Monday, September 29, 2014

Adirondack Marathon

This weekend I headed up to Schroon Lake, NY for the Adirondack Marathon.  This raced served as a nice little building block for JFK 50 Miler in November, but I still wanted to try and run well.  With that said, I have been having some issues with ongoing aches and pains and wasn't too confident that I would do that...and I was right!

I guess overall I ran OK for the first 18 miles, although the race went rather oddly for me.  I was all over the place with pace and felt like I was racing too hard early, then backed off, then tracked 3rd and 4th place down only to get re-passed around 18 and then slogging it in for the last 8 miles.

I was able to get 4th place back, but ran a piss poor race, finishing in 2:54:59 (they have since changed my time to 2:55:00)...but I did win some maple syrup, but in my heart I wanted a bear.

My prize for 1st place age group
The course itself is challenging, but not out of this world hard.  I would love to go back and race the marathon again, or even do the 1/2 marathon or one of the relay races, as the race has lots to offer.

Now I will get back to work and hope that I can get my shit together for November!

This guy has the life!

The award that eluded me.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports

Every year the Vermont 100 proceeds go to the Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports no-profit organization.  This year they are asking the participants of the VT 100 to help raise some funds for this great cause.  They made it really easy for the runners and set-up a donation page for us.

If you would like to help out, please head over to my page at

Every little bit helps!


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pineland Farm 50 Miler

This is more of a race ramble...than a race report...

Pineland Farms 50 Miler...I have been wanting to go to this race for some time now.  Everyone said it was a great time and it looked like it too.  What is not to like about 2 days of racing with beer and music while hanging outside all day?

Front of race shirt.

This year in preparation for the Vermont 100, Pineland fell at just the right time to work out.  So on Friday, Jackie and I headed up to Maine, picked up our numbers and promptly found a brewpub.  We went to Gritty McDuff's which was about 4 miles from our hotel.  I have had some Gritty beers in the past and they are in the just OK range...but they had a few "special" beers on tap and everything I drank was good (a porter and a stout)...oh, the food was good too.

Saturday morning, Jackie was running the 10k, so this gave me an opportunity to check out the race course a bit and also get a feel for the event itself.  I ran a warm up with Jackie and even though everything I read about the course said rolling, no flats, etc etc...I was still somewhat surprised at the amount of hills on the small section of course that I saw.

Saturday seemed to be more low-key than Sunday ended up being.  There was beer and BBQ and some music, but with all the races being short, people were out of there fairly quickly.  We hung out for a bit, eating and having some Shipyard before headed back to the hotel to relax until dinner time.

Dinner ended up being Gritty's again...I felt carbs are carbs, so instead of some pasta dish I had BBQ chicken tenders as an appetizer then BBQ pulled pork sandwich on a bulky roll for the main event along with 2 beers.  We got back to the hotel early enough and had some peanut butter cookies and off to bed I went for the 4:30 wake up call.


Now, although Pineland was not my main goal for the summer and I have pretty much kept the race out of my mind until the week of, I still had goals and still wanted to run well.

I pretty much had two time goals, one being to PR (under 6:52...really under 6:50 though) and the 2nd more aggressive to run 8 min pace (under 6:40) but most importantly, run a smart race and try not to get carried away with the pace like I have on the canal path at JFK.

The start of this race was pretty low key, they told us to get over to the starting line, said a few things about the course and rang some cow bells and we were off!

The race starts with a 3.5 mile loop followed by three 25k loops.  The 25k loop is kinda broken up into a big loop and a small loop though (10+ and 5+ miles) this became an important fact for the brain later in the race.

So, the race itself...I won't get into every blow by blow....but this is pretty much how it went.

3.5 mile loop.  One guy took off within a K...and I mean TOOK OFF!  Then another guy started moving at about 3k and one other guy flew down a hill at 5kish.  That left a pack of myself and three other guys.  The four of us stuck together though the first 3.5 miles and came through there about 2 mins faster than the fast side of my goal time.  But all was well, I felt great.

Now we start into the first part of the 25k loop (which included part of the 3.5 loop)  our group stayed together though the whole first part of this loop.  We had some separation here and there at the aid stations,  but for the most part we stayed together.

