Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Runner Profile - Erin Swain Taylor

Meet Erin Taylor

Born: April 5, 1982

HS: Lake Braddock High School Burke, VA 2000

College: North Carolina State University 2004 & 2005

10 mile –59:52 2006
½ marathon –1:21:17 2007
Marathon –2:52:46 2011

Favorite Local Race Course: Vets Day and Jingle All The Way 10Ks

Favorite Local Trail: Georgetown Trails

Erin’s Story:
I started running as a freshman in H.S. and immediately fell in love with the sport. I ran throughout all of H.S. in all the distance events and my senior year finally really hit the national scene with a trip to Cross Country Footlocker Nationals. I ran at NC State during college for 5 years where I definitely had some injuries keep me out of the sport over the years. After college I moved back to the DC area to start working for the federal government. I found myself wanting to be back racing and started at some local road races.

So here I am post-college enjoying racing and now focusing on marathons (2 down so far). My goal is to get back into shape post-baby (My husband Kent and I recently had our son Cameron in May 2012) and qualify for the Olympic Marathon trials in 2016! First big race will be the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in April 2013.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Breaking 30

By Frank DeVar

You’re going to get into a fight with someone. You know what day, and time it will take place, and you’ve known for awhile. It’s always the night before where the reality of your coming plight sinks in. Particularly when you know, deep in your soul, that your opponent is a little stronger and a little quicker. You try to convince yourself that maybe you have a few tricks he has not seen and victory is not such a far-fetched idea. Your reward with this logic is a few stressful hours of sleep before the battle takes place.

This past Sunday, I was able to live this sequence after finding out I would be lining up against Chris Kwiatowski at the Veterans Day 10k. We had never raced, or even worked out together(even though we are technically on the same racing team), but with his recent 49:06 Army ten mile time, I knew it would take something miraculous to win.

Races, particularly those that go exactly to plan, are the hardest to remember. Looking back at Veterans Day, I can remember the first mile going out very quickly, and becoming increasingly concerned that Chris and Jeff Brannigan, did not look like the pace was very taxing. The next four miles were hazy. When I think about those miles now, it was almost like a dream where you try move faster or have a clear thought, but an invisible force is holding you back. Only at the fifth mile, where my coach Dustin Sweeney was standing, did my head clear. All he really said was, “24:13.” Initially a good sign as that was a 5 mile PR, but when I tried to do quick math, it became apparent that hitting under 30 minutes would be an impossible feat.

An unknown runner was between Chris and I. He had a great stride but was coming back to me quickly. He proved to be the better man as he beat me by two seconds, but I was not distraught as I crossed the line at 29:59. We covered the last 1.25 miles at 4:35 mile pace. Chris beat me by 12 seconds in a convincing win.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Veterans Day 10k - Race Recap


(From right to left, men: Matthew Barresi, Jeff Brannigan, Chris Kwiatkowski, Edmund Burke, Tripp Southerland, Frank DeVar, Derik Thomas... Women: Erin Taylor, Barbara Fallon Wallace, Kristi Markowicz, Kelly Devine, Kerri Gallagher)

November 11th, 2012
Weather - Ideal
Competition - There
Excuses - Unavailable

The Men's Race:

Chris Kwiatkowski took the race out hard.  He strung along fellow teammates Jeff Brannigan and Frank DeVar as well as two Africans, two Georgetown Running Company guys, and recent UNC-Greensboro graduate Joey Thompson. Close behind Tripp Southerland led a tight chase pack of 6 or 7 guys through the mile in 4:53. The two packs stay fairly intact for the first 5k out along Hains Point. The real race was run in the final 5 kilometers....

Chris K is the first to make a move just after the turn around. He maintained his lead all the way to the line. Winning in 29:47.

Not ten seconds behind Chris, Joey Thompson and Frank DeVar were battling it out for the second spot. While the two both broke 30 minutes, 29:56 and 29:58, Thompson was rewarded the runner-up spot.

Jeff Brannigan had fallen another 30 seconds back and finished 4th, in 30:26.  A well-deserved personal best.

Matt Barresi and Tripp Southerland, worked together for the majority of the race, taking the 6th and 7th spots in 31:36 and 31:41, respectively.

