Saturday, November 8, 2014

November 8 (Saturday) - Roaring Falls Trail Race



November 8 (Saturday) - Headed over to Moultonborough and Castle in the Clouds for the first annual Roaring Falls Trail Race (results).  This was a 12+ mile trail race on and around the castle grounds and up Mt. Roberts (2582 ft). This is increasingly becoming my favorite place to run.  Kevin and I hit this area up for a 'ridge run' (approx 18+ miles) back at the end of the summer.  The trails are amazing and most of the run is up and down some pretty sweet carriage roads and snowmobile trails that are super fast and amazingly scenic.  The views of the lake are amazing on the way up and down the course.  I hadn't planned on doing this race until this week (started really thinking about giving it a go on Thursday/Friday of this past week).   Towards the end of the week, I was recovered from the marathon (it typically only takes me a couple days and I'm ready to go again) and figured I'd not pass up the chance to run here one more time before winter sets in.

The morning was pretty chilly and I ended up running the warmup with Kevin Tilton and Mike Narcisi.  We did the last 1 mile of the course (out a mile and back) and noticed that it was a lot of pavement and a lot of uphill out of the lower trails and back up to the start/finish area.  The small section of trail we hit was also pretty technical and rugged.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew the climb up to Roberts pretty well and knew that from the summit, down to the 8 mile aid station was pretty much mostly all downhill on wide grassy carriage roads.  I quickly changed into my racing clothes and was down to the line for the start.

The race was actually made up of two distances (the 12+ mile long course and the 4+ mile short course which started in the opposite direction).  The long course had some pretty good names toeing the line.  With KT, Mike, and myself, there was also our CMS teammate Sam Wood, top NH road racer Nate Huppe (in his first foray into 'longer trail/mountain running'), ultra super star Ryan Welts of Pearl Izumi, and acidotic's own Charlie Therriault.  I knew it was going to be a pretty good pack early and I made my decision as I was warming up at the start area, that I was going to immediately push and not screw around. I wanted to thin the pack out as much as I could, right away.  If KT came with me, that was fine. I was actually expecting that.  Or if I made a move early and then he caught me later, that was OK too...just as long as we thinned it out before the summit.  I didn't want to have a lot of company once the downhill started.



When Chris Dunn gave the command, we were off and I immediately pushed up to the trail.  KT was back a few steps and the rest of the pack was in line by the time we got to the actual trail, only 200-300 yards in.  The climb starts almost immediately but is gradual at first.  KT was pretty close behind but never close enough to talk to. I figured once the really steep grind started, he'd roll up on me and I could tell him why I was pushing it so early, but he never made it up.  I looked back a few times on the way up and he was there, but falling back a bit.

By the time I got out to the first couple of open ledges on the way up, I started to lose sight of Kevin and just set my sights on the summit.  You have to go over a few 'faux' summits before dipping back into the woods again to push up to the real summit.  I remember this vividly from our run a couple months ago.  Some rocks had some icy spots but they were easily avoidable.  By the time I reached the summit and went past the sign, I was now out of sight, no matter how far back the stretch was. I couldn't see anyone back there.  I knew how much downhill there was now and was pretty confident that I could run hard and it would take quite a bit of effort for anyone to catch me on the next bunch of miles.  My hamstring and calf were acting up slightly once I started running down.  My right calf would tighten up and hurt for a few seconds and then release.  It kept happening over the course of the next few miles but I kept plugging along.  I knew it was probably still a bit sore from the marathon but I was hopeful that it would not be a real problem until possibly much later.




The next few miles of downhill were awesome running. I passed by Kristina Welts, running the course with her dog.  I didn't see anyone else for miles. I just kept dropping down, weaving all over the carriage roads trying to find the most solid and trouble-free routes.  There was some snow (just a dusting) in the leaves on the trail, which made it kind of cool.  Most of that was up at the summit area of Roberts.  There were some semi-frozen spots on the way down and some mud that you had to push through just a little on the way down, but the course was amazingly dry.  I was able to keep up a solid pace with a couple miles down below 5:30s on the way down. I knew that it would really take a great run from someone behind, to catch me by the bottom.  I did continue to peek back, but never saw anyone.

Once I finally made it down to the aid station (which was at '7-ish' miles according to Chris before the race), I blew right past it and was met with a harsh reality of more climbing.  My Garmin had about 7.6 miles on it by the time I got to the aid station.  But once I went through it, I immediately started climbing again and it was a bruiser. I felt like I was close to walking.  It was very difficult to adjust after running 5:30 pace downhill for miles, and then having to almost come to a complete stop and grind up another killer climb.  I started to panic a bit and look back as I was leaning into the hill.  Fortunately, it didn't go up too too far before turning back onto a carriage road again.  But now over the next few miles, it seemed like it was mostly either up or flat, with some decent climbs and switchbacks.  I kept an honest pace here but was slowing pretty good.  I was just hoping that the early lead I had built up was enough.

