Thursday, October 16, 2008

Belated Green Line Update

OK, I know there are fans out there who have been waiting for the end of the Green Line... sorry! But hasn't the suspense made it all the more exciting? Here you go:

Why was Chris grinning so wildly in that last handoff picture posted below? Because a slow-ish person from another team had just taken off in front of him, and he smelled a Puppy! So to speak. Over the upcoming 2.5 miles, he would take over a total of 5, including this last-minute sprint past this guy:
Way to go Chris! ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF!

From there it was pretty uneventful as we attacked the course like the machines we had been throughout the event. Emily took up the baton from Chris and coolly executed, at her fastest pace of the race, her 6.8 mile final leg. The rest of us all had about 4-mile "easy" legs. That sounds like a breeze from the comfort of your living room, but 4 miles after a previous 10 or so, and no sleep, and no substantial nutrition to speak of, feels like many, many more. I had forgotten this fact. After Rodrigo and Cathy made it look easy I was looking forward to my final 3.2 "walk in the park", but for the reasons stated above it turned out to be the hardest one for me. Not least because nearing what I thought must be the end, I made the mistake of asking a traffic control officer how much farther. Total amateur mistake. Of course he has no calibration nor personal stake in the matter and so waved me on airily with "Oh, only another 1/4 mile!" I sprinted said 1/4 (+) mile and reached a TURN, which then became ANOTHER turn, and another, until I had poured it out over a total of about 1.3 miles. Totally irritated and quite out of breath, I passed the baton to Aisling for the FINAL final leg.

Celebratory, we piled in the van to catch up to her... and waited in traffic. As Matt reported below, we finally abandoned Chris and the van in the queue and raced to the finish to run it in with Aisling. The final stretch was on sand, which made it extremely difficult for the 12th runner. But we all, minus one, were there to triumphantly cross the line together.

here she comes!!

Then we were all about dips in the water and dinner, before embarking on the long ride home, this year conveniently in the same vans we rode in on.

In the end, we ran a combined 209.8 miles in 28 hours, 23 minutes, and 31 seconds, for an overall average pace of 8:08. We were 34th out of the 167 teams in our "mixed open" category (i.e., men and women of all ages) and 103rd out of all 356 teams. And all, may I say for the record, unaided by public transportation.

You can see complete results, including many humorous team names, here.

So, that's it for RTB 2008! We're already looking ahead to 2009. Don't lose out: book your place on the team early!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Orange Line Beach Party!

After the handoff the Green Line headed down to the beach one run at a time. Meanwhile . . . the rules state that when a vehicle is done racing it has to head straight to the beach. Now, rules are rules so off we drove!

We had several hours down at the beach to kill. What to do, what to do? I know! EAT! For over a day we had survived mostly on granola bars, sports drinks plus the occasional gel pack. No more. At the beach there was the finish line food fest. Mostly relatively high fat items like potato salad swimming in oil, fairly greasy chicken, New England clam chowder, and an array of vegetables that were likely cooked in quite a bit of butter. But, boy was it good! By the time we left I managed to ingest three meals worth of the stuff. No, I am not the least bit sorry. I, and all my teammates, were starving for something we could really sink our teeth into. This was it!

Once we were done eating the group split up. Some of us, I forget who exactly, decided a swim in the freezing cold New Hampshire water was the ticket to happiness. Sue and I decided the showers were. She headed in well before I did and upon her return to the lunch table, yes I was still eating, she let me know that the showers were really cold! Now they tell you in the race packet that there are cold showers at the finish. I should have realized just how cold when I noticed that the faucet had two settings: cubed and crushed! :) The water was freezing! I had no idea it could be that cold and remain liquid. Taking a shower was a major challenge. I soaked myself, turned off the water, soaped up, rinsed off and turn the water right back off! It was probably the fastest shower I have ever had. Still it felt pretty good to be cleaned up.

Next the Orange line rendezvoused for some final pictures. Here we are all fed, showered, oceaned, or just changed into street clothes per our personal preferences.
Of course, what would picture taking be without the van's troop and our poster sized Road Kill Counter!

The poster itself!

Then 28 hours, 23 minutes, and 31 seconds after our 1pm start the previous day the Green Line arrived at the finish and the team ran in together.
Well, all but Chris. Alas, traffic was horrible! He basically got stuck in it and by the time he arrived the team was in. Next year we need to hire a chauffeur for the final leg!

With our Green Line partners now happily at the beach and done with their dinner (which is when I went for meal number three) it was time to get pictures of the new reunited team.
Just like last year the race was great! Everybody had a great time and while tired were happy to have been part of our team's effort. Alas, it will be a long year until we get to do it again.

So how did the team do? I will leave it to Captain Erica to report all of the final race details. My next blog post will be the monthly race update. See you all then.


Monday, September 22, 2008

The Orange Line's Last Legs

After a long and restful night's sleep of oh about two hours it was time to head back out to the next VTA. Since the hotel was at the VTA where we ended our last shift that meant we had to drive about 30 miles to catch the Green Line. We made it. Alas, along the way I lost track of my camera. On the up side Birgit and Merle had cameras as well. Better yet, Birgit set up an account on the web from which I have filched her photos so we have pictures for the blog too! Alas, Merle cannot find the cable for her camera so her pictures will have to wait for another day.

