Race Reports for the Men: Washington Heights 5k

Report from David Greenberg of the 40+:

On Sunday, in Washington Heights, the 40-49 men had a classic sports day dilemma. We made a huge leap forward compared to previous years. Our team time was far below that of the last few years and several of us had phenomenal races. But we finished third again in the standings. So we have to be happy about the team’s improvements and individual accomplishments, but we don’t have to be happy about our third place finish.

 Pre-race, judging by our entry list and comparing projected times to previous winning times, I felt we had a shot at first place. I wasn’t far off with incomplete information – we ran a 51:20 on Sunday, while a 51:17 won last year. But it looks like the NYRR 40-49 has taken another leap up in quality and it took a sub 50 to win this year.

 Nevertheless, take a look at our progression of team scores. We as a team can be proud of how much we have improved at the top end.

 2015:   52:55

2016:   52:15

2017:   51:20

Our scorers were

Peter Brady (16:51/84.35%/1st 45-49)

Sean Fortune (17:04/82.07%/5th 40-44)

Brad Kelley (17:25/85.41%/2nd 50-54)

Peter Brady

Photo: Andy Kiss

 Peter Brady ran the race on loan from his buildup to competing in the 800/1500 at the world indoor track championships in South Korea. A frigid, hilly pothole-strewn 5k generally doesn’t fit into a mid-D training program, but he did set an AG CR for the course.

 Peter:

 Too bad we got edged by such a small margin.  I certainly could have run a bit faster, but I stuck to my plan and did this as a tempo run to conclude a very hard week of training.  This race combined three of my least favorite things: freezing cold, very hilly and the 5K distance.  I’ve found that when training for the 800/1500, I actually enjoy occasionally racing longer stuff like 15K, 10 miles or half marathon because I can just find a comfortable rhythm and try to maintain.  But 5K is short enough that it requires a different intensity level, while also being long enough to seem like forever when I’m not feeling great.  Bottom line, I’m disappointed I didn’t run faster to help the team grab 2nd, but I’m very happy to return my focus to preparing for the 800/1500 at Worlds.

Captain’s note: Peter let himself be talked into running Washington Heights by yours truly, with the understanding that even a tempo effort would help the team.

Sean Fortune has returned to CPTC after a 7-year break, and scored in his first points race. Welcome back, Sean. He also set a career best AG score for 5k in his course debut.

 We all know Brad Kelley, and since he is a ringer sent down from the 50+, you’ll have to read the 50+ summary to learn about his race. Although he does appear again below. 

 Race of the day honors are shared by Jeff Garnett and Brian Halusan. Both set all time bests for the 5k in NYRR road events, and both ran their best AG scores ever, at any age, at any distance.

 Jeff:

Second race back since taking some time end of last season to rehab from runner’s knee.  This was a great result for me, one that validates my decision to step back, diagnose and correct what was nagging me.  Was dreading where I was going to be after those weeks of non-running, slow running, stretching and strengthening.  Looking back on all of that makes this PR even sweeter.  I’m also hopeful there are more rewards to come.  With just over a month of consistent training and still limited workouts under my belt I am feeling very optimistic about the season ahead.  Only a shame that I could not be toasting this with a team victory today.

Eduardo Ribeiro Ferreira set a course record with his 17:48/78.18%/8th 40-44.

 Shane Campbell one-upped Eduardo by not only setting a course record (18:51), but also a best ever AG score (74.35%).

 Shane:

 Looking forward to a great season and racing a lot of the club races. 

 Pre-season, after a very festive holiday season I hit the training track hard at the start of Jan with the daunting realization of a Boston marathon entry this year. Had a great  18 mile hill long run in Philly with fellow CPTC teammates Andre Hessels and Jeff Garnett. Great running some different terrains ! 

 Looking forward to the season, and thanks for your great emails and updates.

 Daniel Ifcher came within a second of  a masters PR with his 18:21/79.26%/12 AG.

 My experience mirrored re team’s…  I ran a really good race, going out strong in about 6 flat and accelerating each mile by a little. My time was 1 sec off masters PR so I am happy about that ESP given the conditions and the fact that I’ve been piling in the miles. 

 Yet, my place – 12 – in AG was worse than what I would’ve expected. It just shows how competitive the field is. 

 I continue to be impressed with the caliber of our team and that if the field in general. 

 Go Orange!

