Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Weekly Log #2: March 1-7, 2010

As father and son, we share a similar passion for the sport of running and wanted to share some worthy accomplishments and news from the past week in our local world. Enjoy!

-Mark Lorenzoni (on the run since 1973) and Alec Lorenzoni (running since 1999)

In the Starting Blocks…What’s up next…

The MJ8K, one of the area’s most popular races, is set for Saturday March 13. Many folks use this historic tour through downtown Charlottesville’s most scenic neighborhoods and up some of its most challenging hills as a tune-up for The Ten Miler. Close to 600 runners and another 200 walkers traverse the downtown streets as they help to raise dollars (several thousand last year alone) for valuable community health services at Martha Jefferson Hospital. Helpful hint: the first half mile is all downhill, so be careful of taking it our too quickly…pace yourself (this “ease into the first mile by taking it a bit slower than your targeted pace” behavior will also serve you well at The Ten Miler). Entries for the race are still open.

And speaking of The Ten Miler, with less than five weeks to race day, there’s still time to get in a few more long training runs AND your entry form. Go to the CTC's website for an entry to the area’s oldest and most prestigious footrace.

And while we’re on the subject of spring races, we will be hosting a free lecture and Q&A session at the shop next Tuesday (March 9th) entitled:

“Getting the Best Out of YOUR Spring Races!”

The talk begins at 5:00pm upstairs at Ragged Mountain and will last about an hour. Come ready to learn how you can improve the quality of your racing.

What's A Foot in our World of Community Racing…

Valentines Partners 5K (2/27/10)

Close to 150 folks traversed the long ups and downs of the many hills of Old Trail in sunny, suburban Crozet on Saturday en route to impressive finishes at the rescheduled Valentines 5K. Thanks to the cooperative efforts of Amnesty International (Bruce Carveth) and the CTC (Carol Finch), the partnered-up racers were treated to a well organized event.

(Race winner Chris Post)

Former Western Albemarle star Chris Post , who logged many training miles in Old Trail as a Warrior, was on familiar turf as he quickly sped away from the field at the start. Post, who is currently a third year at UVa and in training with the RMR team, cruised through the first mile in 5:14, was 10:31 at 2 miles and stopped the clock at 16:31 for his blue ribbon winning performance. Speedy high school teacher Brian Kayser was second into the chutes in 17:14 and Gerhard Van de Venter rounded out the top three with an impressive sub-six minute paced 18:29. Carmia Stein, Gerhard’s wife, outlegged an impressive woman’s field, as she crossed the tape first in 19:28, only five seconds off Nicola Ratcliffe’s course record. Beth Cottone took home the masters title and was second overall in 20:01 and speaking of Ratcliffe, the former Ten Miler and Women’s Four miler champ finished third overall in 20:30.

(Overall Female Champion Carmia Stein)

Post and former Covenant cross country star Bethany Coppock took home the male/female partners title with Stein and Van de Venter grabbing the husband/wife trophy, and Nicola and son Gavin easily topping the parent/child division. Cottone and long time training partner Kerry Hendrix were the female/female champs, Jeff Stafford and Mark Dempsey were the male champs and Stacy and Ryan Li won the siblings division.

(Start of the Race)

All total, 138 folks crossed the finish line and, despite the cold temperatures and stiff late winter winds, many of them recorded impressive 5K times. Here’s just a brief list of some of these speedy folks: Pete O’Shea (19:08), Laura Brown (20:32), Jim (22:21) and Maria (27:46) Bell, Adam Slate (26:34), Bruce (21:53) and Barbara (23:40) Benson, Chi-Chin Wu (24:57), Scott (22:20) and Mary Clare (26:41) Smith, Dan Moriarity (25:54), George Gillies (25:38), Paul Hahn (23:50), Lise Willingham (21:54), Missi and Bill Brown (27:05), John Hossack (24:53), Billy Baker (23:10), Mark Dempsey (22:16), Leigh Baumgart (21:29), Sarah Hinckle (20:57), H.G. Bussard (21:21), James Kaiser (19:10), Kim Noe (30:59), Lucy Emery (33:00) and Emma Hendrix (33:08).