Finally, I got back onto a trail system I remember from the end of our run a couple months ago.  I knew the last longer single track section was a little slow and dicey in spots. I took it pretty easy in there, knowing you can only run so fast in that section.  But I also remember that out of that section, came another decent climb up to a lookout point and then down a very slow-going decent on the side of a slope that dropped down to the main carriage road.  I took it pretty easy down that as well, as there were a few times I almost wiped out.  Once I got down to the carriage road, I was starting to pass a decent amount of short course runners.

I winded my way across a bridge, and down and up some single track near the falls before dumping out onto the paved road I had warmed up on.  I was glad to see that road although I knew it was a little bit of a climb up it.  I passed a couple of short course people here and when I took the switchback up to the upper part of the road, I could see a long way back and down the other side and was constantly looking for Kevin's red singlet. I peered down the entire trip up and never saw anyone else come out.  By the time I could no longer see the lower portion of the road, it was at least a couple minutes back, so I knew I had enough of a lead to finish.  There was still a decent amount of climb on the road before it ducked back into the last single track section.  I passed another few short course runners in there before dumping out to the start/finish area near the pond. I THOUGHT the race ended there.  My watch had near 12 miles but I saw no finish area setup and no one lingering around.  It was my fault for not paying attention that morning and finding out that the race ended up the road.  I started following the flags up the road and just continued to push up to where I thought the end might be.  I figured it was at the carriage house, where the after party was. I got up to that area and heard my dad yell my name from up at the castle.  I figured he was up there just sightseeing and didn't make it down to the finish area in time to see me come in.  When I got to the carriage house, there were two volunteers telling me to go 'up the stairs to the castle' and they were waving flags to the left. I almost croaked.  I had to still climb up 3 or 4 flights of steep stairs to the castle.  Yikes.  I pushed by a few more short course people who all moved over except for one guy who mustered up some last minute courage and held me off on the last flight of stairs.  He didn't want to get passed by a 12 mile guy I guess :).

The last bit of stairs before the finish...


I came up to the castle lawn and through the end in 12.45 miles on my Garmin.  It was an awesome way to end the race and I immediately told Chris that if he can, they should have the race finish there every year.   I stood up there with my parents who were braving the cold and wind, and waited for the others to come in.  After seeing the first 10+ people finish, I headed back down the castle road with my parents.  A nice walk downhill was a good enough cooldown for me.  I was pretty beat.  My cardio was completely fine during the effort but my muscles were a little achey in spots.  Overall though I held up nicely and was really pleased at how I wrapped up the season.

Video below of the finish.  The couple runners in front of me were short course runners.


Top 10 overall (CMS in blue):

PlaceNameAgeTownStateTeamTime
1Jim Johnson         37Madison       NHCMS/INOV8                    1:28:29
2Kevin Tilton        32ConwayNHCMS/Inov8                    1:35:08
3Sam Wood            28LACONIA       NHCMS                          1:41:04
4Jeffrey Whittingham 39Waitsfield    VT                             1:41:23
5Charles Therriault  29Bristol       NH                             1:42:35
6Ryan Welts          34Northwood     NHacidotic/Pearl Izumi  1:42:51
7Kehr Davis          37Gt barrington MA                             1:43:42
8Leslie Beckwith     38Albany        NHacidotic              1:44:06
9Brandon Baker       27LEBANON       NH                             1:44:16
10Nathan Huppe        34Dover         NHRochester Runners       1:44:24

119 total finishers (long course).

Strava data / splits:



Looking down from the finish


With my mom at the finish...

With my dad at the finish...

Friday, November 7, 2014

November 7 (Friday)

November 7 (Friday) - Albany Town Forest w KT.   6.1 miles in the dark around the fields and XC course.  We talked a lot of sh*t to each other  (which is normal), I fell once in the woods after tripping over a root,  and we planned out stop 1 of our 'world dominance' world tour which would take place the following morning in Moultonborough, NH.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

November 6 (Thursday)

November 6 (Thursday) - Back at the mill.  6 miles easy.  Still recovering from the marathon and don't want to do anything stupid.  Some light lifting after.  The pool was occupied by a lot of ladies doing some sort of water zumba class or something... So Thursdays may be out for pool / hot tub after my runs.  Will have to take note of that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November 5 (Wednesday)

November 5 (Wednesday) - Nothing to see here.  6.1 miles on Potter Rd. w/ KT in the dark.  Just in recovery mode and trying not to get too sick (my daughter is battling a pretty good cold which usually is curtains for me)...


