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October 2012 : Issue 10

Welcome to the October 2012 Issue. We got you covered on everything you need from nutrition to body maintenance to performance.

Download Issue 10


Table of Contents

  • Editor’s Note & Letters
  • Lane 1: Performance
    Uphill Strides, Negative Splits w/ Slattery
  • Lane 2: Body Shop
    Scar Tissue
  • Lane 3: Nutrition
  • Club Spotlight
    Albany Running Exchange
  • Level Profiles
    McBride, Donovan, Lutz, Lane
  • London Olympics 2012
    Fraioli, Sanca
  • Level Featured Event
    CVS Downtown 5k
  • Lane 4: Commentary
    Crosswalks, Biking, Proselytizing
  • Bits: Quads & Columns
    survey, music, miscellaneous stuff
  • HSR
    GPS #8 Update
  • Back Page
    Learn the Legion

Whirlaway Sports Presents: Cape Cod Marathon Highlights & Interviews

Hopefully this finds most of Level Legion in undamaged homes (with the power still on!). As many of you have read on our site already, we were down in Falmouth yesterday to cover the Cape Cod Marathon. Conditions weren’t ideal but that just made the accomplished goals that much sweeter.

Since the race is so long, we ended up with a ton of footage. We did our best to whittle it down to somewhat quick videos, but still featuring as much of the race and the Legion as possible.

For starters, here is the race from the perspective of the hardest working, lowest budget crew out there:

Courtney Bird, in his last year as race director, was cool enough to let us loiter by the finish line and capture all the end-of-race excitement. Winner Eric Ashe (2:26:13) strolled on by and we were able to get away from the noise enough to get an interview:

We couldn’t seem to track down the women’s winner Kate Pallardy (2:52:29), but she wasn’t fast enough to completely avoid our cameras:

Kate, three miles in.

Fortunately we did get a hold of Helen Dinan (2:59:14) for a quick interview. Helen was 49th overall, the 2nd woman AND the first USATF-NE woman. That victory was enough to move her into a tie with Lindsay Willard for the lead in the final series standings. Also, in an attempt to find a quiet area to conduct the interview, we inadvertently ended up in front of a completely green bulletin board. You can probably imagine what happened next…fun with green screen!

Finally, we have to acknowledge Sarah Prescott’s Cal Ripken-like run in the GPS series. Thirteen years…wow.

If you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to check out Kev Balance’s recap of yesterday’s action and also Jessie Regnier’s kick heard round the world.

The road racing Grand Prix may be done for 2012, but start thinking about 2013 already (especially all you race directors out there). If you want your race to be part of the excitement, get your bids together and send them in!

There’s always the cross country Grand Prix circuit too (see you in Westfield on November 18th)!

Lastly, we need to thank Dave Kazanjian and Whirlaway Sports for sponsoring our material, shuttling us around the marathon course, and also for trusting in our creativity and judgement in how we presented it. Dave’s a good sport (and so is Sarah too), and we had fun throughout the process.

This and all the rest of our coverage is brought to you by Whirlaway Sports Center in Methuen, MA. They support us. Please consider supporting them.

If you would like to sponsor us, contact [email protected] or [email protected].

Cape Cod Marathon: Video Sneak Peek

Since time is tight and the Frankenstorm of the Century may destroy the internet forever tomorrow, we had to release a sampling of our Cape Cod Marathon video coverage. This one’s all Jesse Regnier:

That’s how you close out a race! More to come, keep checking back here.

This and all the rest of our coverage is brought to you by Whirlaway Sports Center in Methuen, MA. They support us. Please consider supporting them.

If you would like to sponsor us, contact [email protected] or [email protected].

Cape Cod Marathon Mini Synopsis

When we  arrived at the starting line in Falmouth, the weather was pleasant enough but a sense of foreboding filled the air.  The sky was overcast and a slight wind blew over the course.  Well, over the next 3+ hours, the sky remained the same but the temperature dropped while the winds picked up… And I mean the winds really got stronger, and the longer you were out there the worse they became.

The course was unrelenting as we saw many positive splits and many accomplished runners drop out of the race altogether.  Many admitted post race that they too would’ve DNF’ed if the race wasn’t the USATF-NE Team Championship.  We certainly noticed the toll the hills took on the hamstrings too.  Two separate Whirlaway runners cramped up so badly in the last mile that they had to run/walk to the finish.  Some even stopped to stretch in a desperate attempt to loosen up the legs.  One such runner was Scott McGrath.  Even though he stopped three times in the last 2 miles (cramping), he still posted up a 16 minute PR.  Yes, 16 minutes; that’ s not a typo.

