Friday, October 31, 2014

Boo Run: Photo Blog (10/31/14)

"Watch out for the Cricket Pitch": Mayor's Cup (10/26/14)

Around Mile 2
photo by Joe O'Leary

Event: Mayor's Cup
Race: Franklin Park 5k
Goal Time: 19:30
Actual Time: 19:54 (Cross Country PR)

On the last loop, we came out of the Wilderness with about 800 yards left.  Bradley was just ahead of me.  My plan was to race up the last incline, catch my breath on the steep drop into the ball fields and then slowly build speed as we went around the backstop and then the spot where the other backstop used to be.  At that point it's just a sprint to the finish line by the third backstop.

It didn't happen

Tim, Bradley, me and Brendan - four runners / four jerseys
photo by Joe O'Leary

The first quarter mile is across the ball fields where I used to practice football in high school.  And then it narrows a lot on right hand turn toward the stadium.  So what usually happens is the long start line of cross country speeds out to try to get to that narrow bit first.  And regardless of how ready you are, you end up sprinting across the ball fields.

20 minutes earlier Bradley, Tim, Brendan and I had stood as a Motley Crew of SRR cross country runners.  I went through my plan to not run too fast following everyone so quickly over the ball fields.  I figured a 6:25 - 6:30 first mile would set me up pretty well.

It didn't happen


Sure enough when the air horn went off, I was sprinting across the damn ball fields.  We came up near the middle and I called out: "Watch out for the Cricket pitch."

Brendan responded: "Of course; why wouldn't there be a cricket pitch here?"

I described how we used to run routes in JV games where the second move of the chair-route would be right as you hit that so the opposing d-back was surprised by the change in footing.

I looked at my watch and saw we were still running sub 6 minute mile pace.  I should probably slow down, I told myself.

It didn't happen


We finished the first loop and hit the mile marker at 6:09; 15-20 seconds too fast.  The second loop includes the Bear Cage Hill.  It's the only real challenging hill on the course.  And fortunately in the 5k, you only have to make that hill once. (The 8k - which I'll in the NE Championships - and the 10k  have you run the hill twice.)

My plan for this loop was to stay calm and then hit the hill without losing speed, regain my breathe on the down hill and then along the outside of the ball fields drop the speed to my full racing speed.

It didn't happen

Sprinting home
Photo by Joe O'Leary
While I had done the hill properly and regained my breathe, I never regained speed.  As we came across at the start of the 3rd loop, we ran passed the 2 mile mark.  my time had slowed - a lot.  But I still had a chance to do well.  If I could just not lose it in the Wilderness and keep up speed, I could really bring home a monster personal record for Cross Country.

We took the left into the Wilderness.  The trail is neither difficult nor technical.  However, it is winding.  I kept trying to get my body up to some speed.

It didn't happen


The sprint to the finish saw me with no chance to catch Bradley.  My shot at a huge PR didn't fruit. However, it was a 30 second PR. As a team we took 9th.

The team at the finish: Urvi, Tim, me, Bradley, Brendan and Eva
photo by Erin Morin

Friday, October 17, 2014

3 Days of Columbus: BAA Half Marathon (10/11 - 10/13/14)

2014 BAA Distance Medley medals - 5k, 10k, Half and Medley

Race: BAA Half Marathon
Location: Boston, MA
Goal Time: 1:27:20
Actual Time: 1:28:59

The last time I ran a "distance medley" was in same place White Stadium.  Of course that was 22 years ago, a relay and the distance were track distances.  Mark ran the 1200m; I think Donavin ran the 400 and Benjamin ran the 800. (I could be wrong; it's entirely possible I forgot the salient details of a minor race at the Boston City Championships back when George Bush Sr was still President.)  I finished the race with a 1600m.  It was one of the best runs of my life.  I managed to get us into second place.  I remember trying futilely to close that last 100m on South Boston High School. (In retrospect, with some knowledge of game theory, it would have been better to run easy for that last few and accept 2nd place to save myself since I had to run the 2 mile the next day and the mile the day after that.  Maybe I would not have been so tired at the end of the mile and dropped to third?)