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 4 (Tuesday)

November 4 (Tuesday) - Went down to the elementary school to vote and ran into Downtown Darin Brown.  We chatted for a bit and planned an afternoon run but I couldn't get away during daylight hours... So I bit the bullet and went back down to the Mill after work and signed up again for another 3 months (to start)... I was pleasantly surprised to see a BRAND NEW treadmill next to the one I normally use.  Now there are two 'good' treadmills in there.  No longer do I have to sweat getting there in time to get the good 'mill.  As typical November would have it, I had the place completely to myself the entire time.  No one in the workout room while I powered home a 6 miler at 7:30 pace ;).  I then did some lifting and then it was straight to the pool.  10 laps followed by 10 minutes in the hot tub.  Completely alone.  Like old times....  The plan this week is to keep doing and easy 6 or so a day to recover from Sunday's marathon and then 'go to work' as DV says...

Speaking of DV, the folks at the Manchester Marathon are making the right call by rewarding the two runners who went off course due to inadequate (missing) markings, $1250 each (1/2 of the first and second place winnings combined).  I am very glad to see that.  I'm thinking that I may have given Jason the $1500 and the other runner, who had been gapped before the error happened, the second place $1000.  Basically because there was a decent gap, and they were 1-2 across the line in that order, I would have maybe called it at that point and rewarded the prize money that way....but what do I know.  I am just glad they turned it around in a day and rewarded the money.  I'm not sure if they specifically called out the reason why it all happened or what the error specifically was, but they are doing right by the two runners and giving them the money they should have won...well, maybe Jason loses $250 on the deal, but that's for another time ;)...

Back at this place.... East Madison, NH 
rush hour in Madison at the pool.... 
This is where I heal my hurts....

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3 (Monday)

November 3 (Monday) - Easy shakeout completely in the dark (thanks to falling back to standard time)... Met KT at the ranger station on the Kanc in Conway for an easy 6 around the xc course and athletic fields.  Legs felt ok considering I was a day removed from 26.2 miles on the roads of Manchvegas.  6 miles total (tracked w/ Strava on my iPhone because I forgot my Garmin at home)....

Jim is not impressed with running in the dark at 5pm...



Op-Ed #1 - Course Misdirection

Since this is my blog...and I'm entitled to do so, here's my take on what should happen with the leaders of the marathon in NH this past weekend... For the sake of not having this easily searchable  and give the race or those involved an undeserved bad name, I am not putting the name of the race or full names of runners, etc. in here... I'm also really posting this as a general response to a lot of screw ups in races recently...not really solely focused on placing blame on this past weekend's race...but because this is just the most recent example of a large race with a course direction / mis-direction issue, I am using it as the main example. 

Full disclosure....I was not one of the guys who went the wrong way.  I am also a member of the Central Mass Striders, which as of right now, has won the race's team competition and thus the Grand Prix for 2014.

[11-04-2014 - Update: The race is awarding $1250 to each of the two guys who went off course.
There were only 2 runners misdirected, not 3.  The third runner had dropped out before that point.  It is good to see them turn it around quickly and try to right the wrong with the monetary piece at least.

[11-03-2014 - What I am hoping is that I can update this block here of the blog with a nice update possibly later about how the three  two race leaders get compensated for their troubles yesterday... as of now, nothing has been decided.]

