Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2008 Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler

Dan Verrington described it perfectly on the way home...'la-di-da running'. That hit the nail right on the head. Last night's New England 10 Mile Championship was a perfect example... 55:36 (5:34 pace) and a 31st place at the Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler in Newburyport, MA. In the few longer races I've run, I tend to run up to the point where it doesn't quite hurt.... but just a little bit harder and it will start to. So I sit back, run comfortable for the whole time, and end up running a much slower pace than I should. The good news is that I could probably run the pace I ran at this race, for a marathon... or just a tad slower. I'm not sure how to actually run faster than this for anything over a 10k. If anyone has any suggestions, I'll gladly take them. The heat aside, there is no excuse for running a 55:36 for 10 miles...Not at this point in my running career. I ran 55:40 for a HILLY 10 miles in Foxboro back in February. It was freezing cold, constantly rolling hills, and windy as hell. The one thing I will say is that 'maybe' racing 2 days before this was a bad idea...I'm in no way using that as an excuse...but I am really searching to figure out why I ran so slow. I'm not going to hammer away at this...There were no race photos taken (Jim Rhoades took some but I don't care at this point) and Kristin didn't make it (probably a good thing)... whats done is done... Here's the damage.

10 Mile Splits: 55:36 (5:34 pace) - 31st of 1464

Mile 1 - 5:07 (5:07)
Mile 2 - 5:20 (10:27)
Mile 3 - 5:30 (15:58)
Mile 4 - 5:33 (21:31)
Mile 5 - 5:36 (27:07)
Mile 6 - 5:51 (32:58)
Mile 7 - 5:34 (38:33)
Mile 8 - 5:50 (44:24)
Mile 9 - 5:43 (50:08)
Mile 10 - 5:29 (55:36)

MVS Mens' Open as a team ...also not that great.

52:35 54:41 55:36 59:01 59:47 = 4:41:40

Dan Vassallo ran like the man that he is and was 7th, repeating his 7th place GP finish at New Bedford in March. What would we do without Dan? Lose to 5 more teams each time, that's what. Jon Healey also ran strong, as he usually does in these longer races...Why I can't even try for a split second to stay with him when he runs by me at 5 miles like I'm standing still, I still don't know. I need to find out...

MVS Women's Open performed slightly better (only 3 score)

1:03:31 1:05:49 1:05:57 = 3:15:17

Now onto stuff that is a little easier for me for a while...still contemplating Bay State...at this point, if its going to be an effort worse than today, I'm thinking of backing out....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

2008 York Days 5K

Today I ran race #4 in the Seacoast Racing Series up in York, ME. The 25th Annual York Days 5K (results) was the scene of the crime this time around. The goal today was to win or at least be the first series participant to finish (giving me 4 total points in the series)... The race was 747 deep, which was a surprise, but the competition near the top was a little thin. My plan was to go out with the leaders (because I really didn't know who would be showing up for this) and then, if I was close at 2 miles, kick to the finish...enough to get the job done. I sat behind Matt Chorney (Bristol, NH) for about a half mile...then ran beside him for maybe the next quarter... I was ahead up through the mile and then put some distance on the field after that. The mile splits were completely off. I actually noticed this when I was warming up. I went through the mile in 5:34 which is obviously way off, even though there was a painted '1 Mile' on the road directly before a 'Mile 1' sign at the first water stop, and about half of it was up a slight incline.... Needless to say, my second mile split was a blistering 4:43 (again, no way)...There was a nice mile marker both painted on the road and standing upright...but they weren't in the right spots .. So my two mile worked out to be 10:18, which is probably a little closer to being right as far as overall running time. My last 1.1 was 5:28. In the end I came through in 1st place by about 47 seconds with a 15:46 (5:06 pace), which is the fastest time at this race since 1999. I'll take that. Anything under 16 has come to be acceptable....1st place prize was a cool $100 cash...I'll take that any day! Now on to Tuesday's 10 miler in Newburyport...not particularly concerned with it...just going to get it done and focus on other races in my range...

Other MVS striders on hand today, all running great in the heat...:

Mark Zytkovicz - 48th - 20:42 (6:41 pace)
Scott Masse - 59th - 21:12 (6:51 pace)
Charlie Farrington - 190th - 24:06 (7:47 pace)...

