Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 - Year in Review - Video

This year has been pretty epic. I don't think I could have stated that enough in my previous post, but after reviewing photos, it just wasn't.

Here's a slide show.

I love you guys. You make my mornings worth getting up, my runs and stories worth telling, and my dreams and goals worth sharing. I don't know what I'd do without you guys. Here's to 2011!!

Listed in order of appearance:

Yours Truely
Sherpa John
Nate & Son
Captain Snooch McMonicle
Grandma and Grandpa Brochu
John Izzo
Rob & Kiera
Leah's coworker at Yellow Taxi
Mike and Adrienne
"Happy Cloud"

Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 Events/Race Schedule

22nd - Holidays are Over Party (Fortin's)

29th - Bear Brook Fat Ass

19th - Leah's Luah

26th - Birthday Run (30 on 30) Potential Return of the Hammy Slammy course (Details to follow)

5th - Peak Snowshoe Marathon

19-20th - St Patties Day Bash

1st - Muddy Moose

7th - Wapack and Back??

28-30th - Pineland Farms Running/Camping Weekend

4th - Peak Ultra

17-26 - Return to The Maine Woods

July:8th - Hillsboro Balloon Fest 5k

13-14th - Second Annual Summer BBQ Bash

18th - Pisgah 50k

25th - Vermont 50

8th - Oktoberfest in Hillsboro

9th - Oktoberfest in Windsor

16th - ARL - My dogs are Barking 5k

15th-16th - RANH 2011

5th - GAC's StoneCat Trail Marathon

24th - Turkey Trot

27th - Loni's Birthday Run? (Details to follow)



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 Recap - Results

"If you know me, you are well aware that it has been a rough year..."

Was how I started my my 2009 Recap. And as many of you know, 2010 wasn't a cake walk either. The year started with Sherpa and I pushing each other along as we pushed for the longest streak of 1 mile or more days running. His run tapered off as he became extremely busy with school, mine pushed on as a NEEDED escape. My personal journey of trying to buy a home would experience brief peaks of happiness followed by days and days of dark depression as everyone and everything in the system was failing me. I watched my mileage build more than it ever has in the first few months of a year. I spent more miles that any year prior with friends and family by my side. An Ultra a month was John and my goal for one another. We succeeded for most of the year. With Trips to Vermont, Virginia, Tennessee, back to Virginia, Maine, and Vermont in the first 6 months my running travel budget was at it's all time peak. It was by far the best spring, training and running wise of my life.

Unfortunately, buying a home was taking its toll. With failures continuing, and money slipping away, I turned to the bottle to help me escape. Hiding the pain and hurt underneath a BAC of .08 or higher. While running still had a place in my heart and life, cracking a cold one now took higher priority. On warm late spring / early summer nights where I'd enjoy a light jog around the lake, I'd crack 6 or more Coors lights and sulk around the home where i was renting a room. My Pepere' passed away, and while we weren't that close as i got older, i was reminded of the days I'd spend with him as a youth. Dark days those were.

The second half of the year off with a bang as Leah joined me on my annual 4th of July trip to VT. Where we were able to share a 4th of July 5k with my dad and brother. A week later we got a couple of old friends to join us at the Balloon Festival 5k. One doing her first ever race, the other doing his first real run in 3 years. Soon thereafter. I'd disappear into the woods for a week with Dustin and Heather as they continued on their journey to Thru-hike the Long Trail. It was the clarity i left the woods with that I believe helped lead me to my new home. No longer would i try to kick water uphill. It was much easier to just sit back and let this chips fall where they may. I told no one, did nothing, just let the pieces fall into place.

Fall came quickly, and I was able to share the VT50 with new faces, and old. I witnessed a suicide, bought a home, and threw a massive party all in a week. From here the pace slowed drastically. No longer was i constantly scanning documents, dealing with 10 things at work while trying to do my job. My race season dropped off and it was finally time to breath.

All in all, I'd say 2010 was a good year. With any good year/race, it has it's highs and it's lows. You want to quit, you want to just give up and accept your DNF. And at races, I've done this, but in life, man, there's always another day. Always new people to meet, new trails to run on, new mountains to climb, new goals to reach, new lives to touch. And that's the goal for 2011. To expand our little group of Team Robert / Hillsboro Trail Runners outside of our tight knit friend circle.

Here's to sharing many more miles, stories and laughs in 2011!

Notables of 2010:

- Trained more then any year before. (even more than last year!)

- I did more travel for races then any year prior...AGAIN (VA - 2 times, TN - 1)

- Encouraged an old friend to run her first 5k, and got her husband to join

- Started a small little running club on Facebook that has led to us running more and have Event trips in 2011 already planned.

