Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20 (Monday)

October 20 (Monday) - 8.9 miles w/ Kevin Tilton on Corridor 19 + Mason Brook (pits) loop.  Headlamps during the last mile.  A bit chilly.  Winter is coming...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 19 (Sunday)

October 19 (Sunday) - In lieu of a run, I went for a nice hike w/ my Dad on Sunday up to the summit of Black Cap (2369 ft) in North Conway.  2.2 miles round trip up the most direct and easiest way to get there (at the top of Hurricane Mtn. Road).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October 18 (Saturday)

October 18 (Saturday) - 1 mile w/up + 11.5 mile race (12.5 miles total) (Vulcan's Fury Trail Race in Nottingham, NH).  1st OA.  1:26:35 for the 11.6 mile course with 1300+ feet of elevation according to my Garmin, but 2021 ft according to the race website.  I feel I am getting shortchanged w/ the Garmin on the elevation front.... Full race writeup to come.  The cooldown was 2 beers instead of miles.

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 17 (Friday)

October 17 (Friday) - Call after call at work today... Was a bit unmotivated to drive somewhere to run but the weather was really nice...KT wasn't able to meet up today so I just ended up running from my house, which I haven't done in a while (on the road anyways).  I kept it as flat as you possibly can in Madison.  I ran down 113 to 41 and out to the small town beach on 41 before turning around and heading back.  Ran the first mile 'easy' and then the last 5 with Scott McGrath, Joe Navas, and Pat Rich................... Just Kidding...but you'd think I did.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 16 (Thursday)

October 16 (Thursday) - Another day on the trails w/ the Tilton boy in Conway.  We hit up the Corridor 19 trail + some mountain bike single track and Mason Brook trail then dropped down for a snowmobile/road loop around the beautiful East Conway dump before hitting the snowmobile trails again on the way back.  Pouring rain the entire time + leaf covered ground + wet rock = 2.5 falls for me and a bunch of close calls.  8.4 miles total, on a day in which it normally would be tough getting out of the house... I'll take it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15 (Wednesday)

October 15 (Wednesday) - Met up w/ KT over at his palatial estate in Saco Woods for an out and back on the bypass snowmobile trail.  The trails go out right from his backdoor and run southwest into Madison.  The first couple miles are ROUGH but once you get past that, the trails get pretty awesome.  The Madison section is really nice.  We hit Colemans off of 113 and then turned and headed back. 10 miles total (5 out and 5 back) on a HOT evening in the valley.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 14 (Tuesday)

October 14 (Tuesday) - 11.2 miles mostly on trails w/ KT (last couple miles on the road) in Conway, Hales Location, and Bartlett.  Had to breakout the headlamp for the last couple miles.  Awesome weather out there today.. Trails were a little dicey with all the leaves, but good solid run.  Kevin and I checked out a couple beavers on the high school loop.  That sounds weird, but it was true.

2014 USATF-New England Mountain Series Wrap Up

Mountain Series Wrap-up for 2014.

Since running the Loon Mountain Race in July (USATF National Mountain Running Championship) and having one of my worst races of the year, I held my own in the last couple of mountain races in the series and ended up winning my 3rd USATF-New England Mountain Series Championship title in 4 years (Individual Final Standings here).   I ended up winning the Cranmore Hillclimb (results) in July.  This was my first ever Cranmore win, in 7 tries.  Cranmore served as the US Championship in 2009 (I was 12th), 2011 (I was 10th), and 2013 (I was 21st).  Other than that, I've been 2nd twice (once to Kevin Tilton in 2010 and once to Marco De Gasperi of Italy in 2012) and 3rd once in my first ever run here in 2008 (all those obviously in non-championship years). So it was nice to get my first win in my 'hometown' mountain race.

