Thursday, March 28, 2013

When running a marathon just isn't far enough...

Who thought we would have a weekend where ULTRAmarathons dominated the headlines???  Well, this past weekend it was...

In southwest Virginia, Keith partook in the Terrapin Mountain 50k.  The race featured roughly 7,500 ft elevation gain and the same in loss over the 31.1 miles.  He gave me a brief race report which included 'sore' legs...big surprise there!  He ran a tough race crossing the finish line in 4:34:21 for 5th.  I believe this race is one of the first in a big race series down in the Lynchburg area.  Shout out to the Club VP, Donnie, who reportedly ran a heck of a race.

Up north, several Striders toed the line at the HAT 50k held in Susquehanna State Park.  This race was flat in comparison to Terrapin Mountain, with roughly 4,800 ft elevation gain/4,800 loss.  The course consisted of a 'short' 3.6 mile loop followed by two 13.7 mile loops which includes a variety of terrain: roads, grass fields, single-track trails, and loose gravel.  Yours truly gave it the ole college try, going out with the lead group of guys.  Like an amateur, I carried no hydration and only two gels.  This meant I had to stop at every aid station to get Gatorade or water.  At the end of the first big loop, I did something I've never done in a race food.  I tried to grab things I considered easy on my stomach.  However, as I departed, I grabbed a few Fig Newtons which were a big mistake.  They dried my throat out immediately after consumption.  I underestimated the fact that though you are moving slower due to the hills, your body is still burning a boatload of calories.  Anyway, it was a great experience but I wouldn't recommend the postrace lactic acid build-up on anyone.  I came in 4th in 4:08:47.  The race of the day went to Caroline.  She took 35 minutes off of last year's time as she used the race as her last long run before Boston in a few weeks.  She finished 5th in the women's race which included a stacked field, clocking a 5:03:22.

Maurice surfaced in the race results, first I've seen since Club Challenge.  He ran the BRRC White Hall 15k and came in 8th in 60:28, winning the Master's crown.  Hoping to see more of him as Spring rolls along...

In related news, our team captain, Carlos, is BACK!  I had the pleasure of running with him in his first workout back yesterday and he was able to clock 5:15-5:25 during our 5xMile workout.  I guess he's not as out of shape as I thought he would be!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What's that you say?...Luck? Nah, we don't need it

Well, the spring racing season has officially arrived!  The past couple of weekends featured some of the best organized and most competition local races of the year.

Getting right to it, last Sunday kicked things off with two fast races.  In DC, Mick and Tiffany took to the roads in the St. Patrick's Day 8kTiffany cruised along to finish at 32:00, just outside the top 20.  Mick was right behind, clocking a 32:10 for 2nd in his AG.

Meanwhile, in Charm City, a large group participated in the Kelly's Shamrock 5k, which coincides with the St. Patty's Day parade.  As some of us did our warmup run around the bay, we noticed that the wind was blowing into our faces heading towards Key Highway.  This is a good thing, we thought.  Headwind at the beginning and tailwind on the back half.  Well, we were...WRONG!  Mother Nature decided she wanted us to earn all 3.1 miles and provided us with a headwind the entire race.  There were several PRs, including myself, Seth, Kelly, and CarolineSeth started his 2013 campaign the same way he did in 2012 with a PR in 16:16.  Jason, on pace for around 17:00, pulled a hamstring at 2.5 miles and had to limp to the finish.  Hoping this doesn't mess up his Boston plans!  Kelly crushed 6:00 pace, running 18:24 and winning some $ for first Master while Caroline continued her assault en route to Boston, running a 40+ second PR of 19:06.  Chris Chattin is healthy again and ran an impressive 16:57.  His son, Anders, ran 20:31, representing the Junior Striders in style.  Vicki beat her pre-race goal as she continues to get back into shape, running 20:41.  Complete team results as follows:

Mark Buschman    15:26    2nd
Seth Geoghegan    16:16    9th    2nd (M30-39)
Steve Olenick    16:46    14th    3rd (M30-39)
Chris Chattin    15th    1st (M45-49)
Craig Lebro    17:23    24th   
Jason Tripp    17:44    29th    2nd (M40-44)
Tunde Morakinyo    18:28    41st    3rd (M45-49)
John Chall    19:25    58th    1st (M55-59)
Kelly Westlake    18:24    7th    1st Master
Caroline Bauer    19:04    10th
Vicki Lang    20:41    17th    2nd (F40-44)

Here's some action shots, courtesy of Carlos:

Pre-race (left to right): Madison, Carlos, Jason, Steve, Seth,  and Mark
Mark rolling down Pratt Street en route to a 2nd place finish
Seth's final steps to another 5k PR!
Steve kicking it in
Chris rounding the final turn
Kelly running sub 18:30!
Nice running form, Caroline!
Vicki cruising down Charles Street in the fast first mile
 Yesterday, Kevin and Kelly rolled at the Rock 'N Roll USA Half Marathon in DC.  Some of the Falls Road guys informed me the course was quite hilly, making it tough for a PR.  I'm not sure if Kevin ran a PR, but if not he was close, clocking a 1:16:16 for 31st.  Kelly was just outside of a PR, running 1:25:23 for 22nd and 2nd Master.  In Reston, VA, Tiffany hit the roads in the Lucky Leprechaun 5k where she broke 20 again, 19:51 for 11th.  I'm still awaiting B&A Trail Half Marathon results but I know Caroline toed the line and Tacy made her return to the racing scene, running 1:35:45 for 2nd in her AG.  Welcome back Tacy!

