Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up: May 20-22

We had several strong performances on the roads this weekend, highlighted by Kerry's big PR of 1:19:26 at the Brooklyn Half Marathon, which capped off a great season.  Kerry was in fantastic shape this spring, and even though she was limited by a nagging injury, she ran several significant PRs, and demonstrated that she is a legitimate candidate for the 2020 Olympic Trials marathon.  We're going to see much more from her in the months ahead.  

At the Germantown, 5 Mile, Kevin got the win in 25:28, employing his trademark start slow, finish fast race plan.  Kevin has been out of action since last summer due to a persistent injury, and despite his repeated protests that he's not in very good shape, he proved otherwise on a challenging course.  Pat K had a successful tuneup for the half at Grandmas with his sixth place finish in 26:33, which may have been an over-40 PR.  It may have been a PR because Pat isn't sure, which goes to prove how forgetful folks his age can be.

Dave O'Hara took second in a highly competitive field at the Woodson HS 5k, running 16:31. He gave deference to Woodson standout Bobby Lockwood, who will take his talents to Nashville to run for Libscomb University. GRC Toddler Greta O'Hara did not start. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Weekend Recap - May 13 - 16

The folks over at Capital Weather Gang may have declared May the year's worst ever for DC weather after two weeks of constant rain and clouds, but if GRC's weekend results are any indicator of what is to come, it's going to be a HOT summer. IT was another weekend with a Reich PR!

At the Capital Hill Classic 10k, Luke got the win in his first real race since Clubs, running a solo 32:17. Luke is rehabbing his balky Achilles, and this was certainly a promising result on limited training. Chris was 4th in 33:45, and he was not feeling 100% after a week of a late nights during his whirlwind media tour to celebrate his huge 5000 PR at Maryland. Outlaw got the win in the Harpers Ferry half in 1:16:43 on what he described as the hardest course he's ever run. Talk about running solo--he was a full 10 minutes ahead of second place. And Zak got the win in the National Police Week 5k in 15:56, more than a minute ahead of his nearest pursuer. Well done, men.

The men had a big night in the 5000 at Swarthmore, with Stewart leading the way in 14:39.5, a 10 second PR. Stew has knocked 25 seconds off his PR this outdoor season, which is even more impressive given that his winter training was minimal due to injury. If he improves another 25 seconds next year, we'll have something! Kyle ran a season best 15:03, and while he was disappointed to end his season without breaking 15, he ran his best race of the year by far, fighting hard the whole way and closing strong. And GRC superstar-to-be Steve Soprano ran a very solid 15:22.3 in his first race in over 6 months. Steve will be focusing on longer road distances, but he showed some wheels in the final mile last night. On the women's side, Frances L ran a strong 16:52.1. Frances is lacking base work after a nagging injury disrupted her spring training, and she was very pleased to be able to run another solid 5000 off of very low mileage. In the 1500, Steph ran 4:31.87 in an extremely competitive field. As was the case at Maryland, Steph got out faster than she wanted to, and ran another 800 PR on route, and that hard early pace caught up to her in the last 400. Considering that Steph ran a sub 1:16 half 8 days ago, it was an outstanding performance. And not being one to rest on her laurels, Steph paced Frances for 4k before calling it a night. Finally, Liz made a triumphant return to her alma mater, running 4:45.07 in the 1500, which is her fastest time of the season.

Monday, May 16, 2016

FLASH: Emily Young kicks off GRC's summer of offspring

GRC's Emily Young and husband Chad, Bethesda Chevy Chase High School's cross country and track power couple, welcomed baby boy Oliver Myles Young to the world on Wednesday, May 11.

An apt name for this fated runner-to-be! Congratulations Emily and Chad!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Preview: Swathmore Last Chance

Chasing the bout of recent success run in the Keystone State, eight GRC athletes will travel to Swathmore College on Monday afternoon. Swathmore adopted this oval logo with garnet lanes to celebrate its recent history of hosting fast, end of season races on their 400m track. GRC's athletes hope to  justify Swathmore's Board of Managers in their decision.

Steph, Liz and Alyson will get the action started in the 1500. Steph, who is now second on the GRC all time lists in the 1500, 3000, 5000, 10000, and half marathon, will look to claim the top spot in the 1500 (Frances Koons - 4:30.91). Coach Jerry says that Steph is showing no ill effects from her outstanding half marathon on Sunday, and says that sub 4:30 is "well within reach." 

Shortly after, soon-to-graduate-from-Georgetown Cabell Willis will run his three and three quarters laps in the Men's 1500. It is hoped that after he runs fast, he doesn't turn to Instagram to post the hashtag #MerberMagic as he did on May 11, 2015. Don't do it Cabell.

Penn Relays Olympic Development 5000m champion Frances L. will lace up for the 5000. She will have help from Steph, who is planning on pacing Frances through 4k. If Frances L. wasn't at full fitness when she won Penn Relays in 16:50 alone, we may see her PR of 16:39 fall tomorrow.

In the Men's 5000, Stew is looking to build on his excellent season with what we'll call his Nth PR (we've lost count), and Luk and Kyle are gunning to be on his heels with a sub 15.

The schedule of events can be found here.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Weekend Recap: All Reich Already!

Photo by Bill Green, Frederick News-Post

After a long week full of rain and gray skies, the GRC took to the local tracks and roads to shake off the blues and heat up the DMV! The track crew opted for a "quick" metro ride to College Park, Maryland, seizing every possible chance to ride the metro in a predictable way before SafeTrack rears its ugly head, while a half marathon in neighboring Frederick, Maryland was a lure as well. Nothing like home sweet home for these runners!