 Several of us set AG bests for 5k:

 Jim McQuade: 82.77%

Daniel Ifcher:79.26%

Herve Megras: 71.73%

 Top 10s in the age groups:

First:

Peter Brady, 40-44

 Fourth:

Jim McQuade, 45-49

 Fifth:

Sean Fortune, 40-44

 Eighth:

Eduardo Ribeiro Ferreira, 40-44

 Ninth:

David Greenberg, 45-49

 Because I think the Washington Heights course is so distinctive, I put together an extra stat reflecting its negative splittiness:

 I’ll call it the Orange Rush: The delta between an athlete’s first mile and the 0.1 mile at the end, in minutes per mile. In other words, who went the most eyeballs out, heart- thumping, arms in ear-pocket mode for the last 173 meters. I know GPS isn’t accurate enough to make this definitive, but I think the course asks the question.

 The winner is Brad Kelley, who ran a 5:46 first mile and ran the last 0.1 at a blistering 4:24 pace. In training flats. At age 51. You are advised NOT to try to outkick our Mr. Kelley. And we need to fit him out immediately with a 50+ 4 x 400 relay team.

John Milone

 Photo: Andy Kiss

Second place is track (and triathlon) specialist John Milone, backing up his 83% track times. John’s first mile was 5:54 and he finished off at 4:48 pace.

 Sean Fortune’s eyes were no doubt bulging as he grabbed third in the crush, going out in 5:36 and bringing it home at 4:33 speed.

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 Away from NYRR races:

 Josh Rayman has been running well – after running 2:43 at age 47 at the Rocket City Marathon he reported right back to the starting line. And is running 100+ mile weeks:

 After Rocket City, I took a week off, waited another three weeks to start workouts, but I did about six weeks between 100 and 110 miles a week, and did okay at Gasparilla Half Marathon yesterday in Tampa, 1:17:18, 15th man (21st overall) and 1st 40+ (if you don’t count the pros Meb and Jen Rhines!) and 1st overall 45+ by a lot (I’m still 47 for another couple weeks).

The last four miles into the wind up Bayshore easily took 10-15 seconds/mile (we were rolling low 5:50s or better up to that point and then a bunch over 6), which cost me a low to mid 1:16, and I developed an inch-long blood blister on the side/bottom of my foot over the last nine or ten miles probably, so I can barely walk right now. But I don’t know if the blister slowed me down too much. 

Remind the team to wear running socks for the race! That was my big mistake.

And that’s a wrap.  Sign up for the April and June 10ks right away – statistically speaking the April race often has the most PRs of all the points races. It is far enough past the winter that we can get in top shape yet the weather is still cool. Get that breakthrough you’ve wanted! 

Orange Rush!


Report from Chris Donnelly of the 50+:

It’s entirely fitting that Alan Ruben was running his last race as a 50-something in last Sunday’s Washington Heights 5K. Fitting not only because Alan’s competitive spirit and outstanding performances have sparked the 50+ team to strong performances in the club points competition over the past decade and this was the race that kicks off that contest each year, but also – as anybody who’s attended our Thursday night workouts in the park, winter after winter, knows — the man is downright dismissive of the cold. So on Sunday, when we all persevered what was by a wide margin the most frigid ever outing of this race – NYRR posted a race temperature of 14 degrees, well below the next coldest reading two years ago (28 degrees and snowflakes then, remember?), Alan suggested after finishing, with characteristic understatement, that it didn’t actually feel that bad out there on the course.

 

The race we affectionately remember as Coogan’s is, if anything, a cross-country race in drag, with its extreme hills, claustrophobically narrow course, and physical positioning -a stray elbow here and there isn’t unheard of. This year’s bone-crushing cold certainly added another degree of difficulty. And yet, our 50+ squad came away with a satisfying second-place finish in a 50+ bracket that’s been fundamentally re-ordered by Urban Athletics’ recently aged-up — and fiercely talented — squad. The harsh weather rent huge time gaps between the top three teams, with UA at 53:14, CPTC at 56:17, and Taconic at 59:51. Despite the weather, the quality of competition was off the charts; UA’s 53:14 represents the fastest 50+ team effort ever on the Washington Heights course, although 2009’s crack CPTC squad of Stuart Calderwood, Alan Ruben, and Tom Phillips came close at 53:31.

 

Polar vortex or not, Brad Kelley’s 17:25 run on Sunday – an 85% AG performance that was good for second place behind the unstoppable Paul Thompson  – wasn’t far off last year’s crushing 17:10 performance that landed Brad at third place on CPTC’s 50+ top 10 list for outdoor 5Ks.