Cranmore HillClimb

As my amazing interview by LevelRenner indicates, I did think that this year's rendition of the Cranmore Hillclimb was the 'easiest' one yet.  It just didn't seem that difficult 'course-wise' this year.  Yes, there were a couple of climbs that were typical of the race, but compared to years where it was 3 laps or years where we did the far side (north end) of the mountain, this year's race seemed to be pretty tame.  I spent most of the first lap, trying to shake Todd and Matty Viega.  Matt actually took it out pretty hard early, and passed me only about a quarter mile in or so.  Todd stayed right behind me and by about 3/4 of a mile or so, I was able to pass Matt back before the middle grind up the far south part of the slopes.  There was a steep drop down through a glade and he slowed a bit in this section. I surged ahead and then was in the lead from there.  There was a pretty long climb in the middle of the loop but it did seem to 'flatten' out a bit from time to time.  I started to notice Todd creeping his way up towards me as the climb continued.  Nearing the top of the first climb, there is a flat section before it really goes for the kill.  There was a very steep grind where I ended up losing a lot of time and Todd moved up right behind me.  As I pushed out to the last pitch up the backside of the summit, I was only able to hold Todd off by a few seconds.  But as we crested over the top, I was able to put over a minute on him on the downhill.  Even though I was wearing the MudClaws, I still wiped out twice during the race.  Once right in front of the sign that said 'Ditch' (I went into the ditch anyways) and once while overshooting a turn and running right into the woods, off course, during one of the cut-through sections.

As I rolled through the start/finish area for the beginning of lap 2, I had a decent lead, but was not sure at all whether it would be enough to hold off Todd on the second climb.  He has been climbing a lot better than I have this year so I had little confidence I could hold him off.  My thought was that if I started the second loop with a big enough head start, I may be able to hold him off near the top and then put more time into him again on the downhill.  That is basically how it played out.

While I have no doubt Todd was able to make up some time, I was able to climb relatively steady on the way up the second loop and I never did get into danger of him catching me.  I surprised myself on the way back up and by the time I started the second downhill, I had way more of a lead than I had thought I would have.  It made the second descent easier to deal with. I was more cautious on the way down, although I did have to weave through lapped runners on the way down, which made things a bit more dicey.

In the end, I came through over 2 minutes ahead of a charging Matt Viega, who was able to overtake Todd for second place on the way down the second descent.  Todd finished up in 3rd place, only 14 seconds behind Matt. I was pretty pleased that I was actually able to win not only an overall race in the series this year, but also get my first ever Cranmore Hillclimb win.  (Considering you already probably know I won Bretton Woods before reading below, now, I've won every race in the series at least once, except Sleepy Hollow.  And if Josh Ferenc continues to go to Sleepy Hollow, that will never change :) )...

Strava Activity:

Bretton Woods

Most recently, in early October, I ran in the Bretton Woods Fell Race (results), which served as the last race in the USATF-New England Mountain Series.  Technically I didn't have to go to this one to win the series (as Dave Dunham had calculated that I would have just squeaked by in the series over Todd Callaghan by about 1.4 points or so).  I had done the Vermont 50 the week before, so I was skeptical as to whether I was going to be able to get out to this one and compete.  But as the week drew to a close, I felt better and better and just figured I'd be able to stick close to Todd and try to improve my score in the series (being able to substitute in a decent score from Bretton Woods and drop my Loon score).

My plan at Bretton Woods was simply to run the 'marked' safe route and/or try to stay w/ whoever was leading and just try to stay close and pray that my legs held up.  In the morning before I left for the ride up 302, I noticed on the website that only the route to the first 3 checkpoints was marked.  After that, there was no course markings at all.  This was a bit disheartening and I had to figure out another plan, as I hadn't studied the course at all and hadn't gone ahead of time to do any sort of planning.  When I got to the registration, I met up w/ DD and a few others who all had some intel on the course and potential routes they were going to take.  But the consensus was that Todd Callaghan would be the guy to beat (I agreed) and he had scoped out the course ahead of time (he went up the day before).  So my plan quickly changed to 'follow Todd wherever he goes'.

I warmed up w/ DD and changed into my MudClaw 265s.  My legs were a bit heavy and my calves and hammies were still pretty banged up, but I was excited for the race.

As the race began, there was a mad scramble in seemingly all directions by a big group of frontrunners.  I stuck behind Todd and shadowed every step he took for the most part.  Matt Viega was in tow and so was Erik Vendendries.  DD was lingering and that looked to be what the top 5 was going to be, very early on.   The first climb was a brute.  It was straight up to checkpoint A that was all the way at the top of the middle peak.  My calves got very sore and tight as the climb wore on and I fell back quite a ways.  Matt eventually passed me, as did Erik.  Just before DD rolled up on me, I stepped in a huge sinkhole up to my waist practically.  I could hear DD laughing behind me as I pulled myself to safety.  By the top of checkpoint A, I was in 4th, quite a ways behind Todd and right behind Erik.  I was just barely able to hold off Dave at the top.

