Thursday, November 20, 2014

No Mediocre

As per usual, time has gotten the better of me over the past, oh, 3 months – and as a result I’ve done a pretty poor job posting race recaps. And then, once you’re a few weeks behind, it’s hard to get back on track. Consider this post a catch up from the end of August through October!

Ironman Louisville was the week before Labor Day. 3 of us went, 1 of us survived. The summer had been so mild until that week, when the temperature and humidity skyrocketed. I knew it would be a tough day for me, so I adjusted my plan accordingly. Dehydrated and overheated, I called it a day at mile 14 of the run. I don’t think I could have done anything different and had a better result, just wasn’t my day. Mike Mashner was the unfortunate recipient of a senseless take-down on the bike. Triathletes tend to be piss-poor bike handlers (but they all think they’re Eddy Merckx) and Mike got wiped out 70 miles into the bike. He made it to the run, but called it a day after the first lap.

So that left Terry Decker, and in his first – and possibly only – Ironman, he endured a long, hot day to finish in 14:06:02. His wife Molly was there to greet him at the finish, along with my parents and brother, who had come out to watch. If just one of us had to finish that day, we were glad it was TD!

September came, and Labor Day weekend saw Conrad Laskowski and Graham Peck run the USATF 20km Championship, held in New Haven (CT). Once again heat was an issue, but the pair finished 28th and 35th, respectively. Graham went onto run the Twin Cities Marathon a month later in Minnesota, where he crossed the line in 2:28:31. Great time, for sure – but it wasn’t enough to knock himself off the Top Times leaderboard for the year as he ran 2:26:36 at Boston. Two sub 2:30 clockings in a year, incredible. Unfortunately, that would be the last Graham would run for the fall, as a likely stress fracture has sidelined him since. But boy, was his run glorious.

Not to be outdone, Conrad ran the Chicago Marathon a couple of weeks later, where he ran a 9+ minute PR of 2:27:14. He thought he might have a 2:26 (or faster) in him, so he went for it. Can’t be mad at that. In the same race, Amy Flashenberg ran a big PR and truly fantastic 3:50:17. That’s something to write home about! Other notables from Chicago: newcomer Lisa Uible ran her first marathon, finishing in 2:50:59. Not a shabby debut. And maybe the toughest person around, Trisha Feldhausen competed just a couple of months after fracturing her skull. She had a cone around her head like a dog all of August, and was only able to start running a few weeks out from the race. Amazingly, she ran 3:22:44, which isn’t far off her PR.

Hopping back to Twin Cities, Chrissie Ramsey ran one of the greatest performances of all time – surely one of the top races we’ve ever seen – as she ran a 5 minute personal best of 2:39:31 and finished 7th in what served as the USA Marathon Championship. Simply incredible. I talked to Chrissie the other day and sounds like she’ll be running the USA Half Marathon Champs in Houston, followed by a little marathon in Boston.

Megan DiGregorio runs – and wins – a lot of races, but one of her best of the year was her win at the Parks Half Marathon, where she ran 1:23:37. She then went onto run the Wineglass Marathon, where she finished in 3:06:59, but was left pretty banged up and, like many of us, hasn’t been able to run much this fall.

Another first timer in the world of Ironman was Jackie Range. She was originally planning on doing Louisville, but when Chesapeakeman was absorbed and became Ironman Maryland, the timing and proximity was more palatable for Jackie. The swim was a little tough, but favorable wind and not obscene heat made for an incredibly quick bike split and enabled her to drop a great run to finish her first IM in a jaw-dropping 11:07:42.

You want to see what busy’s like, have a look at Brennan Feldhausen’s fall: first he tackled his first half ironman at the Waterman’s Tri. He blew it out of the water. Swam fast, rode fast on a seriously windy day, and had one of the fastest runs of the day to finish under 5 hours and finish 27th overall. Two weeks later, he jumped in the Baltimore Marathon as his long run. Two weeks out from the NYC Marathon he wasn’t looking for anything big, but realized that if he was going to run a marathon he sure as hell better make sure he gets something out of it. Running a 3:05:xx or slower would have been a waste of time. It probably wasn’t easy by the end, but he finished right on 3 hours and made sure he knocked out a qualifying time for Boston 2016. With that he fired a warning shot right across the bow of the SS Arjun: pressure’s on. Brennan wasn’t finished there – two weeks later he lined up on the Verrazano Bridge – but more on that later.

So many people ran an event of the Baltimore Running Festival, but a highlight was how our Ladies’ team did. Featuring Carly, Emily Shin, Suzanne and Emily Hurley, the team formerly known as “Shorties on Your Left” wiped up the competition, thanks in large part to Emily Hurley’s blistering final leg. We had a lot of great team performances, and in the half marathon I was particularly impressed by Michael and Kayla Hughes – two “non-runners” who trained for and nailed their first half marathon!

We have a lot of triathletes (and people who occasionally dabble in triathlon) and over the years we’ve seen some incredible performances. Getting a win at an iron distance race is a big deal, and at the Beach2Battleship Triathlon in North Carolina, Alyssa Godesky did just that. Swim times benefited from a rather generous current, but a good day is a good day. Alyssa came out of the water just a couple of minutes behind another local pro, Suzy Serpico, who extended that lead a little bit on the bike. Alyssa’s bike split was a distance PR, and once she was on the run, it was go-time. She burned up the pavement, cutting into Suzy’s lead with each stride, ultimately taking the lead somewhere around mile 15. She went onto record a marathon personal best 3:26:16 – 5 minutes faster than her open marathon best – and won the race in a scintillating 9:22:57. Wow.

At the Columbus Marathon, Nicole Wilson finished 23rd in a PR 3:03:57 (23rd really?? That’s a competitive race!) In the half marathon, Dustin Meeker ran a terrific 1:09:09 for 10th – not far off his personal best set there last year.

The Downs Park 5 Miler has become a fall favorite, and our guys usually clean up there. This year it was Steve Febish claiming the win and keeping it in the family with a season best 26:51. Sean Caskey was just behind in 2nd at 27:24, and Nick Klastava ran a fine race at 6th in 28:27.

And because we love the race so much, shoutout to PJ Anderer and Bryn Burkholder, who kept the Oktober Lauf Fest Half Marathon tradition alive. Unfortunately no cuckoo clocks, but I believe Bryn won some kind of weather thing. To see the full list of Purple Drink Athlete of the Week winners and more results, click on the "2014 Spreadsheet" on the right hand side.

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