AAA State Indoor Track Meet (2/26/10-2/27/10)

2009 was a banner year for Albemarle track and field as a small group of boys established the school as a household name (at least in the world of track and field) with a series of stunning performances that included several national records and the school’s first state track title since the late 1970s. This past weekend, the Patriots headed east to Hampton to defend their 2009 indoor track crown and attempt to repeat as state champions. Led by senior captains Jordan Hill and Anthony Kostelac, Albemarle almost pulled off the almost unheard of feat by finishing a scant eight points out of first with their 4th place finish. Kostelac had one of the most impressive performances of the meet with his double victory in the 1600 and 1000, using a blistering kick over the final 200 meters to capture both crowns and score 20 of his team’s 34 points in the process. Hill, who has struggled with injuries all season that limited him to just two previous meets, bounced back from a disappointing 9th place finish (top eight places score) in the triple jump Friday night to finish 2nd in the long jump and 4th in the high jump, putting the Patriots in 2nd place heading into the 4x400 meter relay, the meet’s last event. Running without their fastest leg Kostelac, who had already run the maximum allowed three events (he ran the 4x800 relay on Friday night), the quartet of Jervon Speller, Tori Key, Mark Baucom and Hill finished in a season best time of 3:30.54 to finish 8th in the event. Unfortunately, the top three teams all finished ahead of Albemarle in this event, dropping the Patriots to 4th overall and just one point out of 3rd place and a spot on the podium.

On the girl’s side, junior Summer Shepherd tied her personal best of 9’6” in the pole vault to just miss All-State honors with her 9th place finish. Teammate Casey Russell also competed in the vault, and although she was unable to clear opening height, the experience will certainly prove invaluable in future years as she is just a freshman

AA State Indoor Track Meet (2/27/10)

In any normal year, a score of 59 points at a state track meet will not only bring home a championship, but it will usually do so by a wide margin. Unfortunately for the Western Albemarle girls track team, 2010 was NOT a normal year as the deepest distance team in America happens to occupy Group AA along with WAHS. Blacksburg High School scored a stunning 81 points to capture yet another state title, but the Lady Warriors gave them all they could handle by finishing runner-up with the aforementioned 59 points. The event of the day for Western was without a doubt the pole vault, where the Warriors took home half the All-State spots with a 1-2-4-8 finish, led by junior Nicole Harding who captured her first state title with a clearance of 10’6”. The other state title for the well-balanced Warriors came in the 4x800 meter relay, where the team of Jordan Haws, Katie Farina, Peri Bowser, and Claire Johnson combined to blow the field away with an indoor school record 9:33.94 clocking, good enough for a twenty second runaway victory over second place.

In other girl’s action, Orange County finished 7th overall behind two state titles by senior Ashontae Jackson, who came home with resounding victories in the 55 and 300 meter dashes in times of 7.30 and 41.12, respectively. Louisa County was 11th overall, but was without the services of the state’s best long and triple jumper Javanique Burruss, who didn’t compete in either event, most likely due to injury or sickness. Rounding out the area teams were Charlottesville in 26th and Monticello in 29th.

On the boy’s side, defending champions Louisa County led the charge with their 7th place finish, followed closely by Charlottesville in 8th, Fluvanna in 9th, and Western Albemarle in 11th. Orange County and Monticello rounded things out with 17th and 41st place finishes. Louisa was led by senior hurdler Dante Davis who won his first ever state indoor title (he won his first outdoor one last spring in the 110 meter high hurdles) in the 55 meter hurdles with a personal best clocking of 7.52. Along with teammates Gunnar Carroll, Brandon Payne, and Corrin Harris, Davis would add another state title later in the day in the 4x200 meter relay as the Lions shocked the field by winning the race out of the “slow” section in a time of 1:34.13. Rounding out the area’s state champions were seniors Zach Lawson of Western Albemarle, who completed a Warrior sweep in the pole vault with his personal best clearance of 14’6”, and Steven Allen of Charlottesville, whose toss of 52’08.50” in the shot put won the event by almost 2 feet!

ACC Indoor Track Championships (2/26/10-2/28/10)

The high schoolers of Virginia weren’t the only ones competing in championship meets this past weekend, as second-year head coach Jason Vigilante and his Cavaliers headed south to Blacksburg for the ACC Championships. Both teams have made huge strides over the past couple years, and the men entered Virginia Tech’s Rector Fieldhouse with serious hopes of adding an indoor team title to the outdoor one they won last spring. Things definitely started off on the right foot on Friday night, as UVA swept the Distance Medleys (a four leg relay consisting of 1200, 400, 800, and 1600 meters) and won the event for just the second time in school history for both the men and women. Each race came down to the anchor runners, and Tasia Potasinski (4:56.23) and Robby Andrews (4:06.57) used big kicks to bring home the titles for the Cavaliers. Andrews would come back the next day to win his first ever individual ACC title with a 1:50.73 clocking in the 800 meter run, leading a 1-2 sweep in the event as sophomore Lance Roller finished second in 1:51.21. It has been a great season so far for the highly touted first year out of New Jersey, as he is currently ranked #6 in the nation in the 800 meters to go along with his two ACC titles.

