Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 Nooseneck 18k/TNT Double

Almost every year I tend to have some sort of short spike in mileage around Chirtsmas and New Year’s.  Depending on how my days off from work fall I will add some random oubles, have some random group run or just run more.

This year that fell on the day of the Nooseneck 18k.  I have run this free “race” a few times in the past, but not in the last 2 years.  It is a roller coaster of a course, with some very difficult climbs.  It beats you up pretty good, but is a great way to get a good work out in and see some friends.

I wasn’t planning on running it this year, but it seemed a bunch of people I knew were and since I had taken the day off to use some of my vacation time up, I thought it would be a good way to get some good mileage in…and since it fell on a Tuesday, it made it easier to do so.

My plan was to run 2 mile warm up, 11.2 upbeat…620-630 pace, 1 mile cool down, then hang out, have some beer and food then drive to Turtles and run 3 to 6 miles.  Here is how it went down.

Of course in the days leading up to this I have gotten a cold, slight, but still felt a bit off.  So I was able to sleep in for once on Tuesday AM til 8am!  I was so happy about that.  I got to the race at 12pm after a short detour to Wal-Mart for water and meds.  There were more cars in the lot then I had anticipated.  But very quickly I saw lots of familiar faces, some I knew would be there and some that were a surprise.

I headed out with a small group for a 2 mile warm up, which ended up being 2.4 for me after circling the lot waiting for someone.  We all changed up and got to the starting line, the wind was blowing pretty good and it was a bit chilly.  I wore shorts with a long sleeve and a short sleeve over that…and of course gloves and an Inov-8 buff over the ears.  It was a solid choice, my hands were actually sweaty and I took the buff off my ears, my lips were numb though!

The run….  It starts straight downhill and people go out like crazy.  I was very conservative and still ran a 5:54.  Zak was with Kaela O’Neil about 6 secs up.  I made an effort to catch them and did around 1.5.  The 3 of us ran together though around 4..4.5  Zak and I got some separation on Kaela on the quad busting downhills.  Probably because we are way fatter and gravity helps us on the downs!

After the very generous downhill, you come to the hill on Pardon Joslin Road.  You have been running on Pardon Joslin, which is a dirt road, partially covered in snow, for the last 8/10th of a mile, but right before the 5 mile marker the road starts its going up…in the next half mile you will gain 100+ feet and then another 75 to 80 from 5.5 to 6.  The section from 5 to 5.5 is a beat up old road that you are more likely to see in a trail race then in a road race, but it is what makes this run unique.  My pace went from a 5:50 mile to over 7 mins on the climb and according to Strava I slowed down to around 9:50 at some point in the climb.

The next few miles are rolling, you have a nice decent at 7.2 and then a hill I forgot about at 8.6 to 9.  That is where I separated slightly from Zak.  I was able to get some space between us and run a 6:05 from 9 to 10 to open it up a bit more.  I am pretty sure from there to the finish he was gaining.  You drop a few feet from 10 to 10.5 and then you have to go up the hill you descended at the start of the race.  This hill SUCKS.  You gain around 185 ft in less than a mile.  I averaged just under 6:30 pace for the final 1.2 miles.  It was brutal. 


Once finished, we shuffled around for just over a mile.  We went inside and got a beer and chatted with friends and foes alike.  Since it was Taco Tuesday, some of us grabbed some pulled pork tacos, which were very good.  While eating we heard the raffle going on.  Although the race is free, there is a donation box.  20% each goes to the 1st place male and female winners and then there are 3 random draws for the remaining 60% (20% each)  We walked over there and my # was called!  Yay me!

So, we went back to hanging out, 2.5 more Guinness’s and a Steve Brightman induced swig of Vodka straight from the bottle and I was out of there…off to the Tuesday Night Turtles group run.  I have been a Turtle since 2000 and in that 17+ year’s I have missed very few Tuesday runs, most of which I was out of town.  I even once took a train on a Tuesday AM to run the Empire State Building Run-Up and took a train back home to make the run.  I have landed at T.F. Green Airport at 4 and went straight to a run and I have left work events to get over to the run….so today was no different.

I got there at 4:57 and planned on two 3 mile loops.  Fortunately the pace was easy with the smaller crowd and the first 3 felt pretty good.  We started out on the second 3 at 5:30 and it was just 4 of us and the rest of them were doing the longer 6.3 mile loop; I had started making the turn at the split to do the 3 mile, but said what the hell and did the full loop with them.
Definitely the highest mileage day I have had in a long time, other than Baystate.  Here is the breakdown.

11.2 Nooseneck
1.2 CD
3/6.3 at TNT

After the run I changed up and headed to Fellini’s for pizza and one more beer.  I ended the night early and got home so I could get some rest and head back to work on Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2017 Newport 10k

This was my 16th Newport 10k. It has probably gone through 16 names in that time too! I always say I hate this race, but I have run every year but twice since 2000, which I would imagine makes it my most run race. So, I guess I will stop saying I hate it. It is a great course, there is a team prize and Turtles for some reason or another come out to play, and we had 12 this year!

The week heading into the race was pretty good.  My training is ramping up and I am starting to feel better and better.  I did a good long run on Sunday and a light WO on Tuesday.  Thursday I had a solid trail run, despite the good weather though, I must say it was a bit wet!  Saturday was a nice little group run with some Turtles.

We had our first snow of the year on Saturday, but it started after our run, luckily the snow did not effect the course at all, which was a good thing. There have been years with black ice and other issues on course, but this year there were no problems.

We had a big group for a 3 mile warm and then we ran the 0.3 miles to the starting line.

There is generally a good group of runners around the same speed at this race and a lot of returnees year after year. In attendance this year was Bronson, whom was the clear favorite. Then the group I knew I would be running with, Zak Kudlak, Jonny Hammett, Steve Brightman….or is it Brightonman?...Mike Macedo and then Mark Leblanc, whom got 2nd last year and past me at 5.5 mile in 2016 to win the race.

The race went out slower than usual, other than Bronson, but he said he was going to go out at 5:10s and that’s what he did. There was a shirtless Santa that went out hard…the pack of the above went by him around a half mile.

Mark made the first little gap on us and I followed, I just can’t help myself in this race, very out of my traditional relaxed conservative approach. We weren’t cranking and he had a little gap on me, I just wanted to keep the pace in a happy place.

This meant I basically ran alone on Ocean Drive, cutting through the tangents like buttah…after some initial wind out there, we were pretty good. It was warmer than expected…and I felt like I was working pretty hard.

I passed the 3 mile in mark in around 16:47. I was please enough with that…I felt like I had a solid gap on the group behind, but after leaving the noise of waves and wind on Ocean Drive I could now hear breathing, I slowed down mine to make sure I wasn’t just hearing myself…DAMN! They are close. This did not give me the motivation to pick it up…it was the opposite. UGH!

So, the breathing got heavier and I was waiting for the pack to swallow me up. To my surprise Mike Macedo was the first to go by, I didn’t see that coming. Brightonman was next to come up on me, but before he passed we went through a puddle that crossed the whole road, well….I went through, Brightonman didn’t want to get his wee little feet wet. He must have avoided it because the last time him and I were near a puddle he lost his shoe! In either case, I was the one that lost out, as Steve beat me that time and he was able to beat me on this occasion as well. Shit, I spoiled the ending!

