Looking Back on 2009: Part Two

Over the first three months of 2009, the Lake Monroe Roadkillers were off to a great start to the running year. With the marathon season mostly completed, local 5K’s and 10K’s would become the focus for most of our runners.

On April 4,
Jeremy Davidson, “GPS” Jim Masters and April “Shortcut” Darrow each won hardware at the Run for SPARC 5K in beautiful Ponce Inlet. April 18 was a proud day in Roadkiller history, as our group won the Team Division championship at the Spirit of the Y 5K in Lake Mary. OK, so it’s not quite a world-class running event, but we’ll take what we can get. The team was led by Davidson’s first-place overall finish, which came after he ran off-course and re-gained the lead in the final mile. “Young” Daniel McCarthy showed flashes of the speed that would eventually provide one of his best 5K racing seasons, with a third-place overall finish. Bob “Skippy” Darrow, meanwhile, barely missed out on age group hardware and somehow, was shut out of the team awards, too. He’s vowed to get even someday...

Of course, marathon season wasn’t
completely finished. Mike “Fly T” Baron represented the Roadkillers at the 113th Boston Marathon. Baron posted a solid 3:22 finish on the famous course.

Did we mention Young Daniel’s stellar 5K racing performances this year? On May 2, McCarthy won the Masters Division at the No Boundaries 5K in Altamonte Springs, in 17:44. It was the first of five sub-18:00 5K’s for McCarthy in 2009.

May 16, 2009 will be remembered by Roadkillers for years to come. At the inaugural Jim Payne Blue Ribbon 5K in historic downtown Sanford, temperatures were in the upper 80’s and the humidity was sweltering. The race began at 6:00 p.m., with a West-facing finishing stretch that had runners sprinting towards the blazing, setting sun for the final mile. Fun times.

Craig Dixon and Davidson managed to break 18:00 in the heat, while McCarthy came in seventh overall, in 18:17. Despite the uncomfortable weather, it was the largest race turnout of Roadkillers to date. Eleven members of our club raced in the 5K with six runners winning their age group!

Seven club members then raced in the Lake Mary 5K, held on May 30. McCarthy maintained his form with a 17:45 finish to win another Masters Division title.
Elliott Strouse, Jim Masters, Brett Blackadar, Diana Hampel and April Darrow also won their age groups! The Roadkillers were on a roll.

Local races were becoming fewer and far between as summer settled in over Central Florida. Two Roadkillers competed in out-of-town races this month. Davidson placed second in a 10K during a visit to Northern California, and Hampel earned first-place overall female honors at a 5K on her native Long Island.

Yes, the “Summer of Speed” had arrived. Races were scarce, yet several Roadkillers dutifully ran speedwork and tempo workouts every week. By August, the hard work paid off with strong performances in the JCC “Beat the Heat” 5K in Maitland - an annual Roadkiller favorite.

The Thursday evening event was almost called off due to severe thunderstorms covering the area, but race organizers waited it out and runners were rewarded with another great race. Davidson set a 5K PR in 17:15 while McCarthy continued his hot streak with a 17:52 finish.
Mike “T Dog” Scures and Strouse also braved the conditions to finish in the top 25 overall.

On August 15, the Celebration of Running 5K kicked off the fall racing season in Central Florida and the next edition of the Track Shack Grand Prix series. Mike Baron won his age group - no small feat in this competitive race - and suddenly found himself in position to win his age group for the Grand Prix series. He’s still working on it...

But enough about these other, minor races. The real highlight for Roadkillers came on August 27, with our club’s premier competition: the
Run for the Hill of It! The nine-mile(ish) race, held on the infamous Hill Course in DeLand, provided a real test of fitness and plenty of fun, too.

