Friday, April 27, 2012

Boom Goes the Dynamite!: Casey's (4/26/11)

Race:  Casey's (World Famous - in Somerville) Thursday Night Run
Location: East Somerville, MA
Distance: 4.06 Miles
Goal Time: 25:37
Actual Time: 26:10

As I charged up the hill in the first mile, Bradley and a new guy followed me up.  Bradley commented: "This is an interesting taper tactic."

From June 2010 until January of this year, my record had held at 27:42.  Several times since then I had came close to the record.  I ran anywhere from 27:45 (ugh) to 28:10 in my attempts to break it.  This January I went for it and finally smashed that June 2010 time by nearly 30 seconds with a 27:19.

That record stood for a mere month however.  On February 9th I beat that record by almost a minute and a half.

Since then I haven't made a real run at it.  Well, I figured with 10 days left to go before my marathon was the perfect time to go after my Casey's (World Famous - in Somerville) Thursday Night Run Personal Record.

The first mile (up and over Winter Hill) I put in about 5 seconds faster than I wanted - 6:55.  Bradley, John W., and new guy were still together here.  The second mile was a good strong 6:10.  New guy was now getting comfortable (and probably antsy since he was pretty quick).  At around 2.5, Bradley and I gave him directions and he was gone disappearing into the darkness on Lowell Street.

I kept up with Bradley up until the two hills on Lowell.  Here I tried to push myself through and knew I would have the downhill to catch him.  I slowly was pulling Bradley back and well on my way with a chance to beat 25:44.

Then: BOOM! Goes the Dynamite!  I got caught at the very last red light! Now with a quarter mile to finish in 40 seconds - I jogged it in for my SECOND fastest Casey's.

Bradley pulled off a PR (~25:45) - so some good came of the run.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Going for the Green: Doyle's Emerald Necklace 5 Miler (4/22/12)

Joe O'Leary (555) heading for a Grand Prix Championship (Photo by Ruth Sespaniak)

Race:               Doyle’s Emerald Necklace Road Race
Location:         Franklin Park
Distance:         5 Miles
Goal Time:      30:23
Actual Time:   31:19

Now as the wind was humming into our face, I decided to step up and block the wind for Bradley who had carried me through the first 2 miles.  Upon my step in front the wind immediately stopped.  I am a god!

Doyle’s was both the second leg of the NE Runner’s Pub Series and the culmination of the five part SRR Grand Prix.  As long as Matt “Ran-A-Marathon-6-Days-Before-In-90-Degree-Heat” Noyes didn’t beat me, I had pretty much locked up 15th Place in the Grand Prix. (Of course, if Matt RAM6DBI9H did beat me, he would have really deserved 15th Place).  With nothing to lose (except maybe dropping from 15th to 16th Place in the standings), I checked with Bradley (who was even MORE certain of finishing in 14th Place than I was of my 15th) that he was going to try to break 30 minutes and I figured I’d follow him for as long as I could.

The course winds its way over the Olmsteadian Circuit Road in Franklin Park that hugs the edges of the golf course.  It takes the right at Playstead and the passes the Giraffe entrance of zoo.  It was around hear that I did my magic with wind…

After the turn around by White Stadium, the course goes back to the golf course and takes a left.  It was at the 3 mile mark (which was slightly too early) and the timer placed us at 18:20.  By the time we passed the Club House again, I could no longer keep up with Bradley.

Mile four for me was a recovery mile.  I ran what was probably a tad under 7.  The four mile check was at 25:28.

At the time check I had fully recovered and was ready to bolt for the finish, but Erin Morin had warned me of the next half mile that was enough uphill to be a bit snotty.  So I held back and held back until I was at 28 minutes and near the 4.5 mile mark before I gunned it.  There was very little uphill left and then a little downhill to Doyle’s pub for the finish.

I almost caught back up with Mariah who had passed me during my recovery mile… but it was not to be.  I pulled in with a 6 minute PR – 31:19.

Also, I finished the last mile in under 6 minutes (5:51) – something I have never done later than mile 2 of a race.  Also I beat both Tim Morin* AND Megan Hyland* for the first time.  (*They were also part of the Ran-A-Marathon-6-Days-Before-In-90-Degree-Heat Club, so it’s not a 100% victory).
Shoutouts –

Korynn, SoRad, Matt Noyes, Bradley Harris and Seth Maleri all had 5 Mile Personal Records (Korynn and SoRad also beat FatJesse’s PR).

Megan and Chris Smith both took third in their age groups (and SoRad in no way almost lost Megan’s medal).

Joe O’Leary and Mariah Tinger pulled off the double – they both won their age group AND locked up first place for men and women in the SRR Grand Prix.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Up to the Blues (4/15/12): Great Blue

View from atop Great Blue - Photo by Mike Greco

Ride: Davis-Blue Hills - Davis
Distance: 37.5 Miles
Difficulty: Moderate Hard

Coming up to the Trailside Museum and Entrance to the Reservation, I stopped at the top of the Hill on Blue Hill Ave - awaiting Brian and Mike.

Mike caught up first: "Those hills were some tough ones."

I felt a little bad to respond to him with: "We haven't done the BIG hill yet?"


Alas, this was true. The BIG hill - Great Blue Hill - is a 0.9 mile 300 foot climb from Blue Hill Ave to the weather observatory.

It was a perfect day for a ride and Mike, Brian and I took advantage of it.

We hit many parts of the city - Somerville, Cambridge, Back Bay, South End, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Mattapan, Milton, Roslindale and Brookline

Despite Mike and Brian needing to walk most of Observatory Road, we had a great day.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Known Unknowns: Return to Great Bay (4/7/12)

Race: Great Bay Half Marathon
Location: Newmarket, New Hampshire
Goal Time: 1:28:25
Actual Time: 1:27:21

Trivia Question #1
Who was the oldest Secretary of Defense?

Trivia Question #2
Who was the youngest Secretary of Defense?

Oddly the answer to both these Questions is Donald Rumsfeld. You may ask yourself: "Self, what does Donald Rumsfeld have to do with a half marathon in New Hampshire." The short answer - absolutely nothing; the longer answer - absolutely nothing but bear with me.

Two years ago Felix and I ran this race. I ran what was my second and my worst Half Marathon.

This is why I jumped at the chance to run the race again. To both redeem myself and to try it knowing the course.

What did Donald Rumsfeld say?

"[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know."

Running the course again was great for the known knowns. I knew that I knew the course. I knew the rollers from 3-6; the HUGE hill at 6.5; the annoying bitchy hill at 12.5.

Of course there were the unknown unknowns. Like I forgot about the tough tough hill going up to mile 8. As I crossed 8 I saw I was at 55 minutes (and some seconds between 0 and 60).

Then there are the known unknowns. These are the parts of racing that make racing fun. (They are the parts of life that make life fun). We don't know how we or others are going to react or feel on any given day.

At mile 8, after I had climbed up the beast of a hill that was an unknown unknown, I started to put the hammer down. I slowly built speed over the last 5 miles (admitedly less hilly miles). Only one person passed me in that stretch. As I sprinted to the line, I caught both the only person who passed me and the first female finisher.

My 1:27:21 was 16 minutes faster than I ran the same course 2 years ago. And it was a new Personal Record for me - beating my time at Hyannis by over two minutes.

Now The Great Bay Half Marathon, like Rumsfeld being both the oldest and the youngest Secretary of Defense, is my fastest and my slowest half marathon. (I told you to bear with me.)

Shoutouts -

Chris Smith finished in 8th overall and 3rd in his age group.

Urvi finished 13 miles for the first time since she dropped out of the Chicago Marathon last October.