Anyway, after the puddle we hit five miles and a left hand turn, this mile is a gradual up and every year I feel like I come to a stop on this turn and I get gaped. The second half of this road I felt like I was starting to come back on Steve, but it was too little too late and I ended up 5th. 6th would have been a better place to finish as I have finished every spot in the top 8 other than 1st and 6th. Hell of a stretch for a stat!

Zak and Jonny were not too far behind in 35:28 and 35:39. Zak completed out top 3 for the team scoring, we won 1:42:26 to 1:57:30 over WTAC, so mission accomplished.

Here is my complete Newport 10k History…

2016 - 4th place - 34:24
2015 - 2nd place - 34:05
2014 - 4th place - 34:55
2013 - 3rd place - 34:13
2012 - 4th place - 33:49
2011 - 2nd place - 35:02
2010 - 3rd place - 35:29
2009 - 3rd place - 34:04
2008 - 4th place - 33:56
2007 - 5th place - 33:36
2006 - 7th place - 35:11
2005 - 5th place - 34:09
2004 - 7th place - 33:50
2003 - Didn't Run
2002 - Didn't Run
2001 - 18th place - 38:17
2000 - 8th place - 36:24

Newport 2012 (Alan B in the background)

After the race a bunch of us headed to Malt on Broadway for some food and beer. It was another solid year in Newport.

Next up…? I dunno. The 4th Season Trail Races are happening, despite what people what some people thought they knew. Mike has it listed on his site that it is game on….dates TBD I guess? I plan on running at least some of those this year.

I have a bowling tournament on Saturday, so that’s the next thing on the schedule.

With schedules on the mind, I wonder what 2018 will hold. I have been on a 2 year on 2 year off pattern as of late. 2014 and 2015 were good racing years.

2014 I ran a pretty well at Snowshoe Nationals, especially on the 2nd day, winning the relay competition with Mike Galoob and Steve Dowsett. I won my 2nd 4th Season Trail Series, I PR’d at 50 miles, breaking 6:30. That was all my body could handle in 2014 and the start of 2015 was tough, but as mid year approached myself and a bunch of seagulls won the Ragnar Trail Relay at Northfield Mountain, then full on marathon mode commenced with a 20 mile PR breaking 2 hrs and then running 2:36:15 at Baystate. I was able to follow that up with a 5k win and a win at the Busa Bushwack 10 mile Trail Race.

Then there were two crappy years in 2016 and 2017. There were some OK races mixed in, but overall the motivation and the performances were shit at best. So, I look forward to the 2018/19 cycle. This should all work rout so I am on my good cycle for year 40!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

NBX GP of Cyclocross

My second and last cyclocross race has come to an end.  After doing Secret Squirrel, I gave it a few days and decided I would give cyclocross one more spin before the season was over.  At least the season in terms of races I could do.

The NBX GP of Cross is a bit more “serious” event than the Secret Squirrel, but being in the “I am going to fall down” division, you don’t really notice.

This race started at 8am, so Warren and I hit Goddard Park on Friday night ot check out the course quick.  It was nice to have an idea before the next day…and that idea was, this is not a Bob Friendly course.  Too much twisting and turning and bike handling stuff for me.  I need a course with long climbs and rides that have less turns, because I run, I don’t bike!  With that said there is a 100 meterish beach run in which I could use my lungs and pass some people.

Race day…it was chilly, 30ish degrees.  I got my number and Warren and I headed out to do a warm up lap, my hands were numb!!  I got all that figured out and geared up for the start.  It was a bigger race with around 120 riders.  I was near the back again, but I could at least see Warren this time.  My hope was to keep Warren in sight the whole race and hope to beat his ass.

The race starts, I have a horrible start, I could not clip in and these guys just sprinted away.  It was short lived though, because there was a crash that stopped lots of people, then another incident 100 meters after that.  This definitely split the field up early.

I was able to keep Warren close and on the run on the beach caught up.  Through all the twists and turns of the first loop I was right near him and then the tightest shittiest turn on the course there was a tight pack and Warren fell and I went by.  I was able to get a decent gap on him, until the 2nd lap when I fell and dropped a chain; he caught back up and had a great third lap which put him out of sight.  My last lap was faster than Warren’s though, so that was progress.

The race for me was a struggle in bike handling and having a bike that is WAY too small for me.  I was not pleased with my finishing position of 102nd of 120.  It is weird being in a sport that I am sooooofar back in!   I look forward to having my own bike and riding a bit before next year’s races start up!

After the race, I went out and ran 8 wobbly miles around Goddard Park and then hung out watching the real riders do what they do.  Then straight from there I went ot the bowling alley to get in some practice, averaging 225 for 6 games.  I was back on the roads Sunday morning for 15miles with Bronson, Dave and Zak.  It was a pretty productive weekend.

Check out some footage from MY RACE.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Secret Squirrel CX Race

It started with a tagging on Facebook.  I feel a lot of stuff happens that way these days.  I got tagged in this post from Warren Angell.

I said what the hell.  And I ended up signing up for my first cyclocross race.  This is odd, because I have been wanting to do one for about 5 years, since the first time I saw a cyclocross race in Roger Williams Park.  I have looked at bikes over the years, I would then forget for a year and then go to another event and want to do it again, but it would be the end of the season, so why do it now etc.  This pattern went on and on.  So, after all that all it took was the words Donut Relay.

I only had 3 weeks to find a bike.  Warren had a spare bike that was too big for him…but it would be a bit small for me.  I tried to find a bike through a few different avenues, but in the end I ended up grabbing Warren’s bike from him the week before the race at the Lil Rhody Runaround.  His bike size is 53 CM, my road bike is a 56.  I was able to make a few adjustments to make the bike not feel too small.  In the end I think it worked out fine.
I rode the bike two times before race day, both short 3 mile jaunts to see how the adjustments I made felt and the day before the race to test out the clipless pedals that I have never used before.  What could go wrong?

Race day.  We were racing at 10:30am, so we got there at 8:15 to do a course ride through.  This is always a good thing to do, so you can see where the obstacles are etc.  I rode one loop with Warren and even though the course was not stupid technical, I was like “oh fuck” I was breathing heavy already, my quads already hurt.  What did I get myself into?
We went back to the car and got stuff together and road part of the course one more time, this proved essential since the cleats on my shoes were coming lose, leaving it so I could not get out of my pedals.  When I went to get out, the cleats would just rotate and pop out.  So, after some hard love to my shoe and pedal, I got the shoe off and then had to find a new screw for one of the cleats as it fell out!!  That would have been a disaster on the course.
All that aside, I was ready?  They start cyclocross races based on rank and since I have never done a race I was starting on the back row of a 100 person race.
And here is the short version of the race itself.  100 meters, stop for the bottleneck at the 90 degree turn, 100 meters, stop for the bottle neck at the neck turn.  This is what happens when you start last.
After that there is some grass to open up on, 2 barriers to jump over then a flat very rideable section, I would say around ¼ mile.  I passed some people here, but since I do not bike, this was probably my weakest section later.  I rode well, but I lost time here compared to others.  After that stretch, there was a pretty solid quad burning uphill.  I rode up this every time, many people around me dismounted.  Short down, around a corner and another up to another steeped down and then the sandy run up.  I did well on this section later in the race; I do run….so running in the cycling race works for me. 

