Posts tagged Long Distance Running
Yesterday, we heard from the USATF-NE Road Racing Grand Prix series female open winner Denise Sandahl of Millennium Running. Today, Whirlaway’s Ruben Sanca shares with us his thoughts on the 2014 series and the role it serves in his overall racing goals.
After joining the Whirlaway Racing Team, Sanca says he developed a new approach on how to meticulously plan his racing schedule so that both his team and individual goals were maximized. “Thankfully, the Grand Prix bid selection committee did a great job in creating opportunities for mutual success,” he said.
While he sat out the 5 miler to recover from a shin injury and decided to opt out of the marathon as he was training for the Twin Cities Marathon instead, looking back at the Grand Prix races he competed in, Sanca reports that “By far, the New Bedford Half Marathon has been my favorite race on the circuit. Dan McCarthy and his staff have done an outstanding job of embedding the race into the culture of the city of New Bedford. From organizational and logistical standpoints, there are very few or almost no noticeable hiccups. Crowd support is amazing and even the city mayor is involved. The welcoming atmosphere in New Bedford is like no other I have seen in local New England races. From year to year, the race is consistently well organized and I personally make a note to run it every year.”
Throughout the series, Sanca says that he was challenged by various teams and individuals. However, the orange singlets from Team RUN kept him on his toes, as he learned to stay mentally composed to confront the unpredictability of that team’s athletes. And while he hasn’t formalized his 2015 racing plans just yet, the Whirlaway athlete looks forward to seeing the 2015 Grand Prix series, hoping to populate his racing calendar with most of its events, as he states “the blend in race distances creates an intriguing year of racing for any athlete.”
Not too far from taking the open male team title in this year’s series (finishing a close third), Sanca says that Whirlaway is certainly looking to be an improved team and in contention again for the overall title in 2015. Sanca personally looks to maximize his performance in each Grand Prix race next year, even if it means getting an extra point for the team. While he will be racing all distances, his eye is on attaining the Olympic “B” standard in the marathon.
* Thank you, Ruben, for participating in the Grand Prix series and sharing your feedback. Best of luck as you work toward your 2015 racing goals!
The USATF-NE Road Racing Grand Prix series came to a close in New Hampshire at the City of Manchester Marathon on November
2. When the points were tallied at the culmination of the seven race series – which included a 10 miler, half marathon, 5 miler, 5k, 15k, 10k and marathon – it was Millennium Running’s Denise Sandahl and Whirlaway’s Ruben Sanca who came out on the top as the overall open winners.
The first-time series winners both competed in five of the seven races – Sandahl coming in 16 points ahead of teammate Jennifer Mortimer and Sanca, beating out second place runner Dan Vassallo of CMS by 18 points. To learn more about their journeys to success and future racing plans, we chatted with the Grand Prix champions.
Today, we’ll hear from the women’s champion. Stay tuned for our interview with the men’s champion tomorrow.
Flashing back to the beginning of the year, Sandahl didn’t think she had a chance to be competitive in the Grand Prix series. It wasn’t until after winning the Ribfest 5 miler that she realized capturing the individual title might be a possibility. And she was right.
While illness and a scheduling conflict prevented her from competing in the entire series, Sandahl says of her five Grand Prix performances, the Ribfest 5 miler was her favorite – where her team took all three podium spots. With Millennial Running managing the event, it was a good feeling for Sandahl and her team to win at home.
Not only did she take the overall series title from an individual perspective, but her team accomplished its goal of winning the open team championship as well. Millennium managed to field teams for six of the seven races, despite being a small team, beating out Whirlaway by nine points. A major contributing factor to their team success, Sandahl says is that many of the women train together regularly and worked with each other during the races.
Sandahl added that it was her own teammates who tended to give her the most competition throughout the series – perhaps leading to their success this year. Looking ahead to 2015, Sandahl says she and her team plan to compete in the Grand Prix series again, looking for the same success.
She also plans to race the Boston Marathon next April. “In my wildest dream, I hope to qualify for the trials,” she said. “A marathon PR is a more realistic goal. As for team goals, In hope to contribute to our continued success.”
Lastly, Sandahl noted, “I’d like to add how grateful I am to my family (especially my husband, Adam, and sons, Caleb and Ian), team and friends for all the support they provide.”
* We’d like to thank Denise for taking the time to share her story with us, and we wish her and Millennium Running the best of luck in future races.
Four races down and three to go in the USATF-NE Road Racing Grand Prix series. Next up: the Green Mountain Athletic Association (GMAA) Labor Day 15k on August 31 at 9 am in South Burlington, VT. And if you’re not on this list, it means you haven’t registered yet. Online registration closes on August 29 and race day registration will be held at South Burlington High School between 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Need to know a little more about the race? First, it’s a USATF-NE Grand Prix championship, as mentioned. Teams and individuals looking to maintain or move up in the standings only have a few opportunities to do so, and this is one of them. For reference, the Grand Prix team leaders are currently:
- Men’s open team: Western Mass Distance Project
- Men’s 40+ team: Central Mass Striders
- Men’s 50+ team: Whirlaway Racing Team
- Men’s 60+ team: Greater Lowell Road Runners
- Men’s 70+ team: Gate City Striders
- Women’s open team: Millennium Running
- Women’s 40+ team: Whirlaway Racing Team
- Women’s 50+ team: Whirlaway Racing Team
- Women’s 60+ team: Gate City Striders
Individual open leaders are Whirlaway’s Ruben Sanca and GBTC’s Nicole Casey. However, the standings across the board are close, with leaders only ahead by a point or two.
