Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Rockets Red Glare

Independence Day. A day many associate with hot dogs, fireworks and the beach. Or for some, an eating contest that rewards overindulgence on nitrate-laced pork byproduct, loud bright explosions and traffic.

Either way, it's AMERICAN and gosh darnit, you'll freaking like it!

And while summer has technically just started, it generally signifies the halfway point of summer, because from here on it, it's going to fly by faster than Maverick buzzing the tower.

Naturally, there are some races held annually on Independence Day, and they attract reasonable sized crowds. The Arbutus Firecracker 10k is a tough course, but top 3 in each age group are rewarded with cash prizes. Erik Anderson was the overall winner in 33:14, and Matt Franco was 9th in 36:06. I originally missed Franco's result because his last name was listed as "France". Dave Berardi ran 37:24 and Joel Gladfelter came in at 38:08.

For the ladies, Megan DiGregorio was 3rd in 39:35 and Suzanne Hurst was 5th at 42:03. Denise Knickman wasn't far behind in 6th at 42:41.

Dundalk has a Heritage Festival that lasts a week and, prior to their parade, racers jump out for a 6k along the parade route. Winning this year's event - in jorts and a t-shirt that read "turn up for America" - was Sean Caskey. He ran 21:05 and then he and his 5 friends proceeded to consume 90 cans of drink. They truly turned up for America. PJ Anderer was 11th in 24:29 and Jen Sheely was 2nd F in 26:29.

Elsewhere there were some great results, such as Tom Stott's 19:41 at the Autism Speaks 5k. Great to see Tommy Stott getting back into action. Another result I missed in the email was Amy Horst's Firecracker 4 Mile in Wisconsin, where she held 6:12 pace and finished 5th in 24:51.

But the race of the day and winner of our Purple Drink Athlete of the Week was Justin Gerbereux, who ran 30:18 to finish 9th at the Southampton Firecracker 8k.

A lot of races with the word Firecracker.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sky Full of Stars

The last weekend in June means we've reached (and passed) the halfway point in the year! As I'm writing this today with a temperature over 90 degrees and "real feel" of approximately 273 Kelvin (science nerds, is that a lot?) it would be hard to believe that at one point this year we had a polar vortex.

On one of the greatest days of the year (Indiana Jones Day) we also saw the running of Dreaded Druid Hills 10k, and what great conditions we had for that! Jim and the Falls Road crew put on another fantastic event and thanks to so many of you who came out and volunteered in the morning. Races can't go on without your help!

In the race, Ian Clark finished 4th in 37:34, and Cory Donovan surprised himself after a week on antibiotics for an infection. He finished 9th in 42:24. Johnny Lyons was just behind in 42:45, and PJ Anderer came through at 45:14. Sara Damiano was our top (and only) lady and she finished 3rd!

Sunday was the inaugural Challenge USA in Atlantic City. It's an ironman distance, without being an Ironman. #Politics #amirightbros. Alyssa Godesky had a terrific race, posting her fastest iron distance bike and run splits (3:36 marathon) en route to an overall distance PR of 10:09:25. Most important, by finishing 4th she earned her first prize purse paycheck as a professional triathlete! Pretty cool, and that was good enough to earn her this week's Purple Drink Athlete of the Week.

As mentioned in the email, we had two different workouts for the track yesterday: one if Team USA won, one if they lost. Ultimately due to the incredibly hot and humid conditions we opted for the shorter workout (despite the Team USA loss). I have to say, don't think it was any easier really as people were pretty wiped by the end!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Patapsco - Sunday, 6/29, 8am

What: Long Run
When: Sunday, June 29, 8:00 a.m.
Where: Patapsco (Rolling Road trailhead)

For those interested in a non-serious long run, be at the trailhead R2R (ready 2 run) at the late start time of 8:00 a.m. I'll be running between 1:45 and 2:00, so somewhere between 14 and 16 miles in there. Route will be challenging, pace will be "in the 7's".

If it's too slow/fast/short/long don't let that discourage you. Show up and feel the camaraderie of a fun long run on the trails.

If anyone feels like running shorter and a little slower, my brother is going to be in town and I'd guess 90 minutes around 8:30-9:00 is probably his wheelhouse right now. He knows the trails.

So come, it'll be fun.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

How many PBJs can you eat in a day? When you ride north of 125 miles with 16,500 feet of climbing, apparently a lot.

It looked like an Alpine stage of the Tour de France, but it was right here in Maryland - the Garrett County Gran Fondo featuring the Diabolical Double. And while it may have just been overcast here in Baltimore (and at least 70 degrees), out in the mountains it was wet and cold, with extended periods of cold rain and generally very high humidity. This made for not only a long, soggy day, but also a dangerous one on the slick, twisty descents.

For both Mike Mashner and Andy Sovonick, this ride would be the longest they've ever ridden, and easily the hardest. Up and down, up and down, all day long. Over the course of a day like that, you're bound to run the gamut of physical and mental well-being. While the event was not officially a "race" they did time 5 climbs for the KOM competition. The climbs were brutal, unrelenting, and when you thought you were done with one, it kicked up some more. The last 1.5 miles or so were beyond vertical as riders ascended back to the top of the Wisp ski resort. A tough way to finish, for sure, but that's how a boss would do. After many, many hours, the ride was over and the 3 hour drive back to Baltimore commenced.

In the KOM competition, Andy finished 55th and Mike was 86th out of 576 or so. Our friend Michelle Miller was the 3rd fastest female in the ride, and had the fastest split among the ladies on the final climb (by nearly 30 seconds!).

Props to these guys, who earned the Dr. K Toughness Award.