After that section there was a short down and up to a fire road that was rolly, but rolly in a good way.  After that you popped out to the “other side” of the course, both sides were very different, this was more technical and wooded; roots and another bitch of a climb, followed by roots and a down and roots and an up.  Two logs to jump over, some more roots and a drop off.  Wind your way around the final little stretch and through some sand and back to the start finish line!  Phew….now do that 3 more times.

The loop was around 2 miles.  I definitely got stronger and more confident with each loop.  The fun part was picking people off and getting in a little bit of a battle with one guy, in which I beat.
I finished 62nd out of 95 officialfinishers.  There were 100 signed up.

My quads were like jello, but it was fun…and also horrible. 
So, that was over, but the day was not.  I replenished with two Mayflower IPAs.  I asked the beer guy why he did not bring the Porter.  He said, they thought people would like a refreshing beer, like the IPA or their Golden Ale.  I said “I would have liked a nice refreshing Porter!”  Haha  It was in good fun…but I really did want that damn Porter!  After grabbing my first beer I got a chourico and pepper sandwich, all solid food choices before racing again.  We had like 4 hours to waster.  So, we hung around watched the other races and enjoyed the 55 degree day.
Now, for the reason I got roped into this in the first place.  The Donut Relay.  This was all for fun and I was not ready to ride again.  Basically it was a half mile loop.  Warren ate a donut and then headed out to ride the loop.  While he rode I ate a donut and then I rode and he ate a donut.  We both consumed 3 donuts and he rode three times and I rode twice.  We finished 12th out of 22 teams.

After the races were over and the sun was setting, I stopped at 2 Jerks BBQ for some dinner and you know what they had?  The Mayflower Porter. 

So, cyclocross.  It is tough, it is very different from running, but it sways closer to snowshoe racing, when the courses had a lot of variety.  The nuance of having to work up in categories to be better placement at the start is cool.  It gives you something to shoot for.  The site also makes you want to race more.  There are stats, predictors, ratings, rankings stalking, you name it, it is there!

So, will I do any more cyclocross?  Well, not until this coming Saturday!  I will be at the NBX Grand Prix of Cyclocross in Goddard Park.  I am only doing the Saturday race, so I can get in a long run on Sunday.  My race is at 8 in the morning and there are currently 136 riders!!  The race is also 15 mins shorter in time.  So, I guess I need to be more aggressive!

Check out some media from the Secret Squirrel, there was plenty of it!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2017 Lil Rhody Runaround

The last 3 weeks I have been trying to gain some fitness and get back in a groove. I have slowly been adding miles and am right around that 50 mile per week mark. I think I am starting to feel more fit, I have been able to end runs in the low to mid 6 min pace range without much trouble. Now I just need to up the mileage and start getting in some actual work outs. I feel for now, the upbeat training day, the progression run, do the trick.

Racing when unfit is always a challenge, but when there are races you like to run and you have the motivation to race, you say what the hell…so that’s what I did this weekend.

This would be my 8th Li’l Rhody Runaround. I knew it wouldn’t be my fastest or my slowest but I thought I could be somewhere near that 50 min mark.

2002-1:02:52 - 84th
2008-50:39 - 6th
2009-49:30 - 9th
2010-49:03 - 5th
2013-49:29 - 8th
2014-47:41 – 8th
2015-50:24 – 11th

I of course had to slightly sabotage my race and ending up having a bit too much fun on Saturday day/night. Drinking more than I should have and getting to bed later than I would have liked. This made for a groggy start to the AM on Sunday. I woke up thinking, yah, no…I am just going to run this one easy and have fun out there,

Luckily the race has a later start; I still felt a bit off on the warm up, but good enough to give it a go. My plan was to start out more conservative than previous years. This race always goes out stupid fast and I did not want to get sucked into that, it would only hurt me later.

So, mission accomplished there. OI went out in around 5:51 vs the usual sub 5:40. I felt pretty OK. Legs felt stiff and beat as if I have never raced before and my stomach felt like shit from all the beer and the late night grilled cheese and tater tots, otherwise, I felt like pure gold!

I fell in line with the usual suspects, Jonny, Muddy, Tommy 5k. There were some younger Westerly HS kids again which ended up being great bait when they were fading late in the race, Brightman went out hard per usual, but faded and got caught by Jonny. Muddy stayed close to me and I caught he last Westerly guy at the road and pulled away in the last mile. The 3 of us were pretty close. I finished in 50:13 in 5th place, not great, but not horrible on the slow day. Eric was slower than my 8th place time from 2014 and he is much faster than I am.

After the race, it got cold again. It was a weird weather day. We headed over to Jonny’s house after the awards for a bit. Would have loved to have stayed longer, but Saturday was catching up to me and I just wanted to go sit on the couch and watch TV.


Check out Matt Walker's video of the race!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Post Baystate

What to do now?  The Grand Prix Series was kinda The Thing this year!  It was also kinda a bust…well the whole year was.  The good thing now though, I am pretty motivated and getting to 100% healthy!

The week after Baystate I took very easy.  Most of this had to do with getting ready for the 6 Hour which was held on 10/28.  It was the first time in a new location, so I felt like I need to use every moment that week to get ready.  I only ran on Tuesday.  A super easy 3 miles.  I also ran a loop at the 6 hour, plus ran while setting up the course.

The next week, 10/29 to 11/4.  I was hoping to get a good transition week going.

10/29- 3 miles upbeat.  I just needed to get something in.  657-627-555
10/30- 6 miles pretty easy
10/31- 8.1 mile at TNT.  A small Halloween crowd, made for a shorter run.
11/1- 4.1 miles easy
11/2- Super hard trail run...but overall it was a lot of fun.  About 6.5 miles
11/3- 6 Miles with Bob Corsi, felt super tired
11/4- Around 8 miles at Big River with a group of 6.
41.7 or so miles for the week.

I am already feeling better this week.  I hope it continues

I plan on running the Lil Rhody Runaround on 11/19.  It will probably be pretty slow, but hopefully a “fun” race.

After that I foolishly? signed up for a cyclocross race!  This is funny on a couple levels.  

#1:  The reason it came about is Warren Angell tagged me in a post looking for a teammate on a relay team at the event.  It is a 20 minute race.  While one teammate is riding, the other has to eat a donut…and so on.  I have a donut reputation, so I guess I am the man for the job?  Our team name is Kreme Filled Squirrel Nuts.  The name of the race is Secret Squirrel CX and there are donuts, so I thought that name worked awesome.

I also signed up for the novice race, since I will be there anyway!

#2 funny thing.  I don’t own a bike!  I need to figure this small detail out by 11/25.  EEK!

After that I will make the trip out to Newport for the Annual Almost 10k.  I have run it way too many times, so why stop now?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Baystate Marathon 2017

The 2017 USATF-NE Grand Prix is now over.  It didn’t play out anything like I had hoped, but I finished it.  Starting in February in Amherst for the 10 miler, I thought I was getting myself into shape, but the rest of the year just never came together!

The Baystate Marathon was the last stop for the series.  The last and only time I ran at Baystate, things went incredible well.

