Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 26 (Sunday) - Weekly Recap and Sidehiller

Photo courtesy of Joe Viger

Weekly Recap:
Days Running: 7
Total Runs: 12
 - Treadmill: 9
 - Road: 2
 - Snowshoe: 1
Total Races: 1
Total Miles: 93

Good solid week of miles. My best week mileage-wise since August of 2012 (when I went down with my foot issues) believe it or not.  I'd like to try to keep a range of 80-100 and be smart about it.  We'll see how it goes. I feel like I'm getting slightly stronger. I've been able to drop a couple lbs as well.  Just need to keep it up and keep chasing miles wisely (when I have time).  I need to renew my membership to the gym soon.  Who would have thought I would have utilized the mill so much this winter. I figured I'd signup and then just go a few times and bag it.  That hasn't happened.  I've put in some solid miles since the beginning of November (solid for me).  I've run 56 times on the treadmill since I signed up in November (with certainly at least 4 more runs or more in the last few days of January).  That is pretty solid indoor training (I've also mixed in some outdoor runs in there as well obviously).  If anything else, it's getting me in the habit of running again.  I have said it before and I'll say it again though. I cannot wait for Spring... I also know how Casey Moulton feels now about RIP....'Running in Place'.  Perhaps treadmill running isn't going to set me up well for a hilly snowshoe race or Nationals for that matter, but it's keeping me motivated and getting me a good base.  Sure I'll probably suck at climbing and single track grinds, but I'm kind of looking past snowshoe and focusing on just getting back into road racing shape, which seemed to treat me well in years past.  I found I could do well at the trail and mountain stuff on some good miles and road training (like DD has done).  I'm hoping all the flat treadmill miles will at least get me ready to go in the springtime.  For now, snowshoe racing is going to help me get some strength work in and have fun at the same time...

January 26 (Sunday) - Sidehiller Snowshoe Extravaganza (10th Annual) - Center Sandwich, NH, USA

Woke up very early after only a couple hours, collectively, of sleep.  Head cold in full swing but amazingly my body doesn't feel too bad.  Just a mile headache and congestion (that is obviously worse when I'm just laying still).  As I moved around and got ready for the day, I got more comfortable.  My back was a little stiff but nothing I'm not a little used to by now.   I headed down to Center Sandwich, NH for the Sidehiller Snowshoe race which this year once again, serves as the US National Championship qualifier (one of them anyways).  It's the only qualifier in NH so the only one I would probably make it I had to go.  The roads were packed with a thin coating of snow and ice from a little snowfall from the night before, so I took the 'scenic' route over to Sandwich. It is always scenic, but I went a little longer and took the more roads rather than risk the slower, windier back roads (which were technically still state roads, but they were slick).  I got there in plenty of time and started to see a slew of fast guys piling into registration, including Brandon Newbould, who I knew was going to be the man to beat.  There was a great CMS presence there as this is setting us up to take a run at the overall team title at Snowshoe Nationals this year in Woodford, VT.

Before I headed over to my car to get ready for the warmup, I talked with RD Paul Kirsch about the course.  Sidehiller changes nearly every year in some way (at least the years I've been doing it).  Some years it's the classic course that goes across the street and up into some climbing and across fields, etc.  Some years it's entirely contained in the fair grounds.  This year was one of those years where it was all in the fair grounds (2 laps of 2.0 miles each for 4 miles).  Ahead of the race I kept thinking it's going to be super fast.  They had an xc ski race the day before so I was envisioning a fast, groomed course and a 'track meet' of sorts.  On the contrary...  Paul used some of the xc ski trail but ventured around some buildings, across some open (ungroomed) fields, and into the woods a little here and there.  The ungroomed sections were SLOW.  Lumpy, soft, sugary snow that would take the wind right out of your sails.  Some of the course had blown over and filled in with snow from the previous night's flurries and wind.  It was a good mix of fast and slow with a couple of ups and downs mixed in.  It would prove to be a great course with a little something (except an extended climb) for everyone.

I threw on my Trailrocs and headed out on the roads for a warmup w/ Steve Dowsett (Whirlaway) who's in great shape right now and putting in some good consistent training.  We headed up and down the usual warmup on Grove St. and talked about the race and training, etc.  It was COLD.  Negative temps with windchill.  When we got back I threw on my Dion orange racing top (which I forgot I had actually stained a piece of furniture in a year or so ago and it had splatters of jacobean stain on it which I covered up with my race bib) and about 4 layers of clothing total, and headed over to the line for some last minute strides and loosening up on snowshoes.  Then we all lined up for some last minute words of wisdom from Paul and we were ready to go.

Photo courtesy of Joe Viger
Photo courtesy of Joe Viger
The race went off and immediately I found myself out front but it wasn't going anywhere fast.  Everyone seemed to be content with letting me lead and so I took it real easy at first.  Very different than my normal snowshoe start.  It seemed about a quarter of the way into the race that it was going to be a tactical race for at least the first lap.  The course went from a mix of fast xc ski/snowmobile trail to sugary slow single track snow across open fields.  A very strange mix of fast/slow/fast/slow.  For a few sections, Brandon looked like he wanted to go around me and would pull up on me but then drop back behind when we hit the single track.  Because weren't blasting, the entire field was catching back up on the single track sections, so the race was playing into the hands of just about anyone at this point.

