Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - A Look Back

Year in Review

In terms of life accomplishments and events, this year ties 2012 for my best years ever because like 2012, I welcomed in another gorgeous baby girl (Morgan Sage, pictured to the left) into my family.  She came into the world on September 1 (Labor Day, fittingly).  Before I had kids, I had no clue what was really important in life...I thought I knew.  Your entire perspective on life changes (for the better) with kids and for all those out there with children, I don't have to tell you how amazing it truly is.

As far as running goes (and because this site technically is still 'doublejrunning' I will focus now on the running aspect of what I was involved in) the big surprise for me this year was definitely my ability to get back to running relatively consistent mileage throughout the course of the year.

Miles aren't everything, but they definitely tell a story (for me anyways) on whether or not I've been slacking.  Also, with consistent miles comes fitness (for me).  With fitness comes times and performances I actually can be proud of. I'm hoping to improve on my  year this year and get back to basics for 2015.

The 2014 Numbers:

Total Miles: 3049.75  / 8.35 miles per day average including the days off...
Total Days Off: 39
Total Races: 39
Total Wins: 21 (22 if you count my leadoff leg of RTB where I handed off in the lead)

December was my highest month of miles (344.6) with 2 days off (the last 2 due to the f*&$ing flu and only 4 miles on one of the days).

Monthly Breakdown:

January: Miles Run: 305.8Days Off: 2 / Races: 3 / Wins: 0
February: Miles Run: 210.1Days Off: 5 / Races: 4 / Wins: 2
March: Miles Run: 192.9Days Off: 7 / Races: 2 / Wins: 1
April: Miles Run: 228.9 / Days Off: 2 / Races: 2 / Wins: 1
May: Miles Run: 254.3 / Days Off: 2 / Races: 4 / Wins: 1
June: Miles Run: 237.9 / Days Off: 4 / Races: 6 / Wins: 4
July: Miles Run: 259.4 / Days Off: 3 / Races: 5 / Wins: 4
August: Miles Run: 316.6 / Days Off: 0 / Races: 4 / Wins: 3
September: Miles Run: 227.3 / Days Off: 4 / Races: 2 / Wins: 0 (1 if you count my leadoff relay leg)
October: Miles Run: 228.7 / Days Off: 3 / Races: 3 / Wins: 3
November:  Miles Run: 238.1 / Days Off: 5 / Races: 3 / Wins: 2
December:  Miles Run: 344.6 / Days Off: 2 / Races: 0 / Wins: 0

This was just shy (only 24 miles) of my 2011 total of 3073 (I would have surpassed it barely if I hadn't been derailed by this awful cold over the last few days of this year)...  I did run more in 2010 (3477) so I guess I have that to shoot for this coming year...  2010 and 2011 were definitely my two best years performance-wise.  I did go down with injury and missed a lot of running at the tail end of 2011, but to be near this total and over 3k miles for the year seems like a great step in the right direction for me.  It kind of came out of nowhere.  I am frankly shocked that even with 39 days off I was able to run this many miles given the way things have gone over the last few years.

As far as performances in are my highlights:

USATF-New England Mountain Series - I was very pleased (and frankly as shocked as anyone) to once again win the USATF-New England Mountain Series for the 3rd time in the last 4 years.  This is a perfect example of how participation is everything.  Simply showing up to most or all the events can pay off. I was thrilled to also win both the Cranmore Hillclimb (finally) and Bretton Woods races (Bretton Woods being the North American Fell Running Championships).  As far as the mountains go, I also was pretty excited to win the first ever Wildcat 'Trail' Race (which is very incorrectly named, as it summits Wildcat Mountain and then drops back down).  It's not part of the Mountain series but it's as close to it as anything else.  It's like Cranmore except steeper both up and down.

Beating Nathaniel Jenkins - I have never been ahead of Nate Jenkins in any race ever.  Not even for any part of a race.  This year, it took a very muddy and rugged Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race in Vermont in May to get that done.  Nate is one of the best runners out there and has been for a long time.  He is a great road and track runner.  He's a very good cross country runner.  He's run 1:06 at Mt. Washington, completely out of his element.... and it took a race completely out of his wheelhouse for me to just squeak one out.  Not sure I'll ever have that pleasure again.  Nate is my teammate and I'm proud to race with him...I don't really care if I ever beat him again...just having this one time is all I need ;).

Granite State Snowshoe Series - I won my 6th straight Granite State Snowshoe Series this year. 2009-2010-2011-2012-2013-2014. I will be completely honest, my love for snowshoeing and snowshoe racing has kind of dwindled over the last couple years, but I keep coming back to these races.  They are all amazing and help the winter go by.  The highlight was at the NH State Championship at Bear Brook where I was able to outgun 2014's NH Runner of the Year Nacho Hernando in the 10K.  He beat me the week before at SS Nationals, so we were even.

Return (Kind of) to form at Mount Washington - Ok, so that is a stretch, but I went back under 1:10 again at Mt. Washington, kind of out of nowhere.  Last year I ran my slowest time ever.  This year, I was a minute faster, so I have to look at that as a plus. I also was able to out lean Kevin Tilton for the first time ever in this race.  Not that that was the sole reason for counting this as a highlight, but because he almost always runs at the very least a solid time no matter what, I was glad to finally nip him here. I was thinking that was never going to happen.

Running and Finishing My First Ever 50 Miler - Yes, 50 miles.  Vermont 50 to be exact. I trained pretty well for this with KT and we both ran together for maybe 36 miles before he went on to win the damn thing. I finished 4th overall and was absolutely elated to just finish the race.  The race was maybe the hottest ever, with temps in the 80s.  It was one of the hardest grinds I've ever had to go through.  It gives me all sorts of confidence for sure.  It makes the marathon look pretty easy :),

Some Decent Performances on the Roads - Not lighting the world on fire, but I did run just a few road races this year.  I was able to win the White Mountain Milers Half Marathon (my 'hometown' race) which I've wanted to do for a few years now.  I was in the 1:12s (3+ min off my best) so I have to say that was OK for running completely alone after the mile.  I wish Tim or Kevin was around to push me...maybe next year.   Sadly, I haven't run faster than that in years in a half marathon.