The morning began with everybody packing and then heading down for a quick breakfast at the hotel's well stocked continental offerings. I am a huge fan of pastries, granola and the like and that left me with lots and lots of choices! Right after wolfing down a few hundred calories, which I guess amounted to about 1000 on my part alone, we then headed off to the VTA. Now you might think that a van full of people that had run two race legs and slept at most two or three hours in the last 24 would be in pretty sad shape to run a third leg. Well, you would be wrong! Somehow we were all up and ready to go! Well, everybody but Dave who was clearly beginning to show signs of fatigue. Still, he would be ready to go when his leg came around.

We met the Green Line at the next VTA which was located in a large park and on time I might add. Sue waited for Aisling's arrival and at just after 9:45am took off for her last leg. By now the weather had cleared up somewhat. The clouds were no longer thick in the sky and there were occasional rays of sun. That and quite a bit of additional heat and humidity.

Sue's last leg was a 9.3 mile stretch! Not easy after having already run two and with at most a couple of hours of sleep. But, naturally, she did it in excellent time and a smile as well!
After Sue it was Dave's turn to finish up his part of our marathon. What he did was turn in another top notch race run! All of which goes to show you cannot tell how fast somebody will run based on how fatigued they look!

At the transition area Dave decided to pop the wrist strap onto my hand like the pros do.

Well, the pros have practice both delivering and receiving these things while on the run. Alas, we did not and it fell to the ground. What I then wanted to avoid at all costs was "help" from the race officials to retrieve the wrist band. Apparently though the words, "do not touch it, do not touch it" mean something like pick it up and try to hand it to the runner in race official English. So what happens when a race official picks up the band? It now turns into a moving target. As I went to grab it the band was instead knocked back to the ground and rolled off. Great! I figured that I better try another phrase and see if that would work. So I screamed, "Leave it, leave it!" as I approached the next race official near the band. Well that worked! It scared the poor woman to the point where instead of picking up the band she jumped back a few feet. But, now the band was still! So I picked it up and off I went.

To say I was happy with my third run is an understatement! Last year this was my best leg and I was determined to do well on it again. It is, in my view an interesting leg since it starts downhill for a bit and then turns uphill over the last half including a rather steep climb from miles 7 to 8. Then it goes downhill for the final .6 miles. Since I am, relatively speaking, a much better downhill than uphill runner that means I can initially get ahead of most runners on this course and if I can hang on stay ahead the last .6 miles. Well that does require hanging on! I passed one runner early on only to see him pass me back around mile 3 or 4. Alas, that was the end of that battle! Still I managed to pass well over a dozen runners and was only passed by about three. So a pretty successful leg overall.As I came into the home stretch I passed a few runners and heard Dave yell, "Bone coming up behind you!" I took what little I had left and dashed to the finish. The rat! Turns out there was nobody there he just wanted me to knock a few seconds off my time! Got to give him credit. It worked and I came in well under our spreadsheet's forecasted pace.

Nancy was next. From here on in the legs would all be under 6 miles and that meant fewer support stops to provide fuel and water. Instead the stops would be for picture taking and cheering! Alas, while all that is true the pictures of Nancy are on Merle's camera so those will have to wait for another day. Still, I can happily report that she finished her 5.5 mile leg at a pace 10 seconds per mile faster than our forecast!

But we do have pictures of Birgit! Well these are photos from her camera. It simply would have been unconscionable not have used it to take shots of her run!
After Birgit finished her run at a pace that was nearly a minute per mile under our forecast it was Merle's turn. Now poor Merle was being affected by a newly arrived heal injury and so had to be careful not to aggravate it. Still, she came in right on her forecasted pace! See what adrenaline will do for you!

As you can see Merle was however happy to hand the wrist strap off to Chris and thus mark the end of our part of the race. With all of our legs now in the books it would be up to the Green Line to take the wrist strap into the finish. Our job was just to get to the beach, hang out, take some more pictures and most importantly eat real food for the first time in two days!

Next report: life at the beach!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Green Line, 4am-9:30am

We last left the Green Line catching a (very) few Zzzzzzs in the Laconia hotel room. It was more like Zzs. We slept from about 12-3am (although Aisling was too pumped up to get any real rest, alas). Had I known the Orange Line had been banging around the countryside nearly missing the transition, I probably wouldn't have slept so well, either. We saw this happen a lot to other teams, and it is NOT FUNNY. More than once we witnessed some poor guy sprint it in only to have his teammates tell him "Bob's in the bathroom!" or "We have no idea where Judy went!" or some such, and then he has to sit there panting and waiting, mulling the wasted burst of speed and whether drawing 20-to-life might not be worth what he's contemplating doing to his teammate. Although there is no jury of runners that would convict!
But the upshot was they DID make it and that's all that counts, as I told Matt last year when we did the same to him.

At 4:06, we picked up again from Transition Area 18, the NH Technical College located a mere .6 miles from the hotel. The Orange line then went back for their shift in the hotel rooms. We explained to the front desk clerk what all the smelly, sleepy trooping through the lobby in the middle of the night was about, lest she make the reasonable assumption that we were managing a particularly unsuccessful prostitution ring.

After Chris turned in a cheerful & speedy 4.4 miles, Emily took over for a grueling shift: 9+ miles, still in the dark, with occasional light drizzle. She pulled it off in 1 hour, 9 minutes, for a 7:35 pace worth something like 14 "puppies": Brilliant! But she succumbed to one of the risks of night running when she stumbled a bit on the soft shoulder. Ouch! Fortunately no surgery was required.

