Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cliff Jumping: Kezar Lake (5/27/12)

When we rented the pontoon boat the guy:

a) showed us on the map where to go cliff jumping; and,
b) told us not to do it.

We of course, did it.

Here's Andrew doing it.

The guy also told Andrew not to get married.  Instead he said Andrew should find a woman he hated and buy her a house - cut out the middle man.

Chasing the Sun: Fleche Lovellone (5/26/12)

Hiram Falls - Not super impressive

Trip:    Portland – Lovell, ME
Ride Distance:   68 Miles (day total: 80 miles)
Sights:             Vacations Past, Hiram Falls

There was a ton of stopped traffic in front of the Museum of Science for some unknown reason.  As I pulled up to the end of the stopped cars one thing hit me – smell.  It smelled like a Dickens novel.  A sludgy gross not burning but heated up oil smell.

Fuck! The bridge is opening up!  I was running late for the SECOND train to Portland of the day – 11:10.  Earlier I had missed the 8:50 because it was sold out.  Umph!  Now I was stuck on one of the Monsignors waiting for some damn boat to cross from the river to the harbor.

Stuck in the tons of cars that were for some unknown reason heading downtown on a Saturday morning I had visions of now missing THIS train and pulling into Portland at 4 with NO CHANCE of making Lovell.


I made the 11:10


Had difficulty with this bike locking contraption 

I got out of the train in Portland at 1:45 and got my bearings and prepped for the 75 mile ride up to Kezar Lake.

Waypoint 1 – Hayfields: Buxton

After a 13 mile ride down 25 I was supposed to catch another road out of Buxton.  I started looking around not only for the road (maybe 112) but also for one hayfield in particular: “It's got a long rock wall with a big oak tree at the north end. It's like something out of a Robert Frost poem.”

Maybe I could find it and look for the piece of black volcanic glass that has no business in a Maine hayfield.  I was hoping Red didn’t take all the money that was there for his trip to Fort Hancock, TX.

Looking for the said hayfield with oak tree and black volcanic glass – I missed my turn.

Waypoint 2 – Doggerel: Limerick

Once I realized that I missed by turn in Buxton – and my chance at the rest of the warden’s money – stopped to look at my directions only to realize that taking 112 into Limerick would have just been out of the way as 25 carried me to Waypoint 3 anyways.

But in penance for missing Limerick, I wrote a limerick:

There once was a man from Somerville
Who tried to ride the Western foothills
He’ll never learn
As he missed his turn
And he might be out there still.

(So, It’s not very good – but you try writing even doggerel at 15 mph.)

Waypoint 3 – Ghosts of Vacations Past: Cornish

I continued on 25 toward Cornish.  En route, I passed one of the many Ghosts of Vacations Past.  As I rode through Steep Falls there was a sign for Acres of [Birds] Campground.  When I was middle school/high school age, I would camp to here with my parents.  Later I would pass the road to Bridgton where I would go in my 20s to my friend at the time Marc’s grandmother’s cabin.   Finally, I rode through Brownfield and Frost Mountain Yurts – home of Yurtin’ for Certain.

Waypoint 4 – Unimpressive Dam: Hiram Falls

From the looks on the map, Hiram Falls was supposed to be a cool site… Maybe on release day.  But it was cool to sit in the shade of the woods and eat two peanut butter and apple butter sandwiches.

Waypoint 5 – Almost, Almost There: Fryeburg

Fryeburg is only one town away from Lovell – my goal.  So close, yet so far.  Taking 5 through town from beginning to end was nearly 20 miles and over an hour!  Also, like riding to Ancient Olympia, this is where the ride starts to get hilly and hard.  The White Mountains move from little sketches against the sky that might just be optical tricks of the clouds to RIGHT THERE!  Each hill was more painful knowing I was almost to Lovell but not really that close.

Endpoint – Farrington Pond: Lovell

I pulled into the cabin right at 7:00 pm.  Beating the sunset by an hour and in time to jump in the pond and take a shower before heading to dinner with the boys at Ebeneezer's.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

25K in 25H: 3 Race Weekend (5/19-5/20/12)

Finishing the Bedford 5K (Race #2 of the Weekend)

I made one of the last turns into Drydock to hear Gordon yell out: “3 races in 25 hours: you’re crazy!”  (Or Stupid as Wichers said).