Winner Eric Ashe just after 35k

Despite the weather and the non-PR course (hills: short and steep both up and down), many area runners still posted exceptional performances as is to be expected in an USATF-NE Championship race.  A lead pack of Eric Ashe, Brandon Newbould, and Ben Mears quickly established themselves out front and gapped the field.  The trio ran together through 13.1 then Ashe made his move and cruised to victory in his debut marathon.  Ashe must be a bit sadistic as he 1) smiled during most of the race 2) shouted at us during the race, and 3) picked Cape Cod as his debut marathon.  He ran 2:26.18 (5:30 pace).

Reno Stirrat leads a pack that features 2nd place woman Helen Dinan.

The Women’s winner came across state from New York.  Kate Pallardy led wire to wire and never once did we see a crack in her armor.  She ran smoothly and seemed to be very much in control of the race.  She ran with a pack of men that included the likes of Robert Cipriano.  In fact, she tucked herself into the group of beaus so tightly that we couldn’t get any still shots of her.  Sorry Kate.  Slow down next time so we can get a good photo of you.  She ran 2:52.28 (high 6:30s).  Coming in 2nd (and pictured above) was Helen Dinan.  Dinan ran in the 2nd place position for almost the entire race.  She too ran in a pack and gutted out a great race in less than ideal conditions.

Below are some unofficial results.  Official results will be posted on the Cape Cod Marathon website.  Stay tuned as we will have lots more coverage coming your way Level Legion.

1st page of the results . Photo by Reno Stirrat.

Men’s Open
Eric Ashe 2.26.12  5.30
Brandon Newbould  2.28.18 5.40
Scott Leslie 2.31.00  5.46
Andrew Van Hoogenstyn 2.31.09
Ben Mears 2.36.05

Women’s Open
Kate Pallardy 2.52.28
Helen Dinan  2.59.14
(we will have much more women’s coverage as official results become available)

Men’s Masters
Richard Burke  2.32.19  5.49
Joseph Koech  2.48.28
Brian Ruhm  2.43.56
Mark Gibson 2.44.29
Joe O’Leary  2.46.00

Men’s 50-59
Martin Tighe  2.43.00   6.13
Robert Cipriano  2.47.31
Jeff Silveira  2.52.29
Ephriam Ezekial  2.54.56
Reno Stirrat  2.58.56

Level Renner coverage of the Cape Cod Marathon is proudly sponsored by Whirlaway Sports Center.  They support us.  Please consider  supporting them.

If you would like to sponsor us, contact [email protected] or [email protected].

College Rankings Update: Weeks 5 & 6

Slight changes in D2; D1 & D3 remain the same

By: Dan Gordon 10/26/12

In division 2 Cross Country, championship season has officially begun. This weekend, several conferences held their conference championships, effectively putting all D2 athletes one week ahead of their D1 and D3 cohorts. Several New England and Northeast teams performed well, and as a result moved up in the USTFCCCA polls, released Wednesday. The main attention in DI and DIII will now turn to Friday, October 26th, the start of the conference meets. Here’s a quick recap of all three divisions.

Division I Men:

Columbia, 10th

While not a New England team, the Columbia men’s cross country team are members of the Northeast region and the Ivy Conference. Both the region and the conference are filled with New England talent, so we would be remiss not to mention the Lions, who moved up to 10th, jumping up 7 spots to become the highest ranked Columbia cross country team in the school’s history. Their fifth place performance last weekend at the University of Wisconsin Adidas Invitational was made possible because of two former New England prep standouts: Jake Seinko and Mark Feigen. Juniors John Gregorek and Byron Jones, two Massachusetts H.S. products, have been threatening the top 7 all year, looking to help propel the Lions deep into the post season.

(Courtesy of Columbia University Athletics)

Division I Women:

Providence, 10th

While the average sports fan knows the dominance of the Friars in basketball, not many understand just how routine it is for Providence Cross Country Coach Ray Treacy to assemble such talented teams year in and year out. The Lady Friars have certainly shown they were under ranked for most of the season, jumping from 28th to 10th in one week. Treacy, now in his 29th year of coaching, has done an excellent job this season, with the women finishing sixth out of 49 teams in the aforementioned Wisconsin Invite. If running well in perhaps the second biggest meet of the year is any indicator of what this team is capable of, then all bets are off come Nationals.

