JFK 50 Miler

Day 754

Hello? Testing. Is this thing still on? Hmmm, time to dust off the old keyboard.

Dec 30th, 2010 - Training - Tewksbury, MA - 3.1

Day 364 - Since I already have something pre-planned for Day 365, this will have to be my swan song to 2010 and this blog.

Like a tough race course should be, 2010 had many ups with hardly any downs.

Some highlights include being a part of the greatest running club with a chicken as its mascot.

Some lowlights include being a part of the greatest running club with a chicken as its mascot?!

All seriousness aside though, there is no greater feeling then being out there doing something you love with the best people around.

The Streak, The Race, The Decision, and The Blog were just small pieces of this entire experience. It's The People that I've met and The Friendships that I've developed that I'll cherish the most from the past 364 Days.

I started out the year at the 1st Run 10K in Lowell with a bunch of runners that I hardly knew. Looking back at the photos of that first race of 2010, I could probably now name 75% of the field. 100% if you give me their BIB # and the coolrunning results.

2010 wasn't all roses though. I made some enemies (you know who you are), and I made some more enemies (you definitely know who you are).

I also suffered through some injuries and setbacks, but in the end, continued to march on with my running buddies.

We trained through sideways rain, tropical storms, drunken stupors, and starlit nights out in the middle of nowhere just to get in our stupid 5K every day.

We did it because we wanted to push each other to our limits, and at other times, to push each other's buttons.

We survived the freezing temps at Fudgcicle, destroyed the hills of Derry, raced in our boxers in Bradford, won our medals at Wild, broke some hearts on the hills of Boston, had a great time at Good Times, left our shit at Sugarloaf, picked off the pack at Pinelands, walked up the steepest of Washington, relayed our way to the beach, had the run of the year at Hartford, came back home at BayState, learned a lesson at JFK, and then managed a win at mighty Merrimac.

Through it all though, we had one thing in common. WE. HAD. FUN!

So raise your pint glasses and 40's.

Here's to another 365 Days and to an even crazier New Year.

See you girls on the other side.

Dec 29th, 2010 - Training - Tewksbury, MA - 3.1

Day 363 - It's always comforting to know that there are crazier people than me out there. The latest coconut to fall from the tree is ultra runner Tony Mangan. He was a hardcore ultra runner even before he started theworldjog.com mission, but now he is just insane...in a good way.

Tony is on a Forest Gump-like mission to jog around the globe. He departed from his home in Ireland on Oct 25th, 2010 and is currently 60+ days into a 2-3 year journey around the world.

As Irish luck would have it, part of his route runs right through Greater Lowell! He's expected to come through Lowell around Jan 3rd, 2011 and is headed to Hudson, MA where he has an aunt. How quaint.

I got in touch with Tony over the weekend and his only requirement for running with him is that you have to push his buggy, Nirvana.

(As long as he's not inside the buggy)

I've done the Lowell to Hudson run in the past (part of the JB 50), and I plan to join him on this 24 mile stretch. I'm hoping to show him a little GLRR hospitality too with a belated XMAS gift.

Tony also asked if there would be anyone in the area kind enough to put him up for the night. If you do wish to help him out, another requirement is that you have to be able to drop him off exactly where you picked him up, unless of course he runs right up to your doorstep.

You can contact him directly here: THEWORLDJOG@GMAIL.COM

Needless to say, I'll be following Tony's blog and living vicariously through him over the next 2-3 years. Good Luck!

Dec 28th, 2010 - Training - Lowell, MA - 5.2

Day 362 - My 365 Days successor, EJ, said it best when he said:

I was about to walk through the gate at Hookslide Kelly's last night as half a dozen runners flashed by me. Literally. Decked out for a run on snowbank-narrowed streets, the boys were lit up with flashers like Christmas trees. Very seasonally appropriate, very festive.

I knew my arrival was going to be really close to the 6:30 start, and was glad that I made it because I didn't know the course. I jumped onto the end of the conga line, and off we went.

After dodging some traffic in downtown Lowell, I settled in with Jason, David and Cullen for an exciting run. The company was good, but wasn't the source of the excitement. It was the ice on the downhills that made the run an adventure, and reminded me that I am in need of a last will and testament.