 

Brad:

Great seeing so many teammates. I think it is real hard getting going especially for us not so young runners in that type of cold. I knew passing the mile this would be a much slower race than last year, how much of that was the cold or just being a year older I could not say. Looks like Paul Thompson and the UA are not just messing up the 40+ this year but are messing with the 50+ division, so happy we could at least get second place. All told I can accept race as I have been battling plantar fasciitis since the Bronx 10 miler and have had less than ideal speed work. My highlight of the day was running down Riverside with Alan Ruben and David Greenberg post race and just taking in the views.  Faster or slower that is what running is all about. … I learned this was to be Alan’s last race as a 50 something, so big thanks, I know he has meant so much to the club in many ways…

 

 

Michael Nolan was next across the line for CPTC at 19:04 (77.44% AG), good for fifth place among men 50-54. Moreover this race was Michael’s best age graded performance among his trio of Winter 2017 NYRR races! 

 

Tom Raymond

Photo: Andy Kiss

Tom Raymond was our third scorer at 19:48 (79.38% AG). Tom also took third place among men 55-59.

 

Tom:

Considering the weather, I was happy with the performance. This is the fittest I’ve been this early in a calendar year since 2010. Hopefully, I can continue to build up both strength and speed as Spring approaches. It a great feeling to be contributing to the team again.

 

Casey Yamazaki wasn’t far behind. Casey ran 20:03 (75.91%) taking 14th among 50-54 men. Alan Ruben, 20:17 (78.11% AG) and Mikal Scott (20:19, 76.74% AG), took sixth and seventh place, respectively in the 55-59 age group.

 

Chris Donnelly came through at 21:29 (71.44%), noting:

Should have taken it easier ahead of the race; I was feeling a bit roughed up by Thursday Night at the Races. Even so, I ran more or less evenly, and at the finish reached for a cup of water that was not only frozen solid, but frozen to the table as well. But it was great hearing about everyone’s experiences later as we stood getting warmed by the sun.

 

Bob Markinson, who ran 22:31 (68.12% AG), said:

BRRRR!!!! Wow!  It was great to see all that orange out there on an otherwise frigid day!  This is the race that inspired me to start running seriously as it passes by my building under my window at about the 0.75 /2.25 mark. Approaching Fort Tryon I noticed Michael Caggia (wearing shorts!), and paced behind him through the park to about mile 2.5, where John Kenney (60) passed us both.  Michael and I traded places a couple of times leading to mile 3 before I kicked it at the end. I was hoping to best my 2015 course PR but I had to settle for besting my 2016 post op performance by 2 seconds for a time of 22:31. I started conservative (7:20) and gradually increased pace (7:14), and finally warmed up for mile 3 (7:06) before kicking the final 0.15 (by my watch) at a sub-6:00 pace.  The bag check experience was better on a pleasant sunny side street.

 

Finally, Oscar Garcia improved over last year’s time, closing it out for CPTC with a 23:06 (66.41% AG).

 

Well done guys! We’re off to another great start on what should be a hotly contested year of racing. And congrats on the strong showing for all of our teams especially the first place finishes by CPTC’s open and 50+ women. 

Chris Donnelly


Report from Hank Schiffman of the 60+:

Exhilarating, that’s the word I’ve been looking for; second choice would be frigid. Got that out of the way. How about the A Train crawling like a slug to 125th St, then waiting for the next one to 168th St also crawling? Off the check list too. Otherwise, I suppose the 2017 Washington Height’s 5k was similar to a computer game of invading Normandy on D’Day. Logistics, logistics, logistics, and then getting shot at with cold as a surrogate for live ammo.

Hank Schiffman

Photo: Andy Kiss

Of the 90 CPTC finishers, 48 had been of the 94 CPTC finishers a year ago. I looked at last year’s AG% vs this year’s. I eliminated 8 whose difference was more than a few percentage points, assuming other factors were responsible for a significant part of that change. Of the remaining 40 runners who ran both years I averaged AG% of each and compared the numbers hoping to gain insight into how conditions affected the difference. The results were virtually identical: 2016: 74.57, 2017: 74.70. We actually ran fractionally faster this year than last.

Taking the top 15 runners and bottom 15 runners, and compared averages last and this year: the fastest 76.82% last year vs 77.43% this year, while the slowest had 71.84% last year vs 71.72% this year; the fastest were slightly faster and the slowest were slightly slower. This reflects the training conditions last year vs this and race conditions.

I did not know in advance that the B corral was in the second wave. It was a bit of a shock waiting for the corral to move soon after the horn and not happening.

I’m thinking NYRR needs to rethink its current digital mile time displays. In the age of screen digital technology, and multiple waves, having one time display for those in the first corral is confusing for most of the field. Why not display times for each wave on a larger screen?

