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Raritan Valley Road Runners Online Newsletter

December 2000
Volume 8 Issue 10

The Last Mile in the President's Dancin' Shoes

Trink Poynter

I was just going to put President's Shoes, but I have to admit, I be dancin' right now.

Not that I didn't enjoy being the club president for these past two years.  I'm just embracing retirement.

Our club has remained very active for the remainder of this year.   In November, our Men's Masters Team won, once again, the USATF National Masters 5K Championships at Holmdel. Congratulations to team captains Doug Brown and Roger Price and to the team for their unprecedented victory, having won now for the past three years!

We also had a movie night scheduled, and then rescheduled for November 14th.  Thanks go to Pete Priolo for helping with that event.  I have already been asked when the next one will be!

In December both our Women's 50's Team and Open Team clinched the USATF Grand Prix title with a final victorious race at Picatinny.  Congratulations to our women, led by their fearless team captain, Chris Lehman.  And I do mean, fearless.  If you saw the email that came regularly from him supporting and relentlessly encouraging our women on, you'd know he was pleasantly unstoppable!

On Saturday, December 9th, we had our annual holiday party at the Vercammen Castle.  Many thanks are extended to Cindy and Ken Vercammen for allowing us to party in their spacious home.   I noticed that there were a few who took advantage of the royal hot tub offered!  Everyone enjoyed the two turkeys, cooked by Pam and Luke Huggins, and Rose and Mark Strawn.   I, for one, have never cooked one, leaving that onerous job for Rolf.  So, believe me, I appreciate the time and effort that it took to cook them!

Thanks go again to Pete Priolo for coordinating the Holiday Party.  I was afraid he'd lose some votes for president when he streaked by in that itsy bitsy bathing suit coming out of the hot tub, but as we all know, he's the new Prez, regardless!

Which brings me to our last membership meeting in which we held elections for the year 2001.  Our new officer slate is as follows:  Pete Priolo, President; Peter Onufryk, First Vice President; Ken Ellis, Second Vice President; Pam Huggins, Secretary; John Nowatkowski, Treasurer, and Board Members:   Gene Gugliotta, Dana Gross and Dave Hoch.

Our final December event is our annual Jingle Bell Bar Run on December 20th, which has not yet been held as of this writing, so I'll let your new president fill you in on that event when he writes his first column.

Please do not forget our upcoming Winter Banquet, which will be held on Saturday, February 3rd.  Special thanks to go Dave Hoch, Peter Onufryk and Mark Strawn for coordinating this event.  They'd like everyone to RSVP and pay up ASAP, so they arranged for a discount to encourage early birds:   $15.00 by January 1st; $18.00 by January 19th, and $22.00 at the door.  Hope to see you all there!

Last but not least, I'd like to thank the Board for all its help these past two years.   I am also deeply appreciative of all the volunteers outside the Board who stepped up to help manage club events.  Your contributions have made our club great!  I believe RVRR has never been more active, and am proud to deliver it, thriving, to our next President.

Oh my God!  I'm finally done talking!  For real!

Happy safe  running!

You can go now.


Roger Price

I am writing to thank everyone for your support in my quest for the national title. It would be an understatement to say that the cheers and encouragement along the way were a great help. They were awesome.

Those of you at the restaurant afterwards know fully well how much the Happiness for me was appreciated. (Besides me buying all the beer!)

To say that I train hard to reach all of my goals is a given. However I would like to think that my successes, in at least some small way, produce a feeling of pride in you in being a member of RVRR. I would hope that not only my success but also that of our teams and other individuals would have you saying, "Yes! They are members of MY club."

Again I want to thank you and say that I proudly wear the colors and will be striving to bring more recognition to the club.


Rolf Arrands

The beginning of this article began at the finish line of a race. This was not a race in which I ran. Today, I was a spectator for this one, and it was a wise choice. The ending of this race told the whole story in just a few moments. You might say this is a follow-up to Bill Pape’s recent series of newsletter articles. One man’s plan, one man’s actions, one man’s success.

