Tag: Muddy Puddin

Muddy Big River Half

2014 Big River 1/2 Marathon Recap

Guest blog by Muddy Puddin’ 

I’m not really sure how to recap this super fun event that ground me down to wimp dust near the end.  Many of the other runners from WTAC (Series Champions!) have already summarized the main ideas.  I’ll try to not be too repetitive and wordy regarding the big points-i.e. registration, flag thief (thieves?), resulting runner mix up, etc.  It’s easier to just give an overview from my own point of view (DUH!?!) in chunks.  However, even with that, I’m beginning to realize that I’m not very observant when racing.  Apparently, even on road courses, but especially on long trail races over unfamiliar courses, I’m terrible at judging distances/locations as well as recalling exactly when or where something transpired.  Given this, I suppose my recap should simply be:We took off.  I passed some people.  I ran hard.  I fell twice.  I was covered in mud and a little bloody.  I fell apart the last mile and a half.  I finished 4th OA.  It was friggin’ amazingly fun. 

However, since I had so much fun, I’ll try and be a little bit more verbose and descriptive than the above synopsis.After getting there a little on the “too early” side and chatting with Mike G, trying to get some tips on the course and racing strategy, I helped Gazelle and his fawn (?), set up the two water stop/aid stations.  When we returned, back to the start I changed up into some racing attire and then ran a short warm up of approximately 1.25 miles with Seth.  We stuck to New London Turnpike with just a bit of the single track on the west side and then returned.  I felt loose, limber, and excited-ready to roll.At the start I settled in behind the usual suspects with a couple of unknown runners that haven’t partaken in the SC4S series fun yet.  About a half mile in (?) I moved past Seth solely so that I could see the footing.  Man, I loooooovvveee racing trails but I go crazy when I cannot see upcoming footing and associated rocks, roots, divots, etc.  I’m not a pansy but I like to rely on visuals to aid me in my idiotic bumbling around courses. At that point, I was just behind Jonny and about 10-15 seconds ahead were Greg Hammett, Bob Jackman, and Steve Brightman (no pun intended with that Block Island Sports Shop singlet), in that order. And that is how the race would stay for quite a while apparently.

Way more fun and challenging than it looks.

After moving around to the southeast side of Carr Pond, I began getting really antsy.  I was just off Jonny’s shoulder and began wondering if we should run a bit harder.  We couldn’t see any of the three runners ahead of us, barring the occasional glimpse through the trees of Burning Brightman.  I didn’t figure we’d see Greg or Jackman as the two of them were problem ripping it up, beating each other into submission.  I inquired whether or not “Brightman would blow up” and “Is there anyway we could catch him”.  I knew he was right around our fitness level and racing ability as we’ve run against him before (he doesn’t have my beer belly though).  Jonny calmly replied: “Don’t worry.  We’ll catch him.”  With the virtual pat on my back to assuage my race nerves, we settled in and continued grinding along.  Jonny set the perfect pace and effort and although I found myself tiring, it was still the optimal pace at that point for us to be at. The other benefit of running, probably annoyingly, right off Jonny’s backside was that he knew the course like the back of his hand.  The need to have a tour guide became evident at several spots where, although clearly marked, I may have charged right past flags/marked turns.  In Jonny We Trust……

The climb up to the approximate mile 4 mark and the first water stop along Hopkins Hill Road had a few too many contour lines a little too close together for my liking.  It tired me out but I tried to run smart.  I knew that as we turned through the aid station, and I took a water (no fuel), we would then plunge back down through technical footing and a lot of stream crossings and the “real race” would begin.  From here about 4.5 miles up to around 7.5 miles or so is just relentless.  Up and down, over glacial till and granite ledges we ran. There was a whole heck of a lot of mud and super fun water crossings, some of which were almost 20″ deep or so.  Scott Mason was there to forever document my poor stream crossing form and fatigued egghead running form.  Thanks, Scott (I think).