Yale, 22nd

Moving up 8 spots, the Yale Bulldogs suddenly find themselves the 22nd best team in Division I. The first time they have been nationally ranked since 2005, the team will compete in the Heptagonal Championships on Saturday (10/27). The Bulldogs have only been able to squeeze out one top 3 performance at Heps in the last nine years (3rd in 2004). Their successful return to the national polls can be attributed by their stockpile of New England talent. Junior Millie Chapman has been the team’s frontrunner for the majority of the year, accompanied by Seniors Jennifer Donnelly, Annelies Gamble, and Freshman Emily Stark. While these women are aiming for a top three finish, they could snag the victory if top ranked Cornell falters.

Courtesy Yale University Athletics

Boston College, 26th

Only time will tell if the Eagles can turn their season around, but if the Football team goes down without more than a win, Boston College can rely on the women’s cross country team to get them through tough times. After finishing 1st (again) at the New England Championships and tying for 16th at the Wisconsin Invitational, the team slid back 5 spots in the polls to 26th. The Eagles will compete next in the ACC championship, and will certainly benefit from their abundance of studs, any of whom could pop a “big” race at the right time. Senior Bridget Dahlberg has helped lead the team all season, consistently placing among the top five Eagles.

University of Connecticut, 29th

Moving into the rankings after being previously unranked, the University of Connecticut Women’s Cross Country team finds themselves in a precarious situation. After losing a number of runners to graduation, and their top runner Lindsay Crevoiserat to injury, the Huskies lack a true number one runner. But what they lack in star power they made up for in depth, finishing 19th at Wisconsin with the help of Senior Shauna McNiff and Junior Lauren Sara. It will be interesting to see if the team can score an at-large bid for Nationals after the Big East Championships this weekend at Van Courtland Park, NY.

Division II Men:

Stonehill, 15th

A one point victory over rivals UMass Lowell and AIC at the NE-10 Championships was all it took to bump the Stonehill down to 15th in the polls, despite the fact that they had been ranked 12th for two weeks. The Skyhawks were led by sophomore Bryan Wilcox, and narrowly escaped defeat when some of their best runners had disastrous days. They will look to carry on their success next weekend at the D2 Northeast Regional meet, where the top three teams will punch their ticket to the big dance.

American International College, 16th

A team that relies on their studs up front to carry them to victory, AIC made a huge jump, moving from 31st to 16th. Head coach Leo Mayo must be proud of the Yellow Jackets, who garnered their highest ranking this season due to the front running prowess of senior Glarius Rop and freshman Michael Biwott. These two should be on everybody’s short list for runners to watch, as they most certainly form one of the best 1-2 combos in the country.

Galrius Rop (courtesy of Steve Vaitones)

University of Massachusetts-Lowell, 18th

The return of senior All American Jeff Veiga has served this team well, as they narrowly missed defeating Stonehill College by 3 points last weekend at the NE-10 Championship. The Riverhawkslook to make a run at regionals, where the must put together a perfect race in order to give themselves a shot at the repeat, something that will prove especially difficult if their top guys don’t have a perfect day. Their worst races behind them, look for this team to make a statement in the coming weeks.

Eric McDonald, Andrew Coelho, Bryan Wilcox (Courtesy of Sara Kulins)

Division II Women:

Stonehill, 12th

The Lady Skyhawks find themselves sitting pretty in 12th place for the third week in a row after easily dispatching the rest of the NE-10 on their way to a fourth conference title in 4 years. They have been the team to beat all year, and behind the leadership of captains Caroline McBride and Chelsea Bishop, they aren’t slowing down. Look for Stonehill, the only ranked D2 girls’ team in New England, to make good on their 12thplace ranking at the D2 National Championships, where they will face the likes of Shippensburg, Colorado Mines, and Edinboro.

Courtesy of Stonehill Athletics

Division III Men:

Bates, 4th

Division three must be sick and tired of hearing about New England, since many of the top ranked teams outside of it are going to have to go through us if they want a National Championship. Heading the wall of opposition against the rest of the country is Bates. The Bobcats have been on the hunt this season, recently winning the State of Maine Cross Country Championships. They edged rival Bowdoin by one point for their second title in a row. Mike Mullin, Tully Hannan, and Andrew Worthham lead a ridiculously deep team that will challenge for the win at Nationals.