....this last one was most likely way off though, as Charlie came in during an absolute logistical disaster of a chute...there was a huge backup of people in the chute and they had to open a second one as people started to cut ahead and get all jumbled around. He had to stand and wait to cross the line. Also, as this was all going on, I had some technical 'issues' with my camera and didn't get Charlie finishing (my apologies Charlie)...I should have let Kristin keep taking pictures, but I decided to play photographer right after I raced... I then had to shut it off early to go cooldown, so I maybe only got half the finishers...

Speaking of that... again, the lovely and talented Kristin braved the heat and got some nice photos ...check them out here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend runs in the Valley...

This past weekend I ran a couple of amazing trail/mountain runs in the North Conway and Bartlett NH area. Since I was camping up in Crawford Notch, along the Saco River, I hooked up with Kevin Tilton who was generous enough to lead me into 2 of my most memorable runs I have ever had!

On Saturday morning, I met up with Kevin in Bartlett Village and we headed about 8 miles down Bear Notch road to some trails and an old gravel road which he has run many times in the past. The initial gravel road was great running for a bit and then the real fun started... As Kevin and I were running along and reliving some glory days, a small black bear darted right in front of us across the path from a thick set of trees and ran down into some thick bushes and growth on the other side. We stopped for a brief moment and waited as he thought there may be a good chance that there was a mom or dad around...but fortunately there wasn't. After a minute or so, we continued on cautiously for a while and hit some really cool trails that led through a couple of areas where we actually had to wade up over our waists in rivers/streams and mud. It was messy to say the least...but still we pushed on until we came up onto the gravel road again. The horse flies were starting to get bad and were swarming and biting us as we ran faster and faster to get away from them...then we came up around a corner and landed right in front of a big male moose standing in the middle of the gravel road about 50 meters or so ahead. It was definitely the coolest thing I have seen on a run or hike ever. The moose just stood there staring at us for a good 10-15 seconds or so and then turned and started to trot down the road. He went around numerous corners as we followed. He wouldn't deviate from the road and kept on trotting down until he'd go around a corner...then we'd come around and he'd be stopped and looking back. It felt like we were chasing him. Eventually he went around a corner and then as we came around, the road split in two and we didn't see him down the route we picked. All in all it was a good 5 min + that we ran behind him. The excitement just got more intense from there, as about an hour or so later, we were running up a trail that leads back to the gravel road and came across a family of moose (3 in all). They were heading up over a clearing off of the trail and the last 2 stood and stared at us as we stopped in awe of now having seen 4 moose and 1 bear in a 2 hour run. They were even closer to us than the first one we saw but didn't hang around nearly as long. In all, we ran for 2:05:00 and Kevin mapped out the route on his Garmin which indicated it to be about 14 miles, but with some of the deviations we took, and the elevation changes, the distance seems to be a bit conservative in his estimates.

On Sunday, I met Kevin again in North Conway about an hour earlier than we ran on Saturday, and we headed up Hurricane Mt. Road to Mt. Kearsarge where we met Paul Kirsh. The three of us ran up to the top of Kearsarge North in 46:45 (that is starting from 600 feet and going up to 3268 feet in just 3.1 miles). We hung out at the top at a fire tower and took in the absolutely spectacular views of the valley. I took a few short videos of the area with my cell phone (I need to get a smaller camera to take with me on these runs)... We then proceeded down the other side on a trail that hadn't been maintained in quite some time...there were a lot of blowdowns along the way which slowed things down to a walk and climb at points. That trail took us down to a small pond we could see from the summit. From there, the trails opened up and took us back around to where we parked. Total run on Sunday was 1:55:00.

Cell phone pictures here...

Cell Phone Video 1: Summit panoramic view.

Cell Phone Video 2: Panoramic view from inside the fire tower.

Cell Phone Video 3: Views from the deck of the fire tower.

