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Downtown Temple,NH

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe Race

Saturday - I made the relatively short trip over to Madbury for the last race in the GSSS with wife and kids in tow. As usual I was early and as usual I was not the first. I think Scotty slept over and Jim Johnson was hanging in the Town Hall. Michael was setting up his timing equipment so I took a few minutes to swap out one of his cleats with a spare I had brought. It was nice to have an indoor facility, a fact not lost on my family (or me for that matter).
Jim and I headed out to run the last section of the course (Hicks Hill) to check conditions and course markings while we still had some daylight. After summiting up and over the hill we decided to run the entire course (backwards) since we had plenty of time and Jim likes to get his gazillion miles in anyways.
Oh, did I mention this was a night race. I did this race last year and it was one of my favorite races of the year. I was really looking forward to running it again. Surprisingly, this is the ONLY snowshoe race I've run this year that is exactly the same course as last year. Last year I was 5th out of 88 and ran 27:42.
As usual, Jim told me how he was going to take it easy, blah blah blah. Of course I said pretty much the same thing. We were both running the Jones Group 10-miler the next day so the smart thing would be to take it easy. Unfortunately that's not the way I run. I guess I can't help myself.

Deb (along with Ben and Jessica) positioned themselves about 100yds from the starting line and managed to get some interesting night video. Actually, the audio may be more interesting, at least it was for my kids (note their commentary).

The start was very narrow, maybe 4-5 wide tops. With a 107 snowshoers it meant they were stacked pretty deep. I settled in behind Josh Merlis and waited for the start command. It was a VERY fast start with about 5-6 shoers jumping out in front and me just trying not to trip, following comfortably behind (my favorite spot). Shortly after the first turn I slipped by Chris Smith and Scotty G and found myself all alone (or so I thought). Heck, Bob Jackman and Jim Johnson were nearly out of sight by the 2k mark.
Then I spotted what looked like a runner without a headlamp. WTF? As I got closer I realized it was Josh but he must have had the worst headlamp ever and I don't believe the light even reached the snow. I got up on his heels and adjusted my light to shine a little more in front, trying to give him something to see (especially at the turns). We stayed in this position all the way to about the 4k mark (except for one brief section in which I lead for about 100yds). Around the 4k mark (on one of the switchbacks) Josh missed a sharp turn and headed into the woods. I yelled, ran past him and never looked back. Heck, if I had looked I probably wouldn't have seen him anyways. I figured he was right behind me but I hoped I could put some distance on him on the downhills since he was running nearly blind. Hey, I'll take whatever advantage I'm given!
As I came across the finish I was told I got 2nd place with a time of 25:18 (nearly 2 1/2 min improvement over last year). Huh? What the heck happened to Bob Jackman? I didn't recall seeing or passing him. Very strange. Of course then I was told what happened to Bob. Bad luck Bob got tackled by a dog somewhere along the course and in the process had his snowshoe knocked off as well. Now that's the story he's telling anyways, I don't recall seeing any dogs either :-)

