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July 9, 2008

Corporate Jibberish

I wrote some of this right after the chase corporate challenge and forgot to publish it. It is going to read a lot like a Quentin T. movie with an inconsistent timeline. It is mostly rambles so you can go ahead and skip this one because I use 2 pages and don’t actually say anything. Serves you right for reading something written by an engineer.

Big congratulations to Rebecca Donaghue of New Balance Boston. She ripped a big PR in the 5k weeks before the trials to get in. She then ran 15:38 in the semi’s of the 5k at the Olympic trials only to come back a few days later and run a 15:35 and finish 8th in the finals. Exciting stuff watching those races on TV.

Last night was the chase corporate challenge in Boston. What a difference a flat 3.07 mile (weird but I will explain) course in Boston is compared to a 7.6 mile run up Mt. Washington. Can anyone see why those would feel different? Me neither, I figured they would be exactly the same when I saw them 5 days apart on my schedule. Thought to myself running 8:45 pace up a 12% grade for 66 minutes will be just like running 5:00 pace for 15:00 in Boston on a summer night. I thought wrong.

I do indeed enjoy the corporate challenge. Don’t know why I like it so much but I do. It is a poorly run, overcrowded, yahoo filled corporate sham put on by a bank that probably owns half of the world’s assets and they charge 37 bucks a head. Raytheon always enters a team and it is a good time at the BHP afterwards so I do it.

It was a solid opening mile as always. I was elbowed out of the way in the first 100m by a guy wearing a pair Avia cross trainers, an ipod, and mesh basketball shorts. I would have been mad if I wasn’t so certain of what was going to happen in the next 100m. You could almost see it come out of him right before the turn onto commonwealth ave. POP! He went from 4:55 pace to about 9:00 pace in about 10 meters. So funny to watch when someone realizes how tired they are ¼ mile into a race and there is still 2.75 miles to go. You can almost see the confidence and bravado fall onto the street. Some poor dude wailed right into the back of him when he slowed so suddenly. Enjoy the rest of the race, hope you have a long playlist qued up.

Back to the race. Due to construction in Kenmore square, the race was changed to 3.07 miles instead of the typical 3.5. I thought at the start this would be a disadvantage to me with my lack of speed work but turns out it didn’t matter a bit. The race would have turned out exactly the same. The long and short of it is Dan Mazzocco, who runs for Reebok Corporation, was dominant. He lead a pack of around 8ish through the mile at 4:53. The odd thing was, I didn’t feel that bad at that pace. I was really fatigued all week from the washington effort but at speed I felt almost good. It was nice to be in a lead pack moving at a pretty good clip again. Then, just after the mile, Mazzacco started looking around taking everyone’s measure to see how we were all doing. Right about there it was over because that was how I used to look when I was in good shape running these things. He pressed the pace down again about 2 seconds per mile and the lead pack shrunk to 4. Then something odd happened, a young guy wearing a yellow earnst and young shirt threw in a hard surge. Only Dan went with it. I fell off the back to fourth while a Gillette guy charged after them in 3rd. We made the turn at 1.5 in that order and then Dan surged on the guy in the yellow t-shirt and he was gone onto a 14:37 to win. The guy in the yellow shirt had about 10 seconds on me at the 2 mile and I had caught up to the Gillette guy. We had a battle the last mile all the way to the charles street turn. In our battle with each other, we closed the gap to 2nd down to about 5 seconds at the turn. I started my kick right there at the corner hoping to get a gap and grab 3rd place when the 2nd place guy started to come back. When I grabbed two seconds in the first 200m of my kick I started to think I could get second if I really drove. At about 30m to go I took over second place and the guy was just a hair slow in realizing it and couldn’t turn on the jets quick enough to get me back, which he certainly could have because he was faster and gained on me the last 10m. The older I get the more I have to rely on the sneak attack kick to gain that extra ½ second.
The results were initially:
1. 14:37
2. 14:57
3. 14:58
4. 14:59

But, it turns out neither the Ernst and Young guy who came in 3rd nor the Gillette guy who was 4th were on their official team roster so they were disqualified. I thought they had numbers on and they looked official but I guess not. All of the digging on the home straight was not necessary.