Hammett Muddy Mason Big River Half Marathon

Jonny leads Muddy through the River. Courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

We managed to catch Brightman in this section on a downhill but he stuck with us.  Jonny expertly threw in uphill surges on every ascent no matter how long or short here.  Not sure if it was in an attempt to break me or to break/gap Brightman.  I struggled and really had to work hard on the ups to stay with him.  I knew I was starting to tire when we reached the second aid station near Tarbox Pond and I felt like it was mile 10 but yet it was only about 7.5.  Gulp.  Now the real fun started as it was here where I began to get “Big River Delirium” (where are we? what mile is this? where is that vacuum cleaner? where is the mannequin head?).

We crossed over New London Turnpike to get onto the northwestern portion of the course into what is perhaps the most fun, softest, and twistiest part of the course. Much to my chagrin, I glanced over along one of the seemingly infinite numbers of switchbacks and saw that Brightman had gobbled up the gap and was back on us again.  I mumbled “Here he comes again” to Jonny.  Damn it! It was discouraging.  Jonny didn’t appear to worry as he threw down another surge up a significant rise that nearly crippled me.  I reached down and managed to stay with him but it cost me dearly.  Looking back, that was the point at which I began falling apart.  Fortunately, that allowed us to pull back away a bit from Brightman.

At this point, I glanced at my watch and given the time, I surmised we probably had about 2 miles or so left.  I breathlessly mumbled to Jonny this guess and he concurred with a grunt.  Immediately I began making plans for the final push and my “winning” race strategy.  A glimpse inside my race weary mind:

Ok….look for a decent short straightaway or a brief downhill and try to bomb past him.  Then, as much as it hurts, push it home to stay in front.  There’s no way you can catch or overtake him on an uphill. Be smart.  Look for your spot.  Maybe around 1 mile or 1.25 miles to go?  Make sure you keep pushing through the surge and try and break his spirit.  Don’t do it at the incor……”

 Oops…I tripped and fell at this point.  I wish it were on film as it was probably a textbook headfirst slide into home plate.  It was not at all painful as I was able to immediately hop to my feet, grunt and push it so I caught back up to Jonny again.

“Ok….got lucky there.  Pay attention.  Pick your feet up.  You can still do this.  I know your legs are tired.  Just dig down and do it.  Any time now should work.  Just go for it. Make sure that….”

Boom! I fell again.  This time, although not hurt, it was tougher to get back up.  When I did rise and start running (only a second later), I saw that Jonny had pulled away.  As we crossed over a tiny plank bridge I knew there would be no catching him.  He was just too strong.

I knew Brightman was too far back so I simply kept running as hard as I possibly could at that point (not saying much), and finished in 4th place in 1:29:53  (results here). No cool down for me-I was SPENT.  Instead, it was more enjoyable munching bananas and pizza, (even drank a soda-EWWW!) and watching all of the finishers.  We all had war stories and it was a blast.

Great fun and thanks to Mike Galoob, race director extraordinaire for making my “fourth season” so much fun (minus Old Mountain Field 5K and Belleville Pond 10K-they were brutal and I “hated” them).

Quick Summary Notes-

Things I Did Correctly (a.k.a. “Positives”)
1. Thanks to Jonny’s tutelage, I didn’t go out too hard.  This helped me prolong my race and not run out of steam until about mile 12 or so.

2. Ran the course the weekend before with WTAC guys.  This helped me a little bit in knowing what was ahead and how rugged and fun the course was.

3. Drank a lot of beer later that afternoon and evening. I probably came in first in this “endurance race”

4. Ran the Chariho 5K the next day (at T pace) with Jonny.  Felt tired but pretty decent/no soreness.  Mason ran a big PR by 1:30!

Things I Screwed Up (a.k.a. “Negatives”)
1. No fuel.  I skipped taking a Gu at mile 4 aid station (mile 7-8 aid station probably too late to matter?).  In hindsight, this was probably a mistake and helped lead to my demise at the end, although it certainly was not the sole cause.  I blame that on course designer Galoob.

2.  Ran the Chariho 5K the next day (at T pace) with Jonny.

Follow Muddy more closely at Muddy’s Miles, and to get another perspective on this race you can get Jonny Hammett’s take on it on his blog South County Trails.

Galoob, Masters Mile Champ

Galoob NB Indoor Navas Start

The men’s masters field ready for the gun at the NB Indoor Grand Prix. Courtesy of Joe Navas (Organic Photography).