I was trying to think about catchy titles for this article. Grace Under Pressure. Eye of the Tiger. Take No Prisoners. Team Player. Hammertime. I decided on “Perspectives”. It made the most sense.

During the USATF National Masters XC Championship on November 19 at Holmdel, Dave Hoch led Dana Gross, Dave Brown, Ray Schick, Trink Poynter and myself around the course as the various 5K races were in progress. Holmdel presents a great opportunity for runners who want to get a workout in while watching their fellow runners compete. Dave knew the strategic locations on the course from which to view the race and how long to stay at each one.

The story herein is a combination of perspectives from Roger, Dave and I on the men’s masters 50s race, as well as the details of his race as told by Roger Price. Dave and I had the good fortune of seeing all this “live”. This race was so spectacular and Roger was and is so impressive, the story needed to be told.

Back in August 2000 at the Oregon Nationals, masters runner Alston Brown scored big on the track, winning big in events from 200 m to 3000 m. Our own Roger Price won the 5000 and 10000 m events. Said Alston to Roger: “I want to race you at 5000 m.” Roger replied, “Great! Do you run XC?” Alston: “Yes, I like XC running!” Roger: “Watch for the USATF National Masters XC Championship in Holmdel in late November.” Roger never heard from Alston through November. He wondered what happened. When Alston showed up on the entrant’s list, Roger knew he had his work cut out for him. Just a few hours before the race, Roger stated, “If I win this thing, I’ll buy beer for everyone.” Famous last words?

On race day in Holmdel, the men’s 50s championship race was just underway. It was a cold and blustery late November morning. After the early sorting out of runners up the race’s first nasty hill, Roger found himself up near the front. Roger knows his competition, and he knows who should be around him in his races. Still in the early going, Roger was surprised to see many runners around him who either were not normally around him or did not have the fitness level to sustain the pace. Unphased, Roger motored on.

As he passed by our first vantage point around 3/4 of a mile, Roger was a step or two behind Harry Nolan, and two or three steps behind Alston. Alston looked powerful as he led the trio into the first mile marker at 6:05. The trio had a small gap on the next lead runners.

Now, I ran back and forth on this course all day long, and their 6:05 pace does not really tell just how tough that mostly uphill first mile is. I also noticed how smooth, relaxed and efficient Roger looked at this point, while just in front of him Harry appeared to be straining at his limits. From my perspective, Roger was being patient, staying within himself. I thought to myself, “Roger is going to take this.”

Our spectating group ran over to the Bowl, a well known runner’s evil in the XC world. We paralleled the race course and watched all the action within the Bowl from one high vantage point as the lead runners descended into the Bowl. Runners descend into the Bowl and run several hundred yards along its slightly rolling edges and head towards a pretty nasty exit. Outbound runners must run up a fairly long and steep climb that gets steeper near its top, and has a deceptive left turn that hides more hillclimbing before its true top.

Alston led the trio into the Bowl, and began to open the gap a bit more to about 10 yards. His track speed was visible as he clearly picked up his pace. His powerful and muscular legs carried him in one hell of a hurry into the Bowl. He was making a move.

Harry and Roger duked it out behind him, remaining with a step of each other the whole way. Harry and Roger looked very evenly matched, although Roger’s smooth and efficient form was clearly visible even from a distance.

Alston opened his gap up on Harry and Roger on the outbound climb from the Bowl. I was within 5 yards of all the runners as they climbed the hill, and Alston looked to be pushing the hill very, very hard. Brutally would be more like it. My greatest knowledge in running is in uphill running, and I whinced at the effort that Alston was putting out. Roger’s after-race comments confirmed this — Alston opened up his gap to 40, maybe 50 meters, with much of that gained on the hill alone. Roger pointed out that runners lose ground to one another here because someone slows down. Runners rarely gain ground by accelerating away from other runners. Experienced runners know better.