Back to the present. I took some time off after the chase corporate challenge because I was just tired from training for so long and from the Irish weekend in downeast maine with the Umass crew and other various marauders. I am starting to run pretty regular again and have hopes of running fast this fall. The question of marathon or not is still bouncing around up there and I will have to figure that out sometime. Justin is back at the big R to give me a good reason not to miss any runs. Sometimes you need to stand next to someone who is super fit to let yourself know how unfit you are. I have to start doing the small things (abs, strides, lifting) again so I can race respectable this fall.

No time like the present.

That’s all I got.

July 6, 2008

Entitlebury

When Christy and I were looking for a place to live, we first looked in Sudbury because we both work there, the commute would be a breeze, the schools are good, and it just seems like a nice place to live. Two things completely changed my mind this weekend and paints Sudbury in a completely different light. I am so glad we are in Hudson.

Christy Mae was looking for some hard work on the 4th of July and decided to enter the Sudbury Road Race and see how it was. When she got to registration, the women taking the entries asked “You don’t live in Sudbury do you?”
“No, just across the line in Hudson.”
“You know that only Sudbury residents can place and get prizes?”
“What?”

So the Sudbury road race is essentially just that, the Sudbury road race, where anyone from outside of Sudbury doesn’t count and isn’t really welcome, but they take your money and let you run, only with a big X on your bib like some sort of scarlet letter. Why don’t they just post that on their website? Who knows, but the whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way. I have no problems with people putting on a race with just who they like but that should be made clear before you actually get to the race. A big banner across the top of the web page saying “SUDBURY RESIDENTS ONLY” would do nicely.

The next funny thing about Sudbury was an article
Suburban Peace vs. Pedal Power
in the Saturday Globe on the cover about the proposed rail trail through an old CSX rail line that runs north to south from Lowell to Framingham. These are the snobbiest, snootiest, most selfish type of people. They have property that abuts the old rail line, and they want it to be their own little conservation area of privacy and solitude and are obviously willing to say and do anything to keep it that way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with bike trails. They encourage exercise, give a way to commute to work without risking life and limb, and get people outdoors to safely recreate. We have one in Hudson and it is great. Families go out on Saturdays and Sundays to ride and cruise around from Hudson to Marlborough.

Here is a quick excerpt for those of you who don’t want to read it:

Looking out at a lushly wooded area beyond a stone wall on her 100-acre estate, Carole Wolfe's face darkened. There, in the distance, she said, nervously pointing a finger, stretches a former rail corridor that, if some have their way, could bring trouble upon this town where her family's roots date to Colonial times.
"Instead of solitude," Wolfe said, "you'd be having people."

Can you believe that! People!!! ON BIKES NO LESS!!! It would be Chaos with a capital C! I have seen these self described "people" in Hudson, Sommerville, and the cape on their fancy paths. These bike riders. They wear helmets, smile and laugh. They move from place to place without a car, enjoying each others company and the summer. Do you know what they do sometimes when they think no one is looking?

Eat ice cream. I have seen it with my own eyes.

Another gem from the article by Marianne Maurer:

Opponents of the "rail trail" say the path would draw hundreds of thousands of bicyclists who would bring with them noise and other disruptions into what is now a pristine landscape. Hordes of bikers, walkers, and rollerbladers would scare away wildlife, they say, and invite crime from trespassing to vandalism and assault.
"We don't have neighbors nearby," said Marianne Maurer, whose family's tree farm is bisected by the proposed bike trail. "If something happened, no one would hear us yelling."

As if no one can get to her home now. There is a road and a driveway right? Can anyone hear you yelling now??? She is just the typical selfish person who wants her own conservation area in her back yard. The only problem is, she doesn’t own it, it isn’t her land. Hordes? Honestly, like the Gallic hordes invading Rome? Yes, people may use the path, but 100,000’s is little bit much. She envisions the let out of the patriots game every weekend and what will happen is every 20 minutes or so a group will ride on by.

This is just comedy of the highest order.

If you really want to know what type of person we are dealing with, I will leave you with this. She is quoted so I have to believe she said it. Based on this one quote, I am convinced Marianne Maurer is one of the dumbest people in the world.

As far as Maurer is concerned, a better solution is for bikers to get their exercise indoors. "My whole theory is: Go to the gym that you got the membership for and that you know you are not using," she said.

To paraphrase: On a beautiful summer day, drive, go inside a large metal box, and pretend to ride a bike while not going anywhere and breathing computer controlled air.

Congratulations Marianne Maurer, you are an imbecile.

That’s all I got.