Wednesday, December 12, 2007

November Racing

Before going on to the team's November races a couple of pictures from races past are in order. First there is Heather's first place AG award from the Niantic 5K at the end of September on the left, and my third place AG award from the October Branford Shores 4M race on the right:

The way the web page displays things does not due justice to Heather's trophy which as a first place trophy is rightly much nicer! We are still waiting for Sue's second place AG trophy from the Marine Corps Marathon to show up. Now that should be a REALLY nice trophy!

November Racing

Amy ran the November 11 Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 5k setting a new PR for the race in 27:33. This is over a minute faster than her 2006 time of 28:44! Nice job. Of course this might mean captain Erica will have to sign her up for some tougher legs in the 2008 RTBR! :)

Heather ran in two races last month. The first was the November 11 New Haven MADD Dash 5 miler which she finished in 41:37 putting her a well deserved fifth in her AG! She then followed this up with a 33:24 5k on November 22 for 10/68 in her AG. This was the famous Run 4 the Pies Turkey Trot down in Palm Beach Florida. Heather collected a pie but alas reports it was a pretty mediocre one! Oh well.

Matt/I ran two races as well. The first was the very same 5 mile MADD Dash Heather was in. My time of 32:31 placed me 11 in my AG and 25 OA. A few weeks later I ran my own Turkey Trot at the Southport 5 mile Pequot Runners Thanksgiving Day Race. Another 5 mile race but this time I finished in 32:01 for a new PR! That was good for 14/509 in my AG.

Cathy (a member of the founding relay team, more on that some other time) ran the 5 mile Pequot Turkey trot as well finishing in 46:25.

Sue also traversed the Pequot Turkey trot route. However, she refuses to say she "ran" it since she was out to have fun covering the course with her daughter who was up for the holiday. No chip, no time, and no official race. But she was there and I did see her as she turned towards the final stretch!


Thursday, November 1, 2007

October Racing

Welcome to the second racing update for the RRFC! First we need to back fill:

September 30 the Big Heart Big House 5K took place in Ann Arbor, MI.

Sally ran it in 23:52 for a 7:41 pace to finish 10/182 in her AG. Yes, a top 10 finish! Congratulations!

Now on to October:

October 7 was the date for Connecticut's Ridgefield Half Marathon. Sue and I ran it.

Sue finished in 1:40:46 for a 7:42 pace. That was good enough for first place in her AG! What did the trophy look like? Here it is:
No hardware. Just a $50 bill in an envelope. Probably just as well. Given Sue's already extensive trophy collection this is probably a lot more useful. ;)

Matt (I) finished in 1:29:11 for a 6:48 pace and 5/114 in my AG. Best of all that time is good enough to get me a guaranteed entry into next year's NYC marathon! I am running NY in 2008.

October 21 was a busy day for the fan club with 4 miles races in Trumbull and Branford Connecticut.

Sue ran Trumbull in 27:48 for a 6:57 pace. Way to go breaking a seven minute mile! Naturally she was first in her AG.

Heather ran Branford in 32:54 for an 8:14 pace and 7/22 in her AG. Well done!

Matt (I) also ran Branford. My finish time was 25:36 for a 6:24 pace and 9/160 overall but a mere 4/40 in my AG! Tough AG is all I can say! :) Fortunately the overall winner was in my AG so I actually got to collect the 3rd place AG trophy. As with most races competitors are limited to winning at most one award. Hey, I will take what I can get!

Cathy was a member of the founding RRFC team so I am going to include her Branford race here as well. She finished in 35:09 for a 8:48 pace and 13/36 in her AG. Another well done race!

October 28 saw the 32nd running of the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC for which Sue and I have been training these last few months.

Sue what can you say other than she is an amazing runner! Her final time of 3:25:49 for a 7:52 pace put her 2nd (yes you read that right 2nd) out of 439 in her AG! I will get a photo of the trophy once they mail it in to her. Her Age Grade was 79.7% which puts her just 0.3% below what is called "National Class." Basically, it means she competes with the country's best runners. Not too surprising given that she just scored 2nd place in one of the country's largest and most prestigious marathons! Did I mention her MCM time was nearly 5 minutes faster than her last marathon! Details about Age Grading can be found below.