Splits for the night:
1k 4:12
2k 4:58
3k 5:09
4k 6:04
5k 4:51

Danny Ferreira was able to nose out Josh Merlis for 3rd with Bob 'the dogman' Jackman rounding out the top 5. The top 20 are listed below (with my team mates highlighted in RED)
Place Time    Pace  Pts  Name                   Team                      Age Sex Bib City St         
===== ======= ===== ==== ====================== ========================= === === === ==================
1 22:36 7:16 107 Jim Johnson CMS 31 M 115 Salem NH
2 25:18 8:08 106 Steve Wolfe acidotic RACING 44 M 36 Merrimack NH
3 25:50 8:19 105 Dan Ferreira acidotic RACING 26 M 87 Concord NH
4 25:51 8:19 104 Josh Merlis ALBANY RUNNING EXCHANGE 27 M 34 Albany NY
5 25:53 8:20 103 Robert Jackman TUESDAY NIGHT TURTLES 26 M 113 Warwick RI
6 26:40 8:35 102 Ri Fahnestock acidotic RACING 30 M 55 Dover NH
7 27:08 8:44 101 Warren MacPhail DUNGEON ROCK RACING 42 M 47 Winthrop MA
8 27:11 8:45 100 Shane Sherwood Dungeon Rock Racing 36 M 91 Winthrop MA
9 27:13 8:45 99 Leslie Dillon acidotic RACING 25 F 56 Troy NY
10 27:20 8:48 98 Patrick Smith DUNGEON ROCK RACING 46 M 43 Salem MA
11 27:23 8:49 97 Jay Myers acidotic RACING 38 M 7 Dover NH
12 27:36 8:53 96 Luke Fernandez Team TNT 22 M 122 Kennebunk ME
13 27:48 8:57 95 Chris Smith DUNGEON ROCK RACING 42 M 110 Woburn MA
14 28:15 9:05 94 Dan Cooper DUNGEON ROCK RACING 36 M 42 Salem MA
15 28:31 9:11 93 Scott Graham acidotic RACING 50 M 100 Westford MA
16 28:40 9:13 92 Danny Chick DUNGEON ROCK RACING 49 M 63 Lynn MA
17 28:45 9:15 91 Austin Stonebraker acidotic RACING 29 M 84 Dover NH
18 28:47 9:15 90 Jay Curry DUNGEON ROCK RACING 37 M 45 Lynn MA
19 29:19 9:26 89 Ted Hall acidotic RACING 35 M 58 Merrimack NH
20 29:20 9:26 88 Elizabeth Hall acidotic RACING 35 F 59 Merrimack NH
These snowshoe races have been really cool. Almost all runners stick around afterwords for awards, the infamous Chris Dunn Raffles or just to socialize. Road races tend to be 'run and done'. Of course it helps to have an indoor facility (thanks Madbury for the use of your town hall).
I got my first podium win too (although I've been second twice before, I've never actually stood on a podium). I think my kids thought it was cool as well. I also picked up a 12-pack of Copper Hook for my effort. In my house this is equivalent to winning 'Beer for 2 years'....I'm a slow drinker :-)
I managed to finally beat Jim Johnson at something: I won a Redhook hat in the raffle and he scored a goose egg. Keep training Jim, you'll get better at the raffles next year.

Jones Group 10-Miler

Sunday - Part II of my weekend double took place in Amherst, MA. This would be the 1st race in the USATF NE Grand Prix series, a "challenging race along scenic, hilly rural roads (some dirt)" according to the website. Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

I left my acidotic RACING membership at home and went with my Gate City Striders card instead. I met up with a bunch of Striders in Nashua and we all piled into 3 vehicles for the roughly 2hr drive to hilly Amherst. 33 of us made the trip which was pretty amazing considering the doom and gloom forecast we've been hearing about for a couple of days. Turns out the weather held out for most of the race and was only a minor inconvenience for the ride home. (photo credit - Mike Wade)
Generally I have some sort of a goal going into most races. I don't always 'share' my goal but that's a different story. I can honestly say I had NO goal going into this race. I really, truly had no idea what pace I would run.

With so many fast guys (and girls), I was careful not to get too close to the front. With very little hoopla we were off. Right from the start I spotted a few familar faces; Todd Brown (CT) who I ran with for 90% of the Baystate Marathon and Keith Schmitt from Dover,NH who I ran with for about 90% of the Boston Prep race. Both were masters runners and both were close enough to my pace that I felt pretty comfortable where I was. Technically I trailed a small pack they were running in for the majority of the race. I could never quite catch up to them and was stuck in no mans land for much of the race.

The first two miles were relatively fast (6:03 and 5:48) but I knew the hills were coming. The next 2+ miles were net uphill with a couple of steep sections and my times slowed a LOT (6:41 and 6:52). I struggled on the hills and my legs were definitely fatigued from snowshoeing the previous night. Mile 5 and 6 were mostly flat (6:20 and 6:14) with part of this section on an iced over dirt road (which made traction challenging with racing flats). Mile 7 (5:56) was nearly all downhill and mile 8 (6:08) was mostly flat. I was feeling much better after running a couple of easy terrain miles. I was also gaining on the small pack in front of me which now included fellow GCS team mate Joe Rogers. I have never beat Joe in a race so to be this close to him was puzzling to me. Right around mile 8 I decided to pick up the pace and I passed Joe with my definition of 'authority'. I had also caught up with Todd after pushing pretty hard up the hill to mile 9 (5:58) and was close to Keith but he was doing a good job maintaining his lead. Mile 10 (6:21) had a nice double up hill climb with about 1/2 mile to go before finally peaking, providing for a fast downhill finish (except for a strange, awkward loop around a parking lot). Overall I was pleased with my run, a little sore today but pleased.