For added incentive to trek up to the Green Mountain state, keep in mind the $3,400 available in cash prizes. Here is the break-down of team, individual and age group awards.
Lastly, if you’d like a course description before departing for the race this weekend, Level Renner published a detailed preview of the 15k course that offers views of the Green Mountains, Adirondacks and Lake Champlain.
Will we see you there?
Team RUN’s Jeff Veiga was the winner of the third race in our Road Racing Grand Prix series, the An Ras Mor 5k on March 30 with a time of 14:39. The recent UMass Lowell graduate has been hitting some impressive times post-graduation, even after considering “hanging up the spikes” this past fall due to some nagging injuries. How has he managed to continue this success?
Learn about his strategy and international racing goals in our exclusive Q&A with Jeff.
Q: What was your strategy for the An Ras Mor 5k? Walk us through your race.
JV: Going into the race I didn’t really know much about the course. I hadn’t run it or even had a chance to look at a map. Strategy wise, I was just planning to go out with the lead group and hang on as long as I could because I hadn’t really tested myself beforehand and didn’t have the best idea where I was with my fitness. But once the race started, I felt good so I just tucked in behind the lead group and tried to stay as relaxed as possible.
From early on, the lead group of Nick, Ruben (both of the Whirlaway Racing Team) and myself separated from the rest of the field. I believe shortly after 1.5 miles, Ruben and I started to pull away from Nick. After that, the two of us just went back and forth a few times until right before the 3 mile mark, where I threw in a surge to pull slightly ahead and then kick it in towards the finish line.
Q: How did you feel about your race result? (We’re impressed). How did it match up to your expectations?
JV: I didn’t really expect much going into the race. I thought I would definitely come away with a top five finish and maybe crack the top three if I was lucky. So to come away with the win and a good time I was definitely happy and surprised.
Q: Why did you decide to compete in the An Ras Mor 5k and can we expect to see you at any of the other upcoming Grand Prix series races?
JV:I decided to run the An Ras Mor 5k because it was part of the USATF-NE Grand Prix series and I wanted to represent Team RUN, as we had a chance to place very well in the team standings – which we did with a third place finish.
I do plan to compete in more of the Grand Prix races as long as they fit into my racing schedule, which is mainly targeted at running a fast 5K and possibly a 10k on the track.
Q: What is your training like right now – and is there anything in particular you’re training for?
JV: My training is going very well right now. I was hurt throughout the entire fall season and strongly considered hanging up the spikes if I couldn’t get healthy by the end of January. But after a few visits with Dr. John Donovan of Advantage Chiropractic, I was healthy again and running pain-free. Since then, I have been steadily increasing my mileage, in hopes of continuing my career and competing at a high level. Right now I am running about 95 miles per week, with one long run, one long workout and a little bit of speed here and there.
Having recently received my Portuguese citizenship, I am currently training to hopefully compete in and place well at the Portuguese National Champions in Lisbon, Portugal on July 26 and 27.
Q: Lastly, we know you’re a member of Team RUN. Tell us what it’s like being on the team and what aspects of the team compelled you to join?
JV: I’ve been a member of Team RUN for almost a year now. It’s really fun and we have a great group of guys, some which I actually train with on a regular basis – and we are all well supported by our sponsor Marx Running & Fitness in Acton, MA. I had been working with the team’s coach Mark Coddaire, as he’s also the owner of the Marx Running & Fitness store, so I knew about the team and everything associated with it. It just seemed like the best fit for me at the time, and I feel like I definitely made a good choice.
*Thanks to Jeff for taking the time to share his story with us. We wish him continued success on all levels – from local to international!
Today, USA Track & Field New England has announced All Terrain Runner (ATR), a new official series comprising races of varying distances, seasons and surfaces. The series kicks off just next month on May 4 with a 10k trail race, before competitors race on the track, mountains and roads, closing with a cross country event in the fall.
USATF-NE President Tom Derderian described the idea behind the series, explaining that “Some runners race best on the track, some on the roads, some up mountains and over trails, and others on broad cross country courses. You know how you rank in the discipline you race in, but how do you rank if you combine all of these? This is the running version of the decathlon.”
The complete 2014 ATR series includes:
- May 4 – Trail: Sleepy Hollow 10k
- May 5-July 20 – Outdoor Track: 5000 meters *(USATF-NE members can submit their own result from any 5000 meter race run in a USATF sanctioned meet through our web form during this time frame. A competitor may complete several outdoor 5000 meter races; however only the fastest time will count in the final scoring.)