Friday, July 18, 2008

22nd Annual Sapienza Road Race

Thursday was a kind of last minute (4:30pm) decision to do the Sapienza (results) memorial road race (22nd Annual) in Haverhill MA. It turned out to be a good fit for me as I won't be racing at all this weekend. Coming off 4 weeks in a row of mountain races, I really hadn't run a mile in a race, faster than 8 minute pace in a month. I wasn't sure what to expect but I knew it would be a good idea to get a race in for a workout and for a fitness indicator. Next weekend I will be doing the next race in the Seacoast Racing Series (York Days 5k) and then 2 days later, the Yankee 10 miler (USATF-NE GP). It almost felt like I haven't raced in a month... What I did notice is a vast improvement in my cardio since the last time I raced a flat road race....the mountains definitely improved my breathing over the past 4 weeks and made me stronger in that regard...but the leg speed just wasn't there. Kevin Alliette (WHIRL) smoked me and ran away with it early. I let Kevin and Jon Healey (MVS) go out and establish a big lead...I started out conservatively and knew at 1 mile that I was in much better shape than I originally anticipated. I felt pretty smooth but knew that if I needed to use a kick, it just wouldn't be there. I was able to catch up to Jon by about 3.25 and coast in 20 seconds behind Kevin for 2nd. It was also pretty hot and humid, so factoring that in, and I am pretty pleased with the run overall. Warmed up and cooled down w/ the usual suspects... Dan Verrington, Dave Quintal, Mark Behan, Todd Lagimonier and the Whirlaway dudes...


Mile 1) 5:10 (although Matt P. graciously called out '7:08...7:09...7:10' when I went by...)
Mile 2) 5:00
Mile 3) 5:11
Mile 4) 5:04

Total: 20:25 (5:07 pace)

I got the dreaded 2nd place interview by the Tribune...it was a good interview and the kid was super nice... but I hate the runner up interview because you really can't do anything but talk about the guy who smoked you...and why you didn't beat him...

A little background on the race... This was the 22nd Annual (I went last year to watch..didn't run)... and it is in memorial to Tony Sapienza. Tony ran at Central Catholic, Boston College, and then for the Boston Athletic Association. His impressive career includes a 4th place in the Boston Marathon, a 6th place finish in the 1963 Olympic Marathon Trials, and 33 New England Championship victories among numerous other accolades along the way. Tony suffered a heart attack after breaking the American Master's record for 3000 meters in 1987 at Brown University. For the past 22 years, the actual trophies at this race are his old trophies. 22 years later and they are STILL giving these away. That is how many awards he won over his career. The race was very well organized and really fun. Special thanks to the Donais family for having a post race get-together at their home in Bradford afterwards...

Now back up to the Whites again for the weekend...I'll be meeting up with Kevin Tilton in his neck of the woods for some runs this weekend up off the Kanc. Should be fun...I'll post some pictures of the weekend's festivities sometime Sunday night/Monday.

The End.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

2008 Mt Ascutney Run to the Summit

In the photo (left to right): Jim Johnson (MVS/CMS), Justin Fyffe (GCS Triad), Eric Morse (CMS), Paul Kirsch (WMM), Tim VanOrden (CMS/Running Raw), Todd Callaghan (GCS Triad), Kevin Tilton (CMS/Inov8), Gabe Flanders (WMM) on the observation tower at the summit of Mt. Ascutney. - Photo taken w/ my cam by Dave Dunham

Saturday was the last race in the USATF-NE La Sportiva Mountain Running Circuit for 2008. The Mt. Ascutney Run to the Summit (results) in Windsor, VT is 3.8 miles up an auto road that is essentially a mini-Mt Washington. It is basically half the distance with the same average grade, as the Mt. Washington road race. It begins right at the base and starts the ascent immediately. There are a few breaks along the way, where the course levels out (unlike Washington) which means that some of the uphills are actually a tad steeper than Washington but you can work them a little harder because its only half the distance (but that's even easier said than done...).

I picked up DD at the Park and Ride in Windham, NH and we cut across to Windsor in just under 2 hours. Conditions were almost perfect leading up to the race. A 9am start would have been ideal, but with the 9:30 start, of course the sun burned off all the clouds and started to shine down at quarter past. The temp went up a bit, but it wasn't as much of a scorcher as say like Loon was last week.

Race time....I started out up at the front with Eric Morse, Kevin Tilton, and Justin Fyffe. I kept relatively close to Kevin and Justin for close to a mile before I started to fall back a bit. Eric just kept plugging away up front and was soon by himself. At just over a mile, a pack that was made up of Dave Dunham, Chris Schmidt and Todd Callaghan went by me in that order. I stuck right on Todd's shoulder for the next 2 miles and went by him right around the 3 mile mark. He didn't try to stick with me over the last couple of climbs and I soon came up on Justin Fyffe right before the finish line. I was also running down Chris and DD but ran out of real estate and came up just short. I finished in 5th place with a 31:21.

