about the photo

Downtown Temple,NH

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Great Gobbler 5k Trail Race

I've been nursing a sore foot/ankle this week (one too many ankle turns on the trails), so I went into rest mode...mostly. By Thanksgiving Day I only had 5 miles for the week. Until this year I've never run on Thanksgiving Day. No particular reason why, I'm not against it or anything, it just never really interested me.

I'm not a very good rester. Running takes up a lot of my time so when I don't do it I get antsy. On Thanksgiving morning I got up early and headed down to Nashua to run in my very first Turkey Day race. Whoohoo! Lots of things made this attractive:
  • 8am start
  • $10 entry fee
  • trail race
  • run mostly in Mine Falls in Nashua
I've never seen so many folks at a Mine Falls race (results), and this one had nearly 600 finishers. There were a few familiar faces from GCS, bunches of high school xc runners and a ton of regular joes.The start was one of the strangest I've seen in a while, starting on the track for the first 250m or so. I was one of the tallest on the line (if you can believe that), mostly because there were a boatload of little kids all crammed up front. As far as I could tell, no gun went off, people (kids) just started running. I followed suit and immediately got jammed in behind a herd of  little kids and they were moving, at least for about 200m. It was a pain, it was dangerous (for them and us tall folks) and the RD should have said something at the start. 200m in and they were spent and most settled in somewhere back in the pack.
I had seen the Nashua xc coach out marking the course before the race and he had one of those wheel measurement thingies so I assumed the mile markers were correct.  At the first mile (5:31) it was Bill Newsham, Steve Pickett and myself (all masters) running pretty close together. I was probably in the top 15 at this point. We stayed in this order all the way through mile 2 (5:41), but as we headed up the slight hill near the power lines Steve passed Bill. We may have picked off a few high school runners as well. As we ran along the canal in the final mile we passed Kevin McIntrye (out for a training run), who yelled out my position (11th), egging me to get a top 10 finish. Of course I'd have to pass Bill (which doesn't happen often)  to do it. Right before the bridge I passed Bill, trying to separate from him as much as possible. As we headed back onto the track for the last 300m I thought for sure Bill was going to catch me. I didn't look back and focused on trying to stay with Steve in front of me. In the end Steve finished in 18:48, I was 5 seconds back in 18:53 and Bill 1 second behind in 18:54.
Oh, and it wasn't really a 5k. The published distance in the results was actually 5.25k so I averaged 5:47's for the race. I managed to finish 10th overall, 3rd masters. Brian Ruhm (2:43 at Baystate) was the first masters in 18:31, followed by Steve Pickett and myself. It felt good and I didn't hurt my foot or ankle. Not a bad way to start the day!

Place Div/Tot  Name                 Ag S No.  City            St Time    Pace  
===== ======== ==================== == = ==== =============== == ======= ===== 
    1   1/54   JOHN SCHROEDER       22 M    1 NASHUA          NH   17:00  5:14 
    2   1/32   JOHN CONLIN          16 M  313 MERRIMACK       NH   18:07  5:35 
    3   2/54   RYAN MCCARTY         21 M  167 NASHUA          NH   18:15  5:37 
    4   3/54   SETH TUCKER          23 M  354 NASHUA          NH   18:22  5:39 
    5   2/32   CHRISTOPHER BUSBY    15 M   31 MERRIMACK       NH   18:24  5:40 
    6   1/70   BRIAN RUHM           44 M  397 NASHUA          NH   18:31  5:42 
    7   4/54   JOSHUA GRANT         19 M  549 NASHUA          NH   18:35  5:43 
    8   5/54   SETH HAFFERCAMP      20 M  109 MERRIMACK       NH   18:41  5:45 
    9   2/70   STEPHEN PICKETT      45 M  208 MERRIMACK       NH   18:48  5:48 
   10   3/70   STEVE WOLFE          45 M  350 MERRIMACK       NH   18:53  5:49 
   11   4/70   BILL NEWSHAM         44 M  513 BROOKLINE       NH   18:54  5:49 
   12   3/32   RYAN HAGGERTY        18 M  111 MERRIMACK       NH   18:55  5:50 
   13   6/54   ADRIAN WONG          21 M  531 MERRIMACK       NH   18:58  5:51 
   14   5/70   RANDY MACNEILL       48 M  501 EPPING          NH   19:06  5:53 
   15   7/54   BRANDYN NARO         22 M  558 MERRIMACK       NH   19:09  5:54 

Friday, November 20, 2009

2010 NEGP Series - Results are in (and they stink)

Ok, my opinion, but I think they picked the absolute worst possible slate of races.
Slate C was selected, along with the Baystate Marathon. Conflicts with other races and loads of traveling are the highlights. Apparently that's attractive to a large group of runners.

