Monday, December 12, 2011

Running Down the Dream: Winter Classic 5K (12/11/11)

Kimi, Marc, Anthony, Me, Mauricio and Sara after the race

Race: Winter Classic 5K
Location: Cambridge, MA
Goal Time: 20:00
Actual Time: 19:46
After Mill Cities last week, the running world really opened up. Maybe it’s the loss of weight; maybe it’s the 15 months since I quit smoking; maybe it’s the training; maybe it’s a bit of all three.
I set my goal for the 5k to be nothing less that break 20. While Tim doesn’t think 20 is any more important a number than 19, I’ll have to differ. By the accident of the Sumerian Duodecimal system that split the day and night each into 12 hours, the Babylonian base 60 numerical system that split the hour into 60 parts, Mechain and Delambre measurements of the arc that created the meter and the Hindu base 10 numeric system – 20 minutes for 5 kilometers is a HUGE.
At the start there was a huge mass of Black and Gold from SRR. Not only is this a race run by a friend of SRR, but it had special meaning this year. This was the first race of the new (brainchild of Kate O’Malley) SRR Winter Grand Prix. For the next 5 months, there will be one race a month where members of SRR can run against each other for prizes, etc. On top of that, there is a fantasy league (brainchild of Marc MacDonald) where we have picked members of SRR as our “teams” to race against each other.
Anthony had set his goal at 20 minutes also; but, I didn’t like his plan. I decided to do 6:30 miles for the first two and then see how I felt for mile 3. At the gun I saw Anthony and Dan run out with Jason and others laying down a fast first mile. I had decided not to go with him.
The first mile is very flat. From the Ashgard it wraps around University Park and then up Mass Ave into central.
As Mass Ave starts to climb from Central up to the People’s Republic, I saw I was slowly pulling both Anthony and Dan back. Once we started to run through Harvard Square, the two of them were almost within my grasp. At the turn around onto Mt. Auburn right before the two mile mark, Anthony was shocked to hear me so close as I thanked the cops who were directing traffic.
At the mile 2 mark I was under 13 minutes! (I’m pretty certain that’s the first time I broke 13 since I was in the Army). As we continued up the little hill back toward Central Square, another of the over 100 SRR runners passed me to take a point away – damn it! Back at the People’s Republic where Mass Ave dips back into Central, I set myself up for a charge.
By the time I had made it to around a quarter mile left I could literally reach out and touch Anthony and Dan. Anthony yelled: “Go for it Dan!”; Dan responded my nonchalantly blowing the two of us away by 7 seconds in the last quarter.
At the turn back onto Sydney for the home stretch, Anthony egged me on to gun it. Of course this through me into a quandary. Beating Anthony would help my personal SRR Grand Prix points; but it would harm my Flying Otters fantasy team. What do I do? Well, the competitive nature of real sport won out over my desire to win fantasy sport. I sprinted to the finish: 19:46!!! First time under 20 and a PR by 1:33 and 91st out of 1115!! (When the final times came out, it turned out Anthony beat me in chip time anyway!)
In other personal achievements, it was the first time I ever beat Scott Abrams and only the second time I beat Bill Hees in real races.
The Flying Otters saw: Joe O’Leary, 7th overall (probably 2nd SRR); Anthony White, 90th Overall; and Jennifer Rapaport 153rd Overall.
Special congrats to Tom Breider who went out to break 20 (and did so by 56 seconds); and the trio of Korynn, Sara SoRad and Paul V who went out to break 7 minute miles and all three achieved. (And I forgot about Ann's PR on a white wine hangover!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Flying Otters: SRR Grand Prix

My SRR Grand Prix Fantasy team:

Joe O'Leary
Jennifer Rapaport
Anthony White
Gabby Walton

Go Flying Otters!

Monday, December 5, 2011

BEAST MODE!: Mill Cities Relay (12/4/11)

Kings of Beer (Aaron Beer, Dan McGinty, Jesse Morrow, Marc MacDonald, Seth Maleri)

Event: Mill Cities Relay
Distance: 5 legs, 27 miles (5.4, 4.75, 2.5, 9.5, 4.75)
Expected Time: 3:20:30
Actual Time: 3:10:26

Aaron and I met Dan and Marc at the School in Nashua. We prepared our uniforms, bits of Clydesdale red mixed in with SRR Black & Gold. Marc had purchased bandanas for us.

As I began to figure out the red bandana, Brendan (of iPhone meteorology fame) came up to me: “Are you all wearing red for Budweiser Clydesdale?”

“Yep,” I said. He got a kick out of it.

With Seth (hopefully) at transition 1 already, I made my way to the start line with Aaron and Marc giving me a bit of encouragement. At 8:00 am they “dropped the brick” to start the race. (As Marc commented, a far cry from the cannon start at MDI).

Leg 1: 5.4 Miles – Jesse (expected time: 38:00 – 7:02/mi)

Our main goal was to beat Pauls and the Lovely Ladies (there were beers riding on it). As I was matched up with Korynn, goal one was obviously beat her by as much as I could. Considering she has been running her best ever with recent PRs at Casey’s, and MDI along with a trail race at the Wolf Sox 10K – I was not taking it lightly.

It was still my first race since my season defining MiamiMan Duathlon. I had spent the last three weeks taking it easy from training. This week and next week’s Winter Classic were to be my intermezzo between 2011 and training for Blackwater 2012. That said, I was going to try to beat my 5-mile PR pace set in the heat of July in Southie. Little did I know I would bust into Beast Mode!

The first mile was cold and I wished I had worn gloves. I was briefly distracted when we crossed the Merrimack as the sun was refracted by a misty fog that played weird tricks with the view of the Victorian era looking pylons from a long gone rail bridge that might remind one of a Wordsworth poem. (But, I digress).

At the end of the first mile, I had run a 6:42. This was scarily ahead of my pace. Yet, I did not feel like I was running fast. Normally, when I am running too fast, it feels like I’m running fast. I did not feel like I was running fast – hmmm. Now I’m sure in Zen and the Art of Running (a book, I’m sure must exist) it discusses the wu wei of running. The least effort per step leads to faster times. I really felt I was closer to successful wu wei running than I ever have been. I continued running what felt like not running.

Miles 2 – 4 whizzed by at comfortable sub 7 speeds that I would never have thought of running two months ago. When I watched my Garmin to get to mile 4.5 (an attachment that despite Coach Tim’s urging, I have yet to break the bonds of). Here I moved from wu wei into BEAST MODE. The last mile from 4.4-5.4 I did in under 6:30 and the last 800, I broke 3:00.

Turning into the Sears, I realized they probably weren’t ready for me. So, I started yelling over the crowd of supporters: “Seth! I’m Coming!” I reached the hand off to find no Seth. I continued yelling: “Seth! SETH!” Then out of the Corner of my eye, I caught so a red flash attempting to jump up and grab the slap-bracelet (replacement for baton). Seth was not prepared for me to run so fast and had to fight his way through the crowd to get to me. I handed him the red bracelet and walked through the crowd to high fives from Marc, Aaron and Dan who were congratulating me on my beast mode time.

Normal Jesse: 5 miles – Jimmy Kane 5 miler – 37:25 (7:28/mi)
Beast Mode Jesse – 5.4 Miles – 36:17 (6:43/mi)

(For the Record: Korynn did have her own beast mode at 39 minutes and would have put normal Jesse and the Kings of Beer into a bit of a bind.)

