Harborside Half Marathon 2019

The Harborside Half Marathon was a chilly run for about 1,000 runners. A great, mostly flat course through the countryside and great after party.

The Harborside Half Marathon 2019 was the first cold race of the year.

The race took place in Newburyport, MA which is where the mighty Merrimack River enters the Atlantic Ocean. There were lots of open fields, farms and ponds where the breeze delivered the fear of Jack Frost deep into our souls!

Hearding of The Cats

The Harborside Half Marathon is part of the Melrose Running Club’s 2019 Racing Series. The idea of the series is to encourage people to run races they might not otherwise and to encourage new runners to get out there and do it.

Megin Hemmerling; Cynthia Berger; Harborside Half Marathon
Megin Hemmerling – Cynthia Berger

The Harborside Half Marathon was David Doherty and Megin Hemmerling’s first half marathon!

There is also a social aspect to the series. Each month we get to hang out with a different mix of people. When there is a nice after-party like we had in Newburyport it’s that much more fun.

I always encourage the car pool to enhance the socializing and fun. Plus it seems crazy for each person to drive themselves to a race.

This time I drove up with Michele DeAngelo and got a ride back with David Doherty and Aine Lunney.

For this race many people had family or work obligations and some were already up north. So getting a car pool together was like hearding cats.

The party was on two levels at Michael’s Harborside and out on the deck. I knew some people were leaving right after the race and a few times I looked around and didn’t see anyone I knew. I didn’t have a car in the parking lot and was worried I was stranded!

As time went on more cats kept showing up! It seemed that every time I turned around there was another familiar face. I was far from stranded!

Running The Harborside Half Marathon

As Michele DeAngelo and I left the parking garage and headed to Michael’s Harborside to pick up our bib and shirt we saw David Bryson. He was parked on the street right in front of the restaurant!

The place was crowded but we were able to get in and out quickly and make a pit stop. We headed back to Michele’s car, put on our bibs and sorted our gear and clothes.

It felt like 20° but we knew we would warm up. We headed back to Michael’s for another porta pit stop and then hopped on the bus to the start area.

As we walked around the start area we saw most of the crew. David, Michele and I got out of the breeze by standing in a doorway for a while.

Here is a group shot before the race. We were freezing!

Harborside Half Marathon 2019, Melrose Running Club

We could not tell what the announcer was saying and we didn’t hear a National Anthem. As we stood there we realized that we were way to close to the start line and about a thousand people were behind us.

I told everyone to just stand still when the crowd moves up for the start and we won’t be so close to the start anymore. It worked.

A few minutes before 9:00 I started my watch. By the time we had to start running I still didn’t have a good signal but hit the start button as I crossed the start line.

I ran the first mile or so with Aine Lunney and David Doherty. We were having a good conversation but eventually I realized I was talking to my self! David was running his first half and I’m getting ready to taper for the Philadelphia Marathon.

My first mile was 9:03 but all the rest were under 9:00 with six miles under 8:30. Overall I had a great run and my official finish was 1:50:35 for an average pace of 8:27. My best half marathon for 2019!

Harborside Half Marathon Course Description

Here is a slightly abbreviated course description from the Loco Running web site:

The Harborside Half marathon course offers runners a beautiful lollipop loop course with scenic views of rural fields, a reservoir, and nature preserves! The race starts at an industrial park in Newburyport (40 Parker Street) with the first mile on flat, wide, and easy roads through the park before heading out onto some of the prettiest roads in the area.

Just before Mile 3 you will run by the Town forest on your left. Then you will enter a spectacular country road that winds it’s way by the Artichoke Reservoir. At Mile 5, you’ll go right onto Indian Hill Road. Here you will pass many working farms and more reservation land. At mile 7 you will enter onto Middle Road which passes the Withers Parcel and over a very cool bridge back through the same Artichoke Reservoir.

Miles 9 to 12 will repeat Miles 1 to 3 and then you’ll venture down the Clipper City Rail Trail, a 1.3-mile paved running path through lush forests, all the way back to the finish at Michael’s Harborside.

Course Hills: This is a relatively easy course. The highest elevation is only 64 feet. There are no major hills and most hills are simply rollers that come and go quite easily.

This is an accurate course description. The scenery was great and the hills were gentle rollers. A lot of open space has been protected in this area and we did pass several active farms.

We may have started the race in an industrial park, but the open fields, thick forests and bodies of water made for a refreshing run for a city kid.

Harborside Half Marathon Course Map

The after party was well done also. They were serving hot clam chowder in the parking lot! I know that’s too heavy for many people but I love the stuff and it was HOT! Just a bit of heaven in New England.