We then came though the start/finish area to head out to the 2nd part of the 25k loop.  When we crossed the main road there was a drop bag area and one of our group members stopped, shortly after that we lost one other guy as the course seemed to be mostly downhill and myself and fluorescent yellow shirt guy starting going a tad quicker.  During this section we caught and passed one of the early surgers and I ended up pulling away from both before heading through the end of the first 25k loop, approximately 1.5 mins faster than the fast splits I had figured out.

Second 25k loop.  The fluorescent yellow shirt guy had passed me back when I grabbed some aid at the end of the first loop and him and I started catching the 2nd place guy.  We both reminded each other that there was a lot of running left and we did not chase after this guy.  At one of the aid stations I was quicker to get in and out and was now alone and would not see fluorescent yellow shirt guy again, but I could see 2nd place guy and I caught him shortly after that.  The rest of this loop was pretty uneventful. I was passing some 50k runners, but overall I felt like I was running slower up the ups than I did when I was running in the group on the first loop.  I finished the 2nd part of that loop and was back at the start/finish area, this loop was about 2 mins faster than the first!  I grabbed a new supply of gels and although pretty damn tired, I hadn't had any bad lows yet and started the final loop and the count down of those kilometer marks.

Around 35 miles into a 50 is where I have previously had some issues, so although I felt good, I knew there would be some struggles ahead.  About 2k into the loop I found out I was about 13 mins back from the 1st place guy.  This pepped me up a bit, although a very big gap, it is a gap that can be lost by having 2-3 bad miles (I have been there)  SO, I just plugged along, making sure to take advantage of the downs, another thing I did throughout the whole race was run the shit out of the tangents.  This course was full of wide turns and over 50 miles of running, you can add a lot of extra unneeded distance.

About 5k into the final loop I was tired...I was definitely having some energy lows, I was barely moving on some of the ups, but having the 50k, 25k and lapping some 50 mile runners was very helpful, it would have been a very lonely loop without all those people out there and although my "good jobs" were a bit quieter as I tired, I still tied to say it to everyone.

Some course muck (Photo by Richie Blake)

The end of the first part of the 25k loop there is a bitch of a climb, it is the climb I saw on Saturday, I just wanted to get up this thing and get to the far part of the course and the downhills.  At this point in the race, around 44 miles, I was in a negative mind frame, thinking, if I can run 10 min pace from here on in, I can still break 6:50, that will be good.  I made it through the start/finish area, crossed the road and hit the aid station before entering the woods and at that moment had my lowest low of the race, it was unexpected, I grabbed a coke, walked 3-4 hard steps and got back into run mode, made it past the 17k marked of this loop and all of a sudden had some energy, I started running the downs hard, then sub 6:40 was a reality again.  I think it was at 19k that I did some math and realized that if I was able to run well over the last 6k, I could possibly break 6:30!  The only problem is....all those downs in the first part of this loop mean you have to eventually climb back out!  This just meant that I had to work every one of those suckers the best I could.  I got to the 23k mark and was still pretty unsure if it was doable....I just wanted to come around the corner and see that last aid station where that 24k mark was...soon enough I heard some noise and there it clock was ticking away...I grabbed a coke quick and felt like I surged by the 24k mark.  You have to run around the perimeter of a field, back to the road crossing and then around a corner to the straightaway where the finish line was.  I could see the cop car at the crossing in the distance and it looked soooo far away, I glanced at my watch and it ticked over to 6:29, I didn't think there was enough time, but I had to try...I got to the road and onto nice hard dirt, I was cruising around the corner and I looked up and saw the I was in full out kick mode, I literally almost knocked down a woman finishing the 50k, but my eyes were glued to the seconds, before crossing the line I knew I had it, I didn't know the official time until about 20 mins later, but I knew I squeaked my way under 6:30!!  I was a pretty happy man.  In the end I finished in 6:29:57, 7:24 behind 1st place, which means I gained about 5.5 mins in the last loop and he is no slouch either, I had no idea WHO was leading until I saw the results, but he is the course record holder of the Stonecat 50 Miler and also ran 2:38 at Boston this year, (Sebastien Roulier).  My time is the 8th fastest time ever at Pineland, a list that is dominated by Brian Rusiecki and Ben Nephew...pretty darn good company.

The rest of the afternoon was spent outside, listening to music, eating food, drinking beer and watching other accomplish their own goals...there were some pretty happy looking people finishing. (happy to be done)
Any race with a beer can this big, is a winner.

