2022 InterSystems Invitational 5K

This week we are in beautiful Seattle Washington for the InterSystems Global Summit 2022.

After two years of virtual summits we are are thrilled to be here in person, enjoying each other’s company and having a bit of fun along the way.

InterSystems Invitational 5K

This year we didn’t plan an “official” 5K, but since many of us are runners this run sprung up spontaneously like a shoot in the warm spring soil.

Our ring leader was Don Woodlock who gathered us together at 7AM Pacific Time in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency.

About a dozen of us headed out of the lobby for a fun run in the cool Pacific air.

Some of my colleagues from Brazil were bundled up like they were going out for a February run in Boston. They thought the rest of us were crazy to be wearing shorts!

The Old Man in not Down the Road

Don said he was going to run about a 9:20 pace. Normally that would not be a big deal for me, but I’m dealing with a never ending string of issues. The past few months has been a calf strain that I got going down a flight of stairs!

Hey, I’ve heard of people breaking their leg getting out of bed in the morning! So stop laughing. 😉

They tell us that they are pretty strict enforcing the J-Walking laws here in Seattle, so we stopped at all of the lights.

This allowed me to keep up with the crew for the first half-mile. At that point my left calf started to cramp and I had to walk. A colleague from Brazil stayed with me to make sure that I was alright.

I assured him that I was and that this was an old injury that I knew how to deal with.

At this point I had to give up my dream of a nice morning run along the water front in Seattle.

It was a little disappointing, but I was close enough to the Public Market that I was able to play tourist and take a few selfies.

 

After I took these photos I limped my way back to the hotel.

I took my phone hoping to take some additional photos and possibly a group shot, but everyone else continued on what I am sure was a great run.

Normally when I travel I go out for a run or two to see the city. Running is a great way to discover a city and get a feel for the vibe and energy.

It was fun to be part of this run and I’m glad that I at least gave it a shot.

The BAA 10K is on Sunday and this makes me worry just a little bit!

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Snowshoe Racing

Snowshoe Origins and Evolution

Snowshoes have been around for about 6,000 years, but snowshoe racing is a fairly recent phenomenon.

According to the United States Snowshoe Association, (USSSA) snowshoeing originated in central Asia and come to North America with the ancestors of the Inuits and Native Americans.

Over the past 30 plus years, snowshoe racing and running have grown in popularity along with all the other outdoor endurance sports.

As the sport has grown in popularity, snowshoes have evolved as well.

Snowshoe Evolution

Ancient snowshoes were made of modified slabs of wood. In North America, Native Americans adopted white ash frames and raw hide for snowshoe construction. Through the 1960’s and 70’s this design remained relatively unchanged.

I grew up wearing this type of snow shoe. For hiking they were fine, but I never tried to run in them.

snowshoe racing, winter sports
Photo – snowshoes.com

In the 1960’s some manufacturers offered neoprene lacing. Neoprene did not stretch when it got wet and was low maintenance. In 1972 Gene and Bill Prater developed the oval-shaped aluminum framed Sherpa snowshoe and steel hinge. In 1989 they replaced neoprene with polypropylene to make the Sherpas even lighter.

In 1990 Redfeather Snowshoe Company introduced an aluminum framed beaver tail snowshoe that became very popular. The company sponsored several snowshoe racing events in Colorado that gained the attention of marathon runners and triathletes. These athletes brought attention and credibility to the sport.

In 1991 Tubbs Snowshoe Company (Est. 1906) introduced the Katahdin and Sierra snowshoes. Tubbs and the entire industry enjoyed strong sales growth of 20-30% over the next 20 years.

In 1994 444,000 pairs of snowshoes were sold in the US. In 1995, 640,000 pairs were sold and in 1996 over a million pairs were sold. Today approximately 5.5 million people participate in snowshoeing in North America alone.

Most snowshoes are now made of aluminum and are either 8″ X 25″ or 9″ X 30″. Other sizes are available for deep snow hiking and other conditions. For officially sanctioned USSSA events, regulations require snowshoes to have at least 120 square inches of functional surface area and dimensions no smaller than 7″ X 20″.

