Fear The Angry Chicken!

GLRR logo issue 19

In late 1979 there were two groups simultaneously, but sepa-rately, trying to form a Lowell based running club. One group, led by John Burke, Dennis Conners, and Dick Stackpole met as a result of working on the Merrimack Regional Theater race. They, along with race workers, realized there was a need for a running club within the community.

At about the same time, Bob Dick, a cross-country coach and teacher at the Greater Lowell Vocational School, placed an ad in the Lowell Sun seeking runners interested in forming a Lowell track club.

GLRR men issue 19A meeting between the groups resulted and John Burke was elected president, Bob Dick vice president, Dennis Conners treasurer, and Dick Stackpole became secretary – and the Greater Lowell Road Runners was born.

In the next five years GLRR created the Hynes/Irish Feet are Runnin’ 5-miler, Berna’s Great Legs for Women (the second oldest women’s only race in the country), and was a founding club in the Mill Cities Relay. The winter Fudgical Series and Tuesday night two-mile summer series were also born. A marathon clinic ran from April to October, in which more experienced runners would lead novices through training for their first marathon. A women’s racing program was established to help women achieve peak performances at five miles. The calendar was also full with social activities for the club – from Christmas parties to white water rafting trips. Lowell had made its way from a running wasteland to a hotbed.

For more than thirty years Greater Lowell has continued to flourish. To date, the club has collected eleven USATF-NE LDR team championships, three USATF XC Masters National titles, nine consecutive Masters titles at the Boston Marathon, and thirty-two individual USATF-NE championships, led by John Barbour and Patty Foltz with four each.

But GLRR has always been about more than just championships and trophies. The focus, then as it is today, is on being a social outlet for runners with a competitive edge. The Greater Lowell Road Runners, aka “the Angry Chickens,” is the 2013 USATF-NE Club of the Year and has surged past 500 members of all ages and abilities. We have weekly group runs on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Tuesday nights in the spring and summer you’ll find us running the Good Times 5K Series. In the fall and winter the Tuesday night runs continue with an informal “Not Good Times” run. Thursday nights are for track at Chelmsford High School (outdoor) in the spring and fall and at Lexington High School (indoor) in the winter. We have monthly meetings with drinks and snacks, club news, raffles and periodic guest speakers. GLRR celebrates their accomplishments and history with an annual Hall Of Fame dinner which is held each year the Saturday night before the Boston Marathon (so we can welcome home remote members running Boston). The Fudgical Race Series runs on Saturday mornings every January and February. We continue the training heritage of the club with Boston training runs on the Boston course each Saturday in March. Club members running Boston take advantage of our Boston bus, which gets them to the start in style and provides plenty of pampering before and after the race. We are active participants in the USATF-NE Road Grand Prix series—in case you haven’t noticed the sea of green in recent years.

GLRR text box issue 19
Our premier race (and major fund raiser) for the last 25 years has been the Baystate Marathon. Year after year it is a race of choice for runners looking to qualify for Boston. Twenty-five percent of the runners in 2014 did just that. Hundreds of volunteers from the club, local high schools, and other local agencies are mobilized and co-ordinated to make this race happen.

GLRR stays true to its charter of promoting running by running youth programs to get middle school youngsters involved in running and healthy lifestyles. We hold running day camps in August and have an active youth team that competes in spring track and fall cross-country. Our USATF certified coach, Joe Ferris, has led our kids to the Cross-Country National Championships the last four consecutive years. That said, the club supports and encourages kids of all ability levels.

GLRR ladies issue 19

Part of the GLRR women’s team after 2012 XC Club Nats. Photo by EJN.

Greater Lowell has enjoyed a nice revitalization in recent years, led by the energetic leadership of Glenn Stewart and backed by a strong board of directors and a growing group of passionate runners. GLRR is dedicated to supporting runners of “all ages and all abilities” – we like to have FUN and we like to compete.

Visit us online at www.glrr.net. Or show up for a group run. You’ll be glad you did.

