Monday, January 23, 2017

mmmmm! Stew!

 So I guess I'm getting ready to run the Great Stew Chase again. It's a week earlier this year so it crept up on me. I can't remember ever really being ready for this mid winter classic. It's no surprise to anyone that this is really the only game in town this time of year so here we go again.
My version of history doesn't include road racing. My version includes events that are a bit more epic. Things that have changed the world, for better or for worse. It certainly isn't running. Since I've taken a few cracks at this road race I thought somebody might like to read it so here it is. I included top 3 from 1999 because those guys are studs. Well, two are.

9 JOSEPH SHAIRS         29 M 29 M0139   7 PEABODY    MA   52:09  5:36 1998


1 JOHN BARBOUR      M 44   1/29   M4044 ROCKPORT   MA  5:25   50:22

    2 JESSE DARLEY      M 25   1/83   M0139 WATERTOWN  MA  5:25   50:22

    3 JOSEPH SHAIRS     M 30   2/83   M0139 PEABODY    MA  5:36   52:08 1999


7 JOE SAHIRS        M 31   3/75   M3039    7 PEABODY    MA   52:33  5:39 2000


3 JOE SHAIRS        M 33   52:26  5:38   3/79   M0139   96 PEABODY    MA  2002 new course?


1 JOE SHAIRS        M 36   51:58  5:35   1/56   M0139  175 PEABODY    MA 2005 lead from the gun


4 JOE SHAIRS        M 38   51:35  5:33   4/71   M0139  248 PEABODY    MA 2007


4 112 Joe Shairs            4/67   M0139 Peabody      MA   51:37  5:33 2008


4  65 Joe Shairs            1/29   M4044 Peabody      MA   52:10  5:36 2009


5 239 Joe Shairs            1/20   M4044 Peabody      MA   54:09  5:49 2010


7  275 Joe Shairs            2/25   M4044 43 M           Peabody            MA   54:21   54:21  5:50 2012


7  299 Joe Shairs            1/34   M4044 44 M             Peabody         MA   55:31  5:58   55:33  5:58 2014

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Hey Sports fans

So here we are December 2016. I'm on a flight to Tallahassee with my club mates, Jim, Greg, and Todd. A fun group of guys, we get along well. We are on our way to run club nationals in cross country. The last time we did something like this was back two years ago in Pennsylvania. That was the race that kicked me into high gear to do something better that winter in terms of training. I've been thinking about this opportunity ever since. My training is going well. I hit almost 60 miles for the first time in a very long time a few weeks back. Of course getting lost in Willowdale didn't hurt. Here are some things that stick out to me for the year so far.
My racing was very up and down this year. I still think I should be closer to the front than I have been. Having said that, for the most part, it went o.k. We started the year in Cambridge with the 5k distance. Without looking, I think I was 16:40 ish and got beat pretty good in the Masters division. I remember the warm down the most. I think we got confused a bit and ended up on the shoulder of Storrow Drive. I don't think anybody will forgot the Narragansett 5 mile race this year. Pretty much pure survival as we all lined up on a 90 degree plus day. I remember standing on the starting line completely drench in sweat and thinking I was in big trouble. Turns out most of the field was also. I think maybe 29 and change for a time. Crazy, crazy slow but some didn't even finish. I was still fighting one of the worst sprained ankles I've ever had. Damn thing still bothers me on long runs. Welcome to 48 you old bastard. I guess the highlight of the year so far was the Acton 20k. We had just raced a real tough course in New Hampshire which rolled the entire time. I fell apart at 8 miles and hobbled in. I was pretty embarrassed. I just didn't have any real good training leading up to it. The 20k was a different story all together. I felt pretty amazing the entire time. The course is tough but we had done it the previous year so I knew what to expect. It was a blast for me and I finished pretty high up and in the money for the first time. I'll finish here by mentioning the masters 5k road championships. Another road trip with the typical crew of Greg and Jim. It's great to be in a race with some of the best in the U.S. It's a very humbling experience but well worth it. The course is quick and every kilometer was marked. 16:49 was my time. I really thought 16:20 would be in the cards, my legs had other plans in the second half of the race. those are some of the highlights and low lights for 2016. The Grand Prix for 2017 has been announced and the first three races are long and tough. I'm not sure what the winter holds, but as of today, I'm not fired up to road race. Maybe some indoor racing will keep me focused. I guess we shall see.

