Sunday, December 27, 2015

FLASH: Klim Addresses Rumors of MCM Comeback

Yesterday, GRC standout Jake Klim broke his silence on reports that he intends to stage a running comeback at the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon. Rather than issuing a confirmation or denial, however, Klim elected to play politics with the region's most beloved marathon by commenting only that the reports, first published by social media giant Facebook, were "unfounded."

Notably, by criticizing the source of the rumors rather than issuing an outright denial, Klim (seen above performing hard training for an unidentified event which may or may not be the 2016 MCM) did not foreclose the possibility that the rumors were poorly sourced but nonetheless true. Indeed, reports of his preparation for MCM gained enough traction on social media to garner twelve "likes" and earned enough cache to migrate to the blogosphere, which would not have been possible without an evidentiary foundation. News Reporter and DC-area running insider Charlie Ban described the story as "developing." Stay tuned to this blog for any breaking news on Klim's intentions.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Wednesday workout, December 16 (and a hearty Clubs Clubs Clubs recap)


We had an amazing weekend at Clubs in San Francisco. The men were 16th and the women were 19th, and while those results may seem disappointing given our aspiration to put both teams in the top 10, I can assure you that I am extremely proud of our performance. Every single one of the 24 athletes who competed for GRC ran to the absolute best of his or her ability, and they all gave absolutely everything they had for their team, and that's all I can ever ask for. Clubs gets more and more competitive every year (consider that in 2006, the last time the meet was on this course, Luke ran 31:12 and was 19th, and this year Phil ran 31:04 and was 59th), and we competed toe to toe with the best runners in the country, and came away with our heads held high, secure in the knowledge that we represented GRC with distinction. I'm already looking forward to next year in Tallahassee, when we'll have another chance to compete as a team in a national championship race, and show what we can do on the big stage.

In the men's A race, Phil ran superbly, and his placement of 59th was the third best finish for a man at Clubs in GRC history. Phil beat several national caliber runners in what was clearly his best performance in a GRC jersey, and we're going to see much more from him on the track this spring. Mike also ran an excellent race, placing 70th in 31:14. Mike is not a XC specialist, but he has run the 3 best XC races of his life at Clubs the last 3 years, and Saturday was the best of the bunch. Luke is an outstanding XC runner and was right with Phil and Mike for the first half of the race, but his injury induced lack of race sharpness caught up with him in the latter part of the race, and he finished 98th in 31:40. Luke did everything he could to come through for his team, and he left nothing in the tank, and I was very pleased with his effort, and his leadership. Cabell continued his breakout year with an excellent 32:06, a 10k PR, which is most impressive given that the course was challenging and muddy, not to mention slightly long. Matt Rand overcame an illness this week to run a very solid 32:11. Balmer had yet another strong performance at Clubs, finishing in 32:36, and he unleashed his trademark kick in the last 300, and picked up several important spots for the team. Sam had a tough day, finishing in 32:39, but he fought to the tape, and also picked off some guys in the final stretch, even though his tank was on empty. Tex Paul ran a very solid 32:48, which was by far his best race in at least the last year.

The women were led by Frances L, whose stellar 70th place finish, in the excellent time of 21:35, was the third best finish ever by a GRC woman at Clubs. Frances has an extremely bright future, and she is going to be a force for GRC on the track and in XC for a long time to come. Maura was 87th in 21:55, which was unquestionably her best performance ever in a GRC jersey. Maura prefers longer distances on the roads, but she proved once again that she has the range and toughness to excel in XC. Hannah, who was 129th in 22:30, fought to the tape despite not being herself because of a health issue, and she did everything she could to help her team. Hannah will be ready to roll on the track, where she will be looking to crack the GRC top 5 list in several events. Kara ran an extremely gutty race, finishing in 22:54, and even though 6k is at the top end of her range, she ran hard from the gun and kept fighting to the end. In what may have been the last major race in her outstanding GRC career, Susan ran a very solid 22:59. Susan was our first major woman's recruit, and her leadership has been instrumental in building our women's program into the juggernaut it has become. Chelsea gave an extraordinary effort to finish in 23:03 off of very limited training due to nagging injuries, and when she is able to combine the competitive fire she showed on Saturday with consistent training, she will be a major contributor on the track and in XC. Sara is still in the early stages of her return to racing after her severe injury, and her time of 23:56 was a very encouraging sign on the way back to full fitness. Keely took a big step up in the level of competition, and a big step down in distance, and acquitted herself well, running 24:33. I was particularly proud of the tenacity with which with the women competed because before the gun went off, they knew that they would not be able to meet their goal of a top 10 finish due to the late scratches of Katie and Tina, both of whom would have been major contributors, which left them short-handed in an extremely competitive field, yet each of the women who got on the starting line ran extremely hard for each other, and for their teammates who were not able to compete.

