Saturday, I shot up to Madbury, NH for the last race in the Granite State Snowshoe Series. Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe 5k was acidotic RACING's last snowshoe event of the season and boy was it a fun time. This was a NIGHT race in the pitch dark woods at Kingman Farm (UNH owned property) in Madbury. All racers (107 strong) were required to wear headlamps to brave this course after hours... All the usual suspects were in attendance and I needed to finish within 44 points of Ri Fahnestock to win the series. My original plan was to let Steve Wolfe take it out and try to stay with him and not completely hammer (as I know he wasn't about to either, as he was also running DH Jones 10 Miler on Sunday). To my horror, the ringers all started to show up...Dungeon Rock sent like 40 people, all the acidotic runners were there, Bob Jackman from RI (TNT) was in the house, and Josh Merlis and some Albany Running Exchange guys showed up. I immediately knew it was going to be much faster (unfortunately) than I planned. After an initial run of the course (in reverse) with Steve Wolfe in regular trainers, I grabbed my gear, strapped on the snowshoes, and headed to the line.
After some words of wisdom by RD of the Year for 2009 (he has my vote already), Chris Dunn, we were off (there 'may' have been a false start at the beginning by one of the speedier Dungeon Rock runners, but we'll pass on that for now ;) ). After 200 meters or so, I reluctantly took the lead (which was probably the longest I had gone all season without doing that)... Maybe 600 meters or so in, Bob Jackman went by me with authority and started pushing the pace. After a few climbs and some twists and turns we went by the first K and noticed that we were dropping everyone. We pushed on. We chatted a bit and worked off each other until right around 2K (maybe just after)... We came up on a turn that went up to the open fields and there was one of only a couple spectators that had made his way out onto the course. This guy had a flashlight in hand and a ferocious dog by his side. Just as we got up on him, the dog wigged out and lunged at Bob, knocking him to the ground as we took the turn. I looked briefly over as I heard him hit the snow and start yelling at the dog. The owner was also yelling and came over to retrieve the dog off of Bob who had to regain his composure before pressing on up the climb. I was already halfway up by this time. Further up on the fields, I noticed Bob's headlamp fading behind me...this I learned later, was due to him having trouble with one of his shoes, which eventually came off. For the last 2K + I ran very comfortable but steady...making sure I maintained the lead, which I was very grateful to have at this point... The last couple of K are single track bushwack / switchback climbs up the highest point of the course (which you actually summit, go back down, and then come back up the other side before winding back down to the finish). As I was rocking down the slope at the end and approaching the line, I could hear cowbells and I saw the first light (other than the one flashlight) I had seen over the whole course, which was coming from the Madbury Town Hall (the finish line). Right before the line, there were people strewn out on the course cheering us on and I hear Al Bernier's distinct voice calmly but sternly telling me to take it easy because I 'have a race tomorrow'. I finished up and turned and eagerly awaited the next runners to see who was going to come in and what order. I was shocked to see Steve Wolfe (whom I was fairly sure was just going to run easy) come bombing into the chute in 2nd place. acidotic RACING's Danny Ferreira was next in 3rd place, followed by Josh Merlis (who had already raced earlier that morning out in one of the WMAC races) and then Bob Jackman, who has to be the most unlucky snowshoe racer I've come across so far (putting into consideration his course troubles at Pooh Hill earlier in the year).
The series came to an end with an awards and post-race raffle bonanza (as usual w/ the acidotic races)... Although I was blanked in the raffle (for the first time in 3 acidotic races), I did pick up pair #3 of the Katoolah Microspikes, 2 Redhook pint glasses, and another 12 pack of Redhook beer (bringing my total beer winnings for this series at close to a full keg I'd say).... Also, for completing the series (running all the races), we each got a nice Granite State Snowshoe Series winter hat. Very nice. The grand prize for winning the series was a ticket for free entry into all 6 original series races for next year. You can bet that weather permitting, I'll be there! :)
Pictured above are the top three from The Granite State Series Overall (L-R): Ri Fahnestock, JJ, Scotty Graham. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Wolfe.