This article originally appeared in the Mar/Apr 2014 issue of Level Renner. Get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen).

Graham’s Toughening Up For Boston

The Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

Four Weeks to Go: A Check on Training

By Tim Ritchie

The 118th Boston Marathon is now just under a month away. The Legion has been training through one of the toughest and coldest winters we have had in a long time. With Spring now officially here, though Winter not quite gone, training is starting to reach its peak. The Legion has run some great races, put in some solid long runs and have had some bumps along the way. This week we look at how things are going and what their weeks have been like at this high point. You can see we all are in this together but we all have different ways of getting there. Our hope is that you continue to be inspired and encouraged by the Legion and that four weeks from now we can share our common goals of being a part of this great event in whatever way we are able! Now, onto the logs:

Scott Graham

Scott is our seasoned veteran when it comes to marathon training, but even he still learns to go with the flow, enjoy training and makes sure to listen to his body.

I don’t really like to be a slave to a fully structured training plan.  I guess many years ago I was but these days I try and listen to my body and manage my training based on what it’s telling me…except for long runs. Those are scheduled and never missed.

Over the years I’ve done countless long runs on the Boston Marathon course. My club, the Greater Lowell Road Runners, makes this task very easy for runners. We all met up early Saturday morning in Chelmsford. An army of volunteers drove the runners down to Hopkinton and set us free. On these organized runs, every 3 miles or so the club sets up water/Gatorade tables and keeps track of all runners and also provides a sag wagon if need be. When we reach the 21 mile mark at BC they collect us and drive us back to our cars in Chelmsford. So all a runner has to do is, well RUN. How hard could that be? The club provides this service for the month of March, so we usually get five good runs on the course (maybe that’s why GLRR won club of the year this year…).

Graham GLRR Team Boston Training
Anyway, last Saturday’s 21 mile run on the course went very poorly for me. I started out with the lead group but by mile 3 I was dropped and running alone. Most people might think that that’s an awful way to do a long run, but not me. I believe it makes you mentally tough. You have to remember you are out there to put time on your legs and harden your mind. Every runner goes through difficult points in a race and if you’re mentally tough you can work through them. So I ran alone for most of the run and was passed by a couple of other GLRR members. Good that I got my one bad long run out of the way.

Sunday: Ended up being a rest day. My legs were just too dead.

Monday: I was still feeling the long run so I did 2.2 miles on a treadmill. I know it doesn’t even seem worth it but this accomplished 2 things for me. First, it got me running. Second, I was able to kick up the pace toward the end so it forced me to really lengthen my stride and pick up my turnover rate.

Tuesday: I was ready to get back to work: 5.5 miles.

Wednesday: Another 5.5 miles.

Thursday: Ran in the morning. It was raining, but my training partner (Peter Floss) and I got out and did a hard 6 miles.

Friday: We decided to take it very easy because the long run on Saturday was looming over us. So 5.5 very easy was in order.

Graham GLRR Boston Marathon training
: Another GLRR long run. Once again I started with the lead pack but this time I was able to hold on until mile 10 and didn’t really start dropping back until mile 17.5 at the turn on Comm Ave.  I struggled through the hills but managed to finish only a couple of minutes behind the leaders. Twenty-one miles in the bank and I felt good.

Sunday: I felt good enough to get out and do 5.5 miles just to get my legs moving. A huge improvement over last week.

Mar/April 2014 : Issue 19

All roads lead to Boston. We know many are you prepping for the Boston Marathon and this issue of Level Renner has everything that you need. We have a Boston Primer to help you appreciate the history of the race, lots of training tips, and athlete profiles to motivate you during this endless winter. Enjoy the issue and be sure to tell all your friends about it.  As always, the digital copy of the magazine is free, but if you would like to purchase a hard copy you may do so via the hp MagCloud site.  In either medium, get reading!