Leg 2: 4.75 Miles – Seth (expected time: 36:48 – 7:45/miles)

Seth finished his best 5k two months ago at 7:30 speed. He followed that up with PR at MDI. Running at his best from those two, Macmillan calculated around 7:45s so that was my estimation. Macmillan and I were wrong:

Normal Seth: 5K – Homeless Coalition 5K – 23:20 (7:30/mi)
Beast Mode Seth: 4.75 miles – 34:50 (7:20/mi)

Leg 3: 2.5 Miles – Aaron (expected time: 18:45 – 7:30/mi)

This was Aaron’s second race since his injured New York Marathon. Putting in 7:30s is what I would expect with his “season” over and this as a wrap up. Once again I was wrong.

Normal Aaron: 5K – An Ras Mor – 23:02 (7:24/mi)
Beast Mode Aaron: 2.5 miles – 18:00 (7:12/mi)

Leg 4: 9.5 Miles – Dan (expected time: 1:11:15 – 7:30/mi)

Dan has had a great past few months. Yet he expected to run 7:45s (since he finished with the Police Academy and no longer has to endure Bobcat Goldthwait but also isn’t forced to run every day); I gave him a conservative estimate of 7:30s – knowing he might actually run 7:15s. Dan and I were quite wrong.

Normal Dan: 15K – Bow Lake Dam 15K – 1:09:38 (7:29/mi)
Beast Mode Dan: 9.5 Miles – 1:06:19 (6:58/mi)

Leg 5: 4.75 Miles – Marc (expected time: 35:37 – 7:30/mi)

While Dan’s improvement has been the most drastic, Marc has probably had the most linear and consistent improvements of any members of the Kings of Beer over the last two years.

Based on his killer Casey’s Halloween run, I expected Marc, a month and a half out from his marathon, to throw down something like 7:30 miles. Once again, MacMillan and I were wrong.

Normal Marc: 4.06 miles – Casey’s Thursday Night Halloween Run – 29:57 (7:22/mi)
Beast Mode Marc: 4.75 miles – 34:00 (7:09/mi)

Kings of Beer finished at 3:10:26 (7:03/mi), which would mean we would still lose a marathon race to Coach Tim and many others; but we would but combined Boston Qualifier. It also won us each a free beer from The Pauls and the Lovely Ladies whom we beat by 8 minutes. We fiished 77th out of 207 and 22nd out of 30 in the Men’s Open.

SRR Shoutouts

Bed Bugs Can’t Stop Us – 2nd in the Men’s Open
Masters of their Own Domain – 1st Men’s Masters
Get Off My Lawn – 2nd Men’s Seniors
En Fuego – 2nd Women’s Open
Geezergirls – 2nd Women’s Veterans
Nuke to a Knife Fight – 1st Coed Open
Can’t Stop Them… - 3rd Coed Masters

Somerville was also the second place club – 12 points behind Gate City.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Rail-Trail-palooza: Black Friday Hundred (11/25/11)

Train Engineer (or Santa) Totem in Westford (or Chelmsford) on the Antonio (or Bruce) Freeman Trail

Route: Somerville-Nashua-Somerville Rails to Trail Trails
Distance: 105 miles
100 Mile Time: 7:14
105 Mile Time: 7:43

So as people piled into large chain stores to buy stuff for near the same price they can the other 364 days, I decided to ride my Nashua Rails to Trail ride.

Rail Trail #1 – Somerville Community Bike Path (Winter Hill-Davis Sq.)
Rail Trail #2 – Alewife Linear Trail (Davis Sq. – Alewife)
Rail Trail #3 – Minuteman Community Bikeway (Alewife – Bedford Depot)
Rail Trail #4 – Bedford – Billerica Narrow Gauge Rail Trail (Bedford Depot – Bedford Center)
Intermezzo – Route 225
Rail Trail #5 – Bruce Freeman Trail (Westford – Lowell – 10 minute break – Lowell - Westford)
Intermezzo 2 – Route 225 and Sandy Pond Road and Briefly on 2A
Rail Trail #6 – Nashua River Rail Trail (Ayer – Nashua, NH)
Lunch @ Zacharia Pizzeria
Rail Trail #6 – Nashua River Rail Trail (Nashua, NH – Ayer)
Mechanical – Popped Rear Tire on 2A in Ayer (I hate 2A up that way – the Gardner-Fitchburg section is the worst “paved” road in America)
Intermezzo 3 – Sandy Pond Road and Route 225
Rail Trail #4 – Bedford – Billerica Narrow Gauge Rail Trail (Bedford Center – Bedford Depot)
Rail Trail #3 – Minuteman Community Bikeway (Bedford Depot – Arlington Center)
Home Ride (I was already over 100 so I went home the short way) – Broadway (Arlington Center – Winter Hill)

Good LSD ride to start the Winter/Spring Season. Apparently I really didn’t care about the speed of the last 5 either since it took me nearly half an hour!

Friday, November 18, 2011

2011 – Season in Review

So the season had of course ups and downs.

Soccer Team “To Be Determined” had a good run into the play-offs only to be beaten in the first round.

Cycling saw a PR in the 200K and the finishing of my first official Century ride. It also saw my failure in the 300K

This year’s marathon – the National Marathon – was virtual disaster. Virtual because I did finish.

I ran 3 track miles – none near fast enough.

In the Trail/Cross Country Category, I had one slow 10 miler and an all surface PR at the Playworks Run For Recess 5K.

I ran three different relay races. SRR-Wind took 3rd at the Club Cup; Team Bonnie and Clyde took 4th at the MDI Marathon; and, Herbert and The Exotic Dancers did well at Lake Winni.


I had set three major goals before the season. The first was the National Marathon, which was not a great showing. But, any finished marathon is a good marathon.

The second was the Cape Cod Half Marathon Trilogy. I ran my two fastest half marathons and won the 211-225 lb Clydesdales in each of the three and will get a jacket for the completion.

The third was MiamiMan. Dominated this!


  1. Road 5K – An Ras Mor – 21:35
  2. All Surface 5K – Playworks 5K – 21:19
  3. Khoury’s 4.13 – Summer Steamer – 28:52
  4. 5 Miler – Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5 Miler – 37:29
  5. Half Marathon – Johnny Kelley Half Marathon – 1:37:43 (missed doing it again by 10 seconds in October at Harwich)
  6. 200K Cycling – Boston Brevets Dighton Rock 200K – 11:00:00


  1. Hyannis Half Marathon – 1st Clydesdales
  2. Playworks Run For Recess 5K – 1st 35+
  3. Johnny Kelley Half Marathon – 1st Clydesdales
  4. Club Cup Challenge Cup Marathon Relay – 3rd Team
  5. Casey’s Summer Steamer – 2nd Clydesdales
  6. Jim Kelley Sugar Bowl 5 Miler – 1st Clydesdales
  7. Harwich Cranberry Half Marathon – 1st Clydesdales
  8. MDI Marathon Relay – 4th 2 Person Team
  9. Miami Man Half Iron Duathlon – 1st Clydesdales

Looking forward -

2011/12 Winter/Spring Season

Tentative Goals

B Races

  1. Winter Classic 5K - December
  2. Sudbury 10K - January
  3. Hyannis Half Marathon – February
  4. Eastern States 20 Miler – March
  5. Boston Brevets' 107K – April

A Races

  1. Providence Marathon - May
  2. Blackwater Duathlon - June

Sunday, November 13, 2011

99 Problems but the Bike ain't one: Miami Man (11/13/11)

Race: Miami Man Half Iron Duathlon
Distance: 0.85 Mile/56 Mile Bike/13.1 Mile Run
Goal Time: 5:20:00
Actual Time: 4:57:45
Finish Place: 19th; 1st Clydesdales!

