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Downtown Temple,NH

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Woodford Snowshoe Race

Let the 2011 snowshoe season begin! It's very confusing but trust me, this was the first race of next year :-) The 3.5m loop (results) around Adams Reservoir in Woodford State Park (just outside of Bennington,VT) always seems to have snow, which is probably why it's the 1st race of the snowshoe season each year. Chris Dunn and I tried to round up a few acidotic snowshoers to make the trip with us but instead I was stuck listening to Chris drone on and on about how he was going to beat me. Thanks guys! Just kidding, it was actually a nice uneventful drive, arriving 1 1/2hrs early, with 10-15 cars already in the parking lot. Me thinks some folks were itching to do some snowshoeing.

It seemed a little odd doing a race when I hadn't put on snowshoes since March. All part of the fun I guess. We chatted with some of the regulars and headed over to the start about 1/2hr early to check out the course a bit and try to remember what it was like to run in snowshoes. DD and JJ had marked the course and thought the course would be fast. Woodford isn't a difficult course, doesn't have any real hills but has been tough in the past. This is due to snow conditions. Deep snow, wet snow, deep, wet snow. This year it was just powder. Nice!

The race starts on the access road to the park and goes off like a 5k, heads up the only real hill on the course and then turns into the woods onto some nice single track for the remainder. In my 3rd year running Woodford I thought I'd do something different; take it out a little easier at the start and wait until I hit the single track before picking up the pace. I tucked in behind John Agosto and one other guy early on and could sense Chris right behind me. By the time we hit the single track the top 5 guys were out of sight, never to be seen again. In the past I"d be sucking wind by this time but this year I felt good. The plan worked, who would have thunk it? I passed one guy early on and was content with John pulling me along, finding it easier to follow then to lead. As far as I could tell, Chris was right behind me. Probably a little over a mile in John peeked over his shoulder and slowed on a short climb so I made the pass. Turns out this was the last time I'd see either John or Chris. I'm not sure what happened, whether I got faster or they got slower but within a few minutes I had gapped them enough that I couldn't hear them behind me any more. For the remainder of the race I'd run alone. For the most part I felt good and didn't have any of those 'snowshoe racing is stupid' moments when you wonder why you're doing this. I peeked over my shoulder as I exited the woods for the final 1/3mile finish on the access road. I was all alone so I cruised in, finishing in 6th place o/a with a time of 24:10, nearly 3 minutes faster than last year. Chris and John finished less than a minute behind me.
Good start to the season.

Next up: Peanut Butter Chip Chase 5k on 1/1 and (weather permitting) Beaver Brook 5k Snowshoe Race on 1/2.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rhode Island 6hr Ultra Relay

I had hoped to post something earlier for this event (which happened over a month ago) but delayed it until official results were posted. After a couple of weeks of waiting I finally got bored and forgot about it (NOTE: due to the timing company not the race director). Now my excuse is I barely remember this event. Good news: two of my teammates (Chris Dunn & Danny Ferreira) both had write-ups on their blogs so I'll defer to them for details on our effort. The crib notes version is we won the relay, setting a course record. Sounds impressive except the relay is only in its second year and the really fast teams haven't heard about it yet. However, a win is a win and we'll take it!
2010 acidotic RACING Relay Team
Pictures from the relay can be found here and here
I did want to post some of the numbers regarding lap times and such.

Lap info:
Lap Runner Lap Time Lap Pace
1 Charlie 15:15 05:39
2 Al 14:49 05:29
3 Danny 21:18 07:53*
4 Steve 16:17 06:02
5 Rich 16:56 06:16
6 Chris 16:05 05:57
7 Charlie 14:58 05:33
8 Al 14:45 05:28
9 Danny 15:48 05:51
10 Steve 16:09 05:59
11 Rich 17:01 06:18
12 Chris 16:12 06:00
13 Charlie 15:05 05:35
14 Al 14:43 05:27
15 Danny 16:02 05:56
16 Steve 16:15 06:01
17 Rich 17:32 06:30
18 Chris 16:14 06:01
19 Charlie 15:07 05:36
20 Al 14:56 05:32
21 Danny 16:26 06:05
22 Steve 16:09 05:59
*got lost on his first lap

Runner totals for the day:

Runner Total Time  Total Miles Avg Pace
Charlie 1:00:25 10.8 05:36
Al 0:59:12 10.8 05:29
Danny 1:09:34 10.8 06:26
Steve 1:04:51 10.8 06:00
Rich 0:51:29 8.1 06:21
Chris 0:48:30 8.1 05:59
TEAM 5:54:00 59.4

Finishing up my last lap

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cherish Every Moment

It's a rare occurrence for me to post something that isn't running related. This is one of those rare occurrences. Every once in a while I need to read and see stories like this to put things into perspective, to remind me what's really important.