Race #1:  Bedford Rotary 12K
Place:  Bedford, NH
Date: 5/19/12, 9:00 AM
Goal Time: 50:00
Actual Time: 51:42

The Bedford Rotary 12K is one of the wildcard distance races of the USATF Grand Prix.  So of the 500 people in the race, more than 300 of them (60%) broke 8 minute miles!    

This was the race that I just didn’t have it.  In the first mile I tried to keep up with John Wichers – mistake!  But after recovering in miles two and three, I settled into a nice sub 7 minute mile pace and finished in the top 40% - not great but for a championship race it’s passable.

1 race: 12K total, 1 hour

Race #2: Bedford Rotary 5K
Place:  Bedford, NH
Date: 5/19/12, 11:30 AM
Goal Time: 21:19
Actual Time: 20:31

So the 5K was the exact opposite of the 12K.  It was a small town fun run basically.  162 people ran it and only 20 of them (12.3%) broke 8 minute miles!

This time I DID NOT try to stay with Wichers in the first mile.  I ran hard to wake up my legs and then eased back into 6:40 or so pace for pretty much the whole race.  Hanging on to 6th in the end (and a good sprint on the track to end).

Since John took 3rd overall and Tim took 1st in his age group, I won the Clydesdales – sort of.

2 races: 17K total, 2.5 hours

Race #3: Harpoon 5 Miler
Place:  Boston, MA
Date: 5/20/12, 10:00 AM
Goal Time: 33:00
Actual Time: 32:29
To complete the wild weekend of racing was the Harpoon 5 Miler.  This is the classic city big race.  3500 finishers – a quarter of whom broke 8 minute miles – of varying abilities all meeting in the end at the Harpoon Brewery for a few post race pints.

This is one of the packed race starts where some 10 minute milers try to get to the front and box out faster people.  Fortunately for me I didn’t care what happened in this race.  I started slowly and didn’t even think of running until mile one.  By mile two I realized I was OK if not fast. 

I spent the last 3 miles passing the less prepared.  I came in with my second fastest 5 miler ever.

The SRR – AV Club team took 1st place among “Mostly Male Teams”

Me – 32:29
Richard Lu – 34:22
Paul Venuti – 35:55
Sarah Bolt – 36:12
Marc Macdonald – 41:37
Seth Maleri – 44:03

I also got to see Kazim from Latin Academy who I haven’t seen since the Early 90s.

3 races: 25K total, 25 Hours!


12K –
Robert Cipriano won the Seniors in the 12K
Kate Hails won her age group in the 12K
Aaron Beer had a 12K PR and broke 1 hour!

SRR Teams:
Open Men – 6th
Masters Men – 2nd
Seniors Men – 2nd
Open Women – 7th
Masters Women – 4th

And if there had been a Clydesdale Team category – SRR would have dominated, taking places 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8!

5K –
John Wichers took 3rd overall
Tim Harden took 1st in his age group

5 Miler
SRR AV Club – 1st “Mostly Male Team”
Kazim Mohammed – PR
John Wichers who broke 30 minutes and completed the same triple I did this weekend.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Batter My Legs: Playworks 5K Run for Recess

Event: Playworks 5k Run for Recess
Location: Franklin Park, MA
Goal Time: 20:00
Real Time: 20:34 (Cross Country PR, 1st in Age Group!)

Batter My Legs 
(after Donne)

Batter my legs three mi-yil'd race; for you
Send me too fast; the first at under six
that I may rise, and stay, leaders in mix.
Your force then kicks my legs into mile two.

I, like a tired marathoner died 
As up we all climbed to the bear cage hill
Running only on the force of will
Twenty-six the week before in me cried.

Yet dearly in the third began to fade
despite trying to stay with all I could
Running behind third and fourth through the wood.
Out from the trees in fifth, I had it made.

The last half I just merely cruised at pace
To finish first in my age and fifth place.

Monday, May 7, 2012

"You Hit a Parked Police Car?": Inside and Outside Providence (5/6/12)

Pre Race - Kate, Korynn, Dan, Ann and me (with a great view of the port-a-potties)

Race:      Providence Marathon
Location: Providence, RI
Goal Time:  3:10:00
Actual Time: 3:14:09

This August will make it 25 years I have lived in Boston and oddly I know very little of Providence.  Outside of Rocky Point Amusement Park (which I found out closed) and two trips to see the Pawsox play at McCoy Stadium, all of my knowledge of Providence amounts to Alec Baldwin quotes. This did not deter me from staking my hopes of a Boston Qualifier upon the Ocean State's biggest marathon.