- Got to race by my father’s side 7 times, including the infamous Barkley!

- Raced with my woman in 15 of the 23 times

- Thru-Hiked the Greenway again

- Spent a week on the Long Trail

- Won 2 hockey championships

- Finally ran a Beer Mile

- Was part of two fantastic weddings

- Bought a home!

- Set a couple of PRs & accomplished many of my goals.

Season breakdown
1 Snowshoe Race
6 Trail Races
7 Road Races

9 Ultra’s

Jan 24, 2010 - Hammy Slammy 50k – 6:20

Feb 27, 2010 - No Power, No Problem 50k – 6:40

Mar 6, 2010 - Peak Snowshoe Marathon - 10:15

Mar 20, 2010 – Shamrock 8k – 51:49

Mar 21, 2010 – Shamrock Marathon – 4:30:42

Mar 27-28, 2010 - The Barkley - 1 Loop - 15:39

Apr 18, 2010 - Muddy Moose 14 Miler - 2:58:42

Apr 25, 2010 - Mud Muck Moose - 48:00 +/-

May 15-16, 2010 - Massanutten 100 - 68.7 Miles - 24:00 - DNF

May 29, 2010 - Pineland Farms BF5k - 26:10

May 29, 2010 - Pineland Farms 50k - 6:16:22

June 6, 2010 - Peak Ultra 53 - 16:02
July 4, 2010 - Clarence Demar 5k
- 28:03

July 9, 2010 - Balloon Fest 5k - 43:02

Aug 12, 2010 - Cigna Coorporate 5k - 21:28 (PR!)

Aug 22, 2010 - Moose on the Loose 10M - 43:08 (PR!)

Aug 29, 2010 - Fox 50k - 7:35

Sept 19, 2010 - Pisgah 50k - 6:20:06

Sept 26, 2010 - Vermont 50 - 10:53:15

Oct 10, 2010 - Oktoberfest 3.4 -29:12

Nov 25, 2010 - Turkey Trot 5k - 31:20 +/-

Nov 28, 2010 - Loni's Birthday Run - 6:00 +/-

Dec 5, 2010 - Adam's Run - 39:55

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Goals - End - Year Update

Well here we are, the end of another year. I gave a mid-year update on my goals back in July, lets see how i did overall: (Text in Italics are mid-year updates)

  • Finish a 100 miler
Updated goal - focus on boosting my mileage for McNaughton 2011 in the spring.

Year End update - Focus on boosting my mileage for the sake of boosting my mileage without the pressure of NEEDING to run a 100 in 2011.
  • PR a 5k (22:02)
With 2 5ks past where I got to run with many of my friends past. And only 1 remaining on Thanksgiving, i don't know if this goal is reasonable any longer either.

Year End Update - This WAS accomplished a short two weeks after writing the update. I'm pleased to say my new 5k PR is 21:28, and i did it by running for fun, with no watch, with no pressure, as a joke, in my five fingers.
  • PR a 50 miler (10:51)
This goal is still very attainable and i'd like to think i'll be able to do so come September at the Vermont 50

Year End Update -I thought i had achieved said PR as i sprinted towards the finish line at the VT50. Sadly the math was wrong in my brain. I crossed the line at 10:53:15, thinking i had made it, but after looking back at my results, 10:52:37 is STILL the mark to beat. And i'm confidant i can do it next go around
  • Read a book a month
I was doing well while there was snow on the ground. Since warm weather has hit it's been pretty pathetic. My only thought is if we get some early snowfall and i can make up for the lost time.

Year End Update - Ha! Well, this was a noble gesture on my part to really boost my reading again. Sadly, it failed miserably. And even now, in December, as daylight continues to dwindle, i find it hard to pick up a book and read. In a new house I constantly find something to work on, something to tinker with, something to clean. Hopefully this is something i can remedy in the coming year.
  • Update my blog bi-weekly including month end updates on miles/fitness levels
Same as the book a month. I WAS doing well, but have kind of fell off the wagon. Ideally helping crew at the VT100 and spending a week in the woods along the LT will help rejuvenate whatever I've been lacking.

Year End Update - I was doing pretty good about this for awhile. I'd have weeks where I'd Que up blogs. Others where i felt that i just didn't' have anything to say. So i didn't force it. I'm happy with the decision to not force things up on here. I'd rather have what's posted be pertinent and fun. I will continue to post month end blogs, it's too fun to NOT document the great times i share with my friends.

