided not to settle and fought back and got some much needed Seacoast Series points by beating me.  As I headed towards the line I looked up and saw 15:57-15:58 on the clock.  I knew I had done it.  Broken the mystical 16 minute barrier as a 40 year old.  My official time was 15:59 (gun and clock)...which brings me to my last interesting tidbit.  This is the first time this has happened to me, but if you watch the video below, you see that a ridiculously fast charging Chris Dunn is motoring up behind me for a very strong finish.  He was 4th across the line but he lined himself up a few rows behind me at the start and subsequently he had a 1 second faster 'chip' time than me.  So in the printed results, he shows 3rd with a 15:58 chip time but a 16:00 gun time.  But in the order of finish (gun) across the line, for the sake of awards, cash, etc. I got 3rd because I was 1 second ahead of him across the line.  I was actually shocked when I saw the results after the race because I didn't even see him behind me at the end that close. I came across completely in 3rd and never even knew he pulled within 1 second to me on the line. I thought it was a typo...and I went to the timers and they were perplexed too. It wasn't until I noticed his chip time vs gun time being off by 2 seconds.  I had identical times.  Matt Sawyer told me after the race that he knew he had lined up a few rows back.... I cross the line in 3rd but technically from timing mat to timing mat he was 1 second faster than I was.  It cost him $75 though as they do awards and placement based on gun time.  On Coolrunning they listed the results by chip time.  He knows for next time :). I told him he's now officially a sub 16 guy and he needs to make sure his butt is on the line :).  He'll probably hand me my ass at Market Square Day but then again, most people will...I still can't figure out 10ks!

All in all, I am very happy w/ the race.  Podium, cash, and a sub 16 for the first time as a master.  I had 3.19 on my Garmin and the race is certified so I'm set to update my blog with a nice faster masters PR. Hopefully I can still bring it down a bit...but I'm not sure by how much. I really worked for this one.

Start of the race:

Finish of the race (thanks Youtube for selecting the thumbnail below):

Me w/ Sheldon back in Salem, NH....many years ago.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Training Week: May 15 - May 21 - Concord Rock n' Race

Week of May 15 - May 21

05-15 - [Monday] - AM: 5 miles roads early after dropping my car off.

05-16 - [Tuesday] - AM: 10 miles roads (62:24). WARM out...

05-17 - [Wednesday] - PM: 7 miles easy roads w/ Andy. HOT out...

05-18 - [Thursday] - PM: 3 mile w/up + 5k race (Concord Rock n' Race - 1st OA - 16:30 (results)) + 2 mile cooldown.  Oppressive heat. 98 degrees in Concord at race time (according to the bank clock near the start).  My car said 96... so I'll go with '97' for the official temp at the start.  4 hours later as I type this and my throat still hurts.  May have been the hottest race I've ever done.

05-19 - [Friday] - PM: 8.6 miles roads / trails w/ Andy.

05-20 - [Saturday] - PM: zero. At a wedding all day.

05-21 - [Sunday] - PM: 15.6 miles hilly roads w/ Andy.

54.3 miles for the week on 8 runs.  Not what I was looking for volume-wise for sure but it wasn't a total loss with a 'big' win and a good 'long' run.  Both of those are relatively speaking these days...

With a zero on Saturday due to travel and a wedding...and then me bailing on the Sunday half marathon and therefor the NHGP (as you really can't miss a race and expect to score in the series).... I was under 60 miles for the week which is not ideal.  I was at a wedding all day Saturday (left early in the AM and didn't get back home until 11pm).  I was toast and in the morning I felt awful so I wasn't about to get on the road at 4am to get down to Nashua by 6am to register (7am start time).  So alas, I may be free for some other NHGP dates now. I will still do Bill Luti as it's in the CARS series too....and 'maybe' the St. Charles 5k (on Labor Day) but other than that, I'll skip the rest.

But I did have a good race on Thursday with a 'big' win.  It was the largest field I've ever won a race in front of.... Just over 2000 runners (and probably another 4k walkers as the news said 'over 6000').  It just beats out a Redhook field of about 1900 I won in back in 2008.

