Tuesday, June 2, 2015

That's Not My Name

Well, May came and went, and, outside of my overly lengthy Alumni Mile recap, I just didn't get around to getting weekly recaps posted. Now that we're into June it seems silly to try and do individual ones, so I'm just going to recap the weeks in this post.

The first weekend of May was indeed a busy one. Besides the renowned Alumni Mile, it's the traditional weekend for Broad Street up in Philly (fastest 10 mile course in the US) as well as Frederick Half, Flying Pig in Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh Marathon.

Over the years, Mike Mashner's nickname has caused some confusion. When Mike started running with us in 2007, we already had a few other Mikes, so we needed a way to distinguish them. We started calling Mike "New Mike" - which reminded us of New Coke, and then Coke Zero, and voila - we had Mike Zero. Or just Zero. Or simply Z. So no, his last name is not actually Zero. Mike has not finished an open marathon since Boston 2009, when he ran 2:55, which was a 7 minute PR at the time. Over the next few years his training focused primarily on Ironman, and in the past few years attempts at the distance were repelled by plaguing injuries. One year it was a DNF halfway into Philly Marathon; the next was a DNS. Heading into this year, with the Achilles/calf injury still nagging, Z made the switch to Hoka and - no joke - things started to get better. His weeks rarely exceed 40 miles, in fact many were under 30, but he's always done well in spite of lower volume. His 1:22:20ish half marathon tune-up in late March was enough to let him know he was ready for a marathon a month later. Tracking his progress during the race, his execution was fantastic. Splits were all incredibly consistent, and he ended up nearly even-splitting his way to a 2:45:39 for 31st overall. A huge PR and one of the best races we've ever seen! It was more than enough to earn him that week's Purple Drink Athlete of the Week.

In the not-too-distant-past, Broad Street was the shit. Point to point and net downhill, it's the site of the fastest 10 mile race ever run in the US. It is a huge participation race, but you used to be able to register the day before the race, entry fee was cheap, and it was a fun event. Then they decided they would put a cap on participants and that somehow caused the race to begin selling out. Entry fee increased. I think the organization just isn't as committed to bringing the same firepower as Cherry Blossom is, because winning times for the past few years have been in the 47s. I think the race was pretty stingy with their prize money, if I recall correctly. Anyway, still a fast race, and Nick Klastava ran a solid 57:12 (which may have suffered from a few second clock to chip discrepancy and actually been closer to 57:02). New Haven resident, Christy Ramsey, was 10th F in 57:31.

Out in Frederick, Dave Berdan finished 3rd in 1:10:37, while Nicole Wilson also finished 3rd in 1:23:58.

The following weekend was mostly a bunch of rinky dink races. But they randomly had money, and the Pecks exploited the shit out of them. First up was the Run For Their Lives 5k, where Graham Peck took top prize ahead of Chris Beck, and Kaylyn Peck took 2nd ahead of Justine DiGregorio in 3rd. Cha-ching. Then the Pecks drove the couple of miles across the valley for the St. John's Run in the Valley 5k, where Graham took 2nd to a foreign talent who somehow found out about this very small event, and Megan DiGregorio won ahead of Kaylyn. Dolla dolla bills y'all.

Dave Berdan was 5th at the Delaware Half Marathon in 1:13:52. But our PDAW this week went to Jeff Rumbaugh.

The third weekend in May also features a bunch of events, and we had a lot of folks racing. At the Brooklyn Half, Jason Farber ran a sizzling 1:14:08 and Terence Baptiste finished up at 1:19:26. Jeff Rumbaugh won the Firefighters 5k in Tampa, and took home an actual (heavy) fireman helmet as his prize.