(Freshman Robby Andrews winning his first ever ACC individual title in the 800 meters. Teammate Lance Roller was 2nd. Photo courtesy of

The other two Cavaliers to bring home ACC titles were redshirt sophomore Ryan Collins, who captured his second straight 5000 meter title with a 14:23.81 clocking, and sophomore Maureen Laffan, whose personal best toss of 52’4.75” came just 6 inches shy of the school record. In the team standings, the men finished 4th and the women were 10th.

Blue Ribbons to…

Chris Post (16:31) and Carmia Stein (19:28), who led their respective gender across the finish line first at The Amnesty International/CTC Valentines Couples 5K on Saturday (see above). And a big Blue Ribbon to Bruce Carveth, who has co-directed this wonderful event for over 25 years and to Carol Finch, who has served as the CTC’s volunteer director for close to a decade. They did a fantastic job organizing the event…doubly difficult when you have to reschedule!

Longtime Western Albemarle pole vault coach Kevin Matheny, whose Warrior vaulters put on a clinic at the AA State Meet with six total All-State honors for the boys and girls combined. Joining state champions Zach Lawson and Nicole Harding were Kelsey Grupp (2nd-10’6”), Sarah Garner (4th-10’0”), Christine Wesner (8th-9’0”) on the girls side and Tim Nguyen (6th-12’6”) on the boys side

Andrew Jesien, the former UVA star, who finished 8th in the 1500 meters at the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque this past Sunday in a time of 3:53.16. Jesien is a volunteer assistant coach with the UVA track team and is training for the Olympic Trials with the Ragged Mountain Racing team. He recently joined the elite sub-4:00 club with his 3:58.91 clocking in the mile a couple weeks ago.

Freshmen UVA middle distance runner Zach Vrhovac, who finished 4th in the mile run at the ACC Championships. His time of 4:10.65 was an agonizing two hundredths of a second out of third place (4:10.63), and only three tenths of a second out of first place (4:10.36)! It’s amazing to think how far the former Albemarle multi-sport standout has come in a year, as 365 days ago he was an 800 meter specialist who could barely break 4:25 in the mile, and now his personal best is 4:08 and he is just a couple ticks away from being an ACC champion.

Dr. Robert Wilder (aka “Dr. Bob”), who was bestowed the CTC’s highest honor at the club’s annual awards banquet at Chef Ted’s Shack on Saturday. The prestigious Lifetime Service Award is given each year to a selfless volunteer who has given to our running community at the highest level for ten or more years. Wilder, who heads the Runner’s Clinic at UVa, has been selfless with his time, talent and expertise by providing free medical help annually at 25 high school, collegiate and community road races since 1999.

Jerri Emm and Charlie Menefee, who were awarded the CTC Most Improved trophies for their excellent races in 2009. Emm, broke the four hour barrier for the first time in her illustrious marathon career at the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, New York in October. Menefee took an hour off his previous marathon PR., as he came oh, so close to breaking four hours at Richmond in November. Longtime community steward Steve Murray and his wonderful family at Panorama Farms were bestowed the CTC Community Service Award. For a complete list of all the award recipients please go to the CTC's website.

Ellen Daniels, who works at UVa’s Curry school and is a first timer in the Ten Miler Training Program, has somehow managed to not miss a single day of her training all winter long! Not many folks can claim this amazing feat after the brutal winter we’ve just been through. The proud, determined and very motivated Daniels said “I love how the running makes me feel!” Keep it going, Ellen!

Former UVA lacrosse star and local ultra-marathon champ Sophie Speidel is featured in this month’s UVA Alumni magazine. A great photo of a very fit looking Speidel accompanies a nice article about her many amazing long distance running accomplishments. Check it out (page 46)!

All of the area’s all-state athletes (top 8) at both the AAA & AA State Meets:

Boys: Tyrone Ellis (55 meters), Derek Armstrong (1600 meters), Nathaniel Hermsmeier (3200 meters), Orange County & Fluvanna County (4x200 relay), Louisa County & Orange County (4x400 relay), Western Albemarle (4x800 relay), Kadarius Bruce (high jump, long jump, triple jump), Chance Parmly (pole vault), Lamar Gordon (long jump), Reginald Sterling (long jump), David Johnson (triple jump), and Raheim Turner (shot put).

