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'....so 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.

Results




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

CMS OPEN TEAM CHAMPS...

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.







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