Monday, March 12, 2012

Rack City

It was a day of amazing performances, with no fewer than 13 personal best times recorded on the streets of Baltimore.  Shortly before the St. Patrick's Parade took over the streets, the Falls Road Racing Team paraded around the Harbor, occupying 3 of the top 4 spots on the men's side, and 15 in the top 50 overall.  Green-clad revelers lined the streets, while green-clad runners lined up behind the "elite" field.  After the Whitney Houston version National Anthem, racers took off sprinting down Charles Street.  From my vantage point, I could see there was a formidable pack up front as they approached the 2 mile mark, with Carlos Renjifo, Conrad Laskowski, Dustin Meeker, Tristram Thomas, and Jake Klim all in close proximity.  As the fatigue built, it was Carlos who had the legs to take the win from Conrad, 15:04 to 15:09.  For Carlos, a great win.  Two weeks ago he was overwhelmed by the FRR contingent at Club Challenge, and raced hard to break things up.  Yesterday, he got his moment.  For Conrad, a terrific PR just a week out from his Shamrock Marathon.  Conrad has been on point this season.  The time makes him the 4th fastest in our history, and I think we might see a sub 15 this year from him.

Dusty ran an 11 second PR, but once again finished 4th as Tristram was able to overtake him in the closing meters, 15:18 to 15:22.  For Tristram, a 16 second PR.  The great Red Fox turned up next at 5th, running 15:28.  Dan Miranda and Brennan Feldhausen exchanged leads with one another, but Dan's foot speed was just a little bit better than Brennan's, as Dan finished in 16:12 and Brennan came across at 16:15.  For Dan, a 10 second PR, and for Brennan, a 20 second PR.  Great for both guys, neither of whom is training for this event right now!  Andy Sovonick, untimed because he was unsuccessful in attaching his chip properly, finished at 16:24, but has bigger fish to fry this year in the form of Eagleman. 

At 16:40, Kris Simms crossed the line.  Our very own Benjamin Button, Kris lowered his PR by a couple ticks and will be 40 next month.  Who runs faster at 40 than they ever have before?  That guy.  Mike Mashner came through in 16:49, a small improvement from last year, and Steve Febish, in his Shamrock debut, stopped the clock at 16:51.  Pat McLoughlin was running with those guys for a while, but faded in the last mile, finishing at 17:12.  Still, Pat gets less sleep and runs fewer miles than anyone here right now, so that's a good result. 

The next finisher for us was also the women's winner: Meg DiGregorio.  Meg D came into the race with a 17:53 PR, but has been crushing workouts lately, and if she didn't go under 18, I wasn't going to let her come back to track.  Meg ran a solid pace throughout, and said at the end that she felt strong.  She ran a huge new PR, 17:35, and earned a great win.  Andy Thivierge was right behind her, in 17:43.  Big Terry Decker broke 18 for the first time - a terrific accomplishment for him!  And hot on his heels was Lady #2, Meg McNew.  A day shy of her [redacted] birthday, Meg took her PR from 18:45 to 18:01 in one fell swoop.  Truly an awesome race for the Megs. 

Meg McNew, just before her 2nd place effort

Liz Laseter (now GRC) rounded out the podium, finishing in 18:23.  Melissa Tanner, a former winner of this event, is finding her legs again, running an 18:45, and Becky Parks finally cracked that 19 minute barrier, running 18:55, for 7th.  Great job ladies!

Jon Miller, running mostly for fun, finished at 19:35, but it was PJ Anderer who stole the show, running 19:45.  It was his first time under 20 since he was 20, which is awesome.  Aaron Tripp also cracked 20, running 19:48.  Kelly Meier ran a big PR of 20:41, and Patty Stott, running the race "without life inside of her" this year, ran a PR by a minute, 22:35. 

It was an awesome display of greatness, so congratulations to all of you.  And big thanks to the many, many supporters we had out there on the course: Nate, Pete, Ed (forgot he wasn't racing), BG, Prada, Alyssa, Christa, Chrissie, Amy, Arjun, Melissa, Dave P, Tim Parker, Tim Burns, Joel, Alex, Diane, Donna, Vivian, Haleigh, and the moms of Tom and Becky!

The other BIG race of the weekend was Joel Gladfelter's enormous, 90 second PR at the half marathon.  He ran the Chambersburg Half in 1:22:10, finishing 11th.  Terrific job.  And props to Christa, who supported Chambersburg on Saturday, then was back out there on Sunday for the rest of us!

It was a very tough week to decide the Purple Drink Athlete of the Week.  So many PRs, so many terrific races, but to honor one who has worked tremendously hard over the past few months, it is going to PJ Anderer.  Way to go buddy, keep it up!

Meg McNew hit her NOS Button at the right time, and is being honored as such (happy birthday, BTW), and Meg D is In the Zone right now.  You two are running great!

(L to R): RM, Dusty, Pat, Steve, Dan

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