I walked through the parking lot a bit to work the lactic acid out of my legs. The Ipswich Ale Brewing van was in the lot so I stopped and spoke with the driver.

The van is a 1950-something contractor’s van that looked like an old milk truck. There were about a dozen taps protruding from the side of the van! Not in use today, but what a party they must be able to put on!

I had to walk, so I moved on and then went into Michael’s Harborside for warmth and cold beer! That first beer after a race always tastes so good!

Slowly the gang showed up. I didn’t take a count, but we had way more than the 6-8 runners I expected. We never did get everyone into one picture. Here are two from the party.

Melrose Running Club at the Harborside Half after party


Melrose Running Club at the 2019 Harborside Half After Party

Harborside Half and 5K results.

Run well my Friends!


15th Annual Wilmington Half Marathon

15th Annual Wilmington Half Marathon recap with link to full results. September 29th, 2019.

Today I ran the 15th Annual Wilmington Half Marathon.

The forecast was for temps in the 70’s and some cloud cover. My Garmin says it was 68° but my body said otherwise!

Wilmington is about 15 minutes from my house and the race began at 10:00 AM. Some people didn’t like that start time because it was too later into the day. For me it was perfect.

I got up, had some coffee and hung out for an hour. I got ready to run at my leisure! Can’t say that happens very often!

I left my home after 8:30 and was in Wilmington before 9 AM. The parking lot at Wilmington Local Access Cable was already full! When I ran this race six years ago I just rolled into that lot and I don’t think I got there that early. Maybe I did.

They directed us through a street-side parking lot and crossed us into a lot across the street. The first person in line seemed flummoxed by a lot that didn’t have lines. As cars backed up across the road I wondered where they got their driver license.

I finally managed to park and head over to Race HQ to get my bib. They had plenty of volunteers and I had my packet and swag bag in no time. I used a porta-potty and headed back to my car.

It was still about 45 before race time.

As I got my gear together I struck up a conversation with the couple parked next to me. Anthony and Lynn Malisz had driven up from Wrentham for their first half! They asked a few questions about the course but I told them it had been six years and I vaguely recall the course.

I did tell them that every one gets the nerves before a race and not to stretch and drink too much. It doesn’t help and can cause problems.

Running The Wilmington Half Marathon

Wilmington Half Marathon 2019, Andy NagelinAround 9:40 I headed over to the start area and met Nicole Jacob and one of her friends. We were a little confused about the start. I thought the 5K and half started together but on different side of the start. We also thought the 5K runners had a different color bib.

Turns out the 5K started first and the people with the different color bib had done race-day sign up.

A little after 10 they had the 5K runners start and then the 5K walkers. Then at 10:09 they let the half marathoners start.

There were 254 half runners which seemed a little light to me, but they run an old school race which keeps expenses low.

As we ran out the driveway towards Waltham Street I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had only run seven miles the previous week and wasn’t in great shape.

Wilmington Half Marathon Mile 1-3

8:25, 8:32, 8:35

As soon as we got onto Waltham Street I tried to settle into a pace that I could hold. No sense going out blazing fast only to flame out down the road.

As you can see from my times above I managed to keep it around my 10K pace. A little fast for a half, but not too bad.

When we got to mile three I took my first GU.

Between miles three and four I began to feel like this wasn’t going to be a great race for me. Maybe I had gone out to fast and maybe I was just out of shape.

Wilmington Half Marathon Miles 4-6

8:33, 8:41, 8:27

We hit mile four in a neighborhood. Even though I had my marathon belt pretty well stocked, I had been getting water at most stops. It was in the mid 70s and not much shade.

I ran by a house where the kids were handing out 500ml bottles that looked cold. They just looked at me as I ran by with my out-stretched hand. WTF? I can’t really complain since it was free and they only had so many bottles. Maybe because I looked like I loaded for bear.

So I continued to get cups of water at most stops. I was roasting.

I’ve been wearing an Under Armour compression tank to avoid chaffing. Today I wore my Summer Classic 5K cotton tank over that and it was too much. Still better than bleeding!

My watch chimed six miles before the race mile marker and I took my second gel. This was a Honey Stinger which I have come to prefer.

As we hit the 10K mark I just felt like crap.

Wilmington Half Marathon Miles 7-9

8:27, 8:47, 8:42

I thought about walking but nothing hurt. My legs and hips were fine. My left foot had been tweaking early in the run but had settled down.

My lack of cardio conditioning was becoming evident. My legs could out-run my lungs!

I began to focus on my breathing which I typically try to ignore. My feeling is that if I’m thinking about breathing, I’m probably in trouble.

I wasn’t about to crash and burn but some active management was needed to keep me going.

