September 30 - The 6th Annual RM Classic 5k was held on the track on the last day of September. It was a great night for a race, and apparently a great night for a black-tie donor dinner on the grounds of the private school. The race start was delayed while I dealt with an *ahem* issue regarding our use of the facilities, but we were able to finally get started a little before 7pm. Despite a request to sing the National Anthem, I felt we were better not drawing any further attention to ourselves and just get the race going.
In a display of symbolic unity, we all wore bib #1 (thanks Pete for hooking up the bibs!). With 31 runners on the line it was by far our largest RM Classic event - or any manufactured race of any kind - in team history. With 10 women competing it was also the largest and most competitive women's field we've ever had. I felt there was a good shot we'd see meet records go down.
Up front, the trio of Dustin, Conrad and Graham rolled in unison, gobbling up the track with each stride. To keep the race honest, we put up a prime for first one to 1600m. From my vantage point on the opposite side of the track I saw Dusty speed ever-so-slightly to scoop it up. Smart racing. He and Conrad eventually separated themselves from Graham (who was racing a marathon a few days later!) and ultimately it was Conrad who successfully defended his 2013 title in 15:17, a little ahead of 3-time champ Dustin at a new track PR of 15:25. Graham came through at 15:36. Steve Febish ran a mostly solo race, finishing at 16:07, and then there was a group of guys between 16:27 and 16:41, including a great race by Dan Miranda.
Maybe the performance of the meet belonged to Jon Miller, who broke 18 minutes for the first time! (17:57)
The ladies' race was a little different than the men's, with newcomer Lisa Uible leading wire-to-wire and just narrowly missing the MR (18:08) as she crossed in 18:09. She's running Chicago Marathon this weekend so I can't imagine her marathon training lent itself to great 5k racing!
Megan DiGregorio, who was racing Wineglass Marathon on Sunday, was a distant 2nd at 18:43, and Emily Hurley even further back, finishing 3rd at 19:10. But from 19:27 we saw four more girls break 20 (Sara Gladfelter, Nicole Wilson, Suzanne Andrews and Meg McNew), and RM record holder Eileen Fleck (20:06), Sara Damiano (20:21) and Lillian Pinault (20:43) all had terrific races as well.
Thanks to Andy Sovonick (timing), Denise Knickman (splits), Bryn Burkholder (photography) and spectators that included Nate and Natalie Brigham and Becky!
A year or two ago, there was a decent group that met at the WTC for Thursday night runs at 6:30. They were quicker paced runs, looping along the Canton waterfront and up the hill to Patterson Park and back to the Taint where we started. I am going to attempt to bring these back, starting this week, for anyone not going to the O's game. Cheers.
Baltimore, MD - On Thursday, September 11th, four Baltimore runners celebrated America and patriotism by running one mile around Patterson Park. At 7:15pm, the group stood before a lowered flag and proudly sang the National Anthem.
The temperature was still in the mid 80s at start time, but we were treated to one of the most awesome skies ever - captured in the above photograph by Ted Stevens, who happened to be walking his dog through the Park at the time.
From the gun, Ed Aramayo and Graham Peck darted ahead of myself and PJ Anderer. Before the race, we had serious doubts that our aggregate time would be better than 24 minutes. But in the Merica Mile, anything can happen. Ed eventually dropped Graham and blazed to the finish in 4:57. Graham, on his 15th mile of the evening, managed a 5:07. PJ and I ran together the entire way, before I was able to hold him off, 5:45 to 5:48.
The first Merica Mile was held on the track at TNT two years ago, and we didn't hold the event last year. But rest assured, this race is here to stay. We'll find a way!
Next up in the series of race weekends was the last weekend of July, which served as a random mid-summer's marathon weekend.
Out in Oregon, Dustin Meeker and Melissa Tanner had quite the adventure to get to the Eugene Marathon, but once they did it was business time. Dusty, clearly in the marathon shape of his life, had ambitions of a sub 2:30 time. His setup was perfect: chill first 10k, started to pick it up to 20, incredibly consistent splits. The last 10k - as they often do in a marathon - got tough, but he held on and finished up in 5th overall at 2:30:32. Huge new PR and a fantastic result for him. In the women's race, Melissa finished 9th and ran her miles like clockwork, basically even-splitting her way to a 2:55:20.
On the exact opposite end of the continent, Matt Franco and Allison Letourneau were tackling the Nova Scotia Marathon, putting their eggs in the "Canada is cool in July so it'll be easier to qualify for Boston" basket. Franco's story has made the rounds by now, but we'll just say it featured a solid 20 miles, and really tough last 10k after he stopped to go to the bathroom. Speaking from experience, unless you feel absolutely amazing, going to the bathroom that late in the race does nothing but drop a piano on you. While Franco had a rough go, Allison shuffled her way to a 3:33, good enough for 4th and a Boston qualifying time!
Other recent results included:
Megan DiGregorio's Rosaryville 50k win (and course record); Conrad Laskowski finished 14th at the Crystal City Twiligher 5k (15:26) and Andy Sovonick was 36th in 16:22 - side note, this race, a week after Rockville Twilight, is probably one we should look into. Very good competition and hear it's well-organized.
And of course a shout to Brennan Feldhausen, who tore up the Diamond in the Rough Triathlon a week or two ago.
This week's Purple Drink Athlete of the Week went to Dusty.
As it's been pointed out, the blog has been quiet recently. Not because people haven't been racing, but honestly because I haven't had time. SO GET OFF MY BACK.
