Tag: Baystate Marathon

Mile to the Marathon: The Weekend

Once again, the weekend was choc full of exciting race action in the area. We want to highlight a couple of those here, and perhaps we’ll have even more on them later on in the week. One event that really jumped out at us was the inaugural Franklin Park Mile, which was held on Sunday, October 20th. The race, which is put on by the Forest Hills Runners, is a “community organized running event that is open to all.”

Times were slower, but hey…it’s cross country! “It turns out that a rolling mile is not necessarily the fastest,” said race director Owen Kendall. You don’t need track-fast times to get excitement though. “The women’s race had a phenomenal finish,” continued Owen, “with Jen Flynn (6:07) leading the entire way after racing a 5k that morning, before being outkicked at the turn to the finish line with 50 meters to go, but holding off a final charge by Alyssa Charney (6:09), who ran at Vassar.” Kim Lockwood beat both of them, winning with her 6:05.

Pat Fullerton won with a 4:24, and thought it was an “awesome event” with “the theme of community certainly very evident.” While it wasn’t near a PR for the sub-4 minute miler, it was “just a workout for hopefully big things to come this weekend at Mayor’s Cup. Ive been doing really long hard strength workouts since cvs 5k (long for a miler ) and it has already paid off as I ran a 4.62 mile race in Townsend, MA at 4:46 pace (23:45 for an 8k) so it was nice to get some speed in and be even more sharp for sunday without killing myself.”
Sounds like Pat is ready to crush it at Mayor’s Cup. As for the future of the event, Owen said “it’ll be fun to see what happens when there are several fast people pushing the pace when this race starts making a name for itself.  I think it has a lot of potential to be fast, but also to support the development of a running culture in multi-ethnic neighborhoods that haven’t traditionally produced distance runners.”
The event, the cause and the underlying goals of the race all seem like something we can get behind. Looking forward to 2014 already! Might have more to come on this.

The 3rd annual Green Stride Newburyport Half Marathon took place the same day. The top five men and the first two women were all names that were largely unfamiliar to us and from either Schenectady, NY or Malden, MA, which made us think that they could be part of the same training group. The winners were Feisa Ayele Megersa (Malden, 1:05:12) and Pauline Muchiri (Schenectady, 1:14:39). As you can see, pretty damn fast.

The fastest of the Legion was Dan Vassallo (6th overall, 1:08:54) and Andrea Walkonen (3rd woman, 18th overall, 1:18:28). We shot a few questions over to Dan to shed some light on the race. Dan led off with this, which we loved:

I’ll try to answer your questions and provide some commentary without sounding too much like a petulant child who can’t deal with losing. But you have to realize I ran a baseball blog for five years, and I hold myself as an athlete to the same standards as the ones I wrote about on the blog. Anything less would be unfair and hypocritical.

On to the questions:

Who were all those guys up front?

I have no idea who the guys up front were. I didn’t even know that there was a group of African guys who rip out of Malden. I just remember that one of them was little, one of them looked almost exactly like Ray Allen, and all of them completely took off at 5,000 meters. I was more than happy chilling in a group of seven, running between 5:10 and 5:20 pace, and that’s exactly how it was for the first three miles. The only problem was, they went (and, if you do the math, I guess some of them ran in the 49s for the last ten miles - even on a good day, that’s not a realistic time for a stiff like me) and I didn’t. I kept myself between 5:10 and 5:20 the whole time. I clearly had no additional gear. Maybe due to Nahant. More likely due to lack of toughness. Perhaps I no longer remember the effort necessary to run a 1:08 low or 1:07 high like I wanted to. This may make sense because, despite fancying myself as a guy who has the potential to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon, I have not broken 1:08:50 in the half since November 20, 2011. It might be your journalistic obligation to point out this plain fact.

Vassallo on his way to victory in Nahant, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

Vassallo on his way to victory in Nahant, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

How’d you battle with them?

I battled with them poorly. The first three miles, all of them (mostly Shuttlesworth) decided to throw a 45-second half-hearted surge, maybe to try to drop the weaker runners. But the whole pack responded and stayed together for the first 5K. But once they decided they wanted to actually run, it was over. I went from leader to out of contention maybe over the course of 300 meters. They dropped one guy with whom I battled between miles 5 and 10 and from whom I eventually pulled away. I guess not throwing in the towel and letting him run away was a silver lining - that and the fact that I didn’t die. You can’t die if you’re not alive in the first place. I ran very even splits, but unfortunately these even splits were between 5:10 and 5:20.

Has training been going well?

Training has been fine. Recovery from Nahant has not quite been as bad as recovery from a marathon, but the first few days felt pretty similar. Right now I am just trying to stay healthy for a year, and I’m now at 7 months without suffering an injury that warrants a layoff.

Are you ready to rock n’ roll at the Manchester Marathon?

I will resist the urge to say something pejorative about a certain road race series’ lack of support for elite runners in response to you asking if I’m ready to “rock ‘n’ roll.” But I am looking forward to running with my CMS teammates, providing depth and an insurance policy for my team, and making sure my personal worst in the marathon is something I do on my own terms. If any of your readers is interested in having a quasi-reliable pacer for a 2:32 to 2:36, I might be their guy on November 3rd. I am focusing on a November marathon, but that November marathon will be taking place in 2014.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that he resisted the urge.