As I ran I tried to take long deep breathes. In other races I’ve had some shortness of breath when I’ve out-run my lungs.

At this point in the race I wasn’t worried about passing anyone. I just wanted to hold on.

Several time I tucked in behind someone. I just wanted to stay there and not pass them. But most of these people seemed to be in worse shape than me and I eventually passed them.

Finishing the 15th Annual Wilmington Half Marathon

9:41, 9:17, 9:40, 9:32 last 0.23 miles – 8:34

At 9.2 miles I had to walk. I was pretty spent and I just didn’t have the will to keep running. I decided to walk until my over-all average pace hit 9:40. At 9.3 miles it was time to run again.

Usually when you walk late in a race what ever hurt before is worse and your muscles tighten up. I was worried that I was going to run ten-minute miles for the rest of the race.

Fortunately when I began to run again nothing hurt! Mile ten came in at 9:41 but that included my walking spell.

Mile eleven came in at 9:17 which was encouraging.

That last two miles were a head-down slog. One foot in front of the other. No interaction with spectators or the police details. Couldn’t spare the breath. Literally!

I was so happy when we turned onto Middlesex Avenue! This was the home stretch.

At mile eleven my over-all time was 1:36. I had twenty-four minutes to run 2.1 miles or so. Using rough runner’s arithmetic I was able to “calculate” that if I ran twelve-minute miles I could hit my goal of two hours.

I knew that I was running well under ten-minute miles. All I had to do was keep on doing what I was doing and I’d come in under two hours.

Even though I was totally out of gas I managed not to walk. This was an act of will power as my last fumes seemed to have vaporized in the Indian Summer heat.

At mile twelve I figured people would start passing me as they kicked. I didn’t have any kick so I just got to the side of the road and waited.

Only a few people passed me and I was able to kick it for the finish, much to my surprise.

When I crossed the line the clock said 1:57 and change. I had more than met my goal!

Apre Wilmington Half

I got my medal right after I crossed the mat, but missed the water. My buddy Paul Locke was there and said hello. I could barely speak and told him that I needed to walk around.

15th Annual Wilmington Half Marathon, Melrose Running Club runnersInstead of giving out single-use bottles the race had re-usable water bottles! I had to go back to the start to get one, but I needed to walk. I thought just the winners got bottles, but I guess we were all winners.

Soon Nicole Jacob,Lynda Field and Monique Plourde joined us. I don’t think that any of us had a PR or won any age-group awards.

We had fun talking and eating ice cream and hot dogs. I found Anthony and Lynn Malisz before I left. They both came in just over two hours and seemed to be happy with that. I told them that they now had a stake in the ground and have their time to beat for next time.

While it was warmer than expected I think most of us were happy the way things worked out.


Run well My Friends!


Assault on Mount Hood 2018 is on

Melrose Running Club announces date for 2018 Assault on Mount Hood cross country race.

The Melrose Running Club has announced the date for The Assault on Mount Hood 2018.

The 3.5 mile cross country race will take place December 8th at Noon at the Mount Hood Golf Course. The location of race operations will be the Mount Hood Golf Course Club House this year. If you’ve run the race before, you’ve passed the club house on your way to the race.

As always, car pooling is recommended as parking is limited.

Assault on Mt Hood XC race 2016, Melrose Running Club, Fall Races
Assault on Mount Hood 2016

Now in it’s 14th season, this race will challenge you with a 3.5 mile course through the fairways and hills of Mt. Hood Golf Course. Race Director, Brian Slater, always finds the steepest hills on the golf course to make this one of the most challenging and fun races of the late fall running season.

You never know what to expect. Some years it is warm and the ground will be wet and soggy with lots of mud and puddles. If we have a cold snap the ground will be frozen and the fairways will feel like pavement under your shoes. Not knowing what to expect is part of the fun.

AOMH, Assault on Mount Hood
Assault on Mount Hood 2013

Registration is open now and limited to 400 runners. Since this is a cross country race, strollers are not permitted. Pre-registration through December 1st is $25 and race-day registration is $27. There is also a 2 mile walk and registration is $20. Click to register.

Day of registration begins at 10:30 AM at 100 Slayton Road, Mt. Hood Golf Course Club House.

Commemorative pint glasses to the first 250 applicants. There is also the legendary post race party with awards for individuals, age group and teams. Be sure to hang out after the race for awards, food and fun!

Assault on Mt Hood cross country race

Numbers can be picked up at the club house the day of the race starting at 10:00 AM.

You may also pick up your number, or register for the race, at Marathon Sports on Main Street in Melrose from 3 to 7:00 PM on Friday December 7th.

Only 400 registrations will be taken, so don’t wait to sign up for one of the legendary running events in the Greater Boston Area!