Roger and Harry continued to hold their pace up the climb, so the only way that Alston was gaining was because Alston was hammering hard up the hill. Meanwhile, to get better footing, Roger swung out to the grass on the right side of Harry. Roger pulled alongside Harry on the climb. Side by side, the difference in their hill running was clear. Roger went straight up the hill, while Harry appeared to be just slightly less powerful up the hill and had a little more side-to-side motion, which wastes effort. Had it been a judge’s call here, the edge was with Roger. As Roger pointed out, Alston was already making the next turn as Roger’s siteline rose above ground level on his way up the Bowl’s hill.

The difference in running efficiency manifested itself on the way to the second mile marker. Roger finally found a passing lane around Harry on the very narrow footpath and ticked off mile 2, Bowl and all, at 5:51. His sights were set on Alston, who had opened his lead to 50 m from Roger’s estimation. Roger described himself as “feeling pretty good” at this point.

Alston came into my view in the “tennis court” loop, and not very long after came Roger. “Roger! Roger’s in second!” While I did not see the pass of Harry Nolan, my sense of things was correct and Roger had made the pass just moments before.

Dave Hoch exclaimed, “Alston’s losing it...his legs are gone!” From our vantage point, as they made the first turn around this small loop, Roger was 25 m back, and moments later, he was with the lead runner. Within just a few meters of our spectating and now sprinting group, Roger drew alongside the lead runner and pressed for the pass. Roger suddenly drew back momentarily and then got by on the other side of Alston. For a moment, it looked like Alston would respond, and then, poof, Roger was gone. The gap between them opened forcefully as Roger pulled away. 10 m became 20, then 40 then 50. Keep in mind that yours truly is getting his own speedwork session in for the day as well. I was wondering why it was so hard to keep up with Roger until I heard his mile 3 split of 5:10. By the time Roger vanished from sight into the woods, the gap was over 100 meters.

The perspective of Roger was very telling and a bit different. As Roger told us after the race, “I went into the first turn by the courts with Alston ahead by 25 m, and moments later after the turn, he was right ... THERE! I was going to take advantage of this in every way. As I tried to pass first on his left, Alston suddenly veered left, blocking my way and forcing me onto the leafy sides of the trail. I then tried to pass on his right and he again blocked my pass.”

“With a sharp ‘Alston!’ I gave a blocking push with my arm as I got past him and ran back on the main trail. Once I passed him, I knew he was not going to answer. I heard these yells from you guys, well mostly Dave Hoch, and I heard just pieces—Time! Team! Lead! Open it up! So I did.” 

And open it up he did. Dave and I went full stride towards the finish line, and even with our shorter distance to run, we got their just a few seconds before Roger came into sight and crossed the finish line as the USATF Masters 5k Cross Country champion. Moments after the race, I jogged over to Roger who was catching his breath near the finish. As he stood up, I had the privilege of spending the next few moments with a true champion whose sport means everything to him. It was those moments that compelled me to write this recount of what ranks as the best running event I have ever seen. 

But, there is a funny thing about Roger. Within just a few minutes of his spectacular run, Roger was back among the USATF officials and volunteers, helping with the next races and later in the day, with the awards and cleanup. After seeing Roger in action, it was easy to see what makes Roger the champion that he is, the true statesman for the sport of running that he has become, and an inspiration for all runners. 

Oh, the beer was good. 

Thanks Roger!

On Your Mark…

Carl Rocker

What to write about??  With the coming new year, everyone always has their ‘resolutions’.   My resolution has to do with sport this year because I have no faults (Just don’t mention that to Kathy).  I want to have the best season of my life next year, setting multiple PR’s.  A solid racing season starts months before you get to the starting line of the first race.

BASE!   Like any structure, it must have a solid foundation.  The foundation of any running season starts with a strong base.  There is no getting around it.  You must put in many hours of slow, comfortable miles.

