Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Defying gravity in Stormville

It was truly a treat to be able to finally attend the women's team gathering at the Gould residence in Stormville. This has been a preseason tradition for many years, but it was the first time I was able to clear my home schedule enough to make it. What fun! I mean, I really really enjoyed it. Kathy Gould is the mastermind of these festivities, and it is truly creative and fun and excellent team bonding for the ladies. And oh yeah, the food was incredible -- personal highlight were the meatballs, capped off with a sumptuous dessert celebrating the many August birthdays on the women's team. Here is a team photo as well as a photo of one of the group activities, dubbed "defying gravity" in which the teams had to keep balloons in the air for as long as possible. Kudos to the "Purple Team" for winning. But really, all were winners on this great summer evening. Many thanks to Chris and Kathy Gould, and all the other brains behind the operation. Well worth the effort. Nicely done!

Tuesday tempo at the rail trail

The storms overnight were so loud and so scary that they woke up many of us in the wee hours of the morning. Fortunately, the morning cleared sufficiently for our tempo workout at the New Paltz Rail Trail. It was a bit muggy, but overall it was a spirited workout with the men and women practicing together -- always a treat. Here is a photo of the women's team beginning their cooldown toward the Village of New Paltz. We look forward to a return trip to the trail later in the summer/fall.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Preseason, day 5: Dirt roads in Millbrook

The men had an excellent long run on the undulating dirt roads in Millbrook today, getting in anywhere from 13 to 15 miles on the mostly traffic-free, shaded and hilly roads. Most of these are rural, one-lane roads and today the one lane was filled with long-distance men.

Notes from abroad: Running in Paris

It was great to hear from track/XC team members Bryn Gorberg and Jenn Horner, juniors who are studying abroad for the fall 2015 semester in Paris. Bryn e-mailed this photo and this brief report of their first run in Paris:  

"We went on our first run in Paris today! We did just a 30-minute run to explore the area. We ran along the Seine River; it's not the Walkway Over the Hudson, but it'll 'do!' I love having the Eiffel Tower in view. Also, we found a track right next to the Eiffel Tower that is accessible to the public so we can do workouts there as well! Hope preseason is going well."

Great to hear from them and glad they are enjoying Paris on foot.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Preseason, day 4: God's air conditioning

Saturday morning practice called for Farm Lane repeats (men) and Bowdoin Park hill repeats (women). The early morning sky was bright and the early morning air was beautiful with low humidity and cooling breezes. One men's team member who shall remain nameless even said it felt a little chilly before he started running. Imagine that, on August 22? It made for a spirited and excellent workout. This refreshing weather will be short-lived, as the warmth and humidity is scheduled to return early next week. For one day? God's air conditioning sure felt great.

Straight outta ...

Talk among some team members was about going to the movies at some point during preseason. One movie that has garnered a lot of interest is the biographical drama "Straight Outta Compton" about the California hip hop group N.W.A from the late 1980s/early 1990s. How long have I been coaching? Well. Geez! That first fall in 1991, the team's unofficial "anthem" was a Naughty By Nature song of very questionable taste (I would link it here, but this is a Family Blog, after all), a product of that very same early hip hop/rap era. And now! That same era is the subject of a historical drama. Been a long time, indeed! The photo on the left is one I found on Facebook, and it is far more my taste: Warren Haynes, the pride of Asheville, N.C. (Oops! Whoever made this copycat thing spelled Asheville wrong!) Hopefully someday they'll make a movie about Haynes' remarkable music career. OK!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Preseason, day 3: Carry that weight

It was crowded but very productive in the weight room for our first session with new strength and conditioning coach Aaron Suma. Here, you can see Coach Chuck leading by example with the women's team, while the men gathered around for some expert instruction from Coach Suma.

Preseason, day 3: Planks in the gray gym

We had a great introductory session with new Strength and Conditioning Coach Aaron Suma on Friday afternoon. Coach Suma was a breath of fresh air for our distance runners, who have not been accustomed to such knowledgeable attention for many, many years. We capped the session with some planks in the gray gym.