Rodrigo took us through the dawn with his 7 mile, 7:11 paced leg. He said it was a hard one but he made it look so easy. We were by this point maintaining a good 30 minutes lead on our projected time. Cathy was next, after a bit of last-minute panic at the transition when we learned, just as Rodrigo was approaching, that she was required to still have safety gear on even though it was well past the 6 am cutoff (heavy fog was keeping things dark-ish). Dressed up with hastily applied reflectors, she lit out down the road. We in the van took a big collective gulp when we drove off after her and saw the hills she was once again facing. But she did beautifully, and by the time I took over the "baton" the sun was shining and all was good. My 6 + mile leg was mostly a gentle downhill and I ran the fastest I ever have, other than that time in the Beartooths when I imagined I heard a bear in the brush. 7:54 pace for the 6 miles, and another 5 "puppies"! We originally were keeping track of roadkill just to humor Matt but it turned out to be pretty motivating.

Last up was Aisling, who had been a little worried about the long, hilly trek in front of her. But her knee held up and so did she, bringing us to the end of our second shift. Well done everyone! By this time last year, the Green Line was mostly taken with holding their stomachs, hoarding their Immodium, and moaning in gastro-intestinal misery, so yes, we are tired and smell bad, but: could be worse.

It was getting hot by this time so we were happy at around 9:30 am to peel off and make for the nearest cute diner for omelets, baked beans, and thick slices of homemade bread. We then boogied down to the last Vehicle Transition Area (VTA) where we would meet the Orange Line at around 2:00.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Orange Line Round 2

After dinner it was off to the VTA to take over the wrist band from the Green Line. It was closer than the Green Line ever knew! The place we went for dinner was a few miles away from the course. But, we were given directions back to the VTA. Well, on the way we got lost. Very lost. Say 30 minutes past where we needed to turn lost! In a panic we called in to find out where the Green Line was. They told us and I then entered the last runner's time in the wrong cell on our spreadsheet. Yikes! Just 15 minutes to drive over 30! We are going to be late! Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed and pointed out my error. Whew! We had nearly an hour to get there. Well we made it! It was close but we were on time. Why is this so important? Missing a transition is a major infraction of the pact between vans. There is little enough time to sleep and eat without your teammates forcing you to hang around cooling your heals until they show up. To make matters potentially worse, you should have heard me last year when the Green Line was late! I sure did not want to be on the receiving end of anything similar!

The Orange Line's second outing was a night run. All I can tell you is that running in the middle of the night with 350 other teams out on the road is something else. During my leg one runner, who I battled for a couple of miles after which I could not keep up, cheered me on by saying something like, "How often do you get to run a race at midnight? Soak it up!" Good call! It is something else.

Now on to the pictures! Fortunately for the Orange Line we had our own chauffeur to help us out. Dave did a great job.

He kept track of where we were, where we needed to be for our runner, and with all that he managed the occasional cheer to prod on the runners on course. Naturally, these were very quite cheers as the course turns into a quite zone after 6pm!

Pictures of our runners? Well they are tougher to get at night but not as it turns out impossible! First up in the van was Sue and here she is taking the wrist band from Aisling and thus sending the Green Line off to a well deserved rest.
After taking over Sue sped off to another great run passing runner after runner.

Lest you think that we only let Dave drive we have proof of him out on the course. Here he is in the middle of his hilly, 4.2 mile night run.
While the pictures you see here are from my camera my van mates were kind enough to take a shot of me getting ready for my leg.I am happy to report that I too pulled in a faster than expected pace, by nearly 30 seconds per mile! I had hoped to break a 7 minute mile and according to my GPS watch I did. Alas, the official map claims my watch was off on its distance estimate and I did not quite make it. Still, close enough and way faster than the spreadsheet had me pegged for!

Here we have Birgit during her spectacular run.Her second leg pace was nearly a minute faster than we had forecast! Great running!

What about the support crew? Dave not only drove, and cheered that night but also supplied on course aid as you can see here. Oh yes, once again the relay race managed to do the impossible and that is even tucker out Sue!
Once Merle was done with her run, a swiftly completed 3.4 mile leg, it was off to the hotel for a good night's sleep! Hah! A good night's sleep if your idea of one is about 2 or 3 hours of sleep immediately followed by your third set of runs! Night all.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Orange Line Leg 1 and Dinner Pictures

Back home now and still pretty wiped out two days later! The race was great! We had, just as we did last year, a phenomenal team. Thank you all for another wonderful experience!

But what of news from the course? Never fear! Home at last with just enough time to post. Erica and I will switch off to provide a pseudo-real time report so start following along today! That means the Orange Line's second outing is up next. Before that, though, a few pictures from earlier in the day.

What is the first thing the team needs to do? Why decorate the van! Here we see the Orange Line ladies hard at work doing just that. Sue is wielding the marker with Merle, Birgit, and Nancy all offering advice and support. By the end of all this the Rosie Ruiz Fan Club would have the best and most talked about vans on the course!

Once the vans were decorated next stop was the start where Sue was due to take off at 1:00. Now the team could not possibly let her take in that experience all by herself so we all lined up for a photo op. Alas, after that the rest of the team had to back away and let Sue start on her way. She, of course, set a blindingly fast initial pace of about 7:30/mile over her 7.8 mile leg.

Next up was Dave whose leg was listed as 8.9 hard miles. Translation: hills! He finished it in a 7:45/mile pace a full 15 seconds per mile faster than we had forecast! Congratulations on a great leg.
Amazingly, after that he still had the energy to cheer on the rest of the team, and every other runner along the course as well. If having fun yelling encouragement were an offence Dave would be spending a loooong time in jail! Here is just one of the many times he would help a tired runner continue on a full throttle.
Once we were off the course it was time to relax! Here we Sue, Birgit, Nancy and Merle getting ready for dinner. Or, at least, hanging around while the guys (that would be Dave and me) did all the work to get us going again!