 As most people who read this blog know, this past weekend three two of the race leaders (THE three two race leaders) went the wrong way around 24 or so miles into the race.  This was a section of course on a bike/rec path down by the river.  It was an 'out and back' off of the bridge (where you come over the bridge, wind down under it, and go out and back on a section that is probably less than a quarter mile or so).  You come to a large tripod with a huge white turnaround sign (curved arrow) and you simply go around it and head back.  What transpired here was that according to one of the race leaders who got lost (who was absolutely justified in being miffed afterwards) there was no sign.  It was most likely not setup.  In fact, he said just that..it wasn't setup.   I was standing right at the finish when he  and the other leader (seen in various photos of the race that have been posted online) came walking up the road from the wrong way, with their hands in the air and visibly upset.  I was standing there when he began to talk to what I believe was a race official, who was before this, actively running around talking to me, the official race winner, and others before the three two lost race leaders came walking in.  He was fishing for answers from us.  I had told him that when I got to the turn around (many minutes after the leaders had gotten there), the sign was there and there were 2 (at least) gentlemen standing there on the right of the path telling me to go around.  But I heard the lost race leader say that the sign wasn't there at all and they just kept going. I also heard him convincingly tell the man that there wasn't really anyone there and there was a guy walking on the path towards them who basically didn't know where the course went.  They actually asked because I believe at that point, they were starting to wonder what the hell was going on.  So they kept going, which most anyone would probably do in that scenario.  It sucks.  It's infuriating.  To be honest, I was heartbroken standing there watching the leader try to hold it in and keep his composure.  He was a lot more reserved than I would have been.  I probably would have been acting like a hothead and yelling at the wrong people (which is not the right way to go about it)...but these guys kept it classy and just told their story to the race organizers.   I eventually walked away but I was now aware that that had cost the his team the Grand Prix.  He was their first guy.  Their other two (three score in the marathon) were right in front of me (and I was CMS' second guy).  So they would have beaten us.  They should have beaten us.   If what he was saying was true, the race organizers, volunteers who were supposed to be there, etc.... someone...is at fault for costing him and the other two leaders, prize money and team victories.  Someone has to step up and take responsibility.  I know it's only the day after....I know (I hope) they will step up and do the right thing.... I am tired of people defending event organizers, race directors, and 'volunteers' if things go bad.  I'm not in that camp.  If you are going to put on an event, regardless of whether it's a money making event or whether it's a for-charity event, etc. you have GOT to be responsible.  You have got to be organized.  You have got to understand that people pay money to be there.  Sacrifice a lot of time training for and traveling to the race.  When I registered it was over $100 with some astronomical fee online (two fees actually) for doing so online.  Even with my supposed discount from my club.  I then had to drive 2+ hours to get there.  What I expect at the very least is to have a sign up at a new (rather strangely placed) turnaround and a volunteer or two at least.  Full disclosure though..when I got to the bottom of the bridge, there was a guy with a flag directing me in the right way and there was a volunteer at the top (an older woman) telling me all about the 'turnaround'.  She said, 'go down the bottom, turn left and head around the roundabout'...that is what she called it.  So even before I got off the bridge, I knew where I was going.  Was this same thing in place minutes before when the leaders came through?   I'm thinking no but I'm not sure... However I really can't believe it was.    Now in one of the main NH publications today, the race director claims the following: 

“We don’t really know what happened,” race director XXXXXX said. “The turnaround was marked. I placed a sign out there this morning. With all the wind today it very easily could have blown over, but it was up later. We need to interview the volunteers that were out in that area.

I am in no way putting the blame on the RD solely at all and I know she has to be proud of the rest of the day's events (and rightfully so)...as it really was a fun race and I know 99.99% of the people there had a great time (Would I go back? Absolutely.  Would I recommend this race to people?  Absolutely.)... But if there were no course marshalls standing at that turn around (or no sign), then someone is to blame and it's not terribly important to know who...but what is important is for them to admit the mistake, take ownership of it, and do the right thing...

Now, if the above statement from the paper is true, then it HAD to have blown down.  But did the volunteers also blow down?  Did the three two race leaders not hear anyone previous down the path tell them to go around the 'roundabout' and come back?  If so, then when they got to that huge blown over sign, they would have had to think (do we go back here or keep going).  That sign (from what I remember) was big.  If it simply 'blew down' (which I know mile markers and split clocks did in other parts of the course) it was something you had to completely veer off the path to avoid.   Because you had to go around it, it was in the MIDDLE of the path.  It had to be in the very middle...meaning if it blew down, it would have been down in the middle of the path.   It was that big.  I just don't see how it was simply blown over and they missed it (could it have happened though....maybe).  I also don't know where the volunteers were that were supposed to be there though...that is the question.  That was probably THE single biggest possible mistake point on the entire course.  THE single most confusing and unconventional part of the course.  There HAD to be a course marshall there.  Someone to not only direct people to go around it, but also someone there to make sure people actually did go around it and didn't cut the course and turn around early.  I find it incredible that there was no one there.  I believe the race leaders.  You have got to.  Whether the sign was simply blown over or not, there should have been someone there to pick it up.  Someone there to quickly fix it and then tell the race leaders to turn around and go back.  There probably was no one there.  Why would the three two leaders make this up?  As a race director, you either make sure there are people where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there (WAY earlier than needed) and you make sure anyone you delegate responsibility to, can do the job. If not, they shouldn't be doing it.  I couldn't care less if you are not paid to do this.  The simple fact that you are not making money (personally) off of a race does not give you free reign to make mistakes like this and not be called out for it.