 Once at the top, there was a slight reprieve before another climb up to checkpoint B.  I was following Matt and Todd and was able to drop Erik on the slight downhill between the two summits.  By the top of checkpoint B, I had almost caught Todd and Matt.  As the first big downhill started (all the way down to checkpoint C), Matty took off like he stole something.  Todd and I just rolled on the way down.  Then literally Todd rolled.  He took a pretty hard spill and slid down some grassy/rocky slope to the left of the dirt path on the ski slope.  It looked pretty nasty and his leg was all cut up.  He bounced up pretty quick though and we continued to push down the slope as Matt looked like he was pulling away.  I was really hurting physically on the downhill. My calves were getting very sore and my quads and hamstrings started telling me that they hadn't forgotten about the 50 miles I ran the previous weekend.

As we came through checkpoint C at the start/finish area, Todd and I started to gain on Matt a little bit.  Then we saw Matt take a slight left turn and head up a steeper slope than what Todd was going to go up.  I didn't hesitate and followed Todd's every move.  He wasn't even hesitating.  He didn't take the map out, didn't really even look at what Matt was doing.  It was like he was running a loop he does everyday.  I was content following and just remained a step or two behind him all the way up the far right climb.  As we pushed up I had to take an occasional step or two of a walk, because my legs were just really sore.  I wasn't really losing any ground on Todd though when I did this and just did it on and off for the rest of the climb up to checkpoint D.  Once at the top of that slope, there was a hard right up an incredibly steep slope to the checkpoint.  I looked all around and didn't see any signs of Matt or DD or Erik.  As Todd and I basically powerhiked that last pitch up to D, I figured Matt had probably taken a much longer way and gotten lost.  I asked the girl at checkpoint D if we were in 1st/2nd and she confirmed.  I then mentioned to Todd on the way back down, that we probably didn't have to kill ourselves the rest of the way, because I knew he had led us up the most efficient way possible and it was paying off bigtime.  We ran into Matt as he popped out of the woods on the opposite side he came up, and he mentioned he got lost.  We pointed him in the right direction and I knew at that point, there was no way he'd be catching us unless we got lost.  Shortly after seeing him, we saw DD as well, coming towards us.  He had also taken another way up.  I commented to him that right around the corner, he'd have a pretty big climb up to D.  From there, it was just Todd and I. We wouldn't see anyone again after that.

The drop across and then down to checkpoint E (about halfway down the middle slopes) was nice and easy.  Todd and I talked back and forth and I even moved out ahead a couple times but all the while, didn't want to start pushing it, because I had no clue where I was going.  Because nothing was marked, I either had to whip out my map and try to figure it out myself, or just stay with Todd and let him navigate.   A couple times, I moved slightly ahead and had to keep looking back to make sure I went the same way he did.  He would quietly take a left or right after I'd blow past it, and he wouldn't say anything (I probably wouldn't have either :)).  I would have to quickly adjust and follow him.

Once we dropped down and hit checkpoint E, it was back up a pretty serious climb across to F.   It was more of the same. Me shadowing Todd and us chatting about the course, how our training was going, etc.  Todd had mentioned he had a knee issue and he wasn't in the same great shape he was in during the summer.  I slowly started to think I wouldn't have a problem on the way down to the finish, but I needed to make sure I went the right way!  On the last climb up a rugged glade in the middle of the mountain, I saw checkpoint F.  I pushed ahead just a little and hit the checkpoint right ahead of Todd.  I then turned and started to bomb down.  My plan was now to open it up and run straight down (as straight as I could). I had NO idea if the slope I was on went all the way straight down or if it stopped and turned left or right, etc.  I was hoping it did dump out near the bottom, but was now committed to just pushing down for the win.