Here are a few of my race recaps:

2014 Assault on Mt. Hood

2015 Assault on Mt. Hood

2016 Assault on Mt. Hood

Run well my Friends and try to stay warm out there!

Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon 2018

The Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon was probably the best race I have run in over 14 years of running.

Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon 2018 and 5K, Hampton Beach, NH, Loco Races

The Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon 2018 turned into another one of my running adventures. Every race is a bit of an adventure, some more so than others!

I signed up for this race in October 2017. I’ve run the race three times already and I was pretty certain I was going to run it again in 2018. I also wanted to get the super low early bird registration price.

Rockfest 2017 Race Recap

Then a few months before the race my company told me that I needed to be in San Antonio, TX the day before the race! They were kind enough to let me get to San Antonio Sunday night and be ready to roll by 7:00 AM Monday morning. 

I was lucky to have a colleague cover what I needed to get done that weekend. Thinks to Gina I didn’t have a worry all weekend. It helps to work with great people.

Rolling down the highway to the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon 2018

I had a 2:40 PM flight out of Boston. That meant I had to be at the airport around Noon, 12:30 at the latest. You never know what might happen on the way to or at the airport.

The race started at 8:00 AM and my plan was to run about a two-hour half and then hop in my car and drive from Hampton Beach, NH to Cambridge.

To make sure I could leave the race ASAP I needed to get a parking spot on the edge of town. I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic trying to leave the most convenient lot near the start line. 

I got up at 5:00 AM and was on the road by 5:20 or so. There wasn’t any traffic so I set cruise control to 65 and stayed in the second lane all the way up the highway.

I rolled into Hampton Beach a little after 6AM. In the darkness I saw a sign for a private parking lot. It was on the one-way road that lead out of Hampton Beach and was on the edge of town. I took a left off of the one-way road into Hampton Beach and was the first person to park in this lot.

It was only $5.00 and I parked right by the road so I could easily get out. What a score!

Bib pickup had just opened at 6AM and I had almost two hours until race time! I was in great shape.

Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon 2018, Hampton NH, Andy Nagelin
Dawn at Hampton Beach, NH

I knew where pickup had been before, but as I approached that parking lot all I saw was parked cars and 10 porta-potties. Then someone told me they moved it around the corner and down the street. No biggie.

I walked over with another runner and we chatted about the race and the weather. She had run before also and was looking forward to a good day for running.

We found the big white tents lit by Coleman lamps, just like every other year. It is New Hampshire after all! Hardly anyone was there, so I got my bib and my fleece in no time and headed back to my car.

Walking over I passed several shops selling coffee and breakfast food. I could not tell any difference between them so I walked into what I thought was the last shop on the street.

They had about five employees and there were about a dozen runners. I bought a large coffee and a blueberry muffin and headed for my car.

As I walked back I thought how much a town like Hampton Beach must love getting 6,000 runners plus family and friends to show up during the off season. Leaf peeping season is just beginning and Hampton Beach probably doesn’t get much traffic from that.

But as I walked along I noticed several motels had no vacancy signs. I was surprised, but it made me think about getting a room next year. No long drive and you can party hearty afterwards. My friends would love it!

Prepping for the Smuttynose Half

When I got back to my car the lot was about a third full. A couple in their 60s owned the property. I couldn’t tell if they had a shop on the first floor or not. I didn’t want to peek into their house too much, especially if there wasn’t a shop.

I spoke with the wife and she said they usually charge $5, sometimes more sometimes only $3. I need to remember that. They weren’t that far from the beach and the price is right!

I got into my car, started it, turned on the heat and plugged my phone in. The coffee and muffin were pretty good but I was full and left half the muffin for after the race. I took a salt pill and an Imodium and washed it down with a 500ml Poland Springs. In also took two Hylands Leg Cramp pills. 

I’m a running pharmacy, but I know what works for me.

Don Keren, Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon 2018
Don Keren

At 7:01 my buddy Don Keren texted me to see where I was. He and Durm Cahill were already in the corral near C Street. After I checked my gear and stowed things out of site I headed for C Street around 7:20.

I had two bottles on my belt with Hydralyte mix in them. I had two gels and my phone in my belt also.

As I headed down Bowman Ave I remembered to take a left onto Island Path so I could use the porta-potties one more time. I finally got into one around 7:40. Plenty of times and the nerves help move things along!

The race began on Ashworth Street near C Street. As I made my way through the crowd I heard Don call out my name. We were pretty far back and decided to move forward.

We didn’t get to far in the tight crowd. They played the National Anthem and I found a near-by flag. They made a few announcements but no one could really hear them. There was something about staying to the left or right depending on which race you were running. Everyone was confused. But when the crowd started to move forward we knew the race had begun!