I heard a LOT of other people complain about there being turns with no one around.  I had it happen a couple times.  We got to a fork or intersection and no signs visible.  We put up our hands a couple times and had a policeman finally point in the right spot.  One section (around mile 20-21) was confusing and I had to take ownership of looking up both ways and trying to figure it out, before finally seeing the right way to take (because there was fortunately a visible mile marker up the road a ways)...No one was there directing people.  I had a couple people talk about this part of the course too.  To me, in a race that charges over 100 bucks to 'late registrants' (admittedly), and who bids to hold a championship race, you have got to have people at ever intersection.  Again, I get it....volunteers....they are braving the cold...they are there for nothing...they are there for ME...I shouldn't be bashing them....well...two things... 1) Sometimes they WEREN'T there for the me..or for the other runners...and 2) I was there braving the cold and paid to be there.  So were the race leaders.  When volunteers aren't where they are supposed to be, I don't blame the volunteers.  I blame the race.  The people that are supposed to make sure there are volunteers there.  When you run a race and attend an event like this, you should have faith and assurance that you will not be cheated out of money or place or experience simply because someone missed their queue.  This shouldn't happen.  I'm not only picking on this race solely here...I'm talking about every 'big' championship race that has this happen.  I understand in a local 5k organized for the elementary school or church, if there's not someone at every turn...but in a major area marathon and championship race with things on the line... it shouldn't happen.  There was a big XC race in New England last year as well that had a pretty big screw up with course direction.  Embarrassing.  We as runners shouldn't be chastised for criticizing race directors and organizers for screwing up.  It's almost taboo to mention it sometimes...you get the 'oh they're doing hard work and putting in long hours and the volunteers are out there giving their time... etc.'... that's just a plain bad excuse.  If I am doing a job or spearheading a project and I can't do it right, I shouldn't be doing it.  And if someone wants to criticize me for it, that's their right.

All this ranting above aside, here are my thoughts on this.... You can NOT shoehorn people into results.  It's an argument I've surprisingly heard before and it's frankly nonsensical.  When people go the wrong way, regardless of who's fault it is, and they don't finish the same course as everyone else, how on Earth can you put them into the results?   Would these three two have gone 1-2?  Yes, most likely (unless something happened to them in the last 2.2).  Who would have been first?  Who would have been second?   How do you tell?  Do you give all 3 the same time?   IF they had run extra distance, turned around, and completed the same course (but with just a longer out and back), do you count them?  YES.  They did run the same course, but longer.  But when they came walking down the road from blocks away, how do you know they ran 26.2 miles, then stopped and walked back?  When they didn't go the same way, how do you say that their last 2.2 miles was as hard, had as many twists and turns, had as many hills, etc. as the last 2.2. miles that everyone else ran?  You can't.  You simply can not.  Does it suck?  Yes.  Is it sh*tty?  Yes.  Can you fault the runners for this?  No.  Again, can you include them in results, NO.  You can not.  You simply can not.  I actually heard someone say that a 'precedent' was set at that XC race last year where they DID include a bunch of people in results that didn't do the course right.  Let me weigh on that really quickly...first, that was a BAD precedent to set.  Second, (I 'could' be wrong on this) but I believe (someone correct me) that the runners still ran the same course, but just did a loop and a hill in the reverse order... they still did the same distance and still did the same course (direction-wise), but they just did the last part backwards.   Did that change anything?  Maybe not... but I still think that was a bad call.  Just my opinion.  Now, this is different.  It is NOT the same.  What you had here were three two guys who worked their asses off and ran almost a full marathon as the classes of the field....and then due to potentially no fault of their own, were robbed of the places, team victory, and prize money... but they didn't complete the course.  Again, did they actually run 26.2 or longer before stopping their watches and walking back?  Maybe?  Who knows.  But they didn't complete the full course.  They didn't even go in the right direction after 24 miles.  Not their fault, but as far as the results go, you cannot put them back in.  I'm not saying this because I won prize money for top 3... I was 4th and 4th gets zero $. Had they been on course, I would have been 7th.  It really doesn't make a difference to me.  I still get the $150 for getting first NH male, whether I was 4th or 7th.   However, you have to look at the leading team losing the Grand Prix team title because of this.  That's where things get cloudy... depending on who you ask.