As noted in my last post dinner was at an upscale market and deli. Want to know how things went? Just look at all the happy racers sitting down to finally get some real food. That is real as in something you might normally eat as opposed to Gu's , ShotBlocks and the like. Much better! Who is that guy in the bottom right of the picture? That tidbit I will leave to Sue to well, ahem, relay.

Tomorrow on we go to Orange Line's Leg 2. Pictures, and all! Stay tuned.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Green Line Signing Off After the 1st Shift

... for about 2 hours, which is the sleep we hope to net before we take over again. We were off the course at 10:45, about 20 minutes earlier than anticipated. Everyone is healthy and satisfied. Chris started the Green Line out with a blazing 8:2-something pace over his 7 miles. Emily, who is burdened with a cumulative 20 miles or so, started out too fast (she says) and STILL wound up with 6:45s. Rodrigo did indeed get stuck in the wet and dark, as Matt surmised, but emerged with a look of Zen bliss. Cathy--well, poor Cathy. She had 5 miles just about all straight uphill, also in the wet and dark. Sorry about that Cathy. My own guilt at sticking her with that dissipated however as I began my 6.1-mi. leg: in the dark and rain, and, unanticipatedly, straight uphill. But, as the course map points out, it WAS a beautiful view off to the right. If it hadn't been 10:00pm and foggy. I turned in my fastest time ever--8:22s! With 5 "puppies" and no "bones"! Aisling brought us home with a lightning-fast finish. She, too, has something Zenny going on, only kind of a jubilant variety. Aisling got one puppy and one bone (the same guy, actually) but points out that she DID save 2 frogs by scooping them off the dark highway, and that ought to count for something.

And now, we're going to snooze at a hotel in Laconia that is much nicer than this grade school gymnasium where others are sleeping,

and much, much nicer than the Firebird (c. September 2007!)


Friday, September 12, 2008

Orange Line Update

It is almost 8pm and the Green Line has been out on the course since about 6pm. The Orange Line came in about 15 minutes ahead of schedule, and the latest update indicates the Green Line is a bit ahead too after their first two runners. Dinner was at a very good market with a deli. So the gang is now basically happily fed and ready for a nap. Alas, the nap part will likely not happen as we need to allow about an hour from here to the next vehicle transition area (VTA) when we once again take over the baton.

Oh yea, the weather. It started off very cool with a light rain through which Sue performed at her usual excellent level. Fortunately, mid-way through her run the rain ended and stayed away until, well just now! Word from the Green Line is that Rodrigo is out on the course which means he is running in the rain and the dark. Poor guy. All I can say is that I hope the rain ends long before we are back on the course.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's Cold in Them Thar Hills

Van 2 has joined Van 1 in Lincoln, NH. We're all settled comfortably into our spacious digs at the Nordic Inn. Aisling and Erica are playing cribbage, Sue is laboring over the Roadkill Posters, Rodrigo is sweating the 6:50 pace we estimated on his behalf (it's what happens when you disappear to Mexico all summer, dude), Chris is compulsively monitoring his blog counter ( IS that person in Kansas who keeps checking him out??--and we're all looking forward to a nice sleep-in tomorrow morning. The plan is to meet by 10:15 to straighten out the vans and get ourselves to the mountain.

And, it's really chilly here! Fall has arrived. The latest forecast strongly suggests-- demands rudely, actually --rain tomorrow night, so we could be in for a cold go of it.


Arrived and Checked In

Prior to chronicalling the day's events I want to welcome all of my friends from RA that are checking in to see how the Rosie Ruiz Fan Club is progressing through the next few days!

It is a long drive from Westport to New Haven to Cannon Mountain! Fortunately, with the early van's "noon" departure from New Haven we had plenty of time to drive up in the daylight and get to the all you can eat dinner at the ski lodge, which also doubles as the race's starting area.

Now I know you are thinking, "Wow an all you can eat dinner for just $15! I wish I could get a deal like that!" Well, before you get too green with envy maybe I should fill you in on a few details. The dinner bar begins with a salad that you can mix up with a wide array of items. There were bowls of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and red onion. Yep, that was it. Next came your choice of whole wheat or regular pasta. On that you could put meatball, marinara, or one of three cream based sauces any one of which would probably clog every artery you have. I stuck with meatball. To finish the main course there were rolls of bread. Dessert consisted of your choice of chocolate chip cookies. Yes, they had out platters of them so you could pick your own cookie! I know you probably think it was one of those horrible home made ones, maybe even with the chocolate chunks. Rest assured that was not the case! Fortunately, Bare Naked had out granola and a stand where they would add in a little yogurt as well. To drink Fizz (?) had out bottles of their fruit flavored drinks both high and low calorie and those were pretty good! Finally, each wrist band came with up to two cups of beer.

True the pre-race dinner was not the worst meal you could have for $15 but it may have been the coldest! All of the tables were outside in an unheated tent. Let me tall you it gets really cold up here in the mountains at night! After we could not take freezing longer we headed to the condominium/hotel to get organized and ready for the next day's adventure.