Running The Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon 2018!

It took almost four minutes to cross the starting mats. About a 100 feet before the start we broke into a light jog. A few hundred feet after the start we were probably running a 12 minute pace.

I usually don’t warm up before a half, so a slow first mile fits into my plan. Durm, Don and I traded the lead several times. Don kept goading me that I was taking off, watch out for that guy, or see you later as they moved ahead.

We ran down Ashworth and took a sharp left onto Ocean Drive, hit mile one and then took a left onto Island Path around mile two.

Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon 2018, Andy Nagelin

Island Path turned onto Bowman and looped us back through the neighborhood. Lots of bungalows with a few convenience stores and restaurants. Bowman ended at Ashworth and we took a right.

Ashworth Avenue is also Rt. 1A and we took that all the way to Seabrook Beach for an out and back. Just before the bridge into Seabrook, NH we hit mile three.

Mile one had been 9:53 but two and three were 9:17 each. Not bad. I was settling into a good pace early in the race.

Heidi Caldwell, Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon Winner 2018
Heidi Caldwell – winner at 1:15

On the way down Rt. 1A to the turn we saw Heidi Caldwell come cruising by. She was in first place and no one was behind her! Usually a guy is in first place with the next runners close behind. Heidi had the field by at least two minutes. It was an amazing lead. She won first place overall by almost two minutes, with a time of 1:15:14!

Going over the bridge I saw Nick Kollett run by and we yelled out to each other. Nick finished in 1:39:53 and was 139th overall! So I never saw him again on the course!

The road to the turn around seemed like it went on forever. I tried counting runners, but there were too many of them.

Nick Kollett, Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon 2018
Nick Kollett

Just after the turn we hit mile four and my mile pace was 9:23. My goal was 9:30 splits, so I was doing okay.

On the run back into Hampton Beach things began to thin out. Anyone can run a fast mile. Most people can run a fast 5K, we were now beyond that point.

Running The Plan

I knew what I wanted to do and I was doing it: I was running my plan. A few weeks earlier I ran a hilly 15.86 mile long run. It beat the snot out of me and I averaged around 10 minute miles.

To get to the airport in time I really needed to run a 2 hour half. I set my goal for an even 9:15 pace. I had enough supplies and I felt pretty good. 

There aren’t a lot of hills in this race so I felt confident in maintaining a constant pace. I didn’t want to go too fast and struggle near the end so paying attention to my pace was my core strategy.

On the way back into Hampton Beach I took my first gel. This was probably around 4.5 miles. I like to fuel early before I need it. Once you become depleted you can never get it back during a race.

At mile five we were back on Ocean Blvd and could see the 5K runners making their loop through town.

The next three miles down Ocean Blvd were all about 9:20. Around mile eight I started running with Rebecca Mayerson with The Mystic Runners. Our clubs run together a lot and share many members.

We were both running comfortably and had a good conversation about running and the course. She had only been running about six months! She was doing pretty good. 

Mile nine looped off of Ocean Blvd through a neighborhood. The road narrowed and twisted around. Rebecca and I kept our pace and moved through the crowd.

When we got back onto Ocean Blvd we were both feeling good and the pace picked up. Mile nine came in at 9:31 but each mile after that got progressively faster. 

I had water with me and skipped the water stops. Rebecca didn’t have anything with her and also skipped the water stops. I told her she should grab something but she said she was fine. 

We were now cruising down Ocean Blvd and consistently passing people. Mile ten came in at 9:09 and mile eleven at 8:56. 

I told Rebecca about my plan to run even splits. But I was feeling really good and nothing hurt. That was pretty unusual. We agreed not to kick until mile 12.

After mile eleven we picked up the pace and started picking people off left and right. I could not believe how fast I was running this late in a half marathon, and nothing hurt!

Somewhere before mile twelve we passed Durm who looked like he was having a tough day. Don took off on him earlier and was having a great day. 

I felt bad passing and leaving him, but I was having an awesome race!

Finishing Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon 2018

Mile twelve came in at 8:45! We both felt strong so we kicked it up another notch. We were now on eleven. 😉

My gait was long like I was coming into the finish of a 5K. My lungs felt great and my muscles were not tired. We were basically sprinting mile 13! 

Rebecca had no problem keeping up and we swapped the lead several times. 

Mile 13 came in at 7:48! That is faster than my pace for most of the 5Ks I’ve run in 2018! I was locked and loaded!

After mile thirteen we could see the finish and the crowd. Without a word we both kicked it up to twelve and had to weave around other runners. I knew she was trying to beat the old guy and I was having none of that!