Now what do you do?  First, you give those three two leading runners their entry fees back. Immediately.  You offered a service, it didn't get provided as advertised, and you give it back.  That's good business.  You as a professional organization have got to do right and give them their entry fees back.  You also then have to consider giving them prize money.  If you can determine that there were NO volunteers where there should have been, and the sign was gone, etc.  then you need to make right and give them money.  You also need to honor the other top 3 and also provide them prize money.  Other races have done this.   You should not set another bad precedent and not follow suit.  You should give them some sort of cut of prize money.  How that's divided up, I'm not really sure.   That is the race's part of this mess.    The USATF-NE part is different.  Do you give the WMDP the overall GP win?  Well, I do believe that is also setting a bad precedent.  Again, remember, full disclosure, I am on CMS... but honestly, if our top guy was leading and he got lost (due to his own fault or the races') and we lost the GP, I would not expect that we get shoehorned into another result and get a championship when he didn't complete the course.  You speculate he would have won and you speculate that if he did, we would have won...but if you do that and you stray from the normal process of looking at the official results and adding up times from official results, then you are again setting another bad precedent ...where does it go from there?  My thought is that you take your lumps, you deal with the fact that you get a team title from adding up the placement of all the teams in all the events like we always do, and you don't add a special circumstance to the mix.  What 'could' happen (and the extent of what I think could be done) is that you basically give CMS and WMDP co-ownership of the GP title...I don't think there's a guy out there on CMS that wouldn't think that that was feasible to be honest...IF a special circumstance has to be made.  But what you cannot do is strip CMS of the team title in the results from the marathon OR somehow not take that into consideration when you try to add up the points for the GP.  You just can not.  Is this the worst way to win a championship (outside of cheating)?  It might be... but you just can not add points for a team or inject people into results based on passion and emotion.  I could be wrong, but I do not believe there are any rules in place to deal with making some sort of emotional decision to alter official results in USATF's guidelines....maybe there is...  Lastly I am not directing this at anyone from WMDP. I like those guys.  I ran with two of them for a lot of the race and they are good guys....great guys (and they probably have the best uniforms in the region).  They are not the ones who are asking for special circumstances as far as I know.... I'm directing this at some others I have heard, talk about what they should about it....  non WMDP guys.   I am also not trying to pick on the marathon organizers specifically and solely.  I am using this as a latest example.  Is it easy to put on these races?  No. I don't believe for a second that it is.  I know it's hard.  It's painful. It takes a lot of time and money and manpower and personal sacrifice.  To all the volunteers, police, organizers, vendors, sponsors, etc... All those folks who put all their time and energy into being out there and providing support and services to the runners, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.   You should not be given a bad name, simply because one or two people screwed up.  And I'm not trying to give you one.  I have been lucky enough to be welcomed (sometimes for free) to a lot of events around New England and elsewhere and I've been lucky enough to win money and prizes, etc.   I've been lucky enough over the years to be given good spotlight and support by local organizers, writers, coaches, etc.  I'm grateful.  But I'm also completely within my rights to get passionate and supportive on behalf of fellow competitors when they've possibly been wronged...and I'm also within my rights to express my opinion on how my local governing body of USATF should be handling scoring matters...I paid my dues and do have a voice on it.

Lastly, I have 3 pet peeves... 1) People who are naturally just always late  2) People who tune out when you are talking and don't pay attention 3) Being told I should just come out to USATF meetings or run for office when I voice an opinion on a matter...as if we aren't allowed to say anything about it or offer feedback, suggestions, and opinions unless we hold an official spot on a board or attend meetings.

Ok that's it. I'm done.  Let the bashing of me commence...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November 2 (Sunday) - Manchester Marathon

November 2 (Sunday) - Full race report to come... but for now... the quick and dirty.  1 mile w/up and strides + 26.2 mile race (26.5 on the Garmin).  27.5 miles total on the day.  Zero cooldown.  Not sure I've ever cooled down after a marathon before...  4th OA* and 1st NH male.  2:36:51.  (5:55 pace on the Garmin for overall 26.5 miles and 5:58 pace for the official results for 26.2).  I can't be happier with the effort and result on this one.  Full disclosures to come (plus a rant).



Saturday, November 1, 2014

November 1 (Saturday)

November 1 (Saturday) - off.  Spent the day down in MA visiting family.  Didn't get back home until late and hit the sack early because I had to get up at 4am on Sunday to head down to the marathon.  Giving legs a chance to rest up before trying to run 'fast' for 26.2 miles on the roads...yuck.

Friday, October 31, 2014

October 31 (Friday)

October 31 (Friday) - 6 miles from Silver Lake train station.  On tracks for a bit, then power lines until the swamp, then snowmobile trails back around to tracks (new section of trail I had never been on before)... Lost my Garmin data because my watch locked up on me after and I couldn't even boot it again.  It was exactly 6.

Some shots of a beautiful (even though it was dreary) fall day..









Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 30 (Thursday)


October 30 (Thursday) - 5 mile bike ride to pick up my car at the garage in Albany... then later on....bushwhacking again w/ KT through some uncharted territory over near the 'proposed but never materialized'  Presidential Golf Course in Conway.  Then we hit up what we thought was Rockhouse Mountain but it ended up just being a logged out sub-peak just north of it.  Good times.  5.2 miles of easy running before the 'thon' this weekend.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 29 (Wednesday)

October 29 (Wednesday) - 5.5 mile run from the service station after dropping my car off.  A small Albany neighborhood loop (home of Leslie O'Dell) and then back to my house.  Solid pace up and down E.Madison Rd.