Preseason, Day 3: Sunshine's the "thing"

The original forecast was pretty ominous for Friday morning: Heavy rain and thunderstorms. However, the worst of it blew through in the early morning hours, leaving a brilliantly sunny and warm morning for a distance run at Vassar Farm. Juniors Stefan Morton and Spencer Johnson decided to wear their "Thing" shirts, prompting me to wonder whether they were part of a family visiting a Six Flags theme park or something. Here's the THING! Those shirts got pretty sweaty on the 9-mile run. OK!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Preseason day 2: Chillin' in the Gunks

God turned on the air conditioning for Day 2 of preseason at Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Ulster County. The clouds rolled in and there were even a few steady showers as our men and women embarked on the beautiful carriage trails in the Shawangunk Ridge. The "real feel" temperature had to be at least 30 degrees cooler than our first practice, less than 24 hours earlier. Such is the beauty of going into the hills of Ulster County. A special treat was literally running into Marist Running Alum Ned Kenyon (Class of 99), who drove up from Long Island with his nephew for a nice 9-miler in the woods.

Upon returning to campus, the sun broke through the clouds and summer resumed in full force for a hot afternoon of team photos in the gray gym and on South Field. Heavy rains are expected late tonight and tomorrow, which could hamper our practice schedule for Friday. Fortunately, the foul weather should clear out somewhat for the weekend's hard workout (Saturday) and long run (Sunday).

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hot start to preseason

If you happened to check GoredFoxes.com, you saw a nice team photo (the same one as here) and an update on our practice venues as we began preseason in earnest today. It was hot and humid. Not exactly breaking news for August, but given we had to practice mid-afternoon, it was less than ideal. We made the best of it, loading up the coolers with water and Gatorade and away we went -- the men to Mills Mansion in Staatsburg for our annual hill workout, and the women to Bowdoin Park for repeat 1kms on the horseshoe loop. Even after 25 years, a new season is still new. If that makes sense.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Here we go

The final fall sports teams arrive on campus for preseason camp today at Marist. Yeah. That would be the men's and women's cross country teams. The excitement and anticipation has been building among our athletes for the beginning of our 9-month journey together. It starts this afternoon with the arrival of the XC runners on campus. Official practice begins on Wednesday afternoon.

As I type this, bags and cars are probably being packed. Our freshmen are about to begin their four-year, life-changing adventure. Their parents are bidding farewell to their children, who they have nurtured and watched grow for the past 17 or 18 years. This fact inches closer and closer to home as we face a similar prospect in two short years; our oldest son, Joey, entering his junior year of high school, is currently away at XC camp -- a little snippet of what's to come if and when he departs for college. And so we begin again, as we do every year. Each year on this day, we always remember the Forever Foxes who came before and who remain a big part of our family -- now and always. Today, we add some new members to that family, and we form a new team.

Lastly! I know there are many other, more relevant ways to keep tabs on our program in an instant. Like an old coach, this blog moves a bit more slowly; posts are not as frequent, and certainly not as immediate as other forms of social media. But, I will do my best to keep things updated here throughout the long journey we call cross country and track.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Marist Running in Maine

Great photo from earlier in the week of some team members who are camping, training and vacationing at Acadia National Park in Maine. Team members in the photo: Charlie Ropes, Catherine Ferreri, Omar Perez, Mark Vuono, Mark Valentino, Ricky Willi. Text reports indicate they are having a lot of fun and enjoying some world-class trails for running and hiking. OK!

Monday, August 10, 2015

If the shoe fits ... wear it!

Call it the science of common sense. After all these years of discussing foot type -- high arch, low arch, pronation, supination, etc. -- and its relation to the proper running shoes for your feet and for your body, it turns out the right running shoes are the ones that are most comfortable. That's it! If you put them on, and they FEEL good, then they are the best and right shoes for you. So says the latest research that is presented in this New York Times article. So feel free to saunter into that fancy specialty running shoe store, get your foot type and your gait analyzed, and discuss the options with the resident shoe expert. But the true test, apparently, is as old as footwear itself:  Lacing them up and putting them on. If they feel good out of the box, buy them. If they don't feel good, don't get them. Can't be much simpler than that.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Old-school shirt from 1991

Witnessed on Facebook recently: This circa 1991 T-shirt from our first year as Marist cross country coach. Man, does this shirt bring back memories! First of all, the phrase on the front of the T-shirt is so late-1980s/early-1990s – a reference to an old Nike ad campaign (“Bo Knows”) centered around the multi-talented Bo Jackson. I really don’t know who came up with this idea for “Bo Don’t Know Distance.” I don’t think it was me, but it may well have been. Remember, that was a long time ago!