Chrissie Ramsey came to town for the weekend and popped off an impressive 28:29 to win the Germantown 5 Miler on a hot and humid morning. On Sunday, Brian Benda ripped a 2:07:52 to finish 4th at the Columbia Triathlon. Suzanne Hurst put her triathlon legs back on and went faster than her previous Olympic distance best by 8 minutes. Conrad Laskowski and Amy Flashenberg competed in their first ever triathlon at Cascade Lake, while seasoned triathlon veteran Christa Wagner ran a faster run split than the overall winner. Graham and Meg D each came away with wins at the Dirty German 50k in Pennypack Park (PA). Graham kept his PR streak alive (has PR'd in a race every spring/fall since he was 12) which was particularly impressive given a) how warm it was that day and b) he was at a wedding on the Eastern Shore until well after midnight the night before.

That week's PDAW went to Brian Benda.

Then it was onto Memorial Day Weekend, and we couldn't have asked for nicer weather. Cool mornings with low humidity meant fast racing. Conrad and Dustin Meeker went 1-2 in the MCVETs 5k in 15:09/15:12, and Meg D led a string of Falls Road finishers with Amy Horst in 2nd, Justine in 4th and Christa in 5th. In the 10k, Graham took out another win while Nicole W also notched the victory. Also, the tunes at the finish were bumpin'.

Erik T. Orberg ran a PR 1:12:22 to finish 4th at the Buffalo Half Marathon, and in the marathon, Carly Page didn't have her best day, but still managed a 10th place 3:17:09.

Ben and Kendra Ingram ran Bolder Boulder 10k again on Memorial Day, and Sean Caskey and Steve Febish went 2-3 at the Special Ops 5k here in town. Our PDAW went to Erik this week.

Since May did have 5 weekends I'll do a separate post for this past weekend. Also, I'm pretty surprised I hadn't used this blog post title before, considering the song came out in 2006 I think.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Thursday Night Run - Change of Location

Hi Folks

For the past several months I've been having a Thursday night run from the World Trade Center at 6:30. A variety of people have stopped by to join and that's great. Since it's now light much later, the temps are getting much warmer, and the Inner Harbor is packed with annoying tourists I'm moving the location to the trails of Robert E Lee park for the Summer. The plan is to meet at Falls Road at the same 6:30 time (traffic up 83 should be getting lighter soon for the summer break). This will also tie in with the periodic Thursday night runs that the store has been putting on lately.

PJ

Friday, May 8, 2015

Alumni Mile 2k15

Friday, May 1 - Since 2009 one of the marquee events on the spring racing calendar has been the Alumni Mile, held as part of the Terp Twilight Meet in College Park. This year's event coincided with one of the most celebrated days - We Got Him Day.

For the few of us Maryland Track alums, it's a fun reason to get together with the old squad, and a chance to take a crack at a track mile. Overcast and cool conditions all day made for a chilly evening for spectators, but good racing conditions for the 8pm start.

Conrad Laskowski has won this event a few times, which is particularly impressive considering he had only graduated 2 years before the meet was created. Personally I've been all over the board here: some years average, a few years really slow, one year pretty fast. Some of the other staples include Tom Stott and Denise Knickman.

A big field lined up and in the first lap, Tom raced to the early lead. By lap 2, Conrad and Andy Sovonick had made their way to the front, and Conrad built a gap that he would never relinquish. He won his 3rd Alumni Mile in 4:59, with Andy in 2nd at 5:15 maybe. Coach Danielle sat for 3 laps before hitting her NOS button, leaving me in her dust and then blazing by Tom with 250 to go. Tom settled for 4th in 5:25ish, and I came through at 5:33, a second slower than last year. Denise came in around 6:15 I think.

Athletes from Georgetown Running Club were there competing in the actual meet, and had some good performances as well. One of the highlights was watching a girl from Georgetown (Univ) trying to run 16 minutes in the 5000m. She had 3 pacers but with a couple laps left was all alone, working so hard before ultimately fading in the last 800m to finish around 16:15 maybe. Still, it was impressive.

I always enjoy running around campus and through College Park, and I love supporting the team and catching up with old teammates. Thanks to Patty Stott for being our cheerleader/videographer. You can watch the full video of the race below:

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