Monday, November 29, 2010

Gobble Gobble Gobblog: Four Miles on Thanksgiving Morning (11/25/10)

Race: Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 Miler
Goal Time: 28:00
Official Time: 31:24 (Actual Time – 30:15)

Thanksgiving morning. The chill is back. 4 Miles just is not long enough in this weather. By the time your legs are really warm – there’s half-a-mile left!

On the plus side, in my Deion Jersey I did high-step the finish line.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Zenyatta Strategy - with a Twist: New England XC Championships (11/7/10)

Distance: 10K Cross Country
Goal 1 - Don't Come in Last
Goal 2 - 47:47
Actual Time - DNF

Well, seeing last years times I knew I would have problems hanging with the pack. And I did. My strategy had been to hang back, run slow and pick up speed at the end. At one mile in the back we ran 6:15 - not slow. But I was in last!

Then as we came out of the Bear Cage Hill, I stepped on a root and exploded my ankle. Now I was REALLY hanging back. By mile 3 I was pretty much toast; then I took a wrong turn in Albuquerque. Busted ankle on the wrong turn with no teammates to help the scoring for - I pulled out of the race.

It was probably my first DNF - ever.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lost in the Woods on All Hallow's Eve (10/31/10)

It all started with a simple thing. I signed up for the USATF New England Cross Country Championships. On November 7th, there will be a 10K Cross Country race.

A few weeks later, Tim - my realist racing advisor (should probably talk to him BEFORE races more often) - and I were discussing the upcoming race. Tim informed me that not very many slow people would show up since it was a "championship" and it may have been a mistake for me to sign up.

Well, upon reading the fastest times from last year, I can say once again my realist racing advisor was correct and I am "stupid." Yeah, there are som fast people in this race.

I know what you are saying: "Okay jagoff, but how does this get you lost in the woods on All Hallow's Eve?"

Well, I figured if I did a training run that was harder than the one I am racing this weekend, then maybe I won't come in last at the Championships.

So, Sunday I hopped on the bike and went to the pool. After my swim, I rode north up to the Malden/Meffa line on East Border, locked my bike and went into the woods for a run. I was able to follow the Cross Fells trail and meet up with the Rock Circuit trail for what would be a total of about 6 miles. That is of course if you do not lose the Rock Circuit trail - if you do that you might be screwed!

I was running over the rocks and through the trails aimlessly (well, not "aimlessly" my aim was to find the rock cirucuit trail!, unsuccessfully). The sun tipped lower and lower and I became more desperate to get out of the woods.

Meanwhile, I found it hysterical that I was horribly lost in the woods, not in the 100 Mile Wilderness or Northern NH or anything but in Malden for Christ's Sakes.

Almost an hour later, I heard a road and trampled not down a path but straight through the bushes to emerge - "Crap, I'm over by Oak Grove!"

Well, its only a mile and a half to my bike.

Tino Pai!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Never too Early: Mayor's Cup Franklin Park 5K (10/24/10)

Race - Franklin Park 5K
Location - Franklin Park, MA
Goal Time - 21:30
Actual Time - 21:33 (5K PR!!!!)

Is it already time to start training for next year and trail races? It's never too early.

With my legs finally not in pain from the marathon it was time to build toward the Winter 2011 season. So, its Cross Country Time.

The Mayor's Cup is a great set-up. Cross Country Races all morning literally for all ages and abilities.

It starts with 3 kids' races that are 1.1 miles. (U10, 11-12, 13-14); then two 5ks (the Women's Championship and the Open race); and, finally, the Men's 8K Championship.

I took part in the Franklin Park 5K (the non-Championship open race.) Clubs from all over New England (and even NYC and upstate) were lined up for the race.

While I, of course, ran the first mile too fast, the second and third were comfortable. At the Bear Cage, organizers had blocked off the right hand turn so you KNEW to go left. (If only they had done that 19 years ago, I might have been Boston City Cross Country Champion).

While I didn't reach my goal time - I did get a PR for the 5K, beating my Playworks 5K time by 11 seconds!

Additionally, it was my first time scoring FOR the Somerville Road Runners - results!

Jon Phillips of the New York Athletic Club won the Men's Championship 8k.
Kate Dicammilo of New Balance Boston won the Women's Championship 5K.

Remainder of Pre-Winter Training Schedule

Nov 7, 2010 - New England XC Championships 10K (Franklin Park)
Nov 25, 2010 - Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 Miler (Somerville)
December 11, 2010 - Assault on Mt. Hood 3.5 Mile XC (Melrose)
December 19, 2010 - Jingle Bell Run 5K (Somerville)
January 1, 2011 - First Run 10K (Lowell)

In Search of . . . Little Wilson Falls 2


This is a post that is out of place in the time continuum of my blog.