The back of the shirt brings back memories, too, of that first season (for me) as men’s coach and for Phil Kelly’s second season in charge of the women’s XC team. I think Phil would agree that it was the first season in a long time of a truly unified “program” and it laid the groundwork for what was to come over the ensuing decades. One thing you’ll notice is how frequently we raced! For those keeping score at home, our season began with six meets on six consecutive weekends; that’s not a typo, it’s true. And! Unlike modern times, we did not split the squad back then, for there wasn’t enough squad to split – about 10 runners per gender back then! We all ran every meet, and we traveled to most of them in vans.

How old is this schedule and how long ago was it? The venue of meet #3 doesn’t even exist anymore! The King’s College used to be located inBriarcliff Manor, but has since shuttered that campus and relocated to New YorkCity; our athletes loved that old TKC course. It was a fast road race, and we left there with happy PRs almost every year.

Other random memories from that first year:
--We brought home a huge, third-place trophy from the CCSU meet. Pretty neat, right? Well. There were only three teams in the meet.
--Mr. Bucket, our fearless leader, had a mostly successful season as lead runner. One exception? When he took off like a bat out of hell up a huge early hill at LeMoyne, and faded badly to like 50th place. This was unusual for the usually savvy racer, but he made up for it with a great Northeast Conference meet.
--Ah yes, that NEC meet out at Robert Morris. Our one “bus” trip – it was a stuffy and cramped minibus reeking of garlic (those who were there remember exactly what I’m talking about). Both teams did well on that mountainous course, and then we had a raucous, karaoke-style sing-along of Billy Joel tunes on the long drive home.
--And no, we did NOT attend the NCAA Championships – that or any year. Not sure what the T-shirt designer was thinking there.

Hey. There’s only one first time, and all these years later – as I enter my 25th year as a coach at Marist – the memories endure of that first season. 

305 laps

Me and my surgically screwed together upper leg/hip are pretty much done with conventional road races – you know, 5ks, 10ks, half marathons and the like, at least for the time being if not indefinitely. But there is still room for my partially broken down body to do unique events like Saturday’s Sweltering Summer Ultra in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. This is an 8-hour event on a dirt “track” – really, a well-worn and not so pretty walking path at Clapp Park in Pittsfield (see surreal photo from the 7 a.m. start; if you look closely, I’m the shuffling schmoe by that stack of big cones). Here’s how one entrant described it in a Facebook post afterwards: “Mentally, that might have been one of the toughest races I've done. Running in circles for 8 hours is borderline torture.’’

Yeah. Well. Fortunately, I thrive on such tedium, and this was the third year in a row I’ve done this race – having done each year’s event, organized by the awesome and enthusiastic Benn Griffin. For obvious reasons, this year I didn’t get as far as I did in the previous two versions – in 2013, it was a 6-hour and in 2014 and 2015, it was an 8-hour. I was just happy to make it there, able to awkwardly ambulate for 80 laps of the .3553746428 of a mile “track” before calling it quits a little after six hours, leaving about 100 minutes of so on the table. Hey man. Considering I needed a walker to go to the bathroom just a few months ago, I’ll take the partial completion; my pre-race goal was 74 laps
anyway. I’ll also take this cool 100-mile medallion earned for having covered more than 100 miles on the Clapp track over the course of the three-year race history.

For those keeping score at home (and really, who isn’t?), I covered 100 laps in 2013, 125 laps in 2014 and 80 laps in 2015 – 305 laps, for a grand total of 108.389266054 mind-numbing miles over the course of three sweltering summers. After being on crutches for the better part of two months this spring, and barely resuming regular jogging (if you can call it that) since then, it’s all good. Maybe next year, I’ll be able to keep moving for the entire 8 hours. For now and for always, I’m thankful for any and all forward progress.

A-Rod: Hero or anti-hero?

Alex Rodriguez has been labeled in many different ways over the past few years. "Hero" has not been one of the labels that has stuck. However! This very thought provoking piece by excellent writer and author Rob Neyer posits that, by his actions and words this season, A-Rod is in fact having a heroic season. This will surely provoke many strong opinions. Here's mine, on A-Rod in general: He has made a lot of bad personal decisions throughout his baseball career. He then followed this up by hiring people who guided him to even far worse decisions. This made him a pariah, and cost him a year away from the sport he loves. However, by all accounts, he has been a great teammate and he has said and done all the right things this season -- hitting a lot of home runs sure helps. Does this make him heroic? That's for you to decide. Good read!

