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Barnicle Gears Up For Frankfurt

Chris Barnicle just recently finished 12th overall and was the third American at the BAA Half Marathon, running a 1:04:29 and attaining the 2016 Olympic Trials marathon ‘B’ standard. Chris currently lives in Mammoth Lakes, CA and competes for the prestigious Mammoth Track Club.

Before running for the professional club, Chris competed for Coach McDonnell at both the University of Arkansas (undergrad) and University of New Mexico (grad school). If we go back even further, we’d see that Chris got his start at Newton North High School in Newton, MA. Ah, another local runner making a splash on the national scene. With Chris in town for the big race, we got in touch with him for a quick interview.

Chris lurks over an opponent's shoulder at the CVS 5k back in '08. Damn, we need to get more up to date photos. This one courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

Chris lurks over an opponent’s shoulder at the CVS 5k back in ’08. Damn, we need to get more up to date photos. This one courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

How had training been going and what was your PR coming into it?

My training had been going really well. I’m preparing for my first marathon and had a really good stretch where training was just perfect for a few weeks and my confidence was really high. But at the same time, I hadn’t really started a taper and was coming off a 110 mile week at 8,000 feet where I live in Mammoth Lakes, California and the Sunday before had hammered a 24 mile long run that was still in my legs a little bit on race day. My PR for the half marathon is 62:43 from the Philadelphia Rock and Roll in 2011, which is a blazing fast course compared to the BAA Half.

How did it feel to run so well on your home turf?

Coming back to Franklin Park to race for the first time since 2004 to race was incredible. The last time there was for the Class A Eastern Mass Cross Country Championships. The night before Boston got hit with a nearly a foot of snow and racing the next day in those conditions made things interesting for sure. My high school team, Newton North, came up with the win which gave us the confidence to win the next weekend at the state championship so coming in with that blissful memory made racing there even more enjoyable. With my legs a little tired from marathon training I didn’t know what to expect. It was a great moment when I came into White Stadium and the announcer told the crowd I was a Massachusetts Native. The crowd definitely carried me a little bit when they heard that which is always incredible.

How did the race progress for you?

Going into the race and knowing that my legs were a little tired and that the course was more challenging than other half marathons course I’ve raced on I just decided to go out on PR pace and hope my strength might carry me to the finish. Aaron Braun and I raced together clicking off about 4:45 pace through 7 or 8 miles. Around nine miles coming over some of the hills past Jamaica Pond the legs were definitely regretting those earlier quicker miles. I just did my best to hang on as much as possible after that. Coming back into Franklin Park Zoo my legs were really hurting. Some of the tight turns in there really stress the body after running 12 miles before, but I tried my best to keep strong and get to the finish. I’m still shocked out how fast Lelisa Desisa ran on that course. On a fast course I definitely feel like he could have challenged the world record.

How often do you come back to Boston to race?

I don’t come back home to Boston to race enough. Usually when I come home around Christmas time I jump in at least two BU mini meets. I’m not always in the best shape that time of year but the BU indoor track is faster than any other track in the country so it’s always fun to jump in a race there and see if the legs have any turnover. This coming April though I’ll be racing the Boston Marathon which is a dream I’ve had since I was fourteen and started running.

What’s coming up?

Coming up is the Frankfurt Marathon where I’ll make my debut at the distance. I’m going into the race with goals but also will walk away from the race with a new respect for the distance that I’ll carry with me to the 2014 Boston Marathon where I know the experience from Frankfurt will support me to a great performance back home in one of the most prestigious races in the world.

Blazing Debut For Matthews

The 13th Annual BAA Half Marathon was held back on October 13, 2013. With so many thirteens in that last sentence, it seems it would be an unlucky event. Not for Katie Matthews, who pretty much nailed it on her first attempt at the distance. Katie, who ran for BU and now runs for Saucony, ran a 1:14:29. That earned her a 6th place finish amongst the ultra competitive elite women’s field and also 28th overall. Most importantly, Katie earned the “B” standard for the 2016 Olympic Trials marathon.

What did you think of your first half marathon?

My first impressions of the half marathon are that it is a lot more tiring and uses less strategy than a 10k and doesn’t really call up any speed like in a 5k…it basically felt like a tempo run that was never going to end but with really long hills in there too. It was fun though because it’s less “intense” than a shorter race and it draws on different aspects of training such as mental strength and sustained focus. I think that these longer distances are where my future in this sport will veer towards, but I still want to get in some fast 5ks, 10ks, and maybe another 3k even in the next few years. The B.A.A. Half was such a fun event and I loved being able to run my first one right here where I live and am familiar with the area…although I had no idea we ran through the dirt paths in the zoo at the end, that was a surprise!

