Monday, December 23, 2013

A Festivus Miracle!: A Major Award (12/23/13)

Received in the mail today!  My major award!

Third Place in the Clydesdales at the California International Marathon

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Monkey off My Back: 2013 Year in Review

Urvi and I with our CIM medals
photo by Mauricio Salmon
“You’ve got to get off my back” 
~ Flava Flav

“I passed the 26 mile mark as it the clock flipped to 3:12:00.  I was going to make it.  I was going to PR and BQ!  Tears started welling up in my eyes; I had to be shown how to get through the cones because I could barely see...” ~From “StripedSocks, Red Sox and Darned Sox

2012 had been a great season for me.  I had finally recovered from 18 years of smoking – wow when you say it like that. And as I reported at the end of 2012 – “2 and a half years of work finally placed me back in the ranks of ‘athlete.’” But there was one thing missing.

“The monkey ain’t no joke” 
~Flava Flav

I started out 2013 with a single minded 4 month goal.  Cinco de Mayo was circled on my calendar.  The Pittsburgh Marathon is where I would get the Boston qualifying monkey off my back.  Those four months, I did run races but they were neither goals nor targets.  They were merely means to an end.

I was happy and comforted to realize that while training through both Derry and Martha’s Vineyard – I did nearly as well the year before.  Then at New Bedford, the gang all put up amazing PRs. I did not but once again had trained through it and still improved from New Bedford 2012 (plus my half PR from Great Bay 2012 was a perfect storm of fitness, weather and rest).

Seth and I getting ready for Pittsburgh
“He's home grown, he's the cyclone
He's the moan groan, capon, the clone” 
~ Flava Flav

The single minded goal – Pittsburgh Marathon – finally came.  Dan and I were putting in even pace from 1 until mile 7.  At mile 7, I tried to step over a median and BAM, twisted my ankle.

I knew my race was over.  But, I didn’t want to admit it.  So on one of my worst twisted ankles ever (and, I’ve had a lot), I presumed to run two more miles at goal marathon pace.  “At mile 9, I knew even the charade was over.

I had been ready and with one slip of the foot, 1000 miles and 5 months of training just went out the door.  Limping in to finish my worst half marathon ever, I thought I might be jinxed.  Now that monkey had grown, he’s the cyclone.

RaceMenu Summer Series Start - I'm "hiding" in the third row

“We got the real Flava Flav
Gettin' down with the sound
And he's tellin' you to get off his back” 
~ Flava Flav

I stepped back from the marathon for the summer (despite the exhortations of Tommy and Anthony to run Quebec).  While I didn’t end up cycling much, I ran shorter races.  I moved in with Urvi (I have a life outside of running).

The big “goal” of the Summer was the Race Menu series. Like Gordon had argued: if for nothing else than something to keep looking toward to stay in basic shape.

I won my age-group in the Series – with a cotton T-shirt to show for it.  And my summer finished up with running Reach the Beach for the first time with the fantastic Fighting Guppies team.

Fighting Guppies - reach the beach
“As-salam alaykum
And that's the way we take 'em
And if we got to frisk you down
Then that's the way we shake 'em” 
~ Flava Flav

Labor Day relaunched my singular goal.  14 weeks to BQ at CIM.  With a couple of minor (to me) Cross-Country races and two training races, my fall was lighter than the summer.  A Personal Record at the Nahant 30K gave me confidence if not comfort that I was on track.

Manchester was going to be a training race.  In fact with 58 miles from Monday to Saturday, I was uncertain I was going to be able to hit training paces.  But, one mile led to another and then a few miles with Karen and then:

“I came across fist pumping at gun time 3:13:48 and chip time 3:13:40 - 28 second PR and BQ minus 1:20! Robert quoted me from mile 13.5: "yeah 'I'm going to slow down at mile 16.'”

Finishing Manchester City
best photo ever?
"Get off my back" 
~ Flava Flav

Oddly, this left me with five weeks until my “real” marathon.  I had told everyone that I was still going to run for 3:10.  (Also, I wanted to try to beat Dan’s PR and his time for running two marathons in 5 weeks.)  The first 13 at California International with Tim were great.  Unfortunately, I was unable to keep it up for the second half.  However, I did still beat my Manchester time for 2 Personal Records in the marathon in 36 days.

Personal Records (and time faster than pre-2013):

4 Mile - Gobble^3, 25:36 – 0:20 PR
7k - Run the Goose, 29:35 - 0:02 PR
30K – Nahant 30K, 2:18:55 – 7:36 PR
Marathon – California International Marathon - 3:13:31 – 0:38 PR

High Category Finishes: 
Casey’s (Jan) – 1st, overall
Super 5k (Feb) – 3rd, Linebackers
Martha's Vineyard 20 Miler (Feb) – 2nd, Clydesdales
Malden Rotary 5k (Mar) – 1st, Age Group
USATF-NE Master’s Shotput(Jun) – 1st, Age-group
4K on the Fourth (Jul) – 1st, Age-group
Jim Kane 5k (Jul) – 1st, Heavyweights
Race Menu Summer Series (May-Sept) – 1st, Age group
Manchester City Marathon (Nov) – 4th, USATF age group
Yulefest (Dec) – 2nd, Masters
California International Marathon (Dec) – 3rd, Clydesdales

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Choo! Choo!: Sacramento to Boston (12/10/13)

Choo! Choo!