I was only on the line for 3 '5k' races this year.  The Children's Museum race in Dover in May, which I won again.  It was slow though.  16:25 all alone, but still...I won (and it was a Seacoast Series Race) so I can't complain.  I ran 2 other 'local' 5ks.  The Madison '5k' which is really 3.01 miles, was another good local effort.  I won for the third straight year in 15:15.  Tim Livingston pushed me a bit on this one.  I ran 15:04 in 2012, so the time this year wasn't as good as I was hoping, but it was faster than my 15:32 last year.  The other local 5k was the Freedom Old Home Day 5k and this course is legit.  It's certified and it's not easy.  It's more than half on dirt roads and it's rolling.  I just dipped under 16 minutes and got the course record (was 16:12 by Tim Livingston I believe).  This was a great solo effort again (Darin Brown was 2nd in 18:17) and I did zero training for 5ks.  It was just off of my mileage and consistency.

Whitaker Woods Summer Series - I continued to run quick at the weekly Whitaker fun runs at Whitaker Woods in North Conway.  The Tuesday night, 9 week series, is a great way to get a workout in each week and run against the area's best.  Kevin shows up (although almost never runs all out), Tim Livingston (goes HARD almost every week), Zach Switaj, Tyrus Parker, Darin and Nick Brown, and others (even Tommy Manning showed up one day this year).  I ended up winning the series this year again (my third year in a row) and averaged under 17 minutes for my overall time, which is pretty good. I also missed the course record by 1 or 2 seconds (I can't remember).  I had to jump over 2 downed trees and it was 105 degrees that day, but I only missed Kevin's record by 2 seconds... Maybe this year...

Helping CMS Win the Grand Prix (Again) - I only ran one Grand Prix this year in the USATF-NE Road Racing Grand Prix for CMS but I actually picked one in which I was needed.  I ran the Manchester Marathon off of basically just running a lot of long trail runs in preparation for the VT 50.  I was able to run around 6 min pace for a 2:36:51 and help CMS by placing 4th OA (actually my best individual GP finish ever).  We just beat out WMDP for the race and overall GP because of the unfortunately course misdirection issue.  I also got top NH Male for the race and won some cash.  I have to count that as a highlight for sure...any time I win cash nowadays (especially in a GP) I have to be happy. Oh, and I was 5 seconds out of 3rd.  That would have gotten my an additional $750.  But instead, I got zero money for 4th place :).  Jesse Regnier needs to buy me a beer sometime.

Getting in another Pemi Loop!!!  - Honorable mention... I was able to get in another Pemi Loop this year.  Solo this time, but still... I hope to try to get one of these in every year until I'm dead.  I may die doing it...but that will count!

Here are the lowlights:

Trying To Run Track Again - The dumbest move of the entire year.  Because of a cancelled snowshoe race, I tried to run the 3k at the Dartmouth Relays off of absolutely nothing and ran a near PW.  I was lucky to beat anyone.  Very embarrassing.

Snowshoe Nationals - I'm sorry to put this in as a lowlight because the race was absolutely amazing.  The course was incredible.  The venue was first class.  And Tivo did an absolutely stellar job.  100% the best snowshoe nationals ever.   But I ran like sh*t.  I should have mixed it up but instead I ran flat and scraped by only to fizzle out late.  A big missed opportunity.

US Mountain Running Championships - Mixed emotions for this one.  I am proud to have received another gold medal in a US National Championship (CMS won the team) but I ran like garbage.  I should have run a minute faster at least.  I would have loved to have run as tough as Patrick Rich did, but I instead just settled back and went through the motions.  Heartless and gutless are two words to describe it.  Just not a good experience.

Market Square Day 10k - Almost a PW in a 10k for me (within seconds). The ONLY silver lining here (and it's more of a dull gray lining) is that I was 5th....but that was only because a whole bunch of guys got lost.  I ran horrendous in probably my favorite race of the entire year.  I never want to run that poorly again at this race.

Missing Redhook - Blowing out my heels during Wachusett and not making it to the line the next day at Redhook was very aggravating.

Reach the Beach - I'm one point I want to put this on the list of highlights because I had a good time (when I wasn't busy crapping blood or keeled over in pain).  I have to put this on the list of lowlights because while I have always wanted to run this event, I was really struggling with stomach issues for almost the entire time and I had to run through it on 2 of the 3 legs which was brutal.  We did great as a team and I was proud as hell to suit up and race alongside those guys/gals but I never want to feel that sh*tty in a race ever again.

Now...on to 2015!  Here's some cool shots from this past year in no particular order...

Muddy Moose Trail Race - Wolfboro, NH

Pete and JJ - The Mountains, NH
JJ and KT - The Mountains, NH

CMS at Snowshoe Nationals - Vermont

Stout field at Horsehill Snowshoe Race - Merrimack, NH

Fryeburg Fair - Maine

VT 50 - JJ and KT.  Getting some fuel in...

VT 50 - one of the 'flat' sections.

Mount Washington Road Race
My girls...
Mount Washington Road Race

Mount Washington Road Race
Sidehiller - Center Sandwich, NH
NH State Championships - Allenstown, NH


Cranmore - North Conway

Cranmore - North Conway

Pemi with Ferenc and Tilton

Reach the Beach - acidoticRacing - Cannon Mtn.

Reach the Beach - acidoticRacing - Hampton Beach.