Mark Newman, who had been quietly building fitness over the summer, proved his mettle by winning the race ahead of McCarthy, local Mike Mott and “Man Pants” Danny Fritz. In his school years, Newman was a national-class track & field athlete in his native U.K., but we’re sure this is the highlight of his running career! Right, Mark? You can read more about the RFTHOI and Newman’s 2009 victory here. After the race, in keeping with Roadkiller tradition, a new club president was named over pizza and beer at Angelina’s. Jason “Half Empty” Van Meter was appointed to the high office, seceding McCarthy.

By September 2009, racing season was in full swing again, and a few Roadkillers started ramping up their training for fall and winter marathons. Stay tuned for the final installment of our 2009 recap and we’ll look back at the final months of another great year for the Roadkillers!

Looking Back on 2009: Part One

The Lake Monroe Roadkillers were well represented at the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon, which signaled the start of a new running year in Central Florida. We’re sure that great things are ahead for our group in 2010, but it was the 2009 season that got us here. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights we experienced in 2009...

Mike “Fly T” Baron kicked off 2009 with a remarkable performance in Disney’s Goofy Challenge; running the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon & Marathon on consecutive days. After cruising to a 1:47 finish in the half, Baron ran a 3:18 marathon the following day. His incredible performance came on the heels of his 3:21 finish at the Chicago Marathon in Oct. 2008. Great running, Mike!

At the end of January,
Shawn Barkley and April “Shortcut” Darrow both qualified for the Boston Marathon by finishing the ING Miami Marathon in 3:37 and 3:43, respectively. Wade “Runner of 1” Compton finished another edition of the Ocala Marathon on Feb. 1, as “GPS” Jim Masters completed his first marathon and won his age group at the Tallahassee Marathon. By the end of the year, Masters had won his age group in 12 of 13 races he ran in 2009. Incredible.

“Psycho” Dan Stojic also qualified for Boston, at the State Farm Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon the following week. As a prelude to Stojic’s performance in that marathon, Baron visited Melbourne and ran a solid 19:55 5K the day before, his best 5K result in several years.

Mike “T-Dog” Scures was busy compiling great finishes, on the way to winning his age group title in the prestigious Track Shack Grand Prix. On Feb. 21, Scures posted an 18:28 finish in the Run Around the Pines 5K, in his hometown of Winter Park.

Craig Dixon sprinted to a 1:18 finish in the Five Points of Life Half-Marathon in Gainesville, while “Young” Daniel McCarthy ran a most-impressive 3:00 at the Five Points of Life Marathon. And McCarthy wasn’t done yet. Just seven days later, McCarthy bravely paced Sara “Crash” Van Meter to her Boston-qualifying 3:49 finish at the Gasparilla Marathon in Tampa. Also running in Tampa was Jeremy Davidson, who posted a 2:56 finish. The 2009 Gasparilla Marathon would be remembered for punishing winds and heavy rain. Not ideal conditions, but the Roadkillers ran through them!

Elliott Strouse became the Roadkillers’ first race winner of the year on March 14, with a 19:14 finish at the Victoria Park 5K in DeLand. This race was also one of Jim Masters’ many age group victories. The following week at the Winter Park 10K, Scures clinched his Grand Prix championship with a 39:20 finish.

March 14 was also the date for the Gate River Run 15K in Jacksonville, one of the nation’s premier distance running events. Dixon and McCarthy both finished the race in under an hour. Other Roadkillers completing the 9.3-mile race were
“Man Pants” Danny Fritz, “Psycho” Dan and Martine McCarthy.

Diana Hampel had joined the group in the spring, and was the first overall female in the March 21 Be a Trailblazer 5K in Lake Mary. On March 28, Strouse finished the ING Georgia Marathon in 3:36.

Roadkillers were running strong as the season continued and temperatures began to rise. The “Summer of Speed” was ahead, but our runners were already showing plenty of speed in local races.

To be continued...