The group that finished around me are listed below, including some of my GCS team mates.
Place Div/Tot  Div   Time     Pace  Name                   Ag S Race# City/state              Team
===== ======== ===== ======= ===== ====================== == = ===== ======================= =====
101 6/86 F2039 1:01:51 6:12 Christy Carrara 33 F 279 Hudson MA NBB
102 28/131 M4049 1:01:59 6:12 Ron Moreau 43 M 29 Natick MA BAA
103 29/131 M4049 1:02:13 6:14 Keith Schmitt 40 M 692 Durham NH
104 30/131 M4049 1:02:14 6:14 Kevin Delaney 40 M 82 Arlington MA CSU
105 67/122 M2039 1:02:18 6:14 Ben Ndaya - Mizuno 32 M 697 Lowell MA RUN
106 3/109 M5059 1:02:20 6:14 Ephraim Ezekiel 51 M 342 Newton MA WHIRL
107 4/109 M5059 1:02:20 6:14 Jon Waldron 51 M 667 West Newton MA CSU
108 31/131 M4049 1:02:21 6:15 Andrew Biancheri 40 M 168 Westborough MA GLRR
109 68/122 M2039 1:02:23 6:15 Pat Ard 24 M 336 Raymond NH WHIRL
110 32/131 M4049 1:02:26 6:15 Steve Wolfe 44 M 164 Merrimack NH GCS
111 33/131 M4049 1:02:29 6:15 John Chapin 42 M 315 Arlington MA SRR
112 5/109 M5059 1:02:42 6:17 Tom Offenbacher 52 M 177 Westborough MA GLRR
113 34/131 M4049 1:02:46 6:17 Ted MacMahon 43 M 460 Harvard MA
114 7/86 F2039 1:02:48 6:17 Carly Graytock 30 F 17 Cambridge MA BAA
115 35/131 M4049 1:02:50 6:17 Joseph Rogers 41 M 156 Lyndeborough NH GCS
116 69/122 M2039 1:02:55 6:18 John Barrett 39 M 1 Needham MA BAA
117 1:02:55 6:18 Todd Brown M 646 NMC
118 70/122 M2039 1:03:04 6:19 Max White 25 M 616 Jamaica Plain MA GBTC
119 8/86 F2039 1:03:07 6:19 Lara Johnson 27 F 21 Boston MA BAA
120 71/122 M2039 1:03:09 6:19 Andy Brown 26 M 709 Belchertown MA
121 72/122 M2039 1:03:15 6:20 William Wheeler 29 M 402 Belchertown MA
122 73/122 M2039 1:03:27 6:21 Brian Walsh 34 M 699 Ludlow MA GSH
123 9/86 F2039 1:03:37 6:22 Tammie Robie 34 F 357 Milford NH WHIRL
124 74/122 M2039 1:03:37 6:22 Will Paulding 30 M 741 Deerfield MA SMAC
125 10/86 F2039 1:03:38 6:22 Jennifer Campbell 25 F 726 Newmarket NH CRC
126 1/42 M6099 1:03:41* 6:23 Bill Dixon 61 M 170 Brattleboro VT GLRR
127 1/59 F4049 1:03:44* 6:23 Simonetta Piergentili 44 F 353 Wilmington MA WHIRL
128 11/86 F2039 1:03:54 6:24 Tara Vance 25 F 129 Jamaica Plain MA GBTC
129 36/131 M4049 1:03:57 6:24 Brian Reeves 45 M 485 Shirley MA
130 75/122 M2039 1:04:03 6:25 Frank Pilhofer 35 M 154 Nashua NH GCS
131 12/86 F2039 1:04:08 6:25 Michelle McCreary 25 F 80 Cambridge MA CRC
132 37/131 M4049 1:04:11 6:26 Peter Fratini 43 M 217 Westfield MA GSH
133 38/131 M4049 1:04:12 6:26 Jonathan Wyner 48 M 96 Arlington MA CSU
134 76/122 M2039 1:04:14 6:26 Marco Iannello 28 M 443 Springfield MA
135 77/122 M2039 1:04:19 6:26 Brian Tinger 31 M 700 Somerville MA SRR
136 39/131 M4049 1:04:25 6:27 Michael Wade 40 M 163 Nashua NH GCS
Now as a running club, we did ok considering we're competing against some incredibly strong teams from all over New England.

Gate City Striders Team Results
Mens Open - 7th (14 teams)
Mens Masters - 7th (13 teams)
Mens Veterans - 5th (12 teams)
Mens Seniors - 2nd (5 teams)
Female Open - 6th (9 teams)
Female Masters - 5th (10 teams)

Now, what to do next....