In background, last year my mother and I attempted to find what have been called "The prettiest waterfalls in Maine" but we failed badly (find the blog about that attempt here).

Well, this time around we KNEW where to go.

A left onto the AT led us the correct way. As we went through bogs and wetlands the AT had trackways like Iron Age Somerset.

After crossing the creek again in some difficult hops from rock to rock, we climbed up the AT until we came to:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The First Marathon - A learning experience (10/17/10)

Race - Bay State Marathon
Location - Lowell, MA
Goal Time - 3:45:00
Actual Time - 3:45:42

The last mile -

I was walking for the fourth time probably. I felt I reached the limit of what I could do. In my mind I was thinking of just quitting. I didn't feel I could do anything. But two things stopped me from quitting.

1. What the hell was I going to do when I quit - Walk the rest of the way? I don't require an ambulance. If I'm going to walk, I might as well do it on the course.

2. I got to the "1 mile to go" sign. There was a couple - probably in their late teens standing there. The guy looked me in the eye - "c'mon 339 (my number), One mile to go. You can run one mile!"

I looked at my watch - right at 3 hours 35 minutes. If I ran the rest of the way, I could break 3:45:00. So, I turned my hat around backwards (because then a switch goes on and I feel "like a truck") and I went Over the Top.

While I immediately realized that I was never going to run this last mile in less than 10 minutes, I did know I could "run a mile." (Maybe it was because of the hat?). I put everything I ad left into it. At 26 miles (0.2 to go) I knew I had it. There was a quick right turn into the baseball stadium and then a lap around the warning track. As I went down the right field line, I could see the finish line and was ready to sprint - only to realize that before that I had to run over the pitcher's mound and plate in the bullpen (really?).

But I crossed the finish line at 3:45:42. 42 seconds slower than my goal, but I finished (and had run the entire last mile)!

The first 13.1 Miles -

At 10K - I had run my fastest 10k - 44:35

At Half Marathon - I had run my fastest ever half marathon - 1:35:30

Never running a marathon and never running a "long race" that had a reasonably flat profile, I didn't know how fast I would actually run. If one multiplied my fastest half marathon by 2, it would be 3:18:00 minutes. So, like a genius, I decided that maybe I could keep up with the people running a 3:10:00 for a while. Well, I did! For half of the race.

13.1 miles - 30K -

At the Nahant 30K, I ran a quick 13 miles (around 1:40:00) and then "hung on" in the last 5.6 miles to finish at 2:26:26.

Well, this was quite similar! I ran a quick half marathon and then "hung on" in the last 5.6 miles to pass the 30K marker at 2:23 or so. Unfortunately, I then had another 7.5 miles to run!

It was at the 30K marker that the wheels came off!

30K - 25.2 miles -

Every step from 30K on was a fight. I alternated between jogging and walking and stretching out my hamstring. Somewhere in the 24 mile range, a spectator gave me the worst look - as if she felt sorry for me. Eventually I got to one mile to go and pulled my Over the Top impersonation.

Once I had finished and was laying in Center Left of the Spinners' field, I discussed my implosion.

He simply asked: "Is it your first marathon?"


"That's how mine was. It's a learning experience."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

City Ride: Hub on Wheels (9/26/10)

Event - 50 Mile Bike Ride
Goal Time - 3:30:00
Actual Time - 3:29:58

2009 I missed this ride since it was raining and cold. Leaving from Government Center the ride goes up and down a closed Storrow Drive. The ride touches parts of Allston, Brighton, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale where the 50 milers and the 30 milers split, West Roxbury, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Dorchester, South Boston and then back downtown.

It's a beautiful ride to spend the day.

75% of the way there: Nahant 30K (9/12/10)

Event - 30 K Road Race
Location - Nahant, MA
Goal Time - 2:35:00
Actual Time - 2:26:31 (66th Place)

Since May I have set out a plan for the Bay State Marathon. It set the Boston 13.1 as goal one and the Nahant 30K as goal 2 in route to the marathon.

I rode my bike out to Nahant. I got there in enough time to get my number, stretch, etc. While I had jogged farther in training runs, I was still apprehensive about really running that distance. Nahant might be a peninsula but it is really really hilly.

I finished but had burned myself out trying. On the plus side I broke my 8 minute miles and broke my goal time.

Labor Day Wiffle Ball Classic - Photo Blog - (9/6/10)

Being a Warrior: Spartan Race (8/28/10)

Event - 5K Obstacle Course
Location - Amesbury, MA
Goal Time - 30:00
Finish Time - 35:17 (216th)

I try to find different races sometimes. Well, this one fit the bill. It was a 5K trail race with 16 obstacles throughout.

