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Downtown Temple,NH

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


March is in the books and it turns out it was one of my most productive running months ever. My training continues to go well although I'm not really training for anything specific. Training is more of a lifestyle. I don't follow a plan and I have very few goals. I do mix it up, both with terrain and distance so I don't get bored. I rarely run the same loop more than once or twice a week and never back to back.
I was able to venture off into the woods a few times at Horse Hill in Merrimack (very wet), Joe English in Amherst (even wetter than Horse Hill and I didn't think that was possible) and finally Mine Falls in Nashua which was in really good shape.

March Milestones:
  • 229 miles for the month, my highest total since 2003 and second highest ever.
  • 4 consecutive 50+ mile weeks, running 6 days a week. I don't expect my mileage to increase much above 50 mpw anytime soon.
  • Half marathon PR at New Bedford - 1:19:55
  • 20-mile PR at Eastern States - 2:07:52
  • Continue to be injury free (thankfully)
Looking forward, April will be a fairly active racing month. I'll be running the Great Bay Half Marathon this weekend and then a couple of trail races, the Merrimack River 10 Miler on the 11th and the Muddy Moose 14-miler on the 26th.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Eastern States 20 Miler

A fine day for a 20 mile race from Kittery, Me to Salisbury, Ma on Sunday....except for the 38 degree temps, constant rain and 10-15 mph winds. At least the winds were mostly at our backs.
Roughly 600 folks lined up in Kittery for this unique 3-state, 7-town race, mostly along New Hampshire's vast 18 mile coastline. It was a cold one out there for sure, but the push of a tailwind was a welcomed relief and kept us moving south.

I met up with Jim Johnson prior to the race to coordinate rides, leaving my car about 100yds from the finish and riding with Jim to the start. We hung out in the gym at Traip Academy for a bit, fueling up and debating what to wear and of course Jim went through his pre-race routine of what injury would knock him out of the race (barking hammy, cramped calf, hang nail). He decided to dress down the part of elite racer and go with a good old cotton t-shirt, hoping to blend in with the regular folk, not fooling a soul since it was still a CMS shirt. About 1/2hr before the start we headed out for a 2+ mile warm up run, not because we needed it but because it would put Jim over 70 miles for the week and me over 50. All about priorities! We cut it a little close, getting back with about 2 minutes before the start.

At 11am we were off. I settled into what seemed like a comfortable pace and was pleased to have a few folks to run with by the time we hit 2 miles. I ended up running miles 2-17 with Jonathan May, (the eventual 2nd place masters in 2:07:15). We both were hoping to run in the 6:20 to 6:30 range but held it closer to 6:20's for a good part of the race. Without his help pulling me along I would not have held this pace as long as I did.

Our 5 mile split was 31:34 and our 10 mile split was 1:03:22, exactly 6:20 pace. Paul Young (the masters winner in 2:04:55) ran with us early on but eventually picked up the pace around 6 miles and took off, never to be seen again. I was feeling pretty good up to mile 13, and hit the 1/2 marathon mark right around 1:23:00, which would be my 2nd fastest half time ever. Neither of us thought we could hold this pace for 20 so we decided to scale it back a little, running closer to 6:24 pace for the next few miles.
Right after passing the 15 mile mark at 1:35:20, Keith Schmitt (eventual 3rd place masters in 2:07:30) passed us and held a 10yd lead for the next few miles. By the time we hit Hampton Beach at the 17 mile mark I was hurting. I had totally run out of gas. I tried to stay with Jonathan and Keith but I just couldn't do it as they kept up the pace and I slowed to 6:30's. As we crossed over the drawbridge heading into Seabrook at mile 18 I was passed yet again by another masters runner and the 1st female runner. This race couldn't end soon enough at this point. I at least held my position for the last mile and finished 16th overall and 5th masters in 2:07:52 (6:24 avg.) Although initially a little disappointed I couldn't hang on at the end, I really am very pleased with my time. This distance was definitely outside my comfort zone but I'm glad I ran this weekend.
After what was a rough month for Jim Johnson due to injuries and sickness, in the end he recovered nicely and placed 6th overall with a time of 1:56:31 (5:50 pace). See Jim, all that training didn't go to waste afterall! Congrat's to Casey Moulton as well, breaking his own course record with a time of 1:45:40 (5:17 pace). Nicely done.

Complete results can be found here.

