Monday, June 22, 2009

20 Years ago this week.

So here i am, hanging out at the Mt Washington Road Race. It was the first time i had ever been to the top of the "rockpile". All the runners i talked to along the way were amazed that i had never run in this race.

It might be a big deal that i never had run up the mountain, but there are other races. Back when i was quick, i was kind of hooked on this race in Connecticut called the Norwich Rose Arts Race. It was 10.57 mile race, seems Ct. never was much into traditional race distances and it was run the day after Mt Washington. I ran it a few times, in 1989 i came in as the defending champ but was not the favourite for the race. Mike Cotton, a very good CT. runner was proclaimed the race favourite. I was pissed off at that. I destroyed the field the year before so give me the honor of at least being the best runner here. I already knew i was going to win this race, not to be cocky, but i was going after the race favourite. When you have to race against all the Irishmen who come to RI, it just toughens you up that much more.

So off goes the race and off go i. Toy around with this guy til we hit the hills and drop the hammer. As a runner, you have to know your strengths, mine were running uphill. We hit the Canterbury Turnpike and the race was over. Mike was a good runner but i was better that day. I was going for John Flora's course record, but the heat of the day was just too much. The race win was good anyway. Click on the newspaper article to read the race report.

I had always thought back then than Mt Washington would be a great race to run and i wish that i had done it. Would have been interesting to see how well i could have done then. Hopefully i find out next year just how it is to run up the mountain. I look forward to pushing myself to the summit, just not to the level i was once at. The competitive urge will always be there though, so here goes nothing, i will run as hard as i can up the hill next year, i hope!

Pictured in the shot is Glen Guillmette, Al Pettinichio, Eddie Tarczyk, Mark Mitsmenn, Kevin Maguire and Me. This was the first year of the Tuesday Night Turtles. Notice our race outfits, fluorescent green shorts, you could see us coming a mile away. Life was good. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mt Washington Road Race

Before Saturday, i had never had the opportunity to get to the top of Mt Washington, running or driving. This year i drove up (i have the bumper sticker to prove it!), next year i run it. I think i would rather run up after the drive to the top. Driving through a cloud to the top made me feel like i was inside a cotton ball, it was somewhat nerve wracking knowing there was an extreme drop-off right next to you, but you can't see it. I had Jimmy Buffett blasting on the CD player to sooth the nerves. Once i hit about 5000ft, everything cleared out and it was just beautiful! It was nice to get up there early so i had a chance to wander around and check things out, looking down on top of the clouds was an awesome site, not that it was the first time i have seen this,  just that it is the legendary Mt Washington. My first look at the finish was astonishing, the "wall" in the last 100 meters or so is quite intimidating. 30% grade hurts to walk up, let alone, run up after covering 7 1/2 miles already. I staked out a spot halfway up the wall for the first few runners and then made my way back down the road a little for more photos. See them here.


Just a few comments and observations:

>Watching Ricky Gates sprinting to the finish after cresting the wall to get under the hour mark and  make the money bonus was very impressive.

>Tara Cardi running to second place was awesome, especially coming from a state with a high point of 812ft. Just shows you can't rule out us flatlanders.

>Thanks for the Smuttynose IPA, MG.

>Hey Sheila, sorry i missed your photo, i'm pissed at myself for that lapse of concentration. Watching that moose in your yard the night before was cool!

>Another flatlander, Glen Guillmette ran great, next year he moves to the 50 age bracket, too bad Craig Fram is already there :(  Craig's blowing away of the old course record wasn't a surprise, but impressive none the less.

>Good run, DoubleJ

>Great to meet up with George Zack, it is good to
actually talk to Facebook friends in person. 
Especially when they live in Colorado and you have never met before. See you next year, i'll bring the homebrew. That is George in the Fleet Feet top in the photo. Read George's Blog here.

>Fun post race get together at the base of the mountain, i got to catch up with many runners i
do not get to see too often. I was also the provider of the bottle opener for the gang at the corner of the tent, all us oldtimers, Don Fredrickson, Bob Hodge, Bob Fitzgerald and Dave Quintal.

>Too bad i missed you at the post race, Tess.

>Stupid Human Tricks Dept. : Coming home along Route 16, i realized i needed to stop to relieve myself. So i find a deserted place to stop, hop over a log (well, not quite) and fall flat on my face and cut open my shin, the log didn't look slippery. Bloody shin and sock, but i felt better anyway. Next time i think i will look for a gas station.