Tufts, 7th

Talk about loaded with talent. The Jumbos are a perennial player in Division 3 year in and year out. They sit in 7th place after a fifth place finish at the New England Championships. Placing 4 runners in the top 40, they were the best D3 team. Tufts is led by Senior co-captain Matt Rand, who was named of seven runners in Division III whom NCAA.com recently selected as a candidate to win the NCAA Championship Race in 2012.

Matt Rand (Courtesy of Tufts Athletics)

Bowdoin, 11th

Where Bates goes, Bowdoin is usually not very far behind. The boys who represent the other powerhouse of Maine distance running usually handle themselves quite well in the post season. The Polar Bears jumped to 11th place in the polls following an insanely well raced New England’s, where they found themselves in 6th place. Coby Horowitz and Sam Seekins are the two to watch on this team, their success at Nationals depends upon them.

Williams, 13th

The men of Williams find themselves enjoying their 13th place ranking after capturing the Little Three title for the 25th year in a row. They also recently won the Plansky Invitational. The Ephs will rely on their pack running, which served them well at New England’s, where they finished 8th overall. Chris Lee and Wade Davis are the leaders of a very, very deep team.

Middlebury, 17th

Coming off three straight wins, Middlebury looks to keep the momentum rolling at the NESCAC championships, where they will be facing tough competition from the aforementioned teams.

Amherst, 30th

Despite closing up the huge gaps they had at the Paul Short Invite, Amherst College came up short at the Little Three meet, losing to Williams. The team races next at NESCAC’s and will rely on NCAA XC Qualifier and New England 10k Champion Andrew Erskine.

Andrew Erskine (Courtesy of Amherst Athletics)

Women’s DIII:

MIT, 1st

Finishing fifth last year, the women of MIT look to improve upon that performance, and coaches everywhere have taken notice, ranking them as the number one D3 team in the country. MIT ended with 198 points for fifth place at the New England Championships, besting rival Williams by three places.

Williams, 3rd

They return all three All-NESCAC runners from last season, so the Ephs know they count on the experience of their front runners to serve them well once they make it to Nationals. They recently captured first at the Purple Valley Classic, and won the Little Three, a very competitive meet featuring three ranked teams.

Middlebury, 5th

Middlebury will look to earn their 10th conference crown in the last 15 years. Although they lost three All-Conference runners from last year’s team, second teamer Emily Attwoodwill help lead an impressive pack that always seems to turn it on at the right time.

Middlebury, 2010 NCAA D3 National Champions (Courtesy of Middlebury Athletics)

Tufts, 17th

The Jumbos placed six runners in the top 20 to easily emerge victorious at the Connecticut College Invitational, their final meet before championship season. Freshman Audrey Gould has led the team all season, and will continue to shine this weekend at NESCAC’s.

Amherst, 21st

This is Kerri Lambert‘s team, in case anyone had any doubts. At L3’s, Lambert won by nearly 50 seconds, helping her team to a second place finish. Lambert, who had never run track before college, is going to need some help from the rest of her team if they are going to make a statement at NESCAC’s.

Kerri Lambert, who was recently featured in Sports Illustrated: Faces in the Crowd (Courtesy Amherst Athletics)

Bates, 28th

After two consecutive wins, Bates finds itself ranked 28th in the country; a great accomplishment…but dangerously close to becoming unranked. They won their first state title since 1990 but are going to need a huge effort from Junior Gabby Naranja this weekend at NESCAC’s if they wish to move up.

Willard’s Epic Weekend of Racing

By Lindsay Willard

Today is a warm and dreary October Friday, which would actually be my favorite type of weather to go for a long run, but I am proud to admit that I am taking some time off. This past weekend was the end of a jam-packed training and racing season, that I won’t soon forget. After a great Boston last April, I started my Spring training the very next day and headed into more than 20 races over the summer. I was competing in all of the Charles River Road Race Series, the New England Runner Pub Series, and the USATF Grand Prix Series. I didn’t expect for them all to go well, but it sure would have been nice. :)

I had a lot of PRs in the earlier weeks of the summer, but once I set my goal on the Hartford Marathon in October, I had to change gears and get serious about some long runs. It was hard to focus, and I missed the entire summer of track practice workouts to instead hit a Thursday or Saturday 5K or 5 Miler, and I made some great friends along the way.