The USSA web site lists the known models that meet these specifications. The website also has their official rule books for Sprint and Distance races.

Cute Moose Snowshoe manufacturer’s list has 13 manufacturer’s of all types of snowshoes including race and hiking snowshoes.

Snowshoe Racing

As a kid I was familiar with snowshoes. We always had a few pair around the house and I became proficient at walking in them on trails or in the woods.

With all of the snow in 2016, I began to pay more attention to snowshoe race listings. They seemed to keep popping up while I searched for 5K races. I even ran in snowshoes in the Nutty Irish 5K Cocoa Run.

snowshoe racing, 5k race

I wore a pair of Tubbs hiking snowshoes which at 9″ x 30″ were less than ideal to run in. But, it was an adventure that I’ll never forget!

Snowshoe Racing Nationwide

The United States Snow Shoe Association (USSSA) is the governing body and organizer of the Snow Shoe National Championships. They usually list local races also, but as of January 23rd 2022, they only had two races races on their list! See my links below for local race listings.

The two Nationals events are:

Jr and Collegiate Nationals in Leadville, CO January 29, 2022
Open Nationals in Cable, WI March 13, 2022

Over the past few years many races have been cancelled due to lack of snow.

Usually there are non-USSA sanctioned races put on by local running clubs and non-profits. These races have also suffered from the lack of snow the past few years.

Snowshoe Racing in Your Area

I’m a big advocate of racing locally. I like to support local groups and hate to drive two hours to run a 5K. Check out these links to races and to find races in your area.

2022 Snowshoe Festival
Norway, ME |19 February | Saturday | 10:00 AM

Run a 5K or 10K for $10. A 2K race is also available for $5.

Snow Devil Ultra Snowshoe Races
Pittsfield, VT | 5-6 February | Saturday/Sunday | Various times

You have a choice of distances for this evert:

100 Mile or 100K at 6 am or Noon respectively, Saturday February 5
Marathon starts at 8 am Saturday, February 6
1/2 Marathon starts at 9 am Saturday, February 6
10k starts 10 am Saturday, February 6

The course will be a gorgeous 6.5-mile loop in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Each loop will have 1200 feet of elevation change and sweeping views of the surrounding mountain ranges!

Registration is open – $175 for the 100 Miler, $120 for the 100K, $85 for the Marathon, $65 for the Half and $55 for the 10K.

Sugarhouse Snowshoe or Trail Run 5K/10K
Shelburne, VT | 26 February | Saturday | 9:00 AM

Run a 5K or 10K for $30.

The Sugarhouse Snowshoe 5K/10K is back this year! This race appeals to competitive snowshoe runners as well as relaxed fitness walkers.

You’ll be treated to a beautiful run through the sugar grove of Shelburne Sugarworks. If mother nature cooperates, this will be a snowshoe race.

Otherwise, it will be a 5K run/walk or 10K run. You’ll start and finish at Shelburne Sugarworks where there could be some sugaring in the works (depending on Mother Nature).

Just prior to the race, we will be offering a short (200-300 yard) race for kids. This portion of the race will be free. No awards or shirts will be involved with this “fun run” snowshoe event.

22nd Saratoga Winterfest 5k Snowshoe Race
Saratoga Springs, NY | 6 February | Saturday | 11:00 AM

Registration is only $20 and there are only 90 bibs left! Sponsored by Dion.

Selkirk Shores 5K Snowshoe Run/Walk
Pulaski, NY | 6 February | Saturday | 11:00 AM

Race will begin and end at our enclosed shelter that overlooks Lake Ontario. Enjoy our thrilling woodland racecourse with portions of the trail groomed. Finish by warming up around the stone fireplace and enjoying some refreshments. Everyone if welcome to participate. Masks will be required indoors.

Registration is $20 through February 5th.

These are just a few. Check out the links below for more local listings.

The Dion – Western Massachusetts Athletic Club web site has information on their 2021-2022 snowshoe racing series. These races are all in New England and New York and run through March.

Snowshoe Magazine has product reviews, race information and local club listings. With so few race opportunities, hooking up with a local club may be your best bet if you want to get out and enjoy the sport.