The more I dropped down through the glade, the more nervous I got as I moved ahead of Todd. I kept peeking back to see his blue shirt and knew I was still on track.  But then I got to a section where there was a quasi-fork in the trail.  I kept going 'straight' and turned around a bit later to see if Todd followed, but didn't see him anymore.  I kept looking and he was gone.  I immediately had that sinking feeling that he took the right way back up at the fork and I was running into never never land.  I pushed more and more down, ran over a wooden bridge, and then dumped out onto a dirt road.  I then came to a trail that dumped out to my right. I looked up it and it was steep as anything.  I looked down the direction I was about to go down and immediately convinced myself it was wrong.  I stopped.  I then tried to figure out if I was going to keep going or go UP to the right.  I saw the condos down to the right through the trees and it was deja vu. I kept thinking about last year.  Where I was running well and then I got lost and dropped out in the area near those condos.   I debated whether to actually bushwhack through those condos again or go right.  I started to run up the right hand slope. I got halfway up and thought that there was no way it could benefit me, to climb all the way up again.  So I turned, headed back down, and then just before I was going to reluctantly cut through to those condos, I turned again to look back up the way I came and I saw Todd's blue shirt coming down the slope!   I was never so happy to see someone catching me in a race.  I immediately turned and headed straight down the slope I was originally going to go down.  Only a few seconds later, it turned the corner and opened up to the start/finish area and I could see the finish line.  I had gone from thinking I was definitely going to win, to thinking I had screwed up AGAIN and was going to DNF, back to thinking I was going to win again. I pushed down to the line and was just 10 seconds ahead of Todd, who did ALL the work.  Matty V held his 3rd place (and secured 3rd place in the series behind Todd and myself), and a bloodied Dave Dunham held on for 4th place.

Strava Activity:

L-R: Matt Viega (CMS), JJ (CMS/Inov-8), Todd Callaghan (CMS)

Video courtesy of the Level.

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13 (Monday)

October 13 (Monday) - Late day run w/ KT in the Green Hills in North Conway (a few years old, but HERE is a good resource for anyone looking to check out the extensive network of trails back there)...  We went from the new trailhead next to Walmart (the usual scene of the crime nowadays).  Headed up some single track, double track, and then got caught in the dark.  No headlamps meant a mad scramble back to the power lines so we could somewhat see our way back out of there.  Cut short to 7.7 miles but felt good to just get an easy run in after a 30 mile weekend and 8100 ft. of climbing....

Updates coming....

It's been quite some time since I've had the motivation to update the blog but I'm going to try to get back to some sort of regularity with this thing + some retrospective posts to make up for lost time.... Since I last updated this in July (yikes), I've raced 10 times, and put up some solid long runs, some workouts, and some OK mileage.  For those who aren't friends with me on Facebook or who don't keep in touch w/ me via other means, you probably haven't been kept in the loop at all. I'll try to fill in some gaps here and provide some highlights from the second part of my summer up until now.

Since July 12 (I last blogged on July 11), I've put in 810 miles and spent a lot of that focused on training for the Vermont 50 miler while also trying to remain healthy.  I also had another baby :).   I did some decent weekly long runs in the mountains and on the trails with Kevin Tilton and continued to do the USATF-New England Mountain Series + the rest of the Whitaker Woods Summer Series.

I am going to shoot up some quick race recaps of the rest of the summer + some training posts to recap some of the more memorable runs leading up to Vermont.

From this past weekend's run in my hood...

Friday, July 11, 2014

July 11 (Friday)

July 11 (Friday) - should have gone VERY easy or taken a zero (because of the pending Pemi Loop on Saturday) but I decided to head out for a loop with Zac in Madison from the train station.  He pinged me late in the day for a run and I jumped at the chance to have company again...not really thinking of the damage I could do to myself with the young buck on a road/trail loop the day before the Pemi.  We hit up the Chain of Ponds trails from the train station and were running sub 7s in the sandy trails heading north up to Boulder Rd.  Then from there, it was up E. Madison Rd. and back down to the train station.  9.5 miles.  Normally I would have made it an even 10 (as Zac did by adding on after), but with the Pemi tomorrow, I decided to stop immediately when I got back to the car.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

July 10 (Thursday)

July 10 (Thursday) - 8.8 miles with Kevin Tilton from the Conway/Madison end of Rockhouse Mountain Rd.  Did a nice dirt/paved road loop into Madison and out into Conway and back.  A nice (serious) climb on the way back to the car that I'd never seen before.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 9 (Wednesday)