The Top 15

1) 0:29:47 Eric Morse - 40-49 Berlin VT - CMS
2) 0:30:55 Kevin Tilton - 20-29 N Conway NH - CMS
3) 0:31:08 Dave Dunham - 40-49 Bradford MA - CMS
4) 0:31:15 Chris Schmidt - 30-39 VT
5) 0:31:21 Jim Johnson - 30-39 Salem NH - MVS
6) 0:31:33 Justin Fyffe - 20-29 Dummerston VT - GCS
7) 0:31:49 Todd Callaghan - 30-39 Somerville MA - GCS
8) 0:32:18 Lou Bregou - 30-39 Littleton NH - GCS
9) 0:32:58 Tim Mahoney - 20-29 Westfield MA - CMS
10) 0:33:38 Tim Van Orden - 40-49 Bennington VT - CMS
11) 0:33:39 Robert Lukaskiewicz - 30-39 Rutland VT - GMAA
12) 0:34:14 Mike Fenzel - 30-39 White River Jct VT
13) 0:35:34 Martin Tighe - 50-59 Providence RI - TNT
14) 0:36:15 John Paul Lewicke - 20-29 Somerville MA - GCS
15) 0:36:36 Paul Kirsch - 40-49 Madison NH - WMM

Splits for Mt. Ascutney:

Mile 1) 7:53
Mile 2) 8:49
Mile 3) 9:03
Last .08) 5:35

After I finished, I ran to the truck which carried our bags up to the top, and grabbed my camera and was able to start snapping pictures of finishers. Tim Mahoney (CMS) was the first one I was able to get. I took pictures until the group I was with left to jog/hike up to the observation deck on the summit, so I didn't get everyone. I am happy to have gotten over 100 pictures on the day, as I initially didn't think I'd be getting any (with Kristin not being able to make the trip). I've uploaded them to my new SmugMug page here: HERE

A couple of side notes, I've changed a few things around on the website... I started using SmugMug for my photos (as indicated above). I've also started to log my weekly mileage (started this week) on http://www.runningahead.com/ . I've also included the web widget on the left hand side, which tracks my last 7 (customizable) days of running. Lastly, I'm excited to have found that the USATF-NE XC Grand Prix schedule has been released (see it here: http://www.nexcgrandprix.org/):

2008 USATF-NE XC Races

8/3/08 GMAA Scholarship 5K X-C Run, South Burlington, VT
8/24/08 Thomas Chamberas 6K, Carlisle, MA
9/13/08 Feel Good Farm 7K, Lyndeborough, NH
10/5/08 Topsfield X-C Festival, Topsfield, MA
10/12/08 Wayland X-C Challenge 5K, Wayland, MA
10/19/08 Groton Town Forest, Groton, MA 3.4M
10/26/08 Boston Mayor’s Cup, Boston, MA
11/9/08 USATFNE X-C Championships, Boston, MA

I've gone ahead and substituted the ones I can make (6 out of 8, with the Wayland XC Challenge and Groton Town Forest races conflicting with SCRS and NE GP races).
One last point, the Mountain Goat shirts were awesome. I hope they don't change them at all for next year so I can get mine! If you can hack the hills, I strongly recommend working the rest of your schedule around these races for next year!

TvO's Loon Mtn. Video # 2

Tim put up the 2nd of his Loon Mountain race videos....this one is of the actual race and post race interviews with Eric Blake and others...its pretty cool too see how much I was dying in this thing...The still photos I've had up until this point didn't do it justice...this shows just how brutal this race is...

Ascutney writeup hopefully sometime tomorrow...

Friday, July 11, 2008

TvO's Loon Mtn. Video # 1

Tv0 has just put up video 1 of 2 from last week's Loon Mountain race. This is a great look at the course as he, dd, and Paul Kirsch (race director) set up the flags the day before the race. I am very glad Tim took video of this. This shows the Upper Walking Boss which is the hill I described in my prior post as being the worst ever... This is a great overview and visual look at one of the hardest (but fun :) ) races around... 2:00 into the video, where dd describes it as 'really going to kick some ass'...