World Snowshoe Federation lists snowshoe races all over the world. You can also find information on the World Snowshoe Championships. The USSA was a founding member in 2010, now there are 14 member organizations.

Cute Moose Has a list of races in the mid-West and is a great resource for information on snow shoes and all things snowshoe related.

Acidotic Racing has listed snow shoe races in the past but I don’t see anything for 2022.

Maine Trail Finder is a great resource. You can search for trails by town or county, difficulty and type of activity. More for hiking than snow shoe racing, but still a cool site.

Western Mass Athletic Club hosts the DION Racing Series and lists the full schedule. They also have tips for beginners.

Top 10 Snowshoe Races 2019-2020 from northernlites.com has some good information on races all over the country from New Hampshire to Alaska!

The National Weather Service has a page where you can get current snow conditions. This will help you figure out if a snow shoe race may actually be able to happen!

Have you ever run a snowshoe race? If you find one in your area, would you try it?

Run well my friends!

Andy

Boston Marathon 1964

Boston Marathon 1964 film

I originally wrote this post on May 21st, 2014.
It’s a bit of Boston Marathon history and a peek into the way things used to be. Here it is with a few edits, Enjoy!

Kerri Haskins of the Mystic Runners posted this Boston Marathon 1964 film on Facebook in May of 2014.

It’s a 26 minute documentary film produced by Robert Gardner and Joyce Chopra of the Film Study Center at Harvard University. It’s an amazing look at Boston in 1964 and how things were back then.

As I watched the film I could recognize buildings, intersections and the road. I also recognized the running spirit that lives in us today. These 400 runners are just like we are. Many of their comments and conversations are ones I have had or heard.

These 400 souls ran without high tech fabrics and shoes with a million dollars in research behind them. No gels or fancy beverages. No well researched training plans, trainers or coaches for the most part. It was just running in it’s purest un-adulterated form.

You will see crowds along the way, and the kids. No one was handing out bananas or orange slices. No high fives, and maybe they missed them but no girls at Wellesley.

It was a different age. I was born in 1964 and some of the cars in this film are distant memories for me. Boston was a different town back then. More industrial and less high tech, no such thing as VC and start ups run by 20-year olds. You won’t see a cell phone or tablet. I didn’t even see a walki-talki.

This piece was written by David Borden and is on the YouTube page

Published on Jan 26, 2014

When Erich Segal died in April of 2010, I remembered a short film for which I had supplied the music. In 1965, as a graduate student at Harvard, I was the only composer in Leon Kirchner’s seminar who was interested in composing music for film. While putting the finishing touches to the score for FLATLAND, supervised by animator John Hubley, the inventor of Mr. Magoo, Bob Gardner, the Director of the Film Study Center at Harvard popped his head into the studio and asked if I could supply a short film score for his current documentary, MARATHON. I said sure. Since two of the performers I had for FLATLAND were excellent jazz musicians I decided to do a quick improvisatory soundtrack. Guitarist Stanley Silverman could play anything and percussionist Fred Buda was one of the best jazz drummers I ever heard. All that remained was for me to call my old friend bassist John Neves to complete the group while I played piano. I watched the rushes and made some notes for a head arrangement. We had the track recorded in less than an hour. Soon the film was broadcast on WGBH, Boston’s groundbreaking PBS TV Station. Then it disappeared until recently.

Robert Gardner, now in his eighties, has collected numerous awards as an anthropologist and filmmaker. He is currently engaged with a number of film, video and book projects with Studio 7 Arts, his company in Cambridge MA. His most memorable films include Dead Birds (1964), Rivers of Sand (1975), and Forest of Bliss (1986). The assistant director, Joyce Chopra went on to direct many films for general release and for TV. Her films include Smooth Talk (1985), The Last Cowboy [TV 2003] and Fire in Our Hearts (2012). Erich Segal went on to write Love Story, the screenplay for Yellow Submarine, as well as influential texts in classics, his chosen field. He was a professor at Yale and a visiting professor at several universities including Princeton and Oxford. He died of a heart attack following many years of suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Walter Hewlett, also a runner in this marathon, was an undergraduate at Harvard in 1964. A man of many noteworthy accomplishments, he has been chairman of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation since 1994. D. A. Pennebaker, also in his eighties, is the legendary cinematographer/documentarian of such films as Don’t Look Back (1967), Monterey Pop (1968) and The War Room (1993). Marathon and Don’t Look Back were completed in the same year (1965).
-David Borden, Ithaca, NY July, 2010