After cleaning the muck off, we headed to Portland, had some grub at The Old Port Tavern and then headed over to Novare Res Bier Cafe for some treats.  On the way home we stopped at When Pigs Fly Pizzeria in Kittery...bother Novare Res and When Pigs Fly are highly recommend for all you beer lovers.
This is where it is at...

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Quahog Mile on The Level

Check out the re-cap of The Quahog Mile on Level Renner...Fast Times at the First Quahog Mile

All in all race was a success, with a few minor issues...but every race has some minor issues, usually you just don't know about them!  Check out Scott Mason's Photos...and buy one or two!

Training update for me...just plugging away, increasing the mileage.  There is just over a week until the Pineland Farm 50 Miler, which is not a goal race, rather a nice stepping stone before the Vermont 100.  With that said, I do plan running as well as possible, just in a more conservative fashion, with the main goal being to come out of there feeling good, with no interruption in training moving towards the 100.

A reminder, after tomorrow the price for the Run with the Beavers Trail Race goes up $5 so be sure to sign up soon!  This is the finale in the RI Triple Crown of Trail Racing. Be there!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Doyle's Emerald Necklace 5 Miler

One of my favorite races of the year, the Doyle's Emerald Necklace 5 Miler.  It is one of my favorite races mostly because of the after party.  The race itself is OK.  The course is fair, not super fast, but not super difficult.  The easy parts come near the end, which is nice.

I have run this race three times before.  2011, I ran horrible, but was in good shape.  2012, I just ran it for the fun of it and ran just under 7 min pace.  Last year, I had run 58+ miles on the North South Trail the day before the race.  So, I was looking forward to giving the race in honest effort.  I felt I was in pretty good shape, but haven't raced on the roads in a while.  When you are racing on the trails and snowshoes, it is a whole different animal.  You are changing pace constantly working through obstacles and trying not to kill yourself with a major fall.

A road race on the other hand, is all about getting in a good rhythm and holding on to a pace that is just a little too fast and hoping things don't blow up, especially when I certainly do not focus on the shorter race, it makes me feel even more like a fish out of water.  The positive note leading up to Doyle's this year was that I had raced a lot, although on the trails/snowshoes, at least I had that race mentality fresh on the brain.

So, how did the race go?  Pretty well.  I had set a goal of sub 28 mins.  I planned on going out conservative, which works well on this course, as the first part is more up hill than the second half.  If you have some legs left through 3 miles, you can make up some time and come home strong.

I ended up passing a few fast starters in the first mile or so and found myself in pretty much the same position I would finish. I was passed late in the race by one runner, but also passed another guy when I was passed.

I felt like I just held onto a solid pace the whole time, but knew going into the last mile that I was over the pace I need for sub 28....fortunately for me, that's where the fast mile is and also being passed got me moving again.

5:23 - 27:51 Official Time, 11th place out of 1667 Finishers

Check out Scott Mason's Photos!

A runner finishes and cheers on his friends with beer(s) in hand!

Now, Doyle's is all bout the after party.  A fun outside block party with free beer and good read more of the particulars of that, head over to The Sweaty Beer Tent!

Next races for a while.  I guess the next time I toe the line will be in The Quahog will be the first time I actually run in one of my races!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Strava Segment Hunting

The trails in Rhode Island are finally clear, other than some mud and standing water here and there.  So what does that mean?  That Strava segment records in trails all over the state are starting to change hands.  Whether it be because the runner happened upon a segment and found out about it when they uploaded a run or they were on a full out attack of a particular segment...either way the runner that had their segment stolen will probably go out there and try to get it back.  And so it starts, a war on is a domino effect really.

Last year this happened in Big River.  It was pretty much some of the TNT guys versus some of the WTAC guys.  All in good fun of course and we don't just attack other club members, our own club members are fair game as well.

I recall one night attacking a particular segment, knowing I hammered it good, going home, seeing that I got the record, only to get an email less than a half an hour later stating it was taken from me!

This theme seems to have started this year already.

Chris Garvin took down Jonny Hammett's Ryan Park, Ryan Rail Trail Segment by 21 seconds on 4/7/14.  Jonny had held that record since May of 2013.

Over the last two days I have taken down three segments in Big River.  Two of these just happened and the last one was near the end of my run and I felt good, so I attacked it.  I did not remember what the time on it was and had no clue if it was mine until I got home.  The previous owner Chris Garvin commented on my run later that night.   I think I accidentally declared war.

