Sunday, March 1, 2009

Claddagh 4 Miler

This weekend I amazingly had just one race on the schedule (as I passed on the Joppa Hill race and officially hung up the snowshoes for the season).  I headed 4 miles down the road in Lawrence, MA to the Claddagh 4 Miler (results) which is part of the Wild Rover series. The conditions were interesting to say the least....the snow covered roads made the footing a little uneasy, especially on the hill and the couple of turns near 2 miles...

The course starts off in downtown Lawrence, MA next to the Claddagh Pub (site of the Mill Cities Relay finish) and runs along the canal for a flat first mile before turning into a climb that is steady for 3/4 of a mile and then steep for a quarter mile or so.  It then circles around and reverses course (which makes the 3rd mile a nice downhill mile and the last mile a flat reversal of the first).  

Mike Quintal and I did a 3 mile warmup with some strides before heading out with 744 other braves souls in the snowstorm.  Immediately the front pack was set with myself, New Balance's Mario Fraioli, and Dave Dechellis, with Mike lingering a bit behind.  By the hill, it was just Mario and myself chugging along and not really racing as much as just keeping up a steady clip which we did intensify a bit closer to the end, but neither of us made any sort of breaks to the finish (I don't think either of us really wanted to sprint for the end)... We talked back and forth most of the way and I felt pretty solid.  I know Mario was coming back from injuries, illness, etc. and was just getting in a good tempo, which is all I was after as well.  Not a bad run for either of us as we came in within a second of each other for 1st and 2nd overall and in a decent time for running in a snowstorm with flats on...  The most important thing for me was the fact that the legs felt great, cardio is good, and I know I'm in far better shape right now than I was last year and am ready to roll at New Bedford for sure.

Mike and I immediately went out for a 3 mile cooldown to wrap up the week, quickily changed clothes, and then went up inside the Claddagh for some post race festivities.  Mario, Mike, Kristin, and I hung out a bit and ate...Dave was milling about with beer in hand and I had a couple of adult beverages which are affecting me still, as I write this.  The afterparty was pretty cool with some live music, free food, a free beer (with ticket), and some of the usual suspects on the running scene this winter (chatted w/ John K and some other MVS folk who were out in full force as usual).  We all got Claddagh pint glasses and Mario got a Whirlaway gift cert which he graciously gave to me as he works at PR Running and gets all the swag he needs from there... I owe him a beverage or two the next time we meet!

Splits: 4 Miles (21:36 - 5:25 pace) - 2nd of 744

Mile 1: 5:30
Mile 2: 5:45 (11:15) (uphill + snow)
Mile 3: 5:09 (16:25) (downhill + snow)
Mile 4: 5:12 (21:37)

Total Finishers: 744.

I also got to chat a bit with Andy Schachat who was gracious enough to mention me in his latest column on Fosters, in which he discusses the recent phenomenon that is snowshoe racing in New England... It's really exciting to see it getting more and more popular and I think (and hope) next season will be even more popular among New England runners looking for a great alternative to indoor track, winter road races, or sitting on their rump during the colder months... Also, always great to chat with Andy, as he's very knowledgeable and passionate about the New England running scene.

Kristin braved the cold and elements once more to get the end of the race on SmugMug (Photos).

Next week is a toss up...not sure exactly what I'll be doing...Potentially a race on Saturday... 2 weeks until New Bedford and I think (hope) I'm ready to roll there.

Below are 3 cool photos from the start (by Ted Tyler) in which shows the nice was worse by the end.  In the second photo, I am yapping about where the course goes and pointing to where the next turn is.  With me is DC and Mario.


  1. Nice Race Jim. Nice pictures as always! Your recaps are always fun to read. Just like you are at the race.

  2. "recent phenomenom that is snowshoe racing"

    Define recent :-) WMAC has been hosting races for more than 10 years and USSSA had its first national championship 8 years ago.

  3. Yep..Here you go:


    Outside of the intimate confines of the WMAC (i.e. the rest of New England) there hasn't been anything else really until last year. Granite State Series is still relatively new, I've talked with numerous people who started this year, race directors outside of WMAC who just started putting on snowshoe races the past couple years, and a LOAD of others who haven't done it yet but most likely will next year after seeing this years success.

    There were official Weekly Snowshoe Rankings (of multiple sorts) this year.

    There were some of the largest turnout at NE races in history this year.

    I had an owner of a golf course in ME/NH contact me after seeing results this year and reading about the races in the local papers up there, and tell me he is interested in having a race (since then I've put him in contact w/ an RD).

    I personally had no fewer than 10 friends/fellow runners buy shoes this year for the first time.

    Even race announcers and columnists like Andy Schachat are catching on and writing about it in 'road race' columns.

    Ask around and I'm sure you'll see it is getting more popular than ever. Every race in the Granite State series had more people than last year. Not rocket science for sure... I'm sure 2 of the race directors I know (outside of the WMAC inner circle) will agree that it is really taking off. Taking nothing away from the WMAC for sure, as they started it all...but the term 'recent phenomenon' most definitely applies.

    It's like anything else. When something gets really popular and someone mentions it, it is almost a slap in the face for someone who has been doing that activity for a long time. Thats expected. Point is, there is starting to be buzz about snowshoe racing (god forbid) east/northeast of Route 2.

  4. Good times yesterday, Double J. You're ready to rip one at New Bedford!

  5. Mario, you too man. You're really coming back into fine shape... must be all those workouts you are doing ;)... I wish I had the discipline to do one every once in a while! Don't forget, the Washington lotto opened yesterday ;)...

  6. Someone in western Mass seems to be a little sensitive...
    The 'recent phenomenon' is the fact that MORE people experienced snowshoe racing this year without having to drive 2-3+hrs to western Mass. WMAC has some great races, but now New Hampshire has some great ones as well.
    You're so controversial :-)

  7. Yeah, it's always one of those western ma people...sheesh ;). I think 'anonymous' was really just joshing us anyways... in a kind / kidding sort of way...sorta like how dd is (ALL THE TIME). :). I can see the concern around us saying that snowshoeing is 'taking off' this year...but in all seriousness the WMAC has been doing it a long time, but its predominantly the same people every year out there with some new tricklers here and there... the past 2 seasons there has really been headway made in the point of the whole thing.

    Looking out the window right now I kinda wish I didn't put the Dion's away.

    Steve, you register in the lotto yet?

  8. No, I haven't entered the lotto yet. Still weighing my options:
    - don't enter
    - forgot to enter (missed cutoff date)
    - no internet connection
    - my credit card needs a bailout
    - I hate hills, why can't I just say NO???

    I'll ponder a bit more and then like an idiot will enter the stupid race...

  9. nice post and thanks for sharing....

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