The weather was horrendous.  Upper 90s all day with record temps set all over the state.  The temp at the start said 98.  Official weather report indicated 96 degrees at near 5 pm in Concord so it was in the ballpark of mid to upper 90s with no clouds in the sky to speak of at the start of the race.  I think it probably scared some people away but those of us who did toe the line were in for a scorcher.

Three-time (in a row) winner Colton Ham was the only one on the line that I was initially concerned with as I looked around ahead of the starting gun.  He had a great year last year, breaking 15 and running 31 flat in the 10k.  He ran away from me last year in this race and I got a distant second place.  This year I was thinking the same thing when I saw him standing there in his Millennium racing kit.

When the gun went off, a few people darted out in front of me but I had my eyes set on what Colton was going to do.  I kind of just wanted him to get out ahead quickly and leave me to fight it out back in 2nd place where I 'belonged' but I found myself tucked in behind him and feeling 'ok' in that small pocket 5:08ish pace on his left shoulder.  The first turn off the main road has a slight uphill and he surged a bit and I thought that that was surely it.  For a guy like him, running 16:00 should feel pretty easy (I knew I wouldn't be able to hang at that pace in this weather) but I wasn't sure what kind of shape he was in... A couple of left-hand turns later, I found myself taking some tangents that he wasn't taking and I was suddenly back up to him after a small gap had opened up.  By the mile mark, we were side by side. I could have gone by immediately but I waited a bit.  We were 5:08/5:09 through the mile and I was feeling alright at that pace.  I was on the breaks a little bit because I was confused as to what he was looking to do. I then realized not too soon after that he probably wasn't feeling it.  I just started to ease ahead and he held on for a while but a small gap started to open larger and larger over the next mile.   By 2 miles, I had a decent gap and started to realize that in order for him to make it up, he'd have to wake up a little bit and I'd have to start falling back considerably.   Due to the temps, that was a definite possibility.  I kept pushing on but was slowing.  The last part of the course has a couple of uphills in the neighborhoods behind the state house.  I felt like I was limping up those hills but kept peeking back and the gap was still opening. At 2.5 I think I knew I had it.

In the end I came through in 16:30 for the nice win in quite possibly the hottest temps I've ever raced in.  There's zero shade on the course so it was pretty much an oven from gun to tape.  My throat was killing me and it still hurts even now, the next day as I write up this report.  A lot of people struggled and the fact that I ran pretty even for the course profile (2nd and 3rd miles were basically both the same split) and I squeaked out a 16:30 on a not-so-fast course in super hot conditions is a good sign. Also...$150 for the win...not bad.

You can hear the kids 'cheering' for me in this video below... literally.

Brad and Matt and yours truly.  Congrats Sully!

Sully and I with our High School coach John 'Deek' Dicommandrea...89 years young!

Brad and Caitlin with Kristin and I...Wrapping up the night.

Kris and I and her version of 'Is this dress blue or gold or white or black...'

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Training Week: May 8 - May 14 - Canterbury Shaker Village XC 5k

Week of May 08 - May 14 - Canterbury Shaker Village XC 5k

05-08 - [Monday] - PM: 5 miles trails with Andy.

05-09 - [Tuesday] - PM: 11 miles (workout) w/ Andy and Tristan Williams.  W/up on the roads + 10 x road intervals (each was a little over 400 meters).  Not too hard but 'up tempo enough'.  Some wind and a little chilly. Cooldown (trails/roads).

05-10 - [Wednesday] - PM: 8 miles (dirt roads and trails). First 5 w/ Darin... last 3 solo on the trails.

05-11 - [Thursday] - PM: 10 miles (roads). First 3+ solo up to Andy's plus some loops of Shackford Pass. Next 2.5 w/ Andy back down to my house. Last bit solo down to the lake and back.

05-12 - [Friday] - PM: 8.5 miles (roads and trails) w/ Andy. Albany town forest + the Kanc.

05-13 - [Saturday] - PM: 3 mile w/ up + "5k" race (Canterbury Shaker Village XC 5k - 1st OA - (results)) + 3 mile cooldown = 9 miles.