My new Segment Records...

  • 4/9/14 - Hopkins Hill Road Climb (actually a trail) held previously by Scott Mason who ran 2:55 in October, I ran 2:46.
  • 4/10/14 - Reverse Lollipop Loop held previously by Scott Mason who ran 8:35 in October, I ran 8:20
  • 4/10/14 - Old Lot to New Finish (I attacked this one) held previously by Chris Garvin who ran 2:25 in September, I ran 2:09.

I am sure as the Spring and Summer months go on segment records will come and go, they are everywhere, not just on the trails.  There are some specific segments that I have on my "wish list" how about you?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

2014 South County 4th Season Trail Series

Well, the 2014 South County 4th Season Trail Series has come to a close.  This is the second year that I completed the series and my 2nd series victory.  Both years I was certainly not the fastest guy out there, but I haven't missed a race and I am pretty consistent.  So I have been pretty lucky to get these wins.

Here are my finishing places for all of my races over the 2 Garvin Format.

And a brief recap of what sticks out for each of these races.

Race #1 - Old Mountain Field 5k Trail Race - 1/4/14 (Scott Mason Photos)
  • Ran the Boston Marathon Course three days before this race
  • Snow and cold...single digits.
  • Felt oddly relaxed and made a big move at 2 miles to beat much faster competition.
  • Won a mixed pack of Samuel Adams Winter Beer
Right after taking the lead.

Race #2 - Resolution 5k Beach & Trail Race - 1/12/14 (Scott Mason Photos)
  • was everywhere.
  • Fast start, Ryan Wooley took off quick..he has run 30+ seconds than me in a road 5k as of late so it was a good plan.  I was content to take second about a mile in.
  • Great day down at the beach
  • Won some BBC bombers
Group shot post-race.

Race #3 - Belleville Pond 10k Trail Race - 2/9/14 (Scott Mason Photos)
  • SNOW!! Lots and lots...
  • Horrible Trail Conditions
  • Strip tease and overheating
  • I miss that glove
  • Long cooldown across the pond
  • Another bomber from BBC won
Trail recon the day before the race!

Race #4 - Brrr-lingame 10 Miler - 3/22/14 (Scott Mason Photos)
  • DIRT!!
  • Beautiful day
  • Fast start did me in
  • Feeling like hell and looking at my watch to see we had only run 2.5 miles...
  • Fun day overall
A small leap for know the rest.

Race #6 - Big River 1/2 Marathon - 4/5/14  (Scott Mason Photos)

  • Flag Thief!
  • Water crossings!
  • I saw Greg Hammett FALL! I didn't know that could happen! Well...I should say heard him fall.
  • Ran faster than last year...goal accomplished!
  • Great to get back on the Big River Trails.
There was a little mud...unless you tip-toed around it.

Now that the series is over, I turn my focus to getting ready for the Vermont 100 with a stop at the Pineland Farm 50 Miler before that.

In the meantime I will be preparing for the 1st Annual? Quahog Mile.  Please share this event with all your friends!  Post about it, link to it etc!  It would be much appreciated.  Pre-entry is ONLY $10 and there will be $1250 in prize money!  I hope to see some of you there!

Print and share!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

2014 Big River Trail Races

The 5th and final race in the South County 4th Season Trail Races is this weekend and is at my favorite location to run trails in Rhode Island, Big River Management Area.

This is a great trail race and there is a 1/2 Marathon and 10k option.  The trails are awesome.  The terrain varies throughout the race from some rocky technical trails with some decent short climbs and then there are twisty smooth single-track sections that you can run forever and ever!

Also, the 1/2 marathon will count in the RI Triple Crown of Trail Racing scoring!

Some people may have gone off course last year, but I assure you that the RD will be making every possible effort so that does not happen again.  But it is a trail race, you need to look out for those flags and make sure you are going the correct way!

Check out last year's 1/2 Marathon Results and 10k Results

Check out some of the stories from last year's race and SIGN UP today!

Some sights...

Monday, March 17, 2014

2014 US Snowshoe Championship

A late blog post about a long weekend of Snowshoe Racing in Vermont.

Mike Galoob recapped the weekend pretty well on his blog and since I did all the same things, you can read his story and I will fill in my thoughts here!