Running Raw: Loon Mtn. Race - The Course 7/5/08

On to tomorrow's Mt. Ascutney up in VT. dd and I will be hitting the road at 6:30am....no race photos planned, but I'll try to get some other area photos and post a writeup tomorrow...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

2008 Loon Mountain Race

Sunday was my third straight mountain race in 3 weeks. Some background....The Loon Mtn. Race (results) is the 5th race in the LaSportiva USATF-New England Mountain Running Circuit. Loon Mountain is a 3,065-foot mountain in Lincoln, NH. The course starts right along the Pemigewasset River and winds up service trails /roads and ski trails to the Summit Lodge at the top of the Gondola, then works its way over and up North Peak and back over to the top of the Gondola. That 'North Peak' is the absolute sickest ascent I've ever seen...more on that in a bit.... According to the website, the race averages a 10% grade and has some sections that are more than 20%. It seems like that 20% is on the conservative side, and it seems like most of the course averages more than 10%...but then again, I am just a humongous baby when it comes to running hills...they all seem worse to me than they actually are. Still, that North Peak ascent is probably the single toughest physical activity I've ever done.

I knew going in, that my fitness was affected a little after my last 2 weeks of low mileage and my mild injury from last week's race. I only mustered 20 miles this week (2 on Wednesday, 10 on Thursday with the Whirlaway dudes, and 8 on Saturday). I also biked 23 miles by accident on late Saturday afternoon (got very lost in an area where you'd be lucky to find anyone who speaks English...that's all I'll say about that). Of course once I get all the way up to Lincoln and registered for the race, DD can finally let the cat out of the bag and tell me the truth about the course... as he laughed his way through the description, he kept using a hand gesture to emulate the incline of certain sections of the course...at one point, his hand looked like it was straight up and down...I knew I was in for some trouble. My favorite part of the day (other than crossing the finish line alive) was hearing Paul Kirsch's (race director) starting line instructions which included a sincere description of the horror that was ahead of us between miles 4.5 and 5. I believe his words were something to the effect of '...if you think you are in trouble or dying at mile 4, you may want to drop out at that point, because it gets much much worse after that...' Kind words for sure...but as I now know, the caliber of runners who show up to these types of races is such that I think everyone who came up over that 4 mile mark, continued to battle and finished what I believe to be one of the hardest races around... It was inspiring enough for me to stand near the finish line after and watch every additional finisher come up the hill. I stayed up there until the last person crossed the line. A sincere congrats to all.

- Top 10 -

1 Eric Blake - 46:01 (course record) - 29 - New Britain CT - BAA
2 Eric Morse - 48:40 - 43 - VT - CMS
3 Justin Fyffe - 49:28 - 28 - East Dummerston VT - GCS-Triad
4 Todd Callaghan - 49:43 - 38 - Somerville MA - GCS Triad
5 Dave Dunham - 50:11 - 44 - Bradford MA - CMS
6 Kevin Tilton - 51:01 - 26 - Conway NH - CMS
7 Tim VanOrden - 51:25 - 40 - Bennington VT - CMS-Running Raw
8 David Herr - 51:39 - 43 - Canaan VT - GCS-Triad
9 Jim Johnson - 52:08 - 31 - Salem NH - MVS
10 Craig Fram - 53:20 - 49 - Plaistow NH - Whirlaway

If you are counting, that is 5 out of the top 10 in their 40s... 3 in their 20s...only 2 in their 30s...with the youngest in the top 10 at 26 years of age. Regardless of fitness level and road / track experience, you really do need to be an experienced mountain runner to have a good day out here. Washington was (and is always) a good testament to that. Guys like Morse and Dunham and Fram are perfect examples of guys who can take on much younger runners and destroy them on these types of courses...Experience goes a long way in this sport. That said, sign up for these next year and start getting some!

