Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2009 Race Schedule

So I’m pretty excited for 2009. My race schedule is roughly laid out. I’ll be participating in 3 race series next year; the inaugural Granite State Snowshoe Series (6), the second year of the Wild Rover Series (3) and the Western New Hampshire Trail Running Series (7). I’m slated to start 7 ultra’s with high hopes of taking care of unfinished business at the VT100. One of the ultra’s being a 2 day affair down in VA Beach running in the “Whale Challenge” which consists of a 8k on Saturday and a marathon on Sunday. Oddly enough will be my first attempt at a pavement marathon. Also it’ll be the first time I’ve done some serious traveling for races, with 3 potential trips to Virginia. I’ve already started to budget for the races. They add up in a hurry when they’re anywhere from 20 bucks to 200 dollars, and you do 30 of them like I did last year. That doesn’t even include gear, supplies, travel and accommodations…Yikes! It’ll be the first time I’ve run on a “team,” with Team Robert, whose primary members are my father, my amazing girlfriend, and yours truly. We’ll all be running in my custom designed shirt thanks to my friends at Running Banana.com (Show them some support, they are a great company to work with). So if you see someone at the back of the pack wearing a Team Robert shirt, yeah that’s probably me, say hello.

2009 Race Season

Saturday Jan 10, 2009 - Pooh Hill Snowshoe Scramble (GSSS1)

Sunday Jan 25, 2009 - Boston Prep 16 Miler (x2)?

Saturday Jan 31, 2009 - Cobble Mountain Snowshoe Classic (GSSS2)

Saturday Feb 7, 2009 - Sidehiller 4 Mile Snowshoe Race (GSSS3)

Sunday Feb 8, 2009 - Frosty's Dash for a Cure (GSSS4)

Sunday Feb 15, 2009 - Horse Hill 7k Snowshoe Race (GSSS5)

Saturday Feb 21, 2009 - Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe 5k presented by Petzl (GSSS6)

Sunday Feb 22, 2009 - JP McBride's 3-Miler (WR1)

Sunday Mar 1, 2009 - Claddagh Pub 4-Miler (WR2)

Saturday Mar 7, 2009 - PEAK Snowshoe Marathon

Sunday Mar 8, 2009 - Hynes Tavern 5-Miler (WR3)

Saturday Mar 21-22, 2009 - Whale Challenge

Sunday Apr 19, 2009 - Muddy Moose

Sunday Apr 26, 2009 - Mud Muck Moose

Saturday May 16, 2009 - The Fifthteenth MMT 100 (Waiting List)

Sunday May 24, 2009 - Pineland Farms 50Miler

Saturday Jun 6, 2009 - Peak Ultra

- Six in the Stix (WNHTRS1)

Saturday Jun 27, 2009 - All Out Trail Run (WNHTRS2)

Sunday Jul 5, 2009 – The Great Race Triathlon

Friday Jul 10, 2009 - Hillsboro 5k

Saturday Jul 11, 2009 - Sunapee(WNHTRS3)

Friday Jul 17-20, 2009 - The Vermont 100 Endurance Race

Saturday Jul 25, 2009 - Charlestown (WNHTRS4)

Saturday Aug 8, 2009 - XTERRA Stoaked (WNHTRS5)

Sunday Sep 6, 2009 - VA Beach ½ Marathon

Sunday Sep 13, 2009 - Pisgah 50k

Sunday Sep 20, 2009 - Farnum Five (WNHTRS6)

Saturday Sep 26, 2009 - VT50

Saturday Oct 10, 2009 - A Pleasant Climb (WNHTRS7)

Sunday Oct 11, 2009 – Harpoon Oktoberfest 5k

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2008 Recap

I’ve officially declared my 08 Race season over. All in all looking back over the last year I’m pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished. I stepped to the starting line at 32 races and managed to see the finish at 31 of them. The one DNF did and still hurts, but I’m using it as a kick in the ass looking forward.