The drive up went by super quick, talking about possible races to put on in RI and RD "war stories".  We went directly to the race site and I was immediately much happier about the course.  After reading and hearing stories of the course from 2 weeks prior, I was not looking forward to running/slogging my way through over an hour on snowshoes.  My least favorite snowshoe race ever was the last time I ran nationals, in 2010, outside of Syracuse, NY.  The course was so torn up that it was a miserable experience!

Fast forward to race day...a beautiful day in VT, blue skies and minimal wind.  The place was hopping, it was a great atmosphere for the race.  We got in a solid warm-up and before you knew it, it was time to get on the line.  I decided to go against all the rules and used a new pair of snowshoes with a pair of shoes I have never worn with snowshoes for this race, the national championship.  I have been racing in the other shoes for 5 years, so why not change it up on the most important race of the year?  All was well and they stayed on my feet throughout the race...whew....

For me it was a tale of two races...UP and DOWN.  I struggled on the ups and ran strong on the downs.  I started to get passed by a boat load of people around 3k into the race on the climb up to the summit, but when Ben Nephew started going by me, I decided to hang on.  This is where my race finally changed for the better, after struggling for about 2k, 2k that felt like 5!  I knew I could hold onto Ben atleast to the top and knew that the course would start coming down from there.  When we hit the top and had a big groomed downhill section, I took advantage and went by Ben.  Now we still had about 5k to go, but it was race time!  Ben and I passed a few people in the single track sections (I FULL RESULTS
used a passing lane once) and Ben then flew by me and one other guy right after the last climb on the course at around 7k.  From there I tried to keep him in sight on the single-track before popping out onto some wide downhill groomed section.  I was able to bridge the gap that Ben put on me on the single-track and went by again, at this point we could now see that we were gaining on some other runners, one of which was Todd Callahan whom passed me on the climb earlier in the race.  I promptly caught and passed Todd and the three of us were now in a race to the finish.  Anytime the course flattened or had a slight uphill the two of them caught up to me, but I was lucky enough to have another downhill in which I went by them again.  With around 300 meters left before taking a left onto the switchback single-track heading down to the finish the three of us were neck and neck.  I put on one last surge to get ahead right before the single-track and was able to hold them off on the last flat/down/up/down section that made up the last 1/4 mile of the course.  It felt good to cross that finish line.  I thought my race went OK, but wished I was able to climb a bit better than I did.  I finished 22nd in the US Championship (27th overall) and 2nd in the 30-34 age group.  See

Day 2...
4x2.5k relay.  I was pretty excited about the relay.  I thought the team we put together of Steve Dowsett, Mike Galoob and myself could do pretty well.  I knew we would be competing against the Central Mass Strider guys, but didn't know how many other teams would be there, or if any of them would be any good.

Day 2

We woke up that morning to a dusting of snow, it was a bit windier than the day before and the sun had disappeared.  We made our way over to Prospect Mountain and we found a good amount of cars already there.  I guess some people would be running the relay after all!

Long story short.  Mike was going to run two legs.  He wanted to only have one leg in between his legs so I thought him going 2nd and last would be best.  I figured nobody would outkick Mike, even on tired legs.  I then figured I would go first, I thought that would be better for me, since I would be able to key off people.

This worked out pretty well.  The gun went off, two guys got out quick and I stayed right on CMS's Kevin Tilton up the first hill then made a move by him and the 2nd place guy before the first single-track section.  We made our way through that and made a 180 degree turn onto a slight downhill groomed section, this is where I moved into first and opened it up. 
I pushed hard on this section knowing the other parts of the course were slow single-track, that is where Kevin would have the advantage.  Well, my plan worked, I was able to hold onto a 10+ second lead going into the second leg.  From that point we kept opening it up.  I ran around the course giving splits and cheering on Steve and Mike.  In the end we beat the team that won the team title the day before in the National Championship and CMS finished in third out of 24 teams.  It was pretty exciting! 

Now just because the relay was over and we were the champions, didn't mean the racing was over, one thing remained...the 80 meter uphill challenge.  We lined up drag racing style and charged up the hill two at a time.  This race ended up being all about getting a good line and staying on your feet.  I got a good line, but did not stay on my feet!  I think I finished in just under 20 second, well outside the top-3 which would receive VT Maple Syrup for their effort.  It was a great way to end a weekend of beating ourselves up on the snow.