Enjoy
Run well my friends,
Andy

Running 2020

2020 was a challenging year for everyone. As if COVID-19 wasn’t enough, my mother died. So I’m really looking forward to 2021!

It’s hard to believe it’s already December.

It seems like it’s still March 50th, and now that it’s cold again it feels like summer never happened.

I start every year optimistically with the goal of running 1,000 miles. The closest I got was 977.82 miles in 2014.

In 2015 I “only” ran 562.91 miles. After running three marathons, three halfs, The Eastern States 20 miler and many 5Ks and 10Ks in 2014, I think I was a little burned out in 2015.

But each year since 2015 I have steadily built up my annual miles.

In 2019 I ran 929.6 miles and thought I was on track to hit 1,000 miles in 2020. Just a little more effort each month would get me there.

So far, for 2020, I’ve only reached 671.83 miles.

Running 2020 YTD

2020 got off to a good start with 69.51 miles and 86.08 miles in January and February respectively.

Those are the coldest months to run so I felt I was off to a good start.

Melrose Running Club at 2020 Super Sunday Race

 

 

 

 

This our running club at the last in person race I ran, The Super Sunday 5 Miler.

Ah the goo ole days. No masks and everyone was huddled up to keep warm.

At the beginning of March I was optimistic that improving weather would lead to increasing mileage. Then things went off the rails.

My mother went into the hospital just as the COVID-19 lock downs began. If she had been sick a week later none of us would have been able to visit her in the hospital.

So that really sucked but at least we could be there for her.

She recovered enough to be discharged to a rehab facility and we were into a new normal with her.

With the new rules on social distancing, our club had to cancel our Sunday Long Runs and Tuesday Night Club Runs. And I didn’t run a single race in March, everything was cancelled.

I still managed to run 83.58 miles. With all the shit I had going on, I’ll call that a solid month.

2020 YTD Running Miles, COVID Running

Spring Running 2020

In April, without any club runs, I was on my own.

To get my butt in gear I started doing short runs from my house several times a week. Running from my house was easy and there were no excuses not to do so a few times a week.

On April 19th I ran my first virtual race, The MRC Virtually Insane Half. The race was organized by the Melrose Running Club and a lot of us signed up.

It was my first attempt at a virtual race and I hadn’t figured out a good half marathon course yet. I ended up running 14.52 miles.

While I didn’t even run 60 miles in April, I felt like I was settling into the new normal. I managed 10 runs including the 14.52 mile half and a 10.7 mile long run.

In May I only ran eight times. Most runs were under five miles and one was 11.75 miles. I also ran my second virtual race, The Cinco de Mayo QuaranTeam 5K. With just eight runs I only managed 41.15 miles. 10 miles per week! Yikes!

This was about the time I started picking up my daughter after she got out of work around 8:30. I also started calling my mother every night after supper. With three siblings I had to pick my time to call and stick with it.

After my mother got out of the hospital and went to a long-term care facility we were hopeful that she could go back to assisted living, but that didn’t happen.

She became a long-term resident at what we colloquially refer to as a nursing home.

Between eating supper, waiting for my time slot to call my mother and then picking up my daughter, I didn’t have an hour to go run and get cleaned up most nights.

And with my mother’s turn I wasn’t exactly filled with enthusiasm for anything.

Summer Run Time

Great Bay Half Marathon 2020, Dunkin Donuts, Iced Coffee In June the weather began to improve, the days were getting longer and I was adjusting to my own “new normal”.

I ran eleven times including two virtual races. The Stepping Stones For Stella Virtual 10K and the Great Bay Half 2020 Virtual on June 27th.