Our wave started and there was a charge up the hillside, past a water cannon and then jumping over a fire pit. Once over the hill, the race became a common trail race with a random obatacle thrown in every now and again.

The first difficult obstacle was the mid pits. We had to run (or walk) through knee deep mud. At least twice people in front of me had to turn around and come back because they lost their shoes.

Included in the remaining obstacles were eight foot walls, cargo nets, hurdles, etc. The next hard one was the traverse wall. In the traverse wall, you had to climb across about 20 feet. I found it nearly impossible and, instead, did the push ups to move on.

The very last obstacle - right before the finish line - was three "gladiators" with the old school American Gladiator pugil sticks. I had watched this while waiting for the gun to go. It appeared that everybody tried to run around the gladiators and ended up getting tripped by the gladiators as they went by. I determined I could do it another way once I got there.

With the finish line in sight, I put my tactic into action. Instead of trying to avoid the gladiators, I ran straight at them. This, sure enough, confused them. They weren't sure what to do with Jesse charging out them and I wasn't tripped - finishing strong.

Tino Pai!!!!


10K again: Bridge of Flowers 10K (8/14/10)

Event - Bridge of Flowers 10K
Location - Sherbourne Falls, MA
Goal Time - 46:30
Real Time - 47:47 (PR!!!)

I hadn't run a 10K since the 1986 Peachtree Road Race when I was 12 years old. The New England Championship seemed like a great one to try.

Such an idea turned out to be incorrect once I had actually started running. The first two miles were okay. It was the 3rd Mile that killed me. The third mile was straight uphill and into the foot hills of the Berkshires. In the end, I averaged about 7:40 a mile, however the third mile was 10:30. So maybe I could have finished much better without that dreadful mile.

But it still beat my 10K Personal Best!!

Paddle Prattle 2010 - Photo Blog - (7/18/10)


Location: Topsfield and Ipswich, MA
Sights: State Forest, Audubon Society Reserve

Half in the Blues: Boston 13.1 (6/27/10)

Race - Boston 13.1 Half Marathon
Location - Milton, MA
Goal Time - 1:40:00
Actual Time - 1:39:28 (PR!!!)
Finished - 109th Overall/10th in Age group

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Handoff with Urvi and I
photo by Robert Cipriano

Location – Tufts University, Medford, MA
Distance – Team (26.2 Miles)/ Individual (1 Mile)
Goal Time – 5:25 (Kevin’s Mile the week before)
Actual Time – 5:40
Team Finish - Next to last

Memorial Day Yaking (5/31/10)

Location - Charles River, Newton, MA

Max and Jess - one is enjoying kayaking far more than the other

The Indian on the Charles

Andrew and Jess

Excellent Work Andrew - Three Yaks on the Car!

“For the Kids”: Playworks Run for Recess 5k (5/22/10)

Location – Franklin Park
Distance – 5K
Goal Time – 21:42 (7 min/mile)
Actual Time – 21:44 (PR!!!)
Finished – 10th Overall / 2nd in 35+ Age Group

Monday, May 10, 2010

Trying a Tri (5/9/10) - Sudbury Triathlon

Event: Sudbury Spring Triathlon
Distances: Swim- 400yd/ Bike - 7 miles/ Run - 2.3 miles
Goal Time: 1:05:00
Actual Time: 52:36

First, I had swam faster than at any point (probably in my life, but definitely since I had been preparing for this). But secondly I had gulped down a huge mouthful of pool water as I finished the swim. Now I stood at the edge of the basketball court - freezing - and trying not to throw up all said pool water. This was not at all part of my plan for my first transition. You really don't plan how to deal with a stomach full of pool water.

My 9:20 swim had put me in the position where I was forced to start passing people in the pool. They had let us go every 10 seconds based on expected swim time. Out of 523 people I went 508th with an expected swim of 11:30 minutes. So, I had to pass about a dozen people in the narrow lanes of the pool. I guess I was more prepared then I thought.

Once I had finished the 8 laps navigating the ppol, then a quick run to the bike in nothing but my swimming trunks (it was about 45 degrees F outside). After I recovered from not throwing up all of the pool water - I was off on the bike. Once again I was just flying by people. A few of these people had the full racing bikes with the aero-bars, etc. I don't know how they felt as the big guy on a Trek touring bike with straight handlebars flew by them. Well, the second time around the 3.5 mile loop at least one burned himself out re-catching up with me only to have to let me go in the last half mile.