On Christmas Day, I ran 15.5 miles and signed up for the Providence Marathon.  And since then its been a long and winding trip.

By Saturday I was giddy with excitement.  The oddities and innities of Providence (the 8 year old cheerleader championships, Magic: the Gathering convention, Nancy's Fancies, Melvin the Marathon Monkey and delicious Tuscan Soul Food at Sienna with a slip to the bar to watch the Fastest 2 minutes in sport) were enough to calm the jumpy nerves brought on by either the excitement or the loads of caffeine.

Sunday morning in fact, I was not nervous.  I merely wanted to get the damn race started.  A small SRR collective began congregating near the start of the start pack.  First Todd and I then Matt and Jen, finally Korynn, Dan, Ann and Karen.

Once the gun went off, I stuck to my gameplan and Joe O'Leary's advice.  Dan ran off at about the time I was looking to do the marathon in.  But I managed to reel myself in and keep it under control with a 7:45 first mile and a 7:38 second mile. From the third mile until 10 I was able to keep myself in control both up and down the hills - never straying too far from the 7:15 range.

Mile 10 was a little fast (6:58) as I was bit pumped up seeing the SRR gang (Anthony, Marc, Seth, Jim, Paul V.  and the Morins) at the SRR Elite Water stop.  But I regained control for 11-15 - included a poorly executed double high-five with Brian C.

15 is where the reality that I was actually running a MARATHON set in.  First, I was no longer just running with my legs - it was time to for the mind to play an important role.  Mental training is something I'm going to have to work way harder on next time. I assume there is a book called "Zen and the Art of Marathons" that I'll probably buy.  (This book actually helped my basketball.) The second issue was one of my foam nipple guards had fallen off and I now had one bloody nipple.  (The one that stayed on worked like a charm.

I stayed strong and was able to kick the fears until 19 when a guy started commenting that he was amazed anyone with such a "large frame" could run this fast this far.  (Thanks guy, 19 isn't in the period where one starts to question his abilities at all!) Fortunately I had another thing to worry about.  Coming down the hill would be the SRR Elite Water Stop again.  I knew I had to keep myself in control and not get amped like I had at 10.  I had to stay in the 7:15 range.  I managed it well - got some high fives in and was soon passing the 20 mile marker and Sarah Wright cheering from her bike.

Just before the big hill at 21, The Tingers (with Harrison, "YES!") and Nicole were running from their car to come cheer.

The long not so steep hill from 20.5 to around 22 was a bit of a concern of mine.  But, I would like to send a random thanks to Tony DeCarlo for this one.  Thanks to his random Spotify playlist from Saturday morning I kept myself going with visions of BBD, "Bobby B, Ralph T, Johnny G and the whole NE crew":

Mr. Telephone Man there's something wrong with my line,
when ever I dial my baby's number I get a click everytime!

As I finished the long hill and prepared for the last little snotty hill that ended around the 23 mark, I really thought I had 3:10:00 and a Boston Qualifier in hand.

At the top of 23, I knew I didn't.  The next 3 miles were high snowmen - 8:30-8:50s.  The last one I only kept running in fear of Dan McGinty catching up.

I finished up with 3 hours 14 minutes and 9 seconds - I probably could have broken 3:14 with a better sprint past Shark Tank and Bolt who were cheering at the end -  but, meh.  31 and a half minute Personal Record from my 2010 Bay State Marathon.  I ran 26 good miles (including 23 GREAT ones).  Rationally I had a great race and am happy.  Yet, the reptilian brain is still disappointed with not qualifying for Boston.

Alas, Improvement in sport is about being never satiated.  



Todd and Matt both BQed (3:03 and 3:07, respectively)
Korynn had a one minute PR.
Shark Tank PRed the half marathon
Ann and Karen both pulled off good races to complete the much coveted Boston-Providence double!
The new ultra-marathoner, Kate Daniel, pulled off the amazing PR - late to the start, got off course for 6 minutes and still PRed by over 15 minutes!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Marathon Advice from Coach Joe

You might think you are banking time going out fast early, "but the bank charges interest"

~ Joe O'Leary