By Muddy Puddin’

Editor’s note: Mike Galoob won the men’s masters mile at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday, February 8th over at the Reggie Lewis Center. Mike ran a 4:23.48 and narrowly beat out John Trautmann (4:24.20).

Having just turned 40 the day before the race, was this something you had been looking forward to tackling for awhile? Had training been focused specifically towards the masters mile?
I certainly had been anticipating running masters events this year. I had joked many times throughout the last couple of seasons that I was just training to turn 40. The Grand Prix Masters Mile was something that came up in December when I heard more about it from Keven O’Neil. I was intrigued and set about qualifying for it. It quickly became one of my goal races and fell nicely into my schedule of other indoor meets I had planned for this winter.

Had you competed against anyone there before?  Any familiar faces toeing the line?  
I had been lucky enough to meet Chris Magill at the East Region masters meet two weeks before. He’d done this race before and I was much relieved to have his guidance in getting ready during the final minutes leading up to the start, allowing me to get in a relaxed well-timed warmup.
Most of the other runners were unknown to me other than some of their recent race results which I had seen online. I had no idea of the resumes of some of these guys, like Trautman, until the announcer called us to the line. Yeah, not too intimidating!
Did each lap go how you thought it would?  Were you able to stick to the race that you wanted to run? Describe how it unfolded.
Galoob NB Indoor Finish Navas

Mike breaking the tape, courtesy of Joe Navas (Organic Photography).

Other than the cold that graced me in the two days prior, everything went exactly as hoped. I knew several of these guys had run faster miles and 800′s than me this season so I didn’t want to allow it to be too much of a tactical race. I’m usually one that would “sit and kick”, but they had too much closing speed to risk it. Coming off a 5k PR and lots of stamina intervals on the track, I felt I could set a tough pace that might neutralize any opportunist attacks. When it came time to kick for the line, I’d at least have a head start. I guess it worked. I waited for a quarter then went out front, leading throughout right at my training pace. Sure enough, they finished strong, but I was able to hold them off on the final curve and kick to the win.

Any hopes of taking down the current Masters Mile record holder Charlie Kern with his 2011 time of  4:19.73?

Absolutely. If I’m fortunate enough to return next year, that’s a mark I’d love to beat since it’s also my own PR from when I was in high school. Winning races is great, but there’s a special satisfaction in running as fast as you did over twenty years ago.

Coaches say that in addition to making sure that every single training run has a purpose, a runner should always learn something from every race they compete in. What did you take away from this one?

Take the opportunities that are open to you. Regardless of the race result, this meet was incredible to take part in. Racing with champions in front of the crowd and witnessing all the inspiring performances with my family will always be a special memory.

For more on this race directly from Mike, check out this entry over on his blog. The very next day, Mike was out on his snowshoes in RI marking up the course for the Belleville Pond 10k Trail Race (he’s the race director).

Galoob Belleville Pond Mason

Out marking the course, courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

Thanks once again to Joe Navas (Organic Photography) and Scott Mason Photo for the excellent shots included here.

Don’t Judge Us

“Don’t Judge Us” originally appeared in the Sept/Oct 2013 issue of Level Renner.  

by Muddy Puddin’

Let’s face it.  We’re all a little long in the tooth to be composing the age-old, back to school, five hundred word essay How I Spent My Summer Vacation.   In fact, a simple dissertation such as this wouldn’t be very interesting at all for we know how all members of The Legion spent their summer—running! Yet, though we are dedicated harriers, it is just not physically feasible for us to run 24 hours a day. At some point we have to bite the bullet and, after maybe showering and definitely rehydrating, melt back into society and deal with “them.”  The others, aka non-runners, are a wide and diverse cohort of individuals whose only requirement for membership is non-ambulation.  To be sure, at some point this summer, you were forced to attend backyard BBQs, birthday parties, and family gatherings. Undoubtedly, during these revelries, you were judged by a non-runner.  This person most likely, at some point during the conversation, had a comment for you about running being detrimental to you, or perhaps they even gave you the smug half-smile and brief head shake that implies: “you’re crazy” or “you’ll just get hurt.”

