Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Lou: Lou Ristaino 4 x 1600 relay

It was a long wait for the relay to start
Photo by Thomas Cole
Race: Lou's 4 x 1600 Relay - BU Mini-Meet #2
Place: BU Indoor Track
Goal Time: me - 5:30; team: 21:15
Actual Time: 5:30.79 (PR!!); 21:27

After the Mass Ave Mile back in 2012, Bradley and I talked about the anomaly of the mile.

There's a big problem with the mile for distance runners.  If your shortest race is 5 kilometers, the mile feels like a sprint.  It's not...

Yet there's a problem for sprinters.  If your longest race is 400 meters, the mile feels like a marathon. It's not...

This year was the 14th annual Lou's 4x1600.  I started to get a team together earlier in the year.  And then they scheduled it for 2 days after Christmas.  With Maple Leaf Joe in Toronto and Brendan in the Bronx watching BC blow a 14 point lead and then miss an extra point in OT, I needed to grab new guys.  Bradley and Joe were only too happy to run it.

After sitting around the whole BU meet (including Joe actually running in the Mile), we were ready around 2:30 to run.  I was running first.

Now as Bradley described, it's not a sprint.  So, I decided that I would drop into last place of the 6 teams at the start and just follow for the first lap.  That way I wouldn't run too fast in the first lap - as one is prone to do in the mile.  BUT, I did...

Despite staying in last and just hanging out in the back of the group, my goal of 41-42 second laps, I ran the first 200 in 34 seconds. blerg.

Klucznik starting the mile
photo by Thomas Cole
Well, I found a groove for a while before the inevitable slowing down around lap 6.  Joe told me as I ran by: "These next two laps are when you have to work."  In retrospect, I understand that better now than I did three and a half minutes into a mile.  I probably could have put myself into another layer of pain, but I didn't...

With one lap to go, I was far off the back and had already been lapped by two different teams.  I managed to run right under 39 seconds for that last lap.  I handed off to Mark for a 5 second PR from this year's Club Cup 26x1 Relay back in June.

Mark ran a 5:44 - 4 seconds faster than the 26x1
Bradley ran a 5:10 - 21 seconds faster than the 26x1
Joe ran a 5:00.7 - while slower than the 26x1, it was his second mile of the day and in the first one he destroyed his 26x1 time with a 4:47!

Liz - en route to her incredible mile time.
Photo by Thomas Cole

Jen Rapaport ran the 3000 and Mile - 11:33 / 5:47
Chriz Klucznik ran the mile - 4:44
Liz Cooney ran the third fastest mile in her age group in the NATION this year! - 6:13

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pumpkin & Cranberry & Gingerbread: Holiday Race Season (11/27 – 12/14/14)

Race 1: Je glousse! (11/27/14)

Scot, me, Rory, Chris and Pickle 

Race: Somerville Road Runners’ Gobble Gobble Gobble
Location: Somerville, MA
Goal Time: 25:00
Actual Time: 25:04 (PR!!)

Holiday Season kicked off with the Somerville Road Runners’ Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 miler.  A pre-turkey run & beer tradition, it starts in Davis Square and makes a loop of the Tufts/Ball Square area before heading back into Davis.

The trick of the race is to survive mile 3.  After two reasonably fast miles, mile three has three noticeable hills.  The last two are right after each other; the last one has a dreaded turn in the middle so after you’re half way up, you turn and see nothing but another quarter mile of hill.  But, after that, it’s a straight shot downhill into Davis. In 2010 and in 2013, my Gobbles were killed by underestimating the effect of these two hills. 

In 2014, as Bev passed me, she asked me for reconnaissance.  I told her about the two hills and the turn.  This also prepared me.  I knew that I could take the hills and that even if I put in a ton of effort, it wouldn’t be the end of the road. 

I found a gear that wasn’t too hard but that I could keep up some speed.  I passed one or two up the hill. When I got to the top, I was winded.  However, unlike the past where I might believe my race was now over, I knew I could recover for a bit and then throw on the juice for the last ¾ of a mile.

I did just that and finished with a 4 mile PR and just off my goal of 25 minutes.   

Klucznik took 2nd in his age group
Joe O’Leary won his

Race 2: To Morrow Never Dies (12/7/14)

To Morrow Never Dies: me, Jim Rhoades, Joe, Jim Pawlicki

Race: Mill Cities Relay
Location: Nashua, NH -> Lawrence, MA
Distance: my leg – 2.5 miles; relay – 27 miles
Goal Time: 15:00
Actual Time: my leg - 15:13; relay – 2:33:02 (1st Masters Men)

The week after Thanksgiving is the clubs tradition Mill Cities Alliance showdown – Mill Cities Relay.  This was the first year, I would run it as a master.   I was put on the SRR A-Team for Masters – named “To Morrow Never Dies.”  I was also put on the 2.5 mile leg so I could do the least possible harm to the team.