Notables of 2008:
- I managed to get 5 people who never snowshoe raced in their lives to take the starting line AND finish.
-I was able to turn my lady into an “Ultra-girl.”
-I got to help my good friend John achieve a long time goal of running across the Granite state.
-Finished 6th place in the inaugural Western NH Trail Running Series
-Won the Xterra New England Trail Running Series
-Got to race by my father’s side 4 times
-Participated in the 20th running of the VT100
-Earned my Gold Cow Bell up in Maine
-Season breakdown
2 Snowshoe Races
10 Trail Races
2 Sprint Triathlons
6 Ultra’s
12 Road Races

I don’t believe I broke any PRs in 2008 (i'm still reviewing old results and comparing distances), but I certainly shared a lot of miles with friends and family. I’ll give up a PR to do that any day. I can only hope that 2009 is everything this season was, and more.

January 26 2008
Cobble Mtn Snowshoe Classic 5k

February 24 2008
JP McBride's Frozen Shamrock 3 Miler

March 8, 2008
Pittsfield Snowshoe ½ Marathon

March 9, 2008
Hynes 5-Mile Road Race

March 29, 2008
Winners Circle Running Club April Fools 4 Miler

April 12, 2008
XTERRA Merrimack River Trail Run Andover, MA 16k

April 13, 2008
Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter 10K

May 4, 2008
The 2007 7 Sister's Trail Race

May 11, 2008
XTERRA Muddy Moose Xduro 22k

May 21, 2008
Ocean Bank & Hutter Construction Rock 'N Race 5k

May 25, 2008
Pineland Farm 50 Miler

June 7, 2008
Six in the Stix

June 14, 2008
Pittsfield Peaks Ultra Challenge 53

June 28, 2008
All Out Trail Run 5 Miler

July 6, 2008
The Great Race Triathlon (Teamed with Loni)
1:46:45.4 (Total)
44:27.1 (Bike)
30:59.7 (Kayak)

July 11, 2008
Hillsboro 5k

July 19-20, 2008
Vermont 100
11:32 – 47 Miles DNF

July 26, 2008
Ultimate XC – Jay Edition “Marathon”

August 9, 2008
Xterra Stoked -12.5 km

August 14, 2008
Cigna 5k

August 21, 2008
Saunders 10k

August 24, 2008
Moose on the Loose 10 Miler

August 31, 2008
Race to the Top of Vermont

September 14, 2008
Pisgah 50k

September 20, 2008
Farnum Five - 5.1 Mile

September 21, 2008
Contoocook Carry Tri

September 28, 2008
Vermont 50

October 4, 2008
Applefest Half Marathon

October 11, 2008
A Pleasant Climb 12.5 km

October 12, 2008
Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest “5K” (3.56 Mile)

November 27, 2008
GMAA Turkey Trot 5k
December 6, 2008
Concord Jingle Bells 5k

Saturday, December 6, 2008

2008 Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis

Saturday December 6th 2008 (Race 32)

When my alarm went off at 6am I promptly hit the snooze. Then again 9 minutes later, then again, and by the 3rd time I just turned off my alarm all together. My throat was scratchy, I was coughing, I certainly wasn’t getting up early to get my act together before this race. Minutes became hours in my warm toasty bed. When I awoke again I realized I had about 30 minutes to get up, get dressed, eat and then drive to Concord. What a sight it would have been to have been a fly on the wall as I darted around trying to find my unorganized running gear.

Red Shirt, Check. Santa Hat, Check. Jingle Bells, Check. And off I speed down 202 towards Concord. Every time I drive on 202 now I think of the miles I got to share with the fella’s running across the state. It brings a smile to my face as I drive down what the locals know only as accident alley. The sun is out, it’s a brisk 30 degrees, and it’s actually going to shape out to be a great day to run. I’m pretty pumped, feeling good about things. Proud that this is my 32nd race of the year, glad that I’m still able to do these kinds of things. That A, I’ve got the health to do the races I do, and B. I’ve still got a job so I can afford to pay for the entry fees!

