Looking Back on 2009: Part Three

By September 2009, the Lake Monroe Roadkillers were focused on two things: the multitude of local races that lay ahead in the next few months - and winter marathon training!

We still battled the Florida heat at this time of the year, but our group pushed through and ran well.
“Man Pants” Danny Fritz returned to his cross country roots, winning his age group at the Mike Gibson XC Rally on Labor Day weekend. The Sept. 12 Autumn Rock N Run 5K proved to be a competitive race - the first time since March that the Roadkillers failed to win at least one age group in a 5K race.

At the end of the month, another Roadkiller staple - the Miracle Miles 15K - drew several of our runners.
“Young” Daniel McCarthy showed his long distance form by winning the Masters Division in 56:54, while the rest of our crew recorded times under 1:10.

In October,
Jeremy Davidson ventured out of state to race again, at the ING Hartford Half-Marathon, where he set a new PR of 1:20. At the UCF Five-Miler, Mike “Fly T” Baron continued his effort to win his age group title in the Track Shack Grand Prix series. Baron ran 33:06 to win his age group in this challenging race. Fritz, like Davidson, ran an out-of-state race and posted a solid 1:24 finish at the Nationwide Columbus Half-Marathon.

The Roadkillers’ held their signature event - the 24-mile Lake Run - on Oct. 24. The long-distance loop starts and finishes in Deltona, on the Eastern shore of Lake Monroe. Ten of our runners took on the challenge (or at least part of it) and a good time was had by all. Except for
BJ Sellers, maybe, who returned home sick with a temperature over 100 afterwards. OK, so a good time was had by most. With this major workout completed, with few casualties, the Roadkillers were on track for a great fall and winter running season.

Run for the Hill of It champion
Mark Newman ran the Tower of Terror 13K at Walt Disney World later that evening, finishing the unique distance in 52:41. Also enjoying the Halloween season was April “Shortcut” Darrow, who was the first-place overall female at the Crimeline Trick or Trot 5K on Oct. 31.

As trick or treaters sorted through their previous night’s candy collections, several Roadkillers braved warm and humid conditions at the Daytona Beach Half-Marathon on Nov. 1. The race starts and finishes at Daytona International Speedway, but also features two challenging, Intercoastal bridge crossings and a sun-filled run along the World’s Most Famous Beach. With humidity near 85% and temperatures in the high 70s, conditions were uncomfortable, to say the least.

McCarthy and Baron won their respective age groups at Daytona, while
Diana Hampel and Sara “Crash” Van Meter also put up good results on the women’s side.

“GPS” Jim Masters, meanwhile, continued to collect first-place awards in his age group, after running 19:30 at the Palmer College Paint the Towne 5K in Daytona Beach the following week.

Mike “T Dog” Scures thought he ran a Half-Marathon in Baldwin Park on Nov. 14, but it turned out the race organizers were a little off on their measurements. Scures set a personal record in the 14.2-mile distance, in 1:34. (Had that race been an actual Half-Marathon, we’re guessing that Scures would’ve finished around 1:27.)

On Nov. 15, a few Roadkillers faced their longest race of the season thus far, at the 36th Annual Paul de Bruyn 30K. McCarthy didn’t disappoint - placing second overall in 1:59. Newman ran 2:10 to finish second in his age group while Sara Van Meter captured the female Masters Division in 2:28. Club President
Jason “Half Empty” Van Meter wasn’t far behind, with a 2:34 finish.

McCarthy then finished fourth overall at the Thanksgiving Day 10-Miler in DeLand. McCarthy’s long-distance form seemed to improve each week and he set a new 10-mile PR in 1:01. In the undercard 5K, Masters and Darrow won their respective age groups with fast pretty finishes, too.

The OUC Half-Marathon was another long distance challenge for the Roadkillers in late 2009. Masters won his age group,
again, in 1:29. Newman, Baron, Scures and Sellers also ran the OUC Half and nearly finished in a pack together. Newman tried to chase down Masters and finished in 1:30, 68th overall. The other three finished two minutes later - and all within 30 seconds of each other!

April Darrow enjoyed a great finish at the Stonewood Grill Holiday Classic 5K on Dec. 12, placing first in her age group in 20:55. It was the first time she’d broken 21 minutes in a 5K in 2009 - congrats, April! Cooler temperatures and good training were helping Roadkillers achieve some impressive results as the year came to a close.