Perhaps one of the most disconcerting sights I have ever seen was 50 miles into a bike ride, my legs are rubbery, the headwind is physically and mentally kicking my ass, and I am riding on all heart! There, hanging out on and about a fence in front of an avocado field stood 5 turkey vultures. In my exhausted delirium I shook my fist and yelled toward the buzzards: "You're not getting me!" (Then, I almost punched the guy passing me in the face.)


The Miami Man Half Iron Triathlon has two accompanying races, the International (within range of an Olympic) and the Half Iron Duathlon. As one who determined who absolutely hates swim training, the Duathlon was the logical choice.

Leg One – 1 Mile Run (Actually 0.85 Miles)
Goal Time: ????
Actual Time: 5:53

On a little band of sun beaten asphalt that cut its way through the saw palmettos we stood next to a hand written sign that said: “Duathlon Start.” In the distance behind palms and palmettos we heard the waves of swimmers starting by the lake. The waves were starting at five minute intervals from 7:00 am on while the Duathlon was the last wave to start at 7:45.
We ran down the asphalt until it opened into a picnic area, where the running route led us down to an ancient coral bed trail that ran around the lake. As we jogged warming up our legs I watched those doing the tri force swimming their two loops around the lake.
We reached the end of the run and entered the transition area as some of the elite triathletes entered as well. Shockingly the duathletes were less tired after their mile than the swimmers after theirs.

Leg Two – 56 Mile Bike
Goal Time: 3:10:00
Actual Time: 2:56:11 (19.07 mph)

Like I said 99 Problems but the Bike Ain’t One! At the bike shop – Elite Cycles in Kendall – KC did not recall me requesting a bike. But, that was okay. I ended up getting a Specialized Allez Sport – the all-aluminum version of my very own Ajax Telemon. While its aluminum forks make the bike a little bumpier and apparently the shifters weren’t as good as the ones I carry. (I never noticed since it was flat and I was not trying to change speeds.) Overall it was a pretty sweet bike I was comfortable with and knew like I knew Ajax Telemon, so I will call it Ajax Oileon (currently my dad and two other of my readers are laughing).
In the transition area, I grabbed Ajax Oileon and ran out of transition and across the field to the park road. In a long reasonably slow line we rode down the park road and out of the Park onto 127th Avenue through South Miami “Heights.” Soon we were out of the residential areas and out into the swampy or drained farm lands of avocado, coconut and palms.
I was still warming up my legs trying not to go too fast and find an even pace when we passed the International Tri’s with its 22 mile bike turnaround point. It was here that the roads got a little rougher. What did Tolstoy once say? “All good roads are alike; but, all bad roads are bad in its own way.” Admittedly none of the roads were frost heaven with temporary patches over last year’s temporary patch. But, many of these farmland roads offered their own challenges: just damp enough to be oily; grainy; slightly gravely; patchy tear halfway down the length of the right hand lane. The grainy roads kept making me think I had a flat.
Without a bike computer, I was nervous to going too fast, however I found one guy who was going a steady comfortable pace who I followed a bit. Once, we got to what I thought to be about 20 miles and was at around 1:15 on my watch, I picked it up. I got to the left so I wouldn’t be drafting off my previous pacer. As, I passed I noticed he had a bike computer: “Hey, what pace are you averaging?” He turned out to be Eastern European and said: “30 kilometers.” 18 and half – great.
The course was a 13 mile out, 2-15 mile loops and the 13 miles back. At the end of the first loop, I knew I was doing well and knew as long as I didn’t pop a tube, I was gonna kill it. At the start of the second loop, the prevailing winds KC at the bike shop had warned me of kicked in. I fought the cross winds and enjoyed the brief tail wind as we went South again. But as we turned back to the north – uh oh. It was just a fight for the last 20 or so miles, straight into a hot prevailing wind.
I kept churning out a steady pace all the way back until I reached the International Tri’s turn around point. I knew it was only 11 miles now. I put the bike and myself into a higher gear and probably did 21 or 22 mph into the headwind. While I spent most of the last 11 passing people, one guy did pass me while I was yelling at the turkey buzzards. We pulled back into the park on 184th Street and my passing days were done. I had to spend the last ½ mile going the speed of the two guys in front of me as there was no room to pass on the park roads with people parked on either side.
I hopped off the bike and carried it to transition cyclocross style.

Leg Three – 13.1 Mile Run
Goal Time: 1:58:00
Actual Time: 1:53:01 (8:37/ mile)

Apparently last year the run was voted the best part of the course – with good reason. The run is a 6.6 mile loop around the park that goes around the lake again through a campground and through the zoo. The open zoo mind you – so there are people with children gawking at animals and sometimes cheering, but mostly gawking at random people wearing race numbers who are running through the zoo.
While each of my first couple of miles were under 8 minutes and my last few were over 9, I was able to maintain 8:15-8:45 miles over the flat course. Through the zoo I was occasionally slowed by either families in these odd pedal powered Model A looking contraptions, or by getting caught up looking around at Hey there’s a rhino. Add “lion”, “elephant” or “sandhill cranes” (especially fascinating birds).
After mile 7 is where I started to stray from the 8:30 miles. I took my last gel at the 9 mile tracking pad and knew NOW just hang on and we have 5 hours.

Mile 12 was still one of the most physically, mentally and emotionally challenging things I’ve ever done in my life. (If I hadn’t had a chance at break 5 hours, it may have been easier because I would have just dropped down to 11 minute miles and celebrated completion.) Every step was painful without obvious gain. But I remembered my Prefontaine: “Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” I never lost mentally or emotionally. At the marker in the campground that said 12 miles my virtual tears of pain became real tears of joy. Nothing could keep me from finishing and finishing under 5 hours now. By the end I was rejuvenated; the runner from Relay Team Grizzly gave me a last word of encouragement as I passed him near the 13 mark.
The last 0.1 miles, I barely remembered. I glided in just under five hours, more than two hours ahead of 2nd through 7th in my category. Enough to win me the Victory Gator!

2011: A Miami Public Transit Oddessy (11/12/11)

So, I needed to get the bike I rented and then check in at the Miami Man Half Iron Duathlon.

I left my motel in Little Havana and caught the 8 bus. At 67th I caught another bus that took me to the end of the subway. There I was supposed to catch the 38 to take me down the busway but it pulled out as I arrived.

It was only 3 miles to the bike shop down the busway AND I had to do a 2-3 mile run at some point today. So I jogged down the busway to the bike shop.

I picked up the bike - the all aluminum version of my bike.

With the bike, I rode 10 miles down the busway/South Dade Bike Trail to 184th St and down 184th to the Triathlon and got my number and checked in my bike.