Although I don't agree with the choices, I do like the new voting process (even though we end up with most of the same races). The runners of New England have spoken.

  • Jones Group Realtors 10 Mile, Amherst MA, Sunday Feb. 28
  • New Bedford Half Marathon, New Bedford MA, Sunday Mar 21
  • Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K, Bedford NH, Saturday May 22
  • Rhody 5K (MEN ONLY) , Lincoln RI , Sunday June 6
  • Stowe 8 Miler, Stowe VT, Sunday July 18
  • Bridge of Flowers 10K , Shelburne Falls MA, Saturday August 14
  • PRMH Women's Classic 5K (WOMEN ONLY), Providence RI, Sunday Oct. 3
  • Baystate Marathon, Lowell MA, Sunday Oct 17
Update (with some positive comments)
Maybe I was too harsh, definitely too negative. So I'll try to say something positive about the selections.
  1. Jones Group 10 Miler - I ran this one in 2009 and actually liked the race. The course is tough (lots of hills, some dirt roads) but fair. I kind of like having a race in February. Not much else going on (except the snowshoe series, of course). The finish is kind of hokey, with a 200m run around a parking lot that kills all momentum.
  2. New Bedford Half Marathon - Potential for being a very fast course. PR'd in 2009. However, fish sandwiches are not the post-race food of choice for me.
  3. Bedford Rotary 12k - Right in my own backyard (9 miles away), and I've only run this race once (but not on the new course). Looking forward to it.
  4. Rhody 5k - I ran this one in 2009. I'm one of the few runners that didn't mind the course. I think it technically does run around the parking lot of Lincoln Park but it never seemed like it to me. Another crappy finish though. Run through a little gate opening, make a 90 degree turn and run 100yds on the dirt dog track. Again, talk about taking all the momentum out of your run. BUT, this race has the hands-down best food of any race I've ever run. There is more food, more selection, more everything than any other race out there. I may go for just the food next year.
  5. Stowe 8 miler - Beautiful area, nice course. I made a weekend out of it with Deb back in 2006. Good thing we did cuz my race was awful. Definitely top 5 worst performances of all time, maybe even #1. My notes from that day said "hot, humid and hard". Oh yeah, I was supposed to be positive. Ok, as bad as my race was, it could have been worse (like Mike Wade's) :-)
  6. Bridge of Flowers 10k - Not sure if I have anything positive to say. I've never run this one, never heard anyone say anything but it's the hardest friggin 10k ever. It has a pretty name.
  7. No comment on the women's only race. It doesn't involve me.
  8. Baystate Marathon - Ran it in 2008 (PR). I liked the course, flat and setup perfectly for running at a consistent pace. Plus, it's 20 minutes from home. Very easy to get in and out of.
There's my attempt at putting a positive spin on next years NEGP series!

Random Thoughts

That's my way of saying I can't focus on anything in particular. I really don't have anything to say but decided to post anyways.
  • I ran into a tree while trail running at night on Tuesday. Actually, I tripped on a rock/root on a narrow single track and could not react quick enough. I stopped my forward progress with my forearm, creating a new term (for me): Tree Rash - sort of like bark induced road rash. For the record, just as painful.
  • I ran the same trail loop last night...in reverse. That tree has scarred me, emotionally and physically :-)
  • It's hunting season. I dress appropriately. I see hunters, I hear gunshots. Last night I heard at least 15-20 shots in succession. All I could think of was a hunter seeing a deer (briefly) and then firing randomly in the hopes of getting lucky.
  • I swear I heard what sounded like an injured coyote while running at night, on the trails, alone. I wasn't scared but it was a little unnerving. Of course it didn't help that I recently read an article on a coyote attack. Running scared at night through the woods would not have been a good plan and most likely would have got me injured. I stayed calm and finished my run. I even ran the same route last night (although the hunter with the itchy trigger finger probably scared away any living creature for miles).
  • I've averaged 8.2 miles per run since Stonecat, running 5 days a week. >60% have been on trails. I think I got the message at Stonecat: trails are your training friend.
  • I don't know what possessed me to sign up for the Boston Marathon. I'm glad I did. It sold out the week after I signed up.
  • I've never run a race on Thanksgiving Day. That streak may end this year.
  • Mill Cities Relay will be my last race of the 2009 season on December 6th. This will be my first time running on a Coed Masters team.
  • Indoor track starts at the Hampshire Dome on December 8th. I love this track!
  • I Love Woodford will be my 1st race of the 2010 (snowshoe) season on December 27. Boy, that was a short off season :-)
  • The first snowshoe run of last year was December 17th. It can't snow soon enough this year. I can't wait to snowshoe!
  • I ran four 10-mile races and zero 10k races in 2009. When did the 10-miler become so popular?
  • Just once I'd like to have an "*" next to my time in a race. The "*" means you've exceeded the Time Standards for National Rankings in your age-group. It ain't easy. I'd have to run 1:00:00 for 10 miles, 1:19:00 for a half marathon or a 2:45:00 for the marathon, for instance.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Boston Marathon Registration has Closed