I had a much easier time in the second transition. I was neither freezing nor having pool water. Here, my non-racing bike was an advantage. With pedals that are straps rather than toe clips, I was able to just put the bike down and run without having to change shoes.

Once again I was passing people left and right. I flew by another dozen or so people. Sprinting across the finish, I felt like ran well; however, as There were no clocks and I had no watch I really didn't know if I had.

Once I had ridden the 20 miles back to Cambridge they had posted final times and places.

Swim - 9:21 342nd overall / 10th in the Clydesdales
Bike - 27:15 124th overall / 3rd in the Clydesdales
Run - 16:00 37th overall / 1st in the Clydesdales
Overall - 52:36 109th overall / 3rd in the Clydesdales

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Boston Brevets 200K - (5/1/10)

Ride: Boston Brevets 200K
Goal Time: 12:30:00
Real Time: 12:10:00 or so

The second section of the Brevet absolutely slaughtered me. At the Hollis town line I had to stop and eat one of my sandwiches and an apple (before I was going to turn around and find the second control). It had become quite obvious that I missed a turn somewhere since the controle was the Brookline Elementary School and I was about to leave Brookline - damn.

So as I retraced my steps trying to find my missing turn, I happened to be passed by all the same people who had passed me while I returned to Milford Center earlier in the section. Now they gave me real confused waves.

But, I get ahead of myself. I left my house in Cambridge at 5:15 AM to go to my first brevet. What they hay is a brevet, you might say? (hay and say rhyme with "brevet", by the way) . I guess so does way. Anyway,

A brevet is a self-supported long-distance bike ride. The largest and most famous is the Paris-Brest-Paris which is a 1200km ride that happens every four years - the next one is in 2011. But, there are Brevet (also called randonnee) Series in many places. A series is commonly 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km. (In fact to ride the Paris-Brest-Paris you must qualify by riding that said series in the same calendar year.) Someone who does a brevet can be called a randonneur. For more explicit (and probably less confusing) descriptions of randonneuring and brevets check out Randonneurs USA FAQs and site:

The 200km Brevet was the first Boston trip of the New England Randonneurs of 2010. Like all their brevets it runs out of Hanscom Field on the town line between Concord, Lincoln and Bedford. As my legs don't really start working right until I've done 6-10miles, the 14 mile ride from Central Square to Hanscom was a great warm-up for me. I pulled into the starting area right before 6:30 and got myself signed in - spending the next half hour stretching and preparing.

The remaining riders began pulling in (most drove). Initially, it looked like the typical cycling crowd with bike shorts and clipless pedals galore. The importance of this I'll get back to later.

About ten miles into the ride seven of us had grouped together at a pace I liked and through most of the first section we stayed pretty well in this 5-7 people group pushing each other and flew through the first section - averaging 15 mph until the first controle (checkpoint) in New Boston, NH. At the controle there is a volunteer who stamps your brevet card and a collection of various biker fair to rejuvenate your energy - cookies, bananas, pop-tarts, etc. That's where I really started talking with people. They turned out not to be the typical cyclists I meet on club rides. These people were actually very supportive - rather than judgmental.

Three of us left New Boston together heading for the second controle in Brookline, NH. I said that this one should be easier because its only 40 miles (never, assume). The brevet vet in my group simply said: "There is a reason it's shorter." Turned out to be quite hilly - including a fantastic downhill on 122 where I got the bike up to 37 mph!

As we got into Milford Center, the directions became confusing and the trip around the main square was like the Griswalds doing Picadilly Circus. But, we navigated it well - sort of. Matt pointed to a bike shop (which turned out to be convenient). Once we determined we were going the wrong way, we headed back into another circumnavigation of the square and then out of Milford on long not so steep hill on Union Street - almost exactly halfway through the ride. This is when disaster struck!

I tried to shift into a lower gear and my chain wedged itself between the first and second cogwheel. No amount of work between me, the other two guys and a fourth cyclist - who was not involved in the brevet could do anything. The unattached rider told me that there was a cycle shop in town. Which there was, along the wrong turn in Milford, and he was on his way there. I walked the bike back into town, passing several riders who were on the brevet. they were ready for me as the unattached cyclists had already spoken to them. Well, they were able to fix my chain, and repair the broken spokes (a completely different problem from earlier in the week). I'll recommend Souhegan Cycleworks in Milford to anybody up that way.

40 or so minutes later, I was back on track. Unfortunately, now I was completely alone. It is a lot harder riding by yourself. Whether this is physical in someways, I also think it is psychological. I figured if I could fight my way over the next 35 or so miles I could make it back to join up with people at controle number 2. Which, turned out it could have been true. After bypassing Brookline Elementary School and stopping on the town line, I rode back into Brookline Center and bought some water. Here everyone who had passed me on my return trip to Milford was now passing me again after leaving the second controle.