  • Run more miles then beers i consume.
  • Run 1300 Miles: (Year - 1300, Month - 108.33 +/- ,Week - 27 +/-)
I figured i could combine these two. So far, i'm ashamed to say that i'm probably only 1:1 for my beer:mile ratio. It's nothing i'm proud of, and it's something I can work on. My goal is slowly slipping away and the mileage debt I'm creating is becoming insurmountable. Here's to a big August and a bigger September with Pisgah and the VT50 in there.

Year End Update - Well this is still a bummer. Not only was i unable to maintain the mileage i was putting down earlier in the year, i didn't even come close. I'd say I HAD a big September, but that was where the track ended. After the Vermont 50 I have barely maintained ANY kind of consistency in running. It's something I will need to change if I hope to have any further success in 2011.

  • Weight Train - 2-3 days a week...
.... I'd like to think that someday I'd find it comfortable to do 100 push ups a day for a month. I'll get there.

Year End Update - Sadly this is another mark that I have missed. Life gets busy, things get busy. I haven't made it something i WANT enough. I'll get there, I'm making baby steps, and when i feel like i have something consistent enough to report on, i will.
  • Thru-Hike the Greenway again. Or join D&H on the LT for a week.
Hurray, ONE goal I've actually accomplished!! I've not only finished my second Thru-Hike of the MS Greenway, when this posts I'll be mid-trip along the Long Trail. I suspect approximately 25 miles south of Killington Vermont. While the hiking hasn't counted in my running miles I'd like to think the time on my feet with a 40lb pack helped a lot at Pittsfield last month. And if i play my cards right I'll be able to carry that residual fitness into Pisgah and Vermont in September.

Year End Update - Piece of cake. The week long excursions into the woods are slowly becoming one of my favorite things to do. It provides me with enough time to unwind and unplug from technology without sacrificing taking care of things at home. I'm hoping to do at least one week a year as a thru-hike adventure. Rumors of the AT section in VT in 2011. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

November Recap

"..If being a solo homeowner is going to limit my running time, or if flying solo is going to give me more time to run..."

Well so far, the results are a bit cloudy. I've had waves of running/exercise linking several days together. And other weeks where i could hardly leave my bed.

The first weekend was a blur with many beers being consumed as my bud Ramon visited for the day while his wife shopped up in Tilton. Sunday we checked out Oktoberfest at Pats Peak, but not before we hiked to the top and played on the WWII Bulldozer and the chairlift

The second weekend bought Dustin and Heather to my home for their second visit. Where we were to perform a dry run on The-Thank-God-The-Holidays-Are-Over Party. As in years past they were to host again, with one twist, this time, it was going to be back in our home state. The homemade pasta and bolognese sauce that Dustin pulled together was pretty epic. And of course, the great food was followed by the annual Bad Santa viewing that resulted in massive amounts of drinking.

The third weekend was finally my chance to get my home gym set up. After acquiring a lightly used treadmill off of Craigslist i got the front bedroom set up for morning work out routines. Now I'll just have to use it more often with the weather turning for the worst.

The 4th week brought Thanksgiving where Leah was to join me on my annual trip to Vermont. Leah would be running her 17th race, and on the one year mark to her first one (details here). I would be running with my pop for the first time since Pisgah and probably the last time of 2010. On black friday we were off to gameday. I got to bring Rummikub which is a childhood favorite of mine and seemed to re-spark a love for the game in Leah's family. Later in the weekend it was Loni's birthday run (details here)

With only Grants birthday run planned in December it's going to be a hard month to stay motivated and keep exercising. With the massive amount of food eaten this past week, several holiday parties, Christmas and New Years on the horizon I think I'm sunk.

By The Numbers:

Miles Run:
# of Runs: 13
Average Miles: 3.46

Month Starting Weight: ? Lbs
Month Ending Weight: 172 Lbs
Weight Change: ? lbs

Race Results:
Turkey Trot - 31:20 +/-
Loni's Birthday Run (approx 13.5 Miles) -
6+ hours

Upcoming December Events:
11th - Grant's Birthday Run

Monday, December 13, 2010

Loni's Birthday Run

The last weekend in November was Loni's Birthday. And just like last year, she scheduled another birthday run. Still nursing a nagging injury sustained in VT at the 50 a few months ago the run went from a 31 miler, to a 31k, to what turned into a 13 mile adventure/beverage run! Here's the slide-show-ish recap.

It was a chilling start when the 4 of headed off up Bog road similar to the route Fox50k route she took us on back in August.

Being a slow pace as we all got up to speed I took the opportunity to run off the road to snap some photos of the frosted over streams.

At the top of "the hill" or the turn around point there is a gem of a home that had this at the end of their driveway.