Now, I had to get back to Little Havana. 2 Buses, a subway and another bus.

After that, I dinner at Randazzo's on Miracle Mile - the biggest Sunday Gravy you've ever seen

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Over the Top II: The New Champ (10/17/11)

Following my arm wrestling victories at Lake Winni, the next runners' weekend - MDI Marathon - led to more Hemingway-esque appendage combat.

Marc Macdonald became the new champ - "handily" defeating me. (Maybe if I had a hat that I could have turned backwards to be more truck-like).

Precipitous Clike: Champlain Mountain (10/17/11)

Atop Champlain Mtn

Trip: Precipice Trail – Champlain Mountain
Distance: 0.9 Miles – 1000 feet
Location: Acadia National Park
Sights: Indescribable

It was only a 10 foot sideways shimmy across the ledge, but looking out over the fantastic foliage and Atlantic stretching out toward Europe I lost it a bit. My akrophobia kicked in and I briefly panicked.

The Precipice trail was called a “non-technical climbing trail”. It has ladders and railings bolted into the rocks. An Asian couple ahead of us determined that hipster sneakers were no good for climbing over the boulders and the railings.
Scott – despite running a marathon the day before – wanted to take this less than one mile hike/climb (clike?) as we were there at the right time. Apparently most of the year it’s either unsuitable for climbing or the falcons are nesting. So, Scott – along with four of us who didn’t run the full marathon the day before – left early to get the clike in.

The Granite Cubi

The first real challenge was the boulders (and keeping track of the blue tags on the boulders). These were sharp edged cubical boulders that were piled like some giant granite David Smith sculpture. While we climbed our way over boulder after boulder straight to the top, the person behind us pointed out we’d gone too far and gotten off the blue trails. OOPS. Climbing back down the granite Cubi we found our way back onto the trail.

I found a cave

The trip moved from hike into climb here. Ladders and railings were placed throughout. However, Sara commented that there seemed to be lacking railings in places that were obviously more difficult than places where there were railings. Once we got to the wet cliff edge, I couldn’t have agreed more.
Panicking like an idiot, I began to breathe heavy and sweat from my hands. Two things brought me back. First was thinking back to bungee jumping and second was calm words from the other four in my group. So, slowly I shimmied my way in 8 inch bursts across the 10 or so feet to the end of the cliff. I stood up; took a deep breath and was ready to go.
We climbed our way through the last bits of ladders and railings (at least one wasn’t really attached properly). As we got toward the summit above the treeline, it flattened out and showed the most rewarding views.

Friday, October 21, 2011

“We Rob Banks – and run marathon relays”: Mount Desert Island Marathon (10/16/12)

Race: Mount Desert Island Marathon – Two Person Relay
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
Team: Bonnie & Clyde (Kelsea Gusk and Jesse Morrow)
Goal Time: 3:45:00
Actual Time: 3:39:03 (fourth in Two-Person Relay)
To scoop from Snoopy: “It was a cool and drizzly morning.” Bar Harbor was inundated (not hard to do in this small town) with marathoners ready to launch. Leaf-peepers who had just returned from sunrise on Cadillac Mtn and local sports fans (and some imported SRR fans) lined the start as the cannon fired off!

Bonnie, Mile 0- Mile 13.1 (~2:00:00) -

Kelsea's MDI Top 10 Impressions

1. Waking up on Mt. Desert Island, pretty amazing without being excited to race.
2. Seeing a deer on the way to breakfast.
3. The band at Mile 2 with a keyboarder, tambourine and drums all wearing gloves and playing "Beat It"
4. Cool Rain before the start.
5. Amazing views from all miles of the course; and I loved the hills, they made the miles fly by; call me a masochist but running up hills is the best.
6. I made a bunch of friends on the course. Wearing a Minnesota shirt I found the 5 people who traveled to the race from the Midwest.
7. Free beer after!
8. Changing after my half and being warm at the finish line.
9. The washed out bridge. Turned out to be not such a big deal; it was just a dirt path for about two blocks.
10. As always, good company (getaway driver and partner) made the race a great time.

Clyde, Mile 13.1 – Mile 26.2 (1:38~1:39 – 7:30/mi. range)
After the Getaway Driver, Brittany McBride, and I spent a half an hour wandering around not finding the exchange point – largely because we followed the directions exactly – we still had another hour as Bonnie made her way over the tough hills that started the race. This hour was spent cheering on members of SRR who came by and watching how many people in the two person relay I would have to pass.
Bonnie said she would take 2:05 to 2:10 to run the first half. At around 2:00, just as I was going to start a little warm-up jog, she appeared around the corner. Bonnie was a collegiate athlete, her abilities are beyond her expectations. I handed her her jacket and she handed me two leis she had received somewhere on the course.
When Runner’s World voted MDI “The Most Scenic Marathon” they knew what they were talking about. The course goes along quaint roads from Bar Harbor through beautiful “peepable” autumn colors. When it emerges from the woods, it runs along classic postcard shots of Maine Coastlines to finish up in the village of Southwest Harbor.
I started winding my way through the people running 9 minute miles. The first few miles were absolutely gorgeous. Miles 13 – 16 carried me down to a beautiful quarter mile right along the shoreline that afforded said postcard views. I tried to get Paul and Korynn to come along at my pace (they declined).
While the course is beautiful, it’s also HILLY! There were the five tough hills Bonnie had to deal with in the first half. And per Rob, “there isn’t a flat middle ten miles” as relay-mates may have attempted to sell him.
For the second half runners, (and everyone doing the full marathon), mile 17 starts the uphill. There was a sharp uphill where I was still zoned into a comfortable pace. I felt comfortable as we leveled off a bit travelling to mile 20 in Somesville. It is at 20 that the seeming “death hills” start. Mauricio had marked this portion with a death skull.
Still feeling good, I ran steady keeping in the neighborhood of 7:40 miles over these last five miles of hills. I was able to encourage some marathoners who were feeling the hills. The last .2 miles I bolted. I passed Scott Abrams telling him: “Come with me!” To which he responded: “I can’t.” As I reached across the line in a gun time under 1:40, Bonnie and Clyde finished in 4th in the Two-Person Relay.

On the Somerville Road Runners Front –
  • Dan McGinty, Korynn Stoyanoff, Paul Venuti, Marc MacDonald, Mauricio Salmon, Seth Maleri all had Marathon Personal Records!
  • Kate Daniel and Ruthanne Waite ran their first Marathons!
  • Cruisin’ for a Boozin’ (Jim Moberg and Lino Macini) was not only one of the three teams to beat Bonnie and Clyde, they won the whole two-person division in matching yellow singlets and matching 1:35 halfs!
  • Tri-Force (Damon Bussey, Rob Stanzel, and Rich Lu) took third in the three-person with a 3:49:04.
Special Thanks to Getaway Driver, Brittany McBride!
Tino Pai!
Jesse and Kelsea.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Goal Achieved!

Starting the 2011 season, I spelled out 4 Goals for myself

1. 3:30:00 and place in the Clydesdales at National Marathon (FAILED)
2. Sweep the Cape Cod Trilogy in my Division - 211+lb (ACHIEVED)
3. 5:40:00 and place in the Clydesdales at the MiamiMan Half Iron Duathlon (November)

But as a less event specific -
4. 3000 miles cycling in the year. At some point during late in the CRW Century - I achieved this one! (ACHIEVED)

Complete the Sweep: Harwich Half Marathon (10/2/11)

Complete set of Finisher and Division winner medals from this year's Cape Cod Trilogy!