- July 6 – Mountain: Loon Mountain
- September 14 – Road: Lone Gull 10k
- November 9 – Cross Country: USATF-NE New England Championships
With the Sleepy Hollow 10k just a couple of weeks away, those interested in participating in the ATR series can register for the first race here. Competitors can register on race-day; however the entry fee increases from $15 to $25 after May 2, and registration will close when the maximum capacity of 250 racers is reached.
With no team scoring component, the series offers scoring and prizes for individuals only. There will be a total of $5,000 available in awards. The prize structure, awarding monetary rewards to the top five male and female finishers, is as follows:
- First – $1,000
- Second – $500
- Third – $250
- Fourth – $100
- Fifth – $50
Cash prizes will also be awarded to age group winners in the following age divisions: 40-49, 50-59 and 60-69. To be considered for a place in the final standings, competitors must complete four out of the five races, and participants who complete all five events will receive a special series t-shirt.
More details on the ATR series, including a formal landing page, are coming soon.
Today marked the third race in our Grand Prix series. Photos of the rainy but very competitive An Ras Mor 5k in Cambridge, organized by the Somerville Road Runners, can be found in albums by Scott Mason and Thomas Cole.
Come across any other photos from the race? Feel free to link to them in the comments section on Facebook. Thanks!
An update on our USATF-NE Grand Prix Road Racing series is coming soon. In the meantime, we caught up with the USATF-NE winners of our most recent Grand Prix race, the New Bedford Half Marathon: Ruben Sanca of the Whirlaway Racing Team and Andrea Walkonen, currently unattached.
Hear what they had to say about their latest wins, current training and what the future holds for each in the world of racing.
If you come across any additional photo albums that we missed, feel free to link to them in the comments section on Facebook – thanks!
As we approach the second race in our Road Racing Grand Prix series this weekend — the New Bedford Half Marathon — we have two individuals leading the overall series.
The first and only race so far, the Jones 10 Miler, took place late last month in Amherst, MA. The challenging, hilly course didn’t stop Eric Ashe and Erica Jesseman from taking the top spots for the open male and female USATF-NE competitors. As your current Grand Prix leaders, we wanted to hear a little bit from these two local athletes about what it took to take the titles, and where we can expect to see them throughout the year.
Eric Ashe, B.A.A. — Male Open USATF-NE Grand Prix Leader
Eric chose to compete in the Jones 10 Miler because it’s part of the Grand Prix series and he wanted to score points for his team, the B.A.A. He also knew there would be some solid competition, and it would serve as a good preparation for the upcoming Boston Marathon he’s currently training for.
“I used the race as a good workout for Boston,” Eric said, noting he did a longer warm-up than usual (6 miles) and went right into a 4 mile cool down to get his mileage in. “It was definitely a good indicator of how training is going, as my legs weren’t too beat up after the race,” he said.
It’s the first time Eric is really focusing on the marathon and he reports that his training is going very well. He says he’s in the best aerobic shape he’s ever been, which clearly showed in his last race, where he completed the 10 mile course in 50:43 — that’s 5:04 per mile pace, and overall 7 seconds faster than second place finisher Ruben Sanca of the Whirlaway Racing Team.
We can expect to see Eric on the starting line at the New Bedford Half Marathon, where he plans to approach the race in the same manner as the first Grand Prix race, which is to go for the win but also use it as a workout for Boston. Looking ahead to April, Eric says: “I’m excited for what is to come at Boston as long as I can teach my body to hold up for 26.2 miles, and if I can stay healthy and consistent.”
For more on Eric’s training and racing, check out his NPR blog and this recent feature article on him at the same media outlet. Considering his early Grand Prix lead, it appears Eric may be the one to beat in the 2014 series.
Erica Jesseman, Dirigo Running Club — Female Open USATF-NE Grand Prix Leader
Erica joined the Dirigo Running Club in the summer of 2011 after graduating from the University of New Hampshire, attracted to the club’s fun and laid back environment — and living in Maine, it was most convenient for her too. For the Jones 10 Miler race, Erica had a similar approach as Eric, envisioning it as a great workout. She was most excited to compete with her Dirigo teammates Sheri Piers and Kristin Barry, who are Erica’s main training partners and mentors. Also training for Boston, she knew this race would serve as a nice preparation.
Her approach was to go out comfortably and controlled. “I knew I needed to run my own race; I didn’t focus on anyone but myself and my paces,” she said. Her approach obviously was the right one, as she came into the finish at 59:33, which is 5:58 per mile pace.
Leading up to the race, Erica had been training through a tough winter like many of us, after suffering from IT Band Syndrome in the fall. Despite the conditions and bouncing back from the injury, she’s managed to hit 80-90 miles per week, many of them on the treadmill and hilly long runs outside on the weekends. “I haven’t been hitting my highest mileage during this marathon training cycle,” Erica noted, “it’s been more quality over quantity.”
Where else can we expect to see Erica in race results? Next on the calendar is the New Bedford Half Marathon, and in April she’ll be lining up for the Boston Marathon.
Congratulations to both Eric and Erica on their early leads in the USATF-NE Grand Prix series. Stay tuned for Sunday’s race results in New Bedford, to see how they fare as they look to continue their winning streaks while training for the Boston Marathon.