05-14 - [Sunday] - AM: 14.2 miles with Andy. E.Madison Rd. to 153 to Glines Hill to Colby Hill and back down via 113.  Good solid run in the rain.

65.7miles for the week on 9 runs.

OK week. A tiny step in the right direction with a light workout and off-road race.  Then capped off the week with what can only be considered a 'long run'' for me these days, on the worst day of the week weather-wise which shows some newfound dedication. I'll take it.

Got another CARS series win on a really nice XC course.  This could be my favorite XC race I've done as far as the course goes.  Beautifully scenic and great running through the mowed grass paths on the grounds of the Shaker Village in Canterbury.  There was some single track and some dirt roads as well but mainly grass and trails.  I loved the course.  I had just over 3 miles on my Garmin so it's a tad short (the two guys behind me both didn't even have 3 on their watches...just short).  I heard the course changes over the years (and was even different than the map on the site) but the gist of it is still the same.  It's ok though, there's a lot of climbing on some tough wet grassy hills which just slowed things down like a real XC race should. It was a nice break from racing around parking lots and industrial parks.

Dylan Tuttle and some old guy....

collectively, we are 90 years old.

The girls at the start of a long day... After this picture was taken, Morgan would end up hitting her head pretty hard 3 times throughout the course of the day... a typical Sunday for this kid.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Training Week: May 1 - May 7 - Children's Museum 5k

Before the gun at a soggy Seacoast Series opener...

Week of May 01 - May 07 - Children's Museum 5k

05-01 - [Monday] - PM: 9.7 miles roads and trails with Andy.

05-02 - [Tuesday] - PM: 10.3 miles roads (half with Andy).

05-03 - [Wednesday] - PM: 3.5 mile w/ up on track and trails + track workout with Andy - 3 x (400,400,800) with 200 rest inside the sets and the 400 rest between sets.   Ran 73, 75, 2:33 || 75, 73, 2:33 || 73, 72, 2:30... (4.5 miles total) + 3 miles cooldown on the trails.  Windy as hell (and on the cold side).  11 miles for the day.

05-04 - [Thursday] - PM: 5 miles easy roads (solo).

05-05 - [Friday] - PM: 5 miles easy trails solo.  Ran 388 feet (according to the Garmin) with Darin and then he pulled up with an injury only 1 house over... so I had to go back out on my own...

05-06 - [Saturday] - PM: 3.5 miles w/ up (course w/ Hamel and then some strides, etc.) + 3.2 miles (on Garmin) as 5k race: Children's Museum 5k (1st OA - 16:33) (results) + 3.3 miles cool down (course + a bit extra to make 10).

05-07 - [Sunday] - PM: 9 miles trails (solo) in E. Madison / Freedom.

60 miles for the week on 11 runs.

OK week. I started out good and kind of fizzled near the end.  I did my first track workout in a year.  I just eased into it.  Not a lot of volume and the pace felt ok.  It was probably around my 'goal' 5k pace but certainly not my current 5k pace (which is embarrassingly slower right now). I think if I drag my butt to the track for one of these a week, I'll be making strides in the right direction.  It was pretty damn windy, so the effort was slightly better than it appeared.

On Saturday night I met up w/ an old high school mate of mine in Portland, Maine for dinner (it was his bachelor party).  My college teammate Brad Klinedinst was also there. I was a little sad I didn't make better plans to stick around with them but it was good to see them for a couple hours.

2 of the top 10 from the 1994 Mass H.S. All State XC Meet... oh yeah, we ran in college too...

Earlier on Saturday, I got my 4th straight Children's Museum 5k win believe it or not....and my 5th overall in 9 tries over the last 10 years.  It was my slowest time ever (by about 8 seconds) but it was also the worst weather at this event since I started running it, by far.  Usually we're lucky with the weather but this year it was pretty wet (temp-wise though it was ok).  I did feel pretty flat but kept the tempo hot enough to stay ahead of Derrick and a late-race charge he threw at me...