Splits for the day:

Mile 1 6:14
Mile 2 6:00
Mile 3 6:38
Mile 4 6:22
Mile 5 6:20 (31:34)
Mile 6 6:19
Mile 7 6:20
Mile 8 6:23
Mile 9 6:23
Mile 10 6:23 (1:03:22)
Mile 11 6:18
Mile 12 6:22
Mile 13 6:25
Mile 14 6:21
Mile 15 6:32 (1:35:20)
Mile 16 6:24
Mile 17 6:30
Mile 18 6:50
Mile 19 6:09
Mile 20 6:39 (2:07:52)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mt Washington - Good News/Bad News?

The 49th Annual Mt Washington Road Race posted the 'lottery' winners this afternoon and for the 5th time in 6 years (if I remember correctly) I didn't make the lottery list on the first pass.

Thankfully I have other options since my running club (Gate City Striders) gets a number of bypass numbers each year in exchange for volunteers. I've already inquired about a bypass number.

I'm just not sure if it's good news I didn't get picked in the lottery or bad news that I did get a bypass or the other way around. I have a love/hate relationship with this race.

Actually, I'm not all negative about this race. I've enjoyed it 4 out of 5 years. Unfortunately last year was the 1 out of 5 that I didn't. Think positive!

The picture above is from the 2005 race.

Monday, March 23, 2009

That Was Not Fun

27 degrees with 15+mph winds at dusk just didn't do it for me today. Has anyone seen spring and is it due back anytime soon? This is getting ridiculous. My mistake, I should have taken my rest day today. Live and learn.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Eastern States 20-Miler

The next race on my schedule is the ES20 on March 29th. A 20 mile race is odd enough. A race that runs through 3 states (Maine, New Hampshire and Massachussetts) and 7 towns (Kittery, Portsmouth, Rye, North Hampton, Hampton, Seabrook and Salisbury) makes it interesting for me to run it (again).

The first and only time I ran this race was in 2002. I had one comment in my running log: "Headwinds for nearly all 20 miles". At the time it was the longest I had ever run and I finished in 2:21:38. I still remember those winds. I hate wind, more than hills. I guess that's the risk with a point to point race that runs along the coast. The course is almost entirely along Rt 1a and is a gorgeous stretch of road along New Hampshire's seacoast. I love this road but it is totally exposed. Please, please, please let there be a tailwind this year!

Technically I attempted to run this race one other time in 2006. I was sick but I had already signed up. I started the race but really had no plans of running the whole thing, deciding to run 10 miles and call it a day. I actually had a decent run (avg 6:40's) but 10 was all that I had in me that day. Looking back this was a sickness that affected me for nearly the next month, forcing me to scratch my Boston Marathon (in a year that had some of the BEST running weather ever). Ah, memories.....don't they suck sometimes?

The only goal I have is to run steady, consistent miles. I'd like to settle into a nice comfortable pace and hold it the entire way without fading. That's the goal. The key is to figure out what pace to run. McMillan's Running Calculator predicts I could run 2:06 (6:20 pace) based on my recent half marathon time. Me thinks that is a bit aggressive Mr. McMillan. Maybe something closer to 6:30's (unless we have 20 miles of headwinds).

Just for fun I looked up the long term weather outlook for next Sunday: Low 40's and rain. I hope these weather guys suck as much on the long term stuff as they do on predicting tomorrows weather.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Great Bay Half Marathon Preview

The first race of the New Hampshire Grand Prix is coming up in a couple of weeks (April 5th). The Great Bay Half Marathon in Newmarket, NH hit the road running (no pun intended) two years ago in its debut with over 1200 runners and had over 1100 last year. The folks at Loco Running do put on a well organized race, I must admit. I still think it's a bit pricey, but I sent in my paper app this week (in protest of course).

I ran this race last year (and nearly beat Mark Wimmer, but that's a different story) and it was harder than I expected. Maybe harder is too harsh. I guess I was expecting a flatter, easier course. Maybe challenging or honest is a better description.

I couldn't find my mile splits from last year so I'll go off of memory (which means most of this will be wrong or made up). The first 2.5 miles are fairly easy rollers, nothing hard. The course then jumps onto a dirt road for just over 2.5 miles. Again, some rollers here but mostly this section was slow because of all the pot holes and muddy conditions. Miles 5 to 9 travels along Bay Road and is a real nice stretch of road, very scenic and quiet. It is the toughest part of the course IMHO, reminding me of the roads along Lake Winnipesaukee. A few steep ups and downs before flattening out. Miles 9 to 12 head out on an easy out and back loop towards the bay. Depending on how fast you are you'll either see the fast guys up front or the slow guys behind you, or both as you pass them on the out and back. Finally the last mile heads back into town with a ton of turns so pay attention (unlike Mark!). It climbs slightly, but eventually provides a nice downhill finish to the school.