Quick PacersNB Recap:
Chris K - 1st, 29:47  (Road PR, 5-6 seconds off track PB)
Frank D - 3rd, 29:59 (PB, first time under 30)
Jeff B - 4th, 30:26 (Big PB)
Matt B - 6th, 31:36 (Solid first race of the season, #comeback)
Tripp S - 7th, 31:41 (Big PB)
Edmund Burke - 20th, 33:00 (1st Male Masters Runner)
Derik Thomas - 32nd, 34:25 (Big PB)

The other local elite team, Georgetown Running Club, was in attendance and took second place in the team standings. PacersNB was able to put 5 men in front of GRC's first.

The Women's Race:

Kerri Gallagher - 2nd, 35:16
Barbara Fallon Wallace - 5th, 36:21
Erin Taylor - 13th, 38:14
Kristi Markowicz - 16th, 39:02 (1st Female Masters Runner)
Kelly Devine - 23rd, 41:22

Carmen Hussar from Birmingham, AL, ran a very impressive 33:45 for first overall female. Kerri Gallagher, from PacersNB, led our women's team to a second place finish, running just off her personal best. Carmen extinguished Kerri's "on fire" status, but at the same time lit a fire under Kerri.

Barbara Fallon Wallace ran a very impressive race, averaging 5:51 pace.

Erin Taylor ran a great personal best.

Kristi Markowicz continues a successful comeback taking the first masters position in 39:02.

Kelly Devine knows one gear; 6:40 pace.  Marathon or a 10k two weeks later, she's running 6:40s. 

A very successful day all around for the Pacers-New Balance racing team.

"If you can't run fast on a day like today, you'll never run fast."
- Frank DeVar minutes before learning he had broke 30 minutes in the 10K

Results Here
Team Results Here
Photos by SwimBikeRun

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Runner Profile - Matthew Barresi

Meet Matt Barresi

Born: Washington, DC February 8, 1983
HS: Atholton High School, Columbia, MD
College: American University, Washington, DC 2005 & 2011

5K - 14:32
10K - 30:59
Half Marathon -  1:08:38
Marathon - 2:25:11

Favorite Local Race Course - Parkway Classic 10-Miler
Favorite Local Trail: W&OD

Matt's Story:
I started running as a freshman in high school and left my life as a competitive gymnast to become "just a runner" when I was 16.  After completing my high school career as a distance runner and pole vaulter, I walked on to the American University team.  I ended my college experience as a member of AU's Patriot League Champion, NCAA qualifying XC team and with a 3rd place finish in the Patriot League Championship 10,000m race. I continued training under AU's Matt Centrowitz after graduation with eyes on qualifying for the Marathon Olympic Trials.

I originally studied visual communication, but after 3 years in the workforce came back to AU for graduate school and a full-time position coordinating the University's faculty and staff wellness program. My wife, Joy, who I met running on the W&OD trail, and my one year old daughter, Vienna, are my biggest supporters.

My goals for this year are to get fully healthy so that I can get back on the line representing Pacers and to run a fast spring marathon.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Veterans Day 10k - Race Preview


Date: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Location: West Potomac Park (Aka Hains Point) - Washington, DC
Start Time: 8AM
Distance: 10K Race

Register Here.

More Important Details:

Who's running it from Pacers? 


  • Frank DeVar - Defending Champ, Coached by Dustin Sweeney
  • Chris Kwiatkowski - Fresh off a 49:06 Ten Miler, Coached by Matthew Centrowitz Sr.
  • Tripp Southerland - PR'ing left n right, Coached by Dustin Sweeney
  • Jeff Brannigan - Always in shape, Coached by Matthew Centrowitz Sr.
  • Charles Bowles - Ponytail and all, self coached.


  • Kerri Gallagher - Hasn't lost a race since Vietnam, Coached by Matthew Centrowitz Sr.
  • Erin Koch - Gets faster with every race, Coached by Matthew Centrowitz Sr.
  • Kelly Devine - Only two weeks removed from MCM, Coached by Dustin Sweeney
  • Erin Swain Taylor - Sub 60 Ten Miler and 2:52 'thoner is coming back from having a baby, currently self-coached.
  • Barbara Fallon Wallace - The 38 year old has at least 3 wins in 2012, currently self-coached.
  • Kristi Markowicz - 42 and mother of 4, on the comeback trail from a long injury but has some solid times under her belt over the past 2 years, currently self-coached. 