Matt (I) ran the marathon in 3:23:11 for a 7:46 pace. That was good enough to land me in 74/1526 in my AG. I also scored a new marathon PR by just over 5 minutes! My Age Grade was 66.8% which gets me into the category of "Local Class." Heck, I am happy to be in any "class" at all!

Sue and I also want to thank RRFC founding member Cathy for her on course support. We are also grateful to her sister (Patty) and niece (Karin) and our friend Alton who were there with supplies across the miles as well. They were all wonderful and we could not have run as well as we did without them.

If you are wondering about what Age Grade means the following is taken from the MCM results web page.

"AGE-GRADED" results are calculated using tables developed by the World Association of Veteran Athletes (the world governing body for masters track and field, long distance running and race walking). These tables were first published in 1989 and are frequently updated. The tables can be used in two ways: first, by comparing your time to a standard for your sex and age, you can determine your Performance Level Percent. These percentages can be interpreted as follows:
100% = Approximate World-Record Level
Over 90% = World Class
Over 80% = National Class
Over 70% = Regional Class
Over 60% = Local Class


Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Fan Club Races On

While the RTBR is over that does not mean the team has stopped racing. No, not as a team! Individually. I am hoping to post here about once a month the team's racing achievements in the prior month. So here is the September recap:

September 22: I ran the Flagstaff AZ Half Marathon (HM). This race has what every runner dreams of avoiding: a combination of hills and no air! It takes place at 8000 feet and has vertical climbs totaling 1100 feet! What did I sign up for? I finished with a new personal worst HM time of 1:48:03. But that was good enough for 8 out of 31 overall among the men and 3 out of 16 among men over 40. Did they hand out age group trophies? No! Sigh.

September 30 was a busy day for the team! Just in time for this month's recap we have:

Amy ran the Ann Arbor MI Big House, Big Heart 5K side-by-side with her daughter. Their chip time of 41:20 is pretty impressive for somebody in the middle of grade school!

Heather ran the Niantic Bay 5K. Not only did she run it in just 24:41 for a 7:57 per mile pace she WON her age group! (Stay tuned we may yet get a picture of that trophy to post.) Collecting the trophy turned out to be harder than you might imagine. First they handed her the third place trophy. Looking at the finisher list the race officials discovered the second place finisher was named Matt. Hmm, not too many women named Matt. So then they gave Heather the second place trophy. Only later, when the official results were posted, did she find out that she had actually won her age group. An email to the race director, a few days wait, and the right trophy (the BIG one) finally showed up in the mail.

Erica ran the Niantic Bay Half Marathon (HM) showing that fan club members can run long even without van support! She broke 2 hours with a time of 1:58:12! Better yet she knocked 22 seconds per mile off of the pace she ran the New Haven 20K on Labor Day with a final HM pace of 9:02 per mile! Congratulations Erica!


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Overall Rosie Stats

The Rosie Ruiz Fan Club came in 64/154 in the Mixed Open category! That puts us in the 42 percentile from the top. Great running! Special kudos to the Green Line runners who toughed out a really rough 29 hours, 23 minutes, and 31 seconds yielding an overall pace for the group of 8:33. If you are wondering how good that is, our forecasted pace (based on actual historical race times) was 8:53. So we knocked a full 20 seconds from that! Had we run at our forecasted pace we would have finished 102 in our category, which is the 66 percentile and about where I believe we were initially seeded. A pretty impressive achievement all around!


Monday, October 1, 2007


The team owes Captain Erica a free lifetime metro pass for all the work she put into making it all happen! I am sure I speak for the whole team when I say we are immensely grateful for allowing us to experience the Reach the Beach Relay.

If you have never run a relay like this you cannot begin to imagine the time and effort a team captain needs to devote to the whole process. Like what?
  • Do you have 11 friends that can run a half marathon? Can at least two or three of those 11 run a marathon? No? Well start looking!
  • How many handy running compatible reflective vests, lights for those vests, and headlamps do you own? None? Get ready to go shopping! Not only that get ready to do some research too. Not all reflective vests are suitable for racing in.

  • Do you have a pair of 15 person vans in your garage? No? Ever wonder where you might be able to rent two? This is your chance to find out.

