Monday, March 31, 2014

The Riot of Spring: An Ras Mor (3/30/14)

#2 shall be first, Larissa en route to her win
Photo by Tom Cole
Race: An Ras Mor
Location: Cambridge, MA
Goal Time: 19:30?
Actual Time: 20:01

I took the right on the turn for home and saw the clock - it was about to flip to 20 minutes.  umph... not good but probably what I deserve. As I finished the race I lamented what could have been but wasn't too unhappy.  An Ras Mor is Somerville Road runners' annual Rite of Spring.  But this year's "spring" and late winter calendar had not set up for me to have a good day.  I have still been recovering from the Masters' Pentathlon / Half Marathon Double and I had blown off running most of the week as I was boycotting temperatures in the teens.  17F (-8C) on March 25!

100 years ago - in May 1913 - Igor Stravinsky premiered his "Rite of Spring."  According to reports of the time and recollections years later, the revolutionary ballet caused a riot - punches thrown, chairs wielded and police hat to be called in - to the ballet.  There is some question as to the validity of all the recollections.  Maybe there was just loud booing and throwing programs?  Maybe noone was arrested?  But, "Riot at the Ballet" sure makes good copy.

Throughout the early 20th Century, "modernity" - the incipient cultural change brought on by second stage Industrial Revolution - had challenged the preconceived notions of the former agrarian culture.  The US had just sent off the Great White Fleet of steel warships and the 1912 election revolved around not progressive vs. conservative but three different levels of Progressivism. In the UK the Labour Party had won 42 seats in the House of Commons and in Russia the beginnings of Bolshevik Revolution was fomenting.

Art kept pace with this revolution in culture.  In a visual analogy, Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" was to Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" as Picasso's Cubism was to Monet's Impressionism.  Culture was looking at "modern" society in ways unfathomable even 30 years before.

This year's An Ras Mor was a revolutionary change from previous rites of spring.  I would call the weather before the race abysmal - but then you might think it was nicer than it really was.  Other than the horrid mess of the 2010 tsunami, it could have been the wettest race I've seen (and I stayed on my porch in '10). Additionally, as a USATF championship it drew lots of fast and club runners - but very few recreational joggers.  (My cousin must have blown it off with the rain).

As the gun went off, I charged off.  I hit the first mile right on target - 6:15.  The course then flattened out and that's where I was going to drop another gear and hit it hard.  Instead, I was already in the top gear apparently.  All I could think was: well the next 15 minutes are going to hurt.  Sure enough, in bad cruise control I hobbled and wobbled home.  My only motivation in the last mile was to pass Matt Ridout... BAM!

Fortunately there were no riots or punches thrown and nobody had to call in Officer McGinty...

Some serious running going on here...
Photo by Tom Cole
Shoutouts -
Larissa won the woman's race!
Robert, Justine and Karen E all took age-group prizes
My High School friend Eamonn and his better half fought in from Weymouth for their first road race of the year

SRR Teams -
Men's - 8th Open, 2nd Masters (I was not involved), 1st Seniors!!!
Women's - 3rd Open (rival Millennium took 2nd), 2nd Masters, 4th Seniors

Saturday, March 29, 2014

SRR - DVD: Double Volunteer Day - Photo Blog (3/29/14)

Double Volunteer Day

First stop running the 14 mile waterstop for the SRR long run
Bike Ride: 25 miles


Korynn thumbs up

Did you not get the Red and Black memo?

Ladies come in

Scot en route to 28 miles!

Yeah Baby!

Office McGinty and the Sara(h)s

Scotty A

Andy and K

Ladies ready to taper

Jason on a quick check-in

Awesome puppy


Watch out for that tree

Shark Tank

Alison, Pensy and Daphne

Our l'il water stand

Urvi coming in

Stop 2 - Volunteering at An Ras Mor pick up

Pivo Index: 2

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I won the lottery!: Beach to Beacon (3/25/14)

Got into another BIG 20 goal race!  Beach to Beacon...

Dear Jesse,

CONGRATULATIONS! You have won a guaranteed entry!

You are now a confirmed registrant for the 17th Annual TD Beach to Beacon 10k Road Race on August 2, 2014 in Cape Elizabeth, Maine....

The Kings and Queens of Beer - me, Urvi, Julie, Eva, Matt and Scott will be taking on Maine in four months.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Once in a Blue Moose: First Long Ride of Spring (3/23/14)

Ride: Once in a Blue Moose
Distance: 70.15 miles
Time: 5:33:39 (12.6 mph)
Sights: Southwest Corridor Park, Franklin Park, Blue Hills Reservation, Borderlands State Park, Moose Hill Reservation, Stony Brook Reservation, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Pond, Back Bay Fens

Took my longest ride in over a year.  The cold wasn't too bad.  The stretches through the Reservations were awesome.  Some Pictures

Atop Great Blue - overlooking Ponkapoag

Foxboro Town Center

To borrow from Nelson Muntz: "There is one thing wrong with that title" (and it's not the hill)

Downtown from atop Pete's Hill, Arboretum
Finished in a good time, training not as far off as I thought.  And I ran into Eva in the Arbs.