Fast forward to this year, I was ramping up for the race pretty well, after a year of aches and pains and super low motivation, I had a solid 5 week block from 8/14to 9/17 and then started developing a cough that just would not go away.  Come to find out, I had walking pneumonia.  So, 4.5 weeks before Baystate I was barely running, just trying to get my respiratory system back in check so I could at least compete at Baystate and finish off the series.  About 3 weeks before the race I did a 3 mile run at 8:12 pace, which I believe was the low point on the sickness level.  But, I rested and got better…better enough and went into Baystate with realistic goals and a body capable of executing a pretty solid game plan.

Race day started out cool enough, maybe 50 degrees.  Not perfect, but good considering the way the weather has been lately.  We really never had a great weather day at a single USATF GP raced this year, it was very odd.

After parking and hanging around a bit, it was port-pottie time and wait around until the start.  My plan was to start much further back than if I were racing it.  I was thinking somewhere around 7 minute pace seemed reasonable.  I ended up starting right near the 3:05 Pacer and some familiar faces.

Gun goes off and here we go.  Man there were a lot of people around, I am not used to being in such large packs.  I felt like I was bouncing off everybody!  I fell into stride with Leslie O’Dell and some other master females which were near or around us.  For most of the first 13 miles I ran with Leslie, Ginger Reiner whom caught up to us around 6? And a couple other random dudes, other then the few seconds that Leslie was laid out on the ground after a cone jumped out in front of her, making her do a triple somersault and skid across the pavement before rejoining the group.  I did not know she was an aspiring gymnast; she should stick to running…

If you want to see more pics, check out Leslie's Facebook page, there are 100s

Pretty early, my legs felt…rough, but, my energy was good and I kept pushing along.  After 13, our little group broke up and I was somewhat alone, but chasing people down.  I started clicking away some 645s and passed a bunch of people.  I got through 30k still feeling somewhat OK.  Tired, sore, but OK.  The next few miles I stayed in that same range of 645ish.  I slowed a bit on 22 and 23 to 650s and then 24 was finally over 7.  I was pretty done.  I ran just over 7 again and then the last mile I was just under 8.  I had no more umph!

I crossed the line in 91st place.  I was in 138th at the half way point, so I would say I was pretty successful considering.  I did not negative split the course, which pissed me off a bit, but hey….I haven’t run over 10 miles in a month and a half!
Afterwards…we headed to Beerworks for beer and food.  Barely anyone in the joint….that makes post marathon food and beer much more enjoyable than being cramped with hundreds of others!!  My only complaint with Beerworks is that the bathroom is soooofaraway from the bar.  But, maybe that is a good thing?

Next…RI 6 Hour is tomorrow…I play Race Director for a day and watch others suffer!  After that, get in shape…again and run some decent races.  I am looking forward to next years GP Series, maybe I can get my rear in gear and score for the team once next year!

Monday, September 25, 2017

USATF GP #4 & #5

After a long break from USATF GP Races, we had two on back to back weekends.  Not great weekends for me to have them on, as I was getting sick right before CVS and was much worse before Lone Gull.

Sickness aside, I had to get the races in….here is a short recap of each.

CVS Downtown 5k...

I have not run this race since 2006.  I like the new course better than the old one.  I felt I may be able to run 17:30 feeling the way I was…I felt like I ran reasonably smart and was able to come away with a 17:07 running splits of 5:24, 5:32, 5:37…and a slow 34 for the last 0.1068xxxxx
It was a pretty hot day and I was glad it was not a longer race.  I was happy with that time given how I felt and I had great visions of feeling better for Lone Gull and running a better race…as I tend to do as the distance gets longer.

Fast forward a week to Lone Gull...

The week before the race I took 2 days off to try to feel better as my chest congestion had gotten much worse.  I ran on Friday coughing more than I ever had in a run and Saturday was only a little bit better.  At that point I knew I wasn’t racing and would just run in the race at some pace.
I started pretty far back taking 13 seconds to get across the line.  I went out in 6:32 and tried to just get in a good run progressing from there.  I ran about 20:00/18:37 for the 5k splits.  This was my first time at Lone Gull and I would definitely vote for it to be back in the GP for next year.

Now...4 weeks to get healthy.  My training for Baystate has not been good…I never had any thoughts on heading there to a run a PR, but I would like to run a decent race.  I guess I will have to hope my body just remembers how to run a marathon.  

Editor's Note:  I went to the doctor and have "borderline pneumonia"  That explains a lot!  On meds and rest...Baystate is going to be fun!  :/

Monday, September 11, 2017

Lang’s King of the Hill Tournament

Most runners outside of my Turtle circle don’t know that I have always been a bowler. I started bowling when I was young….started bowling in leagues when I was maybe 10 or 12. I was always a decent bowler. I had some success when I was younger, nothing crazy, but some tournament victories and pretty good games. I never averaged very high in league when I was younger and was more of a tournament performer.

I bowled league through the spring of 2007 and then stopped. I bowled here and there for fun with friends…but never anything serious.

In the early part of last year, my buddy Mark and I started going to the alley once a week and bowling for the fun of it. Long story short, I ended up getting rid of my old equipment (which was very out dated) and getting new stuff and started a league last summer with Mark. After that the Pro Shop owner, also a coach from my old junior bowling days asked me to bowl on his team on the Lang’s Invitational Men’s League. So, it began…me bowling again and doing pretty well here and there. This past April a teammate and I got 2nd in the USBC Association Doubles Tournament and I also placed in the money in the singles tournament. I also shot a high 3-game series of 794 (264.66 average) this past Spring.

With all that said, fast forward to Saturday 8/26 and the Lang’s King of the Hill Tournament. It was the second King of the Hill Tournament (they will occur every 2 weeks) I finished 6th in the last one, however there was a scoring error….I should have made the step ladder finals, but didn’t notice until a week later) I was excited to bowl in the 2nd tournament, although some wrist issues over the last 2 week almost kept me from going at all.

Mark was also bowling in the tournament, so we had some lunch and beers beforehand and headed over to Lang’s and got a pitcher of BBC Inhopnito. We signed up and got ready. The format for this tournament is bowl 4 games and they cut the field in half based off of your total score plus handicap (handicap is based off of the difference of your average and 220. You get 80% of the difference, so if you average 200, you take 220-200=20*0.80 and you get 17 pins per game handicap)

After the field is cut in half, you bowl 2 more games and take that total and add it to the previous 4 games total. They then cut to 5 for stepladder finals.

My first 2 games of qualifying were solid, I started with a 202 and came back with a 258. Having a big game early is great for confidence. The 3rd game I was throwing great shots, but missed some easy spares and finished a disappointing 172. I knew I needed another solid 230+ game to make the next round now.

The next game started well…strike after strike after strike. Feeling smooth, talking to people etc, just having a good time on a Saturday afternoon. I believe after like 8 strikes in a row I was like, “well I should make the cut to the next round now”, still not really thinking about the possible 300. I think it was the shot in the 9th frame that finally had me thinking about it. The 9th shot is one of the most important shots in any game, as it sets you up for a good 10th frame, but getting the 9th shot in a 300 attempt is even more important. After getting the 9th, heading into one more frame…even though you need 3 strikes, there is no more sitting down, you are just up there doing your thing. I was pretty in the zone so to speak. I wasn't thinking about anything else that was going on around me. I didn’t notice that there were more people watching. I threw the first shot and it was dead on, perfect strike, no slow falling pins, just 10 straight back. I came back, waited for my bowl, basically looking down the whole time. At this point he heart is definitely beating a bit faster. I just tried to keep my pre-shot routine the same and not rush things. The second shot, same result. Damn good shot. Now, you can throw as many good shots as you want and it doesn’t mean all 10 pins will fall. Being able to carry good shots is half the battle, so I was waiting for a solid 10 pin, or something to just NOT FALL. Last and final shot, I don’t remember much, I just remember that I threw another solid ball, I put it where it needed to be and it hit the pocket and all those damn pins went down. I was pretty pumped, there were hands coming at me from all angles with “good jobs” it was pretty awesome. It was like a weight lifted from off my shoulders, finally throwing a 300.