  • How familiar are you with the hotels near the vehicle transition areas? Not at all? Think a web based service will help? Think again! You need Grady's Roadside Inn not the Hyatt. Find the town on the map then go to a Yellow Pages website and type in motels. See what pops up and start dialing.
  • Do you like to shop for things like bottled water, sports drinks, and high carbohydrate foods that can supply 6 people over 36 hours of running? I hope so because you just agreed to stock two vans with the stuff!
  • Do you want your runners to be able to spot your van on course? Yes! How nice. Now go buy things to decorate the vans with.
  • Did you know there is a race handbook? Did you know your team is supposed to read it? Do you have a plan to get them to do so? As you might imagine it is very entertaining so your team should jump at the chance. Not!
  • Maps! Yes, your team needs course maps and if you are nice road maps that cover the whole route.

All of the above and more Erica took care of.

Oh one other detail. What do you plan to do if one of the vans breaks down after the race when it is ready to leave the beach? Well, the curse of the Green Line did not end with the race. When the group that had planned to drive it back to New Haven tried to start it up and leave the finish guess what? Nothing! It would not start. Erica's husband Chris was kind enough to drive six(?) of us to the Manchester Airport where we picked up a minivan for the drive home. The next day Erica and Chris managed to get an emergency repair job for Green Line. That got it started but the mechanic told them not to let the engine stop prior to reaching New Haven as it likely would not start up a second time. It could have been worse! The van did make it to the finish. Had it died midrace our adventure would have gone with it.

Here is the picture Erica took the next day of the Green Line at the finish. Sort of says it all.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Orange Line Reaches the Terminal

I handed the wrist strap off to Paul and off he went. Like me he seemed really up for his run. Since his leg was only 4.8 miles we checked on him mid-route and then went straight to the transition area. There we dropped off Sally to get ready and I headed down to the basement of a church where they were kindly serving breakfast for the relay racers. While you could get healthy things to eat I went for the breakfast cakes and rolls. Yes plural! After two days on the Cliff Bar diet I was dieing to eat real food, and breakfast cakes are among my favorites!

After they talked me away from the tables (and further face stuffing) we went to meet Paul at his finish.

Paul blew away his predicted time, running his leg 35 seconds per mile faster than our forecast! When he came in to hand off to Sally off we went again. Sally's final leg was 4.7 miles so it we had to hustle.

Like Paul and the rest of the Orange Line that day Sally had no trouble trouncing her predicted pace, knocking 33 seconds off of it! When she arrived it was Amy's turn after which the Orange Line would be done!

Well maybe. One fear remained. Would the Green Line runners manage to run all of their legs? The news from their van remained grim. While they were all clearly determined to finish their legs they were in anything but the best of shape. The combination of running, lack of sleep, and getting soaked in the rain was not doing them much good. Would they make it? If not how many of us would have to run a fourth leg?

Sue soon found her solution to the potential fourth leg problem. I have never seen her look fatigued let alone exhausted. When I saw her collapse after announcing that she was NOT running a fourth leg I knew I had a chance for this one-in-a-million picture!

Yep, that is Sue! Looks pretty tired to me! Would she have run a fourth leg if asked to an hour later? Well I guess we will never know! :) If you have been reading this blog you know the Green Line pulled through for us and nobody ran anything other than their scheduled legs!

When Amy left for her final leg the sky opened up once again and it poured. We all thought our poor teammates in the Green Line would get rained on yet again. I tell you it seemed that van had a curse on it!

Like the rest of the team Amy also came in faster than predicted despite the weather. While she was at it she picked up a couple of puppy dogs!

By the time Amy's leg came around we had finally figured out that we needed to get the foil seals off the bottles before handing them out! So here she is actually getting water from a bottle you can actually drink from. Yes, we were proud of ourselves for figuring this out! Look, it had been a day-and-a-half with little food, or sleep and lots of running. What do you want?

Once Amy arrived the Orange Line handed off to the Green Line and they took off after Ali. Nature finally came through for them and just as quickly as it started raining it stopped. The Orange Line now took off for the beach and the finish line party and barbecue!

Actually, party second shower first. Our next mission was to find a cheap hotel where we could get a shower. Near Hampton Beach (the finish line) we found one. I told the guy at the desk we wanted to rent it for an hour so that we could take showers and then leave. He looked at me kind of funny, like I must think he is really stupid or something. It was only when the women went upstairs and left the guys at the reception area to watch TV that I think he believed me! Post-showers we went down to the beach to greet the Green Line at the finish.