Well, the BAA distance medley was not a relay and the distances were longer.  They were also over a longer period of time.  April was the BAA 5k and June held the BAA 10k.  Columbus Day weekend finished with the Half Marathon. The half marathon starts right next to where I practiced high school football.  It runs along the golf course and out of the park and onto the 203 bridge that goes over Forest Hills.  At the base of the bridge is the mile one marker.  I hit it at 6:30.  While this is a little quick, I figured it was okay since it was downhill, but then I heard Mark Duggan - and his Irish accent - behind me: "Well, that was too f---ing fast." indeed. For me, the next five miles continued at that too fast pace.  But - once again- they were downhill.  So while my plan had been to speed up each mile, I just kind of kept the even too fast pace.  So that by mile 5, I plan had caught up with my speed...

The Medley was a big target for me this year.  It was the first year with age group prizes and I really felt that I could get into the top 3.  After the 5k in April, this was confirmed.  My 18:59 had put me into second place in my age group.

Around mile 3
Photo by Thomas Cole
Age group or not, the turn around at mile 5 of the half marathon offered me an opportunity.  At the start Matt had told me to line up with Megan.  I had not wanted to push my way to the front.  So I figured I'd catch up with her on the road.  The turn around was the first time I saw her.  And then as I pushed harder (now going back uphill from Fenway back to JP and Roxbury) I was slowly pulling Megan back.  I wasn't speeding up but somewhere in my head I thought that was okay because I had banked time in those first five miles.  So every downhill I would close the gap with Megan to about 20 yards.  And every uphill, she'd open it back up again.  But each time I closed it by a little more and she opened it by a little less.  By the time I had made it to the 10 mile turn around: a) I had put myself in perfect position to catch Megan, and b) at 1:07 flat, I was at the perfect spot, if I could run the last 5k at 6:30/mile, I would achieve my goal.

I had been less prepared for the 10k than I had the 5k.  It showed.  My 40:40 dropped me from 2nd in my age group to fourth.  That meant I had to beat one of two names on a page Jamie Hull or Zach Mills in the half, if I planned to crawl back into the top three.

Mile 11.5, the last time I saw Megan (212)
Photo by Tom Cole
There would be no clawing my way back this time in the distance medley.  22 years ago I had made an exciting charge trying to catch Chucky from Southie High.  Today, my piriformis just made the rolling hills back to the Shadduck and the uphill back toward the zoo just painful.  Then when we entered the zoo - I got a side stitch.  As we weaved through the walking paths of the zoo (but unlike Miamiman - didn't see a single animal) I felt knew 1:27 and then 1:28 were slipping away from me - as fast as Megan was.  The only thing that kept me running was the desire to beat two people I didn't know - Zach Mills and Jamie Hull.  Finally we left the zoo and through Playstead to turn toward White Stadium - home of virtually every track meet and football game in my high school career.  On the path from the zoo to the stadium, my mom and Aunt Judy and Uncle Larry were cheering for me and other Somerville runners.  This brief second in the park really pumped me up a bit and I was able to gather myself for the last quarter mile.  I came in right under 1:29: 1:28:59.  It is my 3rd fastest half marathon ever and might have put me in good with the medley.

Looking at the results later, I had beat both Hull and Mills.  AND I beat Mills by enough that should have put me into third in my age-group for the medley.  Alas.  Two elite masters runners who didn't sign up for the medley per se did run all three events.  So those two took first and second - I took 5th. bummer.


Liz and John Hadcock both won their age groups.
John won his age group in the Medley!

SRR Teams -
Mens' Open (of which I was the lead scorer) - 3rd
Mens' Masters (of which I was also the lead scorer) - 3rd
Womens' Open - 3rd

Also on the Weekend

Saturday - New Bedford Whaling Museum

For my mom's birthday we headed South to New Bedford -
There be Whales, Captain

I think the North Star is that away

Urvi aboard the Lagoda

Even Urvi has to watch her head aboard

Sunday - Canucksgiving!

Thanks to the awesome spread from Amy and Maple Leaf Joe Lauer

Beauty, eh?

Joe carving the Turkey

Monday - Tufts 10K and MiT Museum

Liz K.



Polaroids, Polaroids everywhere and not a drop to drink

Urvi in the Kinetic Sculpture

Cheers to a great weekend...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rumble in the Bronx: Bronx 10 Miler (9/27 - 9/29/14)

In the shadows of Yankee Stadium

Sunday 9/28/14

Race: Bronx 10 Miler
Location: Bronx, NY
Goal Time: 1:06:00
Actual Time: 1:07:04 (PR!)