Once we were settled in it was time to create a Road Kill Counter for each van. In a relay race like this "road kill" typically refers to somebody you pass. But, we are way too slow for that! So we count people that pass us as well! When we get passed the runner gets a Halloween sticker (think ghost) and when we pass a cute animal sticker (think puppy dog). By the end of the race everybody has a large collection of these things, and we have a photo worthy poster! If you want to see last year's final creation just check out the race end pictures here on the blog from 9/30/2007. Below is our first picture of the race which shows Emily creating the Orange Line's poster.

Off to bed now. There will be little enough time to sleep over the next two days!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It Was the Night Before Departure

It looks like the noon van will only contain the team's Westport contingent at this point. The New Haven crowd has apparently decided to forgo the "official" pasta dinner and no doubt some sleep. One thing is sure the noon van plans to get first dibs on the bedrooms when we check in! :)


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

2008 Team Details for Our Fans

Welcome Rosie Ruiz Fan Club fans! A special welcome to the SOM students, faculty, and staff that follow along!

First, some last minute roster change news. Chris H. is trying to recover from a running injury and unfortunately cannot make it to the race. We all hope he heals up fast and is back to running in no time! The good news is Birgit has graciously stepped into the breach. So, Birgit, welcome to the team!

The team takes off on Thursday in the two vans. Van 1 leaves at noon with Matt, Sue, David, Emily, Cathy, Merle, and Rodrigo. Van 2 heads out at 4pm with Chris, Erica, Aisling, Nancy, and Birgit.

If all goes well van 1 should arrive in time for both dinner and get some of the check-in obligations out of the way. Van 2, will hopefully get in on time to get a good night's sleep!

Here is the big and unexpected news: the team's starting time is 1pm! That is four hours later than last year! What is going on? Well two things. First, we have been somewhat more aggressive with the estimated paces submitted by our team. Last year we came in far under our expected time, and this year the goal was to submit forecasts that are more likely to be in line with reality. Second, the race organizers decided to spread the teams out more than they have in the past. Their goal is to reduce the congestion at the various transition areas. What that translates into is a set of starts in which the last, and fastest, teams will start at 4pm which is a full hour and a half later than last year.

So when will our runners be on the course? While we will not know exactly until they actually hit the road below are our best estimates at the moment.

Runner1st Leg1st Dist1st Start Time2nd Leg2nd Dist2nd Start Time3rd Leg3rd Dist3rd Start Time


Saturday, September 6, 2008

August and Labor Day Racing Update

This is the last monthly update before this year's Reach the Beach Relay Race when the team will once again reconvene for its 200 mile adventure!

August saw Sue, Emily, Dave, Cathy and me/Matt all compete in our town's local race series so I am going to report by race to help keep this post somewhat compact.

On August 2 the town held it annual 4.68 mile race. Emily was first in her AG finishing in a 6:33 pace. I/Matt was a bit behind, and alas the closest I would ever come to catching her in a race, at a 6:35 pace. Dave came in with a 7:05 pace. Sue, as always, won her AG in a 7:07 pace. Cathy resumed her racing career with a 9:15 pace effort.

Next came the August 9 5.85 mile race. Here Emily was the second woman overall as well as first in her AG in a blistering 6:33 pace. I/Matt was far back with a 6:56 pace. Sue, again, won her AG with a 7:17 pace finish. Cathy, in only her third race in the 10K range, finished with a 9:33 pace.

August 16 saw the town hold a 6.85 mile race. Emily was again second overall and first in her AG with a 6:37 pace. I/Matt finished in a 6:45 pace (yes faster than in the prior week's shorter race!) and fourth in my AG.

On August 23 came the 8.4 mile race which is held on one of my favorite courses. Emily was again second overall and first in her AG with a 6:44 pace. I/Matt finished in a 6:55 pace. Dave came in with a 7:17 pace and a fourth in his AG. Sue, was first in her AG with a 7:27 pace.

The penultimate race in the series was the 9.3 mile race on August 30. This was a big day for Emily! Today she set the course record! She not only set it she demolished it! The old record was 12 seconds behind the new one which Emily pulled off in 1:01:20 for a 6:36 pace! Wow! Needless to say she was first overall and in her AG! :) I/Matt had my best race of the season with a 6:52 pace finish and fifth in my AG. Sue again won her AG this time with a 7:22 pace finish.

Finally the local race series wrapped up with the August 30 10 mile race. Emily was first overall again with a blindingly fast 6:42 pace.

In the end Emily won the women's division of the race series and Sue her AG. Congratulations to both!

Heather returned to racing last month with her run in the Stratford 5K on August 23. There she turned in a time of 25:48 for a 8:19 pace. Good enough for 10/46 in her AG. Well done.

The next race on our team's agenda was the New Haven Labor Day race. There is a 20K and a 5K race and we had runners in both.

In the 5K:
Birgit, the team's newest member, finished in an 8:15 pace.
Aisling made her what may have been her racing debut with a 8:25 pace which put her 12/87. Great job!
Heather came in with a 8:20 pace. Somehow the system switched her chip time with that of her fiancé (and future team member?) Chris. At least Heather and Chris managed to figure it out!
Cathy finished in a 8:47 pace. Good for 14/105 in her AG!

In the 20K:
I/Matt came in with a 7:09 pace.
Sue finished with a 7:36 pace and 2/53 in her AG! Wow!
Erica returned to distance racing with a 9:01 pace.
Chris also returned to distance racing after a long hiatus and recovering from a running injury to finish in a 9:18 pace. Congratulations!

The next post will have the, we hope, final team roster and runner order! We will also reveal the team's super secret Friday start time. Stay tuned.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

July Racing and Not Much Roster Updating

2008 Team Roster Lack of Update
Not much to report on the team roster front beyond what Captain Erica added on July 17. At this point I think the next major updates will be to announce our twelfth runner and who is running what leg.

