Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Good Times Had By All!

Team MCC took to the streets of Lowell tonight to compete in the final outing of the Good Times 5K racing series, and the Middlesex women ruled the night!
It started out perfectly fine, with a great line-up of MCC runners, seen here:
Until some clown had to come along and add some testosterone to the mix and foul everything up.  A thorn among the roses.  And seriously - I got 747 for a number?!?  This plane's coming in for a landing!
In case you were wondering, the women at Middlesex Community College do indeed, run the streets of Lowell.  But ladies - GET OUT OF THE WAY OF THE CAR!
In the starting chute, they're flexing all kinds of muscle.  Do. Not. Mess. With. These. Ladies. 
It was a packed chute for the final night of the 10-week 5K series.
A warm night, but a great course.  Here's everyone coming into the home stretch.  Melissa won't even look over her shoulder to see who's breathing down her neck.
Paula, never mind posing, go beat Melissa to the finish!
Rebecca is all smiles on her way to a personal best for the series!
Speaking of posing, Donna ALWAYS knows where the cameras are.
Having had enough with the hills of Worcester, Cherie takes a run at the walkways of Lowell
And oh yeah, who did a personal best and got the coveted smiley face medallion for her efforts?  THIS GAL, THAT'S WHO!  Nicely done, Rebecca!  Onward and upward!
Great job by Dave Camire and his army of volunteers who have turned this racing series into a jewel in the running circles of Greater Lowell lore in recent years.  They're done for the summer, but will be back in December with a Hot Chocolate 2 miler!
Fleet feet, Team MCC!

Chamberas Secrets

A CRAZY fast field for  the Thomas Chamberas 6K USATF race at Carlisle's Great Brook state park this weekend.
This one's an annual staple in the E Streeter repetoire, in great part due to the fact that it helps raise money for a great cause, the fight against cystic fibrosis.  This year's race raised more than $10,000.
For more about the disease as well as the courageous lad for whom the race is named, visihttp://thomasxc.wordpress.com/
For this year's outing, the E Streeters represented, but could barely crack the elite field atop the pack, save for Scott Spence, he of the inhuman mileage of late.
As anyone who's ever run this race knows, it wouldn't be a Chamberas 6K without Mike Mahone's introductions and dulcet tones setting the stage.
Another event being held at the same time at the state park made for a course change, and unfortunately made for an extremely congested start.  Maybe that's what kept us from cracking the top 10.
Not many pics along the course to share, too busy watching for roots and rocks.  But here's a few finish line shots, including this one, which proves that Kris Pisarik crossed the tape before his daughter Beth, who EVERYONE knows was just taking it easy on her old man.  Plus, she rocks the headband better than dad, too.
Mike Cassidy didn't have a lot to say on his way in.  He's still steaming about my course description of that one hill at the one-mile mark.  We like to call it spaghetti hill, because it winds you up the course in six installments as opposed to going straight up.
Post-race, Krispy and Beth look none the worse for the wear.
And finally, two legends.  One of them can sing, the other, not so much.  You figure out which is which. 
This race also serves annually as a send-off for E Streeter extraordinaire Andrew Cook, who headed back to Holy Cross the following day.  It's always his summer running swan song with the group runs, and he went out in style, with a more than decent finish.  Good luck at the Cross, bud, make sure you keep logging the miles!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Moose Can Run!

