GSRT Track Workouts

8 Oct

GSRT Tuesday night track is coached by phenomenal and inspiring pro triathlete, Amber Cullen Ferreira.  Workouts are primarily on the track, but occasionally we run the grassy Memorial Field perimeter (and grassy hill) or a few times this season, we did hill repeats to water tower behind Concord Hospital.

Amber’s workouts make a lot of sense in terms of volume, relevancy, periodization and allowing an athlete to get into a “flow.”   What I mean is, the workouts are interesting, but not so complex that you can’t remember the next thing to do.   It’s inspiring to do the workouts with elite athletes like Amber, also Amber’s husband Danny Ferreira (a 2:45 ish marathoner), Ryan Kelly, Eric Williams and a few times Nacho Hernando.

Before the speed segment, we do dynamic drills & strides, which I find totally necessary.  On the nights when I “substitute coach,” I lead a dynamic drill/stride routine that I’ve done for years before track workouts, which is pretty similar to Amber’s drills.  I love that the group is so appreciative when I coach!!  Plus, the athletes are tremendously attentive and the positive feedback makes me so happy.    After the speed, the group gathers for a core session, including front & side planks, back bridges, push ups, etc.   Yay!!

Amber is competing at the Ironman World Championships in Kona this weekend, so when we did track last night, we took a group photo sending her our support.  Nancy Druke got a photo during the core session too.


Good luck in Kona, Amber!!

Good luck in Kona, Amber!!

Good luck in Kona, Amber!!

Good luck in Kona, Amber!!







USATF New England 10 K Championship, Lone Gull, Gloucester 9.14.14

17 Sep

Third visit to Lone Gull race and its gorgeous course along the ocean.  Last year, I traveled to Lone Gull with biking neighbor Kevin and his friend Howard and they had PR races, so this year Kevin wanted to try for another PR.   Traffic delays resulted in getting to Gloucester late, then seeing a huge line of cars for Good Harbor Beach parking, we strategically ditched the car at a shopping plaza and ran past the traffic to registration.  It worked out as a perfect warm-up and warm-down after the race.  The only down side was not having warm clothes nearby, so unfortunately no post race recovery in the ocean.

Photo by Scott Mason

Photo by Scott Mason

Lining up closer to the front and a more aggressive first mile than last year were helpful as I paced Kevin the first 2 miles.  I pulled ahead as he grabbed water and I kept pushing hard, trying to chase familiar targets like Lisa Doucett and John Kleschinsky.  Scott Mason kindly took my gloves which I tossed his way.  There was a bit of wind, but it was great weather for running.    I didn’t feel like I had much “kick” at the end when I finally got to the 6 mile mark… that big house on the ocean, slight uphill and in to the finish line, but I kept strong.

I saw Tina Dowling & Glen Simm and some other friends I had not seen in a while.   The running community is full of so many fantastic people.    Checking the results, I was very pleased with my faster than expected pace and Kevin had scored his PR!  Yay!  The race shirts weren’t bad, so we retrieved where we’d quickly stashed them behind a rock (and pricker bush) while dashing to the start.

Crossing back over the beach to post-race festivities… laughing about the sand in everybody’s shoes… it was a tremendously rewarding and successful day.   The line for food was ridiculous and anticipating the run back to the car, the better option was to head straight out celebratory seared ahi tuna.   Although, not without getting slightly lost and almost running out of gas, but that’s just part of the adventure.

Sashimi-style Ahi Tuna seared rare and placed atop an Asian slaw. Served with a creamy ginger-soy sauce.

Sashimi-style Ahi Tuna seared rare and placed atop an Asian slaw. Served with a creamy ginger-soy sauce.

Full race results

 7:35, 7:49, 7:31, 7:52, 7:38, 9:31  (final 1.2)

47:58 (watch);   48:00,  7:44 (gun);    48:10  7:46 (chip)

Whirlaway Women’s Masters, Women’s Seniors and Men’s Seniors all placed first, yay!!

Whirlaway Men’s Masters 3rd, Men’s Open 4th and Women’s Open were 6th in an extremely competitive field.


USATF New England 15K Championship, Burlington, Vermont 08.31.2014

3 Sep

Only the 2nd year for this GMAA race and first as a USATF New England Championship.   Link to course description (thanks Level Renner).   I was up at 4:00 a.m. and drove north with GSRT treammate Rob Knight, leaving Hopkinton, NH at 5:30.  We took Rob’s Acura 6 speed, shared the driving and Rob even ate sushi with chopsticks during the ride.