When I arrive at the Middle School on South Street the parking lot is PACKED, yet somehow I find a prime space, the last one (or first one) in the lot. I’m actually pleased with it as it’ll make my exit that much smoother. It’s the standard road racing crowd. Everyone seems to know one another and are chatting about the temps, the economy or busying themselves with their pre race routines. I on the other hand, know no one. It’s something I’ve become accustomed to at these events, but i’m starting to enjoy the people watching. I grab my number, and more jingle bells which I pin onto my shoe. No sign of Jules my coworker who organized team VHB at a couple of corporate races throughout the year in the gym so I made my way to the starting line. I chatted with a few other racers along the way. It still amazes me the people that come out to these. One woman said she has done the race every year since it’s started (hindsight tells me I should have asked how many that was). Many other racers had a look of terror on their face, as if they were unaware of what lied ahead. While doing my pre-race people watching Julie and her husband Brian walk up and say hello. My spirits rise as now I know I won’t be running this alone. They both joke that she was also in the dumps because she hadn’t seen anyone yet either. Brian, still nursing a nagging knee injury will be sitting this one out so he wishes us luck and makes his way out of the mass of runners. It’s quite a scene. Many runners dawn costumes from just Santa hats like Jules and I, to what I believe I saw was a woman in an elf costume with 1’x1’ present that I’m assuming she was going to run the whole way with.

With a loud pop of the starting gun perhaps 300 of us (all wearing jingle bells mind you) made our way down South Street and into the surrounding neighborhoods. Julie and I set our pace and chat away the miles. We don’t really chat too much at work, so it was a nice change of pace. First mile in 8:22, not too shabby, both still in good spirits decide that this is the pace we should stick with. A few more turns, a water stop and then a little climb that forces us to slow our pace just a bit. We let gravity do its thing on the backside of the short hill and knock the second mile out in 8:30. Now running into the sun I smile, open my arms, look to the sky and welcome the warmth. It feels so good to be outside. I count my blessings that I’ve been given the gift to be able to just go out and run a 5k without even batting an eye. I wonder that if someday I’ll be on the other side of the table, accepting donations for the arthritis foundation because I can’t move anymore. I let that thought pass quickly as I notice Jules is falling off her pace. She mentioned she’s run 3 times this week and done some strong core work. I can only imagine that her body is a bit tired and we are just going at a face a bit faster then she is used to. I glimpse at my watch, and then yell over my shoulder, “Common Julie, we’re so close, 24:45!” She grits her teeth and matches my stride. Stride for stride actually, until we crossed the finish line together. At the end of the shoot we high five, we did what we were aiming for, somewhere around 26 minutes and change.

Monday, December 1, 2008

First Snowfall

Thanksgiving had come and gone. I’d eaten my weight in turkey and stuffing over the weekend, drank my fair share of the poison, but today I was feeling rather glum. Loni’s still battling whatever sickness she has and I’ve been fighting off whatever she’s been trying to give me. As we sat on the futon watching a movie it started to snow. First just spitting, then bigger and bigger snowflakes fell. Before too long there was a nice cover of the white stuff on everything.
Something called to me. Something said, “Hey get out there and run in this.” There is only one first snowfall of the year. Sure the diehards will tell you that we’ve already gotten snow this year, but nothing that has accumulated. I’m not sure where I read it, but on a blog or on the web somewhere someone described how good it felt to run in fresh powder and it replayed in my mind. I quickly tell loni to bundle up because I need to go for a run.
It was amazing. I felt alive, the roads were slick as ice, the snow flurries were pounding my face, I was cold, but warm. It was everything I could have hoped for. Loni, still battling her injury, kept me company on her bike. And at every long hill I’d grab her seat with my head down and push her up without her pedaling. My small sacrifice for not training enough was to turn up the suffering on my runs.
It was only a short 30 minute trot around Emerald Lake, maybe 3-4 miles. But I’m ready for snow, I’m ready to push myself beyond the limits that I’ve allowed myself to reach thus far. I’m ready to start snowshoeing, in hopes to finish the Pittsfield Snowshoe Marathon in March. That’ll be my first big test of 09.
Stay tuned

Saturday, November 29, 2008

32nd Annual Green Mountain Athletic Association Turkey Trot 5K

Thursday November 27th 2008

So it turns out my 08 race season isn’t quite over yet. As I head towards “the gut” in Burlington I’m happy that my season isn’t over. I haven’t done a darn thing since the run across NH and it was starting to show. I put in a decent paced 2 miler earlier in the week but this would be the furthest I had run in well over a month. I’m pleased to get the call from my brother confirming that he and my father would be running the race with me. Last year I had to run it solo.