This frustrating experience can be difficult to handle.  Although they are brief and usually non-antagonistic, these repartees can grow quite tiresome over the course of 2-4 hours in a partially shaded backyard. Although I’m trying not to stereotype stationary pupils, (I’m constantly trying to teach my three children not to judge anyone), I need to vent.  This has been building inside me all summer, nay for over a decade, so I apologize in advance. Chances are you’ve endured similarly frustrating encounters as well.

…So, seriously you sedentary slugs, the next time our paths cross, please don’t judge us. Don’t judge us because we run “all the time” and talk about running half the time.  Sorry, but we’re gregarious by nature and quite knowledgeable and passionate about the subject that is most near and dear to our hearts.

dont judge us 430x300 11.10.13Don’t judge us because we run doubles.  Nothing says fitness and fun like a hard morning effort followed up by an evening shakeout.  We’re sorry for the massive loads of sweaty running laundry but not sorry enough to stop.  We’ll take the blame for that one but still, please try not to pass judgment, especially since you don’t wash our shorts.

Don’t judge us because we turn down that extra beer, cognizant of our impending brutal track workout at sunrise the following morning.  On the other side of the coin, don’t judge us because we do have that extra beer (or three) given that we already killed our workout earlier in the day. And while we’re in the realm of ingestion, don’t judge us because we turn down double cheeseburgers and fries and instead opt for grilled salmon over salad.  And please don’t be shocked when we have that latter meal but also chase it with those two burgers and a generous amount of fries and possibly some ice cream.  We’re fresh off a 20 miler and despite feeling like a million bucks we’re also paradoxically a glowing furnace, starving for fuel.

Don’t judge us because our bodies are constantly worn out and beaten down.  So what if we have purple and black toenails that are disgusting yet somehow badges of honor?  Sorry but we’re still going to wear flip flops to the party because that’s what renners do!  Instead, just be happy that we’re not lying down sleeping in a comatose state, with a bag of partially melted ice attached somewhere to our bodies.

Don’t judge us because we spend an obscene amount of money on race entries and running gear.  Shoes are a given but we also need shorts, compression socks, tech shirts, BodyGlide, GPS watches—the list goes on and on.  And if it seems like we are constantly clad in old race T-shirts, it’s because we are. If this makes us appear as wandering vagabonds who care little about their appearance, look at the bright side: at least we’re not bumming money from you or mooching food.  We’re a self-sufficient bunch, trained to make it on our own… you wouldn’t happen to have any ibuprofen would you? 600 mg should be fine.

Don’t judge us because we have toned muscles and low body fat.  We have worked and continue to work, very hard for this.  In all honesty, most of us are not working directly towards these morphological goals, they’re just ancillary benefits.  Our ultimate goal is fitness first, sexiness second.  But I suppose if you do have to judge a little bit, do you like the way these pants fit over my sculpted quads?

Before I become too nasty and turn into a monster of adjudication, please just don’t judge us, the legion of runners.  Instead, come for a run with us.  We’re not judging anyone then.  We’re not smug and we’re never condescending.  We’re encouraging, helpful, supportive. All we’re doing is gaining fitness, making friends, chiseling our bodies, strengthening our muscles, lowering our PR’s, improving our cardiovascular efficiency, increasing our flexibility, adding years onto our lives, and just being all around awesome.  But you probably already cast your verdict didn’t you?

 Muddy judges no one except himself.  To read more of his articles, peruse through our back issues.  Muddy is always a good read.



Slow Saturday?

It might look like a slow couple of days due to the lack of action on the site, but we can assure that that is most certainly not the case. There is quite a bit to get out for you all to see, just not enough time. EJN was busy working the tent sale all day at the New England Running Company and wasn’t able to get to the site, although he did get to see some speedy runners come through.

The Greenbelt Run for the Hills 5k/10k was held earlier this morning, and several high placing finishers came strolling through the doors, including: Jim Pawlicki (2nd overall in the 10k, accompanied by Krissy Kozloski), Zack Schwartz (10k winner), and a young lady who placed second in the 10k (but we didn’t get a name…Kathryn Jinks then?). Star studded day at the store. Not to mention store GM Wes Lassen, who came in 2nd in the 5k. We didn’t cover the race, but the race seemed to come to us.

To make up for this weak race coverage, please enjoy this pic tweeted out by Muddy, featuring Greg Hammett and the catch of the day. We also must note that Greg is quite a sharp dresser.


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