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Overthinking the Marathon for a Good Cause

Ray Charbonneau, a regular contributor to Level Renner, is running the 2013 Boston Marathon with Team With A Vision as the 
sighted guide for Mike Merino.

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To celebrate that,through Marathon Monday (April 15th), Ray is donating 50% of the proceeds from sales of his new book, Overthinking the Marathon, to support the Massachusetts Association for the Blind’sTeam With a Vision.

The Massachusetts Association for the Blind is the oldest social service agency in the country providing services to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. MAB’s mission is to work with individuals with disabilities to eliminate barriers and create opportunities. They specialize in individualized rehabilitation and family-focused strategies that help individuals with disabilities live full lives in the community.

Click the button below to order your copy today

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Help support Team With A Vision today!

submitted by Ray Charbonneau

Well, Jones, at least you haven’t forgotten how to show a lady a good time.

Guest blog by James DeLuca

Where to start? The storm that came through New England this weekend pushed back the start of the race but the course for the Jones 10 Miler was in pretty decent condition. Of course the bibs were the talk of the day.

To what should I compare the bibs? It would be an exaggeration to say that they were the size of Texas. They were more like Rhode Island. Rhode Island is tiny as far as states go. The next smallest state (Delaware) has ~1000 more square miles of land area than Rhode Island but at ~1500 square miles Rhode Island is enormous as far as race bibs usually go.

Last year Kevin Johnson (WMDP, then running for GBTC) won in 51:12 and this year he repeated his victory in 51:48. There have been some rumors that Kevin just had a “crappy” race this year but I’m going to assume that everyone’s finish was just delayed 36 seconds by the massive bibs.

Enough about the bibs: now for the race.

Sarah and I got delayed on the way out to Amherst by some snow plows so I didn’t get to warm up with the rest of GLRR but there was a real flock of Angry Chickens all ready to go when I got to the start.

I couldn’t make out a word from the announcer before the race but eventually it started and for the stretch from the start out to the first turn it was the normal confusion as everyone got themselves sorted to their proper paces. I went out with the plan of just doing a tempo run; I was thinking a 1:02:30-1:03:00 finish time which was all I thought I needed to be on track for my 2:55:00 May marathon goal.

James DeLuca (L) in action at Amherst. Courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

James DeLuca (L) in action at Amherst. Courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

I was standing just a bit behind Mike at the start so I basically followed him through the first mile in 6:11. We were running on the left side of the road; EJ was over to the right and ended up getting caught up in traffic and falling back a bit. Mike caught Bui first and I thought I was going to fall back and let them go but mile 2 was downhill and thanks to relatively long legs I can cruise downhill at a pretty competitive pace without having to work and the three of us went through mile 2 together in about 11:54.

Then we hit the first real hill of the course. I took the lead for a few moments but Bui ended up moving to the front and pushing the pace up the hill. Somewhere up the hill there was a water stop; Bui said he was going for water so I went wide to give him room and tried to push the pace a little but Jason’s a bit stronger on the hills so he was back to leading the way by the time we got to the mud.

We passed mile 3 in about 18:22 and pushed into the off road bit. Last year it was all frozen ruts and this year it was mud. Fortunately the ground was solid below a thin layer of mud so it wasn’t as bad of a slog as it could have been. Bui and I traded off leading a few times until I pushed ahead around the 5 mile marker.

I missed my split at mile 4; mile 5 was a few seconds on the slow side of 31 minutes. 1:02:30, I thought, that’s okay: it will be a PR. At mile 6 I had worked my way to a few seconds faster than 37 minutes and soon we hit the end of the mud.

Hitting the tarmac on the far side of the mud felt like I hit one of those boost strips in Mario Kart. I worked my way down to 42:44 for mile 7 and then 48:29 for mile 8. I felt as strong as I ever have in a race and was passing people left and right…actually mostly on the left because we were running on the right side of the road at this point but the colloquialism remains. Somewhere in there Mike Smith and I traded places a few times and I reeled in Matt Theodoros and wished him best of luck with the rest of the course. When I went through mile 9 in 54:16 I thought I might have a legitimate shot at breaking 60.

Then there was the last hill. I kept passing people up the hill, but it felt like a death march. The clock will show I ran a 6:14 for that mile but no 6:14 mile has ever felt that hard to me. I managed to pass Titus Mutinda toward the middle of that last mile making this the first time I’ve ever finished ahead of him.