The race was won by Eric Blake (2006 and 2008 winner of the Mt. Washington Road Race, 2004 Olympic Trial Marathoner) who is tuning up for the World Mountain Running Trophy later this summer in Switzerland. The difference between Blake's time and mine (approx. 6 minutes) is truly the difference between running the whole thing like a man....and power walking the steepest of uphills like a big pansy... in fact, I was so toast by the last obscenely steep uphill, that I don't' even think what I was doing was even considered 'power' walking by the definition...I was more or less falling uphill for a half mile.... I went out with a pack that included Blake, Fram (pictured up to the left), Tilton, Morse, and Fyffe. Tilton and Fyffe pushed the pace very early on and then Fram, Morse (below), and Blake took over. For a while, I was pretty confident that Morse and Fram would give Blake a run for his money. They all looked so strong up at the top. Kevin Tilton backed off a bit on one of the downhill to uphill transitions and I was at first thinking he was in trouble...then I thought better of it and knew he was taking it down a little bit to conserve for what was ahead...he's too good of mountain runner and I knew his experience and course know-how was hard at work at that point...I should have followed suit but instead pushed up to try and stay within sight of the pack that was thinning out little by little. On the more severe uphill climbs, I could see pretty much everyone except for Blake after a while... On the downhills, I think everyone picked up some serious time on me because I was a little conservative this week with my ankle still recovering from the downhill at Cranmore... Somewhere in the middle of the race, Todd Callaghan (4th last week at Cranmore) went by me very strong on one of the uphills. I told him to 'go up ahead and get those next few guys'...because I knew he could at that point, seeing how strong he was hitting that hill... On the 2nd to last big uphill climb that led up and over past the finish line for the first time, Kevin Tilton went by me for a few seconds before the downhill (approximately 4 miles into the race). Dave Dunham was close behind but hadn't gone past me just yet. On the beginning downhill, I went by Kevin and asked him if we actually come back up this way to the finish...he just said 'yep', and I looked down and knew things were going to get a lot worse, but in reality, had NO IDEA what was to come.... I knew I was in serious trouble and knew I had to push a little on the downhill to try to gap the guys who were just sitting on me and ready to devour me on the next climb. That is exactly what happened (except for the gapping part)... After a pretty long stretch of downhill, we circled around the North Peak and I just looked up and gasped...This is what Dunham had told me before the race, was going to hurt like no other race...it was approximately a half mile of the worst hill I have ever seen. Some parts of it you literally can just climb up with your hands...I actually saw Justin Fyffe doing that up ahead of me. As soon as I hit the ascent, Tilton and Dunham whizzed by me at 11-12 minute pace like I was standing still. I looked up about halfway up and saw the entire field (less Blake I think). I would say that at one point, everyone except Kevin Tilton was walking. I kept looking up helplessly and thinking 'they are all right there'...but you can't do anything about it. Everyone was walking...Justin on his hands and tip toes, Craig sidestepping and constantly looking back... I could see Todd slowly picking up spots, and Eric Morse at the very top... I turned around and saw TvO and Dave Herr both right behind me, and then nothing. I'm talking nothing but some of the most remote parts of the White Mountains behind us in one of the most spectacular views... This moment was probably the single most memorable moment for me in any race for sure... Just nothing but beautiful blue sky and lush green hills, flowers and wild berries, the sun beating down, and only the sound of my heart pounding and the distant grunts of those directly in front of me and behind me...other than that...deafening quiet... But those who were behind me were not behind me for long.... TvO and Herr soon went by me a little more than halfway up and I told Tim (who's raw/organic diet I'm still trying to follow), that I needed a steak. As I reached the top, about 30-40 seconds or so behind Tim and Dave, I went up over the crest of the peak and looked down...to my confusion, I didn't see either one at all and thought at first, either I took a wrong turn or they either deviated from the course or fell off to the side, etc. I panned back and forth and saw no one. Then as I started to make what was the single most wicked descent I've ever run down, I noticed Craig Fram up a head a little bit and then saw Tim all the way at the bottom. I still have no clue how he ran that far that fast...After the race he told me he took giant leaps all the way down...that is absolutely insane...but then again, that is one of the reasons he smoked me on this course...his downhill running is probably one of the best out there... On the way down, I ran past Craig Fram (10th at the US Mountain Champs this year), who also had never run this race before and definitely went out a bit too aggressive early on... I shuffled up the last uphill which isn't a killer by any means (after running North Peak, nothing is)...but it was still a cruel way to end the race... After finishing the race and cheering on the other brave souls who were finishing up the last hill, I took the gondola down and went and sat in the Pemigewasset River for a while to ice the old legs.

