Monday, January 23, 2012

16 Miles to go Before I Sleep: Derry Sixteen (1/22/12)

Race: Boston Prep 16

Distance: 16 Miles

Location: Derry, NH

Goal Time: 1:57:14 (1 second faster than Matt Noyes’ 2010 PR at this race)

Actual Time: 1:52:54 (60th Overall)

9 Miles to go before I sleep

What to do now I think I know

Help my teammate up to the show

She will hopefully see me here

And a place or two I will forego.

Three things in my athletic background put me in an odd situation:

  1. I was a lineman in football;
  2. My recent love of cycling;
  3. My constant desire to win.

As a lineman, I was immediately able to both understand and respect the role of the domestique on a cycling team. Like a lineman, he does grunt work that allows the “skill players” to score points and win bike races.

Well, at around mile 7 I was running near my teammate Megan, who I had calculated in third place among women. Another woman came running up behind us and began to pass the two of us. Immediately, numbers 1, 2, 3 clicked me into cycling domestique mode.

Unfortunately, going into domestique mode in NO WAY means I knew what a running domestique would do at this second. I started by trying to stay with the woman who passed us. Then I slowed down a bit to put myself equidistant from Megan and the woman who had passed us. Maybe, Megan could use me a rabbit, catch up to me and then I could drag her to the other woman? Maybe…. Maybe I have no idea how the help her what-so-ever. So I just stayed around in between the two hoping if Megan wanted me to do something to help she would tell me what to do.

Within two miles this dilemma was over as we got the hills and Megan was on her own anyway as I was just a regular domestique – not a super-domestique.

“I think this is where you lose me.”

“No, you’re still running strong.”

Yeah, within a quarter mile I couldn’t even see her anymore as she charged up the hill and my Clydesdale’s belly pulled me in the reverse slowing me down.


The Boston Prep 16 (or in the parlance of area runners “Derry”) is a 16 mile race through a nice neighborhood in Derry, NH – home of America’s second greatest and second best poet, Robert Frost. (Whitman is “greater”; Sandburg is “better”). Derry is also hilly. So the logo of the race is based on its profile. And, its motto: “Moderately Challenging” is supposed to be humor through understatement. Yet, I found that it was not really as bad as most people claimed. It was not near as bad as the Great Bay Half and my training runs on Eastern Ave in Arlington trained me for the hill at the end of the race.


16 Miles to go before I Sleep

Down the road to the start posthaste

At 5k speed away I raced

From the school and to “O, Canada”

As often happens – I was late

I dashed away from the school toward the starting line – which was not nearly as close to the school as you might think. I ran to the street and then a left onto the starting line street. As I made my way to the start they were fortunately still playing the Canadien national anthem. (I guess since New Hampshire touches Canada they have to pretend it’s a hockey game.)

I made it to the start and tried to fight my way to where Matt Noyes was starting – so that we wouldn’t have an unfortunate repeat of losing to him but beating him on chip time like the 10k. I didn’t quite get there, but I got close. When the start went off I tried to calm my legs (that had just virtually sprinted to the start) and ran past Megan and Matt (who apparently didn’t see me) to catch up with Erin Wyner Morin. As usual I was running faster than I “should” have been. When I caught up with Erin, I felt I could go faster and she told me to catch up with her husband – Coach Tim.

About half way through the second mile, Megan caught up with me. She said some encouraging words as she ran by. I then came up with the 90% brilliant / 10% idiotic plan of keeping up with Megan (maybe it was actually 90% idiotic / 10% brilliant). At first it was hard to keep up with her, but soon it was like my legs “learned” her pace and I was comfortable running sub 7 minute miles with her.

So comfortable, in fact, that going up one of the hills, I ended up passing Megan. While my legs were comfortable, my mind was extremely uncomfortable with this turn of events. I kept checking out of my peripheral vision that I was not running too fast.


5 and a half miles to go before I sleep

Ah alas here comes that hill

That everyone says my death it will

Bring and leave me dead on the road

Forsaking my body with a buzzard’s shrill.

The hill at nine and a half, where I lost Megan, is NOT the BIG hill. The BIG hill starts around ten and a half. It is steep and long. Many people told me it was harder than Eastern Ave. I think they are wrong. (of course, I rarely run Eastern Ave 10 miles into my run – so that probably makes them think this hill is harder.)

I slowed from my blistering sub-7s to take this hill. Yet, this did not deter me from destroying the paces I had been doing on Eastern Ave (largely, because this hill is EASIER that Eastern Ave). I managed to not race the people who were passing me. To paraphrase the basketball cliché: I didn’t fall into the trap of playing their race, instead I ran my race.

By mile 13 the bad hills were over, I had grabbed my last water and attempted to eat a Mandarin Orange GU (disgusting!). The last in race split was at Half Marathon. I ran through that split at 1:32:48 which was the fastest Half Marathon I’ve ever run.

At 14 Erin had come back and ran by me. I jokingly tried to box out the women on her tail – but they cleverly got by that.


Half a mile to go before I sleep

Only a sprint left before I slow

A quick right away from the road

Onward by the announcer I am goad

As I finish, yell out: “BEAST MODE!!”

I sprinted into the finish to the cheers from Megan and Erin at 1:52:54, got my finisher coffee mug and looked for water.

Thank you so much Erin for getting water since that was a half mile almost from the finish line and I could barely breathe.