I crossed the finish line in 1:00:30 for a 0:06:09 PR and wrapped my race bib around my shoulders to keep warm. I found Sarah and we found out that Sully crushed the course to the tune of 56:22 and we watched Mike Smith, Mike Girouard and Jason Bui all come in within 5 seconds of each other (1:01:08, 1:01:09, 1:01:13) and Matt Theodoros finish not far behind in 1:01:52.

We gathered by the finish and I found out that Cody Freihofer had dominated in 58:46. I met Justin Patronick (59:11) and Andrew Downey (1:00:17) and congratulated EJ Hrynowski when he came in at 1:03:26 a bit ahead of Jim Garcia (1:04:00) and Kevin Carnabucci at 1:06:06. Despite the massive bibs it was getting really cold so when Fil Faria finished in 1:08:29 I abandoned the finish line to get back to the school for coffee, food and heat. Back at the school I ran into Jim Pawlicki (CMS) and found out he had run a solid 58:26.

In team results GLRR took 8th place in Men’s Open. Top 3 were WMDP, GBTC and CMS. GLRR Women in 10th. GLRR Masters Men and Women both in 5th. EJ led the GLRR Senior team to 2nd place! GLRR Veteran Men took 3rd!

In all despite the weather and the hills it was a day of inspiring performances. SMAC definitely made the right call by keeping the race on.

May your training miles be ever hilly and may all your races have free beer!

LEVEL NOTE: I have to give credit to E-J Hrynowski for bringing this (and all its great bib references) to our attention. Be sure to check out Jim’s blog, which is part of our blog network. Is your blog part of it yet? Get started here.

Facial Hair Frenzy!

Guest blog by NE Distance Project

NE Distance Athlete-in-residence Fellow David Goodman is contemplating a change in his look.  You can vote on the change while helping him with his mission to represent New England at national meets while tutoring, mentoring and coaching local youth in Woonsocket. Funds received for this campaign will help defray the cost of sending Goodman to the Payton Jordan Meet.

On March 15th, David Goodman will have a different look.  Your donations to the NE Distance program will help make his decision.  See the benchmarks below.


Donations can be made online at http://www.crowdrise.com/nedistance-facialhairfrenzy

Our only question is, if we can come up with the $10,000 necessary for the ‘Mr. Clean’ look, does that mean he’s going to get his ear pierced?

Amherst 10 Miler: Reilly RUNs Away With It

See what I did there? If not, don’t worry. It’ll make sense soon enough. Steph Reilly (Bryant University coach and 2012 Olympian) led her Team RUN teammates to victory in the first grand prix race of the season this past Sunday in Amherst. Steph won the Jones 10 miler in 58:40, almost four minutes ahead of runner-up (and defending series co-champ) Helen Dinan of Whirlaway (results here).

Steph in control in Amherst. Courtesy of Scott Mason Photography.

The Whirlaway women were second, followed by NBB (Steph’s old team). With a quick analysis you can see that Steph’s move to a new team really impacted the standings in this first meet of the series. Score her for NBB and that team takes the title while Team RUN slides down the list. It’s a move that didn’t get as much attention as, say, Ruben Sança going from GBTC to Whirlaway, but it’ll have just as much of an impact on the standings (if not more).

Here’s a quick Q&A with the USATF-NE 2013 10 Mile Champion:

How did it go and what did you think of the conditions?

This was my first time running the race. It is a very difficult and challenging course. The hill around three miles didn’t bother me as much as the dirt road. I struggled on that portion quite a lot. With the weather it became very muddy and I couldn’t get going on it. So that was frustrating. I finally was able to run steady once we hit pavement again, and was starting to pick up momentum until the last mile, which was uphill and difficult. This set me back a little again. Overall it was a good hard effort, and although I would have liked to run a lot quicker I was happy enough with the win and result considering the conditions. The race was very well organized and I am sure they were pleased that the race went off at all with the predicted weather.

More domination, this time captured by Krissy Kozlosky.

More domination, this time captured by Krissy Kozlosky.

Last year you raced for New Balance Boston (NBB) and now RUN. You mentioned something about a new team (in a Facebook post), but could you elaborate on that? Is it the first women’s team for RUN or is this separate from the men’s team that has been competing on the circuit?