Lindsay bearing down near the finish at Carver (courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky)

The Hartford Marathon came up quickly this October, so much so that I threw in two test half marathons just a few weeks before to check my progress. The results were not what I had hoped for, but exactly what I expected… I was quite burnt out. Back in April, Bob Fitzgerald of New England Runner Magazine had warned me “don’t burn out before Hartford!”, and I was afraid that was exactly the problem. I had been running loud and heavy, with my quads feeling strained – like lead weights for several weeks. I was seeing my massage therapist, my physical therapist, and my chiropractor for every last minute appointment I could make and afford, looking for some relief. Beyond the physical, I also faced the mental challenges by lowering my expectations for Hartford twice.

I knew that I wasn’t in the shape I was in back before Boston in April, but that I was absolutely willing to go through the pain and still shoot for the best. It was almost funny to find out that the finale to the New England Pub Series (where I was trying to maintain my lead for the series title) was the day after the Hartford Marathon. Very unfortunate, but I fully intended to put my legs through it. I mean how bad could a 5K feel after 26.2? It was called the Shileleigh Shuffle in Newton, MA – and I joked that I certainly would be shuffling. :)

So October 13th came, and I was with a few other BAA teammates in the New England’s Finest sponsored group at Hartford. It felt so foreign to me to be racing anywhere other than the Boston course. I had no idea where we would be going on this race, what it looked like, what the fan support would be like, etc. I knew that my parents had driven into town the night before and
that I would see them somewhere after the halfway mark, along with my Hello Kitty decorated “elite” water bottle (that I was so excited for).

I had warned my parents in the prior weeks about the shape of my quads, and my frustrations. They of course had said they would be proud no matter what, and they knew that dropping out was not an option for me. I stood no chance of winning, but I just wanted to see what I could do. And when the gun went off I was delighted to feel fresh legs for the first time in weeks. I felt
fluid, controlled and ready…clicking off 6:15s, 6:20s, even some relaxing 6:25s. I was thrilled at the idea that I could do the 2:50 pace I was still hoping for. Far from the 2:45 I originally wanted, or the 2:48 I had bumped it to… But I was actually banking time for the second half.

I had a little tummy grumble at mile 11 and feared that I was hungry, but when I ate a GU gel at mile 14 and started to vomit – I came to the sad realization that I wasn’t hungry, I had acid reflux. I got sick over 6 times in the last miles of the race. I lost over 5 minutes in the final miles, even stopping to walk for the first time in years of marathons. Nothing could fix my stomach. I cried to my Mom when I passed her at mile 17 and she just begged me to hold it in, but it kept coming. I even threw my head back on the finish line trying not to get sick again. I was so upset to have watched my goal times drop out of sight over something I had no control over; t wasn’t even about tired legs. But my goodness, I still got 3rd place and I still ran a better time than my last Marathon, so what am I complaining about??? I did it! It wasn’t pretty, or planned, but it was a PR. It was also my parents’ favorite Marathon experience to be able to see me out on the course, actually talk directly to me, and watch me cross the finish line, and most of all – to place on the podium.

After Hartford was said and done, and the New England’s Finest Program had taken such great care of me, I realized that I had to drive myself back to Boston. I had to throw in a load of laundry and wash my uniform for the Pub Series race the next morning. Very poor planning ;p but I was taking a smiling, sarcastic look at it, just like with Hartford. I knew I was tired, but I wasn’t going to miss it.

I showed up late to Newton, scrambled for parking, then darted out in the rain for a four minute warm-up. It felt so strange to put on racing flats again, but I could care less about what I was wearing, since I wasn’t exactly committed to wearing it for 26 miles, like the day before. I know that I had made jokes about dragging myself across the finish line, and walking it in, but I think anyone who knows me knows that I was still gonna go for it. I looked for the second place Pub Series runner, and any other woman doing shake-outs on the starting line, and I just put my head down.

I didn’t freak out at the sound of the starter, or try to go out fast and hold on like I usually do. I just pumped my arms, kicked up my feet, and got moving. The 5:45 wasn’t a fast first mile, but better than I had expected. I was in third at that point, with my eyes on a pink t-shirt in the lead. It was a downhill second mile and I managed to maintain pace and slowly get closer to that pink t-shirt. At 2.25 miles I approached her, then I slipped in front of her. I waited for a reaction, and when she stayed put I just tried to hold on. I though to myself “how cool would it be to actually win this thing, the day after your marathon!?!” How cool indeed.