From Sacramento we took the Gold Line Light Rail to the Amtrak Station 
Sacramento Light Rail
Where we hopped on the Capitol Corridor

 We got off the Amtrak and took the BART from Richmond to Orinda and then Orinda to SFO

Then we took the AirTrain to the Jet Blue Terminal and the Plane to Boston

Finally, in Boston, Silver Line from Logan to South Station

And Red Line from South Station to Central

SRR on a Wine Tour: Photo Blog (12/9/13)

The day after the California International Marathon, we went on a Apple Hill Wine Tour

At the Limo

In the Limo

Mimosas (Limosas?)
 Boeger Winery

Lava Cap Winery

Marathon Finishers with CIM Board Member Muffet McCleneghan

Urvi hit a sign

Pale Ale, IPA, Scotch Ale, Oatmeal Stout and Vanilla Stout


Seth and GW (don't ask them about pie)

Jumping Marathon of Sacramento County: Running in Gold Country (12/8/13)

Right after mile 20 or so...
photo by Andy Marielli

Race: California International Marathon
Location: Folsom to Sacramento, CA
Goal Time: 3:10:00
Actual Time: 3:13:31 (PR, BQ, 3rd Clydesdales)

In compliance with a request with a friend of mine, I inquired with one Jesse Morrow about a marathon run in Gold Country.  For those back East, the idea of a downhill marathon seemed both preposterous and a cool idea.  But I suspected the Folsom Marathon my be a myth.

I met with a Jesse Morrow on the stoop of the Capitol building in Sacramento to inquire of this Folsom Marathon.  Mr. Morrow thought for a minute:

"Folsom Marathon - nope I do not remember such a thing.  But there was a California International Marathon run up here.   In the winter of '12 it was I ran it.  Coldest race I ever ran.  In fact when we caught the bus from downtown Sacramento the buses were covered in an inch-a snow.  Tim there said: 'Hope these buses aren't from where the start is.'

"Come time for the bus trip, we boarded and headed up 30 miles or so - well, 26.2 by the most direct route but that pro'lly been too slow for the buses.  The temperatures were definitely back East temps.  Reports ranged from 25 to 27.  The Golden Staters kept telling us: 'You must be used to this type of weather comin' round from back East and all.'
On the Bus at the Start line
photo by Mauro Salmon
"Used to it - sure.  Run in it - nope.

"Well, it was a mass start marathon - kinda odd for one that size.  Tim, Culla and I made it up the front.  Tim thought the better part-a valor was for he and I to step back from the front-a the race.  So we made it back a few rows for the start.

"The first few miles Tim and I made our way through the cold air and frost.  The first few miles had two water stops were skating rinks as the dropped cups created hockey conditions.  Yet, as we dropped further down the valley into warmer and warmer climes the temperatures went through the roof - all the way up to round freezin'. and in the sun, it was tolerable - if not pleasant.

"Come the half marathon, Tim and I had kept up the pace.  Coming in round 1:36:30, he says to me: 'I don't know if I can runt he next half in 1:29' (to qualify for Boston -'15)

"Now I always believe in trying.  Further we had come near 3000 miles for this race.  Seemed like a waste to at least not try.  So I convinced him that he pro'ly could do it.  So he sprinted off toward the finish line whilst I merely kept the same pace.

"Round mile 16, I definitely started feeling the Manchester City Marathon that had been 5 weeks earlier. The easy marathon pace, became quite difficult.  I kept it up for the next four or so I kept myself going by fighting through each mile at a time.

"Then as we headed up toward mile 20, there were a band playing the Humpty Dance.  Naturally, I stepped to the side like my leg was broken but when I tried to get back running I almost fell over.  As I was tripping to the ground all I could think was two things: 1) Oh, I'm gonna fall to the ground and 2) well at least that'll be a funny story.

"I didn't fall.

"The next four miles were still tough.  But let me tell ya.  Round 22 I passed Tim, whose attempt at 1:29 did not go so well.  I was able to keep myself going with the idea that I could actually beat Tim in a race.

"Now I came down to the last two.  I just kept having to tell myself - 15 minutes left to go.  14 minutes left to go.  13 minutes left to go.

"Right before the state capital we took a left onto 7th and then the left onto Capitol Ave.  I had everything into a sprint to finish at my second PR in 36 days."

Jesse Morrow heard his name called and walked toward the building: "Just set here stranger - I ain't going to be gone a second."

But I figured any more story about the California International Marathon wouldn't glean more information concerning about the Folsom Marathon.

At the steps I met sociable Morrow returning, and buttonholed me and continued:

"Well, let me tell you the story of the day after when Seth tried to burn the house down with apple pie."

However, lacking both time and inclination, I did not wait to hear about the apple pie, but took my leave.

Urvi and I with medals
photo by Mauro Salmon
SRR Shoutouts -
Culla PRed and broke 2:50
Kate BQed for the first time
Mauro PRed
Erin BQed

Special shoutouts
Andy and Seth for coming all the way out California to cheer
Culla for ordering cabs and buying travel cups!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oaktown to River City: Trains and Trams and Expos (12/7/13)

Train from Oakland to Sacramento
Distance: 95 miles
Pivo Index: 1

Aaron, Urvi, Andy and I took a Lyft ride from our apartment in San Fran to Oakland's Jack London Train Station (who not only trail races in Nashua but also was an author).  Then we took the Capitol Corridor out to Sac-Town.

Jack London Station

Lagunitas IPA and Digiorno on the train

Urvi and I pulling heading to Sac

Sweet seats at the Sacramento Train Station

Next Stop - Expo

What's a banner?

Urvi at the Expo

Clydesdale weigh-in

Then we headed out on the Gold Line light rail out to our house.

a picture of Aaron taking a picture of a sculpture taking a picture of another sculpture

Bike rack on light rail

horse in front of the Safeway

Sweet Kings mural the guy was spraying at the 16th Street Station

Color Sculpture

No feet on the seat

Our home base for Sacramento. (Acutally larger than it looks)

Next up - California International Marathon