From their website:

- REGISTRATION FOR THE 2010 BOSTON MARATHON HAS CLOSED. Registration for the 2010 Boston Marathon has closed. Registration began on September 9, and the Boston Athletic Association is unable to accept additional entries.

I decided to take advantage of my BQ from last year (Baystate Marathon) and run Boston one more time. It's always bugged me that I had such a bad experience in my one and only Boston back in 2003. Good news is it won't take much to top it. Yes, it sucked that bad.

So Boston 2010 here I come! Thankfully I registered just in time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Marathon in New Hampshire for 2010

When: Sunday, October 3rd 2010
Where: Hampton, NH
Cost: $65 (after December 31st)

Right now it's being billed as the flattest marathon in New England. It will be certified and a Boston Qualifier as well. Click on the icon above for a link to the website.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trails are the way to go

So you don't think the surface you run on has any affect on your muscles? I ran a marathon (on trails) Saturday and except for a little stiffness in my calves on Sunday I'm pretty much back to 100% recovered.
I ran 5 easy miles on Sunday and ran for 75 minutes last night on the trails in Horse Hill. I feel great, stairs are not evil and nothing hurts.

Too bad the trail racing season just wrapped up with Stonecat....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stonecat Race Report

There's something to be said about a race that starts at 6:15am. How many times can you say you ran a marathon, drove an 1hr home and still made it back by noon?

Saturday was a beautiful day in Ipswich, MA for the Stonecat (results) Trail Marathon (and some sort of 50 mile thingy). Temps were hovering near 30 but it was sunny, clear and calm. I opted for shorts, a long sleeve coolmax shirt and my new sleeveless acidotic RACING shirt. Perfect choice as I was comfortable the entire race (except the waiting at the start...that was cold). I decided to go with my INOV-8 Mudroc 280's which also turned out to be a fine choice as well.

I carried a hand-held water bottle (which I normally don't like to do), along with some Endurolyte tablets (which I took every 45 minutes) and 3 Stinger Honey gels (which I took every hour). I had studied the map and very detailed course directions with distances and picked out a few mile markers (2 mile and 10 mile) I could use to check on my pace, mostly to make sure I wasn't going out to fast. That all fell apart pretty quickly.

At 6:15ish we were off. The marathoners and those other guys all started together but the shorties quickly veered off to add the necessary 1.2 miles to our total distance (since the loop course was 12.5 miles). The secondary affect was to separate us to ease congestion on the early trails. The plan was to check my pace at the 2 mile mark and adjust as necessary. Unfortunately when we got to the 2 mile mark my plan was already shot: my watch had stopped somewhere in the first 2 miles. So much for my plan...

Plan B - stick with some runners and see what happens. Ben Nephew and Greg Hammett took the early lead and separated from the rest of us pretty quickly. The chase pack (I use that term loosely) consisted of about 6 of us and was led by Garry Harrington early on. We caught the tail end of the 50-folks just after the 2 mile mark and spent the next 2 miles getting past them on a pretty tight single track. Looking back I 'm glad they were there as it kept our pace in check. Otherwise we would have smoked the first lap. Once we got past the packs of 50-folks I settled into the back of our little pack (mostly). At times they got a bit ahead (100-200yds) but I managed to reel them back in throughout the first lap. I suspect this led to my less than stellar performance on my second lap but more on that later.

The course was described as muddy and we were told we would get our feet wet. It was a little muddy but all of it was avoidable. The wet spots were a little tougher but also doable as long as you were willing to walk carefully over wet (almost icy) sticks and logs. Me, I was willing to walk a bit for dry feet. There were lots of ups and downs but no killer hills (thank you!). I'd say the majority was single track and the rest double track (60/40). I think its amazing people can run as fast as they did since most of the single track was constant back and forth switch backs (is that redundant?). It was very hard to maintain any speed through these sections. Although I never got off course, there were times I thought I was. The course was well marked but with all the leaves on the ground most of the trail features were now gone. It wasn't always clear where to go. Not a complaint, just a comment. Like I said, I didn't get lost (but others did, even some veteran Stonecat racers).