Back to the race. As one in the 2nd wave, I think overall time was burdened by a degree of confusion. My lap time seems to show that my first mile was the slowest, not that I would have gained anything significant towards our collective effort. Clear skies and lots of runners in orange, plus CPTC cheering section out in force to the good.

For a 5k, this venue shakes, rattles and rolls. Only one turn but everything else is either up or down. Missing was the music of years gone by; times change and the hills get steeper.

On a difficult day, 6 x 60+ CPTC men crossed the finish line of this race. Bless them all, we finished 4th:

Brooklyn 1:03:01

Taconic 1:03:24

Witold’s 1:05:45

CPTC 1:07:44

Front Runners 1:08:35

The faithful who were healthy were toeing the line, plus rookie John Kenney, who was our 2nd scorer, running 22:24.

Tony Ruiz and Kevin McGuire

Photo: Andy Kiss

If ever there was a face of our 60+ men: Kevin McGuire, our 3rd scorer, 23:57, Phil Vasquez, 1st back up, 26:07, and Dave Delano, 28:36, would be on the poster. Fred Trilli, running faithful and Santa among running elves come Christmas rounded out the lot, 36:28. As difficult as these race conditions, running longer on Fred’s less than ideal knees has to take the cake for getting a gold star this day. 1st scorer, but not for long with the coming birthday of Alan Ruben, Hank Schiffman, 21:23, ceded his first in age group to Jack McShane of Brooklyn Road Runners with his graduating into the age group. Coincidentally, Jack and Alan, so close in being 5 years different in years, always in the next cohort, are right behind Rick Shaver for 3rd and 4th (I don’t know which one is 3rd and which one is 4th) for the longest running streak in the NYC Marathon. Both are not only great runners but gentlemen of the first order.

Kevin:

Coogan’s Race was fun. Same effort but my pace seems to slow a bit each year. The good news I moved up an age group but some though-breeds are also moving into the 60+ .

I just glad to be still at it. In the middle of training again for the Mendocino 50K. It’s a very California type trail race and appropriately scheduled for Earth Day.

In perspective to last year’s numbers, AG%:

Hank Schiffman, this year 79.25%, last year 80.43%

Kevin McGuire, this year 69.55%, last year 71.30%

Phil Vasquez, this year 63.25%, last year 64.99%

Dave Delano, this year 61.08%, last year 60.92%

Thus Dave is the polar bear, marginally so.

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2017 CPTC Men 60+ 4 x 400 Millrose Games

Hal Lieberman, Hank Schiffman, Robert Spring, Noel Haynes

Our 60+ men is a chest of treasure. The sad part is that current value of some of the best does not pass for legal tender. Injury, illness and circumstance have broken up that old gang of ours. That said, I do believe we have turned the corner. Among those who are in the game and fleet of foot, Noel Haynes and Allan Dias can take the game to others. Noel, even with an injury not fully resolved is a master of leg speed. At 70, he is the athlete who inspires us to rise towards his standards. He fell before the finish line in Perth at Worlds 2016, picked himself up and still took first in men’s 70-74 in the 800. Consider running your age in seconds in the 400. He bettered it by 6 seconds. After handing the stick to Rob Spring he tumbled headfirst, skinning his knee. We don’t know why it happened, but he emerged otherwise sound.

Allan Dias ran 65 at 65 years a month ago. But it resulted in a tweak.  A lot of tweaks have been going around as of late. Bill Allert has been nursing a tweak and Hal Lieberman is also tweak-worthy. Dan Molloy might or might not be tweaking. Hank Schiffman has been uninjured but his level of leg turnover at 400 meters is purely vintage racing. However, in the land of the tweak, the uninjured are sent to fight at the front. Showing up at Devon’s Tuesday workout a week and a half ago was Rob Spring a CPTC name on our 60+ email roster. He expressed an interest in returning to the track. 4 days prior to Millrose, he begins the workout with Hank, and precedes to lay down real estate on Hank out of the start, increasing his holdings with distance. He drops out at 300 meters for going out too quickly while not having trained for the full 400. So he dials it back a tad for 200 meters and cruises to 400 in 74. After attending to details he was positioned to get the stick from Noel, our starter in the 4 x 400 in a few days.

Track Captain Hal makes the call to take the pressure off both Dan and Bill as he feels the most reliable among the 3 to take the stick to the line.

Thus it was:

Noel Haynes    64.48

Robert Spring   68.48

Hank Schiffman  73.99

Hal Lieberman    77.58

We ran a collective 4:45.65, an improvement over recent past efforts. But with much potential for improvement. And consider our youngest, Rob, is 66. Both Noel and Hal are over 70. I’d hazard we held our own by virtue of AG%.

Hank Schiffman

 
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