July 9 (Wednesday) - 8.4 miles w/ Kevin Tilton.  From behind the NoCo Grand Hotel, across NorthSouth Rd. to the snowmobile trails.  Then single track up and down the side of Rattlesnake.  Good run.  Seemed like 20 miles for some reason.  Something like 1400 or 1500 feet of gain in the middle miles.  Not too bad.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 8 (Tuesday)

July 8 (Tuesday) - Whitaker Woods. 3 mile w/up + 5k Trail race + 2 mile cooldown.  8 miles total.  Ran out front the whole time (barely).  Tim Livingston almost caught me at the end. We ran 17:01 / 17:03 respectfully.  If the race was 100 yards longer I would have lost.  I believe Tommy Manning was third (he was still hanging around in NoCo this week), Zac was fourth, and Kevin was fifth (just going easy).  I was rigging up bad at the end and still have some tired legs from Loon.  I think most of my Whitaker runs will be on tired legs... Pemi Loop coming this weekend, so next week's Whitaker will be a nightmare.

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7 (Monday)

July 7 (Monday) - 10.7 miles.  Met Darin and Nick at their house in Madison.  Ran down to Silver Lake beach but the bugs on Lead Mine were I continued and went around the lake for an extended lake bang.  Last 1.5 miles back on Lead Mine were horrendous with the deer flies. Legs felt a little tired from Loon but nothing crazy.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 6 (Sunday) - Loon Mountain / US National Mountain Running Championship

July 6 (Sunday) - Loon Mountain / US National Mountain Running Championship (results) - Sunday I headed over the Kanc nice and early for the 2014 USATF National Mountain Running Championship at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, NH.  My main goals here were to help my team (CMS) win another National Championship and to try to maintain my lead in the USATF NE Mountain Series.  To achieve both, basically two things had to happen...first, we needed to make sure that Team Colorado didn't field a full team (because if they do, it's pretty much a given that we'd be running for 2nd at that point) and second, I needed to try to stay close to Kevin Tilton, who is in 2nd place in the overall standings for the mountain series.

Let's just say I'm pretty disinterested in recapping this one because I ran with zero balls.  Right from the gun, I was just running with no heart, no drive, no desire to push myself, and no confidence.  I just went through the motions and ran as hard as my body would allow without hurting.  I knew I was in deep trouble when I was 2 minutes into the race and couldn't even begin to count how many dozens of guys were in front of me already.  I was behind Drew Best for a little bit and commented to him that there would be a lot of carnage later on and we'd pick up some hurting guys later on.  Well, that never really happened to the extent I thought it would.

I meandered half-ass-idly across the additional 2 miles of nordic trails that were at the bottom when I should have been pushing it.  I was running behind one of the top masters (who took a nasty fall, got up, cleaned himself off, and continued to run, all right in front of me and I never passed him), a couple of college guys, and my teammate Pat Rich who ran like he's been there before.  I just didn't want to be there and wasn't up for the challenge at all.  It really showed over that section where I should have been really hammering the pace and staying with Pat and some of the other guys up front.

Once I started the actualy climbing back out on the old course, Todd Callaghan and some others went by me on the really steep stuff and I was a bag of crap.  I would pass more guys than I got passed by, over the course of the next few miles, so that wasn't bad...but overall I should have been 10 places higher at least...and 1:30 faster in my opinion.  I had a decent battle with Alex Hall and a few other college guys from miles 4-5+, as the course just continued to grind up loose dirt access roads and grassy slopes.

Once I went up and over the old finish area, I started the descent down towards the Upper Walking Boss.  I don't think I've ever run as easy and as slow on the way down, as I did this year.  I'm not sure why but I had no drive or desire to bomb down the descent as I had in previous years.  I just kind of went through the motions and basically held off Alex Hall on the way down the hill, but never thought about trying to actually catch anyone.