I heard my name called - "JESSE!"  There on the other side of the race was Corey.  We gave each other a High-5.  Right after was was the five mile mark.  I looked at my watch: 34:19.  Speedy and I felt good.  I decided to see if I could put in some more effort.

10 Miles and 10 retired numbers*

The race starts in the shadows of Yankee Stadium at Grand Concourse and 165th.  By virtue of my half assing the 14 degree Manhattan Half Marathon in January, I was put in the 3000s corral.  I was at first worried that with such a massive race - 10,000 people, I'd be forced to run too slow during the beginning.

1. Billy Martin
In 1977, Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson almost went to blows in the dugout of Fenway Park because Martin took the best hitter in baseball out for casually playing a Jim Rice hit.  In 1983, he managed to get George Brett's go ahead home run annulled for too much Pine Tar.  George Steinbrenner fired him 4 different times as manager of the Yankees.  His number was retired in 1986.

I started the first mile slowly.  In the pack with runners that were normally not as fast as I, I decided not to do the freak out bobbin' and weavin' through the crowd.  I took my time.  At a little faster than 7 minutes, I would have liked to go a little faster but it was still a success.

2. Derek Jeter
Perhaps my favorite moment of Jeter's career was the day he was honored for having "144 fewer hits than former journeyman designated hitter Harold Baines."

I ran the second mile a little bit faster than the first.  However, I was still in comfortably-a-little-hard mode and probably still many seconds slower than former journeyman designated hitter Harold Baines would have run it in.

3. Babe Ruth
While at Lone Gull I was using the Triple Lindy.  At the Bronx I was using the Rock Island Line Maneuver. Each mile I was "picking up a little bit of speed, picking up a little bit of steam."  Three was the first one I was swatting.  Despite a small piriformis grab, that I just ran through, I was able to drop the speed a bit.

4. Lou Gehrig
Some people might think I had gotten a bad break being in the wrong corral.  But, by mile four it had opened up and this mile... mile...mile... mile, was the fastest... fastest...fastest...fastest of the first half ... half ... half... half

5. Joe DiMaggio
Where have you gone mile 5?  The fourth mile was so good, that I realized it might be too good.  A couple of turns slowed down the race and by the half way point, I was ready to drop the pace.

6. Joe Torre

Pascuel Perez once drove around I-285 in ATL 3 times to get to the game.
Torre was not happy.
Joe Torre was the manager of my favorite baseball team of all time - 1982 Atlanta Braves. (I was at game 4 of the 13 wins against the Astros.)  His Yankee years are unimportant to me...

I had managed to split the race nicely. Now it was time to start the second half 13-0.  I also got quick shouts from Carl and Corey as we passed.

7. Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle could be greatest player to be still overrated.  There are New Yorkers of a certain age (about Billy Crystal's age) who act like he's the Wayne Gretzky of baseball.  And this at a time when the Wayne Gretzky of Baseball was still playing right across the Harlem.

Well, my seventh mile was not as good as Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle, so I won't overrate it.

8. Yogi Berra
Ninety percent of running is half mental.  This part started the countdown where each mile was one fewer to run.  Just kept in my head to not slow down and I did so by running the same speed or speeding up.  Felt good at the end of the eighth mile but remembered: "It ain't over til it's over."

9. Roger Maris
You know Roger Maris held the single season home run record longer than Ruth did?  And, he would still hold it if people like Mike Lupica were as indignant in 1998 blaming other people for ignoring steroids as they are today.

The ninth mile was the record for the fastest mile.  However like Maris did it in 162 games instead of 154, it was mostly downhill.

10. Phil Rizzuto
Holy Cow!  Like the Money Store, I did it again!  I came in, even with the slight uphill, with another fast mile.  And at 1:07:04, it was my third Personal Record of the fall!

Saturday 9/27/14

And, in more important news... The day before the race, Urvi and I went to a great dinner on 2nd Avenue

Urvi at dinner

And then we went to the Empire State Building...

Grand Central Station

Where we got engaged!


Monday 9/29/14

Scenes from the Park
 On Monday, Urvi and I went to the American Museum of Natural History:

Urvi and Elephants

Gas Giants

Me & TR


Blue Whale

Urvi and Ivory


Clydesdale weigh-in n the moon

* - #2 isn't retired yet.  The Yankees will probably schedule that next year so they can get fans to come out and see their not so great team once.

Official Pic from Empire State Building