It's cool that the Seacoast Series is finally underway.  I'm going out on a limb and will say that I'm probably looking at running the slowest Redhook I've ever run (in a few weeks)... I can't believe the Seacoast Series is actually here though.  Hopefully the weather gets better for the next ones... I got some all important points though...or should I say 'point' (as first place just gets 1 point).  For now, I'll be keeping my eye on the open points standing. If I start to get smoked, I'll start looking at my 'masters' lead :).

My history (so far...) at the Children's Museum of NH 5k

2017 - 1st [16:33]
2016 - 1st [16:10]
2015 - 1st [15:49]
2014 - 1st [16:25]
2013 - Didn't race.  Eric Couture runs the course record.
2012 - 3rd [16:13]
2011 - 1st [15:46]
2010 - 3rd [15:53]
2009 - 3rd [16:13]
2008 - 2nd[15:56] (race in Portsmouth. Sam Wood for the win).

It was my first WIN as a Master runner which is pretty cool...

A very wet finish..

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Training Week: April 24 - April 30 - Chief Maloney 10K

Week of April 24 - April 30

04-24 - [Monday] - PM: 8.6 miles roads and trails.

04-25 - [Tuesday] - PM: 8.1 miles roads w/ Darin.

04-26 - [Wednesday] - PM: 6 miles trails solo.

04-27 - [Thursday] - PM: 10.7 miles roads w/ Darin.

04-28 - [Friday] - PM:  6 miles roads w/ Darin.

04-29 - [Saturday] - PM: 10 miles uptempo roads w/ some climbing.

04-30 - [Sunday] - AM: 3 miles w. up w/ Brandyn Naro, Jake Wormald, Justin Soucy, and a few other GCS guys + 6.2 mile race (Chief Maloney 10k (results)- 2nd OA - 1st Master - 33:15) - 2 mile cooldown w/ Derrick Hamel and Nate 'The Great' Huppe.

60.6 miles for the week on 9 runs.

Kind of an easy week of 'recovery' after last week's 2 races in 5 days...  Got another NH GP race in and my first race as a master.   I need to start doing workouts again.  I shouldn't be racing as much as I am now without actually doing something about getting faster... I hung relatively tough today and was in 2nd from about 10 yards into the race until the end.  I pulled within 8-9 seconds of Jake (the winner and current leader of the NH GP) at mile 4-4.5 or so but then he opened the gap back up again and pulled away especially on the downhills.  Time to start getting serious.

Yelling over to Kristin that I left the car key on the roof (before she drives off without them)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Dave Dunham sits on an email response for 6 years.... classic Double-D....

I guess back in 2010 I didn't get it.  Boy do I get it now... I am 100% sure that he was 100% sure back in 2010 that he'd be able to send this email to me this week and have it be applicable.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Catching Up

Week of April 17 - April 23

04-17 - [Monday] - PM: 1 mile w/up 26.2 miles race (Boston Marathon - 198th OA - 2:40:37).

04-18 - [Tuesday] - AM: 3 hrs of metal detecting. Could have run but felt like the day off and walking around would be better after the marathon.

04-19 - [Wednesday] - AM: 6 miles hilly snow-mo trails w/ Andy.

04-20 - [Thursday] - PM: 3 miles easy trails / roads / bushwhacking scoping out an old homestead site.

04-21 - [Friday] - PM:  3.2 mile w/up w/ Darin and Derrick + 3.2 miles (NHTI 5k - 1st OA - 16:37) + 2.6 miles cooldown w/ Darin, Derrick, Tim Cox, Aiden Cox, and some others.

04-22 - [Saturday] - PM: 5 miles easy w/ Andy (roads).

04-23 - [Sunday] - AM: Off. Family day...My birthday...

50.2 miles for the week on 8 runs.

Good week with a couple races, not much volume except for basically 1 day....and then 2 days off...yet still feel like I accomplished things... The goal was to get both my races in.... get through the marathon, and then just get my points for the CARS series (I'll probably drop down to 2nd now once Warren Bartlett starts going to the rest of the races but did what I needed to in the last couple)... I exceeded my expectations for both races, running decent at Boston all things considered, and then actually winning NHTI and running strong despite the conditions there.