Other events from the weekend included Stephanie Granlund's great half ironman at Syracuse. A couple of months ago the idea of a half ironman seemed like a daunting task. With distances that long, it's never an easy day, and her preparation for it had to be focused. She nailed it, and finished the race strong. Also in Syracuse was Jon Michel, who was marginally disappointed to not earn a slot to the 70.3 World Championship, but was pleased with how the race went. I saw him on the street yesterday morning and his comment was that his butt was sore.

The Baltimore Women's Classic boasts a big field and often quite competitive one. Kiera Harrison took 3rd in 18:09, and Carol Smith finished 4th at 18:22, just a split second ahead of Megan DiGregorio. Christa Wagner ran a terrific race, running an even 20:03 - bummed that she didn't slip under 20 minutes! She led in Denise Knickman (20:13) and Marci Benda (20:19). Kate Finley crossed at 20:38 and Jen Sheely finished in 21:29.

But our Purple Drink Athlete of the Week went to Joel Gladfelter. For as long as I've known Joel, there have only been two races that have mattered: Boston Marathon (which he has no shot of ever winning) and Z's race. Named after Joel's running mentor, the Irv Zablocky Memorial Run is an annual footrace held in Hughesville (or wherever), Pennsylvania. For years it was Joel's white whale; the race he could never seem to win. He would finish in the top 5, maybe as high as runner-up to his friend, but could never get across the line first. As he got older, the light he was chasing dimmed. Until last year, when the race moved from its previous 3.55 mile distance to a 5k. Now, I don't know if it was that, or divine intervention, but whatever got into Joel that day propelled him to the win.

Joel was back this year to defend, but realized he wasn't in great shape. On Tuesday he ran a 5k in 18:21. No way that would be good enough on Saturday. Battling a rising high school senior with a 10:10 3200m PR, Joel got dusted at the start. It took him 2.5 miles to claw his way back to evens with the youngster, and it was Joel's racing savvy that opened the door for the win in 16:48. Awesome, awesome job. And if you've seen any of the pictures (all on the race's FB page) you can see just how hard he was working. That's how hard he is always working, I've never seen anyone able to turn themselves inside out like Joel. Great job buddy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Run Group: Canton Runners

I was pretty excited to see that a new group has formed recently, meeting in Canton Square and more than just one night a week. Looks like they have some morning and evening runs during the week, as well as a weekend run.

From the Canton Runners website:

Canton Runners is a group of like-minded residents of all ages and athletic abilities who want to run/walk with others. The primary focus is camaraderie, competition, goal-setting, and socializing. This is a group for the community, so participation and dedication will allow this group to expand. Canton has never had a consistent running organization, so we decided to create one with all of YOUR support.

Baltimore's Canton Runners focuses on overall health and fitness, community involvement and having fun.

Canton Runners will also organize training groups for upcoming races. If you’re looking to accomplish your FIRST 5K, or your THIRD Half-Marathon, this group will challenge you to meet your desired goals.

Feedback and support will allow this group to expand.

Of course, while I live right around the corner from the Square, I don't see myself personally making many of these runs as they coincide with some pre-existing runs (Fed Hill Runners, Tuesday Night Track, etc) but since I know who lives on the eastside as well as who does (and doesn't) go to these weekly runs, could be a great group for you to meet up with.

Certainly it's a great group for beginner runners and folks looking for people to run with. So be sure to check them out, and connect with them on Facebook!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Powder Goes Fishing


Fun fact: Joel played an extra "ghost" in the 2nd Matrix movie.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This is How You Remind Me

Chad Kroeger kind of looks like Dax Shepard
"Never made it as a wise man. I couldn't cut it as a poor man stealing. Tired of living like a blind man, I'm sick of sight without a sense of feeling...

And I've been wrong, I've been down, been to the bottom of every bottle. These five words in my head scream: 'are we having fun yet?'"

With this amazing bit of poetry from the Canadian rock superstars, Nickelback, we were off. In our first day above 90 degrees, a dozen or so hearty souls chose to race the first (and last) Nickelback Appreciation Day 5k. Nearly everyone positive split. It was carnage.

Following the 3 Doors Down 3k, contested by Graham Peck (9:20) and Conrad Laskowski (9:45), the night's main event did feature some decent Tuesday night performances. Erik Anderson showed up to take the win (and the Falls Road Nalgene bottle!) in 16:52. Greg Lange had a terrific run, breaking 17 minutes (16:58). Ian Clark ran an evenly split 17:20. And Matt Franco yo-yoed but ran 17:36.

Most of the rest of us weren't as cool. As Graham ran with various people throughout the race, here was his take on the event:

"Much like Nickelback's albums, each time around it just got worse."

Megan DiGregorio was the women's winner (of 3 entered) in 18:27. Kate Levinson, who we've seen running at the track for the last year, finally joined up with us and despite racing just two days ago, ran a respectable 20:47. And Sara Breedlove rounded out the podium in 21:29.

Shoutout to timers/race officials Pete Mulligan, Lillian Pinault and Bryn Burkholder!

Afterwards a few of us went to Kooper's, where it took them forever to make some burgers and then, as usual, mine was barely cooked and it went right through me. The end.

Nickelback Apprecation Day 5k Results

1. Erik Anderson, 16:52.19
2. Greg Lange, 16:58.65
3. Ian Clark, 17:20.11
4. Matt Franco, 17:36.20
5. Tom Stack, 18:14.04
6. Joel Gladfelter, 18:22.29
7. Conrad Laskowski, 18:23.42
8. Graham Peck, 18:27
9. Megan DiGregorio, 18:27.27
10. Ryan McGrath, 18:49.73
11. Evan Burros, 18:50.73
12. Dave Ploskonka, 19:26.63
13. Terry Decker, 19:39.47
14. Kate Levinson, 20:47.74
15. Louis Foudos, 21:17.24
16. Sara Breedlove, 21:29.82
17. James, 26:43.78