July Racing Updates
While the team roster is settling down the team's racing is powering up! Summer and fall are racing season and so the group has been fairly busy.

Captain Erica and Chris
Both ran the Missoula Montana Half Marathon on July 13. I was there too for the full marathon and I will add details about it below. The half marathon course starts in a suburb, heads into a wildlife area and then winds through town for about 11 miles. Finally it finishes on a bridge across a river. Overall, a very attractive course. Better yet the day saw just perfect racing weather. It was in the mid-50's at the start, and because it is Montana the air was dry! For those of us slogging through east coast humidity that is quite a treat.

Here is a shot of Captain Erica and Chris (at what may have been one of the world's smallest marathon expos) for packet pickup the day before the race.

Chris ran the race in 1:54:09 for an 8:43 pace. Way to go Chris! Busted through the two hour mark with time to spare, and all this after claiming a bit over a year ago that he would have to give up running due to various physical ailments. Not that anybody really believed him! His time put in 21/32 in his AG.

Captain Erica also pulled through with a sub-two hour race time of 1:58:54 for a 9:05 pace! Congratulations on a great run as well. That yielded her 29/79 in her AG. A terrific placement within the top half of the field.

Emily spent the month winning many of the town's summer series races outright and all of them in her AG! On July 5 there was the 3.05 mile race. There she was 1 OA with a time of 19:07 for a 6:15 pace! Wow! On July 12 there was the 3.78 mile race which she finished in 23:54 for a 6:17 pace and first OA. On July 19 she ran the 4.07 mile race in 26:36 for a 6:29 pace. That put her second OA and first in her AG. Finally she stormed through the July 26 4.68 mile race in 30:49 for a 6:33 pace. That left her fourth OA and first in her AG. She is just smoking! Last year I would often beat her in these races. Not anymore! Now I am lucky if I can even come close to seeing her finish. Expect to see Emily running one of the team's longest set of legs if not the very longest come race day!

Sue ran the same local series as Emily. As usual Sue spent the series winning her AG in every race! In the 3.05 mile race she finished in 21:07 for a 6:54 pace fourth OA and first in her AG. She skipped the 3.78 and 4.07 mile race to hang out with her kids in South America. Sounds like a pretty good excuse to me! :) Then she came back strong as ever in the 4.68 mile race with a 33:28 finish for a 7:07 pace, and 7 OA and (of course) first in her AG!

Cathy was waylaid with a virus this past spring the put a several month long end to her training. She is now trying to come back and has put in a game effort that includes running the local race series as well. Her first comeback race was the on the 4.68 mile course which she finished in 43:28. That is a good start and she will hopefully continue to run longer and stronger as the summer progresses.

Matt as I wrote in the Captain Erica and Chris section I too headed out to Missoula Montana to run on July 13. The marathon course, like the half marathon course, is point to point. The marathon, however, starts a bit further away in a place called Frenchtown. From there you spend about 12 miles winding through farms. Then it is up a hill through a wildlife area and then back down where you hook up with the half marathon course for the final 11 miles. I had one really nice surprise and that was Erica's mother Jeannie was at the race and agreed to run race support for me! Because of her I could carry less on the course and yet had even more flexibility in terms of what I could consume as the race went on. She was terrific! We had agreed the night before to meet at miles 12 and 19 and both times there was my favorite spectator! So thanks again Jeannie you made a great race day even better. My final time as 3:25:46 for a 7:52 pace. Not a PR but still my second best time ever. Placement wise I finished 5/35 in my AG so I cannot complain too much. Another nice surprise was a friend of mine who was also out for the HM came and met me at the 23 mile mark to run me in. Having a mobile fan base is always a big help.

Like Sue and Emily I too have been running in the local race series. Alas, unlike them I can never hope to come anywhere close to winning my AG let alone finish first OA! Sad to say, I have also generally seen my times deteriorate from last year. I am still hoping to catch back up to where I was pre-spring injury. Fortunately, there was some evidence two weeks ago that I may be on my way. In the 3.05 mile race I finished in 19:27 for a 6:21 pace and 7 OA and 3 in my AG. This was 3 seconds faster than I ran it last year, and I hoped a good omen for the Missoula Marathon the following weekend. (Of course, that finish still left me 20 seconds behind Emily!) Next I ran the 4.07 mile race in 28:09 for a 6:52 pace, 15 OA and 7 in my AG. This was well off my 2007 time of 26L38 and 6:30 pace. But, hey, at least I had a good excuse! Just six days prior I had run a marathon. It takes time to recover from these things! Last up was the 4.68 mile race that I finished in 30:56 for a 6:35 pace, 10 OA and 2 (yes second!) in my AG. I think that may have been my best AG placement ever! My finish time was two seconds faster than last year. You know, you take what you can get!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Eleventh Runner

The Missing Number 11 from Matt's post below:
Rodrigo Canales, newly of the Yale SOM OB group! Welcome Aboard Rodrigo!

As of mid-July we have only one spot left on the team. I am lobbying my Aunt (second cousin, once removed, by marriage? or something like that. So we stick with "Aunt") Tammy from Billings. C'mon, Tammy, it is a blast and we need your talent and upbeat outlook on the Orange Line!