Yes I am now running for Team RUN again. I ran for them before I switched to NBB a few years ago, and decided to go back. It isn’t really a new team. There has always been a women’s team version but we have never really been able to get teams out for all the series races in the past. After I decided to go back to Mark and RUN we decided to get a team together and make it good. We had a nice opener. It is very early stages though, but we are excited and looking forward to the rest of the grand prix series races.

Is your focus still on the track? So far you’ve won a 16 and a 10 miler on the roads this year.

My focus this winter is more about putting in the best base I have ever been able to do, and get really strong, and see where it gets me. I hope it translates into fast times and PRs on the roads and track this spring and summer. I am planning on doing a lot of the grand prix series this year provided all goes well. I like having a good goal and challenge, and this is something different for me. The last few years have been really focused on track championships.

In the masters race, Christin Doneski won with a 65:32 and led her fellow Whirlaway teammates to victory as well.

Christin in action later in the race, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

Christin in action later in the race, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

Be sure to also check out the amazing race photography from both Scott Mason Photography and Krissy Kozlosky.

Amherst 10 Miler: Johnson Repeats

Different singlet, craptastic weather, same results. Kevin Johnson of the Western Mass Distance Project (aka WMDP, the Wolfpack) repeated in Amherst. This time he was wearing the powder blue WMDP singlet whereas last year he was rockin’ the GBTC red. In fact, Kevin was our very first post-race athlete interview. Check it out here. It’s only a year old, but it looks so much older just because he’s sporting that red jersey.

Johnson (L) and Duncan, leading the field in Amherst. Courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

That was a pretty fast time for those conditions, how’s training been going?

It was an interesting day for sure. Training has been going well and I have been fortunate that this winter weather has been gentle for this young fella living at the foothills of the White Mountains. Our Coach, Mike Gauvin, drew up a plan that was focused on getting some strength in our legs for these hilly races (Amherst and New Bedford) before getting ready for the shorter faster stuff later in the spring. . . so I have just been following that. Basically, a good number of hilly tempos with some more volume.

Rumor has it you had to stop twice during the race and you still won. Is that true? How much time do you think you lost?

I did unfortunately stop twice during the race due to intestinal distress likely caused by some Moroccan food the night before. I am not sure how much time I lost, but it was probably on the order of 30 seconds or so. Not my finest hour (or 51:40 for that matter), but it was life experience gained and lessons learned.

What are you gearing up for now?

I am currently gearing up for a healthy season where I try to race often in March/April/May/June. No race in particular, but I want to throw down some faster races as I have gotten away from those over the past year. Injuries seem to be apart of the sport and those lucky enough to string together months of consistent training tend to PR. So I guess right now the goal is just the process of training.

Wolfpack came out howling on their home course. is this a sign of things to come for the rest of the year?

WMDP is gearing up for a competitive 2013 campaign and we hope that the performances Sunday will help draw the best runners from the other squads so that we can really put our team to the test. Obviously, a team like BAA is incredibly talented and it would be nice to see if we could compete with a semi-loaded BAA squad out on the GPS or in a road/track 5k/10k (clearly a full BAA squad trumps any team in the region).

As you might have surmised from that last response, the Wolfpack emerged from the fray victorious on Sunday. There’s a great write up on the WMDP team site about the race, here’s a funny excerpt from it:

“Johnson’s win was under attack by some stomach issues as he was inspired by a LetsRun thread about Hicham El Guerrouj to eat copious amounts of Moroccan food the night before the race, causing The People’s Champion to take a pit stop at 5.5 miles and again at 7 miles.  His 7th mile conference call with nature was observed by all harriers within 3 minutes, which was initially perceived as taunting.”

Check out the rest, it’s worth the read. The 2012 USATF-NE C0-Club of the Year drew first blood in 2013. We’ll have to wait a few weeks to see who’s going to respond to it. Be sure to also check out the amazing race photography from both Scott Mason Photography and Krissy Kozlosky.

Courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

Courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

In the masters race, Joe Navas led the way. While he was injured and relegated to only interviewing the winners last year, this year he came out swinging. Said Joe:

“What a great day at the DH Jones 10 Miler in Amherst. Last year, I was watching this race from the sidelines with much of our Masters team. This year was a different story and a total, snowy, slushy blast! Great to see everyone out there today. Tough runners, these New Englanders.”