After a rest and some water, I was ready to conquer the last portion of the ride - back to Hanscom. Alone and tired my average plummeted. My goal had been 12:30:00. So, while still on pace for that, I was kicking myself for the 1:20:00 I spent at the bike shop and missing the turn for Brookline Elementary School- unghhh. Alone through the roads of northern Mass I fought my way back and turned up back at Hanscom - the next to last rider to finish. One of the guys who had passed me twice and was packing up his car congratulated me. I smiled.

While the brevet was done, my riding was not. I still had 14 miles back to Cambridge, before Wendy's and sleep.

My cycling average was 13.4 mph over about 10 hours on the bike. While my elapsed average was 10.3. Next time if I don't go the wrong way or have to stop at a bike shop - it'll be great.

I reached two milestones during the ride. First, the 160 was my longest single day total (easily breaking my previous 107). Second, I broke 1000 miles for the year.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Casey's 4.21 (4/29/10)

So, all the fast runners might not actually be impressed. However the speed is actually returning to me.

At the weekly Casey's Run, I felt really good leaving the starting line. I was the first one up Winter Hill. The actual fast people caught me at the top but I followed as best I could after that. Our split at 2 miles was under 13:30.

While I lost the fast group after that, I did manage to maintain some pace. As I turned down Pearl in the last mile I felt surprisingly good for the speed I was going.

I pulled in at 28:39 for 4.21 Miles! That translates to a 21:04 - 5K. We'll see.


May will be my active month. As, I stretch toward my June and July A-Level events I have four events in May.

5/1 - Cycling - Boston Brevets 200K (Goal Time - 12:30:00)
5/9 - Triathlon - Sudbury Spring Triathlon 400yd S/7mi B/2.7m R (Goal Time - 1:05:00)
5/15 - Cycling - Boston Brevet 300K (Goal Time - 18:00:00)
5/22 - X Country - Playworks Run for Recess 5K (Goal Time - 21:30)

Tino pai


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trailing Away - Fox Trot Trail Race (4/25/10)

Race: Fox Trot Trail Race, Blue Hills, MA
Distance: 10 Miles
Goal Time: 1:30:00
Actual Time: 1:26:14

So it was about 4.5 miles in when I officially confirmed to myself that a ten mile trail race is WAAAAAY harder than a regular half-marathon:

I was briefly talking with a guy. He asked me how much trail running I had done.

"This is my first time." I said.

"It's my first race, too. I've only been training on trails for a few weeks."

This is when I officially confirmed to myself that I was a moron. "No," I said, "this is the first time I've ever done any trail running. I suppose I should have done it at least once before."

By Six miles, I felt completely finished. I had to walk up one of the hills. (something I've never done in a race.) Then I threw up at the top.

This is when fortune smiled upon me. A woman in a 2010 Boston Marathon shirt ran by me during my expelling of the morning's coffee. She was running slightly faster than my brain wanted to but in a speed my legs could handle. "I'm following her," I said to myself and that I did until about 7.5 miles. She tripped up a little bit. I tried to process the trip to avoid the root or stone she tripped on only to find myself flat on my back! "Awesome!" I exclaimed. Well, as she tied her shoe I got up started running. (The small blister on my right foot was no longer bothering me since there was a big strawberry on my left knee now that was killing me.)

A little past eight miles was the last real tough hill and by then I wanted to quit. Well, once again fortune smiled. The same woman in the 2010 Boston shirt passed me again. From there a strange random memory of a friend's band hit me: I am on top / I can do anything. So, I was just determined to just follow her footsteps.

For the rest of the race until I could smell the finish, I just followed that turquoise (maybe, aqua-marine?) shirt. As we reached toward the end, I realized I could probably beat somebody in a sprint who ran the hardest marathon major a mere six days ago. While I almost killed myself in the sharp slope that led down into the Trailside Museum parking lot, I happily blew by the woman who spent Monday out on the hills of Newton while I sat on my couch eating nachos - wondering where Meb had dropped back to.

My goal time was surprisingly close to my finish time - considering I had NO earthly knowledge of translating road times to trail times. I think I might run some more trail races (but practice trail running at least once before hand). And I know I won't complain about the Great Bay's hills again.

Tino pai,


Friday, April 23, 2010

Out on the Charles (4/20/10)

Harvard Business School from the River

Trip - Western Ave Bridge to Eliot Bridge and Back
Distance - 3 miles

It'd been a while since I'd actually been on the water. The last time was actually in a "Croatian wooden boat" on the Mreznica. So on a sunny, warm Tuesday I took the the UNS Aral Sea for its first voyage of the season.