WMM Half Marathon - North Conway, NH

Sunday, December 28, 2014

December 29 (Sunday) - and Weekly Summary

December 29 (Sunday) Met up with KT at Bear Notch Rd. and went for a 17.4 mile slog/shuffle against my better judgement.  I was refusing to believe I was getting sick and tried to forget about it, but by the afternoon I was full on feverish and down for the count.  I had planned on between 8 and 10 easy but didn't want to pass up the opportunity to catch up w/ Kevin as I hadn't run with him in a while..  We hit Bear Notch Rd. for a little bit in microspikes and then hooked a left on 2 1 and Lewis ...I mean hooked a left on the snowmobile trails for what was supposed to be an 'out and back'.  I was a little apprehensive about 20 miles on that kind of terrain (it was slow and soft but not completely awful) with already having done 72 miles for the week.  I figured I'd maybe turn around at 5 or 6 and KT could keep going...but the more I went the more I just figured I'd be fine.  When we got 9 or so miles deep, it was clear that the way back was going to be a nightmare (at least for me).  It was just a little too slow going for my liking right now.  Kevin suggested maybe we hit the Sawyer River Trail and then pop out on the Kanc and run the road back.  I was all for it.  Sawyer River Trail from the snowmobile trail was completely untracked except for a pair of skis.  It was a sh*tshow but not too long thank God.  It was probably 2+ feet deep at least in spots.  We weren't post-holing through all the way, but almost.  It was basically a walk until we got to the river. Then we had to cross it (evidence below).   And then a little bit more from there up to the road.  Good times.  The trip back on the Kanc was just a mess load of 7:30s on the pavement and all sorts of pain and tired.  By the time I got home, I had a feeling that may be my last run of the year...time to rest up and get healthy!

Wrap Up - Week of December 22 - 29:

Solid week and my 4th in a row in the 80s.  Next week for sure is going to be a low week as I am feeling a major cold coming on.  A couple of longish runs of 16 and 17.4 and two 12 not too shabby. Only one double, which is probably not the best way to do it...  Only 2 treadmill I'm behaving in that sense....

Miles: 89.7
Runs: 8
Longest Run: 17.4
Climbing: 4478
Total Time: 11:22:00

Monday: 12 miles on snowshoes at the Mineral Site up to Cathedral Ledge (route) solo.  1:46:17 (1215 ft)
Tuesday: 10 miles on the treadmill. 1:15:00.
Wednesday: am 4 miles easy on the roads in Madison (route) solo.  28:21 (308 ft).  PM: 10 miles on the treadmill. 1:06:40.
Thursday:  8.3 miles on the roads in Conway/Albany (route) with Leslie O'Dell.  57:23 (223 ft)
Friday: 16 miles on the roads in Tamworth (route) with Leslie O'Dell.  1:57:31 (1255 ft)
Saturday: 12 miles on the roads in Madison (route) solo.  1:18:59 (186 ft)
Sunday: 17.4 miles in the snow w/ microspikes and roads (route).  With KT. 2:31:49 (1302 ft)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

December 28 (Saturday)

December 28 (Saturday) - Got in a solo run before I headed back down to MA again for the day for a birthday party.  Long past few days for sure.  Got in a good flat 12 miles in Madison/Tamworth on the roads.  Started out very easy for first 6 and then slowly crept up the intensity just a tiny bit on the way back but just cruising.  Comfortable at this pace for 'flat' roads at this point (as I should be).

Friday, December 26, 2014

December 26 (Friday)

December 26 (Friday) - Late morning run with Leslie from Chocorua Lake Rd.  16 miles with one big loop and one small loop on either side of Rt. 16.  Very windy at the beginning but not very cold. One section of Fowler's Mill Rd. was all ice and Old Mail Rd. was all snow (unplowed).  So those miles were a bit slow.  Rest of the run was good footing and some rolling hills on a beautiful day.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

December 25 (Thursday)

December 25 (Thursday) - Up at the crack of dawn for an easy run on the Kanc w/ Leslie.  8.3 miles of up and back in the dark w/ headlamps.  This run put me over 3000 miles for the year (surprisingly).  Getting in the miles on a normally tough day w/ Christmas festivities at both home and down in MA.  Headed down to MA later on in the morning and spent the holiday with the family.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 24 (Wednesday)

December 24 (Wednesday) - 10 miles at lunch time at the Mill on the mill.   Then later on (5:00ish) another 4 miles outside (out and back on E.Madison rd)...I'll spare the Strava details for the 4 miler.  It was in the dark, in the driving rain (both ways it seemed like it was in my face).  Just getting in some more miles when I can.  Not sure how much I'll get in tomorrow if any... 14 miles on the day...

Merry Christmas to everyone... It's close to midnight and I think Santa just came....

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December 23 (Tuesday)

My little girl is getting big!
December 23 (Tuesday) - Up early in the snowstorm to travel down to East Wakefield to help my Mom & Dad close up the house for the winter.  Spent the first half of the day down there helping out and was spent by the time I got home (around 2ish).  I spent the afternoon playing with Tabby as it was her 2nd birthday.  By 5:30 I was fast asleep on the couch...completely wiped out.   I managed to drag myself down to the mill for 10 miles (easy) on the treadmill (felt pretty good though). I'm glad I was able to get up and out the door after all that.  I normally would have been tempted with a zero but those days are behind me (I hope).   This week I am just hoping to get in some better than average miles.  I knew it was going to be difficult to get in as many miles as I'd like due to the holidays/birthdays and all the running around I've got to the weather stinks.  Good thing I am off of work for the holiday break... some good quality time spent with the girls and a little bit of running won't hurt.