Was a trials qualifier one of the goals? is the marathon next?

I didn’t know that runners could qualify for the marathon Olympic trials in a half marathon, nor did I know that I even had the qualifier until I read it on Twitter later that day.  So it wasn’t my goal at all. My goal was just to finish the race! (Only slightly kidding!) I missed one of my best friend’s birthday parties the night before the race so I was going to be really upset if I missed going out for nothing! I don’t have any marathons planned but hopefully in the future I will try one. The majority of the advice I have been given from my coach and experienced elite marathoners is to be patient in waiting a few years to tackle that beast. I think that I have a LOT of work to do before I could run a fast marathon and recover from it healthily.

How far into the race did the leaders start making moves?

If you consider Kim Smith’s 4:45ish first mile “moving” then the leaders started making moves in the first mile! I ran with Kristen for the first 6 miles are so, and we came through about 4:58 which was still fast. The leaders were a good bit ahead of us by mile 4 or so. At the 6th mile she told me she was going after the runner ahead of us so that is when I was more or less alone from the women and ran with a few of the guys around me which helped me out.

What do you feel you need to work on most after this race?

Finishing this race was a wake up call for just how much I still have to work on.  For example, I was hesitant to go with Kristen at that 6 mile mark because I didn’t know what the end of such a long race was going to feel like and how badly the hills would affect me. I am going to start introducing some longer workouts into my training and maybe some long runs. I decided to run the half marathon about 2 weeks before the race, so I did a few 13-14 mile runs/workouts in those weeks but I don’t typically run that many miles in one run. I don’t feel like I have that sustained strength yet that is so necessary in these races, I was so tired at the end! I want to be able to run the entire race at a faster pace and then still finish strongly and competitively. Also, I should run up more hills on a regular basis…those were killer.

Up next?

The .US champs in Alexandria, VA (12k Champs) and then the Manchester Road Race which I run every year since it is local to my home in CT.  Then I’m pretty sure I will be getting back on the indoor track come winter.

If you hadn’t seen it, this is the interview we did with Katie and Rich Peters after New England’s a couple of weeks ago, on the eve of her half debut:

Duncan, Fitzpatrick Win in Wayland

GBTC Wayland

GBTC team shot from Wayland. Courtesy of Tom Derderian.

Sean Duncan and Sidney Fitzpatrick were the big winners at the Wayland XC Festival, which was held back on October 13th. That was the latest in the USATF-NE XC series.

Sean ran a 15:45 and Sidney ran 18:00 for their wins (full results here). The GBTC men topped the host HFC Striders squad by a score of 21-56. One of the victorious GBTC’ers, Caleb Evanter, contributed a solid write up about the event:

It was a fun race. It was very much a cross country race, in that the distance was relative and there were hills and turns and uneven footing. There was no pavement and no cars visible from the course. The first mile goes around some baseball and soccer fields and is flat after a hill at the very start. The second mile features a short steep uphill and a stretch on an undulating trail that seems better suited for mountain biking. The third mile is basically the first mile backwards. The finish is 300 meters on a track.

Sean Duncan took the lead from the start and had a gap on the field from the beginning. From my spot behind them in the race it looked like Justin Lutz and the rest of the chase pack let Duncan take it out and tried to make up the ground at the end of the race. Lutz probably gained some ground during the final mile, but not enough to make it a race. He was comfortably in second. My splits were about 5:13, 5:35 and 5:49 for the final 1.1. I moved up on a bunch of people in the final two miles so that shows that probably most people ran significantly slower over the more challenging second mile.

Ryan Irwin was considerate enough to not give me a go of it with a sprint to the finish. Men and women, open and masters all raced together. There were 10 and under and 11-14 races too. Before the race Sydney Fitzpatrick asked us about whether or not to wear spikes on the course. Given that she won, I assume she made the right decision. Finally the Wayland XC Festival was notable for having four Caleb’s run in it, two in the 11-14 race, one who came in 3rd in the 10 and under race and myself.

Although New Balance Boston didn’t field a team for the race, Sydney Fitzpatrick did her best to make sure the green & white was noticed. For her efforts, we got this from Sydney:

The goals Coach Green gave me was to just go out, compete, and remind my body about the feel of cross country racing again. I feel like I ran a very smart race, and knowing who Steph Reilly is, my goal was to conserve energy early on, work my way up to her, and put myself in a position to win. I felt really strong during the race, and was able to execute today. I am very optimistic about what myself, and my team can accomplish this fall at the upcoming invitationals (Mayors Cup, New England’s, Club Nats). Training has been great thus far this fall. NBB has some great depth this year, and I feel more than lucky to have so many teammates to workout with on a regular basis. We are all very motivated and looking forward to the rest of our fall season.