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Roger: Next on the agenda is the Big Sur Trail Marathon, Oct 4. This is a less than zero probability of a Boston Qualify, my eternal quest, since there is about 4000' vertical. But trail runs are really where it's at. Last time I checked, however, about 81 square miles of Big Sur had burned, and they closed 20 or so miles of highway 1. I'll have to juxtapose the burn maps on the course map to see how things look... May not be as pretty as hoped!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

June Racing and Team Roster Update

2008 Team Roster Update
At this point it seems increasingly unlikely that Paul will make to the race this year so I am moving him into the out category. The good news is we have added Emily Williams to the team! To say she is wicked fast is a vast understatement. Her Boston Marathon time was an amazing 3:12:07! Alas, this will likely me that I will lose my coveted "hero" slot but it is all in a good cause. :)

Here is the team roster to date (although I think I am missing somebody as I thought the team was up to 11 members by now):

1. Kathy
2. Erica
3. Chris
4. Merle
5. Sue
6. Chris
7. Nancy
8. Cathy
9. Matt
10. Emily

June Racing Updates
I actually have no idea who ran what! I will update this if I get some responses to my request for information. What I know is what I ran and that is it for now.

Rodger: On June 21 he ran the Duluth, MN Grandma's Marathon in 3:57:57. Alas, he was waylaid by a cold in the few days prior to the race which (as one might imagine) was not a good thing. Wisely, instead of running it full out he slowed down and turned it into a "casual run." On the other hand a LOT of people would be thrilled with his "casual run" time as their full tilt race time!

Matt/me In my quest to get back into racing shape I ran two races last month. The first was the Simsbury CT Iron Horse Half Marathon on June 1 where I managed a 1:38:46 finish. While poor relative to my performances last year, it is about all I could really hope for given my relative lack of racing conditioning after having been sidelined by my calf injury in March. The half marathon was then followed up with the Bridgeport CT Race for the Rock 5K. There the final time was 20:45. While far off my PR it was again all I could really expect. In any case, both races hopefully did what they were designed to accomplish and that was help get me back in racing shape prior to the Missoula Marathon on July 13!


Sunday, June 8, 2008

2008 Team Roster Update

We are thrilled to welcome two new members to the team! Chris Herron and Nancy Livingston are '08 SOM grads who decided in the middle of our OB pub crawl that this race sounded just the thing for them. Amazingly, they still thought so the nest morning! So our team thus far (with last names for those new to the blog):

Kathy Ball-Toncic
Erica Dawson
Chris Dawson
Merle Ederhof
Sue Gold
Chris Herron
Nancy Livingston
Cathy Nolan
Matt Spiegel

Count 'em up: Three spots remaining. We have several prospects who will soon be getting nudges of varying degrees of firmness. Look here for updates.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

April Racing and More and Some Less

I am going to start with the, alas, less part. I had to DNS the Boston Marathon due to my injury. But there is good news. My time in last October's Marine Corps Marathon was late enough in the year that it qualifies me to run the 2009 Boston Marathon. So hopefully I will be able to line up at the start next April 20.

RRFC at the RTBR: Who is In Who is Out Update
From last month: Erica, Sue, Kathy, Matt, Chris.

New to the team: Cathy my DW! Yes, and I had NO idea! Seems like the whole team knew but me until a few weeks ago. Sneaky gal. Right now she is working on her mileage and ran an 8.92 training run just today. Who knows, maybe she will sign up for one of the longer legs yet? Could a half marathon be in her future? Stay tuned.

Status update: It looks like Merle (our savior from last year) is on the team again this year! That is indeed great news.

Alia: Sorry to lose the team's youngest runner and a speed daemon to boot.
Ulli: Still having trouble running. The whole team is pulling for you to get everything healed and working again.

April Racing Updates

Amy: On May 4 (OK, so it is the wrong month for this update, but otherwise I will need to remember to post it next month) she ran the Burns Park 5K with her daughter Abby who is 10. Abby set a new PR at the race finishing in 39:07. Congratulations Abby! Keep pushing mom along!

Kathy: Ran the 5 mile Cambridge City Run on April 6. She finished in 46:26 for a very speedy pace of 9:18. All of which put her 10/25 in her AG. Nice job on pulling in a top half placing!

Sue: Started with the April 6 Danbury half marathon finishing in 1:36:29. Her AG place? If you have to ask you have not been reading this blog for very long! First place, of course. She was also 13/189 among ALL women! Next up with the 3.5 mile Donnelly Dash which she finished in 24:30. (Who thinks up these distances?) AG Place? You are not paying any attention now are you? First in her AG and 5/96 women.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

March Racing and More

I am going to start this month's entry with the "and more" part.

RRFC at the RTBR: Who is In Who is Out?

This year's team sign-up for the fall Reach the Beach Relay is on its way! So who is in and who is out and who is still deciding? You want to know? We have some answers.

Erica: Not only is she in and captain yet again this last month she also ran a 5K race update with her 8 year old daughter Isabel! Next thing you know Isabel will be demanding to switch from team mascot to fellow runner!
Sue: Plus a race update below.
Kathy: As a bonus we have a race update for her as well!
Matt: Some race updates too.
Chris: Erica's husband Chris will be joining the team this year. We are all looking forward to finding out if they will or will not be in the same van!

Amy and Sally: Coming all the way to New Hampshire from Michigan a second year running seemed like a long shot. We will miss them in the van and on the team. For their the good news is that they are putting together a relay team for a race in Michigan. It is off road and it should like it will be a lot of fun. Best wishes on your race from Team Rosie!
Rodger: We are, alas, losing Rodger to the west coast sometime this summer. We are going to miss him on the Orange Line as well as on the team.

