Archive for February, 2009

Good Test of Fitness—PASSED!


On February 7, Monica Ochs (Anacortes, WA) in Moran State Park on Orcas Island, WA wanted a test of her fitness to see how her winter training had gone.  The test was the Orcas 50K.  As 110 other competitors powered their way through the trails and up and down the hills, Monica felt the urge to pick up the pace and hammer it out.  However, she kept the plan for the day in perspective and maintained her relaxed but strong pace which brought her to a 4th place finish among the women and 15th overall in 5:47:54.  Monica walked away from the race knowing that her training had left her strong and right on schedule for her upcoming spring season.

A Man Who Can Follow Orders

On Sunday, January 25, Ed Gargiulo (Greenwich, CT) went to the starting line with 5000 of his closest friends in Central Park for the NYRR Half Marathon Grand Prix: Manhattan.   Although Ed’s shortest race to date has been a marathon, he mixed it up quite impressively through the paved path around New York City’s popular getaway.

After approaching the race figuring that an average pace of 8:00 per mile would put him right on pace in his training progression for his upcoming marathon, Ed went out at a 7:41, feeling very relaxed and in control.  But after several miles in the 14 degree temperatures, Ed started to “warm up” and his pace dropped to around 7:30 per mile.  He was forced by bypass aid stations as they only offered Gatorade popsicles, as the cups of fluid had frozen solid.  Feeling stronger the farther he went, Ed pushed the pace, continuing to feel good as he passed and estimated 2000 people who had gone out more aggressively and were fading.  Sensing the finish line, Ed picked it up one more time to run a final mile in 7:15, his fastest race mile ever to finish in 1:34:59 for 470th place overall.  Ed is extremely excited with his current fitness level, especially given the tough conditions he’s been training through, exacerbated by his 5:00AM workout time each day.

When asked for a comment on his race, Ed said “Howard sent me an e-mail the day before that said ‘Run Hard’, so I did.”

Whatever Happens After the Race Happens…

Eric Grossman (Emory, VA) is no stranger to hilly races.  He’s known for his strong climbing ability and also an amazing ability to run downhill on extremely technical footing.  But Eric knows that although descending a mountain trail is much easier than climbing it, it beats your legs up badly and leaves you sore for a number of days afterward.  So, when Eric took off from the start of the first annual Swannanoa Splashdown 15K in Black Mountain, NC, on January 17, he knew what he was in for.  With 2000 feet of climb in 4.5 miles and temperatures in the low teens, the little bit of air that Eric could get burned his mouth, sinuses, numbed his chin, and covered his beard in frost.  It didn’t cool his competitiveness though.  As the early pace was set by another competitor, Eric stuck right behind him until the pace and climb proved too much for the early leader and Eric went by.  He then used his long legs and extraordinary downhill running ability to nearly sprint the 2000 feet back down the frozen trail to the win in a time of 1:04:00.  While the pride of winning a hard fought race in tough conditions lasts, so did the pain in Eric’s quads from the long downhill.  Eric said that four days after the race, his pant legs still hurt when they brushed his quads.

Don’t Be Afraid to RUN!

Dalton Kuhar’s (Fuqua School, Farmville, VA) favorite race is 3200 meters indoors.  But, it’s best that she doesn’t run that event every week in preparation for big championship meets when winning that event will be the goal.  So, in many early season meets Dalton runs the 1000 and/or the 1600 meter run as preparation and to build speed.  Even though she hasn’t run the shorter races that many times, at the Fork Union Military Academy Mini-Invitational on January 10, she proved that she’s not afraid of those shorter events.  In a field of 10 teams, Dalton finished 2nd in the 1600 in an indoor PR of 5:47.59 and came back just an hour later and finished 4th in the 1000 in another PR of 3:27.87.  In both races she went out conservatively and found herself mid-pack.  At about half way in each race, she began to make a move and pass competitors.  On the final lap of each race, Dalton charged past no fewer than three other competitors and toward the front.  Every race Dalton gains confidence and approaches them more aggressively.  She’s been training hard and when she puts it all together it is gonna be fun.

Nice Start to the Year   

Anne Lundblad (Swannanoa, NC) started 2009 the way she has started many years now—with a race win.  This time it was in the mountains of Western North Carolina on January 3 at the Tsali Frosty Footfest Trail 25K.  After a conservative, but strong start, Anne found herself behind a much more anxious runner early in the race and thought momentarily that she’d come up against someone tougher that day.  But about an hour into the race, Anne got a quick, far-off glance at the early leader which re-established her faith in her plan to run strong and steady throughout.  Anne concentrated on catching the women’s leader and overtook her on the hilly, single track trail course that was extremely slick because of several days of rain before the race.   Anne ended up with a 2 ½ minute victory and a course record of 1:57:05 for the first-year race.