Race: Harwich Half Marathon
Location: Harwich, MA
Distance: 13.1 Miles
Goal Time: 1:36:00
Actual Time: 1:37:53 (1st in the Clydesdales)

It’s not often that you know exactly where the racing part of you ends. But it was at 8.82 miles. I took a step with my left leg and said to myself: racing’s over…time to run in easy. And I had the presence of mind to look at my GPS watch – 8.82 miles; 1:04:something. Alright, 4.3 miles in 35 minutes (cakewalk).


After the Hyannis Half Marathon, I made it a goal of mine to sweep the Cape Cod Half Marathon Trilogy this year. In February, I won Hyannis; in May, I won the Johnny Kelley; and last week…

I went into Harwich with one goal: just win the 211 lb+ Clydesdales. This wouldn’t require a PR but still I might was well try.

I did well sticking with Kerry at 7:15/miles for the first 4.5 miles before I had to take a short break in a batch of woods. (Kerry’s husband, Jon, later asked me if I could have stuck the whole race – probably not, but at least I think for 8.5-8.82 miles.)

I then spent mile 6 running too fast to try to catch up with Kerry again. But with her in my sight and knowing that she was doing 7:15/mile, I figured I was in good shape.

In what I think of as the Horse Latitudes of a Half Marathon, miles 7-10 where you are more than half way but still not really close to done, I kept a close eye on who was passing me to make sure that nobody near my weight class could get any advantage.

Around 10.25 miles I passed a group of high school kids throwing the football around. I had one of them toss me a pass, which I dropped (immediately reminding me: “if you could catch you’d have played offense”) and had to chase across the street before throwing it back. I probably lost several seconds here.

Right after the football incident was the Water Tower Hill that took us up to Mile 11. Here I was not accelerating but it began what even the second time is an odd thing for me. I spent the next two miles keeping my pace at around 7:40 or so and steadily passing people. (In the past I would be barely hanging on with people blowing by me). I think I am both in better shape AND a better racer.

I made the down hill turn at around 12.85 miles to see my teammates, Jon and Robert cheering me to gun it – which I did. The last quarter mile might have been my fastest as I (“looking like a linebacker running back a fumble” per Robert) rumblin’ stumblin’ bumblin’ to actually only miss my PR by 10 seconds. Considering my stop in the fifth mile, the dropped pass and the virtual resignation at 8.82 that I wasn’t going to do it, I did fantastic.


Sure enough, at the Awards ceremony, as Jon and Kerry taking the 40-49 and Robert taking the 50-59, I won the 211+ lb Clydesdales! Clean sweep of the Trilogy!

Over the Hills and Through the Woods: CRW Fall Century (9/18/11)

Ride: CRW’s Fall Century - Soughegan River Tour
Difficulty: medium (harder in the top chain ring)

At the 1st Waterstop, my friend Sergey told me, “the hills are after this.”

Ahh…that explains it I thought. Two years ago, I had done the Metric Century and had not found it hard at all. However, others had said it was hard. Well, apparently all the hills are in that 40 miles that aren’t part of the metric century.

Well, Seregy was right. Between waterstop one and two there were tough rolling hills (especially tough when your bike refuses to go into the bottom chain ring.)

Yet, these hills were well worth it as on the downhill into the second waterstop there was 5 miles along the nature preserve along the river. Absolutely georgeous.

The two hardest hills of the day were saved for right after the second water stop. As I fought my way up to the top of the second hill (in the large chain ring of course) I prayed this would be it.

Sure enough it was! There was a down hill into Pepperhill and the last waterstop and then 30 miles through the rolling areas of Boston’s Northern Exurbs.

After briefly getting lost, I found my way to Littleton with the help of two others who had been lost. I would have had great pictures of the colors beginning to change but some moron didn't put his memory card back into his camera.

With the ride from Littleton back to Somerville, I put in a new person record, 157 miles for the day!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Big Guy on a L’il Bike: Mount Alton Ride (9/11/11)

Distance: 22 Miles
Difficulty: Hard
Great Views of Lake Winni from atop.

Sure enough, I thought. I can’t ride it up this hill with it like this. So I picked up the Day-glow Death-trap, slung it over my shoulder and started running up the hill. And from behind me all I hear is Alex yell: “Oh No!!!” (I don’t know if it was in empathy or disgust.)

I got to the top of the medium sized steep climb where everybody but Alex (still struggling up on his Gary Fischer commuter). “Does anyone have tools?” I demanded.


As Aharon, Tim and the rest of the serious runners spent Sunday morning going on 10-17 mile runs at paces I don’t run races at, I tried to find a bike. For the ride we were planning later.

First in the garage was the maroon/brown mid-80s steel Trek. It had the issue of two flat tires and a misaligned rear wheel. I remedied these situations to find out it was also the size of a BMX bike and the rear brakes didn’t work at all.

So, I went with the second choice. It was a later Trek. An all aluminum Trek 1200. The color scheme was only slightly worse than the WLAF’s Orlando Thunder. (There was a little less blue in this day-glow yellow-green). After pumping up the tires and getting used to riding clipless pedals in sneakers, it wasn’t horrible. It still was built for someone around 5’7” and maybe 10 cm smaller than my Specialized. But, the brakes worked and I didn’t hit my knees on the handlebars.

The route Matt had planned was 40 miles with 5 hills. The first hill was Alton Mountain which was a steep bear of a hill. However, atop the hill there were views of Lake Winni were well worth the climb. Had I brought my camera to New Hampshire at all – you would see pictures of the great views.

Next was a long sweeping downhill away from the lake. Those on road bikes that fit them screamed down the mountain. I was a bit worried about the tipping issue – either sideways or forwards. So, I was back with Alex who is both tremendously light and was riding a Gary Fischer commuter bike. He eventually gained on me.

My speed slowed more once my handlebars stopped responding. Well, the handlebars responded fine, they turned – just they didn’t take the front wheel with them. So, I had to slow down to take turns at speeds that I could lean into the turns. This however meant that I kept losing ground to all the other riders.

At last, I passed Alex and caught near the others. I watched them fight their way up the steep incline. It seemed like a good hill. But --- When I tried to pull my way up, the handlebars kept moving instead of giving me power. Thus I had to dismount and run up the hill.


Atop the hill I did get tools from Aharon and “repaired” the handlebars. The concensus was to turn around and go back as opposed to following Matt’s route over an unknown amount of dirt roads. I would have done the dirt roads on MY bike; but, I was happy to avoid such things aboard the Day-glow Deathtrap.

Instead we retraced our route to make it a 22 mile out and back.

Next year I want my bike and to do Matt’s route.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Over the Top: Revenge on the Runners (9/10/11)

After the Lake Winni Relay, we hung out around the fire pit at the "Old Guys' House."

At some point Tim came up and said: "Jesse, come here you have to Arm Wrestle."

Dutifully, I walked to the table and put down four different runners who earlier in the day had beat my team by four hours or more. Included in that group was Coach Joe O'Leary. Sure, he might destroy me in swimming, biking and running - but Drunk Arm Wrestling...