Enjoying my birthday dessert with the girls...

Morgan doesn't eat enough ice cream and sweets (sarcasm abound)...

On another note....

"...You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death"

I'm now officially a 'master'.  I'm not talking about that post-30 indoor/outdoor track 'master' category that almost no one pays attention to.  I'm talking about the real deal masters stuff now.... like when people ask me 'how did you do this weekend?' I can say 'first master'... or sometimes 'second', 'third', 'fourth' master', etc.  If I ever find myself at a GP, I can quantify my efforts with a lower number + the term 'master' after it, rather than say '76th' or '94th', etc.  So I have that going for me....which is nice.

When young bucks like Matt Garfield or Derrick Hamel or Sam Fazioli or anyone of a number of top NH area runners wreck me in a 5k/10k this year, I can claim to have not cared about them because they aren't 'in my age group' anymore ;).  'I let you have it Matt... I knew I was going to get top master so I kind of mailed it in...' will be the frequent narrative.  Even though I would never let Matt have anything on purpose...I'm not going to tell him that. 

I remember my 10th birthday back in 1987... I remember being at my grandparent's house in Saugus, MA and being amazed at the fact that my age now had 2 numbers in it...

Strangely enough I don't remember at all turning 20...I remember going out to eat with my parents when I turned 21 but not 20... 

I do remember quite well, my 30th birthday.  I was back running again for a short period of time (I started in August of 2006 so by April of 2007 when I turned 30 I was back to running and racing, but still learning...  still climbing...).  I remember going to the track the day after I turned 30 and telling people on the warmup that I just turned 30.  I felt old. It was weird.  I think it was a little scary because I had just gotten back into running and racing and was very involved in getting caught up with everything I 'missed' by not running in my 20s (or past 21 anyways).  I sort of felt that 30 was pretty much 'too late' to start back again and I was frantically trying to fit in all the races I could to make up for all that lost time.  That's one of the reasons why in 2008-2012 I raced so much.  I was trying to make up for all that lost time.  I wanted to try to run fast before I got 'too old'.   I wish I knew what the timeline actually was for that.  Little did I know that over the course of the next 10 years I'd have some pretty good success (at least for half of that 10 years) and then some pretty good struggles...up and downs to put it mildly.  But then again, that's the story most everyone will eventually tell.

The last few years have been a struggle to put it mildly.  Not with life by any means, but with running in general. My life in the last 4-5 years has been moving in the right direction and in a direction I'd never want to change.  I have had two amazing kids with my beautiful wife, bought a house, moved up the ranks in my career, and developed some other interests that amazingly have bumped running down a bit in the priority list.  Back in the first 5 or so years of my second 'running career' I would have never ever guessed that I'd ever have a period of time where I was starting to fall 'out of love' with running and racing. I thought that it would always be with me but obviously as life goes on and I start to realize what is truly important to me, it's no longer a surprise that I find myself in the situation I'm in right now.  

Back in the thick of my racing during those years, I would often find myself amazed at how some other runners who were prominent racers for many years, all of the sudden stopped racing.  A couple of them stopped racing but continued to run a lot of miles (and still do). A couple of them stopped racing and running all together.  I would occasionally 'harass' them via email or even with comments on their un-updated blogs, asking them what the deal was.  I'd occasionally ask them when they are making their comebacks.  I'd joke around about how long it's been since they raced.  I'd constantly bring up the past glory days, hoping that they'd start back racing and running again.  I didn't get it.  I didn't understand because I was so wrapped up in my own running and racing, I thought that was everyone's world.  It wasn't. And now I get it.  I understand now and to those guys, I apologize.  I now understand how it's possible to not really enjoy racing any more...or even running sometimes.  I now understand how annoying it is to have someone email or text you or constantly ask you about running and racing when it's obvious you aren't into it anymore.  I get it.