Others, that are on the fence:

  • Derik Thomas
  • Lisa Thomas
  • Kelly Swain - Sister of Erin Swain.
  • Shannon Miller - DNS at INGNYC12, if she can't get into Richmond she'll be out there Sunday. Coached by Dustin Sweeney.

Here's what you'll think is happening on November 11th:
On the men's side, we have four young guns that all race for Pacers New Balance and are looking to sweep the field.  They will all work together hoping to secure the top four spots.

On the women's side, Kerri and Erin are looking to go 1, 2 and set personal bests along the way. Erin Swain and Barbara Fallon Wallace will definitely be up front as well. The two marathoners, Kelly and Shannon, will likely take it out a bit slower and hope to close the gap over the last 5 kilometers.

Here's the skinny on November 11th:
What we have here is four teammates running under two different coaches with very different coaching styles. While the Pacers boys are all friendly to each other and fine, they actually like each other, they're also extremely competitive. Chris K wants the "W" just as bad as Frank D wants to defend last year's victory.  Jeff B wants to close the gap on the two talented front runners just as bad as Tripp S wants revenge from his second place finish at Clarendon Day 5k (JB dropped TS over the last mile).

"Oh, it's a grudge match.  There's no doubt about it."
- Coach Dustin Sweeney

"No comment."
- Coach Matthew Centrowitz

As far as the ladies go, Kerri will be tough to beat.  She's currently ON FIRE with three back to back to back wins.  But you can't write off Erin. With a few fall races under her belt, Erin keeps improving and she's tough as nails. No doubt she'll make things interesting.  Look for the women to hug and kiss each other at the starting line and then come swinging when the gun goes off.

The NYC cancellation is probably the best thing that could have happened to Shannon Miller as she's still on the comeback trail from a recent injury.  If she doesn't get into the Richmond half marathon, she'll be out there.  She's in good marathon shape. So how will that translate to a flat 10k for her?

Speaking of marathons and 10k's, also coached by D Sweeney, Kelly Devine is going to be out there. Her nickname is "slow twitch" so we expected a fast recovery from MCM.  She claims she's not racing Sunday, but we all know how that goes...

As with any Washington DC race, you never know who might show up on race day. Local red-shirt collegiate runners, money-hungry Africans, or the always competitive George Town Running Company. We welcome them, because we all know: Better competition = faster times. And isn't that what we are all trying to do here?  RUN FAST.

The Course

As the title of this blog indicates, this course is flat, fast, and boring. While flat and boring are certain, fast is often dependent on weather. (reader thinking:  How does this differ from any other race?  I'm always worried about the weather)

Well reader, have you ever run Hains Point before?  Kelly Devine has, in the 2012 Marine Corp Marathon, during Hurricane Sandy. (Read her blog here)   Hains Point runs along the Potomac River.  If it's even the slightest bit windy on November 11th, you'll be exposed, just like you were in that dream where you showed up to school in your underwear.

However, man-made Hains Point is as flat as a pancake. So, if the wind keeps calm both you and your grandmother will run a personal best. It's an out and back course from the polo fields near Lincoln Memorial.  At the turn around you'll see who is in front of you and who is behind you and you'll know what to expect over the last 5k... More of the same.  Stay focused and (personal) victory is yours.


0% Chance of rain. Low Wind. No Excuses.


Overall M/F
First Place: $100
Second Place: $90
Third Place: $80
Fourth Place: $70
Fifth Place: $60

Pride and money are on the line. Come watch this nail bitter.  
We promise to make the race less boring than the course.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Runner Profile - Jeff Brannigan

Meet Jeff Brannigan

Born and raised in Staten Island, NY. Date of birth: may 1st, 1989.
High school: Curtis high school
College: American University

1500- 3:49
3000- 8:13
5000- 14:14

Favorite local trails: rock creek/ capital crescent trail

Jeff's Story:
I played soccer and baseball for most of my childhood and knew I wanted to try out for some kind of team when I got to high school. A friend suggested I give the cross country team a try ....and I've been running ever since.

I was fortunate enough to meet Coach Matt Centrowitz my senior year in high school and decided that I wanted to come to DC and attended American University while to train and compete under Coach Centrowitz.

Throughout my college career Centrowitz helped me to make great improvements as a runner and as a person, which is why I have decided to stay put in DC and continue my running career in hopes to reach my true potential.

The ultimate goal for this year is to qualify for USA national outdoor track and field championships in the 5000 meters.