March/April 2014

Issue 19

Table of Contents

issue IXX

Click cover to start reading

The Warm-up
Editor’s Note
Level Communications
Electronic Epistles
Lane 1: Performance 
Favorite Workouts
Masters’ Page
Lane 2: Body Shop 
Strength Conditioning
Lane 3: Nutrition
Snack Attack
Legion Profiles
Stephen Warren
Cheryl Cleary
Jillian King
Kenny Rayner
Club Spotlight 
Greater Lowell Road Runners
Boston Primer
Some Highlights
Lane 4: Commentary 
Would You Rather
Hidden Gems
One Night on The LVL
NB & BU Meets
Lane 5: Fiction
From The Gun
The Cooldown
Learn the Legion

If you like what you see in Level Renner, please consider making a donation to help defray some of our costs.  We ask for donations once per year, and this is the time.  We suggest donating $1 per issue or $5 for the year.  Thanks in advance for your generosity.  Click here to donate.

Graham Enjoying the Journey

by Tim Ritchie

The Level Legion: A Quick Look into Training

Last we left the The Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition, they were telling you a bit about why they are racing the Boston Marathon. Now, let’s take a look at how they are doing so far. We are 8 weeks away from the big day and everyone is well underway with their training. Each of our runners has a unique approach to training and our hope is that you can find some comfort and encouragement in their responses. We have here a quick check in on our runners’ general outlook on their training to date and a sample of what their weeks have been so far. Enjoy and keep up the good work, runners!

Scott Graham

Boston Legion GrahamI really enjoy the training. Years ago I learned that the race is the reward for all the training, but the training is where a lot of the magic happens. The bonds you form with the people you train with are very special. I joke with my wife that I spend more time with my training partners than her. You really get to know your training partners; you know all about their families, their likes, dislikes, struggles, work, strengths and weaknesses. You support them when they are struggling because you know they will be doing the same for you at some point. They become your closest friends. I’ve had two very close friends over the years that I’ve done thousands of runs with: David Katz and Peter Floss. David is taking Boston off this year but Peter will be toeing the line once again.

Last week I was sick so it was a very down week with only 13 miles. But overall I’ve been averaging 40+ miles a week with a high of 60 miles. I’ve also been able to get in 5 long runs at this point and plan to start doing 18+ milers next week.

Here is a sample look at one of Scott’s February weeks:

Monday: Easy 8 – 10 miles.

Tuesday:  7 miles, 1 mile warm up 5 at tempo, 1 mile cool down

Wednesday: easy 5.

Thursday: Track workout – 1 mile warm up, 6x 800 with 400 rest, 1 mile cool down.

Friday: easy 5.

Saturday: 15 miles.

Sunday: easy 5.

Boston Legion: Scott Graham

By Tim Ritchie

Last week we introduced to you here The Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition, three men and three women, all talented runners in their own right that we believe comprise a good cross section of the runners in the northeast region. Each brings a unique perspective and background to their training, racing and experiences. It is our hope that you will see yourselves in the hearts, minds and legs of this Boston Marathon Edition of the Level Legion and that through them we can all support each other as we train, race and cheer for the 118th Boston Marathon. Now that you know who’s on the team, it’s time to start getting to know them better. Next up:

Scott Graham

Age: 55
Club: Greater Lowell Road Runners (GLRR)
Hometown: Westford, MA

How did you get started in running?

I started when I was about 11 years old. A friend’s father would take us out on a 1.5 mile run after he finished his workout during the summer so we could get in shape for hockey season. Then when I was in 9th grade I did a 25 mile walkathon. I was the first person to finish of over 1000 people. I realized then I had a knack for endurance.

What has been your most memorable running experience?

Boston Legion GrahamI’ve run well over 1000 races in my life, but the one that sticks out the most was finishing my first Boston Marathon. I had no idea what I was doing. I just ran as if I was running a 10K. Well you can guess what happened. Cramping took hold of my by mile 15 and it was a painful slog to the finish. After I crossed the line I made my way down Boylston Street to meet my wife and mother. I ended up sitting in the middle of the street. I was mentally and physically broken and in tears. I told both of them to NEVER let me do something that stupid to my body again.