I came around the final turn in Newton and saw the balloons. I heard the cheering and I saw Bob Fitzgerald hold up a finisher’s tape for me to break, and it felt amazing. I think I cried out as I crossed that line. Now I was officially tired, now I had left it all out there, now my stomach officially hated me :)  and now…I could go have a beer at Paddy’s Pub and celebrate a great weekend all around.

Congrats to Lindsay for pulling off this epic double.

1st WMDP XC Festival a Success

Some of the area’s best runners ventured out to Westfield, MA on Saturday to line up for the First Annual Western Mass Distance Project XC Festival. Those who made the trek out west were rewarded with a fast course, good competition, spectacular fall weather and one heck of an after-party.

The New England championships will be held on this very same course (Stanley Park) on November 18th, so this made for a great chance to preview it before the big day.

Amidst the sounds of Zeppelin and Rage, Brian Harvey (BAA) sat back in the early stages as the race looped the fields a couple of times for the men’s 8k. He turned it on when it mattered and emerged from the woods with a comfortable lead (winning in 24:49). The women’s 5k race was a bit more dramatic as Kyle Linn Feldman used a late surge to out-kick Erin Dromgoole (NBB) and break the tape in 17:32.

The BAA swept the team awards, placing four in the top five and seven in the top thirteen to easily take the men’s team title and then placed all five scorers between fourth and eleventh to take a much closer women’s race. [See full results here.]

Brian Harvey spoke to Level Renner after his win:

Is it just me, or is the banner in the background spectacular? We also caught up with women’s champ Kyle Linn Feldman:

As some of you may recall, there was some smack talk between Eric Ashe and Sean Duncan on the Level Renner Facebook page.  It’s all in good fun and only serves to (hopefully) generate some more interest in the event, along with provide some extra motivation to the competitors. Both were two weeks removed from lightening fast races over longer distances, with Eric running a 67:29 at the BAA Half and Sean a 2:24:59 at the Chicago Marathon. We got both of them on camera after the race to talk a little about their rivalry:

We like to throw some fuel on the fire where we can. Duncan, we need to get footage of you out-kicking Ashe to make a game out of this! Speaking of rivalries and competition, the boys (and girls) in blue have really burst onto the scene in 2012. Not only are they making races more competitive with their deep, talented team but they’re also making things more fun. This was the first event that they have hosted and it also marked Jason Ayr’s first crack at directing a race. Duncan got back on camera, joined by Ayr and Kevin Johnson, to talk about their team, the event and upcoming races:

All in all it was a successful event. The group was somewhat small, but that only seemed to heighten the sense of camaraderie in the air. After they battled fiercely out on the course, everybody came together for a big group picture and then, a little later, for some pizza and beers at Whip City Brew. Respect the process. Leave it all out on the course. And then, when the work is done, take a moment to celebrate with your fellow runners before starting up the process all over again.

We need to take this opportunity to give a few shout-outs. We were able to provide some prizes to the top finishers of this race thanks to some of our sponsors. Skechers kindly contributed a free pair of shoes to the top three male and female finishers, along with free water bottles to just about everybody there. The good people at Sigvaris pitched in with a pair of compression recovery socks to the female champion. The very lucky ones scored themselves a Level t-shirt. Thanks to Skechers, Sigvaris and, of course, to WMDP for putting on a great event.

Goodman’s NE Distance Debut

By David Goodman

I started with NE Distance in September and so far it’s been really great. My favorite race is the Steeplechase and my goal is to be the best that I can in that event. When coming to New England, I felt that the one thing I really needed to focus on is mileage. I never felt I had a chance to run high mileage and the setup here is letting me do that.

In the first four weeks of coming here, I’ve built up to 100 miles per week and feel that my body has been able to handle it pretty well. Coach Rothenberg and I discussed getting in a good half marathon race to break things up. I picked the ING Hartford Half because I had heard good things about it from some of my new training partners and thought that there would be some good competition.

My training leading up to the race was going well, but this was my first experience with that long of a race. Although I am running the highest mileage of my career, it became clear that I haven’t had enough time to develop strength from my base period and that the half marathon is a different kind of race.

Moments before the start at Hartford.