Total miles for June were 61.83. Not great but 50% better than May. On top of that my second virtual half marathon came in at 13.12 miles.

I felt pretty good about my ability to run this distance accurately and was enthusiastic about running more halfs.

In July it began to get hot and sticky like it always does in Boston.

I was doing more yard work and this often lead to aches and pains that kept me from running the next day.

Old enough to know better, dumb enough to still over due it!

I only managed eight runs, but two of them were virtual half marathons. I was getting the hang of running from home on courses I made up as I went.

On July 3rd I ran the Jennifer Tinney 5 Mile virtual and the next week I ran the Margarita Virtual Half.

Margarita Half 2020, Kendall Square, running 2020 This half was a really hot run into Kendal Square in Cambridge. I had never run this entire route before but I know the area fairly well.

Of course, things look different from the car. I had to stop at many intersections and go up about 30 steps to get over The McGrath Highway.

Margarita Half Marathon, virtual half, running 2020 I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to turn around which was near the Starbucks on Main Street. That’s at mile six on the map. I just had to stop in for an iced coffee.

I’ve never been so happy to have my cell phone and the Starbucks app locked and loaded.

Kendal Square was a ghost town even for a Saturday afternoon.

On July 17th I ran The Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler. This is a Gloucester race which is too far for me to get to after work, so I’ve never run it.

It’s not quite the same thing, but running virtual I was finally able to participate.

I managed a 9:13 pace and 434 ft of elevation climb. Going out I knew my selected course was hilly but I’ve run marathons with less elevation!

Then on July 21st we had our first Tuesday night club run! We had to check with the Public Health Departments in Melrose and each surrounding town for their particular rules.

We wanted to run together but be safe and respectful of the rules that each town established.

We also tried to avoid as much of the al fresco street-side dinning in Melrose as we could. Who wants a sweaty runner breathing on their calamari?

I only ran 3.22 miles that night, but it felt great to see some fellow club members.

Juneau Half Marathon 2020 Virtual, Alaska On July 25th I ran the Virtual Juneau Half Marathon. It was one of the Melrose Running Club’s Racing Series events. A few of us signed up for $20! And they sent us a shirt and a nice medal!

On some previous runs I discovered a rail trail that went from Everett through Malden to Saugus and ended in Lynn.

It took some effort to find the trail headed north from where I previously saw it in Malden, but I ended up finding it as I was looking for it.

A new course that I wasn’t sure about and I ended up running 14.01 miles. No biggie.

Something must have been going on with Garmin that day. Garmin had me gaining and loosing 141 feet in the first mile which began in front of my house. That first mile is pancake flat.

Every mile had me gain and loose 90 to 259 feet. No flippin way! Most of the run was on an old rail road bed. They don’t do hills.

I wish it were true, my total elevation gain for this run was 2,339 feet. Almost a half mile of elevation! That’s serious hill climbing!

I reality I probably gained 50 feet total and I was happy to find another nice course to run.

I ran another Tuesday night club run and the Cambridge Summer Classic 5K, Medford style to finish the month.

The Summer Classic was another home run on flat streets so I decided to push it and averaged 8:09 miles. I hadn’t run that pace since April.

That felt pretty good also. July totaled 57.46 miles.

Running 2020 Goals

With the year more than halfway over and pathetic miles in July, I began to see my 1,000 mile goal slipping away.

If you fall behind in January, you have eleven months to make up the short fall.

When you are more than 300 miles behind at the end of July, things begin to look stark. I’d have to run around 150 miles each month for the rest of the year, and I still hadn’t reached 100 miles in a single month.

So 1,000 miles wasn’t going to happen.

I know that 1,000 miles is a stretch goal and I’m not getting any younger. On top of that I had some unique family obligations requiring my prime running hours.

August was another tough month. I only ran 39.58 miles.

I managed nine runs, five of them under five miles.

On August 1st I started with a 2.86 mile run that I managed to squeeze in before super. I thought I was off to a good start but I didn’t run again until the next week!

But I got to two more Tuesday Night Club Runs and ran the Black Excellence Virtual 5K on August 22nd.