Before the Green Line arrived it was time to get some final Orange Line pictures!

Sans running outfits from left to right. Front row: Sue, Amy, and Sally. Back row: Paul, Rodger, and Matt. As you can see our road kill counter had a lot of action! Everyone had a collection of bones and puppies by the race's end. A reminder of all the people we saw and met in strange outfits, and oddly decorated vans. Every one of them part of a team that had no doubt spent hours coming up with a humorous team name. But, of course, none as good as the Rosie Ruiz Fan Club!


Friday, September 28, 2007

The Orange Line: Running at Dawn

It seemed like the Green Line was cursed. During the Orange Line's night leg the rains held off. When we handed the wrist strap over down it came. Then we got the strap back, and what do you know it stopped raining! So while Rodger started in the early dawn it was at least a dry start.

We met Rodger at about the 3 mile mark and he told us to just meet him at the end. Since his leg was 9.2 miles we decided to partially ignore him. Instead we would drive to the finish drop Sue and I think Paul and Amy off. Then Sally and I would double back to meet Rodger at the 6 mile mark to make sure he did not need anything. Well the first part of the plan worked! Up until this point in the race the Orange Line ran like a well oiled van. We stayed on course and we always hit our meeting points. Getting fancy put a temporary end to that. We missed Rodger as he had already passed the 6 mile mark by the time the van got there. Before we could figure out what happened Sue had already taken off. In the end this did not matter too much. The van headed back to the transition area picked up the crew and headed out to meet her. Still it was our first, and fortunately last, missed meeting.

Due to construction Sue's final leg was rerouted. This turned what was supposed to be an easy 4 miles into a brutal 8 replete with hills. As always though she turned in a remarkable performance!

About those sports bottles with water we purchased the night before -- they came with foil seals that you first had to peel off. Needless to say we kept forgetting to do so. So it is likely that Sue in this picture is trying to get water from a sealed bottle. Sorry about that!

I was up next. Like the rest of the Orange Line I was pumped for my last leg. It would be the one and only time during the race I would actually beat my forecasted pace.

No doubt one reason I finally beat my pace forecast was that I was being chased! After the first van pass Rodger yelled out to me that a bone was close behind! That meant to move it or I would get passed. A few miles into the run I realized my rival was faster on the uphills but that I was faster going down. The course was 8.6 miles long. Mile 7 to 8 was up a hill and from there to the end it was all downhill. I knew that if I could hold him off until mile 8 I would get to the transition area first. I did, and I did! Heck, I even had enough to surge the final quarter mile or so. I was so proud! Why? Beats me? Earlier I was passed by a guy who I later found out ran the leg at a 5:30/mile pace. The way he blew by me you would have thought I was standing still. Next up was Paul.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Orange Line: Sleep at Last!

After the hand off to the Green Line it was time to head for the hotel to catch some sleep. First we stopped at a gas station convenience store to get some supplies. What do you know they were having a sale on bottled water -- in sports bottles no less! We took a case. Now on to the hotel. Captain Erica had booked two different hotels. The "bad" one was near the current vehicle transition area (VTA), the other "good" one near the next VTA. Since we had to eventually drive to the next VTA (that is where the Green Line would hand off to us) we opted to go to the "good" hotel.

Did you know that six people running in sequence can go really far? Yes, this is a little known fact. The result was a much longer drive than we had anticipated to the hotel room all the while chewing up valuable sleep time. Once we finally arrived we discovered to our horror that $130 a night in NH buys a night at one of the worst dives I have ever seen! If you saw Erica's picture you have SOME idea, but it really does not do justice to the place. At this point though the Orange Line runners were so tired it hardly mattered. Some of us took showers and then we all collapsed one place or another. All except Rodger who decided the van looked more attractive. It WAS a close call.