So, after all that excitement…I made the cut as top seed and now had to throw 2 more games to make sure I qualified for the step ladder finals. I ended up bowling a 256 and a 204 to end up top seed for the step ladder. So, I just had to bowl in the final game. There was a lot of waiting before that though. I had to wait through 3 games before bowling Dave Paquin in the finals.

Dave is a great bowler, he averaged higher than I do and through a solid 236 in the semifinals.

The final game the pins fell in my favor and I was able to stay clean for most of the game and more importantly I was able to throw 5 strikes in the middle of the game to win 234 to 189.

It was the first tournament I have won in many years and it felt damn good to put in a good string of games. I had one bad game all day, but was able to come back after that game and win. Not a bad Saturday afternoon.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bobby Doyle 5 Miler

I was not set on running this race until the day before.  I signed up early in the day, after getting back from running 13 miles in and around Big River.  I didn’t want to race, I would have been happier to get in a long run, but the people I usually run long with were either doing this race, or not available to run.  Soooo….I knew the only way I would make sure to get in a decent day of running was to go to the damn race.

After my 13 miles on Saturday morning, I spent 6 hours at the bowling alley,  bowling in a tournament and drinking beer.  It felt like a repeat of the Run 4 Kerri the week before.  Fortunately that was not the case.  I woke up a little tired, but not feeling like the previous week. 

My original plan was to get down to Narragansett early and get in 5 miles before doing another 3 warm up before the race.  That was the only thing that I sabotaged.  I slept a little later and only got in 5 miles before the race.

It was overcast and muggy as fuck.  It was not like last year’s horrible weather and it certainly was not like last week’s awesome weather…but it was not weather for fast times.

Although the race was not in the USATF-NE GP Series this year, the race organizers decided to keep the team prizes for USATF teams only.  Jim Pawlicki organized a team over the last month or so and we were able to field both Open and Masters Teams.  We were one runner short of a 50+ team.

Anyway…that was added incentive to run….so here is the race recap.

The first mile is fast and with the millions of High School kids in the race it was fast…I am usually good at not getting caught up in such craziness and did a good job not sprinting out in the first ¼ mile.  I fell in behind Dave and could see Josh and Joe from CMS just ahead.  Teammate Kevin Gorman of Level Renner fame went by me around 0.5 miles.  After the mile, 5:31, I went by Dave and Kevin and shortly after Joe.  Josh would stay ahead throughout the race, I came up on him a few times, but he kept gaping me again.  From 2 on the race was just a grind.  It was humid as hell and nothing felt easy, but we got though mile after mile and final made it past the 4 mile marker.  Before this point I had no clue where the others were behind me, but just after 4 Joe went by me and pulled up along side Josh.  I was waiting for the whole slew of them to come by at this point.  We made the turn onto South Pier Road and headed towards the finish.  This road sucks, it is slightly up hill….VERY slight…but it is straight and just seems to go forever.  Finally I could see the sign where the ¼ to go mark was.  I was keeping Josh and Joe within kicking distance and all of a sudden Joe waves me by…I thought he was letting me go to just out kick me later!  Turns out he said after that he was just spent and feeling like shit.  Right around the same time that Joe waved me bye, I heard someone say, “Go David”  Oh shit!  Dave is right there too!!  This cheering was added incentive to keep at it.  We turned the final corner and through the 8k mark to the finish.
Turns out the 5 scorers on the CMS team were all damn close.  We all finished within 20 seconds!

40th-Josh Perks             28:40.0
42nd-Robert Jackman   28:46.0
43rd-Joe Shairs             28:51.0
44th-David Principe     28:52.0
47th-Kevin Gorman      29:00.0

CMS guys heading out for a cool down.

So a better race then the last, but over a minute slower than 2015 at the same race.  Training over the last few weeks has been good and this week is going similar.  Consistency is the key and I am finally getting to that point at least!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Favorite/Best Races

The other day I was thinking of all the races I have done over the years and all the ones on the list that I still want to do!  I figured I would compile a list of what I think my top races have been over the years.  I picked based on the basis that I really enjoyed the race or would love to go back or just a great experience.  Races that stick out I guess.

Krispy Kreme Challenge – I have run the KKC 3 times now and I plan on going back again and again.  2.5 mile run, consume a dozen donuts, then run back 2.5 miles.  It is horrible and awesome at the same time.

ENDURrun – 160km over 8 days with 7 days of running.  The last day is a marathon.  The people are great. 

Transrockies – 6 days of racing in the Rockies.  Awesome way to see the Colorado countryside.

Empire State Building Run Up – Short and sweet.  Run from the bottom to the top, ending outside on the observatory deck.  It is wild.

JFK 50 Miler – JFK is just an awesome ultra.  It is big and different then others I have run, I plan on going back eventually.

Grog and Dog Jog – Team running and eating event with costumes….nothing more to say!

What are some of YOUR favorite races?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Run 4 Kerri

This year’s Run 4 Kerri was all about the great weather.  Too bad I am not in great shape and had too much fun at Foolproof’s Augtoberfest the night before the race to have taken full advantage of it. 
I woke up the morning of the race feeling like hell, a headache, no desire to get out of bed, just felt beat overall.  I finally rolled out of bed and into the shower, hoping this would get me out of my haze a bit…

I finally stumbled out of the shower and proceeded to brush the beer taste out of my mouth and get my things together.  My shoes were drenched from sweat from the prior days 13+ miler, which was supposed to be 10…so I just threw my racing shoes in my bag and used those for the warm up, race and cool down.  There was a stop at the gas station for gas and Gatorade and then off to Matunuck Elementary School.

It was an amazing day…it was cool, it was not humid and the sky was beautiful.  Soon after arriving I grabbed my bib # and threw on my running shoes and soon after that a group of 7 or 8 of us went out for a warm-up.

The race…
Zak and I had talked about started relatively easy and trying to pick it up.  This sounded great, because I was not in any shape to go out hard; having someone that I have raced with and run 1000’s of miles with would also make the race easier...