Goals for this race: none (they can't all be PR's!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gate City Striders at New Bedford

1951 total finishers.
Complete results can be found here.

Gate City Striders who ran New Bedford yesterday:
Hopefully I didn't' miss anybody.
Place Name Age Sex Div/Tot Div Finish Pace
52 RICH SMITH 39 M 3/143 M3539 1:12:29 5:32
131 ERIK KREES 35 M 8/143 M3539 1:18:41 6:01
133 RANDY MACNEILL 47 M 11/168 M4549 1:18:51* 6:01
154 STEVE WOLFE 44 M 29/171 M4044 1:19:55 6:06
169 JOSEPH ROGERS 41 M 32/171 M4044 1:20:33 6:09
213 MICHAEL WADE 40 M 35/171 M4044 1:23:07 6:21
238 STEVE TOMASI 51 M 12/157 M5054 1:23:50 6:24
269 JEREMIAH FITZGIBBON 52 M 17/157 M5054 1:25:22 6:31
276 CHRIS BOUGOPOULOS 35 M 25/143 M3539 1:25:43 6:33
281 DAN FERREIRA 26 M 54/137 M2529 1:26:00 6:34
286 LEN HALL 55 M 3/88 M5559 1:26:14* 6:35
338 KAREN LONG 43 F 8/128 F4044 1:28:12* 6:44
344 KAREN PATTELENA 40 F 10/128 F4044 1:28:25* 6:45
378 JIM BELANGER 54 M 31/157 M5054 1:29:43 6:51
405 KEITH O'BRIEN 44 M 52/171 M4044 1:30:33 6:55
426 JIM VELINO 49 M 39/168 M4549 1:31:12 6:58
450 DANIEL HOUSTON 47 M 45/168 M4549 1:31:58 7:01
461 STEVE PIPER 53 M 37/157 M5054 1:32:13 7:03
476 AMBER CULLEN 26 F 32/147 F2529 1:32:38 7:04
513 CALLIE HARTNETT 20 F 6/73 F1924 1:33:43 7:09
524 DONNA PITTS 26 F 35/147 F2529 1:34:02 7:11
539 TOM KOLB 53 M 46/157 M5054 1:34:20 7:12
552 TAMMY GAFFEY 41 F 17/128 F4044 1:35:02 7:15
569 JULIE HANOVER 39 F 20/134 F3539 1:35:19 7:17
580 JOHN LEWICKE 61 M 6/49 M6064 1:35:34 7:18
645 RICH STOCKDALE 58 M 19/88 M5559 1:37:32 7:27
673 LESLIE REAP 38 F 24/134 F3539 1:38:37 7:32
676 DAN DUGGAN 35 M 71/143 M3539 1:38:44 7:32
725 DAVID CONTRADA 51 M 74/157 M5054 1:39:56 7:38
743 JANICE PLATT 43 F 32/128 F4044 1:40:44 7:42
814 DENNY LEBLANC 67 M 2/19 M6569 1:42:42 7:51
848 PAUL JOYCE 51 M 90/157 M5054 1:43:27 7:54
876 STEVE MOLAND 65 M 3/19 M6569 1:44:22 7:58
955 ROBERT KNIGHT 64 M 18/49 M6064 1:46:34 8:08
1047 ROBERT LUDWIG 68 M 5/19 M6569 1:49:14 8:20
1054 ALISON FINDON 37 F 39/134 F3539 1:49:25 8:21
1055 JOHN GREEN 45 M 111/168 M4549 1:49:25 8:21
1079 DICK DOYLE 61 M 23/49 M6064 1:50:01 8:24
1279 TOM CONLEY 55 M 55/88 M5559 1:55:52 8:51
1308 STAN KLEM 61 M 33/49 M6064 1:56:33 8:54
1528 TERRY KENNEY 68 M 11/19 M6569 2:04:16 9:29
1919 JENNIFER MACK 35 F 129/134 F3539 2:41:16 12:19

Gate City Team Results:

MALE OPEN TEAM Results (27 teams)
1:12:29 1:18:41 1:19:55 1:20:33 1:23:07 = 6:34:45
1604 RICH SMITH 39, 1606 ERIK KREES 35, 1648 STEVE WOLFE 44, 1649

MALE MASTERS 40+ TEAM Results (21 teams)
1:19:55 1:20:33 1:23:07 1:23:50 1:25:22 = 6:52:47
NOTE: missing Randy MacNeill for some reason??