We weren’t lucky enough to get something so detailed from Sean Duncan, but he did take a break from one of his epic workouts to tell us: “The victory was quite satisfying. All I do is win. My ultimate goal is to win a race in every town in America, and now I can finally cross Wayland, MA off the list.”

Okay, maybe Sean didn’t say that. We just needed to squeeze one more quote in, real or imaginary. As far as the team scoring went for the ladies, the Millenium Running team led by Jennifer Mortimer took the title, followed by the WMDP and GBTC squads, respectively.

Next up on the circuit is the Mayor’s Cup, which will be this coming Sunday at Franklin Park. More to come on that one.

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!

Hrynowski Tops Age Group in Baltimore

E-J Hrynowski made the trek down to Baltimore back on October 13th and won his age group in the marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival. E-J not only topped all the seniors, but he also beat any masters and placed 7th overall with his 2:49:23. Impressive. Here are some thoughts from E-J on the accomplishment:

“Since I’m on the wrong side of the half century mark, I decided to run marathons in different states in case I really lose touch with reality and try to join the 50 state club. I’ve run all of New England, New York and Pennsylvania so I decided to move down the East coast. Since I beat the Boston qualifier by (way) more than twenty minutes at Boston this year, I didn’t have to rule out a challenging course. Original goal was to go to the Charm City and finish ahead of all the Senior Ravens fans as revenge for the AFC defeat, but after the bombings I decided that revenge of any kind would not be an appropriate goal. Looking for a more positive alternative, I settled on a revised motivator of running Boston Strong. I hadn’t bothered to check previous year results, because you never know who is going to toe the line. I couldn’t come up with a time goal because the course profile looks like a rollercoaster with a net down in the first half and a net up in the second. Because I couldn’t come up with a time, I decided that placing in my AG would be the goal and posted it in a group forum on RunningAHEAD.com. Even if it’s known only to a small corner of the interwebz, I find that posting a goal can create a bit of additional accountability.”

To help the Legion get to know E-J a bit better, here’s a profile of his that was published in the mag:

Day in the Life

E-J Hrynowksi had tried running a handful of times throughout his life, but it never stuck. He repeatedly fell prey to the neophyte’s mistake of “too much too soon” and couldn’t keep with it. Then something happened: “My marriage came crashing to an end in early 2000, and as I crawled from its wreckage I started walking almost every day.” In time, the walking became running and Hrynowski has been with it ever since. He attributes the steps at the Wachusett Reservoir Dam for his (re)birth. 10 sets a day. 2000 up. 2000 down.

Late to the game, he ran his first race at the age of 39. His selection: The 2002 Carson 2-miler in Chelmsford. He debuted in a modest 14:44. After that, he started surfing the web for running advice and his training elevated to something a bit more serious. Before long, he adopted a philosophy that has served him well: “Run lots, mostly easy, sometimes hard.”

Moving into 2005, the infamous Applefest was Hrynowski’s first half marathon in which he ran 1:48.10. He jokingly states that he learned in an invaluable lesson in that virginal trot: “Check the course elevation profile before submitting a registration.”

By the time 2007 rolled around, E-J was a fixture at the Tuesday Night Good Times 5k series in Lowell, MA. He’s run 107 of them since then and that number would be higher if his foot did not have an unfortunate encounter with a lawnmower blade. Despite the mishap with the grass cutter, he ran his first marathon later that year. Still relatively untrained (only 664 miles from January to November), he ran 3:36.26 at the inaugural Manchester City Marathon. He was hooked.

The Greater Lowell Road Runners entered Hrynowski’s life in 2008. It was the conclusion of the Tuesday Night Good Times 5k series and Glenn Stewart was offering up a free membership to the club. “Accepting the invitation,” says E-J, “was one of the better decisions I’ve made because it led to great runs, Grand Prix races, and great friendships. It’s an awful lot of fun trying to chase the young guns at Angry Chicken track workouts.”

Among his favorite workouts is a midweek half marathon with hill repeats in the middle of it. He usually does this workout with teammates. Must be some good camaraderie among them because he’s done the workout 114 times since 2010. As you can tell from the specificity of the numbers herein, Hrynowski displays the obsessive numbers geek precision common to runners. So much so that he ran 120 miles in the final week of 2011 to make it an even 3000 for the year.