Yadda yadda…the race starts and Zak, Kaela O’Neil, Dan Hawkins and myself became a group pretty quick.  I believe there may have been a couple others early, but I don’t recall.  Through the first ½ mile or so, I felt pretty good, but unless you go out like a complete asshole, there is no reason you should feel bad a half mile into a 4 mile race.  We had thought around 5:50 pace would be a good start and we went through around 5:43, so a tad quicker, but not too fast.  The next mile went by pretty smooth as well.  We were all still together and we were catching up to some people that may have started out a bit too quick….like they always do.  We hit the 2nd mile in 5:40.  The next mile is the toughest on the course in my opinion.  There is no huge hill or crazy headwind, it is just the 3rd mile of a 4 mile race and you are on a straight road for about half of it, where I tend to fall asleep and then you turn into a twisty neighborhood then finish the 3rd mile with the only hill on the course.  So, with all that said, I made a conscious effort yo try and push on the long straight stretch.  When I did this the pack broke up a bit, I am not sure if I just pulled away or what, but I started reeling in a dude in blue and I saw Dave not too far ahead.  I caught blue man at around 2.5 and started the twisty neighborhood section…got up the goddamn hill, hitting 3 in 5:49 and tried to get my legs back after cresting.  I was doing my best to try and get closer to Dave, but after 3.5 I don’t believe I got any closer, but it kept me going for sure.  With around 0.4 to go, you take one last 90 degree right hand turn, when I took that turn I could see that Zak wasn’t too far back, so the motivation to keep the pedal on the gas just went up a notch, I am not going to catch Dave, but I sure in hell did not want to get caught by Zak!  The last bit of the course is a slight up, a slight down and then about 200 meters on the driveway to the school.  I kicked hard and was able to get under 23 mins, with a 22:56.  Not too bad the way I was feeling that day!  I ran faster than Arnold Mills, but had way better weather.  Hopefully a decent performance will get me going.

A big group of us did the course again for a cool down, I bonked pretty hard.  I just wanted Gatorade and food.  Awards happened reasonably quick considering the timing companies issues….and off to Mew’s we went for lunch…14 of us in fact!  All in all it was a good race and I even picked up a prize!  Haha.  

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Arnold Mills 4 Miler

I am on a blog roll!

Last year was the first year I had ever run the Arnold Mills 4 Miler and I enjoyed the race, I also had a pretty decent race, running 22:16.

This year, I had no thoughts of running the race, but as it turned out, many Turtles were going to run, so I said what the hell.

Dave and I did a WO the Thursday prior, which went way better than expected. We then pushed our long run up to Saturday instead of Sunday to have one extra day to recover before the race, however that was one less day to recover from the WO before the long run. My hammies were screaming! It was a brutally humid day for the run too, but we got it done, 16 miles in the bank.

I ran easy Sunday and Monday and planned on running Arnold Mills as a work out. My plan was to start right around 6 min pace and try to pick it up.

I felt a bit sluggish on the warm up, but my hammies were way better than Saturday. The weather was way better too. The humid conditions of the early weekend were gone and we were left with sun, a slight breeze and warm, but not HOT conditions.

The gun went off and the heard of high school kids that run this race were off. Through the first ½ mile I must have been in 50th place. I felt smooth and relaxed. The GPS had around 6 to 6:10 pace throughout and I went through the mile in 5:53…so pretty much spot on. At this point I was passing loads of people and still felt pretty solid as we looped around back to the same road the mile is on to go through the 2 mile mark in 5:48; so far mission on track. After the 2 mile there is a slight downhill that I really tried to open it up on and track down the 2 runners ahead of me. I ended up catching and passing both of them prior to the 3 and could now see Dave ahead having his own battles. I went through 3 in 5:40.

The 4th mile of this course has a lot of sun and pretty much the only significant hill on the course (right around 3.3?) I felt pretty solid up the hill, way better than last year. You go back past the corner that has the most spectators and have a half mile to go. I was trailing another high school runner and I felt like I was gaining a bit. Just a bit passed where I was parked, the runner moves to the side of the road, stops and attempts to throw-up, I don’t believe anything came out, but it enabled me to get past him. However, that was short lived; whatever hacking he did over there must have made him feel better, because he went flying back past me. We turned back onto the main road, which is a slight downhill for about a quarter mile and then took the final right onto Arnold Mills Road and across the finish line in 23:12 in 27th place. Not too bad. I felt good, I didn’t die and I feel great today. Overall a success! How much faster could I have gone? Probably not much, but the simple act of not going out over my head, allowed me to feel stronger and run well late in the race. I never went to the well, keeping that work out mentality.

We ended up having around 10 to 12 Turtles at the race, depending on who actually “counts” as a Turtle. We enjoyed a couple beers hanging outside by the cars watching others finish. Not a bad way to spend the morning.

Friday, June 23, 2017


Motivation is a funny thing.  I have been struggling with it most of the year, even a bit last year.  I had great running years in 2014 and 2015.  I ran a great 50 miler at Pineland and a great marathon at Baystate.  I ran numerous other races feeling awesome....and feeling horrible sometimes.  But I was excited and motivated.

Last year, I was ready and motivated at the start of the year.  Coming off of Baystate and then Busa at the end of 2015, I thought big things were in the cards...not so much.

This year, I was excited about the grand prix series and I thought it would force some motivation.  But, aches and pains diminished that quickly.

I have been pretty excited lately about getting back to more trail and ultra stuff, racing more and just having fun with it.  I can even jump into the road races with little care of how I do, but I still push and still run to the best of my ability.

After Ribfest, I feel a bit more motivated.  I feel this happens after races.  After seeing all the competition.  Seeing people you want to race against and beat.  Running half way decent while being in horrific running shape.  So, I am slightly more motivated.  At least I am while sitting at a desk while I rather be outside.  Then you get outside and are faced with the run...the workout or whatever and I feel like "fuck it" I will just do this or that instead of more of this or that.

Right now, I am ready to roll....I want to race I want to get out there and beat myself into the ground, but that's probably because my back is still killing me and I can't really do that.

So the motivation is funny...cause it is there when I can't or won't do what I think I want to do.  It is there when I have excuses not to do what I want to do...or want to want to do.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Some Racing Happened

I started a post after VCM that I never got to finish, so here it is with what other races and happenings that have occurred.

Thanks to Jack Pilla and Hoka One One New England I was able to run the relay at the VCM.

I ran a two-person mixed team with Jackie.  I expected to not run great, as my training has been pretty non-existent.  People kept saying, oh you will probably surprise yourself, you will run fast.  Well, I know my body pretty well and generally have a good idea of the shape I am in.  I thought if the stars aligned perfectly I could possibly run 6 min pace.  I went out just over that pace and had some miles just under and just over.  I went through 10k in 37:21 (6:00.6 pace) and 10 miles in 1:00:42 (6:04.2 pace).  The watch was reading way long, so it "appeared" I was running faster than the race marks, but I know better than to rely on the GPS.

The last 3 miles were a bitch,. I was in major slow-down mode.  I crossed the 13.1 mat in 1:20:57 (6:10.5 pace), running the last 3.109375 in a dreadfully slow 6:30.7 pace. haha

Jackie wanted to break 7 min pace and pretty much ran that on the dot, negative splitting.

We finished 2nd in our division out of 295 teams.  Not too bad.

The rest of the trip was fun, the main reason I wanted to go.  Burlington is a cool town with a lot of good places to eat and drink!

The week after VCM I was signed up to run Cranmore.  I was originally looking forward to Cranmore and just running different race and just racing in general, hoping it would get me out of my funk.  Well, the Friday I was supposed to leave for Cranmore, I just wasn't feeling it.  More the trip in general than the race itself.  So, I said F-it and stayed in RI.  It was the right choice.  It was a better weekend.  I was able to go to DJ's last RI state meet and got to go bowling.

The next weekend was Gaspee Days 5k.  My first 5k ever and this was 20 years from that date, so of course I had to run.  I knew it would be slow, but I didn't really care.