Debate over the debate

You know what they say about politics and religion ... so although this is a "political" post I will try to keep the politics to a minimum -- here and in the future. Having put that rather awkward disclaimer out there, it was impossible to ignore last Thursday's Republican Presidential Candidate Debate on Fox News. I normally don't watch these things, but this was -- as they say -- "must watch" TV. It did not disappoint. It was equal parts Saturday Night Live skit and Reality TV show. What it was NOT was a conventional political debate. It had a sporting element to it -- who's winning, who's losing, who's in a slump, who just hit one out of the park -- and I found myself texting with A Loyal Marist Running Alum who got me intrigued with this thing in the first place, until I fell asleep with about 30 minutes to go in the debate.

So anyway! You can "debate" whether we should have taken this debate seriously. However, none other than the good gray New York Times -- perhaps the polar opposite of Fox News -- gave heaping praise to Fox News on how the event was orchestrated. This alone is pretty amazing. Check out the link to this surprising take on the debate from the Times.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

2015 XC schedule: Updated and final

Our 2015 cross country schedule is finalized and confirmed. Even though it is more crowded than normal in terms of the number of meets, not everyone will race every meet. Because of the size and variability of our roster, we wanted to give everyone ample racing opportunities. Everyone that is healthy, and training well, will race at the season-opener and the Rider/Pre-MAAC meet. After that, we will split the squad up, with only the top portion of the team traveling to Paul Short (a departure from the past), with partial squads racing at Central Connecticut and Mets. Most athletes will be back in action at UAlbany two weeks prior to MAAC (the Princeton meet on that same date has severely limited its field size and as a result we cannot attend there), and then championship season will be upon us. Here is the schedule:

Saturday, September 5: Marist Season Opener at Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve; men = 6k; women = 5k. Teams expected to attend: Iona, Siena, Hofstra, Fairfield
Saturday, September 19: Rider Invitational at Rosedale Park, Pennington, NJ (site of MAAC Championships)
Saturday, September 26: Ted Owen Invitational/Central CT at Stanley Quarter Park, New Britain, CT
Friday, October 2: Paul Short Run at Lehigh University
Friday, October 9: Metropolitan Championships at Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Saturday, October 17: UAlbany Invitational
Saturday, October 31: MAAC Championships at Rosedale Park, Pennington, NJ
Friday, November 13: NCAA Northeast Regionals at Franklin Park, Boston

Saturday, November 21: IC4A/ECAC Championships at Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx

Marist Running: Past, present and future

Thanks to Marist Running Alum Nick Webster for texting me this photo of him and current Marist runners Jenna Robinson and Elizabeth Wasserman. They met up randomly at Thatcher State Park, where they were running in the Indian Ladder Trail Run over the weekend. Web runs for our good friends at Albany Running Exchange (ARE) and he happened to notice the current Foxes in their Marist gear. One Forever Fox and two current Foxes, running strong all over the place. Good stuff.

Let’s. Go. Mets.

We are officially on the Mets’ bandwagon. The first-place Mets, that is! I have my young son James to thank/blame for that. The kid wears his Lucas Duda shirt about 5 times per week. Yes, we even wash and dry it on occasion. He is currently at Marist Baseball Camp. With his Duda shirt, and his Mets’ cap, autographed by David Wright (more on that in a little bit).

Ever since last Thursday, the Mets have turned their fortunes around. Swept the Nationals. Pummeled the Marlins. Now in first place. But oh wait. Last Thursday. Yeah. We were there for that. What a long day at the Citi. Nearly three hours of rain delays. We stayed through them all. James got to meet Mr. Met (see photo for proof). We got Wright’s autograph (side note: very cool and classy thing of the Team Captain to do, rewarding the diehards that stayed through the downpours). Oh, did I mention? The Mets blew a 7-1 lead (it wasn’t long ago that 7 runs was a week’s worth for the Metropolitans …) and lost that game to the Padres, 8-7. Mets’ fatalists saw that as the beginning of the end for them. It was not. Duda has gone from “dud” to “dude” by whacking home runs at an alarming rate; their pitching is world-class; their lineup all of a sudden has some Major Leaguers in it. This could be interesting.

Meanwhile, quietly, across town? The Yankees are in first place too. OK!