I ran long and the last 0.31 mile came in at 6:31. Where the hell did that come from? I have crossed this finish line many times in great pain at a much slower pace.

Our gun time was almost exact but my net time was 2:00:29.9 and her’s was 2:02:21.8. I’m not sure how that works. My overall pace was 9:12, 3 second faster than my goal.

I had one of the best finishes of my life and there isn’t a finish line photo! I was so disappointed! I even waited to stop my watch so I could get a good photo!

Oh well. A good photo wasn’t the goal. A well run race was the goal and that is what I did. Almost two hours on the nose!

Apre Rockfest 2018

My running goal achieved, it was now time to execute my extraction plan. 

I saw Don soon after I finished. He finished in 1:57:24.9 in 870th place and looked pretty good. I think the weather agreed with him. 

I told Don that Durm wasn’t too far behind me, so we hung out a bit. Before we knew it Durm had crossed the finish line. His time was 2:02:20.7 and he had a tough run.

They were heading for a pizza place for some beers and food, but I had to get moving. We said our good byes and I found an opening in the barricades.

It wasn’t too crowded yet and I quickly made my way to the food tent. Some people were milling about like they didn’t know what to do. I gave the lady my food ticket and went into the tent.

Lobster sandwiches, Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon
Just a few Lobster rolls!

I grabbed a lobster roll and bowl of chowder. I ended up drinking the chowder out of the bowl and ate the lobster roll as I made my way through the crowd.

I had two beer tickets that I wasn’t going to use. Durm and Don didn’t want them, so I was looking to make someone else’s day.

As I moved towards a spot where I could cross Ocean Blvd I looked for someone I knew. As I crossed the street I stopped a stranger and asked if she wanted them. She seemed perplexed but took the tickets. Not the reaction I had been expecting.

As I headed back to my car I stopped at the porta-potties on Island Path. No crowd this time.

When I got to my car I quickly took off my shirts and used some adult baby wipes to clean up. Then I got back into my car, slipped under a towel and changed into fresh shorts to travel in. 

I’ve seen people strip down in a parking lot under a towel, but getting basically naked in public was a first for me. It was odd to look up and see people feet away stuck in the traffic jam!

Once I got situated I had some more food and water and headed on down the highway for my trip to San Antonio, TX.

FULL RESULTS       Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon and 5K Photos

I really felt like this was one of my best run races in 14 years. It was far from my Half Marathon PR, but everything went according to plan.

I could have run faster but I wasn’t sure I could. Based on my year so far a 9:15 pace seemed a manageable challenge. If I pushed harder and got hurt I would either DNF or have a much longer race. 

I could not risk being late to the airport, and I had to run my plan in order to get to the airport on time.

Fortunately everything, including traffic and security, worked out. To this day I still have a good feeling about this race. It’s not often that the runner’s high lasts this long!

Run well my Friends!


Promoting A Race?

Are you promoting a race?

I get emails every day promoting races of all distances from all over the place. Some of them are very slick and corporate looking. Nothing wrong with that. But these sharp folks don’t seem to understand how runners decide which races to run.

Like most of you I get a deluge of email every day. I have six email accounts and they all get all kinds of email. Most of it is of no interest to me.

As you can imagine I get overloaded after looking through one or two of my email accounts. Before long, I’m slashing and burning emails like I’m hacking my way through a junk mail jungle.

It get’s to the point where I read the subject line and maybe some text just before I hit delete. It’s amazing how quickly you can get through hundreds of emails with only a cursory look.

I trust that I am not alone bushwhacking my way through the jungle of junk email. And I know that any email marketer worth their salt knows all of us have had it with poorly written junk.

That is why I am constantly amazed to get emails about races with the location, date and time buried in the text or not even in the email. You want me to click a link to find out when your race is? I’m more likely to hit “delete” and be off to the next ill conceived interruption of my day.

So when I get a well constructed email I like to take note. It’s like a breath of fresh air. Someone actually took the time to think how I or any runner would receive their plea to register for their race.

Today I received an email for The Wilmington Half Marathon & 5K.

I did a snippy-clippy from their email to show you how it should be done.

The subject like tells me exactly what race this is and when. I can make a quick decision just with that info. Beautiful! Do I want to drive to Wilmington and am I free on September 23rd. Pretty easy to figure out.

I did have to click to down load their graphic but that’s pretty standard these days. With a quick roll of the mouse button I know the time and location of the race.

I’m also enticed to “Register Early” as there may be a discount but only if I click through. A very nice and subtle call to action! To further pique my interest at the bottom they say the first 500 runners get a draw string bag.

Now who doesn’t have a closet full of these bags and who doesn’t always want more free stuff?