Okay, he doesn’t really talk like that. It was something he posted on Facebook but seemed appropriate to add to this piece.

(L-R) Anthony Walsh, Titus Mutinda, and Joe Navas battle it out in Amherst. Courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

Just Around The Corner

Guest blog by Ben True

With February coming to a close and Punxsutawney Phil claiming an early spring, time has come to start planning the spring running program at Indian River School.  This spring will be slightly different than the past, as scheduling dictates that practices will begin before my return from Florida.  However, thanks to the wonderful and generous support of the Dartmouth Endurance Racing Team (DERT), who energetically volunteered their time throughout the fall season, not all will be lost.  The addition of DERT to the running program has been a huge asset and only furthers the connection between the college and community, providing great role models for the middle schoolers to look up to.


Without access to a track facility, once again, the spring program will be centered around various local 5k trail and road races.  Focusing on road races, rather than track meets, allows for a larger community involvement and the ability for family and friends to compete alongside the IRS runners.  I am grateful that the Upper Valley is home to so many wonderful races throughout the year.  Being able to find races within an hour drive from Hanover almost every weekend of the spring and summer only shows the popularity of running and societal’s demand for healthy activities.  It is great to be apart of such a community.

While snow continues to fall in the Northeast, and I battle it out in eighty degree temperatures here in Florida, I begin to get excited for the spring running to start- both that of Indian River School, and my own track season.  I just hope that Phil was right, and spring is just around the corner.

Until next time,


Ben may have relocated for the winter, but you can follow along by reading his blog In The Arena.

Champagne Wins in Ireland!

Before we get to coverage of the Amherst 10 Miler (coming soon), there’s some stuff to clear off the queue here as vacation week comes to an end. EJN was waiting on some more thorough final results, then was away having fun, so this nearly never saw the light of day.

Mary Kate Champagne (New Balance Boston) won the 2013 Ras na hEireann cross country race in Ireland on Sunday. Results can be found here for the women’s race, but it only has places on it at the moment and not the times. In another impressive performance, Joanie Bohlke placed third overall.

In the men’s race, BAA teammates Eric Ashe and Sam Alexander finished 3-4. Once again, the results don’t give us any indication of time just yet.

Of the timing issue, Mary Kate said: “There wasn’t a clock at the race, but i used a watch (silly, I know) and ran about 13:20″. For the 4k, Mary Kate “felt good overall” and said that “it was nice to run a shorter cross country race”.

Pictures of the race can be found here and here.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I left Joanie off of our initial posting for the Armagh Road Race that took place last Thursday (2/14), but she finished 17th (10:16 for the 3k road race).

DH Jones 10 Miler in Amherst to be Run

From the Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club’s website:

The 10-miler will be held this Sunday, February 24th. However, the starting time has been changed to 1 PM.

Please note the change in start time.

Jones 10 Miler Update

From the Sugarloaf Mountain Athletic Club’s website:

As of today, the 10-miler is still scheduled to be held on Sunday. We hope to make a final decision by noon on Saturday. In the meantime, please check back for any updates.

For the Legion’s convenience, we’ll send out an alert shortly after noon on Saturday (depending on SMAC-they did say “hope”).

March/April Magazine Teaser

In less than ten days or so, the March/April edition of Level Renner magazine will be released.  To wet your palate, here’s a preview of some of the topics you’ll read about once it drops.

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Oh wait a second, that looks a little grainy.  Some of it is hard to read.  Wait, the “VIE” in preview are blocking out the profiles and that’s my favorite part!?! What gives?! What’s going on in Level Land?!?

We’ll tell you: we did it on PURPOSE!  Why?  Has cabin fever gotten the best of us? Are with just that maniacal? Is this our version of waterboarding?!? Yes, yes, and yes.

Okay, no.  That’s not it. We just want to throw down the gauntlet for a bit of a challenge.  If this post gets a combination of 100 Facebook likes, Twitter retweets, and comments, we’ll draw back the curtain just a tad more.  We’ll tell you all of the featured athletes in our next issue.  Let’s make your mouth is even wetter (is that possible: are there degrees of wetness?): the profiled athletes are from these clubs: Brooks-Hansons, new balance Boston, Central Mass Striders, Somerville Road Runners, and the Western Mass Distance Project.

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