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22 (Monday)

December 22 (Monday) - Kind of a cold dreary day but got out around noon for a snowshoe at the Mineral Site.  12 miles total.  Went all the way up the forest road to Cathedral Ledge Rd. and then up to Cathedral Ledge.  From 4 miles (where the good section of the forest road apparently stops) to Cathedral Ledge Rd it was really ugly.  That section wasn't tracked out by snowmobiles and no one had been through there.  The first 4 miles were pretty nice as a snowmobile had been through there but from 4 miles to about 5.5 it was pretty slow (and on the way back).  I fell a couple of times during those miles as the snow was so crusty and I was breaking trail and catching the tip of the shoes every once in a while.  The road up to Cathedral Ledge was really solid.  Hung out on the top for maybe 10 minutes then headed back.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21 (Sunday) - and Weekly Summary

December 21 (Sunday) - 8 miles early in the am on the treadmill to wrap up the week.  Very easy.  Had to get the run in and done with before my daughter's 2nd birthday party and had a lot of things to do before people showed up at the house.  Really nice day w/ all my family and Kris' family at the house.  Some fun sledding in the backyard as well.  Tabby's first time ripping down the hill and she had a blast even thought the snow wasn't that great...

Wrap Up - Week of December 15-21:

Third week in a row in the 80s which is great progress.  I was able to run about what I did last week (plus a mile) including a good long run again on Saturday.  Just getting it done and trying not to get lazy...eyes on the prize and all that crap.  One thing I must do this year is stay the hell away from indoor track.

Miles: 85.2
Runs: 10
Longest Run: 16
Climbing: 6089 (according to Strava + Garmin data)... 3 of the runs were on the mill so it could have been a far better week if I didn't have to take a few of those zero climb days.
Total Time: 9:59:00

Monday: am: 6 miles (roads)(route) - solo in Madison - 38:24 (558 ft) / pm: 8 miles (treadmill) - 60:00
Tuesday: 9.2 miles (roads)(route) - solo in Madison/Tamworth - 1:00:14 (892ft)
Wednesday: am: 8 miles (treadmill) - 60:00 / pm: 6 miles (roads)(route) solo in Madison - 40:07 (558 ft)
Thursday: am: 8 miles (roads)(route) solo in Madison - 53:11 (981 ft) / pm: 6 miles (roads)(route) solo in Madison - 41:17 (367 ft)
Friday: 10 miles (roads)(route) solo in Conway/Albany - 1:01:59 (581 ft)
Saturday: 16 miles (roads)(route) w/ Leslie O'Dell in Madison/Eaton/Freedom/Porter, ME - 2:04:38 (2152 ft)
Sunday: 8 miles (treadmill) - 63:51

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 20 (Saturday)

December 20 (Saturday) - 16 miles in Madison, Eaton, Freedom, Porter Maine.  The 'Madison to Maine n' Back' run + the Cushing Corner loop.  Did this w/ Ms. Leslie O'Dell (formerly known as the artist formerly known as Leslie Beckwith).  Plan was just to do it around 8 min pace or so as it is a bruiser of a run.  Over 2100 ft. or so of elevation gain according to Garmin (Google has this inflated to over 3000).  Freezing cold but crystal clear and beautiful morning for a long run.  Surprisingly we somehow averaged around 7:45s or so overall.  We had a dog follow us for about 6 miles (from 5.5 to about 12 miles).  Then he got distracted and we dropped him.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 19 (Friday)

December 19 (Friday) - Got out at lunch for 10 miles on the roads of Conway and Albany.  Started at the ranger station on the Kanc and ran up to Moat View Drive then ascended Moat View up past the Darby Field Inn and then back down Chase Hill and Bald Hill.   Then from there, headed south on 16 and then up 113 a bit to Cranmore Shores and then around a couple of neighborhoods including that of local elite (and a living legend of the Mount Washington Valley) Tim Livingston, who is the best masters runner in NH and getting faster with age.  Then I cut through back out to 16 in Conway Village and back down to the Kanc to finish up in 1:02:01.  A solid time for starting out pretty easy (the plan was originally to just run sub 7s) and having a couple of descent hills from miles 2-4.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 18 (Thursday)

December 18 (Thursday) - 8 miles at lunch, up in the hills behind my house in East Madison.  Mostly dirt roads.  A little slick in spots but almost 1000 feet of gain in the first 3/4 of the run.

 then later on w/ the headlamp, got out for a mind-numbing 6 miles around the 'flatter' quiet roads of East Madison and Silver Lake.  Light snow flurries the whole time.  14 miles on the day.

That's all I got.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 17 (Wednesday)

December 17 (Wednesday) - 8 miles in the am at the Mill on the mill.  About halfway in, because it was still dark, I spaced out and thought it was night time because I'm so used to running on the mill at night.  Strange leaving there with the sun coming up...  6 miles at lunch and I called it a day.  Wet and miserable out.  Still lots of snow but the roads aren't bad.  Just up and back down on E.Madison Rd.  Nice and easy.  Just trying to keep up w/ the activity, get my body used to putting in miles again, and trying to slim down a bit so I can get into my bathing suit again in June.  14 miles on the day with next to no real intensity.  Just putting one foot in front of the other.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16 (Tuesday)

December 16 (Tuesday) - Only got out once today (but got a run in so I can't complain).  9.2 miles at lunch.  Did the Washington Hill loop (Madison/Tamworth). I've only ever run up that hill once.  It's a little bit of a grind but not too bad.  Meant to get back to the mill after work and got dressed and ready to go but then got caught up in some father-daughter activities which obviously trump chasing meaningless miles.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15 (Monday)

December 15 (Monday) - 6 miles at lunch on E.Madison Rd. (up and down).  Then another 8 miles (easy) at the Mill on the mill.  14 miles total.