I did a little warm up circling Greater Lowell High a couple of times.  Then I ran into Jim Pawlicki, who ran Leg 1 for the team.  He was all business, making sure I knew who the runner handing off to me was and what colors he was wearing etc.  

Jim asked: “Do you know who Jim Rhoades is?” 
I replied: “yeah; does he know who I am?”
“I told him you were the tall, huge guy.”

Jim Rhoades came bombing around the back of the school into the exchange area.  I took the slap bracelet / baton and started sprinting out of the school.  When I got to the first turn toward the main road I realized I was running a 5:14 mile pace… oops.

The 3 leg may be the easiest piece of racing one ever does.  It’s only 2.5 miles.  It’s completely flat.  I found a groove at 6:00/miles and just kept running.  I was a bit worried when I ran under the bridge that I might hit my head.  I came sprinting into the finish; handed to Picklesheimer; and then made my way 1.5 miles to the volunteer point that was only 0.5 mile away.

When I got to the pub, found out we had won the masters!

Hand off between me and Pickle

SRR Shoutouts:

Male Sub-Masters – 2nd
Female Open – 1st
Professor Emeritus (Female Senior) – 2nd
Coed Open – 2nd
Coed Masters – 2nd
Mark Duggan found the short cut to the 3M Parking Lot.

Race 3: Oh little town of Bethlehem (12/13/14)

Masters' National Team - Rory, Pickle, Robert, me & Joe

Race: National Club Cross Country Championships
Location: Lehigh College, Bethlehem, PA
Distance: 10km
Goal Time: 41:15
Actual Time: 41:09 (XC PR!)
Team: 17th out of 40 teams

What would be a good place to have a XC race during the Xmas season? 

Bethlehem of course!* 

We drove out Friday Night; and much to Alex’s chagrin Bradley and I got a good night’s sleep. This would be my third National Championship of the year after the Pentathlon in March and Road 10K in April.

After freaking Joe out a bit and then pulling a Shark Tank by being uncomfortably on time (I would blame Alex, but I was a willing participant in in search for beer.), we headed out for a warm up run on the winding undulating course around Lehigh’s athletic campus. 

At 11:30 – sharp.  The mass start of 600 runners went off on the two lap course.  I felt pretty good, despite running the first mile too fast.   The 4/8km mark is about half way up the only really challenging hill of the course.  (The course is challenging over all but other than that one hill – not in one specific spot.)  After the first trip, I determined my next time up I would make my move there.

So the second trip by the cornfields, I started to kick it right at the 8km mark and after the last bit of really steep.  Slowly but surely I picked people off one by one.  I reached the top where it levels off a bit before the roller coaster downhill back toward the stadium.  I took a big breath here.  Found my beat and tore down the hill.  As we passed the 9 km point, I prepared for the last sprint it to win it bit.

Later I was talking to Jim Pawlicki about it.  We had the same experience.  As I started my last pick up with about 600 meters left.  Both of us figured we’d catch the two or three people in front.  Neither of us did.  In both cases the guys in front were as prepared as us.  The only challenge I had was a guy from Greater Philly tried to pass me with about 60 meters left.  The two of us got into a flat out sprint…

Finished with a XC PR for the 10K.

 Beast Mode sprint to the finish - (c) Michael Scott

Kate and the Pharaoh Hounds



* - For the sake of this story I’m going to ignore that John actually says Jesus was NOT born in Bethlehem; and, I will ignore the utter foolishness of the idea that the emperor required everyone to go back to their birth town for a census.

Race 4: On Dasher! (12/14/14)

SRR Team, Yulefest Champs!

Race: Yulefest (Race One of the SRR Grand Prix)
Location: Cambridge, MA
Distance: 5K
Goal Time: 19:00
Actual Time: 20:04

For a brief shining moment I sprinted up to the lead.  Holding my fist high, I started yelling: “I’m in the lead! I’m in the lead!”

This was only because the 50 people in front of me in the race all zigged when they should have zagged.  About ½ mile in the police directed the car and the biker to go left.  Everyone followed.  After about 3 steps I was among the first people to actually turn around and go the right way.

After my brief foray at the front, it only went downhill for me from there.

Tommy (festively dressed) & Anthony

SRR won the team competition
We had:
5 men in the top 10 – Klucznik, Jake, Chris Antunes, John Longo and Andrew Clifford
4 women in the top 10 – Bev, Nichole, Jen Rappaport, Deb Downs
5 men in the top Masters – Joe and Rory went 1-2 the day after Nationals, Tom Bok, John Wichers and Nat were 4,5 & 9

4 Masters Women iincluding a Gold-Silver-Bronze sweep by Jen Rappaport, Florentien and Teresa with Justine Cohen in 8th.