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.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rails to Trails to Rails to Trails (4/30/11)

Trip: Cambridge to Lowell

Distance: 60 Miles

Trails: Minuteman Trail and Bruce Freeman Trail

It was a beautiful Saturday and I decided to take a truncated version of my 92 mile Rails-to-Trails to Rails-to-Trails ride. Instead of heading all the way out to the New Hampshire line and taking the Nashua River Trail, I took the Bruce Freeman from Westford to Lowell.

Out and back on the 55 degree morning in four hours and in time for Picante for lunch.