This is the story of Dax Locke. It is in fact a very sad, heart-wrenching story of a 13 month old boy who died nearly a year ago from a rare form of Leukemia. Doctors told his parents that Dax would most likely not make it to Christmas. It is a story of two very strong, loving parents who did everything they could to make sure their son would have One Last Christmas. It is also a story of how their neighbors and ultimately the entire small town of Washington, Illinois came together to make sure Dax Locke would see Christmas. The story of Dax Locke was put into words by a very inspirational songwriter named Matthew West. Matthew spent months alone in a cabin writing songs for his latest album, an album based entirely on the stories sent to him by his fans. The song One Last Christmas is the story of Dax Locke.

Cherish every moment.

Warning- this song will most likely bring a tear to your eye.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2010 Mill Cities Relay

MCR (results) is an invitation only (Merrimack Valley running clubs) 5-person 27.1 mile relay from Nashua, NH to Lawrence, MA. It probably has the highest member participation of any event all year. With 20+ clubs and 200+ teams, it's where all the cool kids go on the first Sunday in December.
I've run in the Mill Cities Relay every year since joining the Gate City Striders in 2005. I take that back: in 2006 MCR wouldn't let me run because of an idiotic 'rule'. Even though I was a dues paying, active member of GCS, I ran one USATF race in 2006 for the Moose Milers racing team (in March). This somehow made me ineligible to run for GCS. I'm not bitter though.... :-)   (For the record, that rule is no longer in place).I'll get down off my soapbox now.

For the 2nd year in a row I'd be running on a Coed Masters team. Last year I was fortunate enough to be teamed up with some fast teammates and we won the Coed Masters division. This year I was teamed up with all new teammates (hmm, should I read into this?). Just to be clear, I don't pick my teammates. The Gate City Striders pay Michael Wade big bucks to waste hours of his own time arranging 140 runners into 30 teams in 12 different divisions in order to put our club in the best position to score enough points to win the Mill Cities Trophy. All I have to do is show up. My kind of relay!

This year I'd be teamed up with Randy Macneill (leg 1- 5.6m), Julie Hanover (leg 2- 4.75m), Carla Chandler (leg 3- 2.5m), Joe Rogers (leg 4- 9.5m) and I'd be running the 5th leg (4.75m) for the 2nd year in a row. I had some reservations about running this year. The event is fine, but I've felt a bit off the last month or so. I certainly have not felt fast (mostly tired). I was actually thinking about taking a whole week off from running.....gasp!

I kind of like running the last leg. There is no stress in getting to my leg on time and I get to watch the entire relay unfold. This year I hung out at the 1st and 2nd transition areas and took some pictures before finally driving down to Methuen to hang out at my transition area, parking my car about 100m before the actual hand-off area. I really didn't know exactly when Joe would arrive but guessed it would be around 10:30am. I got dressed and was ready to go by 10:15am and was thinking about going for a short warm up (since it was bloody cold out). As I stood by my car talking to Keith Obrien I happened to see Joe running by. Whoops, I guess I'll have to skip the warm up and I raced Joe up the hill to the transition area, getting there just in time to snag the baton and head off on my run. That wasn't planned very well :-)
Leg 5 elevation profile

Leg 5 starts off fairly flat for the first 2 miles, climbs a decent hill in mile 3, descends in mile 4 and is flat as a pancake in the last mile. Last year I went out a little quick and suffered on the hill a bit. I had a decent time (28:30) but it wasn't easy. This year I tried to go out a little easier in the first couple of miles and work a little harder on the hill. I felt fairly comfortable as I hit the first mile in 5:43 (really?) but decided to back off a bit so I wouldn't repeat last years effort on the hill. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by my time. I decided not to check my watch again until the finish. I passed a half dozen runners in the first mile or so but generally ran alone the rest of the way. When you take the final turn you can see the finish but it's probably a 1/2 mile away. I saw another runner pretty far ahead and was definitely gaining but there was no way I was going to catch them. I crossed the line with a leg time of 28:07 (5:55 avg) and a team time of 2:48:32, good for 2nd Coed Masters team, 20th team overall. It turns out the runner I saw in front of me was the winning Coed Masters team. They finished 14 seconds ahead of us!

Big thanks to all the GCS runners (especially Michael Wade) for putting together an incredible team effort. The Gate City Striders took home the Mill Cities Trophy for the 3rd year in a row!

2010 Mill Cities Champs