After waiting around for a bit and picking up our medals, it was time to head south.  We stopped at the Gardner Ale House on the way home and then proceeded to RI.  For me, that ended a short 3 event snowshoe season.  Now we wait for the snow to melt and get ready for the Brr-lingame 10 Mile Trail Race on March 22nd, the 4th race in the South County 4th Season Trail Race Series.

You can check out Scott Mason's Photo's of the event HERE and there are links to photos and stories on the race website.

Upcoming Races
3/22 - Brr-lingame 10 Mile Trail Race
4/5 - Big River 1/2 Marathon Trail Race
5/11 - The Quahog Mile (RD)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Quahog Mile

The Quahog Mile...sounds interesting, right?

This is my newest race and I thought I would highlight it here, in this blog, that 10 people read.

The main purpose of this race is for people to run fast!  An opportunity for people to run a fast mile and a fast mile that is not all downhill.

If you are familiar with the 5k course in Goddard Memorial State Park, then you will be familiar with the course I am using for The Quahog Mile.

The race will start at the 1 mile mark of the 5k course and will run in reverse from the 1 mile mark to the starting line.  That means that the course is FAST.  It is basically flat with a fast last 300 meters.

Look at that finish!

Here are some of the race details.

Entry:  Pre-Registration until 5/8/14 – $10  - Day of registration $20

Pint glasses to the first 125 entries

Top 5 Male/Female Overall  - Minimum Prize fund of $300/$150/$100/$50/$25
More entries equals more PRIZE MONEY! so spread the word!

Age Groups: Top Male/Female
6 & under, 7-13, 14-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+
Merchandise/Gift Certificate Awards!

Team Awards:
- Open Team-Top 3 on team score (Cumulative Time)

Since it is Mother’s Day, there are two team divisions, just for moms!
- Top Mother/Daughter Team (Cumulative Time)
- Top Mother/Son Team (Cumulative Time)

As you can see I have a decent amount of prize tell your fast friends to come down to Rhode Island in May and try pick up some cash!

And of course there will be team awards!

Please help out and spread the word...I am hoping for a good turn out and the more people that register the more fun the race will be.

Also...know anyone that owns a business or is super wealthy?  Tell them to shoot me an email at bob [at] and we can talk sponsorship!

If you have any recommendations for the can shoot me an email too!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Belleville Pond Death March 10k is getting old.

The lot
Snow was the story at the 3rd race in the South County 4th Season Trail Race Series, the Belleville Pond 10k Trail Race.  The day before the race, Scott Mason and myself headed down to Ryan Park to get an idea of what the conditions would be like for the race on Sunday.  50 feet into our run and it was plenty obvious, they were not going to be good.  I ran a little bit on the rail trail and also checked out the Root Run Trail and a couple other key places before heading out of there...well...before TRYING to head out.  That was after spending 30 mins getting Scott's car out of its rut in the un-plowed parking lot.  I spent the rest of Saturday brewing a milk stout and having a few beers with my buddy Mark, then heading out to Doherty's in Warwick to fill the tank for the race in the morning.

Come Sunday morning, I was one of the first in the lot, after Scott and two other cars (one being RD Mike Galoob's)  Scott was hiking around in his snowshoes trying to pack down some unbroken snow and Mike was out marking the course, also in snowshoes.

After a while more runners were arriving and Patrick Quinn and I headed out for a 2 miler warm-up...on the roads, I didn't want to see anymore of the snow covered trail than I needed too!  After some last minute preparations, we were on the line ready to roll.

Jonny Hammett took out the pace with Chris Garvin in 2nd and I fell into third place.  I was happy with my position and happy with the slowish early pace (after we settled in)...the only thing I was not happy with was how hot I was!  I generally don't over-dress and only had a long sleeve under my short sleeve top, but after about 2 miles, I just HAD to get that shirt off.  We were running in a line of about 8 guys and I started undressing.  I took my short sleeve off, shoved it into my pants, then took off my long sleeve.  As I was about to put my short sleeve back on, Garvin made a move around Jonny.  It ended up not being a big move, but I panicked a little bit and jumped by Jonny too, that got the heart racing a little bit.  Garvin started pushing the pace a little bit from that point on, I felt like I had to push too hard to not let a gap grow and tried to get back on him with every downhill, but coming out of the Route 4 trail section, he had a gap that was just enough that I couldn't latch back on.