As we were about to announce lights out a call from the Green Line came in. The news was not good. Health problems were running rampant and there was talk of runners have to bail out of their current leg. If that happened everybody would move up a leg in the rotation. Among other things that would have the Orange Line take over on leg 24 instead of 25. The immediate problem was that if we needed to arrive for the early leg we would have to cut our sleep time by well over an hour. First, we be running after just five runners. That in itself would have us on course over an hour earlier. Second, we would also need to drive further from the hotel to reach our new start. The leg 24 transition area was 8 miles about further away from us than the leg 25 transition area. Given how tired we were this was very bad news. The deal Erica and I struck was a compromise of sorts. They would call at 3:30am if we needed to head out early. If we did not get a call we would arrive at around 5:45am at the leg 25 exchange. With fear in our hearts we went to sleep. Given what I know now all I can say is that the effort put in by the Green Line was nothing short of heroic! At some point I hope a few more of them share their stories here.

There was no call. We left the hotel on schedule and headed up to the VTA. An amazing thing happened at this point: despite the lack of sleep, and physical exhaustion the Orange Line was psyched to run! I have no idea why or how but we were all high as a kite and ready to tear up the course.

At the VTA Kathy handed the wrist strap off to Rodger who took off in the dark. Fortunately, dawn was approaching as the light on the back of his vest immediately fell off! A bit of confusion later, Erica and I hooked up and I headed with her to the Green Line. We needed to get the vans together to transfer some items and I planned to lead them over to the Orange Line van. What can I say, the Green Line looked, well, green. :( They were exhausted and clearly physically distressed. I was sure they were miserable too. Amazingly though they all claimed that their spirits were high and that their enthusiasm remained strong. With a smile Ulli held up a now empty box of Imodium AD! You gotta love a group that can run, laugh, and all the while consume Imodium AD like it is hard candy! A little directing later the vans were together and the supplies transferred. Each van then headed its separate way. The Orange Line in search of Rodger, and the Green Line in search of the hotel.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Nightfall: The Orange Line Runs Again

At 6:24pm, a full 30 minutes ahead of schedule, Green Line runner Kathy arrived into vehicle transition area 3 and handed the band off to Rodger. It was the Orange Line's turn to run again! Nightfall was now approaching. Under the race rules teams need to wear reflective vests with blinking lights and a headlamp from 6:00pm to 6:00am. So dutifully, Rodger donned his safety gear. Sunset was a bit later so he managed to run mostly in twilight. He made the best of the light he had finishing nearly a minute ahead of his predicted pace!

Next up was Sue. While there was some light at the start, by the time she ended it was pitch black. Clouds had arrived leaving not a star in sight. The team now discovered something: all runners and vans look identical in the dark! From the van it was nearly impossible to figure out if an approaching runner was ours until he or she was at the van door. For runners, the situation was no better. While Sue was on the road I got ready and went to put on my Garmin. This gizmo is a GPS watch that tells you, among other things, how far along the course you have gone. My Garmin! Where was it!? From my point of view this was a major crises! I run with it all the time. I count on it to tell me how many miles have passed and how many there are to go! Where was it? Despite turning the van upside down I could not find it. Time for Plan B. When Sue came in I would take the one she was wearing (Paul's). While not ideal it would work. In the meantime Cathy (my wife) called to get an update and remarked that I sounded rather distressed. I told her the bad news but that I could use Paul's. I was still depressed.

After I took the Garmin from Sue off I went for my second leg. At this point I discovered that a well equipped team is one that has individual reflective vests and headlamps! Runners sweat! Yes, I know, big news. Putting on the safety gear after somebody else had just used it was just gross! Nothing to do though. The stuff is mandatory. In any case you would be crazy to run without it at night.

Eventually, I made it into the transition area and handed the wrist strap and Garmin off to Paul. There I was greeted with by Sue holding MY Garmin! I had it back! They found it in the van in Rodger's equipment bag where it had fallen in. You have no idea how happy I was to see it. My spirits considerably brightened I went back to trying to get pictures of the team running at night. Alas, this proved nearly impossible absent some easy way to figure out who our runners were which we did not have. After many, many attempts across many, many runners I finally got one of Sally! But, alas, this is it.

When Sally handed off to Amy it was time to head to the next vehicle transition area. At that point the Green Line would start up again and we could get some sleep. We arrived at 11:53pm looking forward to heading off to the hotel that our indomitable Captain Erica had reserved near the next vehicle transition area from where we would start our final legs. Unfortunately, the Green Line was delayed. More unfortunately, the news coming from there was getting worse and worse. Ever more dire warnings that various members were ill and might have to stop running! It was not too early for a very fatigued Orange Line crew to panic.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lunch/Dinner, a Shower and a Nap?