August was just a matter of time slipping away from me. I had things to do around the house, family obligations and working over time.

I’d sit down in the morning and look up in time for dinner. Some days I even forgot to have lunch!

September started out well with a Tuesday Night Club Run on September 1st. What a great way to start the month!

I got in a short home run and ran the TNCR the next week. These weren’t long runs but I was building some momentum.

Virtual Boston Marathon and a close call

Boston Marathon 2020, Water Stop One On September 12th I ran with our running club’s Virtual Boston Marathon team.

They had water stops and a nice flat course mapped out. It was great to run with a small group of people.

We all wore masks and tried to keep our distance. I ran 16.05 miles which was a few more than I should have. It was still fun!

The next day one of our runners told us that their spouse had tested positive for COVID! She went for a test and it came back negative.

My company was trying one day a week in the office, which we thought was one step towards normal.

The day I went into the office I got a message that my friend’s test had been mis-read and she was actually positive!

I sent a text to my manager and before I could stand up he had opened his office door and was pointing towards the door.

I collected my things and was out of there in minutes. That was the last time I’ve been into the office.

I went to a drive in test site that my healthcare provider had in Boston. It was on the top floor of their parking garage.

They checked me in and told me where to park. And within five minutes I was getting a deep brain probe just like you see on TV.

The Governor described it like they were tickling the bottom of his foot. And the look on his face as he said that made me a little squeamish as the nurse un-sheathed the swab to stick up my nose.

It ended up not being that bad and kind of made me feel like I needed to sneeze. And sneezing is the last thing you want to do at a COVID test site!

That was Friday and Saturday afternoon the owner of my company called to see how I was doing and if I had my results yet.

I told her I wouldn’t get them until Monday. She didn’t say it but she needed to know my results before she could decide what to do about Monday.

I felt bad that it would take so long but this was when the testing companies were getting buried. There wasn’t a thing I could do to speed things up.

From the tone of her voice I could tell she was genuinely concerned. But the call was as much about business as it was about me.

She told me about an urgent care office in Cambridge that did the rapid test with results in an hour.

Sunday morning I went and got the rapid test and thankfully it came back negative.

It made me think how much one person can effect other people’s lives.

A few more September Races

Wicked Half 2020, running 2020 In September I also ran the Rett’s Roost 10K, Cambridge Fall Classic 5K and The Wicked Half Marathon.

The Wicked Half was pretty hilly, 488 feet elevation gain.

I ran the Fellsway Hills into Melrose and wrapped around Spot Pond.

This was a new half marathon course for me and after I turned around I realized I was too close to home to get in a full half.

So I started literally going up side streets to add some distance.

Some of the side roads off of the Fellsway have some wicked hills. I think I found them all.

This run kind of knocked the snot out of me and I averaged 9:47 per mile. While a lot of the course is relatively flat, where there was hill, there was hill!

I bought the mask I’m wearing in this photo at a running shop. It turned out to be the worse mask type I’ve run with.

I finished off the month with a 4 mile home run on the 29th.

For September I ran 13 runs for 67.50 miles. This wasn’t going to get me to 1,000 miles but it was better than August.

Oh October

October was a month that changed my life forever.

On the first I got a call from my sister in Maine.

My mother had been experiencing declining health all summer but seemed to rally now and then.

The nursing home had called to say that she was declining quickly and they had started palliative care.

We were lucky in that they never asked what state I lived in. Maine was in lock down like the rest of the country. Nursing homes had even tighter requirements. If they knew that I was from out of state, I’m not sure they would have let me in.

They had us wear gowns and protective eye wear even though I have glasses.

The first day my brother and I spent the whole day with mom. She got out of bed for a while and spoke with us.

She didn’t eat a thing but she drank two cups of ice water. We had hoped that she would eat something but everyone was thrilled that she drank anything.

She grew tired after about an hour and the nurses got her back into bed. She talked a little more but was exhausted and went back to sleep.

The next day my younger sister arrived from Germany. She was lucky in that her region of Germany was a green zone at the time.