Ok, back to the race. The first lap flew by. I felt very comfortable and enjoyed my position in the back of the back in 7th or 8th place. It stayed this way until maybe mile 10 or 11 and I moved up a few spots. Actually, I think the other guys fell back. By the time we got back to the start/finish area for the completion of the 1st loop I was solidly in 6th place. My time for the first 13.7 miles was 1:38 something (around a 7:10 pace). Andy King, Mark Engerman (2:44 at Baystate) and his training partner Jeff Hunt were running about 30-50yds ahead of me at the turn as I stopped and refilled my bottle. By the time I was off again they were gone, never to be seen again. No matter how hard I tried I could not even get them in sight again and ran the entire second lap all by my self. No one in front and surprisingly no one behind.

The second lap was MUCH harder, physically and mentally. I really wishI had someone to run with or chase. I kept hoping I'd eventually catch up to someone but it just never happened, well almost...
I totally lost track of my pacing and really felt like I throttled back a bit. In all fairness, I think the physical aspect of the race had more to do with my pace slowing considerably. I didn't realize how much until after the race. I was definitely getting tired, with my hammies and calves starting to tighten up. No cramps, just everything getting tired. My feet were really getting tired and sore too. All the rocks and roots were taking a toll on my feet. I really didn't feel any blisters developing until 2 miles from the finish. The strangest thing happened. I was running along all fine (mostly) and then it felt like a little water balloon exploded in my shoe....and then instant pain. I suspected (and later confirmed) a blister had developed and then popped between two of my toes. It was a painful finish but I pushed on knowing I only had a couple of miles to go.

Finally I entered into the soccer field for the last 200yds to the finish. I was running pretty well coming in and then I spotted a runner just ahead. At first I thought it was a 50 miler but when he reached down and grapped his hamstring I put 2 and 2 together and recognized him as Andy King. He was hobbling and hurting. I definitely picked up the pace and hoped I could sneak in with 5th place instead of 6th. 5th overall sounds so much cooler than 6th! I passed Andy with about 50yds to go and immediately almost felt bad. Did I make the right choice? Should I have let him finish ahead of me?

I finished in 3:18:23. Overall I was very happy with this time and generally have no issues with it. I ended up running the second half (12.5 miles) in 1:40, which is pretty close to 8 min/mile. I guess I slowed way more than I had thought. That part was initially a little disappointing until I told myself I only ran one training run over 2hrs and that was the Friday before the race. So I'm happy again :-)

The GAC folks are amazing and put on a terrific race. No sooner had I crossed the finish line and a woman walks up and hands me my finishers jacket. So? Well, she's checking the name and number of each finisher, matching it to a list and making sure everyone gets the proper size jacket...just like we specified. Pretty slick.

Swag - Marathon finishers jacket and long sleeve race shirt

I told Andy after the race I felt kind of bad but he didn't seem to mind. He had been limping in for some time, probably expecting someone to finally catch up to him. The way I look at it is 1) it is a race and 2) I didn't finish any different if he wasn't there. I always try to finish strong and run hard until the end, whether I'm racing someone to the finish or not.

I hung out for a while watching the marathoners finish and some of the 50 milers finish their 2nd of four laps but it was actually cold when you were just standing around. I also had two kids who were playing in soccer playoffs and all-star games so I decided to head back to Merrimack.

No results posted as of Sunday but you can refer to mye previous post for at least the top 12.
Good times.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Stonecat Trail Marathon -quick update

3:18:23 (5th overall)

Had a great time on a perfect day for running. Very satisfying day. I plan on writing more about the race later.

Top 12 (that's all I could read before I left)
  1. Ben Nephew 2:54:45 (new course record)
  2. Greg Hammett 3:09:30
  3. Jeff Hunt 3:09:50
  4. Mark Engerman 3:11:59
  5. Steve Wolfe 3:18:23
  6. Andy King 3:18:31
  7. Michael Lohrer 3:32:09
  8. Stanislav Trufanov 3:34:48
  9. Kevin Sullivan 3:35:35
  10. Dave Molk 3:44:33
  11. Garry Harrington 3:44:35
  12. Bruce Campbell 3:45:19

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Senior Moment

Well, maybe a master moment. I've been preparing (physically and mentally) for Stonecat this weekend, checking the weather, deciding on clothes, verifying driving directions, checking out the course map and trying to figure out a pacing strategy. I like to be prepared. I like to have everything figured out in advance. No surprises, no stress. Everything was going great and I was looking forward to racing on Sunday.....

The only problem is, the race is actually on Saturday! Talk about an almost major oops. I was on the GAC website yesterday checking driving directions....again...and happened to see the date of the race at the top of the page: Saturday, November 7 2009. Next time I should just look at my Race Schedule on my own blog.