Monday, August 26, 2013

SRR at the Cranberries: Cranberry Olympic Tri (8/25/13)

Molly, Carrie-Anne and Urvi - done and medaled!

Sunday, I wasn't racing.  Instead, I acted as cheerleader, photographer, bike mechanic and tent guard at the the Cranberry Olympic Tri.

At the swim start

Molly, C-A, and Urvi's wave start

Urvi coming out of the lake

Sierra came in third

Relay exchange between Karen and Korynn

Joe finishing 12th Overall with 3rd fastest run

Jan Jenn and Dean - Jenn's second tri and Dean's first Aquabike

Korynn finishing the SRR relay team (6th overall - 2nd in the Women's category)

Urvi at the Bike/Run transition
Joe finished second in his age group!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Double Pump Dunks: Cross Country and 16 Bit Video Games (8/24/13)

Race: Thomas Chamberas 6k
Location: Carlisle, MA
Goal Time: 23:42
Actual Time: 24:18

Sega Genesis was released in 1990.  With it came the revolution in sports games.  But at there were always odd glitches that lived outside the pale of regular sports.  In NHLPA '93, you could score almost every time with Pavel Bure making a this left to right deke move.  In Madden '92 you could return every single punt if you were the Bills and ran back Bruce Smith to steal the punt.

But my favorite was the unstoppable double pump dunk of Tom Chambers on Celtics versus Lakers.  It was unstoppable from the three point line.  It made Chambers better than Jordan or Bird.  And it was comical. Bure and Smith are Hall of Famers, you can see computer programmers overstating their abilities.  Tom Chambers?  His career Win Shares per 48 minutes was .112 (an average player would be .100; Lebron is .241 and had a WS/48 of .322 last year).

Alas, this race - which opened this year's USATF-NE Cross Country Grand Prix - isn't named after the double pump dunking master of Celtics versus Lakers. Instead it is named after an adorable 8 year old kid - Thomas Chamberas - who has been stricken with Cystic Fibrosis. The race raises money for research for the CF Foundation to help Tom and others like him.

Cross country is a broad category.  You can have some races that are largely over grass with some fire roads like the Mayor's Cup or other Franklin Park Races.  Or, you can have a race around an empty college campus with some running over athletic fields and a little trail thrown in like the 4k on the Fourth. Or, you can have a virtual trail race.

The Thomas Chamberas was one of these trail races.  The start was not the classic Cross Country field start.  Teams did gather together (I was the only SRR racing), but in a road race box instead of the long rank of Cross Country.  I fit myself a bit to the back, next to the Cambridge women's team.

At the gun, most of the Cambridge women moved left and shoved their way past me.  The first half mile or so was through meadows of the state park.  Then (after I had passed most of the Cambridge women who had so desperately needed to get ahead of me), the race enters the woods and what Chris Smith called a technical climb.  It was.  Switch backs and surprise rocks throughout.  I put myself at the tail end of a group with USATF-NE President, Tom Derderian, leading the way and taking a relatively easy climb.

On the way down I passed most of the group and spent the next 2 and a quarter miles passing people who appeared to run out too fast in the beginning. With about 200 yards to go, the race ran out on to the park's main road - where I passed one more person.  Then a sprint to the end brought in the 3.27 mile "6k" in just a bit slower than my goal 7:15 pace.  Considering Thursday's Double Disaster - I felt it okay about it.

If you want to help put a slam dunk on Cystic Fibrosis - click here.

Coming in hard at the finish
Photo by Krissy Kozlosky

Friday, August 23, 2013

Double Disaster: Steve Burton's Double Dare (8/22/13)

Race: Steve Burton's Double Dare
Distance: 8.31 miles
Goal Time: 1:00:00
Actual Time 1:02:25

Once year we run the SRR Thursday Night Run as a double loop.

At this year's Double Dare, I was going to break one hour.  This should be pretty easy since that averages out to my goal marathon pace.

It wasn't; I failed.  One has to wonder if I can't keep it up for even 8 miles how I could possibly get myself in shape to do it for 26!