Mom never regained consciousness but the four of us were with her every day. We took shifts visiting and when all four of us were there, two had to sit out side of her window.

The window opened and we could talk, but no one could reach in and hold her hand.

Being a resourceful group, we realized that we could remove the screen! My sister was able to hold mom’s hand for a while which I’m sure made both of them happy.

The next day we got a call from the nursing home around 5AM that she was fading quickly.

We all quickly dressed and headed to the nursing home.

I’m not sure how they did it but they let all of us in to see her and moved her bed into their library.

We spent the whole day with her until she passed at 8:16 PM on October 7th.

All of those calls each night after dinner were worth it. At times I worried she thought I was calling every day because I was afraid that she’d die in the night.

We were so grateful to everyone at the nursing home. They went out of their way to accommodate us and give us time with our mother.

So many people die alone in ICU or in a nursing home because no one can come in to see them. That just has to suck for everyone.

On October 9th I went for a 4.76 mile run on the roads near my sister’s house. I’ve run there before and I really needed a run.

Nothing clears your head like a good run.

The next day I went out again for a 7.77 mile run.

The next weekend I ran Saturday and Sunday. 8.41 and 3.77 respectively.

I did my Tuesday night run from home as I wasn’t in the mood to be social.

I did another home run Wednesday night and that Friday I ran the Smuttynose Rockfest Half from home.

This was another run through The Fells and around Spot Pond. Instead of running up all of those steep side streets to get to 13.1 miles, I took some side streets in Medford.

My total elevation gain was 583 feet but I avoided steep hills so it seemed easier. My pace was 9:32 and my time was 2:05. With more hills than The Wicked Half I managed to cut three minutes off of my time.

A rounded the month off with another Tuesday Night Club Run and ran 48.95 miles for October.

Running November

I started November by running The Melrose Y’s Spooky Sprint. This is a Halloween run, but I didn’t get to it until Sunday the first.

That’s one of the problems with virtual races.

Since you don’t have to drive anywhere or make any plans it’s easy to forget about them.

Once I got a package in the mail and realized I had a 5K to run that weekend!

Some races were live events earlier in the year, were postponed and eventually went virtual.

Many races allowed you to run a race on a weekend, or gave you a week or month to run the race!

One race that I was sure I had registered for, I couldn’t find any of the usual email traffic for a registration.

It got confusing at times.

On the 5th I did a four mile home run and then on the 6th I ran the DAV 5K from home.

I had figured out some good half marathon courses and ran the 100% Pure Kona Coffee Half on November 8th, the Rock n Roll Half on November 14th and The Livestrong at The Y Half on November November 21st.

I ran the Livestrong Half during the Melrose Running Club’s No Contact Relay.

We started at sunrise and ran until sunset.

Andy Nagelin at Straw Point on 3rd lap I ran three 4.76 mile laps for a total of 14.28 miles. When I got to the 13.1 mark my watch said 2:00:23. With more than 450 feet of elevation gain I finally got my half to the two-hour mark.

Unfortunately during the last two miles of that run my ankle started bothering me. Nothing new. Things often start or stop hurting during a run.

That afternoon I could barely walk up or down steps and the next day was worse.

It’s been over three weeks and I haven’t run since. My ankle is getting better but I may not run at all in December.

I don’t want to run on it too soon and aggravate my Achilles again and prolong the healing time. It’s taking long enough as it is!

Essentially my running year is over. If I’m careful and lucky I might run a neighborhood 5K before the end of the year, but I’m not counting on it.

Here’s looking to a brighter future!

Andy

Time for a Margarita Half Marathon

I definitely did not feel like having a margarita after this run. The heat really knocked the snot out of me and booze was the last thing I wanted.

The Margarita Half Marathon was originally scheduled for May 3rd in New Hampshire.

Due to COVID-19 the Margarita Half Marathon and 5K were turned into virtual races. I ran my half marathon on July 10th.

May is a great time to run a half marathon in New Hampshire, July is not such a great time to run a half marathon in the Greater Boston Area (GBA).

Running the Margarita Half Marathon 2020

This was my second half marathon in 14 days. On June 27th I ran The Great Bay Half which was postponed from April 5th to a virtual half.