To put this race in perspective as opposed to Washington... Washington was 7.6 miles and I ran an OK time. I averaged 9:14 pace for 7.6 miles uphill (1:10:06). Loon is only 5.7 miles and I averaged 9:08 pace. That is just slightly faster than Washington, but 2 mile shorter AND Loon has some downhills!!!! Washington is all uphill. You do the math. Loon is the toughest out of all of them so far. I actually rate Washington easier than Loon AND Cranmore.

Long story short...I'll be back next year for sure! Would you expect anything less?... Next week it is on to Mt. Ascutney in Windsor VT. This will be the last race in the 2008 LaSportiva USATF-New England Mountain Running Circuit and obviously my last mountain race for this year. This will be a shorter 3.8 mile ascent up another auto road, but this time, climbing 2,300 feet over a 12-19% grade.
As usual, GREAT race photos taken by Scott Mason and the lovely and talented Kristin at my Flickr site (Photoset and Slideshow). I'm thinking of switching over to Smugmug after talking to Scott after the race and then checking out the service...it seems like a better presentation of photos...I don't use the community-based features and stuff that Flickr offers...I just want to post my pix and have people be able to see em'!... This coming weekend, there won't be any race photos from me unfortunately, because I will be without the lovely and talented Kristin... But I'll try to post something remotely interesting anyways... maybe some nature shots and pictures of my dirty shoes...

One more Animoto video (short version)...

Photos: The lovely and talented Kristin
Music: - U2 - "In God's Country" (1987)
Video Production: Me.


Still working on the Loon writeup and photos... While passing the time I figured I'd address some of the questions I've gotten from people regarding all the talk about smoothies in the video I linked to last week.... Needless to say I have been intrigued by Tim VanOrden's videos (see his Green Smoothie video here) and discussions about health and his raw food diet. While what he preaches makes perfect sense, it is painfully hard to adapt to (especially when you get invited to one cookout after another every weekend!!). What I have been doing however, is eliminating all of the snacking and unhealthy eating I've been doing throughout the week and becoming more conscious of what I put in my body. I have rarely eaten cooked food over the past 3 weeks, but I am not about to eliminate it quite yet. I have moved more towards buying all organic and unprocessed foods and cutting out practically all dairy, sweets, snacks, etc, and just about anything that isn't grown, plucked, and immediately bagged. I've stuck to only water and coconut water (cutting out even sports drinks completely). I've also been buying all sorts of different organic dried fruit and granola combinations. I've been doing all of my shopping at local natural food stores and putting a lot more time, effort, and thought into what I buy to consume as fuel for my body. That's how I was introduced to the magical world of smoothies...now I know that there has been a thing called a smoothie since like the 1930s, but I am just starting to realize how effective these things really are... I can get through most of the day on practically nothing but these things...It fills me up immediately, keeps me well hydrated, and gives me all the energy I need and more (given you put the appropriate things in there to cover all your essentials). In 3 weeks now, I've noticed a huge difference in the way I feel. Sure I've been going to the store more times per week than every before, but getting off your tail is good for you every once in a while.

The typical smoothie for me looks like this (click to see larger version):

  • 1) Blueberries (not free range VT berries like Tim's but organic nonetheless)
  • 2) Dulse flakes and Flax Seeds
  • 3) Mango (this was the wildcard for this week)
  • 4) Banana (usually 2 for me, it was my last one...buy them in even amounts)
  • 5) Cherries (when you got 'em)
  • 6) Watermelon
  • 7) Strawberries (best if plucked from the 2nd to last hill in the Loon Mtn. race)
  • 8) Kale (because Tim says so)
  • 9) Grapes (without the stems of course)
  • 10) 20 oz. of Salem NH town water (better if you have VT well-water, but...)
  • 11) A 10th Anniversary Runner's Alley/Redhook Brewery Memorial 5K Road Race glass (If you don't have one of these, you can improvise...but it may not be the same...)
The end result is 3+ glasses of this (click to see larger version):

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cranmore Video from TvO

The highly anticipated Cranmore video from Tim VanOrden is up. It has a very cool (as always) intro and description of the race...segways nicely into some pre-race thunder/lightning storm footage with some comic relief by Double D...then some race footage and post-race interviews including a nice ramble session by yours truly... take a peek (I was having a bad hair day but am dealing with it...) Thanks Tim! Great stuff as usual!

Running Raw: Cranmore Hill Climb - 6/29/08

Check out Tim's other great race footage, training tips, and dietary goodness at: http://www.runningraw.com