The big races (Cherry Blossom, Clyde's, Boston) are only a few weeks away, let's keep getting at it!!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013


For the loyal blog followers, you have probably been asking yourself if this blog even still exists.  Well, I'm here to tell you that it does and it will be operating in full force from here on out!  I've got a lot of catching up to do since 2013 arrived, so here goes nothing....

The first performance of the year will undoubtedly be one of the craziest ones ever!  Keith flew to Hawaii, not to enjoy the beaches, sun, or coconuts, but to run one of the most challenging races the planet has to offer....HURT 100.  After experiencing Leadville with him last summer, I thought for sure he wouldn't be dumb enough to do another one of these, but I was wrong.  I don't believe anyone had ever cracked the 24 hour barrier before this year.  Our boy persevered, saw the sun rise twice, crossing the finish line in 32:37:00!!

Keith needs to see a psychiatrist...
Jessica kicked off the New Year running her longest race ever...the High Cloud Snapple Half.   Of course she PR'd, but cracked 90 minutes in her debut...1:29:43 in snowy conditions.  Meanwhile, in Lexington, KY, Conrad repped it hard at the USATF XC National Championship.  On a tough 12k course, he finished 89th in 43:20 and was the first Master in the open men's race.

Superbowl Sunday meant is was Penguin Pace day.  We had a small group run it this year.  I wonder why...oh yes, the course is hilly, it's usually cold as shit, and the competition is PATHETIC.  Weems was the lone wolf on the men's side, running 19:58 for 7th.  The ladies cleaned house.  Tiffany won in 20:06, with Robyn not far behind in 3rd (20:54) after a rough night with a bottle of wine so I've heard....

Saturday February 9th was filled with ultras.  Keith partook in the Holiday Lake 50k, finishing 5th in 4:02:10.  Meanwhile, in Rockburn Park, Adam ran the Mid-Maryland 50k, coming in 3rd in 4:09:10 with sloppy trail conditions on the 5-loop course.

And now to the Main Event, a week ago was everyone's favorite race...Club Challenge.  Though the course is awful, I gotta tell you the weather was unbeatable for this time of the year.  Temperature was in the mid 30s and the winds were light (except along Freetown Road).  I had a good feeling about our team this year, with most everyone healthy and running well.  The gun went off and we shot down Hickory Ridge like bats outta hell.  The lead pack went through Mile 1 in +/- 4:45.  We had a couple PRs (that I am aware of)....Kevin (57:28) and Steve (57:36).  The men's and women's teams won but we were edged 559-557 by Falls Road in the coed competition (with the large, but ugly trophy).  That has to be the closest margin of victory in race history!  After the race, people were complaining about the scoring.  The fact is Howard County has hundreds of runners and many of non-scoring males displaced many of our women scorers which costs us.  However, many of the top Falls Road ladies were down in New Orleans kicking it at the Rock 'N Roll New Orleans half.  Had they been in Columbia on Sunday, we still would have lost and the scoring wouldn't have been as close.  Congrats to our I-95 rivals!  We'll get 'em next year.  Here's a summary of the Striders results:

Mark Buschman    54:14    4th
Andrew Madison    55:36    8th
Kevin Ford    57:28    14th
Steve Olenick    57:36    15th
Kent Werner    57:59    17th
Seth Geoghegan    59:04    21st
Jason Tripp    59:38    26th
Craig Lebro    59:48    29th
Keith Levasseur    59:59    31st
Maurice Pointer    1:05:08    85th
Weems McFadden    1:05:39    95th
Phil Lang    1:06:11    105th
Tunde Morakinyo    1:07:42    127th
Mick Slonaker    1:08:15    136th
Kelly Westlake    1:05:02    3rd
Jessica Ivy    1:05:54    5th
Caroline Bauer    1:06:45    9th
Robyn Humphrey    1:08:11    15th
Tiffany Hevner    1:08:55    18th
Dorothy Beckett    1:15:03    44th

Shout out Brian Harvey and Kyle Stanton for being in town and helping us out.  Brian, last year's New England Runner of the Year, set a course record in 51:00 while Kyle, closing out a 140 mile week, came in 2nd in 52:25.  Also, congrats to Jessica for running an amazing race and qualifying for the elite team!  She's going to be a force to be reckoned with this Spring and into the Fall...WATCH OUT LADIES!!!

Here's some photos (thanks Denise) and a video (courtesy of Carlos) put together of the finish...

Brian running alone crushing the course record

Yours truly

Madison had a rough 2nd half, but he's tough as nails
Seth regretting he didn't wear a singlet
Jason wasn't the first master in this one...guess they finally drug tested him...
Keith ran 6:00 pace to the 'T' today
Kelly is pretty fast...don't you think?
Is that a smile Jess?
Robyn in professional running attire
I know Mick has been dreaming about running this course again since he's been back in the States
Tiffany kicking it in
Dorothy in beast mode!

AWESOME JOB EVERYONE!!!  It will only get warmer and we'll be kicking some ass come April!!!