LA Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon (10/27/13)
(by Cub Reporter Marty Friedman)

The 5 day weather forecast for Downtown LA had been 80-82. But on race day, the South Bay and all the way to LA was socked in with fog and chilly. Club Ed’ers drove the freeway in the right hand lane, almost missed exit ramps and drove around blindly looking for parking.

The theme for this RnR event was Halloween. Club Ed’ers dressed as runners (good disguise!). But there were also devils, bumble bees, a full squirrel costume (holding a large acorn), “Where’s Waldo?”, Forrest Gump, etc. One guy bounced two basketballs the entire race.

But there were serious runners as well. Del “Cruising” Carneiro was the fastest Club Ed representative in 1:38:14. He was pleased given his current level of conditioning. Marty “Flying” Friedman continued his domination in the 65’s with a 1:40:13, seven minutes ahead of the 2nd AG finisher, but seconds shy of his sub 1:40 goal. Marian “Dynamo” Drahnak electrified even herself, by improving more than 21 minutes from her time in last years’ race, in 2:01:59. And Cristina “Boom Boom” Baba exploded to a 4 minute improvement from 2012, in 2:08:58, almost a PR.

“Flying” saw “Dynamo” an hour before the race. He was covered in 3 layers; she was in her skimpy racing outfit. Brrrr. The plan was to gather in the alphabetic “meet and greet” area after the race, but it never happened. There were no signs this year.

There was music along the course and after the finish. “Dynamo” reported lots of dogs in the SPCA dog walk, but “Flying”, the dog man of Manhattan Beach, had already split. “Cruising” and “Boom Boom” took advantage of the free beer.

It was a well run event and the chillier weather was perfect for running a Half. But did the fog slickened surface affect traction and add seconds to our time? Not that we cared. Ha!

It was a dark and stormy night. Ooops. It was a cool overcast morning, unlike the prediction for a hot day, and perhaps perfect running weather. But it played havoc with the clothes selection. Club Ed had runners bare chested, in tank tops, t-shirts and even a sexy pair of white arm-warmers. Jet to Jetty took on their normal 5K/10K as well as two Grand Prix miles, and we had participants in all events (well, excluding the kiddie race and race walk).

In the 5K, Rick “Rocket” Weis finished 2nd overall in a blazing time of 16:24. He was standing tall with that result. Mike “Comet” Cortez was 5th overall, in 17:55. Matt “Kinetic” Knight was 1st in his age group with a 19:40. Jim “Nuclear” Newman was disappointed with his 21:14 (“slowest time at that race”), but probably more disappointed by the strong age group field. Corrine “Sandbag” Schratz could have improved her 35:33, but kept stopping and asking for her Club Ed Handicap. “It worked once”, she stated. And finally, Martin “Mischievous” Newman pulled his mom Gretchen to the finish, chewing on his new remote the whole way.

In the 10K, Rick Weis decided he needed the extra miles, so he ran that race too, and finished 2nd in 35:30. Will “Leopard” Longyear and Mark “Streaking” Silva started out together, but “Leopard” pulled away with a 39:09 to “Streaking’s” 39:48. Silva blamed the difference on age. But he got the last laugh with a 1st place finish in the 50’s versus Longyear’s 2nd in the 45’s (two more months to 50!). Dave “Galloping” Grethen bolted away from Marty “Flying” Friedman in the first mile, was nearly reeled in during the 5th mile, but eased away for a six-second “victory” with 43:36 versus 43:42. But “Flying” maintained his mastery of the Medicare Division with a 1st place standing. Jeff “Comeback” Fulton finished with a 46:31. And Marina “Sneaky” Sanchez finished in 1:04:44, two minutes faster than her first 10K, but her result was missing from the official finish (maybe she was just a blur at the finish line?).

In the Masters Mile, Mike “Comet” Cortez (recovered from the 5K) and Rich “Gusting” Gust were given the same time of 5:17, but I guess “Comet’s” toenails crossed the line first. They both held off the 1st female finisher, Tania Fischer. Chivalry guys???????? Kevin “Stealth” Farrington showed he is back, tearing through the pack to finish in about 5:34, just steps ahead of Chuck “Kamikazi” Kaminski, who continued his age graded stellar performances with an impressive 5:38. Ed “Air Mail” Avol claimed he has only been jogging at 8-minute mile pace (and only 4 or 5 miles a day), but somehow reeled off a 6:07. And Sharon “Smoking” Lotesto (of sexy white arm warmer fame) had a fast 6:46.