And close it did, with a large contingent of Roadkillers running the Jacksonville Bank Marathon (or Half-Marathon) on Dec. 20. We were treated to ideal running conditions in Jacksonville, with overcast skies and temperatures in the low 40’s on race day. It was a banner day for our group, with three Roadkillers setting new marathon PR’s and one qualifying for Boston (with time to spare) in his first marathon finish.

McCarthy, not surprisingly, led the group with a remarkable 2:52 finish - a two-minute PR at the age of 40. Davidson trailed behind in 2:55 (also a PR) while Fritz powered home his first marathon finish in 3:07. Sara Van Meter blew away her previous marathon finishing time (3:49) with a 3:32 finish in Jacksonville. Sellers was a victim of more bad luck, suffering a leg injury that led to a 3:46 finish. That leg injury? A stress fracture that left him on crutches afterwards. That’s toughness!!
Elliott Strouse had also finished his second marathon of the year, in 3:29 while Jason Van Meter completed the Half-Marathon in 1:38. Rumor has it, Jason will be running his next full marathon in February 2010. Solid stuff.

So there you have it, folks - a year in the life of the Lake Monroe Roadkillers. We train hard(ly), have tons of fun, and welcome new runners anytime. There’s great bagels after the Lake Run and some of the area’s best pizza after the Run for the Hill of It. And what’s with those nicknames?

Have a great 2010...

The Lake Monroe Roadkillers

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!

Age-Grading the Roadkillers

Scanning the results from this years' UCF Five-Miler, I was reminded of an important characteristic of the Lake Monroe Roadkillers: our group ranges in age from 21 to 55+. Our training goals and race performances are just as diverse. We run together as much as possible, but inevitable separations occur when we toe the line for races.

But it's easy to wonder: all things equal, who's the best runner?

Thanks to the World Association of Veteran Athletes (WAVA), there is a tool to measure this. WAVA's age-grading formula measures running performances without bias for age or gender. The formula levels the playing field, to demonstrate which performances are better than others, across age groups and genders. It's based on a runners' theoretical performance in their prime running years (20's or early 30's) and shown as a percentage of that prime performance. For example, a 55 year-old male runner with a 21:45 5K, has an age-graded performance of 69.6%. It's the equivalent of an 18:38 5K for a male in his prime running years.

Without further ado... we analyzed the results of 90 Roadkiller performances from January - October and calculated the average age-graded result for each runner.
Jim Masters, 57, of Longwood, Fla., and Mike Scures, 53, of Winter Park, Fla. top the list.

Top 10 Roadkillers
Name, Average Age-Graded Performance
:

1. Jim Masters, 75.94%
2. Mike Scures, 75.80%
3. Daniel McCarthy, 74.41%
4. Mike Baron, 73.53%
5. Jeremy Davidson, 72.52%
6. Diana Hampel, 70.57%
7. Danny Fritz, 68.48%
8. April Darrow, 67.32%
9. Elliott Strouse, 66.90%
10. Wade Compton, 63.09%

To put these results in perspective, consider Masters' performance at the No Boundaries 5K, held May 2 in Altamonte Springs, Fla. Masters ran a 19:26 to win the Masters Division at this race. It was the equivalent of a
16:22 5K, for a male runner in his prime years. An excellent performance.

Other highlights:

Mike Scures running a 39:20 at the CNL Bank Winter Park 10K. It was the equivalent of a 34:45 10K, for a male runner in his prime.

Daniel McCarthy's 56:45 at the Miracle Miles 15K - the equivalent of a 54:53 result for a male runner in his prime.

Last but not least, the best age-graded marathon performance goes to Mike Baron, 55 years young. He placed 5th in his age group at the 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon in 3:18. Baron's marathon was the equivalent of a 2:53 marathon for a younger runner in his prime. By the way, his absolutely great result at Disney was part of the
Goofy Challege - he'd finished the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon the day before!!

Great running by all.

A few notes: We only analyzed the results of Roadkillers who'd run at least four races this year. There are several versions of the WAVA age-graded results calculator online. The calculator we used can be found here, courtesy of the Heartbreak Hill Striders.