The marathon started with a shock. The pace was quicker than I expected, but I ran my own race for the first mile, letting the leaders run away from me. After the one mile mark, the impatient, aggressive competitor in me came out and told me it was a good idea to try to push myself to chase the leaders, who had already established a sizable lead. This resulted in tiring out my legs with little ground gained. My competitive streak had not yet been beaten out of me, so for the next two miles I engaged in a surging war with another runner, where I would push up the hills and

he would hammer down. By mile 5 I had lost that fight and was well aware that I was in over my head.

At the half way mark I got passed by a few more athletes. By now the adrenaline and allure of racing again had worn off and I was just hoping to finish and move on to training for quicker, MUCH SHORTER track races. Of course, easier said than done. At 8 miles I passed some port-a-potties and realized that nature was on line “2”. I battled with the thought of stopping mid-race to go to the bathroom, but at mile 9.5, nature was no longer letting me keep it on hold so I had to stop to TCB.

After the bathroom break, I emerged behind 3 runners who were more than capable of providing me with enough opposition to get me through the rest of the race. I battled with two of these runners all the way to the line passing one and running away from him with less than half a mile to go.

Finishing time- 1:11:58

Race thoughts- Decent result for not being in race shape yet, and training through it. Somewhat disappointed, but I had unrealistic wishes and expectations. Excited and ready for track, that’s the real goal anyways, this was just a checkpoint.

While I was disappointed, I was able to get my mind off of it pretty quickly and focus on the road ahead. NE Distance hooked me up with the Thunderkids program, a childhood obesity prevention program in Woonsocket, so right away on Monday I spent the afternoon teaching kids how to use exercise equipment at the YMCA. The real races for me don’t start until 2013 and I am looking forward to them.

David is the first athlete to sign with NE Distance. He is the 2011 National NCAA DII champion in the 3000 meter Steeplechase. David graduated from Western State College of Colorado in 2012 with a degree in Environmental Studies. David has a personal best of 8:48.45 in the Steeplechase and placed 5th overall in the NCAA DII National Cross Country 10k Championship this past fall. After driving over 3400 miles in a borrowed van, David moved into his Constitution Hill apartment in Woonsocket (RI) with the NE Distance program at the beginning of September.

Thanks to Nich Haber and NE Distance for helping to pull this together.

Interview On The Level: Kathryn Tappen

Many members of Level Legion most likely know Kathryn Tappen from her hosting gig on NHL Network. If not that, then surely from her years of hosting the Bruins coverage on NESN. That must also mean that you know that she’s very knowledgable about sports (especially hockey), but did you know she was a Division I runner back in college?

Kathryn on set with Barry Melrose

That’s right, Kathryn was a member of the Rutgers cross country and track teams, the very same Scarlet Knights squads that featured 2012 Olympian Julie Culley. She’s also a supporter of the Level. In other words, if she wasn’t already your favorite on-air personality, this news should bump her to the top of the list.

We talked a little shop with Kathryn to get some more info on her days of collegiate competition.

How many years have you been running for?
I began running my freshman year in high school (’95) to stay in shape for basketball in the winter and softball in the spring, the other two sports I would play that year. Little did I know it would become my most dominant and successful sport.

In college (at Rutgers), did you run all four years and compete in XC/Indoor/Outdoor?
Yes. I ran freshman through senior year, all three seasons. I actually had to red shirt my Freshman year XC and indoor due to a back injury, so I still have some eligibility. Maybe with the NHL Lockout I can go back and run for RU!

Did you walk on or were you on scholarship?
I was on a scholarship.

What was your favorite season?
I loved XC because it was such an intimate group. There were 7 varsity runners and about 5 alternates if I can remember correctly. We would go on 12-15 mile distance runs together, running all over campus and beyond. In the summer we would meet at different parks in NJ and train together. Because XC is a small team and most of us were from NJ, it made training a ton of fun. Plus, I absolutely love running in the Fall, when the air is crisp and cool.

On the track, what was your best event, and what was your favorite?
My best two events were the 5K and the Steeplechase. My favorite event on the track, however, was when I ran the 800m in high school. I loved running as fast as I could for two laps. However, when I got to college I was not fast enough in the 800m at such an elite level, so I focused more on distance.

So just how good was Kathryn? She qualified for the Big East championships in XC, Indoor and Outdoor track, was an Academic All-American, and she shared with us:
My PRs? Gosh it was so long ago! I know I was in the high 17s for the 5K and mid-11′s in the steeplechase. I did hold the school record in the steeplechase, until a girl came along a few years after I graduated and beat my time by .006 seconds! I may have to use my red shirt to go back and reclaim the record :) But times and PR’s are trivial because in my mind, I just enjoyed being a member of a team and competing at the Division One level in sports.