I have to say, this series was an absolute blast. Chris Dunn and his family and friends at acidotic (along with Michael Amarello at 3c Race Productions) do an absolutely fantastic job at putting on fun, interactive, and exciting events. They are extraordinarily generous with not only the swag, freebies, and awards (which are SECOND TO NONE in any series I've ever seen), but they take extraordinary care and measures to ensure everyone gets the proper communication via email and on race day...from things like details about the course, maps, upcoming events, tips, and everything you can possibly think of, that really make you feel like part of something special. The icing on the cake was Chris' ability to accommodate runners who didn't register in time for this last event, which was capped (as it understandably had to be). The folks at acidotic made all the appropriate measures (including the bold red font on the website) to ensure that people knew it was going to be capped...but demand for this event made the spots go fast, and the procrastinators (me included) missed the window. Chris didn't have to accommodate, but listened to a few that voiced their desire to be part of the fun at Kingman farm, and he worked with others to go the extra mile and accommodate some folks and provide them with a spot in the event. This just shows the true character and desire to please the snowshoe racing community, that the acidotic crew has. I'm thrilled to have been part of the series this year and to have met really cool fellow bloggers Steve Wolfe, Scotty Graham, Dan Scotina, and many others that frequented these races. I know it's one day removed, but I can't wait for next year already.
Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe Splits (5k):
2k: 4:35 (8:37)
3k: 4:26 (13:04)
4k: 5:08 (18:13) ... the climb
5k: 4:23 (22:36)
22:36 - 7:16 pace - 1st of 107
Pictured left are the top three from Kingman Farm (L-R): Steve Wolfe, JJ, Danny Ferreira. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Wolfe.
|2||25:18||8:08||Steve Wolfe||44||acidotic RACING|
|3||25:50||8:19||Dan Ferreira||26||acidotic RACING|
|4||25:51||8:19||Josh Merlis||27||ALBANY RUNNING EXCHANGE|
|5||25:53||8:20||Robert Jackman||26||TUESDAY NIGHT TURTLES|
|6||26:40||8:35||Ri Fahnestock||30||acidotic RACING|
|7||27:08||8:44||Warren MacPhail||42||DUNGEON ROCK RACING|
|8||27:11||8:45||Shane Sherwood||36||Dungeon Rock Racing|
|9||27:13||8:45||Leslie Dillon||25||acidotic RACING|
|10||27:20||8:48||Patrick Smith||46||DUNGEON ROCK RACING|
107 Total Finishers....
Additional very cool nighttime shots courtesy of Scott Mason.
Quick Video #1 - Scotty Graham ad hoc interview...
Quick Video #2 - Jim Dunn at the start/finish...
Sunday Kristin and I met Dave Dunham, Kevin Tilton, Dan Verrington, and the brothers-Quintal at the River Trail in Andover at 7:30 am for the 1:45 trip out to Amherst, MA for the DH Jones 10 Miler which serves as the USATF-New England 10 Mile Championship race. During the trip out there, it was evident that the impending snowstorm that was so very much evident on any weather newscast or website, was not going to happen. As we rolled into Amherst, there wasn't a drop of precipitation of any kind falling from the sky...a great sign.
After going inside to register and mill around a bit (as we were pretty early) I started to notice some big guns walking around... the likes of Patrick Tarpy, Ryan Carrara, both Moulton brothers, Mark Miller, Ben Schmeckpepper, Ben Ndaya, and Terry Shea (who actually was just there to watch) to name a few. We sat and talked about the race a bit, as the other CMS guys started to file in (Matt Clark, Justin Fyffe, Andy McCarron, Joe Shairs, Jim Pawlicki, Ben Strain, Jeremy Huckins, and Tim Mahoney)... We all got our stuff together and went out for a warm up.
After a quick change of gear and the decision to go with shorts and just one base layer under the singlet, I was off to the starting line to get a couple of strides in before taking off.
