Monday, February 13, 2017

Krispy Kreme Challenge #3

I first did the Krispy Kreme Challenge in 2015.  Shortly after finishing that race I said I would never run it again.  This year I went back for my 3rd go at it.

The race is pretty awesome and horrible at the same time, as you would expect when running 5 miles and eating a dozen donuts.  The city of Raleigh is probably what keeps us coming back.  Some great breweries and restaurants and of course a bar/arcade.  If the area was shit, I certainly wouldn't make the trip down to NC time and time again...especially when the travel there seems to be cursed.

The first year, as documented in that first link I posted above, was a shit show.  Last year our flight down got canceled.  And....this year it started the same way, with a delay that seemed to grow every time I looked at my phone!  After about 5 hours in the Logan Airport, we were finally en route to NC.

We arrived a bit later than originally scheduled...which meant a modified eating and drinking plan.  I believe in the long run this worked to my advantage.  I definitely felt less full and less hungover the morning of the race this year.  I was ready to roll on race morning.  I felt that I was in as good of running shape as last was just a matter of downing the donuts as fast as I could.  In general, I am a pretty solid eater.  I eat a massive amount of food, but in this race, it is a different story.  If I could eat within a minute of the race winner, I would BE THE WINNER!  Instead, I have yet to accomplish my ultimate goal of top 10.

The first year, I finished 19th in a time of 37:17.  I looked at 2015 as the getting my feet wet year.  It was overwhelming to say the least, sitting on the ground with all those donuts in front of me.

In 2016, I knew what to expect.  I had a better understanding of the race and the confidence that goes with that.  I ran faster, finishing in 35:13 for 13th place.  I could taste the sugary sweetness that is 10th place.  I just needed to either be in better running shape, or figure out how to eat faster.

Going into the 2017 event, I was not in better running shape and I certainly did nothing to attempt to figure out how to eat faster.  I just figured, try harder to eat faster.  Seemed reasonable.

So, the race started.  As usual, the massive amount of college students went out like it was a 50 meter dash.  I started on the 2nd row and found myself with at least 100 people in front of me a 1/4 mile into the race.  I was through the mile in 5:25 and there had to still be 30+ runners ahead of me easily. I was happy with the pace and used the down hill after the mile to bring my pace down a bit.  After that I passed a dozen or so more runners in the last mile of the first half of the race and entered the hall of donuts.  I grabbed my box from a volunteer and kept running hard to an area next to the furthest table to get on the ground and eat away.  I hit a split when I stopped running, I grabbed multiple cups of water and I ripped donuts apart shoving some in my mouth and putting some in the water to soak to make easier to eat.  It was a chilly 27 degrees at the start, so the mix of water and donuts made for some cold hands.  I felt like I was eating well and looked at my watch as last year's winner, whom I beat in the run again, took off, finishing his donuts in around 3 minutes.  I don't know how he does it.  It boggles my mind.  I need to learn his ways.  But, back to the task at hand.  I was sitting around the people that I was running with and we all seemed to be in a similar amount of donut pain.  Some people left and we ate on.  Finally, 8 minutes after starting, I shoved the remaining buggy bits of donut into my mouth and ran towards the exit of the transition area.  I through down my empty box and started tracking down the casual runner and the faster eater whom I could easily out run.  I hit the first mile on the way back in 5:27. I believe that is my fastest post donut mile.  I felt great.  But shortly after that the uphill would begin.  Most of the way back was uphill, with distinct hill, called St Mary's Hill on Strava.  My pace slowed a bit, but I was still passing people.  You make the last turn of the race onto Hillsborough St with just under a mile to go.  It is a straight road and you can see runners ahead.  You can't tell if they are in the challenger or casual division until you get close, so you just hunt them all down as if they were the same.  I was able to pass 6 on that finally stretch, I believe 3 were in my division.  I ran out of real estate to get one more. I crossed the line in a new PR of 34:45.  Breaking the 35 minute barrier.  The winner finished in just over 30 mins.  He beat me by the difference in eating.  Between him and the 2nd place finisher, they have taken the first 2 spots in the last 5 races.

After the race I went and checked out the results to find out I finished in 18th place.  That was a bit disappointing.  But, I was happy to run faster...I guess I will have to wait until next year to try to sneak into that coveted top 10!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Oh yeah, I have a blog!