With the Green Line in charge it was off to something like lunch and dinner. It was past 2:00pm and our spreadsheet said to expect to get back to running sometime around 7:00pm. So whatever we could grab now would be it until early tomorrow morning. As in 1:00am tomorrow morning! The Orange Line drove down the road to get gas and spotted a burger place where we sat down for lunch. You can see it in the picture's background with the yellow umbrellas on the left. Our lunch spot was located along the race route and the outdoor tables gave us a great view to spot the runners as they came by.

Here is Erica right after declaring that I would never get this picture! It was not easy. She is quick and I had to run ahead to snap it!

Post lunch it was off to a cabin owned by Sally's family to shower and get some sleep. As they say the best laid plans . . . It turned out the cabin was a bit further away than expected and the Green Line a bit faster! The end result was a quick shower for each of us and then a rapid return to the course as the Green Line announced they would be done sometime before 7:00pm! In fact they would hand over the wrist strap at 6:52pm.

While the Orange Line was happy to hear that the Green Line was swiftly covering the course we were less happy to hear initial reports that some of their party was not feeling so hot. Would we need to run extra legs? Would the rotation be moved up requiring people to suddenly run legs they did not plan to? It was not yet time to panic but it was time to be concerned. Matt

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Orange Line Legs 5 and 6

Next up Sally and then Amy after which the Orange line could leave for lunch/dinner, a shower and a nap! Sorry, I do not have a picture of Sally on the run. But, she was terrific! Our spreadsheet had her estimated pace at 9:13 and instead she came in at a blazing, drum roll, 8:12! Wow! A minute per mile faster! The Orange Line was HOT! Next up Amy and another blindingly fast run. Her predicted pace was 9:59 and instead she ran her leg in 9:21! At 2:22pm, a full 22 minutes ahead of schedule, Amy handed the wrist strap over to Ali and the Orange Line was then off the course.

Go Green Line! By now the Orange Line was tired and hungry. But, boy were we having a good time! Matt

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Creative names

One of the most amusing parts of the race was reading the team names and mottoes on the vans. You can find a complete list of team names here.

Some of my favorites: The "GoGo Girls", who run in pink wigs and tutus, Team "Got the Runs" (Van 2 latter re-dubbed "CAUGHT the Runs"--apparently it was going around); "Fat Guys Don't Bonk," "Don't Drink That It's Not Gatorade," and "Snakes on a Van"... None of them top Rosie, of course, but still there are some good ones. Erica

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blogging Suspended

I am away from blogging until Sunday. When I return I will add more pictures and race details! Until then maybe some of my teammates will add their own bits of the story. Matt

Orange Line Legs 2, 3, and 4.

Rodger slapped the team wrist band on Sue and off she went! For those who do not know Sue she is an incredible runner. She is the second fastest grand master half marathon and marathon runner in a ALL of Connecticut! Add to that her recently completed first half iron woman triathlon and the team had, justifiably, high hopes for her runs. She did not disappoint flying through the course. Our spreadsheet forecast her finishing in a 8:15 pace instead she did it in 7:54!

Sue arrived into the transition area and off I went! Up a road affectionately named the, "Kanc." This is 7.7 miles of highway that climbs 1,500 feet. Fortunately, I had great support throughout. Indeed, the Orange Line support crew worked like a well oiled machine. We were great! :) Prior to when a runner would take off we would get a list of their preferred support stops and what they wanted. No matter what we would stop to check on people a couple of miles in. You cannot begin to imagine how important all this is to whoever is out on the course. Here Sue is handing me my water bottle a few miles into the leg.

There is a bit of relay race jargon that our team took advantage of to help with the team's spirit during the race. When you pass somebody they are known as "road kill." We had no delusions of grandeur and figured we were as likely to be passed as to pass people. So we kept count in both directions! We had a chart to which cute animal stickers were added when we did the passing and Halloween stickers when we were passed. Rodger quickly abbreviated this to "puppies" and "bones." We then made a sport of calling out our puppy and bone counts as the van came by. Encouragement for the runner often include the driver yelling things like "two puppies ahead," or "a bone closing behind!" On the way up the Kanc I scored a total of 7 puppies! Here I am letting the van know the current score.