My training has been very light, so expectations were pretty loose.  I expected to run approximately the same pace as Amherst 10 mile race earlier this year and to calm pre-race nerves, I reminded myself to just get through the 9.3 miles.

The start was about .75 from registration, so that was a good warm-up.  I lined up near other Whirly girls… women on the left, men on the right and was glad to see CSU’s Lisa Doucett in the early miles.  With the wind, I tried to strategically place myself behind a larger male runner and a pack of several others.   A monster hill during the 4th mile did not seem to end, so I just imagined the hills I’d been biking all summer.  I’m not sure how I was able to keep my body cruising so consistently and felt grateful that I wasn’t falling apart.   I was surprised to catch GSRT trackmate Rob Knight and hoped he’d come along, but he’d toasted himself with a super aggressive start.   The latter parts of the course felt like a gift with some gentle downhills and tailwind.  I skipped the 3 water stops, just keeping to the flow of the run.  I encouraged SISU runner John Klechinsky and ticking off the last few tenths of a mile, I looked around for any other women who might be in my age group, rounded the corner and spotted the finish line.   Whirlaway coach Dave Kazanjian yelled to me and I kicked to beat a younger female runner to the line for a 1:13:30 finish (watch), 1:13:36 gun time.   Tom Derderian wasn’t far behind me and a few of us congratulated each other.  Figuring I ran 30-40 seconds per mile faster than I expected was such a positive feeling and every time I think about it I still feel so incredibly fortunate, wow!!

I must have been thirsty & had low blood sugar because I grabbed a cup of cold cider and it tasted out of this world… like the best thing I’ve ever had.   I wasn’t very hungry but tasted a Stonyfield yogurt tube for protein and a bagel for later.   The awards ceremony had a podium and Rob Knight plus 3-4 Whirly girls all received awards and applause.  There was a raffle with expensive prizes like a couple Keurig coffemakers, ski goggles, Vermont teddy bear, etc and I won a $25 gift card to SkiRack store.  Yay!!  We walked through the farmer’s market right near the race and Whirlaway and GSRT teammates Eric Williams and his wife Becky kindly invited us to use the shower at their B&B, but we were anxious to hit the road.  Quick stop for Starbucks iced black coffee and back on Rte 89.

I finally found the online results and it looks like I might potentially get 6 points in the USATF GP!!!  Woo!

Whirlaway had an excellent day with Ruben winning overall. Men’s Open – 1st, Men’s Masters – 3rd,  Men’s Seniors – 2nd, Women’s Open – 2nd, Women’s Masters – 1st, Women’s Seniors – 1st

Thanks to everyone who worked to put on the race and congratulations to all of the runners.  It was great to see so many fantastic friends and teammates!
15K Burlington (2)

New England Runner Magazine – July/August 2014

11 Aug

New England Runner Magazine Article (4)_Page_1


New England Runner Magazine Article (4)_Page_2

Magazine Cover – USATF New England Exchange Zone

3 Jun

Exchange zone coverI swear, I have lots of excuses for not updating my blog in so long!  Primarily that I put most exciting updates on FaceBook wall, so it seems redundant.

But, hitting USATF New England Grand Prix consecutive race #100 in March was a big deal.  Lots of press and attention… for example, USATF NE blog, Level Renner interview and video, huge cake from USATF NE after the race, Athlete of the Month in New England Runner (with $50. Whirlaway Gift Certificate), article in Runner’s World online, hundreds of FaceBook “likes”… and then yesterday, this magazine arrived!!  Cover shot!!

Scott Mason (official Goon name “Flash”) took this photo at USATF New England half marathon championship, New Bedford when I was close to finishing #100 consecutive.   Race bib #100 made it extra special… cool, huh?

Yes, I feel very fortunate.  Wow… wow… wow

USATF New England 5k Championship, Hollis NH 06.13.2013

22 Jun

My third trip to Hollis Fast 5k was surprisingly fast… yes, even more than expected!! Changed into Whirlaway uniform in the parking garage of new job at U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 4th day on the job. It may be temporary, but enjoy it! Based on 2 mile time trial previous week at GSRT with Amber Cullen Ferreira, I hoped for 6:45 pace at Hollis… but that Hollis course was blazing fast and my pace ended up being 6:19!!

The race drew nearly 1400 runners on a Thursday night, weather was ideal. Chugged a huge diet Mtn Dew for caffeine and saw tons of wonderful friends and teammates. But really, my time was unreal… I’ll cherish it for a long time.


Whirlaway women swept Open, Masters and Seniors and Whirlaway Men’s Masters and Seniors got second!!