MALE SENIORS 50+ TEAM Results (20 teams)
1:23:50 1:25:22 1:26:14 = 4:15:26

MALE VETERAN 60+ TEAM Results (3 teams)
1:35:34 1:42:42 1:44:22 = 5:02:38

FEMALE OPEN TEAM Results (30 teams)
1:28:12 1:28:25 1:32:38 = 4:29:15

FEMALE MASTERS 40+ TEAM Results (18 teams)
1:28:12 1:28:25 1:35:02 = 4:31:39

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Bedford Half Marathon

This one stunned me.
Prior to today, my half marathon PR was 1:23:20 (6:22 pace) and that was just a few months back on November 2nd. I've been snowshoe racing all winter and I've been doing indoor winter track for the last 12 weeks so I felt pretty confident about breaking my PR today. Goal for today: 1:22:00.
I lined up with Mike Wade and Joe Rogers at the start. Joe was aiming for a 1:20 so I figured I'd try to keep him in my sights for as long as possible and see if he could drag me along.
I'd consider this a fast course, or at least a course that has the potential for being fast. Wind can play a huge factor in this race as the course heads down by the water around mile 7 and hangs around the shore for the next 3 miles or so. This course is famous for the head winds during this stretch.
The first 2 miles were pretty fast, with a gentle downhill and then plain old flat. I hit 2 miles at 12:05. There are a couple of decent climbs in the 3rd and 4th miles but today I felt great and pushed the hills hard, hitting mile 4 at 24:41. The next few miles are long, mostly straight and either flat or gently downhill. I really thought I could pick up the pace and hold it during this 4 mile stretch and averaged just under 6 min pace for the stretch, hitting mile 8 at 48:35. Joe kept his lead, however.
I didn't really hit the winds until mile 9 and 10 and unfortunately got stuck in no mans land during this stretch, unable to get behind another runner and working way to hard. Mile 9 was easily my slowest mile of the day at 6:29.
By this point I felt pretty good about beating my PR but I wasn't sure by how much. Mile 11 was mostly flat and mile 12 had the last hill on the course. Today the hills did not slow me down and I ended up having one of my fastest miles of the day during mile 12 (5:58) and finally caught Joe as well. Thankfully the course ends with a downhill before flattening out a 1/4 mile before the finish.
It wasn't until I was a few hundred yards out that I spotted the clock, and it was 1:19 something. What the...I had a chance to break 1:20? I ran as hard and fast as I could hoping to break 1:20....crossing the line at 1:19:55 (6:06 pace)! I was stunned. I beat my PR by nearly 3 1/2 minutes.
I feel very satisfied today and grateful I've remained injury free for over a year. Next up, the Eastern States 20 Miler on March 29th.

Photo credit to the much injured Jim Johnson :-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Race Fees

I was online yesterday looking to sign up for the Great Bay Half Marathon (1st race of the NH Grand Prix) and was amazed how much they charge for the privilege of signing up online. At first I was annoyed the race costs $45. Sure ,you could save a few bucks ($38) if you registered 3 months in advance but who the heck does that? Ok, I don't. To me early registration means I sign up before race day.
Then I was even more annoyed when the online fee was $4.60 or something. Nearly $50 for a half marathon?? When the fee to sign up online is 10% of the cost you have to wonder what's it all for? I would think online registration makes it easier for the race director and timing company. It bugged me bad enough that I printed out a registration and will mail mine instead (for the price of a stamp). Good luck taking the time to open it, hand enter all my information into the computer and cashing my check. Gee, I would have thought you'd price the online stuff to deter this, but what do I know.