Summer of swimming: DUSO Dad

Natalie checks her iPod while heading to the pool; idiot dad finger in the photo
Welcome to August. Two weeks from today, our athletes return for preseason. Summer has flown by in the blink of an eye. I apologize for not chronicling things better – as my lack of blog posts can attest. There are many reasons for this, but one that stands out has to do with the acronym DUSO. Stands for Dutchess Ulster Swim Organization. There are eight teams in DUSO, one of them the Hyde Park Stingrays. I am a Proud Swim Dad, as my daughter Natalie just completed her second summer as a Stingray.

Youth swimming is a time-consuming affair. We see the Red Fox Aquatic Club (formerly the Marist Swim Club), year-round in and around the McCann Center. Those kids swim six days a week, 11 months a year. Endless practices. Endless meets (really, really endless sweaty meets). Parents are sucked right into this well-worth-it but time-consuming culture. The DUSO/Stingray thing is just a snippet of that; it basically consumes the month of July, and culminates with the DUSO Championships – a sort of all-day swimapalooza – that was on Saturday morning, afternoon and into the evening up in Rhinebeck. There are 62 events, each with multiple heats. Natalie was in event 10, 44 and 52. For those keeping score at home (and I know you are), that’s a lot of down time between events. I’m happy to report that Natalie had an excellent season. She improved significantly in all of her strokes, and she is going to try out for the high school team, if she can pass that fancy District Fitness Test (she’s still in 8th grade) next week. So yeah. DUSO season is over. Cross country season is nearing. Here we go. 

New book: Savor it

Filip Bondy, sports columnist extraordinaire for the New York Daily News, has a brand new book out. It’s called the “Pine Tar Game,” and it’s about – you guessed it! – the Pine Tar Game involving George Brett, Goose Gossage, Billy Martin, the Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees and the whole wild 1970s/1980s era of baseball that I grew up watching. The story of the Pine Tar Game is good enough; Bondy makes it even better with his descriptive, colorful writing.

As is my custom, I ordered the book through my local public library. Usually with new books, there is a long waiting period. But for this book, I was able to get it within a week of my request. And, as an added surprise and bonus, the local library system gave me the standard three-week period to keep the book; at times, with new books, you are only granted one week – a lot of pressure to read a book in such a short timeframe, especially if you have a penchant to fall asleep while reading after 10 pages or so. This was not a long book. It was a great, easy read and I knew I wouldn’t require the entire three weeks to read it. So, when the lady at the library saw my reaction to the timeframe of it, she said, “Good, glad you are happy; SAVOR IT.”

And savor it I did; every word and every chapter. A great read. I highly recommend it. Maybe you can even buy it. OK!   

New music: Gone country, sort of

Regular readers and close friends know how much of a fan I am of musician Warren Haynes. He could probably play “Happy Birthday” or “Chopsticks” and I would think it be worthy of a Grammy. Keep that in mind as I give you the following, brief music review. His latest solo effort, called “Ashes and Dust,” is a major departure from most of his work with Gov’t Mule, the Allman Brothers and other solo efforts. He collaborates with Railroad Earth, a rootsy, Americana group from New Jersey that I saw at Mountain Jam a few years ago (they were really good there!). Of course, I love the new record. The album borders on old-school country/mellow Neil Young. Only better. Check it out. Of course. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A top-10 at Ironman Lake Placid

A hearty and huge congrats and NICELY DONE to Marist Running Alum Chris “Chomps” McCloskey for his incredible Ironman Lake Placid finish on Sunday. We were tracking his progress all day and it just kept getting better and better. Chris placed ninth overall (9th!!!!) and fifth in his age division with a time of 9:56:00. He texted me after the race to say the last half of his marathon was brutal due to the heat and humidity. But he got it done. For those keeping score at home, here are his monstrous splits:

2.4 mile swim: 1:04:11, 1:39 per 100 meters
112 mile bike: 5:16:09, 21.26 mph
26.2 mile run: 3:27:53, 7:53 per mile
Swim to bike: 4:53
Bike to run: 2:54

Although it has been pointed out before, it is worth mentioning again here: Chomps was a record-setting middle distance runner during his years at Marist (and also at John Jay High School, where he ran for our good pal, coach Steve Perks). And during his time at Marist, he never really took a liking to distance running during cross country season (side note: I am being very kind here; he hated it!). So to see him develop into an incredible endurance animal is incredibly rewarding. It used to be surprising, but it is not anymore, as he has clearly established himself in this area. Good stuff.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Deedy on top of the world!