Just another disaster in a year of disasters...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Elegance, Engines and Exciting Features: Race to the Row (8/18/13)

Start of the Race
Photo by Thomas Cole

Race: Race to the Row
Location: Somerville, MA
Goal Time: 20:00
Actual Time: 20:25

"You bought an Edsel!" ~Peggy Sue Got Married

In 1958, the Ford Assembly plant in Somerville, MA closed.  It's biggest problem wasn't the cost of workers or the cost of transport up the Mystic.  It was the cars they built.  The last year of production at the plant was all Edsel Citations and Corsairs.  All Edsels were famous for their ultimate failure.

The area has since been a supermarket distribution center, a mall and now part is a shopping plaza.  The remainder is being rebuilt as a multi-use development - retail, residential, commercial and a new Orange Line Subway station.

As part of the introduction to the new project, the developer and Somerville Road Runners paired up to introduce the new Race to the Row 5k.

The course was perfect for a fast flat 5k.  The weather was fantastic.  Unfortunately, I felt terrible from the previous night's dinner party.

Tigger emulates how I felt
photo by Urvi Mujumdar

Unlike the Edsel that was thrown into an uncomfortable slot of cars -  Is it cheaper than a Mercury?  Is it supposed to be a step up from Mercury? - Race to the Row is nicely fit into the Somerville/Cambridge race season.  With the decline in interest in the Summer Steamer, August was spent awaiting the Tavern to Tavern 5k in September.

The gun went off, I kept about 20 to 30 yards behind Tim Harden and Cake Hails.  As we passed mile 1, I saw my watch at 5:55.  Too bad my legs were done.  At mile 1 and a half, three guys passed me.  At mile 2, Jesus and Dan passed me.  I had nothing left.  Even at mile 3 with just a sprint left, nothing...

I finished 18th and 9th in my age group...

On the plus side Cross country season starts next week:  Thomas Chamberas 6k

Monday, August 12, 2013

Whales, Dolphins and Seals, oh my!: Falmouth Road Race (8/11/13)

Approaching the last big hill
Photo by Amie Gauthier

BIG 20

Race: Falmouth Road Race
Distance: 7 miles
Location: Falmouth, MA
Goal Time: 49:00
Actual Time: 48:16

I put together the Big 20; 20 non-marathons I want to run in my life.  Massachusetts has probably the most famous marathon.  But it also has one of the large non-marathon races - Falmouth Road Race.

The Race starts in the Falmouth village of Wood's Hole is home to Marine Biological Laboratory.  The research and teaching facility has been a top level research center since its founding in 1988.  Students and researchers study, among other things, my favorite - aquatic mammals.

Blue Whales: Mile 0 - 2.5

I, along with Dan, Lino and Scott, started in the second corral.  At many races you spend the first half mile weaving through people who aren't going the speed you want to go.  I decided even before the race started to not get involved in the bobbing and weaving.  Dan and I started out easy while Scott and Lino took off...

It was refreshing to climb the beautiful hill at Nobska Lighthouse early in the race.  The Cape Cod Marathon runs up the hill at Mile 22 and it's when you start to jump off into the tough stages.

After we came down the hill, I caught up with Scott and was going to run behind him for a little bit.  But soon he had to go left to avoid someone; and I had to go right.  As I went right, I passed him.  Oh well, just keep running.

Bottlenose Dolphins: Mile 2.5 - 5

The middle third of the race is beautiful as it stretches down the beach and past the point where Chris Spinney mistakenly told me the wind ended at the Marathon.  I got a high-five from Jason who was cheering.

Harbor Seals: Mile 5 - 7

I still felt good when we turned off the beach and back toward town.  I got my last bit of shade around mile 5.   At mile 5 and a half I was high fiving a row of children when one of them moved weird to and got his face right in the line.  Yep, I smacked some random kid right across the face.  I just told myself: don't look back; just keep running.