What does it mean to be a part of the Level Legion?

It means you’re tougher than most runners from other parts of the country. You have to deal with extremes, heat, cold, snow, rain, wind, hills and mountains. It also means that doing the Boston Marathon is a rite of passage. If people find out that you’re a runner the first question is: Have you ever done “Boston?” They never add the word marathon onto it. It is just understood in this area.

Have you run the Boston Marathon before?

27 consecutive times.

Why did you choose to run the Boston Marathon?

First of all it is my favorite race. Nothing I’ve ever done has compared to it. (Well there was that one Ironman I did that was an absolute blast). Also it gets help me get my training in at the toughest training time of the year. In addition, when you are standing on the starting line and you’re a qualified runner you have such a sense of pride because you know you earned the right to stand on that line.

Why the 118th edition?

It’s a couple of things: First of all, I want to be there to show the world that you may slow us down but you’ll never stop the runners’ spirit. Second, I have this consecutive streak going that I have to continue.

What are your goals (broad or specific) for this year’s Boston?

I have a couple, as always, finish at all cost. Second, go sub 3:10. Third go sub 3.

What are you most excited about?

It’s kind of funny: Over the years I’ve learned that the race most times is very anti-climatic. You are either in shape and run to the best of your abilities or you’re not in shape and you just have to gut it out. So I’ve learned to get much more enjoyment out of all the long training runs with friends. You spend a lot of time with these people and you better like them.

What are you most nervous about?

Nothing really. I know what I have to do to get my body in the right place to run the race.

Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

The Level Legion

Your Very Own…

by Tim Ritchie

A few weeks ago, John Hancock (principal sponsor for the 118th Boston Marathon) released the names making up TEAM USA, the American athletes who will toe the line in April as part of the elite field. These are some names that we know, love and can rally around come Marathon Monday. Names like Flanagan, Ritzenhein and Keflezighi will be in our heads throughout the excitement for the race itself. This got us thinking: we have a whole bunch of names right here in our own backyard. They may not be well known and they may not be lining up to go for the win, but their stories and their races are just as important to us. They are…

The Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

…and they are your very own.

We will introduce to you here three men and three women, all talented runners in their own right that we believe comprise a good cross section of the runners in the northeast region. Each brings a unique perspective and background to their training, racing and experiences. It is our hope that you will see yourselves in the hearts, minds and legs of this Boston Marathon Edition of the Level Legion and that through them we can all support each other as we train, race and cheer for the 118th Boston Marathon. Over the next few weeks, we will provide some insight, quotes, training and anything else we can to inspire you through the miles, the minutes and the moments.

We are very excited to present this outstanding group of runners to you. Let’s meet them now:

The Men


L-R: Rivera, Graham, Harvey

Jose Rivera

Age: 39 (40 day of Boston Marathon)
Club: Central Mass Striders & Tri State Running
Hometown: Webster, MA

“I never dreamed of running a marathon, never mind being able to run Boston. Boston was something for the elites, not for me. But I am happy that I am here, because I deserve to be here. I have worked and trained hard to be here. I am a part of this great event as well as all 36,000 others that worked hard to be here. I am so looking forward to running Boston!!!”

Scott Graham

Age: 55
Club: Greater Lowell Road Runners (GLRR)
Hometown: Westford, MA

Brian Harvey

Age: 26
Club: Boston Athletic Association Unicorns
Hometown: Boston, MA

“I keep my log on athleticore.com – check it out if you’re interested in excessive (and nerdy) detail on all things numbers. I hope people enjoy following my training. I very much look forward to keeping my eye on the other runners!”

The Women


L-R: London, Millett, Encarnacion

Anne London

Age: 31
Hometown: Cambridge, MA

Aly Millett

Age: 25
Club: Greater Boston Track Club
Hometown: Charlestown, MA

Karen Encarnacion

Age: 48
Club: Somerville Road Runners
Hometown: East Walpole, MA

Lots more to come, both from and about this select group of talented runners. Stay tuned!