>To anyone going to Cranmore next week, See you there.



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Grog and Dog

I started the day with a run, 6 miles at Warwick City Park followed by bottling my latest homebrew, an imperial IPA. With all the important stuff done, it was time to venture into Providence to watch the Wild Colonial's Grog and Dog Relay. This consists of a four runner team that has to run 1 1/4 miles each, but before the handoff, you must eat a hotdog and down a beer ( Narragansett, to be exact).

We had a team entered here, lets call them TNT!?. Seeing that one of our runners is not really a Turtle, he was the !? part of the name. The team consisted of Dave Principe, Ben Keefe, Bob Jackman and former Turtle, Zak Kudlak. Dave was the leadoff runner and was caught off guard by the low-key start but quickly got up to pace and came in second on the leg, getting beat by someone in a Hendricken HS singlet. Dave was a bit slow to get down the dog and beer, so a mixed team got out front with Mary Camire running. Our second runner was Zak Kudlak, who got by Mary pretty fast, but then had to hold off Keith Kelly and Molly Huddle on his leg. Keith was dressed as the construction worker from the Village People, as well as Ben the indian( sorry, don't know your last name), Clay Howland as the cowboy and Brien Lang as the leather clad biker.

 Zak finished and grabbed the dog and beer, he seemed to struggle a little with getting these down while Keith coming from behind, actually inhaled his. How you eat a hotdog and down a beer this fast i do not know. I think i heard Keith say it took 14 seconds, either way, they had a brief lead. Brien took off first, followed by Ben, who was coming off the Nipmuck Trail Marathon. He took the lead and we never looked back. Ben handed, if you want to call it that, to Bob Jackman, and we cruised to the win. 

This was an awesome event. There were 40 teams entered, the race put on by The Wild Colonial on South Main in Providence and sponsered by Narragansett Beer is so much fun. You race along the Providence River on the edge of downtown P-town. It is a great setting for a very low key race.
Everyone seemed to have a great time here. I really want to compete in this race when it is held again this fall. Just have to sign up early. 

Check out a few photos here.
Read Keith Kelly's Blog here.

Photo at left is Mary Camire, i think 
she is giving me the evil eye for taking her picture while eating :)

Saturday, i headed up to Northfeild, Ma for the Northfeild Mountain Race. See some photos(300+)from the race here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Busy Weekend

What a hectic weekend! I was photographing a soccer tournament in Tiverton and Pawtucket on Saturday and Sunday. It consisted of 9-10 year old kids, girls on Sat. and boys on Sunday. There were 2-3 games every hour and i had to get photos from them all which means a lot of hustling around, 34 games in 13 hours between 2 days. It was fun to watch the kids playing, but equally annoying to listen to some of the parents. They seem to forget that there are actual coaches to tell the kids what to do. Why confuse the kids? They have people yelling at the from both sidelines, just shut up, sit down and enjoy the game. If you are going to yell, try some encouragement. I'm not a parent, so you can take my opinion for what it's worth. I'm just an outside observer.

See a few soccer photos here

Before Sundays games started, i stopped by the Rhody 5k NE Grand Prix in Lincoln. I would have thought it was Lincoln, Ma. or NH when i looked around at the lack of RI talent that shows for this race. Being that it is the USATF-NE Grand Prix and gets almost 800 runners is great, but why aren't there more good RI runners at this race? I counted 6 RI men in the top 100 and 12 RI women in the top 100. I realize that there were two other races in this tiny state on Sunday and that real Rhode Islanders have a problem with traveling across the state without making hotel accomadations for the weekend. This is a good race on a somewhat dull course, but it is a 5k race and you aren't here to sightsee. The post race feed is great and they even have good, deep competition here, all the better to drag you along and get a good time out of it. I know that hosting a Grand Prix will boost a races numbers greatly, but i do wonder why they even bother considering holding one in RI. It would be nice to only hold the GP Series where the locals are going to support it. Runners drive hours to get here for such a short race, it just doesn't seem right.

You can check out a few photos from the race here.

The photo above is DJ Principe, son of Tuesday Night Turtle Prez Dave Principe. DJ ran 20.41 @ 6.40 pace, not bad for a 10 year old!

Next up, Northfield. See you there.