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide
Map of Ride...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Wearing of the Green: May the Road Rise to Meet You (3/16/14)

New Bedford
Photo by Joe O'Leary

Event: New Bedford Half Marathon
Location: New Bedford, MA
Goal Time: 1:30:00
Actual Time: 1:29:31

It was a challenging weekend for me.  On Friday was the USATF Masters' Pentathlon.  Then Sunday was the USATF-New England Half Marathon.  

The jumping - especially high jump and my inefficient hurdling - from Friday really tightened up various muscles.  I had spent Saturday trying to stretch everything I could.  But, Sunday morning I still knew I was sore, stiff and stale.

So while breaking 1:30 would make me happy; I still went out with my 1:27 half marathon plan.  Like a hockey game, New Bedford is divided into thirds. 

First Third "The Road Rises": Start to Mile 4.1
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
May the Road rise to meet you*

A fast downhill starts the race.  It is followed by the road definitely rising - up three noticeable up hills take you to around 4.1 miles. Brendan and I took the first two hills at a reasonable pace.  Brendan moved ahead as my pace dropped off on the third and last hill.  At first I wanted to follow, but my legs were still stiff and - there was still a whole lotta hockey left.

Second Third "Wind at Your Back": Mile 4.1 to 15 km
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl
May the wind be always at your back

The second third is mile 4 to the 15k mark.  Miles 5, 6 and 7 are some of the nicest gradual downhills you will find.  Then 8 & 9 are flat along the bay and you usually have a bit of tail wind. Those first three miles see gravity ups your pace a bit here and if you are ready that's when you accelerate - as my high school coach used to say - an iota.  The fans line much of this section as it’s a St Patrick's day tradition in this former whaling town. 

I pulled back Brendan and caught Karen Encarnacion on this stretch and hit the 10k split at 42:01.  The turn at the seawall at mile 7 caught a bit of a tailwind.  I remembered from last year when Cipriano told me - "you have the tailwind; don't waste it."  So I started working a little harder and kept the pace near the 6:35, I needed for a PR.

Last Third "The Sun Shines": 15km to Finish
Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d'aghaidh
May the sun shine warm upon your face

The last period is the hardest.  From the 15k (9.3 miles) mark - which I crossed 4 minutes faster than any 15k I've run - the course gets hard.  As you are more exposed and see the noontime sun shining upon you, you also get a big headwind.  This headwind will be your main impediment until around 11 and a half.  And then you see the road rising again for the last brutal steep hill into New Bedford.  Atop that at 12 and a half, after an obnoxious false flat, there are three blocks too many before the turn and downhill charge for the last quarter mile into the finish.

This year I was ready for this wind.  This year I was not going to let the wind make me give up running hard.  And I didn't.  However, by mile 11 my 15 high jump attempts from Friday were really kicking in.  As I fought my way into the wind, I was slowing down and slowing down.  My 6:35 miles became 7:13 at mile 12 and up the last hill slowed to 7:25.  All I could feel was my tight jumping muscles by this point.  The final sprint downhill drove me in at under 1:30 gun time (official for team scoring) and 1:29:31 for net time.  

Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,
We meet again

While I didn't reach my A goal, I did beat my expected time based on my exhaustion from Friday's meet.

photo by Tom Cole

SRR Shoutouts
Pickle, Chris K., Sean Jr., Kate Hails, Tommy B, Scot DeDeo, Mark Duggan, Megan Prokop, Alison Lackey, Kimi and Julie Holt all had PRs.

Urvi ran her fastest Half since 2007!

Pickle won his age group
Wolfgang took second in his age group
Liz and Karen E. were third in theirs

Men: Open - 8th/ Masters - 5th/ Senior - 5th
Women: Open - 3rd!/ Masters -10th/ Senior - 7th

End of the Road
Photo by Tom Cole

* The Irish "Go n-éirí an bóthar leat" doesn't literally mean that but it's so ingrained into the English translation AND the English works better for my purposes.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Back on Track, again: Pentathlon (3/14/14)

Start of the 1000m
Race: USATF Masters National Pentathlon
Location: Reggie Lewis Center, Roxbury, MA
Goal Points: 1774
Actual Points: 1558 (2nd, 40-44 age group)

Event 1: 60 Meter Hurdles
Hurdles with my own distinct style
Time: 15.86 seconds
Points: 5

Robert wanted to see me do the hurdles.  He found it especially ridiculous that I was going to do it without any training.

I figured I could handle it.  During the warm ups, I tried to clear a couple.  Uh, oh, Not gonna be easy.  One of the officials came up to me, "This doesn't seem like your event, son."  Nope, definitely not.

We lined up, I began to worry about making it over the hurdles.  But, I figured all I can do is go for it.  The gun went off and I hesitated to let everyone go first so I wasn't in their way.  So I ran, stuttered and leapt over the first hurdle, whew. Ran, stuttered and leapt over the second hurdle, whew.  Repeated that three more times and as I came over the last one, I put up my arms in victory.  Of course I still had to sprint another 10 meters to the finish.

