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!
HIGH CATEGORY FINISHES
Looking forward -
2011/12 Winter/Spring Season
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.
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!
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.
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!
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
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.