Once I got the Aral Sea inflated and on the water the wind picked up and the sun hid beneath the clouds. Without the sun, April is still quite cool, so I turned the boat around and returned home. But for a first ride it was great.

Patriots' Day Ride 2010 (4-19-10)

Paul Revere Reenactor

Ride: Minuteman Trail, Minuteman National Park, Reformatory Branch Trail
Distance: 40 miles
Difficulty: Some tough deep mud
Sights: Lexington Battle Green, Minuteman National Park, Old North Bridge, Paul Revere Re-enactor

Patriots' Day Ride
by Jesse Morrow (with a little help from Longfellow)

Listen my children and I shall list
The Patriots' Day Ride of Global Cyclist
On the Nineteenth of April, Two Thousan' Ten.
The sun was out shining then -
A Marathon Monday not to be missed.

He said to his friend, "once this race is done -
on Heartbreak the women are about to crack -
and I have seen which man and woman have won
(Hopefully Meb will be able to comeback),
Once on their heads laurels are places
off toward Minutemen I will make haste.
It's been two hundred thirty-five years
Since to Lexington the Redcoats spread fear
And the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere."

Then he said "Good-day" and with a muffled swoon
He crossed the apartment to his room
Where he packed his bag with with water and gear
So that he may survive his ride on this significant year.
Quickly he stuffed the sack like a loon
so he'd not be a bonk's again cheap fodder-
alone on the road without any water.
The shadows of the Baske Ostarije ride
loomed over him and hydration magnified.

Meanwhile, Erkesso over Newton hills
did all but one rival break
But her blast seemed a moment as mistake
Until pulling away three seconds to beat
Behind her a chariot did fulfill
with pride and record of his namesake
As over the finish line first were Charuiyot's feet

Thus, he climbed down the apartment stairs
With his bike in hand toward the street below
beneath his feet they bent and bowed
And out he went to Central Square.
Up Pearl Street against the signs he made his way
and onto Mass Ave on the empty holiday.
Thus by the bike lanes - that were there or not
He road from Central to the spot
Where he turns from road to the trail
Toward Alewife Station Rail
Passing those walking and in trot.

Then upon the Trail Minuteman
Our hero rode onto Arlington
Rails to trails in joy and fun.
Passing Spy Pond, and the first mile span
He rode into the town's main square -
and oddly, who should be there?
A strange man on a horse - looking quite funny
With his warning: "The Redcoats are coming!"
Two hundred thirty-five years, since he first ran
The rider now replaces the man
A farcical look to his run
Tar and asphalt now replaces the road
Upon which the first Paul Revere had rode.
This man without the fear of harm
Implores the cyclist at the light to spread the alarm.

Onward, our cyclist continued to ride,
Northbound, through Menotomy, he tried
To drop down to cogwheel two -
by kicking the derailleur on the side
and blackening the tip of his shoe.
As prepared they did for a parade -
Roads closed and grandstands made -
He touched the route at the Green
Of Lexington where could be seen
With the 76 flags unfurled
The site of the Shot Heard 'Round the World.
Through the crowds ahead of the parade
And out of town westward he made
his way catching Mass Ave again
Toward where more history laid
And the National Park - Minutemen.

Past all the gathering people
And around the Revolutionary field
down the side he wheeled
past the Congregationalist steeple.
After the Green the rider went straight
up the high school hill like dragging weights
and down again over One Twenty-Eight.
And there the park that does hail
our first battle and Minutemen detail
he started upon the Battle Road Trail.
Upon the wooden road our rider did meet
two redcoats in full gear on their trip
munching away on tortilla chips
away from the battle sites in retreat.

Through the woods and fields of the trail
He continued to ride
enjoying Spring bursting forth from winter's veil
Over the boardwalks upon the bogs
and past the white blossoms of wood - dogs
And out the Battle Road's other side.

It was two by the village clock
When he rode into Concord town
And to the village tourists had flocked
In remembrance of Seventy-Five.
He stopped at a hardware store for some screws
To fix his pedals that had unhinged beneath his shoes.
Repaired he was ready to onward ride
And further on the road he went down.

As up Monument Ave he went
And a left to see French's Minuteman
At the point where farmers sent
The Redcoats away from the ridge
and stopped them at the Old North Bridge.
There the river had fanned
out into a marsh deep and above the roots
of oaks and beeches where the regulars couldn't shoot.
After imagining the Minutemen's might feat
And the Redcoats' hasty retreat,
The rider returned across the span.

