Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2 Out of 3 Ain't Bad

I'm sure everyone who raced on Sunday was just a little disappointed that we were unable to defend our men's team title, but when you look at the results, it's hard to be disappointed with the performances.  Before I get into Club Challenge, however, I'll highlight other performances from the weekend:

Sean McCarthy ran the challenging Colonial Half Marathon in Williamsburg, taking 10th place in 1:17:14.  Spider Sillery raced in Chattanooga's Scenic City Half Marathon, earning the win and running a very solid 1:16:37.  Through the Grapevine, I may have also heard something about Spider entering the realm of fatherhood...Matty Blaze ran the Brooks PR Invite in Seattle, blazing the 2 mile to the tune of a 2nd place finish in 9:02.51.  Steve Wancowicz raced the nearly 800 person Ugly Mudder 7ish mile trail race, taking 140th in 1:13:19.

Now for Club Challenge.  Prior to the start of the race I offered a $100 bounty to anyone who could run faster than what Dave Berdan ran last year (51:43, CR).  Me and my big mouth.  From the gun, Alex Battaglino amassed a ginormous lead.  The result was a 51:34 course record and the win, and my pocket a hundred dollars lighter!  If Dave can race again next year, it could seriously be one of the greatest races of all time.  Our posse of Tristram Thomas, Ed Aramayo and Dustin Meeker remained competitive with the two Striders, Matt Barresi and Carlos Renjifo.  Those three each ran PRs at 53:51, 53:57 and 54:02, respectively, and took the 4th, 5th and 6th spots.  Our middle pack was a little lighter than it was last year, but Garrett Ash finished at 56:00, and Seth Tibbitts came through with an incredible run - 57:29.  He is going to do some serious damage at Boston.  Phil Turner, who is running National Marathon in a few weeks, put in 25 miles on Sunday, running 58:12 for 10 miles in the middle.  Arjun Majumdar, Mike Mashner and Brennan Feldhausen were running as a solid pack through 6 and change, before they split up.  Arjun finished at 58:38, Zero was 59:02 (:12 PR) and Brennan finished at 59:25 and was our 10th scorer, and last person to get under the time of Susie from last year (59:27).  Pat McLoughlin, still working through his persistent knee problem and fresh off a 4 hour ride on Saturday, came through in 1:00:53 - about 4 minutes faster than last year.  Joel Gladfelter ran 7 and a half minutes faster than his CC10 time, running 1:01:02.  Tim Parker came in at 1:01:37. 

Following Tim was a strong run by Tommy McLoughlin (1:03:13), who has never raced an open road race that long, and then Tom Stott (1:03:50).  Bob Harvey ran well at 1:05:19, and then Dave Ploskonka finished in the top 100 at 1:06:38.  Chris Scott ran a 3+ minute PR at 1:15:49, and then Pete Mulligan also ran a PR at 1:17:57.  Amazing - 20 guys, 18 of them under 6:40 per mile pace. 

In men's team scoring, we finished 2nd behind Striders by 24 points.  As I looked through their results, they lost some of their firepower from last year, with guys like Izzy, Graham, Kent, Tom Williams, Doug Mock, all not running.  They had a few guys step up big, and then a few newer names to the Club Challenge ranks. 

For our ladies, it was never even close.  The traditionally strong team of Westminster just didn't show up at all.  Howard County lost Pam Maldeis the day before the race due to injury, but benefited from a former RASAC member, Kara Waters, who came out and ran very well.  Unfortunately for the other teams, our depth is, at this point, unmatched.  Denise Knickman finished 2nd in 1:03:49, her fastest CC since 2002 and fastest 10 miler since 2006.  Diane Heiser and Melissa Majumdar, who were 2nd and 4th last year, swapped positions this year, running 1:04:17 and 1:04:57, respectively.  Then came a bunch of Club Challenge virgins - Suzanne Hurst (5th, 1:06:47), Jackie Truncellito (6th, 1:07:04), Megan DiGregorio (8th, 1:08:09) and Becky Parks (9th, 1:08:18).  Alyssa Godesky's pre-race goal was to run fast, much different from her normal strategy of run long, and she was able to achieve that goal, running 1:12:19.  Christa Wagner, looking for big things come May's Frederick Half Marathon, ran a great race, finishing at 1:15:53, and Juhie Kumar was right behind in 1:16:13.  Kelly Meier ran a course best for her, 1:18:43.  And our final finisher, Ms. Sara J. Spears, never ceases to amaze me.  Her time was 1:22:25, which is 4 seconds better than her chip time from Army Ten Miler last year, and it's about 4 minutes faster than she ran at CC10. 

The women scored 28 points to the Striders' 60. 

In the co-ed/overall team scoring, we scored lower than all other teams and were fortunate to be able to bring home the trophy for the 3rd year in a row.  Congrats to all of you on your amazing personal performances, and for helping the team's success!  For our Purple Drink Athlete of the Week, while there are many worthy performers, I felt the most impressive for the day went to Denise, who ran faster than she's run in a decade at CC.

I shot out a few numbers along in the email this week, about how our performance this year compared with other years.  Last year we had 50 runners, of which only about 20 returned as we had 13 first-time CCers.  Of our scoring 12 for men, we had only 5 return, and of our top 4, only 1 was back.  We filled as many gaps as we could, but certainly losing guys like Berdan, Kyle and Ben hurt.  But of our 32 runners, we had about 18 PRs, which is amazing on that course. 

But, as we cooled down, I couldn't help to feel a bit saddened by the lack of sportsmanship by members of some of the other teams.  The jeering comments of "Falls Road Ringers" have become entirely unappreciated, and I take a deep, personal offense to them.  In general, it's not the more competitive members - guys we see frequently and race against.  They understand it's a competition.  In fact, if we didn't field a team, this race would no longer be a race.  It's the old guard, people who forget that 20somethings live in Baltimore City.  If there are people out there who think I'm pulling runners from the sky, I encourage them to come to Mondays.  And Tuesdays.  And Wednesdays.  And Fridays.  And weekends.  Or, I can send the spreadsheet of attendance that I keep.  I can also send my roster, email list, and race results for the past 6 years.  Or anyone can come out to any of the myriad group functions we pull together.  Like the 25 people (75% of our team) at Kisling's after the race.  Just stop complaining about it, because we're not going anywhere.


Dart said...

Great work everyone. Great write up Ryan. And awesome F-you to the old-F's. I saw it there as well: I'd like to take a Falls Road leak in their breakfast cheerios.

Seth said...

Q: What do our top 4 men and top 4 women and numerous others have in common?

A: They're all regulars at Tuesday Night Track of course! TNT...it works.

RM said...

TNT...it works.

I like that Seth!