I continued to lead for about 80% of the first lap including a dicey turn on the end of a steep slope where Brandon had warned me that he crashed through a hole up to his waist on his warmup.  As I made the turn I looked down about 2 snowshoe widths from where I planted my foot and saw the ridiculous hole.  He yelled right as I was about to lean into it and I quickly pivoted away from it.  I was sure someone behind me would wreck themselves there.

There was one more interesting section where you drop down a steep hill and then take a 180 degree turn and head back up.  This is where Brandon went passed me and made his initial move. I let him go, almost settling into 2nd place where I thought I should naturally be.  This proved to be the race.  He was probably 5-6 seconds up on my through the first lap after that as we came up into the main part of the fairgrounds and looped around to start the second lap.

At the start of the second lap I had an OK lead on Kevin Tilton and a surging Bob Jackman who was right on Kevin's heels.  The rest of the pack was spread out a bit.  I was thinking that Kevin could definitely catch me on the second lap if I didn't continue to push at least at the speed I was going at.  So I kept pushing through but thought the second half was going to be slow with the single track.  Amazingly, the second loop proved to be faster by nearly 30 seconds or so.  The single track was now trampled down further from all the traffic from the first loop.  So it made for slightly quicker running even though I was tired.  I was able to hold off Kevin and the rest of the field, but never really closed on Brandon.  He opened up a lead about halfway through the second loop.  I felt like I was closing a little on him, ever so slightly at the end, but it just may have been that he was not pulling away any longer and we were both just reaching for home.  It must have been the easiest win for Brandon he's had in a while it seemed.  One move and then just hang on.  Amazingly on the second loop, the hole looked to have been either filled in or covered over and to my knowledge, no one went down...I am shocked that there wasn't a major issue there.

Photo by Far North

After the race it was up Grove St. again with a good crew of guys including Todd Callaghan (yes, the Todd Callaghan), Jim Pawlicki, Bob Jackman, Ben Nephew, Ken Tripp, DD, and some others.  Good to see everyone again for sure.

The skinny:

Time: 27:39
Pace: 6:48 pace
Elevation Gain: 59 Feet
Place: 2nd

Splits: 6:32.7 / 7:12.3 / 6:32.5 / 6:59.3 + 22 additional seconds for last .07 I had.

This shows how even I ran the first and 3rd miles (essentially identical) and how much quicker the last lap was for me.

Results Here.

Top 20 + CMS in Blue:

1Brandon Newbould31MNottinghamNH00:27:25Whirlaway
2Jim Johnson36MMadisonNH00:27:37CMS
3Kevin Tilton32MConwayNH00:28:11CMS/Dion
4Robert Jackman31MWarwickRI00:28:21TNT
5Ethan Nadeau40MAmherstMA00:28:51aR
6Todd Callaghan44MBeverlyMA00:29:03GCS
7Steve Dowsett25MNewburyportMA00:29:12Whirlaway
8Dave Dunham49MBradfordMA00:29:14CMS
9Nate Bassett26MNorthwoodNH00:29:24
10James Pawlicki39MLynnMA00:29:27CMS
11Ryan Welts34MNorthwoodNH00:29:29aR
12Ben Nephew38MMansfieldMA00:29:48CMS
13Phil Erwin46MWading RiverNY00:30:02aR
14Ken Tripp44MAmesburyMA00:30:07CMS
15Tim Cox40MNorthwoodNH00:30:47aR
16Peter Keeney47MBar HarborME00:30:49aR
17Kenneth Willey31MClaremontNH00:31:29aR
18Jeffrey Litchfield54MHopkintonNH00:31:48aR
19Scott Mitchell44MGreenlandNH00:31:49aR
20Sam Wood27MLaconiaNH00:32:08CMS
25Paul Bazanchuck59MCenter ConwayNH00:33:30CMS
27Abbey Wood28FLaconiaNH00:33:53CMS
29Melissa Donais30FNorth AndoverMA00:34:00CMS
34Ernest Brake52MSuttonNH00:34:20CMS
38Dave LaPierre49MChelmsfordMA00:34:56CMS
111George Boudreau44MDudleyMA00:57:55CMS

119 Total Finishers.


  1. Hey Jim! Good to see you back at it! Have you heard anything about this weekend's GSSS? I'm hoping to do the next two.

    Take care!

    Mark (aka proud alum of Fountain XIX)

  2. Hey Mark, thanks! Good to feel like a runner again (if only a little bit)!.

    No word yet on the Beaver Brook race just yet other than it's still technically scheduled. I really don't know how much snow is in Hollis and how good it is in the woods. I think they've had cold temps down there but not sure how much snowpack there is. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for the Granite State Snowshoe Series. As soon as an update happens, it will be posted there. Hope to see you there! Make sure you grab a hold of me at the race and say hello! - JJ