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 28 (Tuesday)

October 28 (Tuesday) - Holy crap.  What started out as a late afternoon run turned into a bushwhack for the ages.  Kevin met me at my house after work and we decided to hoof it up to the Hocking estate up in highest elevations of Madison.  It is a 800 or so acre plot of land owned by a single family with a few nice homes on a road winding up to the highest point in Madison (Lyman Mountain) at 1558 ft.  We ran up Glines Hill from the Madison side (about 2-2.5 miles from my house, all back roads).  Once up there, we went past the beautiful main stone house and winded our way through some really nice open fields with great views of Mount Washington and all the surrounding peaks.  We ran to the end of the road and it ends at a very rundown abandoned farmhouse.  Through the yard there, was a logging road cut in on the hill and we followed it up as high as we could go before starting a bushwhack.  We should have probably turned around at that point, but we decided to just see if we could get up to the top before it got dark.  We had our headlamps, but still...the footing was rugged.   The entire area and mountain is on private property.  Although it is only posted in spots along the road for no hunting without written permission, it is in current use, meaning foot traffic is ok...however there are no apparent trails that we could see.  For this reason, the peak is pretty remote for a normal walker or hiker to try to find.  We guessed on the way up, as there were a few spots where we could have chosen between 2 or 3 peaks to run up.  We guessed right.  We made it to the summit (Kevin had 1550 ft on his watch for elevation).  But when we got to the top, it was pitch dark unfortunately. It is entirely wooded and also pretty spread out but you could see out through the trees at the top, over a ledge, and out towards the southern part of town and out to Eaton. We definitely need to go back and explore.  There may be another peak to the west that has even more exposed ledges to check out.  You find almost nothing about this area online because it's private.  I always try to respect the land owner's wishes if they post their land but since it's in current use and there were no signs anywhere, we headed on up.  The way down however was a nightmare.  KT decided he wanted to 'whack' down the north side of the mountain and just head in one direction back.  Well, that whack turned into an adventure that kept us out on a 7.6 mile run for an hour and 22 minutes.  We threw in a 15 and 17 minute mile in there DOWNHILL.  With only our headlamps to light the way and deep in the thick of 100s of acres of untouched woods, we ran smack dab into the pond and had to bushwhack around it until we finally hit the road again.  Looking back on it now though...it was just another fun run up here :)


Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27 (Monday)

October 27 (Monday) - Nothing to see here.  KT and I running at the Albany town forest...nice and easy trails for 6 miles.  Got a marathon on Sunday to 'taper' for (not even sure what that means)...


Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 26 (Sunday) - White Mountain Milers Half

October 26 (Sunday) - White Mountain Milers Half Marathon (results).  After last year's debacle where I showed up with a bad back and way under-trained, I decided to give this one another go on 'normal' training (but zero speedwork or road specific efforts in preparation).  It's been just a lot of trails and the normal day to day.  My goal was basically to run in the 1:13-1:14 range if possible and try to win if no big gun shows up.  I also can't help but support the local club and run in the hometown race.

The weather was pretty much ideal.  A little wind in spots but nothing terribly noticeable.  The temps warmed up a bit by race time and by the time we were actually off, all I had on was a light long sleeve, which was probably too much actually.  Tyrus Parker (recent KHS grad and currently at UNH) was in the field and the one I was most concerned with.  He's a White Mountain Miler teammate of mine and has been running and training under the guidance of Tim Livingston all year.   Tim has a knee issue right now and had to miss the race this year...  But Tyrus was coming off a 58 minute 10 miler in NH last weekend so I knew he was getting fit.

As the race went off, I immediately went to the front as the course started in a slightly different spot this year (and also added a small neighborhood section off of Westside Rd.).  Tyrus was pretty close behind and we were going hot early.  He had told me before the race that he wanted to run 6 minute pace for the first 5-6 miles and then see what he could do.  I was glancing at my watch during the first mile and knew we were going a bit too quick, but it felt really easy.  For the first half mile it was under 5 min. pace and seemed more like a 5k, however it really felt nice and smooth.   I motioned for him to slow down a bit and told him it was a bit too fast.



I stretched out to a lead during the first mile and hit the first split in the 5:14-5:15 range (my old half marathon PR pace just about)... I turned to see Tyrus only about 15-20 seconds back.   By miles 2 and 3, I had a pretty substantial lead as I made my way south on Rt. 16 through North Conway.  During the first 5 miles or so, I was weaving in and out of the early-start field and the walkers.  By the time I got over the covered bridge and on to Westside Rd. I only had a few more to go by before I was clear and all alone out on the road.