SRR Shoutouts –

Tim Morin took 9th overall and 2nd in his age group

Diona Fulton took 1st overall for women

Megan Hyland won her age group

Erin Morin took 2nd in her age group

Anthony White ran a 1:55:31 in his first Derry

Matt Noyes broke 2 hours for 96th place

Korynn Stoyanoff continued racing in Beast Mode with a 13 minute PR!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Run, The Plunge and the Glasses: Hangover Classic 10K and Ocean Plunge (1/1/12)

Robert, me and St. Anthony plunging into the Atlantic

Race: Hangover Classic 10K
Location: Salisbury, MA
Goal Time: 40:00
Real Time : 39:29 (6th in my age group)

Many years ago I had a conversation with a dude. He told me that he had seen God while he was throwing up peyote and off on some drug induced vision quest. Normally I take random people talking about random drugs at random parties with a little more than a grain of salt. This guy I treated with the same grain of salt.

That was until mile 5 and a quarter of New Year's Day's Hangover Classic in Salisbury. As I turned the hairpin at 5.25 I heard SRRers who had run the 5k cheering me on. Unfortunately, I also felt like I needed to vomit! I was forced to come to a complete stop and dry heave - TWICE. While I did not see God directly, St Anthony of Padua (or maybe Jersey) interceded for him and like Gabriel to Muhammad said: "our Lord knows you best; He will have mercy on you if He pleases."

Well he didn't really say that. What St. Anthony of Jersey said was: "Take this water; you need it more than I do."

I took the bottle of water, took a big swig and was ready to continue the race.


The Winners' Circle Running Club's Hangover Classic was the second leg of the SRR Winter Grand Prix. Because of this yellow and black bees appeared to be buzzing about the starting line jumping from delicious nectar filled flower to delicious nectar filled flower.

Two weeks ago, the plan had been for Jim, Jason and I to go for 40 minutes together. Two weeks can be a long time.

At the gun I spent my time fighting to catch Officer McGinty. The usual people jogging 9 minute miles but lining up at the start forced me to bound around and through people. I finally caught Dan, ran his pace for a minute or two and then pushed on.

My next jump was to Jim and then forward to Jason. Neither of them felt as good as they had earlier in the month.

By the 1.5 mark and the 5k/10k break I was by myself. I did get to yell to St. Anthony of Jersey as he continued to his steaming toward adult PR in the 5k.

I had latched on to Stephen around mile 3 on the back portion of this generally out and back course. I knew I was doing surprisingly well when every person I knew that we passed coming the other way said something along the lines of: "Holy crap! Go Jesse." This started to scare me. Are the wheels going to come off this run?

The wheels came off three quarters of the way through the 5th mile. I told Stephen I was done (at least for now) and that he should go kick ass. From 4.75 until 5.2, it was a real fight for me. Fortunately two things happened that probably would not have if I was NOT in a running club.

1. At the hairpin right on the beach is when the dry heave / St. Anthony intercession happened.
2. Three people passed me in the last mile. The first two were somewhat disappointing. The third however was Matt Noyes.

The water intercession saved me until the passing happened. When Matt passed me, however, I was rejuvenated. At least I could hang onto somebody for a minute. Not only did I hang onto him, with a quarter mile left I was able to shift into fifth gear and pass him. Of course, with a tenth of a mile left Matt shifted into a sixth gear I didn't have and blew me away.

I finished at 39:29 and sixth in my age group - 34th male (which earned me a pint glass for being in the top 40 men!)

And, unfairly if you ask me, my chip time was faster than Matt's so I officially beat him. Anyone who actually saw the last 1/10th of a mile would realize that if we started even he would have merely sprinted in 6th gear earlier. If this keeps Matt from winning something in the SRR Grand Prix - I will file an official protest with the powers that be.

I finished and Robert was all about doing the plunge. I gave my watch to Chris and we went to the beach. To Robert's chagrin, I spent time taking off my socks and shoes. But this allowed Anthony (St. Anthony of Jersey, that is) and SoRad to catch up with us. With Bradley the four of us just ran in.

This is one of those: "Don't think, just GO" times. The more one thinks about diving into the Northern Atlantic Ocean on January 1st, the dumber it sounds. In fact even as I write it sounds ludicrous!

Fortunately (I guess?), I had no such time to think how unreasonable of an idea this was. When the ocean got about knee high, i determined I had reached event horizon. I was now - in for a penny, in for a pound. (of course penny/pound logic often makes you lose a lot of money at the poker table.) Robert, St Anthony, Bradley and SoRad all dove into the ocean with me.

In case you thought since it has been unseasonably warm out thus the ocean might be warm, let me dispel any such hypotheses immediately.

But I did it and got another glass - making it a DOUBLE GLASSWARE RACE!


Flying Otters update:
Joe O'Leary - 7th overall in 10k
Anthony White - 16th overall in 5k
Jennifer Rapaport - 93rd overall in 10k


Other SRRers:

PRs were numerous and I apologize if I forgot. Aaron Beer had a BEAST MODE 3 minute PR. Erin Morin had a PR but doesn't want to recognize it due to possible short course (by 0.1 miles or so). Bradley, Korynn, Kimi and SoRad all had great PRs.

I don't know if it was a PR for Bill Hees but he definitely dominated with a 21:19 on the 5k.