When I hit the Upper Walking Boss, it was basically looking up at a 'who's who' of who beat me.  There was pretty much the entire field (less the few top guys who were long done) walking, sidestepping, or 'running' up the boss.  I could throw a baseball over Pete Maksimow's head, yet he was 2+ minutes ahead of me.  It was very frustrating.  Todd Callaghan was pulling away as were seemingly everyone else. I'm not sure if I caught anyone on the boss. I may have caught 1 guy, but I can't remember.  I do know that I didn't walk a step. Not one step.  This was the first year ever, that I never walked one step at Loon.....including the years I won (2009, 2012).  That's probably the one good thing about the actual way I ran...the fact that I didn't need to walk...but maybe that was because I wasn't running hard enough on the rest of it?  I'm not sure.  I wasn't a complete slob up the boss, but I wasn't accomplishing anything because I had already let the race go after the first half mile.  There was one guy who was mowing me down the whole way up the boss and seemingly came out of nowhere during the last 100 yards.  He passed me right near the end and (to give you an idea of how SLOW the last part of the race is) beat me by 11 seconds in the last 5 steps.  

Some good shots of me on the boss below...mediocrity at it's slowest....

Overall I was pretty disappointed to say the least.  I wasn't expecting much, but I certainly was expecting to finish better than 4th man on the team and not be beaten by 14 minutes in a 7 mile race. But I was very pleased with the fact that we (CMS) won the US National Championship for team.  The bummer was that once again, USATF didn't bother to send team medals...or someone didn't bother to order them...or there was just yet another mix up.  I have won a bunch of USATF team medals over the years (I have been fortunate to be a part of a good club that shows up to these events and represents well) and this is at least the third time the team medals, for whatever reason, weren't at the event.  Not quite sure what to make of that and maybe it's just a matter of yet another simple mixup, etc... It's not a huge deal and supposedly they are being 'mailed' somewhere.  They said they'd 'mail them'.  Mail them where?  To my house?  Do they know where I live?  Maybe they'll mail them to someone who knows us? Either way, it just kind of stunk that I had my parents hang out for probably over an hour at the awards (where by the team awards, most people had cleared out and gone home), they called us up quickly only to have no medals to give out.  Had this been the first time this happened, it would have been fine...but unfortunately I'm getting used to it.  Also, it was (by that time) only me, Nate Jenkins, and Todd Callaghan that stayed to get up on the podium.  This is a 'rant' geared towards USATF and not in any way to the local organizing committee.  Medals are far from the most important thing, but when you have a US National Championship, and you are a legitimate money-making organization who runs it, and there is a team competition for which medals are awarded, one of the things on the checklist should be to make sure you send all the medals...or if you are in charge of ordering them, you order them.  Dave Dunham had to write email after email after email for months one time, to get us team medals from the 50K Road Championships... I'm not sure why it's such a pain the backside to get awards made and sent to championships... I guess in my situation (getting old, slow, and sour), all I have to look forward to is getting my medal ;).... 

