Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Show Me Love

These are trying times for our city.

Regardless of personal opinions, it's a fact that things are broken here, and have been for a long time. One can only hope that some real change can occur as a result of what we've seen these past few days.

We're taught that all of us are created equal, and thanks to the efforts of those before us, every American deserves the same opportunity to live a life of liberty and of happiness. And, above all, to have their voice heard.

In Baltimore, and in virtually every other city and town throughout our country, this isn't always the case.

I think we can all agree that in times like this, the best rule to follow is quite simple: treat others the way we'd want to be treated. You never know what someone else has gone through to get where they are. Be thankful for what we have.

I'm thankful to have a great family, and a family of friends that have allowed me to call Baltimore "home" for the past decade. Yesterday, a few of us gathered at Patterson Park to do our workout. The park was full of people highlighting the spirit of the city. Those of us doing the workout had fan support from others hanging out, and then we ate pizza in the neighborhood. It's an amazing community we've built. Never forget it.

Friday, April 24, 2015

It's Going Down For Real

For the 5th straight year, a group of us headed out to Westminster after work on a Wednesday evening in April to run a mile, downhill, as fast as we could.

The Westminster Main Street Mile became an immediate team-favorite and over the years we've seen some massively impressive performances from the likes of Ed, Jubb, Berdan, Diane, and others. Last year just 4 of us made the trip and this year, which yielded the slowest winning time in the years we've been going. This year would be even slower.

Indeed, when your team consists of 3 slow dragons, a kid who just ran the marathon of the century 2 days earlier, and three others dealing with minor injuries, you can't expect to light the streets up. Add in a stiff headwind and a weak field and poof - you have a high school kid winning the race in 4:26.

But what you can always count on with this group is a fun time, hard effort, and being the first to consume our ice cream sandwiches after the race.

Snake Hill Bandits enjoying their post-race ice cream sandwiches
So here's how the evening went:

Graham and Christa rode the Metro to Owings Mills. Props to both of them, especially Christa, who rode it end-to-end. In all my years I believe Brennan is the only one who's done that. Me and Bish met them in OM, and we drove through some rain out 140 to Westminster. The sun came back out and dried up the roads, but it was definitely a cool night, and we saw that we'd have a headwind in the race.

We met Jon, PJ, and Meg D, and warmed up - as a team - around the McDaniel campus. A quick stop at the cars and we were off, up the hill, to the start. Up there we saw former Falls Road employee, Rory Jenkins, who just happened to be home. The initial drop is pretty steep, which is where I hobble down the hill and watch the race unfold. I had a good view of the women's race. Susan Hendrick of GRC took it out hard, a tactic that worked for the win, as the distance that Meg D had to try and close was just not manageable. Susan took the W in 4:51, with Meg D in 2nd at 4:57. Christa was just off her time from last year, taking 3rd in 5:09. At the awards, they announced that a Kyle Grimm, alleged 27 year old female, had won the race. We (I) stomped up to Nut Hall and said there was no way unless Kyle was pulling a Bruce Jenner that was the case. Upon video review, results were adjusted.

Since I get dropped like one of the cluster flies in my house from the initial downhill, I can't really see what's going on up front, but after the race we heard Rory finished 2nd to the high schooler, in the slowest winning time since prior to 2011. In 3rd was Timothy Snyder, from Frederick. Our first finisher was Steve "Bish" Febish, in 6th at 4:37. Graham, who trotted down the hill and, despite marathon soreness, could easily have gone faster, ran 4:47. Jon ran 5:01 and PJ finished at 5:04, before yours truly huffed and puffed across the line in 5:08 - the same time I ran last year. Graham and I then hustled over to the gym to be the first ones to get our ice cream sandwiches, which we consumed before anyone else even got there.

Then it was awards time, and with Meg D and Christa generating positive cash flow, it was a pretty good day already. Febish and Graham were 2nd and 3rd in their respective age group so they got medals (although technically Kyle Grimm should have then bumped Graham, but we're taking him out of the equation for foolishly saying he was a girl). Then it was the best category, Men 30-39, which we swept.

Thug Life
Before we left we each had another ice cream sandwich, then Graham dunked a piece of paper on a 10 foot rim. We got back to Canton where we had a late-night dining session at La Tolteca, which I paid for the next day.

For next year I hope more of you come out. I've got to say, it was more fun when we had a ton of people there and everybody did fun things and was cool. There's not a lot of that going on these days. C'mon people, loosen up!

Monday, April 20, 2015

119th Boston Marathon

Photo credit: Sean Caskey via Instagram
 Graham Peck with the race of the year so far!

1:12:30 at the half, 2:26:09 at the finish for 45th overall. "I don't know how I felt so good," he said. 27 seconds faster than he ran last year on what was definitely a windy day. Graham was the top Maryland finisher, and top from DC/MD/VA as he finished about a minute ahead of Michael Wardian. It was also pointed out that Graham's bib was #119 and it was the 119th edition of this race. Coincidence? I think not. Nick Gehlsen was 2.5 minutes faster than last year.

Bethany Caldwell negative split 1:40 to 1:35 for a huge PR of 3:15:23 in her first Boston. Bryn Burkholder finished just 1 second off her PB, but a huge Boston best in 3:20:09. Sara Damiano holds onto finish in 3:24:24 in her first trip here. Jen Sheely ran a minute personal best of 3:28:51, flew home and went straight to Pasta Mista.