Sunday was a return to glory on the trails of Mine Falls in Nashua, N.H., home of the historic Moose is Loose 10 mile relay race.  Writers and pundits are still talking about the stunning 2010 legendary E Streeters victory, a convincing win that will forver live in the annals of racing upsets.  And the victors of that clash still boast their victory mugs, right Nate Tenczar, John Piekos, Barry Scanlon and your humble blog author?
Anyways, we can't always live in the past - except when it comes to recounting Moose upsets - so it was time to notch a new page in running lore with this year's competition.  Enter: Scott Spence.
First up, this year's competition again saw two E Streeter teams, or as I dubbed them for this battle, the He Streeters and the She Streeters.
Shoutouts not just to Andrew Cook and Carlos Borges for rounding out Team Testosterone, but for newcomers Rebecca Newell, Donna Corbin, Mary-Jo Griffin, and Caitlin Campopiano for entering the fray!
The female contingent was all smiles for the pre-race warm-up. Would the smiles last?
A mother-and-daughter bridge 
Proudly representing Team MCC
You can't just pass by these types of natural views without snapping a pic or two
Branching out to new photo locations
Finally it was racetime!  Up for the first leg, Rebecca, Scott, and myself.  Yeah, here's where it gets both confusing AND incredible.  You see, Scott figured it wouldn't be enough to just do his 2.5 mile leg just once.  No that's for mere mortals.  Instead, he signed up with ANOTHER team, and ran the first leg for their team.  So here's the folks I had to compete with in the first wave.  One of them looks worried.  The other one doesn't.  You figure out which is which.
Okay, time for relay action shots!
Rebecca is all pumped up after her impressive leg of the four-member relay.  Must have been all those inspirational signs out along the course.
With a hand-off to Donna, the second leg gets underway!
Over on the men's side, Carlos finishes his lightning round and passes the baton to Superman...
Who's faster than a speeding bullet
From one Superman to another, it's time for the last leg, the anchor, if you will.
Remember the name of the race, the Moose is Loose?  Can you spot the moose in this picture?
Mary-Jo is done waiting around, it's her turn for the hand-off from Donna!
Superman, meanwhile, manages a high-five from mom.
Yeah, because a moose medal makes you look SO bad-ass.
Meanwhile, mom hands things off to Caitlin for their anchor leg
And finally, the winner's chute, where Scott brought things home with authority!
A winning combo, no doubt, with or without the moose ears
At race's end, a mother-and-daughter reunion.  One of these two is holding the other one upright.
Finally, awards time.  And let's face it, it's all about the mugs.
This year, the E Streeters took home plenty of hardware, as evidenced by the photos below.  Scott, by the way, captured honors with both a first AND second place team finish. Truly, a Herculean effort, this after notching his 1,300th mile running this year with our 10-mile outing on Saturday in Westford.  And he still has more than four months to go in the year.
That's it for this year's Moose!  Hope to see all of you - and more - back for next year's outing!  In the meantime, victors, enjoy your libations, because we all know victory always tastes better in a Moose glass! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Climb Every Mountain

Go ahead, I'll wait while you sing the next couple of lines of that song.....
Okay, now that you're back, let's take a hike up New Hampshire's Mount Monadnock, shall we?  One of our favorite annual outings!  This year, Andrew and I decided to try the most challenging of trails, figuring we'd shake things up.  Up, indeed. And up, and up and up.
Andrew was all smiles at the outset, but that's because it was still flat ground here. 
A few minutes later, and it was "Dad, seriously?!?"
This ain't your East Boston Camps trail.  This one involved some serious climbing!
But hey, once you get up there, you're king of the mountain.  I didn't have the heart to tell him we weren't at the top quite yet. 
What a landscape!
The summit, behind him, seems so close.  It really isn't. 
I crouched to allow you to see more of the vista, not because I was tired.
Stopping the occasional passer-by for a father-son shot. 
Thank God for these cairns to help mark the way to the summit.  It can get a tad confusing once you break from the smaller trails into the rocky plateaus. 
We finally made it to the highest point of Monadnock!  At which point, Andrew, king of the mountain, once again proved his royalty by posing with an international tour group of teenage girls hailing from numerous states and countries.  They were all cheering for him to join him in their group picture and then asking me to take pics of him with them with THEIR cameras.  Story of his life.
The obligatory father-son shot at Monadnock's apex.

Seriously, if you've never attempted Monadnock, it's one of those must-do excursions in New England.  An incredible experience.
He's got the whole world laid out before him.  And he's up for the challenge. 
Heading back down, another stop at the cairns, or as us Lord of the Rings fans like to call them, the Beacons.  Luckily today, the beacons were NOT lit, so Gondor and Rohan didn't have to answer.
But as the laws of physics dictate, what goes up, must come down.  And let me tell you, the downward trek was even more taxing on our legs than the uphill voyage.  We'll be feeling this one for several runs to come!