19:34 6:19 I don’t know that I can call it a 5K PR due to the course advantage, but it is a “Hollis PR!”

USATF New England Half Marathon Championship, New Bedford 3.17.13

28 Mar

11th and 2nd fastest New Bedford… achieved the goal I had set for myself.  I worked hard over the winter to rebuild some fitness, so I was happy with the results.  I traveled with

Scott Mason Photography

Scott Mason Photography

a friend, Rob Knight, and the drive went very quickly.  My posterior tibial tendinitis has started acting up again, so the last 3 miles were quite a challenge.   Great fun seeing so many friends and such a strong Whirlaway team! 

Full Results

Team standings

Eric Pearce Photo

Eric Pearce Photo

USATF New England 10 Mile Championship, Amherst MA 2.24.13

28 Feb

A few days before the race, saw NECN forecast of 12-18″  of snow.  We’d find a way to run in it, but driving there?  Held off booking a room as snow forecast decreased and race start time delayed.    Still, a good amount of snow in New Hampshire when I met Whirlaway teammate Brandon Newbold for the 2.5 hour drive.   The drive was challenging and cars were off the road, but Brandon (from Alaska) plowed little Kia through undeterred.   

boxing gloves?

boxing gloves?

This was my 5th Amherst and ended up a course PR for me.  I put a lot of work into rebuilding fitness, hoping to pull off a good race and felt very fortunate how it came together.  I had a couple key targets, including Stephen Peckiconis and Tom Derderian, who I caught and kept ahead of.   Through the wet and muddy dirt section, noticed a very mud splattered female target… got her!  I kept my focus and felt strong on the hills.  Knowing every second counts for the team, I pushed hard the last 3 miles against another master, who was somehow able to chat, but only put 3 seconds on me.

Results were posted and I was thrilled with a fast time and 5th master, yay!!!  Placement was a luck factor since some fast masters did not end up racing.  I was surprised to hear my name during awards and with 5 year age groups, I even pulled off 2nd place there! yay!!  And to top it off, I scored for the winning women’s masters team, Whirlaway!!!  Can’t beat a day like that!!  So many accomplishments, definitely something not to be taken for granted.  

Congratulations to everyone who ran and thanks coach Fernando Braz, so many friends and Whirlaway teammates for a phenomenal day.

1:12:38   7:16 pace   (course PR by 1:28)

Womens Masters Team Results

Full results

122nd Bemis Forslund Pie Race at Northfield Mount Hermon School 11.12.12

15 Nov

Fresh Baked Pie Race Pies

Thirty years after my first “men’s pie”, this year my goals were (1)  to be healthy enough to race it (2) fast enough to get a pie and (3) stretch goal to run under 33 minutes for a young men’s pie.   Yes, “men’s pie” sounds funny…  here’s the translation:

Pie-qualifying times:
General (Students and graduates prior to their 25th reunion – Class of ’88 or younger)
Females 40 minutes / Males 33 minutes

Masters (Graduates beyond their 25th reunion – Class of ’87 and prior)
Females 45 minutes / Males 38 minutes

I graduated class of ’84, so technically I was allowed additional 5 minutes (masters), but I really wanted to hit the fastest time necessary for a pie (33 min), just like 30 years ago. 

Race day temperature was warm for this time of year (60’s in Concord) but perfect for running and enjoying being outside on campus.  Pre-race nerves, even though there wasn’t huge pressure.  Noticed fresh apple pie scent as I climbed the steps inside the gym… here’s a video about making the pies!  My ’84 classmate, Marggie Slichter, is the cute blonde near the beginning, talking about the pies.   And here’s a video from the 2010 Pie Race.

Being uncertain how Newton shoes would be for grass and x-c trail section, I covered those sections during 20 minute warm up.   Fortunately, Newtons were fine.  We lined up on the field in front of the gym and the headmaster fired the gun.  The kids went out really fast!  The video at the start, I look like I’m almost last ;-)  I wound up 62 of 311, so passed a lot of people.  

Maintained a strong, even pace, and I was ready when we hit the trails.  I was near some boys who were also shooting for pie time and I actually nimbly handled the rocks, roots, inclines really well, total focus, arms everywhere!

Several times on trail portion I was in a position to pass and I was so impressed to hear the boys yelling to each other “let her through!”   One boy called out what we needed to run the last mile for pie, losing another dude who apparently stopped to throw up, and several strategizing to “kick at Tron” (they still call Overtoun dorm “Tron!”)  Surges, I’d stay with them, but I didn’t wait until Tron to kick.  I saw another alum and went after him, passing him at the chapel.   Rounded near Tron, straightaway by gym and kept strong to glimpse the clock, 31 minutes!!! Thrilled !! It would be a young men’s pie!!  Hit my watch at 31:07!!!  Safely ahead of my stretch goal to be under 33… young men’s pie!!!  