Winter Snowshoeing

By Scott Graham

Scott Graham practices what he preaches.

So you live in New England and you’ve never tried this sport/torture. Well let me tell you something, you’re missing out. As I type this I’m looking out my window seeing our first snow storm of the new year. Most runners would say to themselves “UGH, I either have to go out in that mess or get on the dreadmill.” But if you’ve taken up snow shoe running you have a sense of excitement, as if it were Christmas Eve. Especially the light fluffy stuff like today’s storm. In addition you get to do your run on the trails avoiding all the knuckle head drivers who try to run you off the road as one tried to do this morning to my running group.

One of the most beautiful things you can do in the winter is break fresh trails in snow shoes. The woods are alive with fresh powder. You will find fresh tracks of an array of animals, rabbits, coyote, deer and in Westford’s case, black bear.

Now I bet you’re thinking to yourself, “Gee that sounds like fun, but will I get a workout out of this?” The answer is YES!! I can’t highlight the word “yes” enough. This will be one of the toughest workouts you’ll ever do if you try and do it at your normal training pace. You’re heart will rip out of your chest like the creature in the movie Alien. So before you begin, reset your expectations. Know that you’re not going to cover as much ground and you’re going to be going much slower. But there also some advantages. First, if you know the area you are in, you don’t have to stick to the trails. Do a little bush whacking. Explore areas you’ve never been to. Go to the top of a hill and fly down the back side. The sensation on snow shoes is amazing.

What equipment do you need? Well snow shoes….duh!! But you’ll need running snow shoes. These are lighter and smaller then your normal snow shoes and allow for a more natural stride. However finding them can be a little difficult. Many of the national brands make them but they are tough to find in stores. So you may have to order over the internet. I’ve owned a couple of different brands and the brand that has become the runners choice are Dion Snowshoes. These shoes are made in Vermont and are different than all the other makers. They come in 3 pieces, frame, binding and cleat. Why is this important? Snow shoeing really pounds the equipment. With all the other manufactures the shoe comes in one piece. If you break any part of it you’ll be throwing out the set. Most of the manufactures do not even warranty their equipment. With Dion’s you can swap out the broken part. How tough is that? Well at one race a few years ago with 3 minutes until the start I noticed that my binding was ripping apart from a rocky trail I had run the day before. I yelled over to the owner of Dion’s: “Bob, do you have any spare bindings”. In 30 seconds we had the snow shoe taken apart and put back together with a new binding. REALLY, just 2 screws with a quarter turn each. I promptly paid Bob for the new binding after the race. Try that with another brand. Now, I do not work for Bob Dion and get nothing for recommending his products, but they are the best. Dion’s sells a couple different frames, bindings and cleats. The best set up for running/racing are the 121 frames, the quick-fit bindings and the deep cleat. This set up will set you back a few $$’s but it’s well worth it.

OK now you have the right snow shoes, what should you wear? Dress in layers, thin layers. Trust me you will get hot. VERY FAST. The worst thing you can do it over heat and have to walk. You’ll start getting cold very fast. Another thing you might want to invest in are a set of snow gators. These are covers that go over the tops of your shoes and go up over your calf. They help keep the snow out of your shoes which will keep your feet dryer and warmer. Speaking of shoes, just go with a set of training shoes. Heavy boots are NOT an option. You’ll be work hard enough without that kind of weight.

Now you’re all dress up and ready to go, where do you run. Well there are tails all over the place, even in Lowell. Shed Park and Lowell-Dracut state forest to name two right in the city. All the suburbs have lots of conservation land that you can have loads of fun in.

Now you’ve been out for once or twice and you want to test you metal in a race. OH BOY are you in for some fun. There are a couple of series right here in New England. First there is the Granite State Series, then there is the WMAC series. An there are a bunch of independent races. But you’re in luck. This year the national championship (yes there is such a thing) will be held in Woodford, VT. You do have to run a qualifying event but there are 5 year age categories and they take quite a few runners. If you’re interested please go to the National qualification page to understand how and where you can qualify .