I with I could write succinct emails and even blog posts.

Wilmington Half Mararthon





















One of the great things about the Wilmington Half Marathon is that they’ve done this 13 times already. They made all of the classic mistakes years ago. They know what they are doing.

You can be reasonably assured that the race will be well managed and that they will keep an eye on traffic for you.

Wilmington has kept this a budget race over the years, I know a lot of people like the pomp and circumstance of a big production race, but all half marathons are the same distance no matter how flashy they are.

Wilmington will cost you $35 for The Half and $25 for the 5K. Add $5 for race day registrations. Students 18 and under pay $15.00. There are few bargains still available and this is one of them.

Their email tells you they are well organized and know their business. I’ve run this race before and can tell you that if you enjoy a low key, low budget event then you’re going like like this half.

Check them out. If you can make it I’m sure you’ll enjoy this race.

And if you write promotional materials and emails, don’t get lost in the weeds. Just the facts will do.

Run well my Friends,


Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler 2017

The Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler and 5K celebrated their 30th running this Thanksgiving!

A few remarkable observations provided by The Feaster Five:

• We had a remarkable number of entrants…9,966! That is an increase of more than 10% from last year, and that happened when the number of entrants in most races is falling by 10%.
• More amazing was the 97% of folks who registered picked up their race bibs and hoodies. Typical pick-up rate is 87%.
• Our 5 mile champion, Ruben Senca, won for the 5th time….and that is a record.
• Who else ran? Folks from 41 states, 7 countries, ages that went from 1 to 93. Women, you ruled again this year with 53% of the field.
• Despite the “pinch point” 3/4 mile into the race, we managed to get you all safely back to the finish line with minimal congestion. The “Walkers Lane” once again kept the flow moving, and everyone safe.
• We can be very proud of our kids and their parents who are encouraging a healthy, fitness oriented lifestyle. We had 570 kids run the Fun Run, and a whopping 776 kids 12 and under run the 5K!

Some of this success may be attributed to this being the 30th anniversary, but I think a great deal of credit goes to the organizers who have continued to provide a safe and well organized event for 30 years.

Runners do not return to poorly managed events.

Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler Travels

I decided to run this race in 2016 because of it’s rich history. On Thanksgiving there are so many races to choose from. I absolutely enjoyed the race I ran in 2015, but wanted to try this classic 5 miler in 2016.

Last year I went by my self and didn’t expect to run into anyone I knew. But I ran into club-mate Mike Sikkema as we both wandered around before the race.

This year I drove up with my running buddy Derm Cahill. He parked at my house around 6 AM, and we drove up to Andover together. Andover isn’t too far, but I hate driving long distance to a race by myself.

Derm picked up our bibs and hoodies on Wednesday, so all we had to do was find a place to park.

Within 45 minutes we were parked on a Riverina Road where we could almost see the start. We walked up to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and donut and enjoyed the warm sitting area.

They had signs on the tables limiting us to 15 minutes. They also had signs reserving the rest room to paying customers. The crew had little to do as most people had not arrived yet. They were having a great time behind the counter and left us alone.

After about 20 minutes, one of the employees politely told us we had used up our time. We had, but there was no one else there. We didn’t want to give the guy a hard time, so we went back to the car.

It was just above freezing, so the walk back to the car was brisk.

We sat and talked and figured out how many layers would get us through this thing in relative comfort. We both opted out of jackets or the famed hoodie provided by the race. Two layers it would be.

Feaster Five Thanksgiving 2017With that figured out we made a quick trip to the porta potties. It was definitely chill in just our running clothes. The line was short and we were back to the car in no time.

Since the race began at 8:30 and we could almost see the start, we stayed in the car until 8:20.


Running Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler

Our walk to the crowd was short. Derm was dealing with several cracked ribs and didn’t really want to push the pace. I was kind of tapering for Honolulu, so I was okay with just getting in a good run.

Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler 2017As we moved through the crowd, we kept finding dogs and strollers. I kept moving away from the walking lane off to the left, but still we had dogs and strollers popping up. One poor dog looked scared to death!

We were able to hear the National Anthem and most of us took off our hats and looked for a flag to admire.

They said the race started but we were all standing around. As I looked towards the start line I could see people moving, but they seemed so far away! After 5 minutes we were still standing there freezing our asses off, but everyone was also laughing and joking.

We’re runners, it takes a bit more than 9,000 runners and freezing cold temps to push our buttons. Cut a porta-pottie line and that’s a different story!

Feaster Five Thanksgiving RaceWe did not cross the starting mats until 12 minutes after the race began! Thank god for chip timing.