When I started to get injured a little more (end of 2011 it kind of all started to slide), run and train a little less, and race a lot slower, I started to think ahead to my 'masters' debut. I have been thinking about being a master for some years now.   Thinking it will somehow get easier.  It hasn't.  But it IS something.  It is breathing some motivation back into my much I'm not sure.  I have thought for a few years that when I turn 40, I'll still be competing against the open guys with no problem.  Over the last couple years (and especially this year) I'm starting to realize that won't be the case.  I'm starting to feel fine with that.  I am realizing that it may take more effort than I'm willing to give it, to get where I 'thought' I'd be at 40.  But I'm not going to quit now.  

I think if I didn't have kids, I'd probably have stopped by now.  It's weird to say that, because usually it's kids that get in between a runner and his racing career.  Kids take up a lot of time, energy, focus, etc.  And rightfully so.  There is nothing better in life than having children in my opinion.  It's definitely by far the best thing that has and ever will happen to me. Being a father has changed my life forever...for the best.  I have been on both sides of this issue. I've not had kids...then I've had kids.  Believe me, I can speak truly from experience on that one.  I haven't heard one person ever tell me 'oh yeah, life was so much better before I had kids'.  That doesn't generally happen. If it ever does, that person (and their family) are probably not in a very good place.  Being a good runner is great.  Being a good Dad is imperative.  But why would I not hang it up at this point then?  Well a couple reasons... My kids enjoy going to races.  We generally (in the good weather) make it a point to make a day of it.  That's one of the reasons I do a lot of racing in the Seacoast area, etc.  We always have things to do...places to go after the race... they also like seeing their Dad run.  They may not exactly understand yet, what is going on...but they are getting older and starting to take note of everything around them.  Soaking in experiences like a sponge.  I want to show them that their Dad can still compete.  Can still have fun.  I want to show them what competition and sport is all about.  I don't want it to be just a thing I talk about with them later in life.  I want them to remember first hand.  Maybe they'll get into it.  Maybe it will help them get into something else similar.  Who knows.  But it's positive.  That much I know.  The only way it can hurt is if I set a bad example by having a bad attitude about it.  I also want to continue to race so that I know I will continue to run.  If I stopped racing, I'm pretty sure I'd stop running.  And being now in my 40s...with a family history of health issues, I don't want to go down that road. I want to try to be as healthy as I can so that I can watch my kids grow up and have kids of their own.  And to teach my kids the importance of exercise and living a healthy lifestyle.

Those are the reasons that are the unselfish reasons why I continue to do this.  The other reason is a selfish reason and that is because I know that if I stop now and don't at least give 40 a chance, I will always regret it later.  Even if I struggle to race within a minute of my 'normal' 5k pace from this point on, at least I know.  There will never be that question.  But if I just hang it up now, I'll never know. 

I think turning 40 this year is a Godsend to be honest.  My motivation level has been at an all time low. If I was turning say 38 or 39 this year, I think I would force myself to stop.  But this turning point is happening right at the right time.  Also, I registered a Reach the Beach team for September and already paid for it, so I am eyeballs deep in entry fees I can't quit now.  

I have talked at length about Masters running with a lot of my teammates and guys I look up to and respect in the sport.  Guys like Dave Dunham and Dan Verrington and Eric Morse, etc.  For years I've been picking their brains about their Open vs Masters careers.  What is harder, what is easier (if anything), etc.... More recently I've talked to Kevin Beck, Tim Cox, etc. about how things went when they got to that point (and since then).  The consensus has been for the most part that at age 39 or so you are basically in purgatory.  Just waiting to turn over to that magic number you can put down in the 'Age on race day' box so that your results will suddenly mean something again.  Well my time has come.  And Dave Dunham sent me some very interesting numbers from his time as a 'masters' runner.  He's definitely a unique story in some ways because he's been so frequently injured (a lot as a master) and had such a stellar Open career (0-39) that his masters times 'seem' to be a little out of whack... He was getting faster and putting up faster 'Masters' times deeper into his Masters career.  Darin Brown (my most frequent training partner) is the same way.  He's running faster 'Masters' times the older he gets.  He just turned 50 this winter and he's still on the upswing.  Eventually that will change but for now, it's certainly impressive.