In the Open Mile, Humberto “Superman” Sanchez had a blistering 4:52, and was followed by Aaron “Meteor” Munger in the same time. “Meteor”claimed he could have beaten “Superman”, if he could get a decent night’s sleep (new baby in the house).

Congrats to all Club members who braved the multi-event, multi-parking, three-ring circus to race. Although we missed several of our usual performers, we had a great showing!

Marty Friedman

Corrine Schratz Goes Wire-to-Wire to Lead the Way 
Coach’s Handicap Race Results: 
(by Ed Avol, Cub Reporter)

On a beautiful Saturday morning in Malaga Cove (okay, a typical South Bay day), another installment of the venerated/cursed/admired/despised Coach’s Handicap Run was held. About 30 runners participated, and all of them made it back to the start/finish line. Runners left the starting gate over a 45-minute time frame, and in a rush to the finish, returned within a 9-minute window, so one might say there was a general sense of honest predictions and honest efforts on run day.

The six-plus-something course miles of scenic vistas, long straightaways, and occasional rises.bumps, hills, and mountains offered the running group an assortment of challenges. Thanks to the expert course marking of Mark Silva (and the ever-present smell of baby powder in the morning air), runners found the course easy to follow, if somewhat tougher to run. Corrine Schratz was first out the gate, and after a brief consult with the Coach, was given an extra five-minute head start, to try and equalize the racing field. As it turned out, Corrine exceeded her own expectations, and not only led the way out, but led the way in, finishing first in 75:50. Ninety seconds later, Jim O’Brien followed his bread crumbs back to the start, to confirm his steady return to racing form. Jim was chased to the finish line by Monyean Acuna, barely 8 seconds behind him and coming in strong…and then the thundering herd appeared.

Led by the amazing Debbie Richardson (on the comeback after knee surgery last year), the floodgates opened, and in the course of the next five minutes, another 24 runners barreled in, even though they had “given” each other up to a 30-minute headstart on the way out.

Both new club members and perennial favorites participated and celebrated in the event. Greg Buchbinder proudly led the “newbies” in, as the fifth runner to finish, just edging out Irene Mapua, who finished seven seconds behind him. In the “speedy” division, it was a hotly contested run. With venerated racer Jon Megeff down in San Diego breaking track records at the Police and Fire Games, Aaron Munger, Humberto Sanchez, Mark Shalvarjian, Chris DeWitt, and Rich Gust were in the hunt to make sure everyone worked. Among the group, notable honors went to Chris DeWitt, who held most of the racers off in impressive fashion. (This was Chris’ farewell of sorts, as he is moving to Sacramento; we will miss his speediness and friendship; best of luck, and drop in to run with us whenever you’re in town).

The run was not without some controversy, however, due to the usual last-minute handicap start adjustments. One of these adjustments led Course Director Mark Silva to change one entrant’s race name from “Rich Gust” to “Rich-lying-piece-of-…”, but it was all in good fun, and Rich–whatever-his-last-name-is finished strong.

Following the run, two tables of food and drink were shared by the runners, and assorted gag and gift awards were provided by Coach Ed and Diane Silva, our Awards Chief for the run. Thanks to all for attending, providing the food and drink, and participating in a fun club event…see you next year!

MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Club Ed Racers at Magic Shoe 5K…

The May USATF Club Road-Racing Series moved to Orange County for a fast 5K around Corona Del Mar HS, on Saturday May18…and Club Ed racers were there!

We came with almost 20 runners, ready to test the fast and well-organized race, which was overseen by Coach Bill Sumner of Cal Coast Running Club (thanks, Bill, for a great job!).

When the smoke cleared, the crying stopped, the butter got hard, the jello stopped jiggling (or was that my stomach?), we had another impressive showing…though we were somewhat overwhelmed by the numbers of Cal Coast runners (100?200?) and the speed in the race.

The overall race was won by 24yr old Jordan Chipangama (Flagstaff AZ) in 14:24, while on the women’s side, Belainshe Gebre (26yrs old) tore through the course in 15:55. Our racers’ times are shown below. We had some impressive racing debuts with the team (nice to have Jeff, Kevin, Chuck, Mike, Tami, Diane, and Mark out), some welcome returns (Nathalie & Alison are back leading the way), a few PRs (Aaron and Sabina, nice work!), some encouraging returns to racing (Jake, Sharon, Karina), our go-to guys (Humberto, Jon, Rich, Mark)and some wake-up calls for steady improvement (well, all of us could improve, can’t we?).

