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.