Congrats to Marist Running Alum Deedy (Pat Deedy) for his successful hike on the John Muir Trail in California, culminating with reaching the summit of Mount Whitney in California -- for those keeping score at home, Whitney's summit is at 14,505 feet (4,421 meters), and is the highest point in the lower 48 states. Notice in the photo, which I poached from Facebook, that Deedy is proudly displaying his old-school Marist singlet. And for those alert followers out there, you'll notice that Deedy is wearing his Marist track winter hat under all those layers. Speaking of poaching ... here is Deedy's FB post on his accomplishment: Over 200 hundred miles (16 days; 180 miles on the JMT) later with 50 lbs. on my back and I've reached the highest point in the original 48 states. Mt. Whitney at 14,505 ft...some of the most beautiful and breath taking miles I've ever completed. Still doing them post-Marist! Thanks Nick Briggs and Sue Ellen Briggs for inviting me on this incredible journey

Home at last

Thoughts on the team BBQ on Saturday: Always great to see everyone in the middle of the summer. The family atmosphere of the program lends itself to heartfelt hugs and reunions, even in our Social Media Age where teammates and close friends can stay connected on a minute-by-minute basis, 24-7. However, I guess there is no replacing good old-fashioned face-to-face contact. We would have loved to see more of our track brothers and sisters, but alas schedules did not permit it to occur this time around. There was a smattering of recent alums, and as always we welcome them all. Special thanks to Mr. Edsall for working up a serious sweat and manning the grill so our athletes and families could enjoy hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken.

After the team departed, the tables and chairs were broken down, and all the leftover food was packed away, there were just a few of us lazily hanging out by the river on a pleasant summer evening. The clouds rolled in, a welcome relief from the stinging summer sun, and no one was in any rush to leave. In particular, a handful of recent alums were wistful in their longing for this old school home. Indeed, after a few years away from the shores of the Hudson, they felt they were, in the words of the classic SteelyDan song, “Home at Last.” Sometimes it takes the lens of a few years’ away to realize how special it is to be a member of a close-knit collegiate team, and to long for those days of yore. Hopefully, our current athletes can realize this, and cherish every moment of their relatively short time together – like a midsummer afternoon in the sun with some food and drink and a lazy river in the background. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Deja vu all over again

In the "some things never change" department ... here is a wonderful photo taken by our friend Bob Kopac from Friday night's Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club track series out at Arlington High School. Coach and athlete, through the decades. Pictured is Mr. Bucket ("David Swift") racing the 1,600 meters (As he often reminds us: "I'm a miler, you know") at the track series, with his old coach in the tube socks yelling out splits. Just like it was 1993 or something. The only difference! We are both much older, slower and grayer. But! I'm still coaching (so is he!) and he's still racing reasonably well -- in this race, he outkicked a hotshot Mid-Hudson Athletic League runner who is about one-third his age. Seems like yesterday that Swifty was our lead runner for the Running Red Foxes at the NEC meet down at Clove Lakes State Park when some unnamed alum (we'll call him MARTY) handed him an Adult Beverage at the finish line (unbeknownst to me, until later). Ah. Those were the days. Nowadays? Mr. B is prepping for some masters nationals races. A lot older, a little heavier, but still chasin' it after all these years ...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Red Fox Trot 5K will not be held

Several folks in the Marist Running world have asked what the date of the Red Fox Trot 5K will be. Well. Here’s the thing! The Red Fox Trot 5K will not be held this year. Several members of the race committee – including the race director -- decided not to return to the committee, and at this late date there was not enough time to hustle together a new organizing committee for the race. So, there will not be a Fox Trot. We are extremely appreciative to the Red Fox Club for formulating the race idea and for hosting this race for the past several years. It has been a great tradition. As stated last month, we are hopeful to really boost attendance and participation in the new Walkway races in June, which start and finish down at the Marist Riverfront. Perhaps that will be our new racing tradition down at the river. Again, thanks to the Red Fox Club for all they do for our program and all of athletics.   

Team BBQ set for next Saturday

Our annual summer team BBQ will be Saturday, July 25, along the Marist Riverfront at the historic Cornell Boathouse. We’ll get things started around 4 p.m., due to a huge Dragon Boat event being held down at the river the same day. If interested, get down there early and check out the Dragon Boats – it’s a pretty cool scene. Hope to see you at the BBQ.