Course recon on Saturday

We entered the single track trails that lead back to the rail trail and I worked hard, but I felt with every step I was losing a little ground.  Coming back onto the straight rail trail, I could see Chris and started pushing...getting the pace back under 7 mins, but the trail was soft and for every 5 good steps you got, there were a few shitty ones.  It was getting a bit frustrating!  I was happy to get on the Root Run Trail and up and over the bridge...up until I had to go around that stupid baseball field.  It reminded me of Snowshoe Nationals in 2010, just a whole lot of mashed potato snow.  After getting through that mess, the race was finally over.  It took approximately 10 mins longer than last year, but better than the hour that I thought it might take, the trails were in better shape than they were in the day before for sure.

After the race Patrick and I headed out for what ended up being almost 50 mins of a cool down, crossing the frozen Belleville Pond to ensure it wasn't any longer than that.  We missed the awards, but I picked up a bottle of BBC Golden Spike before leaving.  Check out the FULL RESULTS and PHOTOS by Scott Mason.

After the race Turtles headed over to the Oak Hill Tavern to enjoy some beer and food.  Definitely another successful race in the series.  Since the 4th race in the 5 race series isn't until March 22nd, I expect this snow will be melted and we will be happily be running on dirt!

Before that though, I WILL be running on more snow...but in snowshoes.  This weekend is my favorite snowshoe race, the Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe Race.  That will be followed by the National Snowshoe Championship on March 1st.  Hopefully the lower leg soreness that this race and the WTAC guys caused will be gone by then!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Catching up with some 2014 races...

Well, 2013 is behind us and 2014 has already gotten underway!

I started the year off with a jaunt from Hopkinton to Boston and felt it was a great way to start the year off. 

The first race in the South County 4th Season Trail Race Series was only 3 days later, but I wasn't too worried about running the marathon distance that close to race day, heck, I ran 25 miles with Ben Nephew the day before the opener last year!

The Old Mountain 5k Trail Race was on 1/4/14 and was the start to a bunch of races I have been looking forward to.  This years race was a whole different ball game from last years.  Last years race was basically a fast 5k through twisty trails where you just had to hold on for dear life!  This year we saw below zero temps on race morning with 6 or so inches of snow covering the course.

I figured the race would turn into a tactical affair and that is the kind of race I like, especially when the guys I am racing against are faster.  The race went out a tad slower then last year and instead of entering the single track in an all out sprint, I settled on Chris Garvin's shoulder with Ryan Woolley on mine and we set-off to grind through the snow. 

The problem with this scenario is that there is practically no place to pass, as the course is pretty much all single track and the snow made it even more difficult, because other then the tracks put down by some park foot traffic and RD Mike Galoob it would be all fresh powder.  So the second we entered the woods I starting thinking to myself, where and when should I make a move?

Finally before 2 miles I remembered a downhill/uphill section that I had run on my warm-up and thought that would be the best place to go.  So as we hit the down (which was much shorter than I had hoped) I jumped through some snow and bushes on Chris's right and made a hard move with hopes that I would get a gap.  I hammered the uphill around the corner as well as I could and just kept pushing, hoping that I would "disappear" with all the twists and turns and that Chris and Ryan would just let me go.

In the end I held on to my gap and crossed the line about 5 mins slower than the year before, but 2 places higher and 20 seconds in front of second place.  I was pretty shocked that I pulled it off and was happy to get the win.  The WTAC guys were out in force though and TNT had no chance of winning the team title, as they took the next 6 spots behind me.

I won a Samuel Adams variety pack for my effort.  Turtles went to Fat Belly's in Wakefield for the post race beer and food.  Full Results HERE!

One week later we were at it again at the Resolution Trail and Beach 5k in Narragansett.  This is probably my least favorite race in the series...running on a beach can at times just be a pain in the ass.  But this year, the beach was firm and the trails were wet and soggy, so it made for a bit more fun.  Plus the waves were crashing nicely and it was 40 degrees out, so it was a nice day to be on the Rhode Island coast.  This race does not favor my strengths as it is a pretty fast trail race and I am, well, just not that fast at the shorter stuff!  Ryan Woolley took it out pretty hard and I was in third or fourth for a while until I started moving up.  Ryan almost went of course because of a sign that had been blown upright, I yelled at him to set him straight (this is the second WTAC runner in as many months that I had to point in the right direction :) !!)