Last winter when I had signed up for Ironman, I discovered the ‘comments page’ on the website.  Most people were commenting on the Phil Moffetone system of training.   His system is pretty simple, lots of low heart rate training during the off season.

What I had found that works for me is to do all of my runs (no matter what the distance) with my heartrate under 150 beats per minute(bpm).  Every couple weeks I will do a 4 to 5 mile tempo run with my heart rate in the 155-165 bpm range, which translates to appoximately 6:45 to 7:00 min./mile depending on the terain.

I had my doubts about this system.  I purchased a heart rate monitor and when I started, I was running around 9:00 min/mile to keep my heart rate under the 150 bpm limit.I didn’t feel like this was doing anything for me.   It was early December last year so I had plenty of time if it did not work.

I had noticed that my times on the courses I was running were dropping while I was still keeping my heart rate under 150 bpm.  Could this actually be working?  One day I ran to the track and ran one mile with this heart rate and I managed to run 8:05.  So I decide to stick with this plan until spring, at which point I would start doing some higher intensity workouts.

I love the base building workouts.  You get a chance to check out the surroundings, and enjoy running.   It seems to me that when you are focused on a larger goal, the individual workout becomes the primary focus and you are just trying to get through that days workout totally oblivious to what is going on around you.

This past summer I ran several 18 mile runs (using the low heart rate method) alone on the tow path and I was dreading these runs on my plan because it’s no fun to do any long workout alone.   During the first run, I discovered the beauty of the tow path.   I met several people along the way, I ran past a bunch of turtles near Boundbrook, I even had a snake slide acoss the path near Zarepath.

I have grown to love these long runs, and I now look forward to them next summer.

I guess what I am really saying is to slow down and smell the roses.

Welcome New Members 

John Altom                      Hillsborough

Jennifer Koveleski               Plainsboro

Craig Bauer                        Plainsboro

Dori Jane Ellsworth                Chatham

Jan P. Lenard                          Kearny

Bryan Backas                  Hillsborough

 Happy Birthday

December 2000

Phil Palmer                       12/2

Rich Britton                      12/4

Liza M. Martuscelli         12/4

Larry Graham                  12/7

Abby Cahn                      12/12

Stephen Kornstein            12/12

Rick Boyle                       12/14

Jill Sullivan                       12/14

Kevin Bedard                  12/14

Art Kestenbaum               12/17

Jerry Szych                      12/18

Matt Fisco                       12/19

Dayle Lehr                       12/19

Richard Uslan                  12/21

Alex Dobrowolski            12/25

Sherrie Felton                  12/25

Irene Nowicki                  12/26

Romilda Simeone             12/27

Bruce Nadler                   12/28

Phyllis Zatlin                     12/31

January 2001

Scott Brenner                    1/1

Jennifer Vertetis                 1/2

Stefan Johansson               1/4

Jeffrey German                  1/6

Stephanie Harris                1/8

Martin Ficke                     1/9

Rich Goselin                      1/10

Leigh Walker                    1/10

Ian Evans                          1/11

Robert Evans                    1/18

Henry B. John-Alder       1/18

Liza Farina                        1/21

Rosemarie Kiser                1/24

George Koscs                   1/29

John Hoagland                  1/31


Friendly Reminder!

There has been a time change for the Wednesday night runs.   Please do not enter the Senior/Youth Center until 6:15 PM!


Thank you for your cooperation!

RVRR Clothing for SALE!

Just in time for the racing season.


RVRR singlets-Coolmax White Mesh


Male: M, L, XL

Female: M, L, XL


Cost per item is $17. Mail check and ‘Ship to’ address to RVRR, PO Box 1197, Edison, NJ 08818-1197. Singlet will be mailed to you via first-class mail. High-split running shorts are also available at a clearance price of $5 per item. Clothing is also available at Wednesday night runs.

See Ray Petit or Dana Gross.