Not that I haven't had my fair share of cross country chatter on the interwebs over the past 2 days (just kidding, yes I have), but now we see the USATF-NE GP for 2015 announced.  My thoughts on the schedule and races that were chosen below:

Feb 22, Five College Realtors 10 miler, Amherst, MA
Mar 15, New Bedford Half Marathon, New Bedford, MA
May 24, People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon, Burlington, VT
Jun 11, Hollis Fast 5km, Hollis, NH
Aug 9, Bobby Doyle 5 mile, Narragansett, RI
Sep 6, Seasons 20 km, Acton, MA
Sep 20, Lone Gull 10 km, Gloucester, MA

Sad not to see any of Millenium's races chosen...but I was kind of nervous with Ribfest being the day after Mt. Washington.  The other ones would have been good though.

I am just not a fan of a 10 mile road race during snowshoe season ...especially when the course has dirt roads which are obviously nice and snowy and icy during the month of February.  I have run DH Jones a couple times (maybe more) and am just never in shape in February for a road 10 miler and it hasn't been that enjoyable.  One of the best stories I have ever heard was from Nate Huppe and his experience at DH Jones some years ago...if you are friends with him on Facebook, ask him to tell you the story...

I am not a huge fan of the New Bedford course.  It's a fair course but I just don't enjoy running in the area all that much. It's a top notch event, don't get me wrong, but it's in the series every single year.  My 1/2 marathon PR is there so I can't totally knock it, but I'm just not a fan of driving that far to run around the city of New Bedford.  No offense to anyone from New Bedford.

I basically voted the way I voted to get VT City Marathon to be the GP marathon. Now lets see if I actually run it.

Hollis... I've run this once before. I haven't done it since because it always seems to be right before Mt. Washington.  Now it's a week before.  So I'm ok with this one.

Bobby Doyle.  I know nothing about it...but it 'sounds' like a pub series race.  It's like a combination of Bobby Bell and Doyles.  Mike Quintal loves that stuff and should be all over this.  It's in RI so that may be a little out of my wheelhouse, but I'm ok with it.  It gives the RI folks a local race again and it's nice to see some new races in the series.

Seasons 20k...I'm still not sure if it's even a 20k.  I just recently found the website online and it's showing it as a half marathon...maybe that's last year's data?  I don't know much about it, but it seems like a good thing to have a longer race in the series for a wildcard.  Like the Nahant race last year.  Look out for the online poll (like with the marathon) from the 5kers complaining about the race being too long....  I like Mark Coddaire so I am ok with this race....

Lastly, Lone Gull 10k...I ran this once and had a disastrous race.  I wasn't feeling good and ran a very slow race.  It 'could' have been the last time I ever physically saw Casey Moulton though, so that holds a special place in my heart.  I haven't gone back because ...well...I just haven't.

I'm not sure if I will go to any of these races, but we'll see....  It's interesting that September 20th will be the end of the series entirely.  No Oct/Nov races.

That's all I got.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 14 (Sunday) - and Weekly Summary

December 14 (Sunday) - Enjoyed a great day with my girls and my parents came over for a visit.  Late in the day I headed down to the Mill to do an easy 10 miles to wrap up the week.  Ran very easy after talking to Downtown Darin Brown who was just getting off the elliptical.   Then I headed down to the pool for 10 easy laps and then some stretching in the hot tub.  It was the usual zero people in there.... good times.

A bit crowded tonight at the mill....

Wrap Up - Week of December 8 -14:

Two good weeks in a row in the 80s...   This week I was able to grab 84.2 miles on 8 runs including a nice long run on Saturday.  5 sessions on the treadmill weren't that bad when I break them up a bit. I had one double day (I am going to try for at least 2 a week).  I got in the pool/hot tub only once this week.  I think the 70-85 range is a good target for me to aim for each week.  No snowshoeing this week by design.  I am at the point now where I am more interested in getting faster... The snowshoeing and strength-building will come, but right now I'm enjoying getting in some miles where/when I can.

Miles: 84.2
Runs: 8
Longest Run: 18
Climbing: 1945 (according to Strava + Garmin data)... again, like last week, not bad for 5 of the 8 runs being on the treadmill where I get zero climb.
Total Time: 09:45:00

Monday: 9.2 miles (icy roads) (route) with KT - 1:06:43 (325 ft)
Tuesday: 8 miles (treadmill) - 1:00:00
Wednesday: 10 miles (treadmill) - 1:06:40
Thursday: am: 10 miles (treadmill) - 1:09:17 / pm: 9 miles (treadmill) - 1:00:00
Friday: 10.1 miles (icy, snowy roads) (route) solo in Madison - 1:09:48 (781 ft)
Saturday: 18 miles (roads) (route) solo in Madison/Tamworth/Ossipee - 1:52:39 (840 ft)
Sunday: 10 miles (treadmill) - 80:00

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 13 (Saturday)

December 13 (Saturday) - Decided to continue to try to cut shapes by keeping to the roads (or mill) to try to work on my fitness in a way I'm convinced will work for me this winter.  I waited until about 1:30pm and then headed out for a loop down into Tamworth.  I kind of wanted to initially try to keep it just under 7s even though it's obviously much more enjoyable to just take it easy when I go 'long'.  The loop was just over 18 miles and I started out relatively conservative, making sure I wasn't working too hard at all and I was still about 20 seconds or so under where I wanted for the first couple miles.  The hills I hit in miles 3-5 slowed things down to about where I should have been all along...but on the backside of Page Hill, coming down into center Tamworth I started rolling along.  By the time I hit Depot Rd. the route was mostly flat all the way back and I was down pretty much locked into a quicker pace and it felt pretty smooth so I went with it.  I hit some pretty serious headwind at the end of Depot Rd. and then awful wind on Rt 41 on the way back and it was a grind to keep the pace where I was.  I worked pretty good over the last 4 miles or so and stopped at 18 miles (about .2 from my house) and jogged the rest as a 'warm down'.  Not going to do this all the time, but this was the best I've felt on a 'quicker' run all year.  Hopefully I can find some similar efforts from time to time this winter, but when I start racing again, I'll start to get more intensity in those efforts on snowshoes.

