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 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.

Meanwhile,
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...

"Run for the Hill of It" Set For Thursday, August 27

The 2009 edition of the "Run for the Hill of It," a Roadkiller tradition, will be held on Thursday, Aug. 27.

What's that, you say, you've never heard of this race? OK, I guess we can't blame you. It's pretty unofficial, as far as official races go. No bib numbers, no mile markers, no crowds, no sponsors, no fanfare. But any Roadkiller will tell you, it's one of the biggest dates on our calendar. Why? Bragging rights of course. And Pizza.

Seriously folks, it's a fun get-together and a great fitness challenge as everyone heads into fall marathon training or the 2009-10 Track Shack Grand Prix. We'll have to check with our club president, but we think it also marks the official ending to the "Summer of Speed." The race course is nine miles and you can read more about it
here and here.

Coach
John Boyle is the reigning RFTHOI champion. He laid out the course several years ago, so we'll give him the advantage if he decides to defend his title. Danny Fritz says he "owns" this course and President Daniel McCarthy is 100% healthy after an injury-plagued 2008 season. On the women's side, April Darrow does the race seeding, so we'll say good things about her, of course. She'll be challenged by newcomer Diana Hampel, or Shawn Rudd if she breaks her vow to avoid racing before the 2010 Boston Marathon. Sara Van Meter might pick up a few pointers from her husband, Jason, a former RFTHOI champion.

That's all for now, but remember to mark your running calendar for Thursday, Aug. 27!