It has been over a year since I have done a blog post.  Not much in the way of racing happened in 2016, it was just a year laced with a lack of motivation.  I raced a bit in the early months, but then didn’t race in about 4 months leading up to the Newport ‘Almost’ 10k.
Since the Newport ‘Almost’ 10k, I have raced 3 more times.  Here is a re-cap of 2 of those races and Newport.  I also did the Krispy Kreme Challenge this past weekend for the 3rd year in a row, but will re-cap that later!

This feels like many moons ago.  This was my 15th time running this race.  I remember not being overly pumped up about racing, but when I saw some WTAC guys in the lot; I knew I had to be ready to rumble.  There were a few Turtles running…and with Bronson and Dave running, I knew we would be good to go for the team title.  There were other notable runners besides the WTACers.last year’s winner, who passed me at 5.5 miles for that win and also Steve Brightman.
The race couldn’t have played out much better for the shape I was in at the time.  We had a huge pack through around 3 miles.  At that point Bronson and I made a small gap.  I was able to hang on to him until almost 4, but then as expected he pulled away.  Shortly after that Dave caught up and went right by me.  I gave it a solid go to stay with him, but I just could not hang.  I could tell last year’s winner was now catching me and he did right before 5.5…can we say deja vu.  He ended up passing me and catching and passing Dave at the 6 mile mark.  I finished strong enough in a time of 34:24, faster than the 2015 time of 34:40.  I was definitely happy with the performance, as I did not feel like I was in that kinda shape at all.

On a whim I decided to give this race a go, even though I had a race the next day.  I have seen this race listed for the last couple of years, but I always tend to notice right before race day and never go.  It is billed as a snowshoe race, but with no snow to speak of, it was a night trail race instead.  Past results show it is a pretty small low-key race, which is what I was looking for.  Of course, low key does not mean no competition.    I went out for 6 miles the morning of the race, got back and checked the entry list and saw that Scott Leslie and Pat Caron were signed up.  I knew there was no way and hell I would beat Scott and Pat has been running really well from what I have seen.
Fast forward to race time.  The ‘gun’ goes off and boom, Pat flies to the front and he wasn’t messing around.  Scott gave chase and I was a bit behind with some others.  We started up a wide dirt road and then though a parking lot and then down a short hill with some snow and rocks, which I ran on my warm up.  I found myself go from 20 meters back to on the heels of Scott on this section all the way through the mile, passed in around 6:04.  At that point we are on a mile long straight, flat, non-technical rail trail.  This is where I knew I would start falling back.  I ran a decent 5:43 mile, but could no longer see Scott and Pat had gapped me pretty good as well.
Once off the rail trail, we turned right onto a trail that was wide, but a bit rocky and wet and generally uphill.  You pop off of that trail and follow the dirt road from earlier back into the finish, around 3.4 miles after you started.  A very uneventful race, but I was happy to stay within 33 secs of Scott and 23 secs of Pat.  Not a horrible run.

This would be my 2nd time at this meet and my first race representing a different USATF team since joining Turtles in 2000.  It was a bit weird wearing the blue and white colors of CMS, but I was excited for more of a team experience in the USATF-NE Grand Prix this year and this was a nice way to break in the singlet before the series gets underway in Amherst.

I am not a track runner and I don’t even really enjoy running track races, especially indoor track races.  I decided to only run the 3000 meters this year, afterrunning the 3000, mile and 4 x 800 the previous year.  One race on the oval of hell would be enough.  I had the goal of breaking 10 mins.  I was not overly confident that I would do this, but figured that was the only possible goal to have.
There were a bunch of runners in the race that I knew and I had an idea of what they have run recently, so it was easy to have an idea if I was in the right place.  Also, 10 mins is easy math, 40 sec laps.

I made sure not to ge tout too fast and fell into around 7th place or so for the first few laps.  We were a bit slow, but I was OK with that.  I remember being 2:43 though 800 meters and shortly after that I made a move around some runners to get the pace moving a bit.  I believe I led that pack from there to around 3 or 4 laps to go.  I was able to get the pace back under 40 secs per lap and we were now on pace to break 10 mins.  The leading drained me a bit and I was passed by 3 guys that were on my ass the whole way.  I held on pretty well though the finish to get a finish time of 9:55.  I believe that was 8 secs faster than last year.  I’ll take that.