The inaugural men's B race was an unqualified success as the guys delivered an excellent second place finish, beating several teams whose A squads beat us. More importantly, their strong performance prevented me from looking like a clown after I argued vociferously at the coach's meeting the night before that our B team belongs in the A race. Kyle led the way with an excellent 18th place finish in 33:07. Kyle's tactics were superb as he moved up steadily throughout the second half of the race. Sean went out hard and hung tough in the last mile to finish 26th in 33:32. Luk ran a very solid race, finishing 35th in 33:55, and showed that he has the strength to make a successful transition from the 800 to longer distances on the track. In his first XC race since his freshman year of high school, Chris ran an excellent 34:15, which is a PR. Chris also moved up steadily throughout the race, and looked like a guy who's done this a lot more recently than 15 years ago. Dickson ran a very solid 34:24 in his first hand effort since MCM. Tom had a tough day, finishing in 34:24, but he's had a great season, and is in great shape, and will be ready to make some noise on the track. Greg ran a strong 34:45, and he is also fit and ready for a big track season.

In his masters debut, Wertz and I both learned a valuable (and in his case, painful) lesson about how competitive the masters race is on this level. We knew it was going to be tough, but not nearly that tough, and because we did not appreciate the quality and depth of the field, based on my ill-advised instructions, Dave was a little too aggressive early, and he paid the price for it late. Despite being out of gas by 4 miles, Dave hung on as best he could, and finished a very respectable 35th place in 34:09. Now that we've got a full understanding of what he's up against, Dave will be ready for redemption next year.


There is practice at BCC on Wednesday at 7:15, so meet for the warmup at 6:30. If you're interested in coming out, let me know, and we'll get a plan for you.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Results, Results, Results!

The GRC Mens' A-team finished 16th overall in what appears to have been a very competitive field at the USATF Club Cross Country Nationals in San Francisco.

1 51 Philip Royer 24 31:04 1090 
2 58 Michael Franklin 24 31:14 1080 
3 82 Lucas Meyer 32 31:40 1085 
4 109 Cabell Willis 23 32:06 1093 
5 117 Matt Rand 24 32:11 1089 
6 (149) Paul Balmer 25 32:36 1079 
7 (153) Samuel Luff 29 32:39 1083 
8 (165) Paul Guevara 29 32:48 1081

The women's A-team finished 19th overall.

1 56 Frances Loeb 22 21:35 441 
2 71 Maura Carroll 26 21:55 437 
3 106 Hannah Rowe 24 22:30 445 
4 136 Kara McCartney 26 22:54 442 
5 141 Susan Hendrick 30 22:59 439 
6 (150) Chelsea Bollerman 28 23:03 436

GRC showed some depth with a second place finish in the B Competition with many runners putting in A-race caliber performances.  

1 7 Kyle Wagener 23 33:07 1092 
2 12 Sean O'Leary 24 33:32 1086 
3 18 Lukasz Olenginski 22 33:55 1088 
4 23 Christopher Van Es 29 34:15 1091 
5 30 Thomas Kelly 26 34:24 1082 
6 ( 31) Dickson Mercer 34 34:24 1084 
7 ( 40) Gregory Olenginski 22 34:45 1087

Dangerous Dave Wertz came in 35th in the masters' race with a time of 34:09.

#sendem #clubsclubsclubs #youcanfindusintheCLUBS

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Its time for Clubs Clubs Clubs!

Golden Gate Park XC Men's Start
PAUSATF Champs at Golden Gate Park
Its mid-December once more, and before our GRC squads change into road flats or track spikes, they'll gather once more on the grass, mud and (this year) sand to run a hard distance race with 200+ of their closest friends. That's right running fans, its time for USATF Club Cross County Nationals! In true cross country fashion, GRC's teams this year are led by milers, marathoners and everyone in between. They'll travel together across this great land to the great city of San Francisco, where they'll throw down in Golden Gate Park this Saturday. Though the long trip means we'll put fewer runners on the line than last year, we're bringing a much larger group than when we went to Bend two years ago.

I'll turn it over to Jerry for the blow-by-blow...