Girls: Sherrie Timberlake (300 meters), Jasmyne Johnson (300 meters), Jordan Haws (500 meters), Claire Johnson (1000 meters), Katie Farina (1000 meters), Kelsey McClary (55 meter hurdles), Charlottesville & Louisa County (4x200 relay), Western Albemarle & Louisa County (4x400 relay), Louisa County (4x800 relay), and Raven Robinson (shot put).

All of the Virginia Cavaliers who were All-Conference (top 3) at the ACC Championships:

Women: Rosemary Barber (DMR), Lyndsay Harper (DMR), Tasia Potasinski (DMR), Chidi Uche (DMR)

Men: Adams Abdulrazaaq (60 meter hurdles), Kevin Anding (DMR), Alex Bowman (DMR), Marcus Robinson (triple jump), Sintayehu Taye (DMR).

What’s Keeping Those Feet Happy?!…

The Brooks Dyad and the Asics Fortitude have found a way to nicely fill a previously unchartered niche by comfortably protecting flat and straight lasted feet that don’t pronate. Despite the fact that a small percentage of the population has this unique foot and gait type, these very specialized and technical shoes have been just what the doctor ordered in affording these folks a comfortable and injury free ride by providing supportive cushioning in the mid and forefoot section of the foot.

Running Science News…

Longtime Ragged Mountain friend Bev Wispelwey last week brought us a copy of a recent article (New York Times Magazine 1/31/10) touting yet another benefit from running as we age. Two recent studies demonstrate that with regular weight bearing exercise, specifically running, one can keep their cells young. The author said that the effect of “regular weight bearing exercise on cellular aging could turn out to be profound!”.

And here’s one for all you beer lovers: The Week Magazine (2/26/10) reported that according to a University of California study that “in moderation, beer can build strong bones. Researchers found that beer is rich in silicon, which increases bone mineral density and helps osteoporosis.” Pale ales came out on top for the beers with the best silicon bang.

Street News…

The University of Virginia students will be on Spring Break from Friday March 5 through Sunday March 14. We love our student neighbors but even the most diehard Wahoo will admit that the streets of C’ville are so much quieter when they’re away.

Someone recently told us that about half the UVA student body brings a vehicle to school, which means that when the students are on break we have about 8,500-9,500 less vehicles in town. Wow! So, take advantage of the quieter streets while they last but, like me, just about the time I’m starting to miss the “kids” they’re back in town again!

The Toughest Area Road Race Courses

We thought it might be fun to list what we feel are some of the toughest road race courses in the area. Agree/disgaree with us? Let us know…

  1. Montalto Challenge 5K…an unending 3.1 climb to some of the most spectacular finish line views of any race in the country. The last mile switchbacks up one of the steepest ascents imaginable but oh, my gosh, is the “breathtaking” view at the top ever worth it! At the finish, the racers are actually looking down on the dome room of Jefferson’s Monticello and have 300 degree panoramic views of Charlottesville!
  2. The Batesville 10K…the area’s second oldest footrace is also one of the most challenging as it immediately greets the runners with a three mile uphill climb. Miles two and three are show stoppers, as they feature a switch back climb to the orchard at the top of the mountain. In addition to beautiful views at the top, the racers are also treated to a steady two mile reprieve as the road descends back to the village and to the finish.
  3. The Charlottesville Marathon…widely considered to be one of the state’s most scenic distance courses, it has also earned the reputation as one of the toughest because of the steep hill on Garth, the tough ascent up over Ridge Road and the endless two mile hill climb up Free Union Road back to Garth. A new course is planned for this spring’s running of the event, so we’ll have to wait to see if it can retain its #3 ranking.
  4. The MJ8K…Of all the “urban” courses in our area, this scenic 5 mile journey over the streets of downtown just might be the toughest. As one racer so aptly put it, “no race gives you more hills/miles for your money!”. The Belmont hill, that frustrates the racers at mile four, has become an urban legend but conquer it and you’re more than ready to score a good one at the Ten Miler a few weeks later! And speaking of…
  5. The Charlottesville Ten Miler…The area’s oldest and most prestigious footrace is widely considered to be one of the most scenic urban courses on the east coast but don’t let looks fool you! A half mile, all uphill start and a roller coaster of hills through the first two miles help to set up the racers for a tough journey but many consider the hills from miles 5.5 through 7.5 to and the infamous “Corner Hill” at mile 8.3 to be some of the worst. But we would argue that if you behave at the start (take it out slowly and conservatively for those nasty first two miles) you will have enough in the tank to conquer those late-in-the-game monster hills!

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