Friday's race conditions during the Jim Kehoe Twilight Meet at the University of Maryland did not deviate from the week's trend of cold, rainy weather, but GRC athletes were not deterred as they toed the line in several events. Everyone was hoping for evening climate conditions conducive to fast times and the typical roaring crowds in the stands (just kidding about that last part), but since they've followed Coach Jerry's advice, they were prepared to tackle the inclement weather. Despite these oppressive odds, the GRC had several strong showings as well a few brave fans in the bleachers. Results are below.

Women's 1500

4. Steph Reich 4:32.01
7. Frances Loeb 4:37.89
11. Liz Tawa 4:51.87

Men's 1500

9. Stewart Reich 3:57.74
13. Luk Olenginski 4:01.01

Men's 800

15. Stewart Reich 1:57.14

Men's 5k

2. Kyle Wagener 15:07.43
6. Cabell Willis 15:33.21
7. Chris Van Es 15:38.87 (PR!)

Just as April showers bring May flowers, Sunday's dawn brought respectable weather back to the area. Steph Reich, after racing the 1500 on Friday night at Maryland, decided to throw her adoring public a bone and run in her hometown Frederick Running Festival half marathon. Her fans were expecting to see her triumphantly conquer the race's notorious hills which would be familiar to the resident Frederick runner, and thought she'd maybe demonstrate a tempo-type effort, which would be an accomplishment in itself after a fast race less than two days prior. No one expected an event record, the fastest (by over two minutes) half marathon performance by a woman in a GRC jersey in a decade, and an almost Olympic Trials-qualifying level performance in her first attempt at the distance, but that's what happened. We should have known to never doubt Steph!

She got the win (and 5th place overall!) in 1:15:44.33.

According to Coach Jerry: "If there was any doubt that Steph is a national caliber runner, that doubt is now gone.  To put this performance into context, Steph has been training for 5k/10k on the track, she ran a hard 1500 on Friday night at Maryland (where she ran an 800 PR of 2:20 on route to a 4:32.01), and she did not decide to run the half until after what she considered a disappointing performance on Friday.  Moreover, Frederick is a challenging course, and her mindset going into the race was just to have fun with it.  That Steph could get within 45 seconds of the Olympic Trials standard in a race she was not training for, and which she was not even planning to run hard, tells us everything we need to know about her potential in the longer road events."

The Frederick News-Post wrote a thorough article about the race, complete with a clever title that makes this author wish she had thought of it first.

The Reich Stuff: Local runner bests women's field at Frederick Half Marathon by Bill Cauley

Let us also not forget that the married Reich duo turned in four separate race performances this weekend, which equates to 40% of the weekend's results. Where would we be without them!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Weekend Wrapup April 28 - May 1

It was a huge weekend of racing in Philadelphia, with several great performances at Penn Relays and Broad Street 10 miler. At Penn, a GRC athlete won an Olympic Development championship for the 3rd consecutive year, and this year we decided that we enjoyed winning so much that we did it twice. Frances L got the evening started with the win in the 5,000, running a very strong 16:50, which is third on the GRC all-time list. Frances had a very promising indoor season, but a nagging injury forced her to start her outdoor season several weeks later than we planned, and she is still not fully fit, so to win a Penn Relays title when she's not at full strength is a great sign of things to come. Steph finished the night in style, winning the 10,000 in an outstanding 34:12, which is second on the all-time list. Steph did it the hard way, leading for at least half the race, and she ran a huge negative split (17:16/16:56), which shows she could have run faster in a more favorable race. To put into perspective just how well Steph ran, until this year, the good folks at USATF had a B standard for the Olympic Trials, which was 34:00, so Steph is now running on a national class level. And to put into perspective just how far she has come in a very short time, her PRs prior to joining GRC in the fall were 17:59 and 37:31, so it's fair to say that she's improved a fair bit in the last year, and Coach Jerry has every expectation that she's just scratching the surface of her ability.

The guys also got after it at Penn Relays, and Stewart ran a huge PR of 14:49. Stew was on 14:40 pace for 4k, but the uneven early pace, and the energy he expended jostling with the very large, physical pack caught up to him in the last 1000. He still managed to close hard in the last 200, and he was rewarded with a major breakthrough. It was a tough night for Phil, but he's going to shake it off, and we'll see some excellent performances from him this spring.

At Broad Street, in conditions that were sub-optimal, to put it mildly, Kerry ran a huge PR of 58:57, which puts her third on GRC the all-time list. Kerry has been ready for a major breakthrough this spring, and when she was unable to get it at Cherry Blossom due to the weather, Broad Street became the target. A nagging injury put Broad Street into doubt, but Kerry worked through it, and got the job done in a major way. Carlos ran a very strong 49:47, which puts him third on the all-time list. CJ has big goals for the spring on the track, and the strength he's building by running longer races on the roads will translate well to the shorter distances. Finally, Chris ran a big PR of 53:31, and he continues to show great promise as he makes the adjustment to competing on a high level.

In non-Philly action, Charlie ran a strong 1:13:50 in the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, in rough conditions. Charlie has been training well, and he's going to be ready for a major PR in the full at Grandmas. Finally, Outlaw got the win in the Draft Day 5k at the stadium of Washington football team.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

FLASH: Kerry Top Ten in Philly

Kerry Allen turned in her second impressive 10 mile performance in two weeks at this morning's Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, PA. Kerry ran 58:57 for a 9th place finish, shooting up the GRC charts to number three all-time in for the 10 mile distance.

In the men's race, Chris Van Es looks to have run an expertly paced effort (as evidenced by his splits) for a PR and 27th place finish in a time of 53:32.