This lessened the gap between Ryan and myself, but the legs just didn't want to go.  I held on to a respectable 2nd place and more importantly held on to the overall series lead.  Mike Galoob screwed me out of a 17:59 and gave me 18:00 for my time...haha.  I guess I should have kicked harder!  Check out the full results HERE

I won some more beer for my finish, this time some BBC bombers.

TNT headed over to the Mews Tavern with 14 people in tow to enjoy lunch and beer.

The next race in the series is on 2/9/14.  This is good, as it gives me more time to get in shape! 

Before the next trail race, I had some snowshoe racing to take care of in Center Sandwich, NH for the Sidehiller Snowshoe Race.  This was my first time back on the snowshoes since February of last year.  The week before the race the date got changed from Saturday to Sunday, so I had planned to get in 13 miles on Saturday before the race since I wouldn't be getting a long run in on Sunday.  I planned a loop that accidentally turned into just under 16.  Whoops!  All was good though, Scott Mason and I left for Center Sandwich at 6:40am and arrived in just under 3 hours to a windy, cold, white little town, in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire.  I did just under 2 miles for my warm up alone and got the snowshoes on and did a few strides out on the course.  It was a cool 6 degrees with a wind chill of around -14 at the start of the race, but once you get going in a snowshoe race you would never know.

There was a pretty fast field in attendance and I feared the race would go out wicked fast like it did last year (6:16 through the mile)  That was not to be.  The field went out slow around the first turn and up and down the first hill before it started to string out a bit while weaving though some barn like structures before hitting some more groomed trails.   Around a 1/2 mile I was in 7th place right on Ben Nephews heels.  It felt good to be right behind Ben, with Jim Pawlicki right in front of him.  We entered some softer snow that ended up being some single track and about 300 meters later I decided to go by Ben and Jim and move my way behind Steve Dowsett in the 5th position.  1st through 3rd were not too far ahead of Steve, so I stuck right on him through some deeper sugary snow though the mile and moved by shortly after that.  I was now pretty close to Kevin Tilton who was in third and this is where the race took a quick right, then a left down hill, then a U-Turn, back up the hill then a right into oncoming traffic only to then take another right down the same hill.  We would then have a short down hill then back onto some groomed trails, around a field and through the start/finish area...we then had to do it all again.

Heading into lap 2, I was within a couple seconds of Kevin.  Jim Johnson in second and Brandon Newbould in first were starting to get away from us a bit, but Jim was still in sight as we went though the barns again and then turned into a still wind.  It was cool to see Kevin and Jim in front of me running though some crazy snow that was blowing every where. The course had a slightly different look to it the second time around.  With over 100 runner in the field that very narrow tracks we went through before were wider and the snow was softer.  It was hard to make up any ground while slipping and sliding around.  Right before the 3 mile mark there was a slight downhill on firm snow and I made a small move to bridge the gap and got myself a little
closer to Kevin again, but once we got back to the soft stuff, he regained the gap he had.  At that point I became pretty complacent.  I tried to keep the legs moving down and up and back down the short little hill.  Scott was still there and got me going a little bit to give one more attempt to chase Kevin down, but the gap was just too much and Kevin and I seemed to be going at pretty much the same speed.

In the end I ran what seemed to be pretty even splits and was super happy to finish 4th in a strong field.  This is the only snow shoe race that I have done every year since I started snowshoeing back in 2009 (other than 2012 when it was cancelled)  I am pretty sure the course has been different every year, but it is always one of my favorite races.  Full Results Here

I hit the road with a big group for just under 4 miles for a cool down, which ended up pretty much being all up hill on the way out and downhill on the way back...on snow covered roads.

We all squeezed in to Mocha Rizing Coffee Shop for some chili, chips and some sort of baked good, then it was off to Milly's Tavern in Manchester for some well deserved beer and some more food with Scott and Warren Angell (whom also ran the race)

Scott and I made one last stop on the way home at The Beer Store in Nashua to pick up some "not seen in Rhode Island" beers.  We rolled into Scott's driveway around 12 hours after we left...that's a snowshoe race!

Now I turn my attention back to the 4th Season Trail Series before I start building up some base mileage for the Vermont 100 Miler in July.  Other races on the schedule will include the Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe Race (snow allowing), Snowshoe Nationals,  New Bedford 1/2 Marathon and maybe some random long trail races to get ready for VT.