We stumbled through the finish chute all congratulating each other, attached placement stickers to board and making our way to the pies.   Proudly, pie winners cradled their prizes as runners continued coming in.   Alum friend and running talent Ellen McCurtin was right behind me.  I carefully transported a couple waters, an apple and my pie to the car before my 15 minute warm down.  

1913… hey, that looks like me ;-)

Here’s a link to school website with race write-up and Full results which were published a few days later (they apologized for the delay in posting, explaining “it is an antique timing machine that we use. Very functional but the data conversion takes a while.”)   

And, I received email confirmation that I was first female master!!!  woot woot!!!!

USATF New England Marathon Championship, Cape Cod 10.28.12

7 Nov

Surf Drive, final few miles

Both feet taped and up at 2:30 a.m. met Doctor Death (Chris Chetsas) and Hillcheck (Dan Hill) at Cataduella in Methuen to follow them to Falmouth.   Highway warnings about  Hurricane Sandy added to nerves, but you know that Cape Cod Marathon never hands it to you easily.  Heading into the adventure of my 10th Cape Cod Marathon, this one with very limited training &  foot injuries adding to the challenge. 

Teammate, Karen Durante, kindly picked up our race numbers.  We walked to Tedeschi for more Red Bull Zero that I’d need later.   Visited with teammates before the race & Coach Fernando Braz called with a race plan suggestion to “help others.”  Not to the extent of sacrificing my own race, but I found that doing things like giving WRT teammate Brandon Newbould my Body Glide, smiling during race, saying “great job,”  pointing to others wearing  Newtons and being positive inspired me.   One college age dude who was running nearby around 15-19 miles exclaimed, “oh good, there you are!!!” after regaining sight of me.  I was making a difference to other runners.  It turned out to be brilliant and motivating. 

Grateful having so many friends on the course.   WRT teammate Chris Spinney even ran with me around 26.   But, no, I didn’t buy the line that the wind would be less once I turned the corner!  

Although I didn’t use my watch, 2 or 3 course clocks let me know I was ahead of my goal time.  Most thankfully, my injuries weren’t stopping me!   Turned last corner onto Main Street to see the finish line and Whirlaway and Goon teammates screaming to me… closer, I focused on 3:51 on the clock.   I was beyond thrilled.  Besides successfully completing 13th consecutive Ironrunner year & 26th marathon,  added bonus of being Boston Qualifier #14.

26 miles, photo by Scott Mason

Back at the hotel, the shower had a pounding massage head which I directed on my hardworking quads, then off to awards and those gorgeous (pink for women!) Ironrunner jackets.   The jackets were stunning this year and the beauty and significance made even sweeter because of the challenges faced. 

At the post marathon party, Courtney and Caroline Bird were honored for their 30 years directing the race, then we danced to Baha Brothers band with post race glow, shaking out tired legs.   Exhaustion seems to lend to letting loose for ridiculous amounts of fun.  Dancing with teammate Paul Hammond is always a kick and SRR runner Robert Cipriano joined in too.   

Courtney Bird, 30 years as Race Director

Then, Doctor Death generously treated  Hillcheck and I for tons of insanely delicious sushi.  The chef presented one dish, unknown contents, which I’m pretty sure was my first raw octopus!!  Great fun!!

Hearing talk about closing the bridges to/from the Cape due to Hurricane Sandy convinced me to be on the road as soon as it was daylight. 

USATF NE Grand Prix Team Results: Whirlaway runners finished up a spectacular season with a women sweeping, men’s masters tied for 1st, senior men 1st and open men 4th.  

USATF NE Grand Prix Individual Results:  Looks like I’ll finish 4th in the individual standings (45-49) and was the only person in my division to score in all 7 of the Grand Prix races!    Thanks to DD for compiling this list, I feel very honored to be included.  It is extremely gratifying that our efforts are recognized.

Full Marathon Race Results.    26th Marathon, 14th Boston Qualifier, 13th consecutive Iron Runner Year!!!!  Yay!!!  (3:51:30)     3:51:23    8:50

Congratulations to everyone who ran and thanks so much for the love and support of incredible friends, family, Whirlaway & Goon teammates, coaches Dave Kazanjian & Fernando Braz.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

-Theodore Roosevelt, Citizenship in a Republic


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