After my climb up the Kanc the wrist band went to Paul who then had a 4.8 mile downhill jaunt! Our spreadsheet had predicted that he would run it in an 8:45 pace. Instead he toasted the route at a 7:06 clip! At this rate the team might even put in a respectable finish! As you can see he looked great afterwards as well.

Next up was Sally and then Amy both of whom would also greatly exceed their predicted paces!


Monday, September 17, 2007

Go Rodger! Runner 1 Leg 1

Relay teams started according to their predicted finishing times, with the slower teams leaving first. At 7:30am the first group went out with additional departures every half hour. Our team had a 9:00am start time. The last team was scheduled to leave at 3:00pm! Needless to say, it seemed unlikely that we would win. Then again, there is Rosie's strategy . . .

After a brief team chat we decided not to use the Rosie strategy and thus prepared to run the race. First up was Rodger whose first leg was 6.6 mostly downhill miles. A little before 9:00 he warmed up and then came running to the start. The gun went off at 9:09am and our odyssey began.

You would think that those riding in the van can relax and enjoy the scenery. After all you ARE in a van and the person you are supporting is on foot. Boy would you be wrong! As we soon discovered you are busy nearly every minute of the race. First problem: find a place to stop where we could hand Rodger water on his route. The first leg, unlike most of the race, followed a biking trail and thus vans could only hope to intersect runners at various trail heads along the route. We stopped at the first one we saw but quickly decided Rodger had already passed it. We then drove down a bit further found another trail head and parked. Less than a minute later Rodger appeared, trailing the rest of the pack. We handed him a water bottle and off he went.

Next stop the first runner transition area (RTA). There Rodger would hand the team wristband off to Sue. While we stood around (and as you can see took pictures) we saw one runner after another come through. Where was Rodger? Was he hurt? Had he just falling behind? This was our next lesson, all through the race you see people coming through the RTA. Remember the slower teams started earlier and the faster ones later. After asking around a bit we discovered that we were looking at runners from 8:30 group come through. Whew! Then Rodger appeared! First among the 9:00am starters! Great job! Basically, he told us his strategy was to start slow and then finish as fast as possible. This is generally the ideal strategy in a race, as it typically produces the fastest overall time for most runners, and he pulled it off perfectly!

Rodger's final time for the leg was 0:47:30 for a 7:12 pace! This was way faster than his predicted pace of 8:23 which was based on his recent SF marathon performance. As it would turn out, Rodger would be the first among our many team members that would turn in times which greatly exceeded our pre-race predictions!


Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Orange Line: Pre-Race Morning

It turns out that in a relay race like this each van is its own little six person world. While there is some interaction between vans it is mostly pretty brief. The Green line had the technologically more advanced equipment so a series of post-race notes will have to do for the Orange line report. I am going to do this over a couple of days so it reads something like a live report. Why not, Rosie ran something like a marathon!

Van decoration is both a complex and important process. More important than you might have ever thought! The point of decorating your van is not to just impress everybody with your skills as a stand up comic (although that is, of course, quite an important element) but to also let your runners figure out which van is theirs! Yes, on the road with your van are another 350 or so identical 15 person vans. Absent anything to distinguish them nobody would know which support vehicle is theirs. Actually, while we were decorating we knew none of this. We just thought we would impress people with our creativity, since we certaintly had no plans to do so with out blinding speed! The vans were named the Green and Orange lines after the color of the window chalk we used on each. Here is Paul standing in front of one after the initial round of graffitti was applied:
Behind his shoulder on the small window is a T inside a circle that is the official logo of the Boston subway system. Across the two big windows it says, "Rosie Ruiz Fan Club Riding to Victory."


Reached the Beach!

We did it! Details to follow...

Van 2 pulls through

Despite the collective gastrointestinal distress, everyone on the Green Line is sticking to her guns and running her intended legs! What nerve! What dedication! What a lot of Immodium AD!

Overnight update

What's it like to run in the night? Reviews were mixed. A few of us dug it, others were made nervous by the frequent rustling in the roadside bushes. Ulli came face-to-face with something black, white, and smelly. Let's not even think about how that might have turned out.

Hard to appreciate how hectic the night legs are. We "leapfrogged" so the van was occupied with trying to pick out our runner in the darkness and rain (note for next year: distinctive glow-in-the-dark patterns on the safety vests are a MUST), offering water and moral support and bear bells as needed.