In other news for the year...on top of joining CMS....I was also asked to be part of Jack Pilla's Team Hoka One One New England.  I look forward to representing them as well!

Some new Hoka One One Speed Instints

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

USATF East Region and NE Masters Championship

If it wasn't clear before that I focus much more on long distance events than short, it is now.  The fact that I was able to finish a marathon in October running in the 540's for my late miles, 2:50 to 2:55ish 1/2 mile splits and yet very much struggle to break one single 2:20 half mile clears that up for anyone that was unsure!

I went a bit outside my comfort zone and ran a track meet for the first time in many years this past weekend.  Since this event was right in the Turtles back yard we were able to corral a few others into showing up as well.

Dave Principe and myself ran the 3000, 1 mile, 4 x 800 meter triple.

Bob Corsi ran the 3000 and the 4 x 800

Brad Highcove went a bit bonkers and did the 3000, 60 m hurdles and the long jump!

Last and least...Dan Hawkins, the "non master" ran the 4 x 800 meter relay with us.

I knew this was going to suck, but I thought I could do relatively well and I know my ability good enough, that I don't generally set completely unrealistic goals for myself.

I thought sub 10, sub 5 and if the stars aligned sub 2:20 for the 800.

The 3000 was up first.

I seeded myself at 9:45, but thought I could run around 10 flat.

I felt that I got out well and ran through the mile pretty good.  Hitting that mark around 5:11 maybe 5:12.  Maybe in hindsight, that was a bit quick...but I wanted to get out and get grooving.  I ran alone pretty much the whole race in 3rd place...only to be passed in the last 2 pals and finish 5th and 3rd in my age group.  I finished in 10:03.34.  Just a bit over my goal, finishing pretty poorly in the lat 3 or 4 laps though.

Next up was the mile.  There ended up being two men's heats in the mile, which unfortunately meant I would not race against my High School coach Norm Bouthiller, I was however in the heat after his, so I got to see what he ran before I toed the line.

Me and Norm!

I felt like I raced a lot better in this one.  I got out slowly, stuck way back in the back and after going through the first lap in around 40 seconds, I made a move on the back stretch into 5th place and was able to pick off two more runners in the last few laps.  I went though the "half way" split in 2:31.XX and finished off on pretty even splits.  This was just over my goal of breaking 5 mins.  I finished 3rd in my race and 1st in my age group.

TNT 4 x 800 Team
Last race of the day was the 4 x 800 meter relay.  I was able to get together a full team of Turtles, which was pretty cool.  I wanted Dan Hawkins to anchor the team...but he wanted to go the order ended up being Me, Dan, Dave, Bob.  We were in a heat of 3 teams.  The BAA and an  unattached team.

I thought if the stars aligned I could go sub 2:20.  I got out well, stayed behind the other 2 guys though around 400 meters in 67-68 seconds and then just faded a bit over the next two laps, finishing in about 2:21.

Dan had a pretty good gap to make up, which he did pretty quickly and then he extended it by a lot!  Dan is more of a mid distance guy and it certainly showed!  He came though in a split of 2:06.

Next up, a not so middle distance guy...Dave.  He was pretty beat up after the first two events of the day and after the first lap it showed.  He was slowing gradually and Chris Lawrence from the BAA was eating up the lead that we had.  Dave was able to hold onto our lead by a few meters, running a 2:28, but we seemed doomed with Mike Galoob anchoring their team against Corsi.

Bob hung in strong the first lap, holding off Galoob until right after the start/finish line.  With 600s meters to go after being passed, Bob only lost 4+ seconds to Mike, running around a 2:18.

So, we finished with a 9:15.45 to the BAA's 9:10.88, to place 2nd and 1st in the "open" division.

All in all it was a fun day, after that damn 3000 was over.  There were a lot of people we knew there, so it was fun to see everyone race and do random laps in between races around South Providence!

Check out the FULL RESULTS!

Group at Ogie's

When all that fun was over, we had a good group head over to Ogie's Trailer Park for some beer and food.  The day certainly ended on a high note....I then headed home and passed out on the couch!