With lactic acid in his legs he couldn't stanch
He turned onto the old Reformatory Branch
(Go ahead try to rhyme with "branch" - bud)
Only to find it eight inches deep with mud.
Thus fighting his way across the muddy Concord dells
He made his way to Bedford on Hartwell.
Alone on the empty trail and muddy things
He decided ne'er to ride this part again in Spring!

Thereupon the warmth of the April day
had led the families that can
out upon the pleasant Minuteman
to join in the sun to play.
And retracing his way on the trail
Where once had run the northbound rail
and seeing where the nation began
and the trips of many Minuteman.
Now back to Cambridge-town he made his way
Finding the days when Adams and Revere were alive
Feeling the coming of the Summer and may.
Remembering that day in Seventy-Five.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ronde van Great Bay: Great Bay Half Marathon (4/11/10)

Race: Great Bay Half Marathon, Newmarket, NH
Distance: 13.1 Miles
Goal Time: 1:45:00
Real Time: 1:43:43

At about 12 and a half miles we made a sweeping turn back toward the town of Newmarket only to be faced with a hill about a block long and probably greater than a 10% grade. The guy in front of me says: "Fuck, not another fucking one!" Sure enough before we could finish this race we had to run up one more damn hill. Pretty much the whole half marathon was like the Ronde van Vlaanderen - short steep hills.

It was a fantastically organized race. We were directed to parking and then vans shuttled us to the registration and we took the same van back to our car. And the shirt, a short leve high quality wicking shirt was up to Felix's standards (apparently his number one concern of a race is that you get a good shirt).

Despite all the steep hills, it was a beautiful course. The loop took us out through the woods on the Durham line. Parts of it were on a cool winding dirt road with the short steep hills. I was able to maintain a comfortable pace and didn't feel pressured or have my usual "heavy legs." Turning off the dirt road, we were on the loop back toward Newmarket. Throughout the ride people were out in force. People were playing music in front of their house and local high school track teams and others were manning the water stations.

Coming over the last hill and back into town, the last 100 meters were straight down the main drag with even more people lining the finishing stretch. Me and another guy sprinted each other down that last bit. He nosed me out, but I'm sure each of us cut ten seconds trying to beat each other. As I stopped my watch I realized the great time. While it was 1 minute slower than my Portland run in October, I think I ran better considering that this was that much more difficult of a course.

If you are not doing Boston next year, the Great Bay Half Marathon should be your April 2011 race!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jealous of people in bed - City Run (3-28-10)

Distance: 5 Miles
Goal Time: 37:30
Actual Time: 37:50

Do you think it'd be okay
If I kept this pace today
And you see I'm in no shape for racing
And, anyway I got a half in two weeks

The night before I worried about the cold. Most people I know complain in February about the cold, but I'm fine with winter cold. It is the cold in Spring I hate. Once winter's gone, I want it to be fully gone. Temperatures between 35 and 50 drive me insane.

Sunday was cold and windy. Wandering around, I tried to get myself motivated to run a 5 mile race in weather I didn't want to be in. The Saucony truck blaring "Hey, Jealousy" was not much help either.

As the gun went off, I immediately felt my "heavy legs." The first mile was fighting the inertia in my thighs. It seems every race that first mile has the butterflies drop from my stomach into my legs carrying lead weights. The first mile was 7:03 - way too fast.

And you know now the question it begs
From where comes always heavy legs
If I hadn't signed up for this City Run
I might not have this fun.

By mile two I had dropped into a steady pace. We turned off the road and circled the Fresh Pond path. For a bit I found a guy in a yellow shirt who I could pace off of. After the pond there was the final dash up Huron. The uphill false flat finish left me unprepared for my usual sprint finish - but I did get one person.

Everything I had left was not enough to break my goal time - missing by 20 seconds. But, as Lance argued at the Criterium International this year "if it was July and I had this form, it would be a problem." The City Run is merely a step in my path. On 4/11 at Great Bay we'll get the 4-1-1 on my path.

I can run around this lake
Let the others go and race
This race is done but something might be
Found to get a good pace

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Glacial Century (2/20/10)

From Random Pics
Bascke Ostarije at the New Hampshire Line

Distance: 102.5 miles
Difficulty: Medium

Glacial - both in speed and amount of ice I rode through.

At 8:45 I left Central Square and headed out for a century ride. I found a great ride on

It was to take me up to the NH line and back. Then I was going to add a ten mile loop to make it up to 100 miles.

This first ran into some trouble when Bedford doesn't plow its portion of the Minuteman. I made my way over to 225 which is the main connector between the Minuteman and the Nashua River Trail.

The Nashua Trail was then not plowed at the Groton line. So I worked my way over to 111 and then up to the Nashua area.