Unlikes say World's Strongest Man, which is scored based on place (1st place gets 10 points, second gets 9, etc) Pentathlon is scored based on your performance.  The faster you run, the longer you jump or throw, the more points you get.  

So, while the leader in my age group ran a 10.93 seconds and got 477 points; my 15.86 seconds got me a grand total of 5!

Event 2: Long Jump
Long Jump
Distance: 3.72 meters
Points: 214

Long jump was probably the event I thought the least about.  I knew I wasn't going to be any good at it; but, unlike the hurdles, I knew I could successfully do it.

Everyone was putting tape on the ground to mark their specific spots where to start their run or switch from jog to hop to sprint...  I didn't.  On my turn I just started running down the runway.  Hit the board and landed.  I looked back - and realized it was bad.

After my first jump (which was turned out to be my longest), the guy why was leading my age-group asked: "So, you're just here to have fun?"

"Yeah," I said, "trying it out - and, waiting for the thousand."

"Oh, that's the one you're going to win?"

So, still in last but at least I scored 42 times as many points as I scored in the hurdles.

Event 3: Shot Put

Distance: 8.34 meters
Points: 443 points

I assumed the shot put would be my best field event.  I had done it for years in high school and had spent last summer training for the New England Masters'.  After a couple of warm up throws (puts) I was ready to go.

So while I was about 1 1/2 feet short of my PR from last summer, I still was able to come in second in my age group in the event.

Event 4: High Jump

Height: 1.42 meters
Points: 374 points

The high jump really scared me.  I just wasn't sure I would be able to do it.  I did it serveral times in high school and as high as 5' 4".  But, the last time I did that George Bush was president - the father.

Talking with the guys in my age group, who apparently weren't worried about me beating them, told me to start from the right side with the strong leg next to the mat when I jumped.  So I figured I'd try it.  I ran up, jumped stepped and as I went up, that was off two feet...that's illegal.

Maybe I'll try from the left.  I ran up to the practice height, leapt and without thinking just cleared it.  Somehow a twenty year old memory synapse just fired correctly and BAM, I'm clearing it.

Once the event started, I had started at the lowest possible height I could think of - 3'6".  On the first jump, I cleared it and it felt that I cleared it by what I thought was a lot.  I asked one of the high school students who was assisting the judges by how much.  "Around a foot."

I went to the main official: "I'll pass to four feet."

Once the bar got to four feet, I rejoined the jumping.  Each jump gave me more and more confidence.  The first guy in my age group missed at 1.27 meters.  Then the other guy in my age group joined at 1.36 meters. He missed the first one; I missed the first attempt.  He missed the second attempt; I made the second attempt. Then he made his third.

We moved up to 1.39 meters, he cleared and walked up to me: "No pressure, now."  And for me there was no pressure.  I had guessed 4 feet (1.21 meters) so I was playing with the bank's money at this point.  I cleared 1.39 on the first attempt.  

The height went up 3 more centimeters.  I missed the first two; he missed the first two.  He missed the third. I just reminded myself - don't think.  I ran up and cleared 1.42 (4'8").  Won my age group in the event.  I proceeded to 1.45 and missed all three.

Event 5: 1000 meter run
Running the 1K
Time: 3:24
Points: 522

We sat down awaiting our turn in the 1000.  The guy in second came up.  "Quick math says the only way you can beat me is if you run a 3:30 and I don't score."

Well, I hadn't really been worried about beating him in the pentathlon.  I mean, he was a multi-event athlete. I'm a long distance runner, who was doing the pentathlon just for fun.  But then I thought about it.  Really?  it's close enough and my best event is coming up.

Several times through out the day, I heard Pentathletes complain about the 1000 meter.  So, I figured I'd have a good chance of beating the other two in my age group, but by enough to take second overall?

The gun went off and everyone flew out in front of me.  Run your race, run your race. By half a lap I was in fourth of the section and first in my age group.  The basic goal had been laps of 40-40-40-40-38.  Of course I ran the first two laps too fast and paid for it in the next two.  

But as I turned the first turn, I saw the guy with the quick math ahead - wait, I could lap him!  Now there was nothing to do but pass him.  I caught and passed him on the back turn.  Then all I needed to do was sprint to the finish.  BAM!!!

Five Done
Second place medal
Finished in second place in my age group.  Total Points - 1558 points.  Considering I scored 5 in the hurdles, it was a GREAT result.  Might start training for the pentathlon (or at least the hurdles)...

Shoutouts -

David Ash for winning my age group
Jefferson Souza who broke the 35-39 year old age group record with a 3623.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bowling for Pizza: Remlee's Birthday (3/9/14)

For Remlee's Birthday we went bowling at Sacco's/Flatbread in Davis.

Family photo to embarass Avaline with in 15 years

On the Wall

Remlee bowling
Urvi and Avaline
Urvi on the bowl

Maddie gets a better view

Bradley bowling for Pizza