It was a hot ass day, but I was excited to have double digit Turtles out racing.  I ran pretty stupidly (for my fitness level) and suffered on the way in.  It seems I run well here every other year over the last 4 years.  When I run well I have that moment of WOW, I don't train for 5ks and I ran semi-fast...I wonder what would happened if I tried harder...that generally fades in a week or so.  haha  Although I ran Gaspee for the first time in 1997, I have only run it 8 times...but it seems to be the new norm to run it


Next up on the schedule was the Ribfest 5 Miler.  Back to the USATF-NE Grand Prix Series.  Ahhh...I remember being motivated for this...not so much now.  I was still game for the race though.  I now had a good idea of how bad my fitness level was and knew I would not make the same mistakes I made at Gaspee.  Come the Thursday before the race, I did something to my back, which is still killing me, but this made me even more conservative in the race.

I went out at 6 min pace and felt pretty good leg-wise.  I was thenable to track down a good amount of runners over the last half of the race.  My last mile was my fastest at 5:45 (downhill last .25ish).  Overall I was pleased with 29:38...that's pretty much my marathon PR pace! Yup, I have some work to do.

Now, I am feeling slightly more motivated than I had been feeling.  I just need to figure this back thing out.  It certainley feels better when I am up and about, sitting SUCKS!!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Breaking Bob

A rare non-race post. There is not a USATF-NE GP race until June, but I will be racing again soon. I wanted to get my ass in shape and run well at Ribfest, but the harder I tried, the less motivated I have gotten. I came to the realization that I am just not having fun with it. I am forcing runs and feel like hell most of the time. I am achy and beat up. So, I decided to stop focusing on getting in shape. I am just going to go out and do whatever feels good on any given day. I am going to race just for the sake of doing a race and not care how piss poor I do…and let me tell you, it will be bad!

So, what does “have fun” mean? I guess whatever. For now, I am going to try to get back on the trails more. Try to do some races I have never done and re-visit some that I have not done in years.

So, first up is the VCM Relay. I was fortunate enough to get an entry through my involvement with Hoka One One New England. I will be running the 2-person team. I have run the VCM Relay like a million times with the Turtles, but not since 2009. We had many memorable and can’t remember trips to Burlington. I have run the 5-Person team with 5, 4 and 3 members. I have also run the 2-person team alone the day after running the Wachusett Mountain Race. (My teammate was injured).

The next race after that will be the Cranmore Mountain Race. The last and only time I ran this race was also 2009! That was a rough race. It was my first real mountain race and I sucked! I don’t climb that well, I am heavy and that doesn’t help my climbing. This year’s course has some pretty solid downhill and I think I can do well on that section…the rest; well the rest will be a lot of suffering. But…FUN right?! Haha. I am looking forward to it.

So since I decided to start doing more trail race and uphill racing I thought I should start getting back on the trails. I ran a very rainy easy short trail run on Saturday, it was more like a river run…but it was a ton of fun. Last night I headed over to Lincoln Woods with my goal to get in a good amount of uphill running and to do a fartlek of sort and basically stumble around the trails making myself suffer.

Well, mission accomplished. I was sucking wind on the long and steep ups. I was hammering the downhills and I had no clue where the hell I was going. I went around the baseball field in the park which along the fence was saturated with mud and water, I just barreled ass through it…the moms and dads gave me some interesting looks!

So with my new found sense of enjoying running…again…maybe I will actually get in shape…maybe.

Speaking of trails and whatnot.  I starting this NE MUT Blog...and there is a Facebook Page as well.  Basically a round up of anything I see about NE MUT running.  If you have anything interesting to share...please do. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Doyle's Emerald Necklace 5 Miler

I love this race. It is really a party that happens to have a race before it. This was my 7th time at Doyle's. Sometimes I run slow, sometimes fast. This year was more on the slow side. I didn’t expect to run well and I was right! The good news is that I believe I finally figured out my “injury” issues. I finally was able to get to PT and get some stuff sorted out and am no longer in pain. So, I am very happy with that and ready to get training a bit better.


The race… The start was delayed over 20 mins, which kinda sucked. But, hey what can you do? The horn went off and off we went. I tried not to get out too fast, although I was out faster than I should have, knowing that I am not in great shape. I am sure that affected my race a bit, but not too bad. From the mile to 2 mile, I slowed down a bit, but I felt half way decent.

After that, it just went to shit. I was not in it mentally and really just got through it. I really didn’t care and just felt out of it mentally. I picked it up a bit in the last mile, that little bit of downhill certainly helped! Anyway, I finished it off “strong” and got to the important part of the day…BEER and friends.

We had a good group of people there and had some fun drinking beer, enjoying the sun and petting fun dogs!

Our personal beer table.


We stopped at the British Beer Company on the way home for some good grub and then called it a night!

I was much more successful bowling in a bowling tournament on Saturday at Alley Katz in Westerly. Coming in 13th out of 117 bowlers in the Over 200 Average Handicap Division and coming in 2nd in the Doubles Under 400 Average Scratch division with my teammate John. 1st would have been better…we missed that by 3 pins!

Alley Katz.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

USATF-NE GP Race # 2: New Bedford 1/2 Marathon

The second USATF-NE GP race was upon us and another race where my body was not happy with me leading up to it. I had a solid 2 weeks after Amherst, one really good work out and then woke up one morning with some pain in the back of my knee, in which I ran 13 hilly miles on and then the next day I had to stop mid-run because the pain was too much. The was the Sunday leading up to New Bedford. I had pain to the touch behind the knee into my outer hamstring on Monday and somewhat on Tuesday. I took those two days off, along with Wednesday to be sure I was doing everything I could to make it to the starting line on Sunday. I haven’t taken three days off in a week in about a year. I ran 2 miles on Thursday with no pain, but a very tight leg. I then ran 3 miles on both Friday and Saturday with no pain and less tightness, so….what’s 10 more miles?

The weather leading up to New Bedford was looking a bit ify at best. On Friday the forecast called for 3 to 5 inches of snow and 20 to 30 mph winds. YAY! When all was said and done, the temps were good, there was no snow or rain…BUT there was a lot of wind. New Bedford is always windy, but this was WAY windier than usual.

Around 5 miles

So, onto the race… The gun went off and.....we walked over the line. Once we got going we hit some swirling odd mostly headwind through the 1st mile. I wanted to run in the 5:45 range for these first few miles and I hit the first mile in 5:46. I was trailing a large pack that was about 20 feet ahead of me, so I made a small surge to catch up. There had to be 25 guys in this pack, it was nice to just latch on and let the pack do the work. Unfortunately the pack was short lived. We only stayed together through around 2.25 miles. Hathaway Road went by quick, the wind wasn't blowing as bad there and it got down right warm as the sun popped out. I felt like I worked way to hard from mile 3 to 4, only to run a 5:59 mile. After that mile we were on the fastest section of the course. Dave caught up to me and I felt a bit better, felt like i started rolling well. The next 2 miles were 5:25 and 5:36. The speed came to an end shortly after that as the wind started blowing again, but we were able to slide through 9 miles at 5:45.3 pace. That' where all the fun would end.