Hrynowski MasonHis favorite races are 1) Stu’s 30k and 2) New Bedford Half Marathon. His favorite rehydration beverage is Pabst Blue Ribbon. His defense: “Nate Jenkins keeps it real with PBR, so I’m in good company.”

E-J Hrynowski achieved all his PR’s in 2012. Here they are:

5k – 17:02
5 miles – 28:58
13.1 – 79:18
30k – 2:00.24
26.2 – 2:50.04

0500 wakeup
0545 breakfast (bagel, yogurt, cereal, coffee)
0700 arrive at work (black coffee and dark chocolate)
1000 eat lunch at desk (cold cut sandwich, nacho chips, granola bar or cookie, dark chocolate)
1200 actual lunch break, often nap in car for 30 minutes
1300 snack time (applesauce or snack size fruit cup)
1600 home from work, gear up and run
1900 dinner (pasta and meatballs, casseroles, etc)
2000 go online; check the wonders of Facebook
2200 goodnight

Weekend usually consists of a day off or short easy run on Saturday and a long easy run or race on Sunday. For races, I have a frosted poptart about 45 minutes before the gun and will usually do a couple easy miles with some strides. No warmup for marathons, I just walk to the start and let adrenaline do its thing.

This article originally appeared in Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Level Renner. Because of that, E-J’s PR’s are probably a little quicker by now. Anyway, get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen). 

Coach On Saturday, Race On Sunday

Steph Reilly is all too familiar with Franklin Park. The PC grad (class of 2001) ran her share of big races there back in her days competing as a Friar. Now, she coaches the Bulldogs of Bryant University. In running around from point to point at the New England’s last weekend, it was hard to not notice all of the competitive post-collegiate runners that were also coaching in some role with teams competing that day. Just to name a few besides Steph:

Eric Ashe – UMass Boston
Katie Matthews – Boston University
Tim Ritchie – Boston College
Eric Blake – Central Connecticut State University
Sam Alexander – CCSU

Those are just the ones that were seen, there were most likely others. It was cool to see so many runners who are typically the subjects of post-race interviews at local road races out there coaching the next generation.

As far as Steph and what she’s doing with her program at Bryant, we had a few questions for her:

Where does New England’s fall on your schedule in terms of importance and focus? It seems a lot of other schools don’t place much importance on it anymore.

New England’s has always been and will remain an important race for us. It is a great regional tradition and we are proud to be a part of it. Although our focus is on our conference Championships, this race comes right in the middle of the season where it gives my athletes the chance to test themselves on a fair course.

How big of a boost is it to see Eimear finish 2nd (highest ever for a Bulldog)? What has her progression been like from frosh to senior seasons?

That was a huge boost for Eimear. I am not surprised though. I always knew she had that kind of ability in her. Eimear has had her fair share of ups and downs when it comes to running. From frosh year to now, she has made significant improvement. As a frosh she came in with injuries, and had lost all belief in her own ability, and that year was a rough one. There was a lot we had to figure out and make right, and piece by piece things started to come together. I was confident in her talent and ability. She has learned so much from her experiences over the last three years that now she is in such a great place with understanding her running. We have made adjustments to her training and each time she has come back stronger.

Next up is the CCSU mini meet, right? Why go to a mini meet so late in the season?

Yes, we do the mini meet eight days before the NEC meet. Think of it like a track race – your goal is a 5000m at the end of a season, and more than likely the week before you will jump in a 1500m to fire the engine, and do a faster race. The same kind of logic applies for this: a 5000m/3000m XC the week before their 8000m/5000m championships. It won’t beat them up, but at the same time it will give them a really good workout.

What exactly is this Bulldog workout that you floated out there to the team?

Haha – The Bulldog Workout is a workout we have been doing every XC season for the last 5 years or so. It is our signature workout, and we typically do it right around the middle of the season after New England’s. It is the men’s little piece of tradition and they look forward to it each year. It involves a combination of track and XC terrain intervals. The details – you might have to ask them.

How confident are you about the conference championships?

I am very confident, and very excited for the conference championships. If you look at our season of racing and training from the summer to now, it has been very consistent. Consistency leads to confidence for us all, and that’s what we take into a meet like the conference championships. The one bad workout or that one bad race you had at some point throughout the season does not define the season. The NEC championship will be a great opportunity to showcase the work we have put in.

Reilly Kozlosky Lone Gull

Reilly charges to the finish at Lone Gull, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

Steph had a successful day of coaching on Saturday, then the next day she was competing herself at the Wayland XC Festival (part of the USATF-NE XC Circuit). Although she didn’t win, Steph still ran an 18:14 for the 5k and finished second. We also had a few questions for the Olympian about how she did and what she’s been up to:

You ran the Wayland XC Festival…and lost! What gives?