Wedding season

In between the two ballgames in three days, we had a wonderful wedding to attend, as Marist Running Alum Colleen Ryan got married last Friday night in the Marist Chapel – the same venue where Heidi and I got married 20 years ago. Here is a group picture of the Marist Running contingent at the wedding reception at Locust Grove, as well as Coll with her old coach. We wish Colleen and Nick a lifetime of happiness.

Put it in the books! 2 ballgames in 3 days

Due to the generosity of friends, my son James and I were able to go to two Major League baseball games in three days last week. Last Thursday afternoon, we went to Yankee Stadium to see the Bombers beat the Athletics. On Saturday afternoon, we went to Citi Field to watch the Mets slug their
way past the Diamondbacks. James has become a bit more of a Mets’ fan than Yankees, but he likes both teams. His favorite player is Lucas Duda, and he was thrilled to see Duda go deep on Saturday. Equally thrilling was a chance meeting with the radio voice of the Mets, Howie Rose (pictured above with us). Howie is a true pro -- whether it is calling hockey games on TV, baseball games on the radio, or even taking calls on WFAN back in the day – and he was very gracious with us. As Howie would say: “Put it in the books!” Two fun games on warm summer days.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

4th of July: Congrats to Kell and Bill

A wonderful day for Marist Running at the 26th annual Firecracker 5-mile race in Wall Township, New Jersey, on the 4th of July! The results were great but were secondary to the post-race fireworks, when Billy Posch proposed to Kelley Gould at the finish line. She said yes and we are THRILLED for the happy couple and their impending nuptials. As far as the race goes, Ken Walshak won it, Billy was second on the men's side; in the women's race, Katie Messina won it and Annie Gould was third. But again, the headline of the day (literally: check this link!) was Kelley and Billy. NICELY DONE!

4th of July: A fast-moving flag

My son Joey is 15 and turning 16 soon. He’s at the age where questionable decisions and debatable judgment are the norm. And so it is with a smile that I report that he used unusual and questionable judgment by racing a 4-miler in Saratoga Springs on the 4th of July wearing a full-body stars and stripes morphsuit. It’s full body, as in, covering his head and face. His vision was impaired to the point of barely seeing in front of him. Fortunately, it was not too hot and humid, but he admitted to being less than comfortable in that not-very-breathable suit. When I saw him with about 50 meters to go and implored him to start kicking, he said, “oh, where’s the finish line?” Uh. Yeah. But again, I type this with a smile. If these are among the worst head-scratching choices of my soon-to-be 16-year-old, we’re doing OK at this point. For those keeping score at home, Flag Boy cracked the top 100 (99th out of 3,205 finishers and 27th of 217 in the 15-19 division) and ran 24:31, an average of about 6:08 per mile. Not bad for a moving flag.

Emptying the inbox: Joe T in Argentina

Emptying the inbox, part 2: Marist Running Alum Joe Tarantello checked off another continent on his round-the-world marathon quest by completing the La Bandera Marathon in Argentina. Here is Joe T’s email: Buenos Tardes from Rosario, Argentina. Just thought I would let you know that I completed the La Bandera Marathon this morning. I am still pursuing my crazy goal of a marathon on every continent; continent #4 is complete. I was extremely nervous and scared coming into this. I’ve been battling ongoing issues with my leg and have been unable to exceed an hour of running since my last marathon in November. Best case scenario I was thinking 3:30 and worst case just finishing under the 6-hour deadline. I exceeded expectations and ran 3:28:40 and didn’t have to walk. My legs are done but I’m glad I was able to get through. I had to cancel this trip in 2012 due to injury. You would love the climate here. It’s the start of winter, at race time it was in the 70s and humid. People are wearing full length spandex pants and long sleeve shirts. We’ve seen people walking around with scarves, fur coats, etc. Apparently, winter here is nothing like winter at home. Anyway, just want to let you know I sported the MART gear and finished another marathon and continent. Hope all is well!

Emptying the inbox: Marist alums at Mt Washington

Emptying the inbox, part 1: I got this email and photo from Tom Lipari almost a month ago and I’m finally getting around to posting it. Pretty cool that: a. these guys have remained so close (a bunch of them got together over the recent holiday weekend for some revelry); b. they have remained fit enough to scale Mount Washington. Anyway! Here’s Tommy’s email:

This past weekend a couple of Marist Track alum made the climb to the peak of Mt.Washington in New Hampshire which is the highest peak in the northeast (6,288 ft!). It is also known to be
the most windy place on the planet with recorded wind gusts of up to 254 mph! Overall, up and down it took about 7.5 hours. (We are still in shape!) We were able to see some amazing scenery along the way as the weather was perfectly clear. (Although it was 35 degrees at top). Needless to say I am still sore 4 days later but it was well worth the trip! Next stop, Everest!