The goal was 5:30s. I wanted to run around 55 minutes or under but knew this course was hilly and unpaved for 2-3 miles (of which were all ice and mud)...so I figured if I was around 55, it would translate maybe into slightly faster on a more friendly course elsewhere... I hopped in the 2nd row behind some BAA boys and off we went. Immediately I was in a chase group as the leaders went out in sub 5 through the first mile. Kevin Tilton offered some words of advice about catching people on the hills, but at the first mile, he was way ahead of me and his lead just kept on growing...I'm not sure why I didn't just go with him initially...I think some part of me was concerned he was going out maybe a little to aggressively, but I was wrong. He wanted it and took it out at the right pace. I cruised through the first mile in 5:17 and then the second mile (with some downhill) in 5:04 before starting to hit the hillier part of the course and my pace slowed up for the next two miles before I settled into near-5:30-pace for the rest of the race. From about 2 miles until 8, not one person passed me and I only passed 1 guy (from Whirlaway). I ran in the same spot, staring at the back of Andrew Womack (GBTC), Jared Markowitz (BAA), and Andy and Matt (CMS boys). At one point (around 5 or 6) I was pretty sure I was going to get Andy and Matt Clark, but I noticed that the downhills were not treating me that well. I was gaining on them on the climbs (believe it or not) and they were just losing me on the downhills. At around 8 miles (maybe just before), Joe Navas (Whirlaway) motored on by me with Titus Mutinda (who I had passed before the 3 mile mark). Titus passed me with authority and put some distance on me before I caught him again at mile 9 going up the last hill. The last climb was really good to me as I was able to pass Titus and hold off oncoming CMSers Joe Shairs and Dan Verrington, along with Mark Larosa (BAA) and a slew of others that had caught me at the base of the last hill.
In the end, I finished in 55:08 for 5:31 pace, which is what I thought I might be near for that distance and for the type of course....I was also in 22nd place which is about right for me in these New England Championship races. Most of the guys who beat me, always beat me and I did end up beating a lot of guys who have beaten me at other races over the past year, so I am pleased with the race today for sure... Nothing bothered me as far as my legs go, but I think I was a little tired a little too early on. The worst I felt was around 3 miles. I think the longer weeks and the race last night may have run me down just a bit, but not enough to really matter I think...There will be more 10 milers and more Grand Prix races for me this year and I look forward now to New Bedford in 3 weeks.
Kristin braved the cold and rain (as it started to fall right as I was finishing the race) to get some photos of the first 77 people (ending w/ dd) before she ran for cover. The camera was getting too wet to stand out and get any more shots. Thankfully dd wasn't out there all day.
DH Jones 10 Miler - USATF-New England 10 Mile Championship Splits (1oM):
1 Mile: 5:17
2 Mile: 5:04 (10:21)
3 Mile: 5:46 (16:07)
4 Mile: 5:50 (21:57)
5 Mile: 5:34 (27:32)
6 Mile: 5:32 (33:05)
7 Mile: 5:22 (38:28)
8 Mile: 5:33 (44:02)
9 Mile: 5:28 (49:30)
10 Mile: 5:36 (55:07)
55:08 - 5:31 pace - 22nd of 596 - 5th CMS.
Overall Results w/ top 7 CMS (in blue) and additional CMS Men's Open/Masters Finishers:
Male Open Team Results:
1. BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION 51:28 51:30 51:40 52:09 52:17 ( 52:48) ( 52:50) = 4:19:04
Patrick Moulton 27, Mark Miller 28, Brendan Callahan 27, MichaelChettle 31, Matthew Kerr 32, Andrew Hill 28, Bernie Muller 25
2. CENTRAL MASS STRIDERS 51:47 53:54 54:20 54:35 55:08 ( 55:23) ( 55:30) = 4:29:44
Justin Fyffe 28, Kevin Tilton 27, Andy McCarron 26, Matt Clark 26, JimJohnson 31, Joe Shairs 40, Dan Verrington 46
3. GREATER BOSTON TRACK CLUB 53:00 53:09 53:49 54:49 55:33 ( 55:53) ( 56:25) = 4:30:20
Nate Freese 23, David Bedoya 32, Ioannis Papadopoulos 24, AndrewWommack 25, Ryan Aschbrenner 31, Junyong Pak 31, Kevin Somers 31
4. WHIRLAWAY RACING TEAM 54:42 55:42 56:22 56:40 56:49 ( 57:09) ( 57:28) = 4:40:15
Joe Navas 38, Dan Princic 29, Brandon Newbould 27, Mike Platt 47, JoeHegarty 24, Mike Cooney 47, Chris Hamel 25
5. GREATER SPRINGFIELD HARRIERS 57:21 58:33 58:48 59:17 59:42 ( 59:45) (1:00:38) = 4:53:41
Carlos Rivera 34, Robert Landry 40, Ron Lombardi 45, Ian Wright 22,Paul Fratini 43, Christopher Gould 43, Michael Brouillette 31
...14 Total Team Finishes