Mike Baron's Boston Marathon Report

by Mike "Fly T" Baron

Left for Boston on Saturday morning. Took Jet Blue non-stop up there; flight was 2 hours 40 min. I did see another runner at baggage claim that was basically freaking out because they lost his checked bag that had his shoes, shorts and other running gear. As most of us know if you check in a bag plan on them losing it, so take your shoes shorts and other ‘must have’ stuff with you on the plane. Took a cab to the Marriott Copley, fare was $18. I have stayed at the Marriott before, it is close to everything you need to get to for the marathon. Packet pickup and Expo are a 10 min walk away to the Hynes Convention Center, the finish line is 5 minute walk and the Boston Commons is 15 minute walk to get on the bus to go to Hopkinton. (NOTE: room rate is $259.00 through marathon tours. They are taking reservations right now for 2010. You have to send them one nights deposit but if you have to cancel before Feb 5 they refund your deposit minus $20 handling fee. This hotel fills up fast so if you are planning on going you need to make your reservation soon.)

Race morning... left the hotel at 6:30AM and walked to Boston Common. Line to get on the buses was long, about one hour wait then another hour ride to Hopkinton. Traffic was stop and go last 5 miles or so. Got to the Athlete’s Village at 8:30 and laid around until 9:30 before dropping the bags off at the buses. If you have to take a leak you better do it at the Athlete’s Village. When you walk from there to the start corrals they have fences along the whole street with police every 50 ft watching. The message is real clear “No pi**ing in the bushes next to the houses!” (They have some port o pots near the corrals but the line are long there, too).

Weather for the race was great! Temperature was 47 degrees and dew point was 36 wind was east-southeast at 16 mph. Most of the time the wind wasn’t that strong it was off to the right front and wasn’t much of a factor at all. This was probably the coolest weather I have had to run a marathon in quite awhile. I was in start corral 9. Took us about 5 min to get to the start line but once we crossed it we were running, the first mile was 8:00 and by the 2
nd mile I was on pace at 7:40, being that far back in the pack wasn’t an issue at all.

The first 6 miles is all downhill and a lot of people were really flying by me on the side during this stretch. I had been warned by President Daniel not to do this because it will beat the hell out of your quads so I kept the pace at 7:40 -7:30. From mile 6 to 13 I ran pretty steady at 7:40 pace until we got to Wellesley College, had to stop and take a picture of all the girls out there. The noise they make is something, you can hear them over a half mile away.

After Wellesley at mile 15 there is a steep downhill right before you get to Newton and the start of the hills. There are 4 of them, the steepest one is at mile 17.6 right past the fire station, the tallest one, though, is Heartbreak. It isn’t as steep as the one at 17.6 but the elevation change is 15 ft more. After Heartbreak hill there are just a few small hills but nothing much at all and after mile 23 it is almost completely flat going into downtown Boston.

The wind did pickup as we got close to the city but it felt good, like getting hit with some cool A/C on a summer day. The crowd along the whole route is something. I had my name written on the side of my arm and about every min I would hear “Go Mike” really helps those last few miles when you are hurting. The last 1/3 of a mile when you turn onto Boylston Street is something else when you see the finish line and the crowd is roaring. I really don’t know how they keep it up for the whole time.

As soon as we crossed the finish line the give you the silver blankets to keep you warm because as soon as you stopped running the wind felt cold. They take the chip off your shoe and give you your finishers medal at the same time. The buses with your bags are about 2 blocks away and the walk back to the Marriott is another 4 blocks north.

The limiting factor for me was how sore the quads got from the downhill portions of the race. For next year we might want to consider having some group runs in Clermont.

The main goal for us this year is to get as many people qualified as possible for Boston 2010. As most of you know I have been running for quite a few years and this is the best 6 months of training and marathon running I have ever done. Without a strong group like this staying motivated over a long period of time is almost impossible. Also want to thank Psycho Dan Stojic for doing all those 20 mile runs in the middle of last summer with me. Those are some of the hardest miles I had to put in and as all of you know doing long runs by yourself in this Florida heat is really tough to do.

This Boston Marathon was great, but Boston 2010 will be the best ever for the Roadkillers.