Congratulations on a race well-run!

By Peter Brennen (a new Club Ed runner)

I got dropped off by my Aunt's family at the State Park in Hopkinton at about 7:45 am on race day to take the shuttle to the starting area. Much preferable to taking the bus... I was able to wake up at around 6am as opposed to 4am to get to downtown and catch a bus.

I sat around for a while, did about a mile warmup jog with some pacing in the middle, and started to make my way to the starting line at around 9:15. By the time I had dropped my bag off and prepared it was about 9:45, so I only had to spend about 15 minutes in the corral, which was nice. When the gun for the pro-men went off, it took me about 2 minutes to cross the starting line (I was in wave 1, corral 4).

The first 3 miles of the race were pretty uneventful. I was worried that I was caught in the crowd and going too slowly (started at over 7 minute pace), but after a bit the crowd started to pick up and the first split was an acceptable 6:52. Coming down the hills and seeing the road packed shoulder to shoulder with runners as far as the eye could follow was pretty amazing. Such a big race!

I ended up finding a dude that I raced with at LA Marathon last year and said what's up. We cruised together for a while, but he started to fade about 12 miles in (I guess he was injured for a month or so), so I didn't see him again.

The rest of the first half was actually pretty uneventful as well. I was worrying a little about my legs because they felt so heavy, but I resolved to run by feel and not break myself to early. I wanted to hit a 1:28 first half but ended up at 1:30:05. Running through Wellesley was pretty insane, I could barely hear because of all the yelling from the girls, but it was the first of many sections that were amazing from all the crowd support.

Miles 13-15 were a little rough and I'm not sure why. Perhaps my nutrition was a little lacking through there, but I'm not sure.

Mile 16 is where the Newton Hills start. I had some family at the Washington Street overpass who handed me some liquid calories (Gu Rocktane Endurance Drink) which I drank over the next 4 miles. The hills themselves were not too bad. I slowed my pace for fear of blowing up (hill chops were as-yet untested), but I ended up running 7:18, 7:21, 7:05, 7:19, 7:29 through the hills and up Heartbreak Hill.

At the top of Heartbreak Hill, I checked the clock and I realized that I would have to run ~6:20/mile pace to break 3 hours, which was not happening. This was a little disappointing, but also relieving, because I knew I could still hold out for sub 3:05 (re-qualifying time). The other thing that felt great was that my legs felt decently strong and I was able to hold 6:49 averages from there until the mile 25 marker.

At mile 25, I could feel the wheels starting to come off, but I knew that 1.2 miles to go was nothing I hadn't hammered through before, so I hammered it out averaging about 7:15/mile for the remainder, crossing at 3:03:47.


My overall impression of the race was incredible. The crowd support was insane. Better than any race I've ever done, because they are pretty much non-stop for 26 miles. The race was impeccably run, and the value was high (great expo, a pre-race dinner, and a post-race party (cancelled), all included in the race fee). The chance to run on such a storied course was also an amazing experience, and I felt lucky every step of the way.

The comraderie at the finish line was completely unexpected. At a race where there are more than a handful of serious runners finishing at 3:00-ish, it's awesome to talk it out with everyone who had been feeding off of each other in the final miles.

I ended up being nowhere near the bombings, as I had finished and was on the subway when it all happened, so I was pretty much unaffected. I think we can all agree that what happened was terrible, so I'll limit my comments to running-related topics. My post-race was completely thrown off by the events that occurred. Normally I process my race over and over again to figure out what to work on for next race, but I'm just now beginning to think about what to work on over the summer. I hope the other runners who did not get the stellar race experience that I got will get another chance to run the Boston Marathon and receive an official time/finishing experience.

A Note From A Runner Who Recently Joined . . . 

Having lived in the South Bay since 2005 and an avid runner, I naturally heard about Club Ed in my small running circle. I had always thought about joining, but assumed I needed to be a bit more serious about my running and be able to devote more time to the club.

This past February 2013 I decided to 'bite the bullet' and join. It is the best decision I have made in a while!!! I run track on Wednesdays and the long mileage hill runs on Saturday mornings. In the past 3 months, I have seen increasing progress in my tempo runs and my races. I consider myself more of a long distance runner, but Ed encouraged me to run a 5K for speed. So, for the first time since high school, I signed up for a 5K in April and had a great time, surprising myself with my time.

This is a great club with amazing team camaraderie!!! Now, onto my goal for the Hometown Fair :)