Here are a few of the messages I received after the race:

Graham: "I don't get how I felt so good. Shaking my head man...0 calories or ounces of water after 19. Just ripping so hard. I knew I'd have ag ood last 10 in me just didn't think I had 57:30 in me for 10.2. Shocking. [About the wind] Yeah it was tough. At one point near 7 there is big visibility ahead and I could see like 40 of us in a single file line. Only got windier from there going towards the ocean. Some rain, not a ton though."

Dave: "Dropped a Jackson at the Shake Shack at the Boston Marathon finish line. It tastes better after running a lot of miles ;)"

Bryn: "Hot damn! I ripped shit up out there!!"

Phil: "I decided last second to do it. Been so busy since our third baby. I ran 22 miles after teaching one day 5 weeks ago and booked a flight. Glad I did it. Basically ran like 7 miles a day all winter and three 20 plus runs and just got out there. Ugh!"

Graham Peck, 2:26:09
Nick Gehlsen, 2:40:39
Phil Turner, 2:49:23
Will Knox, 3:03:47
Katie Ainsley, 3:07:22
Russell Buescher, 3:12:38
Bethany Caldwell, 3:15:23
Dave Ploskonka, 3:16:08
Bryn Burkholder, 3:20:09
Ian Clark, 3:21:39
Henry Peck, 3:21:56
Sara Damiano, 3:24:24
Marci Benda, 3:25:15
Marie France-Penet, 3:26:30
Jen Sheely, 3:28:51
Russell Snyder, 3:34:45
Joanna Laboue, 3:39:25
Leigh Peck, 3:59:21

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sick Bike Skills

Hey Zero, we think Dave Mirra has some sick skills? (Funny enough, we already had a label to use for this one)

Unbelievable skills in this clip from 1965
Posted by Bikemap on Monday, November 17, 2014

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Who Runs the World?

The ladies have ruled the roost in 2015, so it came as no surprise that on International Women's Day they would once again provide some top performances.

The Cupid's Crush 10k was originally scheduled for February 14th, but due to that week's super freeze the event was postponed to this past weekend. Mother Nature seemed hellbent on making sure it didn't happen as she dumped another substantial snow on the area on Thursday. Fortunately, the race was able to be held - but it was shortened due to a last minute course change. As such, I won't be counting these performances for our Top Times list because the race was significantly and admittedly short.

No matter though because everyone runs the same course! Ryan Stasiowski took the overall win in 34:30, and then Lillian Pinault finished 2nd in 41:08, ahead of Denise Knickman (3rd, 41:51) and Sara Damiano (4th, 42:18). Jen Sheely finished 7th in 45:07.

For the week, Lillian earned the Purple Drink Athlete of the Week award.

Kind of hard to believe that Club Challenge was only supposed to be two weeks ago. Last weekend, on the 1st of March, in addition to enduring a sleeting/ice storm, we had some folks go down to Salisbury to rep at the Tim Kennard River Run 10 miler. Graham Peck earned his first W of the year, running 54:54, besting runner-up Steve Febish (56:11). Terence Baptiste nearly finished 3rd, but I hear he tried to take a Gu in the last mile, couldn't open it because his hands were too cold, got passed and couldn't catch back up. He finished 4th right on 1:00:12. Matt Franco had a tummy-ache and ran an even split 1:03:56, somehow still finishing 10th. Kaylyn Peck was 2nd (to HCS Tori Berard) and Denise Knickman was 4th in 1:13:50.

The race of the day, and his first PDAW ever, went to Thom Ripley, who broke 70 minutes. Awesome work!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I Wanna Rock With Somebody

Man, what a bummer about Club Challenge, huh?

As I trudged home from Mt. Washington on Saturday afternoon, the cancellation seemed validated - unlike that one year they canceled and no snow came. Indeed, it was a serious storm! Of the dozen or so of us who made it up to the store for Tom Stott's Running Clinic, most of us had to abandon our cars and take the Light Rail downtown and walk home from there. Unless you're a badass like TD, who ran back from Mt. Washington. Boss.

But without the race, there went 50 results for this week!

On Presidents Day, Fiana Kumm raced the Great Aloha Run in Honolulu (must be nice). In the 8.15 mile race she finished 6th in 50:24 - an astounding 6:12/mi!

Out in Wisconsin, snow was welcome for Erin Feldhausen and her American Birkebeiner 50k cross country ski race. She completed the event for the 4th straight year, finishing in 4:10:23.

And down in Birmingham, Alabama, Liz Laseter won the Superhero 5k (part of the Mercedes Marathon weekend) in 19:14. Great job!

Our Purple Drink Athlete of the Week went to Erin Feldhausen!

There hasn't been much racing going on lately, and a lot of events have been postponed or canceled, but in the previous two weeks of PDAW awards, they've gone to Jen Koshy and Kaylyn Peck. The ladies are certainly rocking it in 2015, having taken home 6 of the 8 available PDAWs!

For the second year in a row we seem to really be taking it on the chin with a late and extended winter. Fortunately, the end should be soon (or so some of you try to reassure me). And it better be, because spring racing is just around the corner. In fact, this weekend is MARCH! So we have some events happening and the forecast looks like it will cooperate.

And if you want to see some pics from the little Snow Day adventure that Graham, Ploskonka and I had on Saturday during our long trek home, check them out!