Another reminder followed, as J left me behind on a fairly steep grade. I've become a flatlander. For several weeks leading up to Hartford, I avoided my hilliest courses to rest my legs. After beating the hell out of my legs in Hartford, I stuck to my pancake flat Mass Ave and bikepath courses for the most part. When I started chasing J around the indoor track at the Lexington fieldhouse, I had a brand new excuse for cutting my calves and quads a break.

Gasping at the top of the hill, a terrible thought occurred to me. Stu's 30k really isn't very far off. So track-tired legs be damned, it's time to take to the Heights and get ready because Stu's is no place for a flatlander.

And that was just the beginning of a fun-filled, beer-filled (coke-filled for the kiddies), and pizza-filled night at a typical GLRR club meeting.

Tonight though belonged to the GLRR Youth Team who kicked ass patooty at the local and regional XC races, and then at the Junior Olympics earlier in the month. Congrats to the team and the coaches!

One of my new goals for 2011, besides being the first vietnamese runner to finish at Boston, is to get on this youth team (as a runner) since it looked like they had a ton of fun!

(Look out future runners of the Merimack Valley)

(He's not only the president...)

Dec 27th, 2010 - Training - Tewksbury, MA - 3.1

Day 361 - After being hit with a typical New England winter storm, forcing me to go indoors and use the wussmill, I am going to have to get vulgar and whip it out for the first time this season:

(#1 Winter)

Apologies to the ladies in my reading audience.

At least this will give me a chance to try out the Yak Trax tomorrow night at the GLRR Tuesday night group run starting at 6:30PM from Hookslide's.

Don't forget that the monthly club meeting follows immediately at 7:30PM at the same location.

Beer and pizza will be served per usual. The price of admission is listening to El Presidente talk for 30 minutes, but it's well worth it. The talk, not the beer and pizza.

Dec 26th, 2010 - Training - Dracut, MA - 18

Day 360 - What a better way to cap off a 60 mile week than to do it with the J Guys, Joe D. and Jim R. (who's capping off a 90 mile week and securing his 365 Day Race victory - Congrats, Jim!).

I met up with Joe and Jim down at Joe's place in Dracut at 8AM in the hopes of getting in an 18 miler before the end of the world arrived in the form of a blizzard later in the day (you know it's bad when they have to cancel an NFL game because of it).

The snow was already falling and the roads were getting slick as we started our tour of the local area pig farms. In my 28 years of living in this area I've never dared to venture into this part of Dracut on a run, and I don't think I will (alone) after hearing some of Jim's and Joe's stories.

It was quite peaceful running on the outskirts of town, in between dodging sanders, plowers, and the occasional NH drivers trying to take us out.

There were plenty of hills thrown in to keep us honest. They grow em big and tough in Dracut, and the hills were the same too.

The run felt effortless and the pace itself was as steady as the snowfall. The only thing missing was Mack's soothing snoring (you had to be there).

We finished back where we started 18 miles and 2 hours 9 minutes later (7:10 pace for me - Jim and Joe had different times and paces even though we ran mostly together. This is what happens when space and time gets caught up in one of Joe's long run).

When you run with Joe you get the soup to nuts, but in our case, we got the eggs to nuts. Definitely Eat (and Run) at Joe's! Thanks for the great post-race breakfast!

Overall, it was my best long run on this young and refreshing running season. Now to figure out why my right rotator cuff is killing me, which would be the first serious issue so far on this long and tiring running season. I guess I won't be reporting to Ft. Myers in a month and a half.

(If you look close enough, you can hear Mack)

(sorry for slowing you guys down)

(BTW, this is Mack)

Chrismahannukwanzaa - Training - Tewksbury --> Lowell - 11.5

Day 359 - I spent 1 hour and 17 minutes of my XMAS afternoon on the roads of Tewksbury and Lowell, with seven minutes of that time taking on Catamount Rd. The hill on this road runs for more than 1/4th of a mile and it's a beast!