To continue on my Andy Rooney rank I wanted to mention the Manchester Half Marathon as well. Although I enjoyed the race last year, I will NOT be running it again. First, their early registration for this November event is the end of May. That's right, to take advantage of the early registration of only $45 you need to sign up 6 months in advance. It then jumps to $55 as long as you register 3 months in advance. Still haven't decided yet? Well if you wait until the last week you'll pay $65, and there's no race day registration. $65 for a half marathon, that's crazy.
At least they recognize the additional work mail in registrations cause. All of the above costs were for online registration so tack on an additional 10% to those numbers. However, tack on an additional $10 if you want to mail it in. That's right, if you wait until September to sign up and you mail in your registration, it'll cost you $75 to run a friggin half marathon. No thanks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reach the Beach is SOLD OUT

Sold out on March 11th, now that's got to be a record. If you snoozed you're out of luck for 2009.
Thankfully our team is all signed up (Mine Falls Milers), looking to defend our masters title. This will be my 5th consecutive year running RTB. whoo hoo!

Monday, March 9, 2009

How Long Does it Take??

Maybe we're spoiled here in the Northeast but just how long does it take to post race results on the West Coast?? The US National Snowshoe Championships took place yesterday at Mt Hood, Oregon and I dare you to find any mention of it, ANYWHERE (except from the folks from the Northeast who have posted limited info on their blogs).

That includes the USSSA (United States Snowshoe Association), the organization sponsoring and promoting the event. No results, no story, no nothing. What's the point of the website? Isn't their charter to 'promote' snowshoeing? IMHO they're doing a lousy job at it. Posting results for any race is pretty standard stuff. Really, how hard can this be?

Makes me want to go out and join and support the USSSA.....or not.
Come on folks, get with the program!

New Bedford Half Marathon

The second race of the New England Grand Prix Series take place this weekend in, you guessed it, New Bedford, MA. I ran this race once (2006) and recall it has the potential for being a fast course. I think I remember it starting out flat, climbing around mile 3 or 4 and then about 4 or 5 miles of gentle downhill. I don't remember much of the course after that, except I think it was down near the water and it was WINDY (aka head wind), with another hill around mile 12.

With the snowshoes packed up for the season, I've been able to focus just on running the last couple of weeks. Although I've maintained a good solid base through the winter and had plenty of speed work (with track and snowshoe racing), my distance running has been a little weak (at least in my eyes).

New Bedford should be a good test of fitness since I'll be well rested and hopefully healthy. Goals are always a tricky thing but I feel like I can improve upon my 1/2 marathon PR from the fall so I'll try for 1:22:00, weather permitting. Plenty of competition in the NEGP races so I won't be running alone. If I don't hit it, no big deal.....it's only March!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Stimulating Shoes!

Well at least I'm doing my part to stimulate the economy. In the past week or so I've gone on a mini spending spree (apparently I can print money just as well as the government), upgrading my running arsenal. Both my trainers and racing flats were in need of replacement plus I've been looking at some new trail shoes.

Mizuno Wave Rider 12 - I've been running in Wave Riders since 2002 so obviously they're one of my favorite training shoes. I've gone as high as 400 miles and as low as 200 miles before retiring previous pairs, although 300 miles is pretty standard for most nowadays. Shoes really don't 'wear out' that quick, they 'break down' and I start to feel it in my shins. Thankfully Mizuno hasn't changed the shoe too much in the last 7 years (I hate change). I still have my Brooks Defyance but they are also nearing end of life.

Asics Hyperspeed 3 - Until last year I trained and raced in the same shoe (see above). Last year I picked up a pair of racing flats (Asics Hyperspeed 2) after getting a gift certificate from my running club. I wore them at every track workout and in every race up to 16 miles and ended up putting just over 200 miles on them. I figure that's a lot of miles for a racing flat so I bought this years model, the Hyperspeed 3. I'm not sure if racing flats make you any faster but psychologically they make me 'feel' faster.

Inov-8 Roclite 295 - These were an impulse buy. I currently have 2 pair of Salomon trail shoes that suit me just fine. I've heard a lot and read a lot about Inov-8's and all the cool kids seem to be wearing them so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. From my limited time trail racing (less than a year) I've decided a good trail shoe needs two things, good drainage and a sole that grips on all surfaces, especially rocks. The 295's should meet those requirements.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Indoor Track is Done

We finished up the 12 week coached indoor track session at the Hampshire Dome last night. When it started back on 12/9 I felt I was running pretty well, having a fairly successful fall racing season. Our first workout back in December consisted of 10 x 400m repeats with 200m rest and I averaged 1:23 per lap (5:34 pace). 10 weeks later we did the same workout (10 x 400's) but this time I averaged 1:19 per lap (5:17 pace). So am I a believer in speed work? I am now. When you see the results from the hard work how can you not see the value?

7 weeks until outdoor track!