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!