There's a note in my book to kayak the Nashua river this summer.

But this was no touring ride! My goal was to do it in 8 hours - with stops.

Unfortunately, as usual I was too frickin' slow - I did it in 9:15 with breaks. Average speed - 11.08 mph. Alas.

Friday, February 19, 2010

No Chalk Candy Hearts Ride (2/14/10)

View No chalky candy hearts Ride in a larger map

Distance: 86 Miles

Difficulty: Easy

Ride: Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Lexington, Lincoln, Concord, Acton, Littleton

I know when the callendar flips to winter and the middle of February comes, the thing most people think of is - long bike rides.

The Charles River Wheelmen were doing a 45 mile Valentine's Day Ride leaving from Lincoln. I figured I'd tag along to that ride.

Lincoln of course is at least 15 miles from my house, so I had to ride there first. In my typical last possible second style I left Central Square at 9:15 with a little over an hour to ride out to Lincoln. With my cold legs churning through the cold February air I had difficulty moving my body but I created my mantra:

Throwing out what was a blistering pace for me, I rode up Mass Ave into Arlington and hopped onto the Minuteman into Lexington and took the surface roads out. I was unable to stop at my usual break-point, Paul Revere's Capture Site as I had no time.

Taking the tough hills of Bedford Road and Lincoln Road, I got to the ride with seconds to spare, riders were already leaving. As they started going by me, I asked:

As I had not brought a cue sheet, I had to hop on with these guys - with no knowledge of speeds, etc. The lack of knowledge and experience in these group rides is one of the detriments to my cycling skills. I have never tried to stay with another experienced rider. So now as we rode through the Lincoln Woods and Walden Pond, I had to push myself to keep up in some points but then only have to slow myself down in others.

At one point my computer started to malfunction (or not function). I split myself from the group and "repaired" the computer. (I wiggled the cable that was loose). But now I had to make up ground and was back to throwing down a blistering pace.

As things shook out, soon after the split off of the 45-miler and the 30-miler, It was only a guy Peter and I riding in our "group." I tried to just follow him and keep up. At times I was able to get my speed up or beyond his as I kept on his wheel. And, it turned out, he was a great one of these club cyclists with whom to ride.

We finished up the ride. Peter offered me a lift as far as Watertown, but I was actually looking forward to my ride back to Cambridge with only myself to account for. I hung out with Thoreau at Walden Pond for a few minutes and then enjoyed a pretty leisurely ride down 62 and the Minuteman back to Cambridge.

83 miles in 7.25 hours - 11.86 mph. While this is nowhere near the pace of 13.75 mph that I want to achieve by September; it's a good time for my second long ride of the year.

This coming weekend, I either want to throw down a century on Saturday or maybe a 50/50 on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Winter Blues Ride (1/16/10)

View Winter Blues Ride in a larger map

Distance: 50 miles
Difficulty: Medium
Sights: Castle Island, Great Blue

I reached a rotary and somewhere in those recesses of my mind, I remembered something.

I’ve been here before, but why?

Suddenly I remembered that there was a good sandwich shop, but I didn’t remember exactly from where and to where I would have been going to get to said sandwich shop. So I made an educated guesstimate of the way I should go.

It immediately seemed wrong. The road looked familiar but I was definitely heading the wrong way. Into the sun meant southwest, while I clearly wanted to go Northwest to get to Chestnut Hill.

Soon I reached the Harvard Vanguard and Bertucci’s on VFW Parkway. Crap. Sure enough, I had ridden the exact wrong way from JP to get to Newton.

So, I rode up VFW, since NOW I know how to get over to Newton


It was a nice warm day to go out, for the middle of January at least. I took my new ride – Baska Ostarije – out on its paces. From Central I rode down the river and over to Southie. After a slow peddling around Castle Island and then down the beach, I cruised through the mayhem of Upham’s Corner and then down the long straight run of Blue Hill Ave.

I made it to the Blue Hills. I have never climbed the access road on Great Blue and have always wanted to, so up I climbed to the Weather station. While it is no near the challenge of Akrokorinthos or the climb of my bike’s namesake, it’s a tough climb for the middle of January with virtually no miles on the legs yet.

After a brief rest atop Great Blue, I cruised back down and through the backroads of Canton/Hyde Park and back to Mattapan.

Then cycling through Roslindale and JP and the Arbs, I stopped by the co-op and picked up some snacks (and a box of Tim Tams for Andrew).

I figured, I’d make the reasonable quick jaunt over to Newtonville to give him som Tim Tams before heading home.

Alas, this is where I took a wrong turn in Albuquerque or Brookline.


All, in all it was a pleasant ride that will probably make my routes list.

Tino Pai!