Cross country has never been my forte for a number of reasons. I am a lot better on the track and the roads. Wayland XC was something for fun, although as you know, runners sometimes have a quirky idea of fun! The only reason I went is because my 7 year old son Marcus ran in the kids 3k race. As a parent, it is a lot of fun watching your kids compete and to try new things. [Note: Marcus came in 46th in the 10 & Under race, running 15:15 for 3k. Not bad for a seven year old. Salazar may be getting a room ready for him in Oregon.]

When last we spoke (at Lone Gull) you were a little uncertain about the near future as far as target races went. Any updates?

Honestly, still no updates and have made no plans. I am enjoying time with family, going to soccer games, movies, and lots of other good stuff. As always, I love working at Bryant and continuing to build our teams. It is an exciting time working with our current students and also Alumni who are getting more connected with our program. Those things keep me very busy, but in the next month I will map out a plan for running goals in 2014.

Reilly Kozlosky Lone Gull II

Another shot from the final stretch at Lone Gull, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

Were you planning on running at Wayland? Or did you get all amped up for it while watching the college kids run around Franklin Park?

I had no plans to do XC or even Wayland for that matter. Until we noticed the kids races, and thought Marcus would have fun doing it. He loved it, and I enjoyed watching him. In regards to Franklin Park, I always get pumped up watching my Bryant teams race, and they are a big reason why I am still running competitively. They motivate and inspire me daily.

Would you give any thought to really going for it in somethign like the BAA Distance Medley (try to give Kim Smith a run for her money), or does your schedule not leave room for it?

Yes I think I would be interested in doing something like the BAA medley. I think the timing of it would be fine. I would do it as a personal challenge more than anything. I am not at that level to be competitive for top prizes in the medley event. But that is not a deterrent for me. I do something because I want to, and because I enjoy the challenge it offers.

Will you be doing said Bulldog workout with the team?

I didn’t do the workout with them. Much more enjoyable watching them do it.

With only one event to go (the City of Manchester Marathon), Steph has locked up the road racing grand prix title. After her race on Sunday, she also has some cross country points. Not a bad year for the coach.

Jesseman Gets Win, ‘B’ Standard

By Jim Dandeneau

On October 12th, 24 year old, Erica Jesseman of Scarborough, Maine raced to victory in the 2013 Hartford Marathon in a course record 2:38:13. This was her 3rd appearance at Hartford; previously winning in 2011 (2:45:00) and finishing 2nd (2:46:59) in 2012. With the victory, the 2011 University of New Hampshire grad obtained the “B” standard (under 2:43:00; “A” standard is under 2:37:00) securing a place in the 2016 United States Marathon Olympic Trials.

Jesseman Mason New Bedford 2013

Erica at the 2013 New Bedford Half Marathon, courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

Entering the race, Jesseman was not certain what to expect considering 2:35 marathoner Heidi Westover (Walpole, NH) was entered along with Ethiopian youngster Aregash Abate. At the onset, after watching Westover and Abate take off at a faster clip, she was content to run sub 6 minute miles with defending Hartford champion Hilary Dionne (Cambridge, Ma). However, by 4.5 miles, Jesseman had already caught Westover (who appeared to be suffering from a hamstring issue) and continued to run consistent miles ranging from 5:50-5:58, catching Abate by 12.5 miles and gradually pulling away, slightly slowing in the last 3-4 miles.

Jesseman was elated with the victory, “This is my 5th marathon and I finally got it right. I stayed hydrated and drank fluids at every water station. I knew I had my work cut out for me with Heidi and Hilary running…. I felt very good.” The self-coached Hartford champion trained extraordinarily hard for this event putting in high volume work, maxing out for 5 weeks, (120miles/week) during a mid-August-September 20th training block adding speed work with fellow Maine marathon extraordinaires Sheri Piers and Kristin Barry. After a disappointing tune-up half marathon a month prior to her goal race, she dropped her mileage “significantly” to “in the 80’s” in order to rest and focus at the task at hand. A 16:17 road 5K 2 weeks out boosted her confidence tremendously heading into the race.

Recently, she resigned her position as assistant cross-country/track coach at St. Joseph’s College to decide her future plans. Presently, she is exploring the possibility of joining a post collegiate training group. She understands she is young only once and feels it is what God is calling her to do. “I’m healthy, motivated, not married, and do not have any student loans. I really feel, with the right training, I can run in the low 2:30’s by 2016.” Up next though, is some well-deserved down time prior to a likely assault on the indoor track circuit with a focus on breaking the 16 minute barrier for 5000 meters leading into her Spring Marathon, “hopefully Boston, to honor the victims of last year’s tragedy”.