The Rockettes of Road Safety:

The Filthiest Hotel Room in NH

We stopped in shifts overnight at the Firebird for showers and a brief nap (and in the case of us on the Green Line, lots of bathroom time). Three of us took to the beds, three tested the comfort of the van seats. Afterward, we thought Merle was being sarcastic when she said 'Thanks for letting us sleep in the room.' Matt's characterization of it as "unbelievably filthy" turned out to be a gross (literally) understatement.

At least the staff was friendly!

Would YOU sit in this?...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Wrong Kind of Runs

Fully 1/2 of Van 2 has been struck with some kind of stomach bug that has them spending far more time than desirable in the Porta-Johns. They're in pretty bad shape. We're hoping with a little rest and Immodium they'll be able to finish their legs, but it's looking like Roger may get his wish to pick up more miles.

All through the night

Update from the road! We've been out of email contact most of the night but can now report proudly that Team Rosie is significantly ahead of the game! We're on track to beat our projected paces by a cumulative hour or more. Roger is pulling energy out of somewhere; Paul is proving Matt's 8:30 bet last week to have been a good one; Sally and Amy are shining; Erica, Heather, and Ulli from Van 2 are all happy with performance, and Merle is rocking her very first road race of any length--what an initiation. Kathy has pulled out 11 miles while suffering from a stomach flu and all that involves (!). Rival teams have been trying to get Ali to defect using very lucrative contract offers. (So far she intends to finish the season with her current club.) And the problem with being Matt and Sue, of course, is no one gets particularly surprised or worked up about their usual stellar performance. And all of us are doing this on no more than 2 hours' sleep if we've been lucky, and no sleep at all if we've been the norm.

We met with our first major misfire when Van 2 was a good 15 minutes late meeting Van 1 at VTA 18. Fortunately Runner 7, Ali, had taken her own car instead of riding the Green Line, so was there to pick up her leg just as scheduled. Otherwise, judging from the growls coming from the Orange Line, there would have been significant team-induced injuries. The rain held off until around 1am, and even then there's so many other discomforts to think about that it's barely registered.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Roger Takes Off!

... no, not "takes off" as in team defection (though that may happen later)...We're officially ON THE TRAIL with Roger starting us off in style. Pre-race prep this morning included team photos, breakfast at the lodge, Garmin lesson, and pimping out the vans (Thanks Ali!!).

It's a beautiful morning for running and we have high hopes for a fantastic day.

Cannon Mountain

Picked up Miracle Merle and the rest of the New Haven crew yesterday in the Rosie bus, and embarked upon an epic cross-New England trip to Cannon Mountain, which kept moving farther away the closer we seemed to approach. Arrived tired and hungry at around 8:30 pm for the safety check, orientation, and registration, and were much revived by pasta and cold beer. After a team meeting at the Nordic Inn--the first time everyone met each other--it was, thankfully, to bed.

Woke up early to a nice chilly morning. After some rearranging of supplies and van decoration, we'll head to the start for 7:30 am breakfast & team photos.

More to come!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Potential Team Mate Swap

Unfortunately, Cade has been called away from the team due to a death in his family. Our deepest sympathies go out to him and his family. The team though may not be down to 11 members. Word on the street is that Merle my join us. I and at least ten other people are keeping their fingers crossed that this works out!

Who is Rosie Ruiz?

Rosie Ruiz "won" the 1980 Boston marathon with a record time of 2:31:56! Rather cleverly she figured out that the marathon would be much easier to win with the help of public transportation. Alas, it turns out that using mechanized help is, well, against the rules and she was stripped of her victory. Why name the team after her? Well "running" 200 miles by splitting it among 12 people who actually mostly ride the course in a car seems like a fitting tribute to this rather clever woman! You can get additional details at

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pre Race News

The team takes off tomorrow from Boston and New Haven. We have a 9:00am start time on Friday for the Reach the Beach Relay! You can find all of the official race details at

The team's current runner order is:

Van 1 (to be renamed after a Boston subway line)
1. Rodger
2. Sue
3. Matt
4. Paul
5. Sally
6. Amy

Van 2

7. Erica (team Captain!)
8. Ali
9. Kathy
10. Ulli
11. Heather
12. Cade

As the race progresses we hope to update the site with times, locations and hopefully pictures!