As you hit the 9 mil mark you could look down and see the white caps crashing in the harbor and the flag straight out flapping away, in the unfavorable direction. Once we hit that corner it was like hitting a wall. The wind would blow hard then a tad less, then harder. Dave had 15 secs on me at this point, but was basically alone up ahead. I had the advantage of having 3 or 4 guys to run with. We were in a pack bouncing off each other as our bodies got hit by the wind in different ways. It was brutal. We caught up to Dave just before the 10 mile mark, which I hit in a blazing 6:30. The next ¾ of a mile were no better, we were just getting beat down by the relentless wind. Finally hitting the 11 mile mark in 6:21 we were clear of the worst wind of the day. My legs were left feeling like Jell-O and as much as I tried to push on, I just couldn’t get it going. Hitting the 12 mile mark brings on the hill and one last kick in the balls before having some downhill to the finish. I did not run the hill well and for once Dave actually gapped me on a hill! I was passed by a couple runners when we crested and I was just done. I gave one hard push when we turned the corner onto Rt 6 and got hit by more wind. We turned the final corner onto Pleasant Street, ironic no? And I was able to muster up something that resembled a kick to pass two runners that passed me at the top of the hill. My finish time was 1:17:47 (same pace as Baystate?) It is not a time to be thrilled with, but considering I wasn’t able to finish my run the previous Sunday, I am happy with how I performed.

After the race, a very short cool down back to the car was all I felt like doing as it was getting pretty chilly and then off to The Pour Farm for some tasty beverages and food.

I have now run New Bedford 8 or so times. It was my first ½ Marathon, it is a race I have run hard in and PR’d and a race that I have used as a marathon paced long run. So, I have experienced it in many different forms. This year’s weather added to the variety! One thing that has stayed the same at New Bedford and I am surprised by it every time for some reason…but the cops out working the race are by far the most friendly encouraging cops I have ever encountered in a race! It is great to see!

Anyway, onto the next USATF-NE GP race at the Frank Nealon Boston Tune-Up 15K in Upton, MA on April 1st.

If anyone is looking for some fun at the end of April, there is only one place to be…The Fool’s Mile at the Foolproof Brewing Company. Come check it out!

Friday, March 3, 2017

USATF-NE GP Race # 1: Amherst 10 Miler

My main goal for 2017 is to run the full USATF-NE Grand PrixSeries. I have run races in the series here and there over the last 15 years, but have never been able to run the full series. Last year it was a thought, but the schedule wasn’t to my liking and my motivation to race was lacking greatly. This year I was 95% happy with all the races in the series and was excited to have a plan and focus for the year. On top of that, joining CMS for this purpose has given me other goals and has added to the race experience.

I was finally starting to get on a roll with training at the end of January and the first week of February, ending with the Krispy KremeChallenge. Once returning from North Carolina I began to feel sick and that turned into a full-blown cold. I still ran every day, but the mileage and quality were shit.

I was finally over that and had a good workout on Thursday February 16th. It was a work out that showed some progress over the last month. That was followed by a good long run with a good size group on the Sunday. My foot had been bothering me during the day starting on maybe that Saturday, but it only bothered me when I was sitting, standing or walking….not while running! That changed on Wednesday the 22nd. I got out of my car to run and I knew right away my foot felt not so good. I ran about 50 feet, stopped, turned around and walked back to the car.

I was going to run on Thursday to see how it felt, but figured I would give it another day of rest and icing. Friday I ran about ½ mile on it and there was no pain. I still had the pain during the day, but it was definitely less than it had been. The day before Amherst, I ran 2.8 miles from home and had no pain and ran much quicker than anticipated without effort. OK, cool…I will at least make it to the starting line.

Race day was here and it was forecast to be around 40 at the start with some wind. This is decent weather for February, but with the crazy warm weather as of late, it felt a bi chilly walking outside. Wind aside it was still an ideal temperature for a 10 miler.

Fast forward to the race itself, I had thoughts on what I could run, but was a bit unsure. Amherst is not an easy course, mostly because there are two miles on the course that take away 30+ secs from you…easily. So, you have to run fast elsewhere without going crazy, to make sure your overall pace is where you want it to be.

The goals I had in mind were to break 59 mins and the outside goal was to run 5:50 pace, which is 58:20. I ran the last 10 miles of Baystate in 58:40, so 5:50 pace seems easy in my brain…but when you run over 6 mins on 3 miles in the race, you really need to be running 5:40-45s to get it done. I knew Dave would be game to run in that zone and I spoke with Alan Bernier before the race and he had similar goals.

The gun was quick, I was talking with Steve Dowsett and all of a sudden there was a bang. I felt like I got out good, but not too quick. I really held back the first half mile. I wanted to go through the mile in 5:50 as I knew the 2nd mile would be fast because of the nature of the course. Dave, Alan and I were within feet of each other though the mile in 5:48.9. Perfect. As we moved along, Alan and Dave would gap me on the small downs and I would catch back up on the ups. We hit the flat after 2 miles and I got just ahead of Alan and started catching up to Dowsett, then went by. I felt pretty good, but felt slow. I figured it was we were beginning to go gradually up hill. This mile just continues to get steeper and steeper until you peak around 3.3 miles. The mile was not as steep as I remember from running the course in 2012 but it definitely slowed you down. I was 5:27 at 2 miles and then 6:14 through 3. I was pleased enough with that slowdown, I had done some data searching before the race and the slowdowns that I had found ranged from 40 secs to a minute and a half. On the up new teammate Ed Sheldon went by me, but I was able to get him back when we peaked and started heading down. In my mind I had gaped all the people I had passed, but this was not the case at all, as I would find out later on in the race.

I was 6:11 at 4 miles and from there until 7 the race was pretty uneventful. Some downs and some flat. The dirt road was in solid shape, my fat ass was sinking in spots, but overall you could not complain. I was focused ahead, trying to make up as much time on the down hills that I could. I picked off a few runners and as each mile went by, although not feeling amazing, I felt better about what my time would be.

Right before 7 miles Dave came back on me. I went through that mile in 5:30 and he went through in 5:26. He loves those down hills. I knew I need to keep my foot on the gas and not let him get by and pull away like he did at the Newport 10k.

I was successful in doing this and put a couple seconds on him between 7 and 9. However, than Ed Sheldon came back on me! This was right before turning right on Strong Street heading uphill towards the 9 mile mark. I was able to keep in in sight, but he gaped me enough where I didn’t think I would be able to catch. Finally we peaked the hill at around 9.6 and started the downhill towards the loop around the parking lot. When we finally entered the lot, I started moving a bit, but didn’t start kicking until we hit that final right hand turn. I pushed as hard as I could and was reeling Ed in, but in the last 10 feet he heard me coming and put in a last burst to hold me off. I should have started moving earlier than I did, but I was pretty shot from that last hill. I finished in 58:23, pretty much my pie in the sky goal for the race, so I’ll take that.

Dave came in 12 seconds later, running damn close to his 10 mile PR on a not very PR friendly course.

After waiting through the shit-show that was the awards, we headed out for a 2 mile cool down then headed to the Northhampton Brewery for some beer and food.

Imperial Stout and some chili with my cheese.

All in all, I am pleased with this race. My training has been less than optimal, but I now have a starting point. There are less than 3 weeks until race # 2, the New Bedford ½ Marathon. While I cannot make huge leaps and bounds in fitness between now and then, I plan on doing as much as I can, while hoping my body plays nice and allows it!

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!