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 12 (Friday)

December 12 (Friday) - Busy day at work and after the double yesterday I only wanted to get out once today.  I waited until about 5:30 and it was cold, dark, and snowing pretty good by the time I got out the door. I decided to hit the snow covered roads instead of the mill because I just didn't feel like running on the treadmill at all.  It probably had to do with me being there for a couple hours yesterday.  I ran down 113 and up into Tamworth and checked out the Chocorua Meadows neighborhood...very nice houses in there... Roads were wet and snowy but no ice so the footing was decent. I wore some Inov-8 testers with some aggressive outsole lugs so I was covered in case I did hit a slick spot or two.  Not a lot of cars out on the road tonight because of the weather so it was actually an enjoyable run.  It was also good to get some fluctuation in elevation (compared to the treadmill).  10.1 miles easy.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 11 (Thursday)

December 11 (Thursday) - 10 miles on the mill at lunch and then another 9 miles later after work, also on the mill. It was a full on mob scene there.  I have never seen that many people in the workout room at once.  At one point there was 7 people, which has got to exceed the fire code I'm sure.  There isn't even that many things for 7 people to do all at once in there.  To add insult to injury, I forgot my iPod so I was stuck having to listen to other people talk and stand around pretending to be working out.  Not too shabby of a day though. 19 miles total.

I have been working on updating the CMS All Time Performance Lists (starting with the marathon) because they haven't been touched in 4 years and they really should be updated frequently.  It's difficult to try to go back and figure out who has run what over the years and I've pretty much finished updating the marathon to start.   I will post probably tomorrow.  But I also did a fun one....I put together the CMS All Time Performance List for the Mount Washington Road Race.  I linked it up on the CMS Men's Racing Team blog but you can view it here.  I decided to make the cutoff 1:11:00.  So far, there have been 120 times run by CMS men (who were CMS at the time) and 29 different individuals.  I have run the race 7 times (7 years in a row) and have run under 1:11:00 in all 7 but only 5 for CMS (first year was with MVS and 2 years ago with BAA).  Dave Dunham appears on the list 18 times (he ran it for GLRR a number of times but those are not on the list).  Eric Morse is on the list 15 times (and amazingly his slowest time was a 1:08:56!). Dan Verrington has 11 times on the list.

Mt. Washington 2010: L-R: Francis Burdett, Patrick Rich, Dave Dunham, me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 10 (Wednesday)

December 10 (Wednesday) - Got on a call at work at 9:30 am EST.  Didn't get off until 6:15pm EST.  Yes, that's right... I didn't eat lunch or anything.  My headset died twice.  Had to keep switching back to my handset for the call.  Just worked on an issue all day and didn't even get it resolved.  Kind of depressing.  Scurried over to the Mill after contemplating just giving up and going to bed and sulking and taking a zero.  Got 10 miles in a little quicker on the treadmill that I would have liked (my legs don't hold up well on the mill at quicker tempos, but I had to do it to get the miles in before they closed).  Felt pretty good but bummed that I did't get to the mill during lunch, like I planned. I wanted to double today but it just wasn't in the cards.  I should have gone early in the a.m. before I got on the call but since I was kind of blindsided by the issue to begin with, I couldn't really have known.  Complaining about ONLY getting 10 miles in, is a huge step in the right direction for me though in reality.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 9 (Tuesday)

December 9 (Tuesday) - No morning run or afternoon run as I was busy w/ work.  Had my head down most of the day working on a project... By the evening I decided to head on down to the Mill even though the weather was awful. It snowed all day and the road was a mess.  It didn't accumulate too much by the end because everything turned over to rain, but on the way to the Mill it was a nightmare.  The road was covered in wet snow and it was complete whiteout conditions on the roads.  Going to the Mill isn't easy.  It's up and over E.Madison Rd. which is essentially the highest point in town (road-wise).  The ride up isn't too bad, but it's going down the backside towards the Mill that is treacherous. It took me nearly 20 minutes to get there and it's 4 miles.  When I got there, the building was half blacked out.  Power was up and down.  The workout room was still operational so I jumped on the treadmill for an easy spin.  30 minutes into my run the woman came in to tell me that she had to close in 30 minutes.  So I was only able to get in an easy 8 miles before she closed up.  Not a soul around other than myself so she was keeping it open just for me (which is usually the case anyways).  I'm ok w/ just 8 and a couple of back to back single days to recover from a decent amount of snowshoeing last weekend.

In keeping w/ my current (and pretty much usual) ipod track selection and the given conditions outside...

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8 (Monday)

December 8 (Monday) - 9.2 miles easy w/ Kevin Tilton on the cold, dark, icy roads of Center Conway.  Tight/sore calf muscles were a bit of an issue today for me and my back is a little tight so I needed to take it easy but not take a zero.  I waited until a little later than usual and met Kevin at his house and we did the Stark Rd. loop with headlamps.  Pretty nippy out there.

Side note...pretty awesome article on one of the best and most intense teammates you could ask for:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7 (Sunday) and Weekly Summary

December 7 (Sunday) - Nice end to end snowshoe run on Bear Notch Rd. Met up w/ Kevin Tilton early and we did a gate-to-gate run from the Kanc side in Albany to the 302 side in Bartlett.  It's a nice up / down / up / down run that is just over 7 miles each way.  It had been tracked by one snowmobile out and back but only about to the 6 mile mark where the trail goes into the Experimental Forest.  The last mile on the way out (down) and the first mile on the way back (up) was near virgin snow, with only a ski track from an XC skiier that helped us break trail.  I felt decent on the way back up the climb, which is a LONG grind (take a look at the elevation profile on the Strava page to get an idea).  The occasional headwind and frigid temps were a little tough to deal with on the way back but it was a beautiful morning in the Whites.  Saw two moose on the way to the run.  14.3 total.