Passing by the big farm on Westside Rd. there was a bit of a headwind for a bit and then when I hit the neighborhood section about halfway through the race, it knocked the wind out of my sails a little. I just felt like it was slowing the pace down but it really wasn't. Once back on Westside Rd. again I just continued to keep the same effort up.  I wanted to keep it under 5:40s and around my PR marathon pace just to see how it felt.  I really did feel nice and relaxed, within myself, and like I was out for a nice smooth tempo run.  I was never in any distress and never had any issues to speak of.

Mile after mile clicked by in about the same ballpark pace-wise. I kept it around what I wanted and it seemed like it was really a positive sign to continue to click off the splits I was hitting on the specific sections of the course.  Once I turned onto North St. and approaching mile 12, I felt like I could continue that pace for a bit more without any problems.  I took the last turn into the park again and motored around the outside of the finish area and then into the final stretch, pretty surprised that I was running in the 1:12 range completely alone.  I crossed the line in 1:12:46 (5:33 pace) which is actually about 3-4 seconds faster than my PR marathon pace from a few years ago....so I'll take it!  A very positive sign, considering I did only 50-60 miles average and zero workouts or road work of any kind leading up....just very slow trail/mountain runs and some trail racing recently....I'm averaging just over 8 miles per day INCLUDING days off (31 of them actually this year) so that's not too bad...off of a serious training schedule, I think I can get back down around 1:10 or so.... maybe in 2015, when I'm 38? ;)....



Splits:

5:14 / 5:32 / 5:37 / 5:31 / 5:23 / 5:27 / 5:34 / 5:29 / 5:41 / 5:36 / 5:33 / 5:21 / 5:36 and then 5:08 (pace) for last .2 on my watch



2 mile w/ up w/ Leslie on NoCo. roads + 13.1 mile race + 1 mile cooldown w/ Leslie on NoCo. roads = 16.1 miles for the day.

Myself and Leslie (women's winner and 4th OA!)

Top 3 men


Conway Daily Sun Article:








Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 25 (Saturday)

October 25 (Saturday) - Full day of family activity was in store so I took the day off from running ahead of the half marathon on Sunday and just focused on hydrating and staying loose.  Took the girls to Settlers' Green for trick or treating. It was a beautiful day out with warm temps and bright sunshine.  From there, we headed down to East Wakefield for dinner at my parents.  Didn't get back until late.  Good times though.

Tabby in her candy corn witches costume
Morgan in her butterfly costume


She didn't like the hat though...

The family taking a break at Settlers' Green

The view of the now quiet lake at my parents in E.Wakefield, NH

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 24 (Friday)

October 24 (Friday) - Late day run down from the corner of E.Madison Rd. and 153 at King Pine.  Met KT and we went out for an easy (shorter) spin on the wet snowmobile trails that head into Freedom.  We hit 153 and headed back on the road w/ headlamps.   Better than a zero. 6.3 miles.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 23 (Thursday)

October 23 (Thursday) - Hurricane Huppe is dying down (I think)...still raining and windy and miserable but we got out for a late day jaunt on the 'Staples Loop' which is usually done only in the winter.  I met up w/ KT for the clockwise spin around North Conway.  8.3 miles in the rain.  I'll take it. Headlamps are coming on right at the end of the runs now... sad.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22 (Wednesday)

October 22 (Wednesday) - Tropical storm Huppe is blowing through northern New England and the weather is miserable...howling winds, pouring rain, etc.  Everything is soaked and cold.  Perfect day for a zero but KT and I decided to meet down at King Pine in East Madison and hit some of the flooded nordic XC trails and snowmobile trails that head down into Freedom.  We ended up around 7.2 miles, which is amazing considering how sh*tty the weather was.... I was freezing on the way home...I really need to get the heat fixed in my car before things get real serious.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21 (Tuesday)

October 21 (Tuesday) - Rainy wet mountain run.  From Thompson Rd. in NoCo. up Middle Mtn. Trail to Peaked Mtn. trail to the seemingly seldom travelled Black Cap Connector trail (newly redlined section for me) to the summit of Black Cap and then across and down to the summit of Cranmore before dropping down most of the mountain on some of the access road that this year's race was on and then cutting back across on the single track to the same trails again on the way out.  2374 feet of climbing in the rain and fog.  Not bad. I fell twice and had to tip toe over the summit of Black Cap because it was all wet, slick rock.  Visibility was like 20 feet. 9.6 miles.  Solid run.