With her unbelievable work ethic and tenacity one can be sure to see big things to come from this northern New England competitor.

Day in the Life: Chris Zablocki

First Person: Chris Zablocki

I’m not very good at doing tricks with balls, so I started running after I got cut from the Xavier soccer team. Once I started running, I began to like it more and more because I realized that if you try hard, you win. It’s not like sailing or team sports that have many other variables. With running, you keep improving if you work hard. And I was lucky to have lots of encouraging family, friends, and coaches. Coach Michalski would get so angry if his runners didn’t try as hard as they could. He would sometimes even take out his frustration on steeplechase barriers and other such objects. He was a very good and motivating coach. His assistant, Coach Swift (no lie, that’s his name), had run the marathon in the world championships. We ran before and after school. Unfortunately, I became anemic and ran so slowly that I almost quit. I would have if my friends didn’t urge me not to. I was very surprised I got to go to Dartmouth College, and at the beginning of my freshman year some guys asked what I was doing on the team because I was so slow. But things got better somehow.

The Release of Issue XV is upon us...

When I’m not running I also like to mountain bike (won the Nutmeg State Games one year and totaled my bike the next) and road bike and open water swim (but I usually have someone in my kayak with me in case a monster fish comes).

When I’m not involved in anything aerobic or endurance related, I like to garden chard, tomatoes, and sunflowers. I also like to paint; I exhibited an art show back in January, mostly of the Marshall Islands. I was on Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands for a year and taught world history at the high school there, and then the chemistry teacher tragically died the first week, so I taught those classes as well even though I failed chemistry in college. I also coached a marathon team while there, and after we went for a 20 mile run on the jungle road, the National Olympic Committee gave us a few thousand dollars to go race the marathon at the Kwajalein Atoll Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Test Base. It was really interesting at the base so when I got back I joined the Marine Corps Officer Candidates School. But working for 23 hours a day and getting screamed at for not lacing my boots fast enough lost its appeal and I came up with the better idea of fixing people instead of killing them. So even though I don’t like chemistry and failed it in college, I went to finish the med school pre-reqs and will be finished with the post-bac at CCSU at the end of the summer. I just applied to American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine on St. Maarten. I also applied to NE Distance in case it’s not yet time to move on from racing competitively.

This year has been going better than expected. It would be awesome to be like Emil Zatopek or Ryan Hall. When I raced the Tallahassee Marathon, I met a Kenyan named Pete who said it was a good idea to race marathons every two weeks or so. He did it to save up money to buy used diesel tractors for his farm in Kenya and go bowling. I decided to try out his advice, and it has worked pretty well. I got a 2:17 PR in Virginia Beach two weeks after racing another in Albany, Georgia. I was hoping to go even faster in Vermont, especially since my friends drove through a snowstorm to come cheer, but it didn’t happen; it was very rainy. This summer I am looking forward to racing the World Mountain Championships qualifier with my old teammate Glen and coaching the Running Rams Track and Field Camp.

Zablocki’s Day in the Life
0630 Wakeup and workout: 2×50 pushups & 3×8 dumbbell twists. Breakfast: cup of Grapenuts, a spoonful of peanut butter, and some orange juice.
Run: 13.7 miles out and back on River Road as fast or slow as the legs feel like going, usually with some surges on the way back.
0819 Return home for core work: 1×30 pull-ups, 1×20 pull-ups, & 100 bicycle crunches. Refuel: chocolate milk and a bowl of oatmeal with Grapenuts. Drive to CCSU in New Britain.
0925 Organic chemistry. My lab partner Shelbi explodes extraction flasks of acid in my face.
1040 Microbiology. Get back papers with points taken off because they are technically correct but still somehow wrong.
1200 Organic chemistry problems in the library. Lunch: ham and kale sandwich, orange, yogurt, peanuts, water.
1500 Middlesex Hospital. Visit joint replacement patients and meet interesting people. Help a lady look for her dentures while she tells hunting stories only to later find out that her teeth are in a different town.
1930 Workout: treadmill (1 mile @ 7% incline warmup, 3-4 miles @ 2.5% incline with 30-60 second sprints added in @ 10-15% incline, so it doesn’t get boring). Swim: intervals of 100m crawl, backstroke, kicking with flippers, 25m butterfly. 1500m total.
2115 Dinner: varies but includes an iron pill. Check email and go to sleep.
Weekend Not much different than a weekday. If no race or other commitments, make the morning run closer to 2 1/2 or 3 hours since I like to just keep running. I also include some post-run drills such as rock hurl lunges (the rock is about 40 pounds and I named it Matt Pelletier as a way to motivate myself while getting ready for VCM) and pull-ups on my pull-up tree. I believe that the correct way to train is to stuff the biggest engine into the smallest package. On the weekend, I also take more time for breakfast, have a sandwich with eggs over hard, cheese, salsa, hot sauce, kale, with some oatmeal on the side and some orange juice.If I’m racing, wakeup, do jumping jacks and pushups to get pumped up, then drive to the place and race. I try to swim after races; it makes me feel recovered and strong again.