Strangely enough, the body type that makes you great at running does not make you good at arm wrestling, even though I didn't have my hat to turn backwards - so them I'm like a truck!

Dancing with Herbert: Lake Winni Relay (9/10/11)

Race: Lake Winnipesaukee Relay
Location: Weir’s Beach, NH
Individual Distance: 9.3 Miles
Goal Individual Time: 1:20:00
Actual Individual Time: 1:13:54
Team Distance: 65.1 Miles
Team Time: 9:28:52
Around Mile 3 of my leg I came up on my prey - Ann Rowley of relay team - Doublesexy. When I got close enough for shouting distance, I yelled:
“I’m coming for ya, Rowley!”
I quickly made my way past Ann with a brief chat and looked up to see where the next person was I needed to pass.
For about two weeks I’d heard: “leg 3 is the hardest leg;” or, “you’re going to walk up that first hill.”
Before our second leg came in, Aaron told me to try to catch Double Sexy. I responded, “Oh, I’ll catch Ann.” I got the baton from Yili, I was a little more than 2 minutes behind Double Sexy’s hand off. I came out of the parking lot and crossed Alton Bay to make the left toward Bay Hill Road.
Well, I can’t say whether it was the hardest leg or not. But I can say I jogged up the first hill on Bay Hill Road V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y! The comical steepness was only made up for by the fact that it was way shorter than the Bridge of Flowers hill. As I shuffled up cars that passed me seemed to strain heading up.
Thankfully that ended and I was on 28, heading to Wolfeboro now. I looked down the first hill and saw Ann halfway up the first hill on 28. I knew I had plenty of time and could run my race and catch her.
En route to passing Ann, I had to pass the three teams she had blown by since the race started.
After passing Ann I saw two blue shirts in the distance, one pale and one dark, that I had a chance of catching.
Around mile 5 I passed the pale blue shirt who was a member of “Girls with Guns.” Right at the last water stop on the route I was behind the team with the dark blue. I said something to the volunteers which caused dark blue to turn around. He looked SHOCKED and said: “Wow, you must have been far back.”
I smiled, “You’re the sixth person I’ve passed.”
While I had three miles left, I saw no one else to pass. Under normal circumstances I might have slowed down at this point. Now I was just out running by myself and I’m not too good at self-motivations sometimes.
Fortunately, the guy in dark blue had enough motivation to keep coming at me. Over the next few hills he kept creeping up and then I would widen it on the downhills.
With about a mile left we turned left onto a town street. I hopped onto the sidewalk. It became mostly flat and I glanced back twice and dark blue was farther away each time. Then, with a good two block view he was gone. Now I gunned it. Ran into the parking lot and gave a little Ickey Shuffle before handing the baton to Aaron.
After the race, I had got myself food at the pub across the street.  Upon leaving the pub, I realized, crap everyone's gone.  So I had to hitchhike.  Fortunately, Sara, Wendy and Steph were the 10th car by and picked me up!
My team, Herbert and the Exotic Dancers, came in 21st out of 31 in the “Mixed Open” Category. Other Somerville Road Runners teams won the Men’s Open, Men’s 40+, Men’s 50+ and Women’s Open and took 2nd in the Mixed 50+ category. Ann Rowley’s Doublesexy beat us (thanks largely to their ringer – I’m sorry, “emergency replacement” – Jim Moberg)
When I got home on Sunday, I had a facebook message from Ann:
“Next year, you and me, leg 3 rematch.”
You’re on, Rowley. I’m coming for ya!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Laboring on the Goose: Run the Goose 7K (9/5/11)

One of the cooler shirt designs

Event: Run the Goose 7K
Location: Gloucester, MA
Distance: 7 Km or 4.35 miles
Goal Time: 30:30
Actual Time: 33:16 (but ran too far)

Watching the guys and gals come into the finish line for the 25K made me happy I ran the 7k. They were definitely hot and haggard from the hills and heat.

The race started okay. (Although I almost missed it as I stood at the starting line some Irish guy told me: “The 7k starts over there!” And I got to the start in just enough time.

My goal had been 7 – 7:10 miles. I kept that up until we were actually running around the reservoir since the trail was dirt or uneven. That slowed me a bit.

But the real problem started around mile 3.25 when I got confused at the directions. One arrow pointed one way while another pointed another way. I saw a runner ahead of me and figured, he must be right.

About a quarter mile down that, I saw about a dozen people running toward me. What’s going on I thought.

“We went the wrong way!”

Crap, so now a dozen of us ran back to the crossroads where the guy who should have been there the whole time had now returned. I gave him a satirical: “Thanks!”

I probably slowed down considerably at this point, once you’ve gone the wrong way, you stop caring as much. But I put in a good strong last mile.

4.7 miles – 33:16

Extrapolated out to what I should have run around 30:45 for the 7k – pretty good! And, shockingly, it was a 7k PR!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gimme Five: Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5 Miler (7/21/11)

Race: Sugar Bowl 5 Miler

Location: South Boston, MA

Distance: 5 Miles

Goal Time: 37:30

Actual Time: 37:25 (1st, Clydesdales)

As we turned off of Day and onto the Harborwalk Path around 3.5 miles, I could only think of Third World’s song:

“It was 96 degrees in the shade!”

Thankfully, there was an L Street Volunteer with a hose spraying. Everybody was moving into the left lane to run through the spray.

I had told Sanjay that I was going to try to put in a 35 minute race. In a perfect world, with reasonable temperatures, that would have happened. Today was not such a day. At 4:00 it had been 101°F Downtown and 98°F at the airport! While it had probably cooled down to chilly 95 by 6:30 race time, it was still HOT!!!

I managed to keep myself in control and on target for the first 2 miles. The pancake flat course against the Harbor had me easily stamping out 7 minute miles. At the turn around at P Street (roughly 2.0646 miles according to L Street’s map), I heard 14:20 something. Perfect!

Then, I turned around. Ahhhh! I had had a tail wind. Now, I was running directly into a HOT land breeze. Unnngh!

Immediately the mixture of heat and wind threw off my dream of 35 minutes. But, I regrouped and committed myself to 7:30 miles the rest of the way. While I did not achieve that – especially the mile between 2.5 and the turn off at 3.47 – I did keep myself stamping along without the undulating peaks and valleys. (Over the past year, I have become a far more consistent runner).

While my last mile was only a 7:30, only one or two people passed me and I was largely able to stay with the group with whom I had run through the 3.47 mile water hose. I started to get the buttered scallops taste in my mouth, but still fought through it. Sanjay (who is both with Somerville and L Street) stood at the last turn cheering me on for the last 50 yards. I pulled in with a 5 Mile PR and brought home some hardware!

Blood, Sweat and Beers: Summer Steamer (7/10/11)

Kevin, Marc, Ann, Mauricio, Me, Dan (w/ Clydesdale Trophy)

Race: Summer Steamer

Location: Somerville, MA

Distance: 4.13 Miles

Goal Time: 28:55

Actual Time: 28:52 (2nd, Clydesdales)

I told Dan, “Without John here, you and I are the biggest candidates for the Clydesdales.” I don’t think he actually believed me. But, when he held the trophy two hours later, he definitely did.

With the demise of Khoury’s and the safety changes to the Thursday Night Run course, the Steamer is even more special. It is now the only time we run the old, or “classic,” 4.13 Mile Course.