What was once a fairly sunny morning on the drive north turned into the typical Champlain Valley grey dreary gloom. There was 5-6” of snow lining I89 over the mountain, but I was pleased to see that there wasn’t any snow in the valley yet. I didn’t even think about snow and certainly wasn’t prepared to run in it. As it was, none of us were prepared for the cold wind that awaited us at the start/finish line. My father put on his firefighter head warmer, i put on my VT50 touque and we all pulled our hands up into our sleeves and we walked towards the starting line. I asked him if he’s done this before, and I was surprised to find out that this was one of the races that he and I used to do years and years ago, before our hiatus. I guess this race was once run by Ralph Swenson who I’ve come to know through my father and the ultra community. It’s odd how things come full circle sometimes.

The 3 of us stand huddled at the starting line, surrounded by new faces, an oddity with my father and I, who generally know several people and end up hearing plenty of new stories before the start of the race. Instead, we tell Steven that he’s going to have to start running longer, and that when he’s 18 he’s got to run the VT50, and then “earn his buckle.” He promptly denies it… “NO WAY! I CAN NEVER RUN THAT FAR.” It makes me smile because those exact same words came out of my mouth a few years ago. Because this race is another low frills event there is no gun, just a faint “go” from the start of the pack and down the bike path we trot.

Rik and I set our pace at the typical 10 minute miles figuring that’d be a good place for Steven to run at. The first mile of the course is a slide downhill grade along a bike path paralleling Spear Street. Spear Street is a strange bird because you can see the highway, mall, and downtown Burlington, yet it has that country road feel with the huge farm opposite the bike path. Dad and I talk about the upcoming races of 09. He tells me that he’s thinking about doing the Peak Snowshoe Marathon with me in the spring. I’m pretty pumped about that. Generally that race is about 4 hours of solitarily in the woods. I’m generally much slower than the rest of the pack when you put me on snowshoes. Steve starts to feel the pain in his knees. I’m not too surprised by the look of his gate and the way he’s slapping his feet. We give him some advice for the next ½ a mile or so where we make the one of the 3 turns on the course. He says he’s got to walk and my dad and I keep trying to keep him moving forward with positive comments. Rik starts telling me how he’s going to try to get into Massanutten, Badwater and/or Barkley next year. He’s got some high aspirations, but who am I to say. I think it’d be great to get to do any or all of them by his side. So I just shake my head and give a simple, “ok I’m in!”

We notice our 3some has turned into a 2some and we have to double back to push forward the now walking Steve. He wines a little but he starts running again and we continue at the same pace. A few more turns and we pass mile 2, and we’re back onto the bike path heading for home. I’m feeling fantastic, Rik seems to be plodding right along as well. Steven on the other hand, is feeling the pain. The running gods always get one I suppose and today it was his turn. The downhill grade early on was now uphill for the final mile and Steve begged to walk. Rik and I told him to change his stride more towards the “ultra shuffle” and he gives it a try. We start passing people left and right, it appeared that this “hill” as some would describe it was taking its toll on many of the other runners. We keep telling Steven to pick off the “guy in red” or the “woman in pink.” I don’t think Steve is amused but Rik and I know that it’s those small little battles that’ll get you through an ultra, so why not apply them here.

Steve gives it his all at the finish and my dad and I trot in behind him at 31 minutes and change. Not too shabby, with the few little switchbacks we had to do to keep Steve moving, we still averaged 10 minute miles. Sure, not speedy by any means, but when you get to run with your dad and your brother, who really cares about time.