The end of the race is a beautiful downhill with the beach stretching out in front of you.  But to get to the downhill, you have to run up what Ruthanne would call: a snotty little hill.  Having climbed that hill in the Cape Cod Marathon I knew it wasn't a real bad hill.  But it is in the first 10% of the marathon and the last 95% of the Falmouth Road Race.  While my head knew it wasn't hard, my legs begged to differ.  Soon enough,  I was pulling off to the right to get out of people's way if they wanted to attack the hill.

I sprinted down the hill and finished 45 seconds below my goal.  (200th - Age Group; 379th - overall).

Another of the Big 20 finished! We celebrated at the Silver Shores Shanty with a Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Get Lucky: Thursday Night Run #4 (8/8/13)

Start line
You can't hide that much at the front when you're 6'3" 225 and wearing bright yellow

Race: Thursday Night Run #4
Distance: 5k
Goal Time: 19:30
Actual Time: 19:46

Awaiting the start, the catchy/annoying Daft Punk song that's sweeping America started playing. Crap, I thought, Now this will be stuck in my head.

At the start of the race, Megan and I ran behind Anthony Dan McGinty.  At the first mile, we were at 6:09.

It seemed that Megan was speeding up as we passed the quarter pole.  But, really, I was slowing down. My legs were tired from workouts earlier in the week. Alas: "We're up for good fun."

The third mile was a fight.  I tried to keep up speed on my burnt out legs.  There was one guy I kept passing who would then sprint in front of me and then slow down.  I determined to ignore him and just expect it.

In the last three races, Somerville and Cambridge have traded off the team competition.  So with about a half mile left, two Cambridge runners passed me.  I realized I had to beat the woman. I planned to keep her in reach.  For the next half mile I was behind the Cambridge girl and the sprinting guy.

As we passed the 3 mile mark, I made my move.  First I passed the Cambridge girl - who caught onto my tail as I passed sprinting guy.  We came in seconds apart.  Hopefully this was enough for the team win.  Hopefully I get lucky.

I didn't.  Cambridge beat us by 13 seconds.

The after party was at Tommy Doyle's with Mayflower Summer Rye. Tommy Doyle's stuck us in the basement this time (I suspect the runners are crappy tippers).

Monday, August 5, 2013

Pedals, Paddles, Puddles and Puppies: 5th Anniversary PPWW Hike (8/4/13)

Max, Jess, Andrew, Andy, Emma and I
wet and wild at the bottom
Trip: Mt. Moosilauke Hike
Sights: White Mountains, Waterfalls
Distance: 2.14 Miles
Pivo Index: 1

On the way down, Andrew and I discussed that trip to America's Stonehenge five years ago:

"Not as rainy as that"

"Nope, there were sheets of rain," he said. "I'm not sure it was safe to drive but we were cycling in it.  This is better."

Then minutes later he said: "Oh hail; it wasn't hailing five years ago."


Andy, Emma and I drove up from Winter Hill and met Andrew, Jess and Max on the way.  We pulled into the parking lot.  Andy and I discussed how we didn't have any wet weather gear.  But that was okay: it didn't look like rain.

As we left the lot and into the woods, a sign warned us of tragic results:

The Beaver Brook trail took us up along the brook that was a constant drop all the way down to the notch. The waterfalls were so beautiful.

Andy and Emma

As we started climbing up, the trail became cool railroad tie like stairs mixed with sheets of granite.  But soon, the rain put a damper on things:

Andrew and Andy hide under the canopy

When the thunder started thundering, we decided to head back down.

So it was a rain shortened but still fun hike.  Many next time.

Max: In action (T) and at rest (B).
While we did around 2 miles, Max probably hiked more like 5 as scout, herder and finder of brooks

Afterwards, we headed over to the Common Man in Lincoln for Lobster Mac and Cheese and Moops Moor Porter.

Moops Moor Porter

Biggest tub of Sweet Baby Ray's ever 
Review of Beaver Brook Trail by someone who made it.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Italy Photo Video

Photos from Italy:

Set to Verdi's "La Donna e Mobile" from Rigoletto.  This is Pavarotti from the Rome 1966 performance (I think it's better than the 1968 performance you find in other places..)