Wrap Up - Week of December 1-7:

Wrapped up a solid week of training despite snowy conditions outside.  I did manage to get outside 4 times and ran inside only 3 times.  Too much treadmill running is bad for my hamstrings so it was nice to break it up a bit.  I did double twice this week indoors so I put up 9 runs in total.  I got 22+ miles on snowshoes this weekend which really beat my body up, but it was great strength building.  I got nearly 10 and a half hours of running in this week, which was a great step in the right direction.

Miles: 81.3
Runs: 9
Longest Run: 14.3
Climbing: 4506 (according to Strava + Garmin data)... not bad for 5 of the 9 runs being on the treadmill where I get zero climb.
Total Time: 10:27:57

Monday: 10.7 miles (paved/muddy/icy dirt roads) (route) solo in Madison - 1:06:37 (803 ft)
Tuesday: 10 miles (treadmill) - 69:40
Wednesday: am: 5 miles (treadmill) - 40:00 / pm: 10 miles (treadmill) - 1:06:40
Thursday: am: 5 miles (treadmill) - 40:00 / pm: 8 miles (treadmill) - 1:00:00
Friday: 10.2 miles (icy paved/dirt roads) (route) solo in Madison - 1:06:08 (646 ft)
Saturday: 8.1 miles (snowshoes) - (route) solo in North Conway.  1:36:56 (1588 ft)
Sunday: 14.3 miles (snowshoes) - (route) with Kevin Tilton in Albany/Bartlett.  2:01:56 (1469 ft)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

November/December Update

I let the daily posting slip a bit but I have been putting in some decent training for this time of year and I've raced once since the Castle in the Clouds race in early November.  Instead of backfilling all the missing days, I'll lump everything together into one summary post.

Since the Roaring Falls Trail Race on November 8, nearly a month has passed.  I have been putting up some OK mileage and just trying to do my fair share of pushing forward toward 2015 goals.  I put up weeks of 67.3 miles / 32.2 miles / 66.1 miles and I am near 60 miles at the time of this post after only 5 days this week.  The 32.2 mile week was a trip I made out to San Francisco and San Jose for work.  It's very hard to run on those work trips.  They have us meeting very early in the a.m. to go to the office and then they have us all day.  Lunch is usually with the group and dinner and group events are usually to follow, with no time in between to really get any real training in. Even with two entire days of traveling and sitting in airports, I did manage 4 runs that week but the total was still pretty low.  On one of the off days, we did play Cricket though.  It was pretty fun.  A few of our engineers from India are pretty avid Cricket players and one even played professionally... we rented out a park in San Jose and played for a couple hours.  There are some photos and video but I don't look very experienced in them, so I'll refrain from posting :).

My team at Adobe... Post San Jose Sharks / Panthers game in San Jose

Since the last post I've also been running a decent amount on the treadmill at the Mill in East Madison.  I am not going to overdo that this winter though.  I need to find a nice mixture of roads/snowshoe and treadmill.  I don't want to make the same mistake I made a couple times last year, where I ran on the mill until my legs were beyond beat.  Then it derailed me for a month + at the end of last winter.  I've been doing some doubles but some very easy runs on those days. I've also been trying to hit the pool when I can and do some laps as well as relax in the hot tub after and do some stretching.  I'll plan on trying to be around this ballpark of 70-90 miles this winter to build a base and try to make one more push at some faster times in 2015.

Madison Thanksgiving 5k

I did do one more race since the last post (probably my last for 2014) which was the Madison Thanksgiving 5k.  The results were never posted and it's already a week + later so I'm guessing they aren't going to bother at this point.  I did capture another 'W' in a very snowy 'trail' race.  It could have been a nice snowshoe race as there was about a foot of snow on the trails and it was only torn up and packed down slightly by a snowmobile pre-race. There were a couple of fast dudes in the race and one stayed with me for a little bit (not sure of his name as the results are MIA) but after the race I found out he had been sick...I wonder how things would have been if he was feeling OK.  The other guy that was making me nervous was Conway's own 2014 US Olympian Sean Doherty, who is a member of the US Biathlon team and represented the US in Sochi last winter. He ended up running with his younger brother and they were I think 4th and 5th maybe?  Not quite sure.

It was very slow going on the first loop but then by loop #2 there was a rail of solid snow you could run on, which made things easier.  Because of USATF insurance, they couldn't allow snowshoes so I ran with microspikes over my Mudclaw 265s.  I barely squeaked out a win over another good local runner Andrew Drummond, who was pretty close behind.  I just couldn't put any distance on him after the first loop.  For the effort I won a pair of Julbo sunglasses.

See Joe Viger's entire photo set here.

Dan Vassallo

Also happening since I last updated this thing, Dan Vassallo won the Philadelphia Marathon with an Olympic Trials qualifying time of 2:17:28.  This has been this bloke's goal for years.  He's knocked on the door in the past, but he's run into ups and downs (during his down's he was still always better than me!) in recent years.  This past year he really put things together and it definitely paid off.   Check out LevelRenner's collection of DV-related articles for some links to interviews Dan did as well as video from the Fox morning show in Philly.  Good stuff...and can't be more happy and excited for this kid...

Kevin Beck brought up an interesting factoid about Dan Vassallo being only one of just 3 CMS runners to run under 2:25:00 in the present millennium (Kevin is usually full of interesting tidbits...and often is just plain full of it).   DV, Justin Fyffe (at VT), and Kevin (Boston) himself are the only 3.    DV's 2:17:28 puts him at #3 all-time (individual) on the Central Mass Striders list (behind Andy Ronan and Geoff Smith) with the #5 performance, and pushes Kevin's own 2:24:17 into 19th...  I will update the full list of CMS Marathon times hopefully sometime this month.  Here's a question to Kevin or DD or anyone else who may know... When Andy and Geoff ran their quick times (quicker than 2:17:28), were they wearing CMS uniforms?  I seem to remember photos where one or both of them were wearing maybe a sponsor's singlet... I'll have to do some research on that. DV 'could' be the quickest in a CMS kit unless someone can confirm that during these runs below, they were rockin' the Bud Light / Polar Beverages CMS singlets :)

Here is the top 10 CMS Marathon Times...