Ulli: Actually in if her knee recovers. I am pretty confident this means she is in!
Heather: On the fence and from what I can tell she is not moving! The team will have to work on that. But, she is back to racing and you can find the update below.
Paul: Alas, Paul is recovering from a slow healing hip injury. Still I have confidence that once it is all healed up he will move into the Yes category.

March Racing Updates
Now for our monthly race updates!

Sue: As always we can count on Sue for a race update. This month is no exception. On March 2 she ran the last race in the local Boston Buildup series. This is a 25K route along what must be one of the hilliest part of Connecticut. On this course the hills (no kidding) have hills! She clocked in with a super time of 1:58:15. This demolished her 2:06:15 from the last time she ran the race two years ago. Congratulations!
Heather: Heather resumed the racing season with the March 16 4 Mile St. Patrick's Day race in Fairfield. Her time of 33:22 seems like a good way to kick off what will be many races to come this year.
Kathy: On March 16 Kathy ran the Ras Na Heireann USA 5K coming in with a time of 28:49 which landed her 23/60 in her AG! Another great start to the new racing year.
Matt/me: Matt/I ran three races last month. The first was the 25K Boston Buildup which I finished in 1:48:49. Next came the Fairfield 4 Mile race with a time 25:32. Good enough for a new PR and 4/41 in my AG! My last race of the month was the 30K Boston Blowout on March 30 which I finished in 2:13:41. Alas, in this case "blowout" is all too accurate. During the race I suffered from a calf injury that I am still struggling to fully recover from. Bad timing. Let that be a lesson to anybody reading this: if you feel like you may injure yourself in a race (especially one you are not "targeting") you are way better off pulling up right then and there. A DNF is nothing compared to weeks of healing. On a happier note, the calf is getting better and will hopefully be solid in time for the Boston Marathon on April 21.

News to Come
If you want to see how I do in the Boston Marathon the race webpage will offer real time tracking every 5K. Given my calf injury I think a PR is out. But hopefully I can run the race and have some fun for 26.2 miles.

That is all the news until next month!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

February Racing

February saw another light racing month with just Sue and me out on the roads. What the heck are all those teammates of ours doing?

Sue and Matt/I both ran the 20K legs of the Boston Buildup Series in our area on February 10. Our finishing times were 1:34:20 and 1:26:44 respectively. That put Sue 6/41 in the 40+ AG, and me 15/67 in the 40-49 AG.

March looks to be a LOT busier for us. On March 2 there is the 25K Boston Buildup Race and on March 30 the 30K Boston Blowout. In between there is a 4 mile race celebrating St. Patrick's day on March 16. See you all next month.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

January Racing

It looks like just Sue and I were on the race course last month.

Sue opened up the year with the Resolution Run in Weston on January 1 completing the 5K course in 22:12 and coming (big surprise here) first in her AG and sixth overall.

Now for a brief detour in our story:

The Boston Buildup is a race series that includes a 10K, 15K, 20K, 25K, and 30K race. The first four of which are on the hilliest courses you can imagine! They are designed to either get you ready for a spring marathon or drive you into the ground. I am not sure which. The winter cold, the challenging courses, and the general paucity of available distance races this time of year brings out a very tough crowd. If you have any doubts you just need to know that the West Point Marathon team often shows up to run them!

We now return to our regular programming:

On January 20 Sue ran the 15K race held in Ridgefield finishing in just 1:10:39. Need help visualizing the course? Imagine starting the race at the lip of a really big bowl. Now run down the bowl and up the other side. Then turn around and run back the way you came. The elevation change involves about 350 feet of climbing. Ugh is probably the appropriate expression!

Matt/I ran the January 6 10K BB race in Norwalk finishing in 42:54, a time I must admit to having been disappointed in. It just goes to show how fast a 40+ year old body will slow down once training slacks off! So it is back on the road for me as I try to recover my speed from last fall before the Boston Marathon hits in April.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

December Racing

October Update
Before we get to last month's races first an update from October. Want to know what it is like to come in second in your AG in a race where over 20,000 people line up at the start? Well I sure would. But since that is not going to happen I have what for most of us will be as close as we will get: a picture of Sue (who actually did it) and the trophy they sent her. Alas, it did not come with an anti-reflective glass so the pictures do not really do it justice. Congratulations again to Sue on this remarkable achievement.

December Racing
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Rodger clearly was the racer of the month. On December 2 He ran the California International Marathon, which most people just call the CIM, in Sacramento California. His time of 3:32:52 was good enough to drop his PR by 28:36! A truly amazing accomplishment. This all came despite high headwinds during the race's final miles making his time all the more impressive. He finished 181/964 in his AG putting him easily within the top 20% of all finishers. Great job and congratulations again!

Sue, for her at least, it was a ho-hum month. Just two races. First place, of course, in both. Here is an edited version of her description of each:

December 2: Sue ran in the annual off-road run called Gail's Run. The proceeds support PAN CAN, which does research in the area of finding a cure for pancreatic cancer. Gail was a young woman who passed away from this cancer over 4 years ago. The race is in the Pound Ridge Reservation in Pound Ridge, New York. Sue ran the 6.2 mile course, crossing two rivers (without any bridges), climbing hills on all fours and running through beautiful wooded trails. She finished first female in under 58 minutes. It was an adventure run that she'll long remember.
December 22: Sue placed first in her AG in the 5k Fairfield - Holiday Run for Toys. Entrants in this race provide toys for needy children. She ran it in 21:07.