The crew at the (re)-inaugural USATF East Region Champs. Photo Cred: GSTC

"Our goal for the men is to grad a top-10 spot. After a 9th place finish two years ago in Bend, the Men are hungry to get back to that level on their return trip to the West Coast. We've got a very experienced top 5, as Mike, Luke, and Sam have all run numerous Clubs for us and are all in great shape. Matt Rand scored for us last year, and he's in better shape this year. Phil and Cabell will be making their first appearances for GRC at Clubs. Phil is the USATF Eastern Region champion and could be our top man, and Cabell is ready for a big breakthrough. Balmer and Tex round out the A squad, both bringing solid Clubs experience with them."

Phil gets the win at East Regionals while doing the Carlton. Photo Cred: GSTC

"The women's A team has had a lot of new faces this year, but we've reloaded with Hannah, and Frances Loeb and will be gunning for a strong team finish. Maura and Susan will be running their first Clubs since 2012, and with Hannah and Frances, they should be a solid front group. Kara, Tina, and Chelsea are also running on the A team and will give us solid depth in a race this size."
GRC Women off the Line. Photo Cred: GSTC
"It will be uncharted territory for Wertz in the masters race. There's a whole lot of competition, but he's got a very good shot at being in the top 10. It's also going to be a whole new experience for everyone in the men's open B race, which is being held for the first time this year due to the massive Men's Open race in Lehigh. We've got a very solid group, led by Tom and Sean, both of whom ran well last year. We should see strong performances from Kyle, Luk, Greg, and Chris in their first clubs. Dickson is only a few weeks removed from MCM, but he's going to give it a go."
As always, we'll have live updates coming from the course for as long as my phone battery stays alive. So follow us on twitter for up to the hour stats and projections.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Re: TUESDAY workout, December 8


The highly coveted but rarely awarded GRC Athlete of the Week goes to Kerry for her outstanding performance at the California International Marathon, where she ran 2:51:55, a 5 minute PR, which ties her for 5th on the all time GRC list with Julie, who ran the exact same time at CIM last year. Kerry had a serious injury that kept her out of action for an extended period of time, and shortened her training cycle for CIM, and for her to run such a significant PR in her first serious race after the injury is truly impressive. Outstanding job! Also at CIM, Beth ran 3:04:33, which is a solid performance given that she has had an absolutely brutal year at work. With Beth's insane work schedule, it's borderline miraculous that she was able to finish a marathon, let alone to run competitively. Finally at CIM, GRC superstar to be Sarah Bishop ran a giant PR of 2:47:37. Imagine what Sarah will do after a few months of being exposed to the GRC magic!

Closer to home, Kevin got the win at Jingle All the Way 5k in 15:31, followed by Ryan in second in 15:41, and Chris in fifth in a very nice PR of 15:52. On the women's side, Teal was third in 18:17, which was a big PR, so much so that Teal is thinking about bailing on this whole marathon thing and becoming a miler. Future GRC superstar and fellow Olympic Trials qualifier Emily Potter got the win in 17:37. Keep an eye on those two young ladies, who will be representing GRC in a race a little more significant than a holiday 5k in about 10 weeks.


We're set for TUESDAY at BCC at 7:15, so meet for the warmup at 6:30.

I'll send the women's workout separately.

See you tomorrow at BCC.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

FLASH: ALLEN -- 2:51!

On the heels of a bout of plantar fasciitis, Kerry Allen notched a 2:51 today at California International Marathon, good for a five-minute PR.  Her splits appear to have been where they needed to be, having gone through in 1:24:37. "Kerry ran a huge PR, which would be worthy of celebration under any circumstances, and it was a particularly special performance given that she came back from a serious injury that had her on the shelf for months, and limited her preparation for CIM," said Coach Jerry Alexander. "With good health over the next couple of years, Kerry will be a real threat to make the Trials in 2020."

Beth Young was not in a position to get a PR today (which would have been south of 2:50) but she was able to secure a solid BQ and a fine excuse to spend some time in wine country.
This writer acknowledges the support that CIM has lent to the club over the past three years. The race organizers have been extremely hospitable and our runners have enjoyed a great deal of success at the event, which, by my count, has yielded five big PRs in only two races: Teal's OTC; Outlaw's successful debut at the distance; and Julie's, Kerry's, and Breezy's multi-minute PRs. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015


Tomorrow morning Kerry "the Banana" Allen and Beth Young will be hitting the streets of Sacramento to take on the California International Marathon. Numerous GRC runners have claimed PRs at this race and with any luck these two will do the same. The forecast calls for the right temps, but with a high chance of rain. Best of luck to both runners. Stay tuned for results. Send em!