I had Friday off and decided it would be a good day for a half. No matter how unfit I was or how hot it was, I was going to do it.

At 8:56 AM I set off from Medford headed to somewhere in Cambridge. I had a general idea of where I was going. My sole criteria for a turn around point was the mile 6 mark.

It’s easier to add on distance on the way back. In May I ran a half and ended up walking almost a mile so I could stop my watch at 13.1 miles for my official distance.

Sometimes I learn from my mistakes.

Garmin lists the temperature at 73° F, but that must have been at 8:56 when I started my watch.

As I ran down my street I actually felt pretty good. And that’s unusual. Usually a knee or an ankle makes a few grumbles.

I should have recalled that when things start out well, they often do not end well.

The First Six Miles

I knew it was going to be warm, hot even. Over the past few months my training has been poor.

My only goal was to finish the race through an honest effort. There’s no cheating in virtual racing. At least not for me.

The first two miles got me to the Somerville side of the Mystic River bridge.

This segment, along the Fellsway, was mostly in full sun.

Margarita Half Marathon, virtual half After the bridge I took a right onto Shore Drive towards Blessing of The Bay Boat House. They had the crew of summer work kids out front for their morning brief.

I was glad to see that at least some kids were getting the opportunity to earn a few dollars and learn how to work this summer.

I went under the Rt. 93 bridge and headed south on Mystic Ave/Rt. 38. The on-coming traffic kept me very focused as the sidewalk is narrow here and folks like to fly down this road.

I found a break in traffic and crossed Mystic Ave to run the back side of Foss Park. The pool was full, but the facility was closed.

I chose this route for a little shade.

To avoid the bridge over the rail tracks I went down Broadway to Cross Street and ran through East Somerville up to Washington Street.

I hit Mile 4 just before I crossed The McGrath Highway and headed for East Cambridge.

Eventually I ended up in Kendall Square and headed down Broadway to find my turn around spot.

Margarita Half 2020, Kendall Square
Broadway in Kendall Square

On my way down Broadway I passed a Starbucks. I wasn’t at mile 6 yet but one water bottle was almost empty and I wasn’t even half way yet.

I ordered a Trenta iced coffee on my phone and turned back to Starbucks.

As I approached the door I stopped my Garmin and then stepped into the dark coolness. My drink was being made as I approached the counter, so I only had a minute or so to cool off.

I grabbed a straw and stepped back into the heat.

The Long Road Home

I was now on my way home and short on distance. My watch hit mile six as I walked down Broadway drinking my coffee. Man it was good!

I took a leisurely jog back through Kendall and The Canal District down to Lechemere Station.

My shorts were so wet from sweat and water dripping off of my coffee that for a moment I thought I had a problem!

When it’s hot and you are sweating, that is a good thing.

I found a trash can on Cambridge Street and tossed in my empty cup. It only took about a mile and 12 minutes to drink the entire cup. And all of the ice had melted.

I pretty much took the same route back to Washington Street and then took a left into the neighborhood.

At this point my quads were exhausted and I was beginning to feel altered.

I checked my running belt for a salt pill, but I didn’t have one. That was a crucial error on a day like this.

My sports drink had some sodium, but I was dripping sweat.

I got back onto Broadway and ran the same route back to Blessing of the Bay Boat House.

Fortunately they had a porta-potty on the grass next to their parking lot.

It was like an oven in there, but I meant business!

I continued on the bike path next to Rt. 93 and headed for Medford.

I didn’t hit mile 11 until I had crossed The Mystic Valley Parkway and was less than a mile from home.

At this point I was doing a fair amount of walking and experiencing the worse part of what I had anticipated.

Virtual Margarita Half Finish, Virtual Half When I got back into my neighborhood I started going up and down the side streets to get in my distance.

So close to home and I felt like I was running laps!

I managed to jog down my street and stopped my watch before I got to my house.

I was DONE!

I don’t think everyone has run and reported their results yet. But as of my run I was 131 out of 138!

Have you run any virtual races this year? How do you feel about them?

Run well my Friends!

Andy