How much running do you do now?
I run every day. I try to get in a minimum of 4 miles. I also like to do fartlek’s, hill repeats, and track workouts to change things up.

How often do you race and how competitive are you now?
I do not race competitively right now. My schedule of working most nights until about 2am on the air do not allow me to race 8am shotguns!  BUT, you will see me in the occasional Turkey Trot or charity 5K race.

Do you run more in Boston or on the road these days? Which is your favorite place to run and why?
I run mostly in Boston. I still live here and it’s my home base. I absolutely love running down the Cambridge side of the Charles River, crossing over it and coming back on the Esplanade on the Boston side. I get to see the skyline, sailboats, gorgeous campuses of Harvard and MIT, and everything else in between- on ONE run! Boston is one of the most picturesque cities and I am so blessed to call it my running “home”.

With all of the travel I do with work, I find that being a runner helps me learn my way around cities easier and quicker. I always bring my running shoes and get out of the hotel. When we were in LA covering the Stanley Cup Final this year, I went to the beach and just kept running. I had to look at my watch and make sure I got back in time to broadcast. Being on the beach was so soothing and the people watching was incredible, I lost track of time! I really love venturing out with my sneakers so I can truly get to see the beauty of the places I visit and work. It’s my personal escape!

You can see Kathryn hosting NHL Tonight on the NHL Network, and you can also follow her on Twitter (@KathrynTappen).

Q&A with Hartford Half Marathon Champ (and Olympian) Steph Reilly

Steph Reilly spent some time this summer racing overseas, including the Olympics. The Olympian is back in New England now and has settled back into her routine, which includes head coaching duties at Bryant University and also winning the occasional road race.

Steph took advantage of an off weekend for the Bryant Bulldogs by racing the half marathon in Hartford. It was time well spent, as her 1:15:40 was good enough for the win.

Steph answered a few questions for The Level afterwards:

How did the race go? What were your goals coming in (win, specific time, etc)?

The race went well. This is definitely a new environment for me, and so I didn’t really have a specific goal in regards to a time. This time of year is off-season for me, where I build aerobic capacity, so a half marathon was a nice complement to my training.  My 6 mile tempo runs have all been consistently in the 5:45-5:50 per mile range pace. I figured I would start off in that range and see if I could maintain that pace for 13 miles. All in all, it felt quite comfortable.

You won by almost two and a half minutes. Were you aware of how big a lead you had? Or were you just focused on racing the guys around you?

Reilly out in front at the 2011 Rhody 5k (courtesy of Ted Tyler).

The first mile I hung back to get a sense of the other women in the field and if I was going to have competition. I hit the first mile in 5:55, feeling very easy with not many women around. I didn’t want to get stuck at that pace so at that point I figured I needed to just focus and run my own pace and to my own strengths. I was still conservative the first half, as my second half of the race was a about a minute faster. I was excited to feel strong over the last 5 miles.

A half is a longer distance than you usually race, isn’t it? Is this part of plan to build up to racing longer distances?

Yes this is a lot longer than my usual type race. No plan to move to anything longer anytime in the near future. My focus is still on the track, and getting faster over all my distances – 1500, steeple, and in particular the 5000m next summer. I need to pay my dues to the 10000m track scene before going long on the roads.

Do you have more confidence lining up for a race now after having represented Ireland in London?

I think I am always confident when I step to the line no matter where I have been or what I have done. Sure, I get confidence in what I have achieved, but more so, I get confidence in the consistency of my training and the progression I keep making.

So no races for the Bryant team this weekend, but you decided to spend a day at the races anyway. Is there any challenge in switching gears from coach mode to runner mode?

No race this weekend, they had a well earned week off as we prepare for our conference meet. I really don’t have any challenges in switching gears from coach to athlete. Balance in my family, career, and athletics life has had a positive effect on what I am doing.

Speaking of coaching, how’s the season been going so far?

The season has been fantastic. The teams are looking very good and strong and are ready for the conference meet October 27th. We are hosting this year at Bryant so it is very exciting for them, and they are all fired up for it. They are holding up very well with the training, and have progressed through the season wonderfully. I am looking forward to seeing all of the hard work pay off.

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