So, with traffic control we stood outside the now derelict Khoury’s Spa in the sweltering heat awaiting the gun. It was between 85 and 90 by 10:00am. (They don’t call it the Steamer for nothing!)

Dan and I ran out at a great clip. At mile one, we were around 6:30 and 13:00 at mile two. This is when I realized two things: 1) We could still see Erin Wyner (we were probably going too fast); and, 2) Saturday’s Belgian beer blast at Felix’s was not exactly the best pre-race meal.

I tried to fight it to the top of Lowell Street and the crest of Medford (where, the course gets considerably easier). But at the turn onto Medford, I knew I was kidding myself. “Yep,” I said, “I’m done! Go for it Dan.”

“Al right,” he said. And I watched him slowly disappear in front of me as I packed in the last mile in 8 minutes or so.

I finished with a Khoury’s PR and 2nd in the Clydesdales and fully ready to replace all the Belgian beer I’d lost in the run.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I drink from the keg of glory, Donna. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land” ~ Josh Lyman, The West Wing

Matt, Team Captain of SRR-Wind, drinking from the Keg of Glory

Race: Club Challenge Cup 26x1 Relay
Location: Somerville, MA
Goal Time: 5:30
Actual Individual Time: 5:45
Team Time: 2:38:06, Third place over all.
At the end of the day, I was able to laugh at my overzealous start. Joe O’Leary – coach and role model extraordinaire, who at 42(?) runs a track mile faster than I did at 18 – also had a good laugh at my first 200 after the race. “My first 200 was only 2 seconds faster and I thought I was going out too fast!”
But, before the end of the day, there is the beginning of the day. The morning was filled with summer thundershowers. Now, for those from the South and West, New England thundershowers are not the refreshing heat beating rains one gets in the late afternoon of the Dog Days. Nope, they are cold (comparatively), less intense and far longer. What would be 15 minutes of respite in Atlanta or Saint Louis is 3 hours of dreariness in New England. The storms threatened to make the track and running upon it a total mess. Things did not look good for the relay.

Rain, Rain, go away, the running clubs want to play.

The Club Challenge Cup 26x1 Relay is what it sounds like. Each team has 25 runners who run one mile (1600 meters, actually) and one runner who starts the race with a 592 and later runs a mile him/herself. The 12 Teams who were entered this year – including four from Somerville Road Runners – waited around wherever they could stay dry awaiting the start.
On the threshold of H-Hour, Brendan Kearney - race director, runner, and clandestine meteorologist – announced that the race would be pushed back half an hour, “as this cell of storms should pass over.”
“You’re a weather man now?” I asked.
“Well, I looked at the Doppler on my iPhone. I think I can see what the clouds are going to do,” was Brendan
“Okay, sure thing,” I scoffed.
[Aside] I would like to take this moment to apologize to Brendan. Your remarkable climatological skills with only a smart phone proved exceptional. I’m sorry for my misplaced derision. The rain cleared up right when he predicted it.
To borrow from team captain, Matt Noyes, we have a “long-established (read year-long) tradition of team naming.” Last year Somerville Road Runners’ three teams were: Blood (Fast), Sweat (Faster) and Tears (Fastest). This year: Earth, Wind and Fire. This year I made the jump from Fast onto the Faster Team Wind. And, I got to run the second mile (third leg, as Josh ran the 592 meter “speed leg” before he then ran our 9th or 10th mile).
Dennis put in a fantastic first mile. As he approached the hand-off, he looked quite confused. Unlike virtually everybody else in our club, I was NOT wearing an SRR jersey since I have not successfully been able to buy one yet (instead I had on my early 1990s Deion Sanders Falcons jersey); AND, he probably had no idea who I was. I looked up and just yelled “WIND!!! WIND!!!” Confusion subsided; crisis was averted.
When I received the baton we were in fifth place behind SRR-Fire, Cambridge-A, Greater Lowell - A and Wicked Running, I think. I set out on what felt like a good and quick pace. Well… one of those was correct. It was quick!
After the aforementioned overzealous 200, I came around the second turn. Along the front stretch, there was a puddle roughly the area of Kazakhstan and the volume of the Caspian Sea. Third place, from the Wicked Running Club, was going right to avoid the puddle. I just trudged right through the Caspian Sea in lane 1; and, by the end of the first lap I had put SRR-Wind into 4th place. The Wicked runner sounded as if he sped up when I passed and tried to stay with me. By the end of 500, however, something Wicked that way went – fading away behind me.

What time is it? PRIMETIME!!!
Laps 2 and 3, I put myself into a good pain position. I was running well. As I completed my third lap – I hit it at 4:18. While this was a bit slow, I knew I could still put in a good time with one last 80 on the last lap. I started to gun it – at least I thought. I was definitely putting in more effort, but as I came around and handed off the baton to Karen. I looked at the watch and had run a 5:45. My last lap for all the effort was only an 87, ungh.
Fortunately, from Karen on down, my team picked up my bad performance – leading to the final legs. Among those who picked me up was my personal friendly rival - Bill Hees. Bill ran a 5:44 to beat my time by one second - bastard!
Yet before that could happen, the first two teams had to fight it out. SRR-Fire and Cambridge-A were, in the eyes of the race director, neck and neck when SRR’s Greg, mile 24, got the baton for the next to last handoff. Brendan gave him quick update and some encouragement. “You have only about a hundred yard lead, kick it up!” It was only when Cambridge came through not handing off did Brendan realize SRR-Fire had a 100 yards PLUS one lap lead.
[aside] Apparently Mr. Kearney is such a savant when it comes to meteorology that he has forgotten how to count to four.
With a good kick from Greg followed by Alex and Joe, SRR-Fire maintained their lead to set the meet record – 2:19:26. Cambridge-A came in only a minute and a half back – 2:21:04 which would have been the meet record.

Joe O'Leary (lane 2 in yellow), coming in for the Bell Lap for SRR-Fire

As Cambridge-A was coming in for second, my team – SRR-Wind, Cambridge-B and Greater Lowell-A were within one minute of each other and running for the last podium spot. With the anchor leg and most of the team lining the track Aharon Wright took a close race – 30 seconds to Cambridge and 1½ minutes to Lowell and made it not so close opening up a 1 minute lead and securing our spot for third on the podium!

Robert, enjoying the Keg of Glory

Thanks to Karen Sarefin for the pictures.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Finally Did it Right: Johnny Kelley Half Marathon (5/29/11)

Event: Johnny Kelly Half Marathon

Location: Hyannis, MA

Distance: 13.1 Miles

Goal Time: 1:38:30

Actual Time: 1:37:43 (Personal Record, 1st in Clydesdales!)

Shakespeare proved a long time ago that success does not make for as interesting writing as grand failure - but I'll try.

I rode from my uncle’s place and after a stop at the Osterville Dunkin Donuts I made my way into Hyannis and down to the Town Green. My ride allowed me to recon the finishing stretch.

Leading up to the race I had developed a simple battle plan. I was going to put in 11 miles at 7:30/mile and then see what I can do.

While I ran a little too fast in the first mile, I was largely able to follow my game plan. My 7 minute first mile was an attempt by me to walk up my legs which were sluggish at best as we ran down Main Street.