The race goes up hill soon after the start. In the first mile we went up 106 feet and crossed a bridge under construction. They warned us of this choke point, but there was little we could do.

The first mile was nothing but congestion and weaving between walkers and runners who placed themselves way ahead of where they should have been. So weave we did.

We took turns blitzkreiging our way through the crowd, even on the bridge. Even with all of these challenges, mile one chimed in at 9:14. Not too far off of our goal 9 minute pace.

Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler CourseAt about 1.5 mile we took a left onto Morton Street. I told Derm that the winding roads were just beginning. After a 100 feet or so we took another left onto Bartlett Street. After about a quarter mile we took a right onto Chestnut Street by “The Park.”

Before we passed the park we hit mile two at 8:24. Our average pace was now 8:28 and I felt much better. Derm was holding up well and I was the one holding us back. Since Derm was fine, I decided to run as hard as I wanted to.

At about mile 2.25 we took a left and then a right and then a left onto Washington Ave. After a quarter mile we took a left onto Elm Street.

From Elm we took a right onto Maple Avenue and shortly thereafter hit mile three at 8:12 and our average pace was down to 8:14. We were way beyond our 9 minute goal, but we both felt good.

We took a quick left onto Walnut Ave and then joined the 5K runners on High Street.

The 5 milers had one side of the street and the 5K runners and walkers had the left side. Occasionally a volunteer was stationed to tell us to stay in our lanes. This was welcomed as a few times a 5K walker would straggle into our lane.

By this point the 5 milers were sorted and many of us were in full race mode.

Mile four was mostly down hill with a 99 foot elevation loss but we only managed an 8:23 mile. Still ahead of schedule, but we were dealing with congestion again.

We had been running with an MVS runner and he over heard us bitching about the 5K walkers wondering into our lane. No duecheyness, but we owned the 5 mile lane. WTF were these people doing?

As seasoned runners we dealt with it, but we exchanged several WTF looks as clueless folks got in our way. It was nice to find a fellow traveler.

At about 4.25 miles we took a left onto Rt. 133. This is a major commuter route to cut from Rt 93 to 495. I never found it to be much help, but many commuters do.

We were now on the home stretch with under a mile to go.

Derm and I decided to kick it in and see what we could do. There was a slight decline most of the way and we started passing people. Nothing crazy, but there were 5 milers who were walking and many who had either gone out too fast or were just not prepared.

Finishing Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler

Five miles is an odd distance for most of us. 5K or 3.1 mile runs take place almost every weekend. In the old days many races in The US were denominated in miles. I recall running the 50 yard dash or the 440 yard race in gym class.

While most of Merica still measure everything in miles, us runners use kilometers.

When you are used to running 3.1 of 6.2 miles (5K or 10K) a 5 mile run can really throw you for a loop. A 5K is a comfortable race for many of us. We know how to pace and when to kick. A 10K is more challenging, but it is a familiar distance with it’s own strategy.

A 5 mile race is 8K. Somewhere between a 5K and 10K. It’s hard to plan for, but the unfamiliarity is fun.

When we got to 3.7 miles we couldn’t believe we were at the beginning of the end. But it was still a little early to kick. So we tried to hold our pace for another half mile or so.

When we got onto Rt 133 we decided to give it a go. Derm and I traded places on point almost instinctively, we knew when to follow and when to lead.

We ran down the edge of the pavement and we squeezed between runners to make our way. When ever I looked over my shoulder I could see Derm’s purple singlet. I’m sure he did the same and saw my bright yellow BAA 10K shirt.

As we ran along we decided to finish together. I knew that both of us could have some explosive speed in the final few hundred yards. I told Derm I was fine with that but he hadn’t better run ahead in the final 100 yards. He agreed not to and we pushed ahead.

We crushed the last mile at a 7:34 pace. This despite the increased congestion as we headed up Oak Street to the finish and the uphill at the end. We passed many runners on the final uphill.

We actually managed an identical finish time of 42:03 for a pace of 8:28.

This was almost my exact time from 2016!

Apre Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler

Table Talk Pies, Feater Five Thanksgiving 5 MilerAfter the finish line we emptied into a large parking lot. Having been here before I knew where to go. I saw the large trailer full of pies at the other end of the parking lot and headed in that direction.

Along the way we found the water table and the food tables. Just the basics: bananas, bagels and chips. We grabbed some water and chips and continued our pie quest!

We got to the pie line in no time, got our pie and moved along.

Table Talk Pies, Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 MilerIt was getting cold so we wanted to get to the car quickly. We found the exit and headed towards the car.

It was an easy exit from Andover and in no time we were on 495 South headed for home.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend and got to spend some time with family and friends. The Holiday Season is here!

Official Race Results

Run well my Friends!