To be continued

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Vermont City Marathon

I'm not very good at race reports. By the time I get around to it I'm on to something else.
Back in November, after the cross country club championships, I decided I needed a bit of something to get my ass out the door more often. I was pretty pissed at my place in Pennsylvania although I had a blast with my team in that environment. That course was amazing and so was the experience. I threw my hat into the GP marathon which ended up being Vermont City in May. I figured it would be perfect timing. I could start my build up in February and avoid almost all of the winter. I couldn't have picked a worse winter to train. We all know by now it was ridiculous with the snow. Oddly enough the experience in Pennsylvania kept me more focused that I have been in a real long time. There were a ton of treadmill runs and some of them ended up being some of my long runs...pretty sucky. I also joined Strava which helped me stay honest with my team and myself. I figured if they are suffering out there then I should be also.
Fast forward a bit, after a solid winter( for me) and a bunch of solid 18-20+ runs and a bunch of real solid up-tempo 14-16 milers, race day arrived and I was healthy. I figured I should be anywhere between 2:40 and 2:45. Not haven't run a marathon since 2003 I was a damn wreck the entire race week. Race morning was even worse, sweating and crazy nervous. I lined up about 10 rows back as the gun goes off and I immediately settle into a very easy 6:20 first mile. I was completely shocked at how easy it felt. I found three BAA guys, McGIll, Levy, and Lawrence.
They looked like they were escorting McGill to keep him in check a bit. I settled in behind and we chatted a bit and began clicking 6:20s like nothing. Miles 1-8 were a breeze but a bit warm. We hit mile 9 back into the start area and the pace got frantic real quick. The crowds were super deep and awesome and we all fed off of it and went a bit harder. McGIll broke with Lawrence and I followed about 3 seconds back. I knew at some point it was going to hurt so I purposely stayed back a bit. We all started to reel in the Women's leader( Kasie Enman)and as we caught up, the pack came back together a bit. We ran that way until about mile 11 or 12. It kind of felt the BAA guys were trying to help Kasie along. McGill got impatient and went harder with Lawrence and this is where I lost contact. I went through half way at about 1:22 and I was ok with it. Any faster I felt would be a mistake for the later miles. The drums at mile 15,on the only hill on the course, were amazing. I had heard about it but wasn't prepared for how awesome it sounded and how much it helped me get fired up. For weeks leading up to the race, I knew, and was told, get up over and you are home free. I broke away from Kasie and the group I was running with, got to the top, and preceded to run the next 5 miles all alone. The lack of crowd support and the twisting course was the toughest part of this whole race for me. My only salvation was a fading Chris Lawrence up ahead. I got by him about mile 18 and prayed for the bike path. Anybody who has ever run a marathon knows that the last 5-6 miles are pretty much where you can either make your race or ruin it. I made it to the bike path and for the next 4 miles dropped so many F-bombs. You can get pretty angry out there and I was pissed at everything. I was pissed at the uneven pavement. I was pissed at the guy who dropped his bike 4 inches from my legs. I was pissed at the woman taking a crap in front of me. I could finally hear, off in the distance, the race announcer getting the crowd all fired up. I took a quick left and then a quick right onto the grass and ran down the straight away waving back to the people who were so encouraging. I was done, literally and physically. Every muscle in both legs quit working just passed the last finish mat....2:46:30. I hobbled to the massage tent and within 10 minutes I was back on my feet. What a strange feeling to be so psyched and so miserable at the same time. I want to thank my teammates for helping me through all the training. I hope you had as much fun as I had.

Krissy K took the photo.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Frosty 4

It's kind of strange that I have never raced on New Year's Day. It's not like I'm out partying all night. I'm usually sleepy by 10 pm. Yup, pretty boring but rested. I decided to head over to Salem and race the wicked frosty 4 miler. My training is going well with all the time off from work because of the holidays. Warmed up with Jim, Martin, and Dennis. The start was pretty slow with two guys getting away early. I let both go knowing one of them was last years winner and the guy is quick. The second place guy looked a bit big and I thought there was no way he was holding pace. I caught him around the two mile mark but couldn't get around him. We crested the only hill and I started to get tired and of course the wind was just killing us. He pulled slightly ahead and that is how we finished. A pretty good effort and a good start to the new year. My legs felt great afterwards and I never really bonked on the cool down. I'll be over 50 miles this week for the first time in forever....
I'm pretty focused on a 15k in February followed by the 10 miler.

Friday, December 19, 2014



Photo by Mike Scott

My first real trip with CMS team members to a national event and I couldn't be more pumped up.
Even though I love running cross country, it's not my strongest season. The course at LeHigh I thought was a perfect match for my crazy left ankle that seems to roll over at any sign of technical trails. CMS put together 5 solid master runners and it was a blast to spend the weekend with them and have some much needed fun. After hearing how the course might play out, I thought it was best to just hang back a bit for the first mile. 5:40 through mile 1 was perfect, although it felt way too easy and I did all I could do to stay patient. The middle of the race was a grind with two very gradual climbs that really took the wheels off of just about everyone. From 8k on is where everyone seemed to try and open up and fly. There was not a lot of back and forth from this point on, it was just hold your position and get in as quickly as you could. I'm not sure what the official results are yet but we at least got 9th and could be as high as 7th.  It's now time to put in some base miles and maybe run a marathon in May.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Under the radar

The CMS men's open and masters team both came out on top once again in the New England Grand Prix Series. This club continues to put together some really nice blue collar efforts. Show up, grind it out and act like you're a champion. Congratulations to all my teammates for two well deserved first place finishes.

Monday, September 1, 2014

GMAA 15k

Sorry to disappoint. Come back later when I have something to write about.