My pace coming up to the hill was 7:04 through 2.75 miles and the Garmin hit 7:09 at the top at mile 3.2. Unfortunately, Catamount is a dead end so I had to turn back around to finish my run towards Lowell. Fortunately, the downhill is a lot faster than the uphill, so I managed to get my pace back down to 7 flat by the time I reached North St.

(because it's there) 

I still had 7 miles to go before I got to my uncle's place along the boulevard, so I started to play with my speed. I rarely ever do fartleks on my run, and I know I need to incorporate this into my training if I want to conquer Boston in sub 2:55.

From mile 5 on I alternated between sub marathon pace (6:30) and sub 7 minute pace every half mile. The rest of my run took me up and down a hilly Andover Rd (Hey Frank!). I loved the speed play and it kept the run interesting, albiet very tiring.

I ended up with a 6:43 pace for the 11.5 miles. Felt great after the run considering that I did 14 yesterday, and now I have to look forward to my first marathon training session with Coach Donnelly in the AM. Gulp.

(Fartlek, hehe)

In more shoe news, I auditioned my new Saucony Kinvaras on this run and I have to say that I think I've found the leading candidate for my Boston run. They were solid throughout the run without any discomfort. As light as the Newtons, as comfortable as the Five Fingers, more heel support than the Frees, and more breathing room in the toe box than the Lunars. We have a winner. Thanks to Fil, EJ, Tom, and Eric for recommending this model to me.

(Not as obnoxious as the Newton Momentum)

Dec 24th, 2010 - Training - Lowell, MA - 14.25

Day 358 - One for the record books today. I count 34 runners in the photo below, and that doesn't include Glenn (taking the photo), Emily (went back to her car), 1.5 Linda's, and the .5 Steve. Guinness (both) wasn't at the finish, but there were plenty of yummy treats courtesy of Alicia & Friends. Thanks gang for making a great day even Greater!

(*No Cheating Here)

Let's see how well I know these folks:

1. James Sullivan
2. Steve Kanaracus
3. Kim Nutter
4. Eric Mottram (dressed as Tron in the photo)
5. Karen Grondine
6. Jim Stronach
7. Dave Penn
8. Keith O'Brien
9. Frank Georges
10. Scott Graham
11. Jessica Costa
12. Paul Kelly
13. Jason Bui
14. Ken Skier
15. Jeff Thomas
16. Linda McCarthy
17. EJ
18. Fil Faria
19. Marli Piccolo
20. Jeff Clark
21. Alicia Leeman
22. Dave Tyler
23. Cullen Madden
24. Cheri Monahan
25. Mark Blaisdell
26. Richie Blake
27. Dale Schofield
28. Paul Hadley
29. Bill Adamson
30. Kim Adamson
30b. Adamson, Jr.
31. Moe Garvey
32. Jill Trotter
33. Ann Kingsland
34. Dawn Mickee
35. Glenn Stewart
36. Emily Searles

Started my run with Frank, EJ, Eric, Jill, Scotty, Bill, Dave, James, and Jeff. My plan was to run 14 with Eric at about his marathon pace (low 7's).

Everything went as planned as we ran towards Vinyl Square on the Baystate course, but Eric's knee started to act up about 4.5 miles into the run. We decided to turn back around at 4.7, with EJ and Frank following suit.

I continued the rest of the run with Frank at about mid 7's, with EJ and Eric taking it easy about half-a-mile back. Frank and I got back to the GLRR office with 9 miles in the bank, so we tacked on the Tuesday night course through Belvidere to get 14+ at about 7:25 pace.

Overall a great run with some nice hills over the final 2 miles.

Hopefully Santa brings Eric a better feeling knee for Christmas, so that he can complete the Goofy Challenge in January. Rest up my future ultra running buddy.

I ran with the new Newton Momentum trainers, which are a little heavier than the racers, but much more sturdy (and cheaper). The "lug nuts" underneath have been pushed a little further back (mid foot) in this model, so that took a little bit to figure out what was feeling different.

All-in-all no complaints or issues with this pair, although I just got these in the mail last night, so I'll need a few more miles in them before I can arrive at a final verdict, but it looks like another fine model from the folks at Newton.

(they're a lot more obnoxious in person)