Chris Zablocki ultimately chose to go to med school this fall, and he is now studying in St. Maarten. This article was originally published in the July/August issue of Level Renner, which can be downloaded for free (along with all of our back issues). Get your free subscription today, which also will make you eligible for our subscriber only contests.

Chicago Marathon Highlights & Results

The Chicago Marathon was this past weekend. Level Legion was well represented out there, and we got word of quite a few New Englanders running it. We had boots on the ground and got some footage of this major race. Diana Davis was deputized as a Level correspondent and captured some clips of the leaders, along with some footage of Jason Bui and another mysterious BAA runner. Also included is a quick interview with BAA elite David Bedoya.

And here is the roster of the runners we knew of racing out there, along with results:

Lindsay Willard – BAA – 2:57:17
Ruthanne Waite – SRR – 5:36:51
Adrian Bellando – SRR – 4:15:35
Jason Reilly – BAA – 2:42:13
Christina Haddad – 3:53:28
Annie Schirmacher – 3:41:14
Benai Kornell – 4:04:35
Jeff Barbieri – 3:23:53
Laurie Pouliot Ferguson – 3:17:46
Lindsey Wolfe – 3:32:43
Andrea Desantis – 4:05:35
Ross Tulloch – 3:07:00
Amiel Bowers – 5:49:09
George Thompson – 4:11:15
Jason Bui – GLRR – 2:43:35
David Pinsonneault – 2:47:18
Dan Smith – BAA- 2:31:36

Wow, that’s a lot to check up on. I’m sure we missed some too. Did you run it or know of someone else we missed? Add it on in the comments below. If you did run it we’d love to know how you did.

Thanks again to Diana for getting this to us.

As far as the runners themselves, we should be hearing from Jason Bui about his race pretty soon. David Bedoya was out there to help pace Dan Smith and Dan Martin. According to David, the goal for both was about 2:26, but they fell a bit short of that (still running a speedy 2:31 and 2:30, respectively).

Another local who made the trek was Lindsay Willard. It was a tough one for her, but despite the incredible difficulties experienced, Lindsay gutted it out and finished with a more than respectable time. Here’s what she had to say about her experience:

Certainly disappointed about Chicago after the training season I had devoted to the big day, but I learned from it and I’m going back to the basics. Hoping to heal up a little in the coming days and run Mount Desert Island next Sunday. I’m very sore and had great trouble keeping food down for the last day and a half, but I don’t have the bad lactic acid in my legs that would have come from a much faster finish. In the end I was just trying to pick up my feet and not have my stomach churn again. I knew from previous marathons where I had much worse conditions like stress fractures, torn miniscis, pneumonia, bronchitis… If I ever dropped out, I would be haunted by that mile marker in any future marathons.

My training was intense this Spring and Summer, including recovery from my April knee surgery. I was trying out new sports drinks and recovery supplements since I tend to have nasty acid reflux in marathons and tempo long runs. I was nursing a pulled hamstring from the last month as well. I think the combination of too much Advil for my hamstring micro tears, the new electrolyte drinks and chews, and not drinking much since the race was so chilly, just backfired into system failure.

I had to get blood work, an IV, and help for hypothermia and very low blood pressure and glucose levels in the medical tent after finishing. My legs kept seizing on the cot and I was pretty out of it.

Gotta respect that effort. Knowing Lindsay, we wouldn’t be surprised to see her crush it at MDI.

Pelletier Second at Hartford

Matt Pelletier started out conservatively but made a late push to finish second at the Hartford Marathon on Saturday. Matty P ran a 2:21:22, and although it’s slower than he’s run in the past, it’s not bad considering it included a bathroom break and a run in with a tourist taking selflies.