Just kidding. But seriously, I just haven't had the time. And then you know how it goes when you miss one week, it's easier to just miss a bunch of weeks. What I'm going to do is a series of hopefully reasonably short posts with just the highlights, let them hang out up top for a day and then push them down.
This is going to be all about Rockville Twilight 8k. A longstanding tradition among our group in particular, it really is one of the best summertime races out there. With the exception of one year when a tri I was doing conflicted, I've been out there since 2005 - but have only run it 3 times. The race is generally associated with oppressive heat and humidity, and last year's event was canceled after a lightning storm wouldn't move out of the way.
Like the rest of this summer has been, race day came and the forecast was for temps in the low 80s, and by race time it was maybe the 2nd nicest day I've seen in the last decade (behind 2009). This meant fast times were on tap!
Up front, Conrad Laskowski looked determined to race hard from the gun. With a handful guys faster than him, he gritted out a 25:25 8th place finish. Graham Peck, who seemingly never runs this fast in training, blasted a near-PR 25:44 for lucky #13. Our third finisher was Nick Gehlsen, who ran a solid 26:33. Now that should have been our scoring three but apparently in the team results C-Rad was conveniently left off...get to that later.
Next 3 were Andy Sovonick, who ran an absolutely great race to run his fastest time on the course (26:59) followed closely by the Prime Minister of Swag himself, Sean Caskey, in 27:05. That's a great first crack at Rockville, and a fine Falls Road debut. There were a few other notable male performances: Erik T. Orberg, in off-season form, ran a solid 27:37; the wolfpack of Ed Aramayo, Terence Baptiste and Brennan Feldhausen all...finished; and to toot my own horn, I ran 30:11. Not that this is spectacular, but my times here have been: 30:24 (2005), 30:03 (2007), 30:03 (2008). So, at least I'm pretty consistent, and technically I ran faster at 32 and broken than I did at 23 and slightly less broken.
Once upon a time, I actually used to beat Chrissie Ramsey...
Now she wipes the floor with me. Fortunately, I'm not the only one. In 2009 Chrissie won Rockville in a PR of 27:15. It was easily one of the best performances I've ever seen, maybe for her only topped by a 1:14:57 half marathon and 2:44 NYC Marathon. Earlier this year she won the other Rockville-based race, Pike's Peek 10k, and despite moving out of Baltimore we'd hoped she would come race again to cement her status as Queen of Rockville Pike. Just a day before the race I finally found out that she was racing (don't get me started on this!) so I couldn't make sure she was added to the team roster, but she looked ready to go on the start line. She also started campaigning for the Brita Grothe B.A. Award, wearing the tiniest Brooks bottoms we've ever seen.
Chrissie ripped along the course, ultimately finishing 3rd but in a very good time - 27:25, just 10 seconds off her fastest 8k time. For team purposes, Kiera Harrison was our first finisher, 8th in 30:16, and then we had what I thought was the surprise performance of the day come from Kaylyn Peck. Kay ran 31:32 for 11th, which was about a minute faster than I realistically thought she might run. With teams scoring 5 (3M/2F), Kaylyn helped seal our team victory!
As always, it was a fun night down in Rockville, and many thanks to our hosts Montgomery County Road Runners. This race is one of my favorites and is one I always look forward to each summer. Post-race was much less congested this year, and a bunch of us went to Ted's Big City Diner afterwards for late night breakfast food. It ends up being a pretty late night by the time we get back to Baltimore, but it's worth it for a race that brings the team together!
Earning the Purple Drink Athlete of the Week was Chrissie, and Kaylyn won the KC Masterpiece Award this week.
Twin Cities Marathon/USA Marathon Champs: Graham Peck, 27th (2:28:31); Chrissie Ramsey, 7th (2:39:31); Wineglass Marathon: Megan DiGregorio, 12th (3:06:59); Pete Mulligan, 937th (4:13:37); AS Metric Marathon: Josh Dawson, 5th (1:42:03); Bryn Burkholder, 3rd (2:03:20); Waterman's Half Tri: Ryan McGrath, 20th (4:54:19); Brennan Feldhausen, 27th (4:59:45); Purple Stride 5k: Ed Aramayo, 1st (16:58); Boo! Run For Life 10k: Tom Stott, 21st (40:39); Waterman's Sprint Tri: Jon Michel, 9th (1:13:33); Jersey Shore Half Marathon: Kevin McGrath, 193rd (1:47:56); Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half: Dave Berdan, 13th (1:10:42); Erik Orberg, 17th (1:13:34); Paul Short XC: Steve Febish, 145th (26:59); Louis Foudos, 399th (29:46); Grindstone 100: Dave Ploskonka; Freedom's Run 10k: PJ Anderer, 4th (39:50); Freedom's Run Marathon: Wookie Kim, 19th (3:21:46); St. George Marathon: Collin Anderson, 53rd (2:49:16); Bay Ridge Half Marathon: Colin Brooks, 76th (1:48:27)
10/26: Marine Corps Marathon 10/26: Oktober Lauf Fest Half 11/2: NYC Marathon 11/15: Richmond Marathon 11/22: JFK 50 Miler 11/23: Philadelphia Marathon 11/27: Gobble Cobble 12/13: Celtic Solstice 12/13: USATF Club XC
10/25: Andy Thivierge 10/27: Ed Jablonski 10/29: Dave Ploskonka