Top 35 Plus CMS in Blue

1Joseph Gray          30Colorado Springs CO            45:52.3 6:34Scott Sports
2Patrick Smyth        27Salt Lake City UT              46:39.1 6:40Nike Trail Team
3Eric Blake           35West Hartford CT               52:37.5 7:32LaSportiva                                   
4Zach Miller          25Manitou Springs CO             52:44.1 7:33Nike Trail Team
5Joshua Eberly        33Gunnison CO                    53:30.0 7:39Brooks 
6David Roche          26Millington MD                  53:39.7 7:40New Balance Silicon Valley        
7Jordan Chavez        20Southlake VA                   54:23.3 7:47                                  
8Ryan Bak             32Bend OR                        54:28.8 7:47Central Oregon Running Klub       
9Andrew Benford       26Austin TX                      54:49.2 7:50Rogue Athletic Club               
10Kyle O'Brien         25Broomfield CO                  55:37.2 7:57Boulder Track Club                
11Tommy Manning        38Colorado Springs CO            55:43.2 7:58Team Colorado                     
12Nate Jenkins         33N Andover MA                   55:50.8 7:59Central Mass Striders             
13Jared Burdick        27Manlius NY                     56:00.2 8:01                                  
14David McKay          27Bend OR                        56:09.0 8:02                                  
15Josh Ferenc          32Saxtons River VT               56:30.5 8:05Boston Athletic Association       
16Ryan Woods           35Boone NC                       56:46.2 8:07LaSportiva                                   
17Brandon Newbould     32Nottingham NH                  56:56.0 8:08Whirlaway Racing Team             
18Zachary Ornelas      22Ann Arbor MI                   57:00.8 8:09                                  
19Drew Best            32Amherst MA                     57:23.5 8:12Acidotic Racing                   
20Gabriel Rodriguez    36Baltimore MD                   57:31.7 8:14Under Armour                 
21Kris Freeman         33Thornton NH                    57:34.6 8:14EliLilly                                    
22Patrick Rich         37South Hamilton MA              57:36.1 8:14Central Mass Striders             
23Peter Maksimow       35Manitou Springs CO             57:46.4 8:16Team Colorado                     
24Greg Ruckman         40Breckenridge CO                57:54.7 8:17                                  
25Ryan Lee             22Richmond VA                    58:12.2 8:19                                  
26Chris Grauch         41Boulder CO                     58:24.1 8:21                                  
27Todd Callaghan       44Beverly MA                     58:36.8 8:23Central Mass Striders             
28Timmy Parr           32Leadville CO                   59:02.1 8:26HokaOneOne                                
29Sam Robinson         29Oakland CA                     59:18.7 8:29Transports RT                       
30Matthew Lipsey       24Jersey PA                      59:24.7 8:30                                  
31Jim Johnson          37Madison NH                     59:35.5 8:31Central Mass Striders             
32Jason Bryant         41Elkin NC                       59:52.7 8:34Appalachian Mountain Goats        
33Justin Stewart       26Springfield IL       1:00:03.3 8:35                                  
34Alex Hall            27Hanover NH           1:00:13.0 8:37Boston Athletic Association       
35Ross Krause          34Easthampton MA       1:00:26.5 8:39Central Mass Striders             
38Kevin Tilton         32North Conway NH      1:01:38.2 8:49Central Mass Striders             
46Dave Dunham          50Ward Hill MA         1:02:55.5 9:00Central Mass Striders             
48Matthew Veiga        27Lynn MA              1:03:07.2 9:02Central Mass Striders             
53James Pawlicki       39Lynn MA              1:03:36.7 9:06Central Mass Striders             
62Daniel Verrington    52Bradford MA          1:06:35.2 9:31Central Mass Striders             
66Sam Wood             28Laconia NH           1:07:26.5 9:39Central Mass Striders             
91Arthur Besse         41Templeton MA         1:12:18.910:20Central Mass Striders             
114Paul Bazanchuk      59Center Conway NH     1:16:53.211:00Central Mass Striders             
118John Pajer          51Leicester MA         1:17:07.211:02Central Mass Striders             
206David Lapierre      50Chelmsford MA        1:29:47.312:50Central Mass Striders             
208Robert Thomas       54Charlton MA          1:29:56.512:51Central Mass Striders             
308Walter Kuklinski    65Princeton MA         1:57:21.916:46Central Mass Striders             
339George Boudreau Jr  45Dudley MA            2:31:42.721:41Central Mass Striders             

340 Total Finishers (Men).

My last thoughts on the race... Joe Gray and Patrick Smyth are beasts.  Joe is an amazing guy and I was thrilled to see him win Washington last month...he deserved it and it's been a long time coming.  Eric Blake is crazy good and is ridiculous uphill.  For him to have been beaten at Loon by almost 7 minutes is insane.  I think a lot of that time was over the first 2-3 miles where it was flatter and better suited to a guy like Joe to hammer.  The top 6 guys will all be a great strong team going to Worlds this year.  4,5,6 were all within a minute of Eric, which is pretty tight.  Joe Gray is in top shape right now so it will be very exciting to see how he does in Italy.  

I was able to continue to keep my lead in the USATF-NE Mountain Series although Todd Callaghan picked up some points on me.  He's still in 3rd overall (behind Kevin) but not by much.  

Overall I was thankful to my parents for going and watching the race and being there for me on a tough day.  They hiked all the way up Sunset from the gondola to see the finish.  Then they had to hike all the way down and then back up to the gondola afterwards.  I am also thankful to the local organizing team of acidoticRacing, Chris and Karen Dunn, and all the others who made the race possible...  Paul Kirsch and Richard Boltski for designing and marking the course and being awesome.... and CMS for fielding a great team and making me proud once again to be a part of a national team title.