Time RankInd Rank# by IndNameDateLocationStateTimePlaceName
111Andy Ronan4/15/91BostonMA2:11:273Boston
22Andy Ronan6/12/05LondonENG2:13:30London
321Geoff Smith1990BostonMA2:13:387Boston
43Andy Ronan1989MinneapolisMN2:13:494Twin Cities
531Dan Vassallo2014PhiladelphiaPA2:17:281Philly
62Geoff Smith4/15/91BostonMA2:18:00Boston
741Scott Bagley11/10/91ColumbusOH2:18:308Columbus
851Dave Dunham12/14/96HuntsvilleAL2:19:502Rocket City
961Reno Stirrat12/12/87HuntsvilleAL2:20:462Rocket City
1071MikeWhittlesey1995MinneapolisMN2:20:4713Twin Cities

Below is a nice photo courtesy of Bob Wiles (yes, Bob Wiles) showcasing DV's celebration tour post-marathon.

USATF-New England Grand Prix Voting

Well, the voting period for the USATF-New England Grand Prix is now open (selection sheet).  If you are a member of USATF-New England, you have until December 12th to vote for races ranging from the 5k to the marathon.  I voted on day one but I screwed up.  I neglected to see the rule about not voting for two 10 milers in the section labelled 'Other'.  It was only on the actual voting survey and not listed anywhere else....and also the actual survey allows you to select two 10 milers without any notification that you can't do that and no functionality to disallow it.  So I sent an email to some folks at USATF-NE and they graciously reset my transcript so I could revote.  It was my fault for not seeing it, so I'm lucky they accommodated me.  The alternative (which they had every right to do) was to throw out my vote (which it says on the form is what they will do if you vote for two 10 milers). I just wish it was on the other pages with instructions (which I did make sure to read) before I started voting on the survey page.

After having my vote reset, I went in and voted but I changed a couple things because I couldn't really pick two 'non-10 milers' or one 10 miler and one non-10 miler without conflicts....So I had to rework my pics around just a couple of races I want to see, and the rest I had to settle for so it would fit and not 'conflict'.

In the end, I voted basically for the Vermont City Marathon simply because I have always wanted to do this race.  It does conflict with a couple of races I've always historically done (Wachusett and Redhook) on Memorial Day weekend but I really want to give this race a whirl and run another marathon before I finally admit I'm slow.  In order to vote for VCM, I couldn't vote for a couple other races I wanted to vote for because it was linked to some other races with conflicts and then of course you couldn't vote for some if you voted for others.  It was kind of a in the end I didn't actually vote for all the ones I technically would have liked to race, but I came up with the slate below (reluctantly):
  • Vermont City - Burlington, VT - May 24 (one of my 'goal' races for 2015)
  • New Bedford Half Marathon - New Bedford MA - March 15 (only because I know this will win... I probably won't even race it, but it will win as it always does, so I voted for it so that I could fit everything else... I wanted to vote for the New England Half (in NH) but there are conflicts I cannot get around if I vote for VT.
  • Lone Gull 10k - Gloucester, MA - Sept 20 (ran once, ran horrible, not a huge fan but it's a good race...probably won't go but we'll's around other races I like to run).  Newton conflicted with VT City.
  • Bobby Doyle 5M - Narragansett, RI - Aug 9 (I wouldn't mind the ride down...I love the thought of a sweaty hot 5M in August... I couldn't vote for Ribfest because it's the day after Mt. Washington and....well...
  • Hollis 5k - Hollis, NH - Jun 11 - The alternatives were an October 5k or a March 5k (YUCK) in Cambridge, thanks.  Even though it's a Thursday night race, Hollis isn't two days before Mt. Washington this year, so it's doable.  Again, not even sure I'll go to any of these though...
  • NH 10 Miler - I wanted to pick this as I've wanted to race it for a while...
  • Nahant (some pages say 30k and some say 25k)... Nahant, MA - Oct 4 - I picked this because I couldn't pick anything else if I wanted VT City and NH 10.  I was kind of forced into this pick... I've run it before and it's not bad...I've even won it :).

Lastly, I have been finally 'let go' from Team Inov-8 (I saw this coming a mile away and it should have probably been done 2 years ago).  I had a nice conversation with the team manager when I was out in San Jose a couple weeks ago.  They are going to reorganize and change up the structure of the team, lessen the load, and focus more on their main star athletes who travel and compete in the bigger stage events worldwide. I get it.  This could have happened to me years ago as the last couple years have been less than stellar and 2013 was a downright disaster for me.  They could have let me go last year but gave me another chance.  I was/am grateful for sure.  I have a massive collection of shoes to use from the last few years and won't be hurting for trail/mountain running shoes or gear for a while.  They are still going to use me for testing so I should be able to try out some random pairs of new shoes here and there, but I won't be part of the team for this year and that's ok.  It was a good run for me and I am lucky as just a 'local' runner, to have been given the opportunity to run for the company and receive the benefits of a team athlete for the last 5 years.  I wish the rest of the team well this coming year and hope to see them out on the trails/mountains if any of them make it to New England :).


An certainly not least... The girls are growing fast... We took a trip over to Settler's Green to visit Santa again...Tabby didn't really cooperate for the photo and Kristin tried to reel her in (that's why she's in the photo)...Morgan didn't know any better so she's looking rather content in Santa's arms...

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):

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...