What race should I start out with? Great question!! Trust me on this one. One person I know who’s name rhymes with Fason Gooy decided it was a good idea to do a half marathon snow shoe race as his first event. DON’T DO IT!! Select something in the 5K range as a starter race. Poor Fason Gooy had one heck of a day his first race. You have to remember a couple of things. First, you’re going slower. So your going to be out there anywhere from 2 – 5 minutes PER MILE longer than your normal 5K time. Second, your working your whole body. There is a lot of balance and corrective actions going on while your running on these things, so you’re going to get a full body workout. Third, most of these races have the word “Mountain” in the race name. So many times one of the key race features is your running UP a mountain only to be followed by running back down the mountain or in my case falling down the mountain. Yes, falling does occur often, but in most cases you fall off the trail and you’re in waist deep snow so you’re laughing at yourself. You just get back up and start running again. Lastly, most of these races are very low key events and everyone is out to have fun. Many times people will stop to check that you’re OK and help you up if need be. The are also two other things you have to know before you bust off the starting line. At the start there is a lot of snow flying. So much some times you can’t see where your going. Be prepared. Second if you’re out on single track and there is a faster runner behind you, step aside so they can pass you. No sense in blocking people. Someone will do the same for you. Trust me.

So take advantage of the wonderful New England weather and get one of the toughest, most fun work outs you can get in the winter months. Heck if you really like it you can run the sand dunes with snow shoes in the summer.

This was originally published on the Greater Lowell Road Runners blog. Want to try out snowshoe racing or are just looking to get some in? You’re in luck. Dave Dunham has organized the Maudslay Snowshoe Run tomorrow morning at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, MA. It’s free, except for a minuscule parking fee. Check out the event’s Facebook page to get all the details.

Mayor’s Cup Wrap Up

After much delay we can finally present the rest of our coverage of the Mayor’s Cup races. First up is the Franklin Park 5k, which was held in addition to the men’s and women’s championship races. It was won by Jake Shoemaker and Cailin Kowalewski in 15:38 and 18:44, respectively.

Next up we have interviews with Brennan Bonner (GBTC), Brian Harvey (BAA) and Nich Haber (NE Distance). The hot topic on the day was the wrong turn taken by the leaders. Brennan went the wrong way, Brian didn’t and Nich was there to see it happen.

Of the incident, Tom Derderian (USATF-NE President) issued the following:

“After the recent Mayor’s Cup cross-country meet, several elected athletes representatives came to the monthly USATF-NE board meeting with observations and suggestions about what happened as the lead pack in the men’s championship race ran loops in a different order. The athletes reps had gathered information from participants about what had happened and their complaints and compliments.  The rule book states that runners can be disqualified if they run short of the official course but nothing about mixing up the order of loops. For the future a decision process will be used that will include some of the provisions in the rule book such as a designated meet director, referee, course marshall, and games committee to adjudicate any unforeseen occurrences.”

Finally, we have something that is going to ultimately fall victim to poor timing. The night before this race was the infamous obstruction call in the World Series. Since we’re in the heart of Red Sox Nation, we know we weren’t the only ones that were left feeling disgusted by it. Ultimately it was the right call, but it was still very disappointing. We wanted to get the reactions of runners to the call. We also wanted to post it that day so it was still relevant, but the onset of pneumonia and crazy software issues prevented that from happening…until now. So here’s the video that should’ve been released back in October.

If you didn’t like it, blame it on the pneumonia. Also, don’t forget about Scott Mason’s photos from the day.

Mayors Cup Mason

Didn’t think this stuff would see the light of day. Gonna play up the pneumonia card as long as possible. So please, forgive the lateness. After all, I had pneumonia.

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

Guest blog by James DeLuca

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

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

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

Enough about the bibs: now for the race.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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