Athlete Race Recap: CLASH Endurance Daytona, Happy Holidays Half Merrython, & Jingle Bell Half Marathon

Posted On:
Monday, December 6, 2021
Updated On:
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is living up to its reputation among Full Circle Endurance athletes who are still racing!  While this time of year is often a period of “downtime” in Maintenance Phase, some athletes choose to continue racing.  And what a weekend it was!

CLASH Endurance Daytona

How fun are they? Carolyn and Neil are all smiles after finishing!

On Sunday, December 5, 2021, both Neil Beck and Carolyn Classen took on the 70.3 distance of CLASH Endurance Daytona in Daytona, Florida!  These two are great friends and Carolyn traveled 900 miles by car to visit with her friend so they could race this event together!

For Neil, this was a BIG race, and is the first BIG race he’s done since sustaining a leg injury over the summer.  He started working with me in August of this year and we’ve been working on building up his strength and endurance, but especially on “rebuilding” his run.  

We (quite literally) started off with 7 x (1:00 easy running / 1:00 walking) after his injury necessitated taking time off from running.  Yep, you read that right.  Neil started off with SEVEN total minutes of running.  Over the course of the last few months, we’ve built up his durability to be able to safely handle the running distance required for this race (13.1 miles).

All of Neil’s patience and hard work paid off! He was able to stick to his race plan for the entire race. Most importantly, he was able to stick to his planned run/walk intervals for ALL 13.1 miles of the half marathon and finish STRONG. He had a GREAT race, hopped aboard the PR Train by getting his fastest finish time at this distance ever, and finished FIRST in his age group (which had some competitive folks in it)!

For Carolyn, this was the final race of what has been a VERY busy season of racing!  And she also had a great race!  She finished SECOND in her age group and scooped up a nice, shiny new personal record (PR) time by over five minutes for the 70.3 distance!  (For those keeping track, this is her second PR this year at this distance; her previous one was set in July at IRONMAN 70.3 Musselman.)

What a team!  WAY TO GO, Neil and Carolyn!

Happy Holidays Half Merrython

Sarah Grundy told me several months ago that she really wanted to work on improving her running speed.  She set a goal to run a half marathon, and this goal race was the Happy Holidays Half Merrython in Gloucester, Massachusetts that took place on Sunday, December 5, 2021.

With Sarah’s goal in mind, I designed a very specific training cycle that would completely focus on improving her running times.  The workouts were not easy, and they asked a lot of Sarah.  One of the most important things that I recommended was that she not race a lot during this time period.

For age group athletes, this can be hard.  We do this (endurance sports) because it’s fun and social.  So it seems counterintuitive sometimes to not race when racing is something that brings such joy and connection to others.  However, when athletes have performance-based goals, racing frequency and timing matters.  A lot.

To keep Sarah on track to where she wanted to go, I often responded with a gentle, “If you do [insert thing she wanted to do here], it may compromise your goals for the half marathon” to requests to race or to alter the plan as written.  While this was hard for her to hear, she accepted the advice (knowing I was acting in her best interests by giving it to her) and stuck to the plan.

Race day came, and Sarah executed the race plan I gave her to a ‘T’.  Part of my advice was to run extremely slowly in the first two miles, and to let people pass her.  This is a true challenge, but Sarah rose to it!  She was able to build her effort and pace throughout the race, and ended up passing MANY of those same people later in the race.   

Ultimately, Sarah finished with her second-fastest half marathon time ever, and her fastest time - period - in over 12 years!  Sticking to the plan (both in training and on race day) really paid dividends for Sarah, and she accomplished her goal marvelously.

Congratulations, Sarah!

Jingle Bell Half Marathon

What a festive medal! Emily smiles after her big finish!

While her mom (Carolyn Classen) raced in Florida at CLASH Endurance Daytona, Emily Resciniti raced the Jingle Bell Half Marathon in Haverhill, Massachusetts on Sunday, December 5, 2021!

Building on the success of her return to racing at the Newburyport Half Marathon last month, Emily decided to run another half marathon before the year ran out.

We continued to work on keeping her injury-free over these last four weeks, but we also started to build in a bit of speed work.  This past Sunday, she ran a full TEN minutes faster than she did just four short weeks ago!

Like Sarah, Emily followed the race plan I gave her to a ‘T’.  She also started the race off slow and built her effort.  She applied some lessons learned from the Newburyport Half Marathon and had greater insight into when during the race she could push and when she should hold back.  All of that wisdom and patience led to her successful race!

Congratulations, Emily!


Coach Laura Henry

Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.

She can be reached at

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