Pictured are Tom Lipari, Kyle Havard, Tom Devaney, Ryan Brown.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Happy New Year, July style

Sorry for the long gap in posts. There are several posts in the hopper that we'll get going with soon. Still digging out from the mound of emails in my inbox. Even with a smartphone, where I can check the emails, they still pile up while on vacation. That's because I tend not to reply or send emails from my phone. Change comes slowly to this old guy. I've said it before, but this time of year has the feel of New Year's in the three-season world of our program. The outdoor track season concluded with the championships, culminating in USATF Juniors. Now, our full focus is on the fall XC season and the beginning of preseason training for XC (in August) and track (in mid-September). Both are still a fair amount of time in the future, but it will be here before we all know it.

Also! "Summer" in my world tends to be split in two parts: The first phase after our athletes leave campus for home (but my own kids are still in school); the second phase (now), where our athletes are still away but my own kids are out of school. This second phase has an odd busyness to it, with no rhyme or reason to each day and each week. So if there are some gaps in posts, that is why; I literally don't know whether I'm coming or going at times.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

USATF Juniors: Farewell to Tracktown USA

The last time we were in the San Francisco Airport -- on Wednesday en route to Eugene -- we were being delayed by a canceled flight. This time, right now as I post this, it is a normal layover as we await our final flight home to Newark. It was a great several days in Oregon. Deet enjoyed every minute of the trip -- savored every second, actually. A certified track geek, he soaked it all in. Most importantly, he ran tough and repped the program well. We saw some great racing out here -- the men's 1,500 final yesterday was riveting stuff. And oh, did I mention how hot it was out here? Well. It was REALLY HOT. OK! Farewell to Tracktown USA. We hope to be back again in the future.

Programming note: I will be away on Lake George vacation next week. Not sure about Internet access, so this may be the last post for a bit. OK!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

USATF Juniors: 10th place for Dietrich Mosel

First things first: Kudos to USATF and meet management for moving this race to 10 a.m. Conditions were still far from ideal – 80 degrees and extremely humid – but there was cloud cover and it was not nearly as dangerous as it will be at 6 p.m., when forecast highs are close to 100 degrees. Put it this way: Friday at 6 p.m., we were sitting at Hayward Field watching the meet, and it was 98 degrees in the shade. Yikes.

Dietrich ran well. He wanted to do better. But he ran well. Start with the finish: Superb! His last lap was in an eye-popping 67.87 seconds, vaulting him into 10th place out of 14 entrants. The early pace was very slow, then very fast. Deet got gapped by most of the field, and settled into an 82-83/lap pace. He had some slow laps toward 8km, but then rallied for a strong finish.

This meet is about representing the program well on a national level. Dietrich did that. And for that, we are proud of him. Nicely done.

USATF Junior Championships
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Hayward Field, University of Oregon
10,000-meter run
10. Dietrich Mosel 33:39.87
83, 2:48 (85), 4:04 (76), 5:19 (75)
6:36 (77), 7:52 (76), 9:07 (75), 10:26 (79)
11:44 (78), 13:04 (80), 14:25 (81), 15:47 (82)
17:09 (82), 18:32 (83), 19:55 (83), 21:18 (83)
22:41 (83), 24:05 (84), 25:27 (82), 26:54 (87)
28:20 (86), 29:44 (84), 31:08 (84), 32:32 (84)
33:39.87 (67.87)
5km: 16:28; second 5km: 17:11.87
1600m splits: 5:19, 5:07, 5:21, 5:31, 5:36, 5:38

Here are the official results:

Cerake Geberkidane
Oklahoma St.
1 (1)
Chase Weaverling
1 (2)
Connor Hendrickson
1 (3)
Kyle Gronostaj
1 (4)
Benjamin Kendell
1 (5)
Jose Macias
Portland St.
1 (6)
Daniel Lathrop
1 (7)
Austin Post
1 (8)
Cody Drisko
Azusa Pacific
1 (9)
Dietrich Mosel
1 (10)
Faris Sakallah
William & Mary
1 (11)
Dray Carson
Wichita St.
1 (12)
Duncan Reid
Caleb Webb