From the turn around it was back towards the house. Grant and I amused ourselves by doing some splunking in a massive split rock in the marsh adjacent to the road.

Shortly thereafter we took another quick pit stop and had a chance to play "pooh sticks" at a culvert. After losing the first round drastically i decided i just needed a bigger "stick."

We all fell in line with one another again and ran up into and around Emerald Lake where we'd make our first pit stop at my new pad. After giving Grant the quick tour we drank our first couple of beers and shots and snacked on some chips and wasabi almonds. Now slightly rested and a few drinks in it was back to the roads and onward to Loni's place for our second stop. Grant and I had a few more beers and shots while the ladies used the rest room.

From here we decided that we'd finally hit the woods. With the rain/ice from a few days earlier still fresh on the trail the pace increased at times, and slowed at others. It was a ball to be in the woods, but with hunting season in full swing, along with hunting being allowed in Fox we proceeded with caution.

The highlight of the day had to be the massive puddle on Concord End Road at the top. There is ALWAYS a puddle here, we debated back and forth about sliding across it, and wondering if we'd fall thru. Finally Grant went for it, after hearing we only had a few miles remaining.

From 2010-11-28 Loni's-BirthdayRun

From here it was off to our good friend Keith's house where he provided the last shot of the day and celebratory beers and snacks. It was fantastic. All in all we covered approx 14 miles in 6 hours and had several beers and shots.

(The Birthday Girl)

The Full photo album can be found here. Here's to hoping my birthday run is half as fun!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Yeah i said it, Politics.

So here we are, a week after elections. People are still riled up about how the Republicans took back SOME of the power in our government. I have a questions to ask you all.

I want to know HOW it's a problem that we have some kind of a split government?
I'm tired of soft headed liberals (no, not all of them, but just the soft headed ones) saying that this is a travesty and the country is screwed. And I'm equally as tired of the super conservatives saying this isn't enough and that Obama is a Muslim terrorist.

Maybe with balance we'll have less bridges to nowhere. Or better yet, less of this worthless spending that I'm sure you've been exposed to incessantly.
That stupid sign costs $500 a pop. Is that really necessary if your POINT is to do the work? We're all broke, we know where the money to build the road is coming from. Based on the shoty work and all of the idiots standing around on their 10th break of the day, we know it's not china. Only good old American state workers put in that kinda effort. We all know holding that slow/stop sign is a real bitch.

How about this little gem.

6 FIGURES?! The household income in the country is 50 thousand. Look at those stats, do we REALLY need that many more government jobs? Where it's impossible to terminate people and they are collecting massive pensions?

Meanwhile, in the real world where THINGS MATTER. We pay our teachers crap, which you know, are then doing a crappier job teaching in the obvious poor conditions. Which in tern, makes those children that people keep pumping out at a record pace more and more dumb. You know, those kids that you are all up in arms about 90% of the time when something is happening.

"But what about the children? WE'VE GOTTA PROTECT THE CHILDREN! Waahhhhhh!"

God for bid we do ANYTHING without worrying about the children. Are you living in a neighborhood with pedophiles? Oh stay away from him Timmy, according to this website he's a child predator because he kissed a girl when he was 18 and she was 17. But we don't care, he's a predator and will need to register wherever he moves now because people are full of fear.

Look, balance is good. If for any reason at all, It's to have the government accomplish NOTHING. After working directly with DOTs for the better part of a decade. Nothing they do is good. At least if there is balance they can just throw mud at each other, blindly vote party line, and forget about the big picture of WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY!

Bottom Line:
~Both sides are corrupt. If you blindly vote party line, kill yourself.
~Forget pissing and moaning on your social network, or linking to some super right or super left column cause you agree complete. It only makes you less credible and ever hate you a little more. ~And get outside and run
(literally) while we still can

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

October Recap

"Oktoberfest is just around the corner! One of my annual staples. Where there will be a ton of food, a ton of beer, and perhaps this year, a new venue... "

October started off with great apprehension. After witnessing a suicide while house sitting for a couple of good friends i was holding my breath for my third attempt at purchasing a house. It's been well over a year since i had started down this trail, each time coming to a dead end. Frustrated and almost at my wits end with the whole process i had decided that this would be my last attempt for some time while i tried to recoup my loses of the previous two tries.

The first weekend Leah and I decided to participate in the EMS 5k in Peterborough. The fall twin of the race where she had hurt her ankle this past spring. This was our first run since the Vermont 50 and we both felt winded from the start. The sun was shining and the foliage was in peak. The trail was dry, and it was a perfect day for a run. After the race Leah and I picked up Loni and we were off to pick our fill of apples.