I hit up the river afterwards and talked with Jason Bryant, Tommy Manning, Pete Maksimow, and a few others over a can of 603 (my first beer in a year).  Then I hit the road and sulked for 45 minutes across the Kanc.

Joe Viger's Photo Set

Scott Mason's Photo Set

Krissy K's Photo Set

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 5 (Saturday)

July 5 (Saturday) - Met up with Kevin at the Mineral Site in Conway in the a.m. for the normal loop (which for some reason I always 'thought' was 8 miles but it turned out to be 6.7 miles.  It feels like 67.  It was a nice easy jaunt before Loon tomorrow.

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4 (Friday)

July 4 (Friday) - Met Kevin bright and early at the Liberty/Brook trailhead (but we did neither Liberty nor Brook).  1:50:11 with 2400 ft of elevation gain up Mt. Paugus (the climb is a ballbuster).  Bolles Trail to Bee Line Cutoff to Bee Line to Old Paugus Tr. up over Paugus (zero view because it was raining and completely clouded in) then down Lawrence Trail to Cabin Trail to Whitin Brook Trail and back down Old Paugus to Bolles again. A slow, steep 8.15 miles!  It was a grind!  My hearing has vastly improved over the course of the last 12 hours or so. 

I'll leave you with some of my favorite 4th of July / Patriotic photos from years past:

JJ - John Carson 2 Mile - July 4th, 2009 - Chelmsford, MA

Justin Freeman - Woodstock, VT, July 4, 2007

Axis - Boston, MA 1998

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3 (Thursday)

July 3 (Thursday) - Lost the hearing in my left ear since Wed. night. Woke up in the middle of the night and was completely deaf.  It didn't feel like there was any water in my ear, but it was a possibility because I had done a couple of dives off the raft at Silver Lake on Wed. afternoon.  I have had water in my ear plenty of times, but this was different.  I tried repeatedly to get any water to drain. I used hydrogen peroxide extensively but it didn't help.  I tried every home remedy on the internet.  When I woke up on Thursday I was a mess. I had a headache and felt like crap all day.  I had to lay down a couple times during the day.  I was able to mow the lawn (figuring walking around might help) but it was no different after I was done.  Late in the afternoon (6:15ish), I decided that I still needed to try to run.  I hit up a flat out and back (relatively flat) down 113 and 41.  I felt pretty good despite the absolutely annoying fact that I could only hear out of my right ear.  My left was completely blocked.  It was balls hot outside as well, but by 6:15ish it had probably cooled down a few degrees and it was probably the best time to get out.  I ran 64:49 for the 10 miles (not that I'm one of those completely obsessed with pace on training runs), which was good for me and I felt pretty decent.  By late in the evening my ear started to clear up. I had gone to the store and bought a couple of 'tools' to try to get out possible packed earwax and water but even after making sure my ear canals were squeaky clean, it was completely blocked (almost like my nasal passages get during allergy season).  I could unblock it briefly by yawning, chewing, or squeezing my nose and popping my ears, but it would close back up again. I think I have some sort of infection.  By bedtime, it got slightly better and I regained about half of my hearing in my left ear.  Good times.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 2 (Wednesday)

July 2 (Wednesday) - Beach day again today w/ the fam. It was a HOT one out there....low 90s (Yahoo weather had Madison at 93 degrees at one point).  The water was awesome.  We took Tabby in Silver Lake for a while in her float and I relaxed for a while on the beach after showing her my diving skills off the raft. Then the weather came rolling in.  Thunder and lightning and then pouring rain.  We packed up and headed home just in time.  There was hail, flash flooding, and a pretty impressive lightning display happening all over the middle part of the state. When we got home I pinged Darin Brown who had earlier been interested in a run.  I convinced him to go out with me on the trails. I figured in the pouring rain, the bugs would be a non issue.  Nick joined us and at about 4:45 we hit the trails I swore I wouldn't run on again until summer's end.  It was glorious.  It was 4 miles (out), of mostly standing water.  The downpour was keeping the bugs away and the temps down.  It was a refreshing run.  Nick and I did 8 and then I added on another mile back to get Darin who was in full on bonk mode on the way back.  9 miles total.

...oh and my quads STILL HURT....

My girls...