One other big one from the weekend was the Baystate Marathon. We don’t have much besides the names of winners here, unfortunately. Well that, and a tweet from the big winner:


Thanks for checking in, Rob! Rob ran a 2:33:22 for the win. Nina Caron, who at the ripe young age of 53 ran a 2:55:59 and not only bested all the other seniors and masters, but was the top woman overall. Quite impressive!

Joe Ryan of Medford, MA and Christy Kirk of Sudbury, MA won the half in 1:11:50 and 1:25:26.9, respectively.

Another big weekend in the books!

Recovery Run With The Champ

I met up to run with some friends last night. That’s right…run. I hadn’t run since…I don’t even know. Sometime last week? My consistency has been overwhelming. Secretly I was hoping to get away with a solid 5 or 6 miles and calling it a night after that. Seven miles? Maybe. We ended up running nine. Nine bleeping miles. It was pedestrian to say the least (1:19:32), but still more than my legs were used to or arguably even capable of right now.

As we were about to get started, I tossed the usual question out: “How far are we going?” Dan and I were both a bit surprised to get Jason’s response. Jay wasn’t going far or fast because he just ran a marathon over the weekend. Wait, what? Yeah, I guess it was on me for forgetting. I knew he was training for one, but thought it was going to be Baystate. Whoops. Instead, he ran the Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon.

After the surprised ‘oh shit’ followed by the typical ‘how did you do?’, we find out that Jay won it and ran a new PR. Damn. Jason Eddy was a teammate of mine at Bryant back in the day, and let me tell you, the kid was a beast back then. As beastly as he was, he seemed like he was just getting into his prime a few years after graduation when he ran a 2:40 debut marathon at Baystate in ’04 (4th place overall, too). That was off of low mileage training too.

Although his ceiling seemed to be quite high, it looked like we’d never get to see just how high he could push it since Jay took a break after that spectacular debut. It was time to focus on accounting and starting a family. As some of you out there may already know, t’s not easy to come back from that.

Eddy Nassaney 2013Not only has Jay made it back, but he appears to be better than ever. At age 34 now, Jay took control of the marathon early on and was there with the half marathoner leaders. He was even running with eventual half marathon winner Kevin Alliette (Whirlaway) for a couple of miles before Kevin seized control of that race (Kevin won it in 1:14:38). Eddy was able to stick with the another couple of half guys until the courses split at about mile 11.

Running solo now, Jay cruised along at sub-6 pace on Sunday until mile 16, and although he started to slow there the wheels never fully came off. It took him 1:18:17 to run the first half, then for the last 10k he ran:

21: 6:07
22: 6:12
23: 6:13
24: 6:15
25: 6:15 (5 miles in 31:02 (6:12/mile average pace); 25 miles in 2:28:55 (5:57/mile average pace))
26: 6:21
.5 miles: 2:52 (last .5 miles, 5:44/mile pace)

For the last 11 miles Jay was solo, that is except for the half marathon runners that he had to weave his way through en route to breaking the tape. After a 9 year hiatus from the distance, and still only his second attempt at it, Jay ran 6:03 pace and was by himself for much of it. Not too shabby.

Despite having only done that days ago, Jay appeared to be no worse for the wear. Then again, we were above nine minute pace for much of our run. It was safe to say that it was slower than what we typically train at. Dan Giacalone is no slouch himself, having gotten his first ever BQ earlier this year. Unfortunately it still wouldn’t be enough as the cut off ended up being about 1:38 faster than the BQ standard, and he came in at only 1:02 faster. Don’t even get me started on that. Anyway, back to the run…I felt like absolute garbage doing that, but I’ll just tell myself it was the pace. I’ve never felt good on slow runs, and that only seems to have gotten worse over the course of my own comeback attempt.

All in all, it was a beautiful night to be out on that dirty water. It’s exactly the type of night I’ll be longing for once we get into the teeth of winter. We finished our loop and were back near the financial district when I peeled off to go run an errand. It was at that exact moment that some guy who appeared to have issues (to say the least) started shouting at us to ‘SLOW DOWN!’ from the Greenway on Atlantic. He was across the street and there was nobody else around us. Weird. We parted ways before he made his way over to us. I got this vibe that the large bag he was carrying contained cats, and he might be tempted to throw them.

GoFitTo finish off my night I had to swing by City Sports to pick up some GoFit Power Loops. Yep, in my latest comeback attempt I had gone to the Micheli Center earlier that day. The short of it is I have a weak ass and need to do some exercises to strengthen it along with tweaking my stride. It’s not that my ass is weak, more that I have none. My hamstrings go straight up to my back. It’s difficult. Anyway, on the way there I noticed the high number on my Garmin: 8 miles and counting. Shit. I knew I was going to pay for that. The thought of stopping and hopping into a taxi was constantly on my mind but for some reason pride really took over. Don’t you love it when pride takes over on the one day a week you actually run? Where are you the other six days a week, pride?

Run completed, purchase made, now all that’s left is to maximize my gluteus. It seems odd that something in a package like the one pictured could be the key to getting back to competing with guys like Jay and Dan. Thank God it comes with a Brook Benton fully laminated training manual. I’d be lost without it.

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