At the one mile mark, I let up back to 7:30 with my legs were in the “stamp out the pace” mode. Through out the next miles, I maintained that pace between 7:25 and 7:35 comfortably.

I witnessed an interesting bit in the fifth mile. Around mile four, I passed a woman who looked to be laboring with twisting torso and flailing arms. Then she came storming past me within a quarter mile. I thought that was weird but – whatever. I knew this woman wasn’t going to be able to keep this up. I kept up my pace and passed her again around 4.5 miles. That apparently didn’t make her happy as she passed me AGAIN. I was not looking forward to playing this game all day with this woman. However, I knew if I kept running at my pace this woman would drop. So as we closed on the 5 mile mark, I ran by her, keeping up my pace. I never saw her again.

Mile 9 was an outlier. There were two hills, so that probably explains the 8:30 mile.

As I passed Mile 10, I picked it up “an iota.” Or so I thought. I picked up the effort, but not the time – 7:35. Each of the next two miles, I picked it up a little more speed. We reached South Street with a half-mile left and I slowly built up speed and built up speed. With 200 yards left, I put it all on the line.

As I sprint with a yell across the finish line – 1:37:43! Nearly 1:45 better than my previous PR!

Tino Pai,


Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday Circuit

View Sunday Circuit in a larger map

The idea came to me while I was reading up on the stages of the Tour California this year. What if I mapped out a 5 mile loop with a big hill and a sprint?

Well, I did it.

I took five laps of it this Sunday. Definitely going into the repertoire.

Monday, May 16, 2011

2WS: Two Win Saturday (5/14/11)

Win# 1
Event: Playworks 5k Run for Recess
Location: Franklin Park, MA
Goal Time: 21:30
Real Time: 21:19 (5K PR!, 1st in Age Group!)
I had stuck with the leading group (less two guys way off the front) for the first mile. I looked down at my watch – 6:15. Well, there is no way I can keep this up. Fortunately, I noticed everyone else in the group was settling into a slower pace as well.
As I sat in the back of the group, I kept my eyes on Evan. My plan became to follow Evan and then on the last turn out sprint him to the line.
The Second loop is dominated by the Bear Cage Hill. The short steep at about the halfway point of the 5K usually breaks the contenders from the pretenders. While I was able to survive the hill with the contenders – I knew I felt like a pretender as I summited and ran to the LEFT.
Loop Three is all about the Wilderness. While most of the course runs in the shadow of White Stadium or within sight of Playstead, the Wilderness is a quick half mile loop into “wilderness” of Franklin Park. The group slowly stretched out at this point. The leaders of my group were able to pick it up and in the back we hung on. As I looked back, there were no runners in sight. I tried to pass the guy I had been following since the Bear Cage, but he sped up to keep me from passing. Fine, you run in the lead!
We came out of the Wilderness and made our way up the embankment that looks over Playstead. One of the guys who had been out in front was now stopped. As we passed him, I kept my eye on Evan who was still tantalizingly right in front of me.
We descended into the fields proper and across the grass adjacent to the discus pit (?). Around the first backstop, I kept with the acceleration. We ran back through the crowd, high-fiving Playworks students as we went. Finally, was the last turn at far backstop right in front of the zoo. This is where I was going to outsprint Evan; I didn’t have it.
I cruised in still at the back of the lead pack. 21:19; 14 second PR; 1st in the 35 and over age group; and, a good bit ahead of the next group – which included the female winner. (Unfortunately, Evan still beat me by 11 seconds – bastard!)
Next, was a ride over to Doyle’s in JP for a couple of beers and some chicken fingers before I rode out to Woburn for my soccer game.
Win #2
Event: Opening Day of 11s Soccer
Location: Altavista Field, Woburn, MA
Final: 3-nil
Take one part good goal keeping and defense; add to that good opportunity seeking offense; put on a touch of a role player who can stand in the way well (me) and you probably are going to win.
We did: 3-nil!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Open Season on My Abilities: Sudbury Spring Sprint (5/8/11)

Race: Sudbury Spring Sprint Triathlon

Location: Sudbury, MA

Distances: 400 yard pool Swim/ 7 mile Bike / 2.3 mile Run

Goal Time: 50:00

Actual Time: 50:31 (Course PR by two minutes)

Rule Number one to going to a triathlon: if you have a dog that likes to charge at cyclists – DON’T BRING IT!

Last year we spent the entire wait time packed into the pool’s hallways. Fortunately it was 20 degrees warmer this year. This allowed us waiting for our turn to actually wait outside watching the race. This made the two hours fly by as each athlete went into the pool every ten seconds.

It also allowed me to see perhaps the rudest race spectator since Neil Horan (the priest who tackled Vanderlei Lima in the Olympic Marathon seven years ago). One woman brought a dog on a leash. However, it became obvious that this dog likes to charge at cyclists, since ever single bike that went by she had to restrain her dog from jumping out onto the road. On an open course cyclists have enough to worry about – cars, passing slower riders, potholes founded in winter’s frost heave. But this woman added an extra element of danger. Every time a cyclist went by this dog would lunge at the cyclist. She held it back every time, but it still required the rider to swerve left – into possible traffic.

SWIM – 400 yds

At around 9:30 I was lined up and ready to hop in the pool. I just kept rattling off the two things in my mind

  1. Don’t take the first two laps too fast; and,
  2. Start out in with aerobic swimming.

Strangely enough I did get the first one right. I took laps one and two at a good pace. However, by lap three I was swimming a bit too fast as there was a woman I wanted to pass. As I got to the end of lap three, she stopped to allow me to pass. While this was very nice, it put me in a bad spot. Now I can’t have this woman pass ME. It would seem rude to force the woman to pass me when she had been nice enough to stop and allow me to pass. This left me with never catching my breath until the last lap. At the last lap I hopped from the pool and out the door. I glanced at my watch as I entered transition – 9:05, 15 seconds better than last year.

Transition was fast, I threw on my shirt and put on my shoes (definitely need the elastic laces for next race). Hobbling out of the transition area I made my way to the bike start.

BIKE – 7 miles

I struggled to get properly on the bike as I entered traffic onto Fairbank Road. Between my wobbly legs and the wet swimsuit that had me sliding about the saddle, I could not manage to my feet into the pedals. Within a quarter mile I had my feet in the pedals and within a half I had gathered my breath from the swim.

The bike course is two 3.5 mile laps. Basically it’s a couple of small hills and one small-medium one on the back stretch. As usual, I spent the whole bike loop passing people. I actually lost a little time while I was stuck behind a slower rider and cars were passing on the left.

Fortunately, the biker hating dog had been removed from the course!

I turned back into the transition area from the second loop and looked at the time – 34:25 or so. (I assumed I’d get a split later, but the computer didn’t register me.) So it was a 25:20 bike split, 2 minutes faster than last year.

RUN – 2.3 miles

The run is an easy run through the backroads of the neighborhood around the Atkinson pool. It is flat and fast! That is of course if you can get out of the transition area. There were five or six cyclists who were starting their ride and having problems mounting their bikes as I was trying to start my run. I had to run outside of the cones briefly – to the chagrin of the guy with the megaphone.

While I tried to maintain a steady good pace, when I made the turn for home I realized I had blown it. My legs too easily accelerated. As I finished, I realized I had not left everything on the field. Well, maybe next time.