Friday, November 02, 2012

The 48 Hour Rule

By Frank DeVar

For anyone who has competed in a collegiate sport, you have probably heard of the infamous, “48 Hour Rule.” I remember my first team meeting at Mary Washington, this mythical rule was spoken about in hushed voices by upperclassmen before it was beaten into my head by coach. For those not familiar with this rule, an athlete is not permitted do drink alcohol or engage in sexual activity, 48 hours before competing.

My freshman year I was religious about following this rule. There was a time I was out on a date before a race with a girl who wanted the night to live on, and I steadfastly refused any advances under the unquestioned belief that such actions would be detrimental to team and myself. The next day I had a Facebook message from her with an attached article stating that the illicit actions outlined in the 48 hour rule may actually help with sleep and ease nerves. My sophomore year, following a stressful week, I had the opportunity to go carousing on a Thursday night. With a race Saturday, I would be breaking the “Rule!” I went out anyways, and ended up running a PR in the 3000 meters and winning the race. The next day I got in a shouting match with a senior captain who questioned my discipline (he, in the same race ran a near identical time to his girlfriend and finished near the end). Needless to say, our relationship was never the same.

Since that 3000 meter race, I have decided that this rule, is in fact, for the undisciplined, and unmotivated. If your biggest concern is your actions in the 48 hours before a race, and not in the weeks and months leading up to it, then your priorities are out of line. For those of you still unsure about the proper way to deal with the night before a race, follow this simple rule:

Do whatever will keep you relaxed. If this means a beer, or a little romance, do it. The worst thing you can do is over-think the race, which is exactly what happens all too often with those who follow, The 48 Hour Rule.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Kelly Devine's MCM Race Recap

Pre-Race Training Thoughts:
Training for Marine Corps went very well. I had not completed a marathon since January of 2008. A stress fracture in the fall of 2008 then took me away from running for 6 months, and defeated a bit of my mental racing state. I knew in the spring that I wanted to again race my favorite distance. While training, much of my workouts consisted of long runs at marathon pace (6:40) which had me feeling confident and comfortable as the race approached.

Forecast, Oh the Forecast:
The forecast for Sunday was less than ideal. With Hurricane Sandy approaching, the forecast predicted a change of rain and wind up to 20 mph. Certainly not ideal weather in which to race a marathon but I knew I would put my best out there and take it on one mile at a time.

The Race:
The Marine Corps Marathon offers its rolling hills in the first 8 miles of the course. I was able to approach this well, keeping pace when the course was flat, adding a bit of time on the hills, and taking off a bit on the down hills. I was exactly where I needed to be coming into Georgetown and approaching mile 9. The crowd support was amazing, offering so many familiar faces cheering. I ran through mile 10 in 66:40 and headed into Haines Point.

On our way to Haines Point, the wind gusts became noticeable and I knew the battle with the wind had begun, one I was willing to fight with everything I had. Still strong and pushing on, I crossed the half in 1:27:10. Normally Marine Corps is a good marathon for negative splitting, however the increasing winds as the morning went on made this goal a challenge. The backside of Haines Point brought stronger wind gusts and I found my struggle increasing. I continued to work hard, trying to work with other runners when I
could and maximize moments of more calm air.

Miles 15-22 brought on a greater challenge yet as the course took us around the capital and back towards the 14th Street Bridge. The winds in this section were so strong and the race seemed surreal. Again, I was determined to continue the battle and fought to keep my pace, still on target, beginning to notice the fatigue that came with the miles and the battle against the conditions.

Between miles 22 and 23 was when I started to feel my body exhaust. It had fought a long and hard battle and with 3.5 miles to go I could tell it was running out of steam and strength to continue the journey. My quads began to ache and my overall body began to feel worn. The extra energy exerted to battle the wind took more than I had to give. My pace slowed from 6:30-6:45 and I began to see some 7:30-8:00 minute mile splits. Thankfully, I still had support cheering in Crystal City and the last stretch of route 110. After struggling through the last chunk of the marathon, I crossed the line in 3:01, a few minutes shy of my 2:55 goal, finishing in 12th place.

Post-Race Thoughts:
Though my time was not what I had hoped it would be, the race was everything I could have asked for. I was reminded of why I love this distance, the marathon, which brings such an unpredictable experience as it challenges us to extremes.

Results Here