A few months back this was looking like an epic showdown. Chris Zablocki named a fifty pound rock after Matt and threw it around his backyard after runs in order to get ‘farmstrong’ so he could beat Matt. Matt has done a great job of helping to place a bull’s eye on his own back with the way he’s raced in the past. But then Chris went away to med school and Matt was bitten by some type of vermin and missed a couple of weeks. It still ended up being a heck of a showdown between Matt and Eric Macknight.

After the race, Matt gave this interview, which they comically lined up with an ad a ‘runner up’ theme for Lucky For Life.

Here’s our interview with Matt, minus the poorly placed advertising.

Did the pit viper attack keep you from winning?

I think I could have run faster than 2:19 had I not been bitten by the pit viper. The 2 leaders went through the 1/2 way point in 1:07. I wouldn’t have been with them at that point, but they slowed a ton in the 2nd half and I might have been able to catch them. That also means I would have had to run the race basically alone, which means I might not have done as well.

Once you got over the ankle swelling, how had training been?

Training after the ankle swelling didn’t go that well. I was trying to force myself to jump right in where I left off, and it didn’t work out at all. I couldn’t run the times I wanted to in workouts, and I felt tired and run down. 2 weeks ago, I said to Ray that I just wanted to get through Hartford and rest up and start over again and focus on Boston. In the middle of August I was very fit and everything was going very well, then I got bit and missed 2 weeks, and couldn’t get going again. I knew going into Hartford that the time would be sub par, but that I could try and be competitive and focus on racing well and not worry about the time.

After starting off a little conservative, at what point in the race did you let loose on the reigns?

I allowed myself to start moving a little quicker after the turnaround at 17 miles. It’s where I started to fall apart last year. From 11-17 miles is a long gradual uphill and there was a headwind. I relaxed on that portion and once we turned around and came back down the other direction, I started to drop the pace.

How did the last few miles play out?

The last few miles played out well until 24 miles. At 21.5 I caught Eric, and at 22, Matt Kiplagat was on the side of the road laying down getting stretched out by a volunteer. I continued to roll on and people said that the leader was dying. After seeing Matt on the ground, I thought maybe if I really started moving I could catch the leader. When I was coming through a water stop around mile 23, there was a woman running in the other direction (like mile 10?) and she was darting from one side of the road to the other taking pictures of herself. As I ran by, she stepped backwards right in front of me. I had to put my hand out to stop her from knocking me over and I basically punched her in the back. That took a lot of the wind out of my sails and I just tried to maintain to the finish without getting caught by Eric.

Macknight was pretty close to you, were you close for most of the race?

Eric and I had similar plans going into the race. We had dinner together the night before and he said that he thought he could get under 2:20 and possibly under 2:18. He said that he planned on running even splits. That had worked for him the year before. I told him that if he was between 1:10-1:11 I would run with him, but if he felt like he could go faster, to leave me behind and go for it. We ran together with a pack behind the 2 leaders (who were out of sight) for the first 3 miles. At mile 4 he and I were running together in 3rd place. I had to stop to pee so I told Eric that I was going to pull off for a second. I threw a surge in and banked some time and pulled off the road. When I jumped back in, I was in 8th. Over the next 4 miles I passed everyone else and eventually caught back up to Eric in 3rd. At 11 miles, I slowed and Eric went for it. He probably put a min. on me by 17 miles. I was content to get 4th and just wanted to maintain the pace I was running. Just before I hit the turnaround, I yelled to Eric who was running back towards me that it was all downhill and he was killing it and to keep it up. Once I turned, I felt better and the downhill and tailwind allowed me to pick it up and try and catch Eric. I passed him at 21.5 miles and was worried that if he could latch on, he could catch me by surprise in the last mile (like Zablocki did in VCM) so I pushed until I ran into the lady taking selfies. I never turned around to see where Eric was. When I crossed the line I was happy to get 2nd, but even happier for Eric who took 4 min. off his PR. I think had Eric decided to race me for 3rd and throw out his time goal, he would have beat me. I always race for a time goal first and place is secondary, but this race was an exception for me. I feel that Eric really made the race.

From what you learned in this race, how do you like your chances of an A standard?

My chances for a shot at the A standard are still there, but with every race that passes and I don’t get it, the window shuts just a little bit more. I’m hoping in Boston to latch onto a group and run even splits. It also depends on the weather, and how fit I can get.

Did you engage in any sort of rock tossing in the back yard to prepare for this? Did you name any kind of object ‘Zablocki’ to help?

At the expo, there was the NEF picture of Chris hanging up at the expo. I thought about getting a picture of me attempting to lift and throw the figure of Zablocki, but with him not here to defend himself, I decided against it. Plus, had he been here, he would be the Hartford Marathon champion, and my picture would have made me look dumber than usual.

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