The two greatest ladies in my life

As the second weekend approached my stress level skyrocketed upon learning that my loan officer or whatever you call them decided she was on vacation. And the woman that was my direct contact informed me that "something had fallen threw the cracks." I almost had a heart attack. So furious i placed more phone calls and did a ton more bitching at people that SHOULD have been doing their jobs so you know....THEY'D ACTUALLY DO IT! Needless to say when Friday arrived and i was actually signing paperwork it was surreal. If it wasn't for Leah's constant reminder i wouldn't have believed it was happening. With under 24 hours of being a homeowner i knew Oktoberfest 2010 was underway. We somehow were able to pull off the impossible. Having an epic party and than our biggest group yet at Harpoons Oktoberfest!
All of the Runners

The third weekend was this years RANH which would take place on the SRK and the MS Greenways. Leah and I had done a TON of work leading up to this years run. Along with Grant and Loni both logging miles on the trail scouting out sections that the hoped to help out with. I was skeptical of how this was going to go based on John and Sarah's lack of participation leading up to the event and that was by far the hardest RANH to date. The results turned out to about what i had predicted. The whole thing still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

The last week of the month consisted of me finally settling into my new home, getting Captain Snooch McMonicle moved in with me, and trying to slow down from the tense & stressful life i had been living for what seemed like forever. With only hours to spare before trick or treating we carved up some pumpkins only to have ZERO trick or treaters. Just as well, more candy for me.

Obviously with everything going on, my running had and still has lacked. I'm not sure what the future will bring. If being a solo homeowner is going to limit my running time, or if flying solo is going to give me more time to run. Only time will tell.

By The Numbers:

Miles Run:
# of Runs: 5
Average Miles: 6.86

Month Starting Weight: 169 Lbs
Month Ending Weight: ?Lbs
Weight Change: ? lbs
(Lost my scale in the move)

Race Results:
EMS 5k - 30 +/-
- 29:12
Sullivan Expo - who knows...

Upcoming November Events:
Turkey Trot
Loni's Birthday Run

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

September Recap

"Last month i said it was going to be slow, this month, the complete opposite. Some Travel to Vermont, a wedding, a brew festival, ideally a PR at Pisgah, and if the stars align there will be a Team Robert relay team at VT50!"

The month started out with my annual trip up to Vermont to catch up with family and friends. Mostly it's the last time i see my snowbird grandparents before they head back to Florida. The weekend was fantastic. I caught up with a few old friends (Jackie and Jason) who i hadn't seen in 5 and 3 years respectively. Played a lot of cards with my Grandparents. Visited the Champlain Valley Fair. Got to kayak with my two aunts and uncle around Kellogg Island. And between Keith, Ramon, and I, i think we drank 40 something beers, stayed up until the sunrise and played PlayStation like foolish teenagers. If anything it was good training to be awake all of those hours for the upcoming RANH adventure.

On the second weekend of the month I got to attend my 3rd wedding of the year. Leah's cousin Alyssa was getting married at a beautiful winery in Sandown NH. The ceremony was great. In a quaint little gazebo overlooking a small field of grapes. The woodwork inside the building was breathtaking. Between the wine and food, and the short bit of dancing i was conned into, it couldn't have been more fun.

Sunday we were off to the Patriots kick-off party at Kiera and Rob's, where i again gorged myself on a stupid amount of food. I can't say I'd ever seen a subway 6 FOOT sub in person, but the handful of us that attended certainly put a large dent in it. Another day of good food, good friends, and good beer. The Pats won right? You can see how much i pay attention to football.

The 3rd weekend kicked off with a trip to the first annual Claremont Brew Festival. Where we all proceeded to drink our share of beer tickets away. Some of us getting magically getting more tickets then others. Rob i believe was photographed at least 20 times. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Sunny, warm, perhaps too much of both of those things. I got burned to a crisp and now two weeks later I've finally stopped peeling.

Sunday was a return trip to Pisgah State Park in Chesterfield New Hampshire. My 7th race there and for the 2nd time in the last 4 years Grant joined me. Race Report Here

Fresh from Pisgah the Hood Park Hockey League's playoffs where my team (Team USA) was the first seed on Thursday night. After a struggling start to the upstart 5th seed team in the first half of game one, we were able to turn things around. Proceeding to the finals and then eventually hoisting the cup. (My 2nd Cup in 3 seasons)

This is where things turn to a blur. mere hours after hoisting the cup i found myself loading a U-Haul truck down in Andover, MA. My good friends Dustin and Heather were finally escaping the prison of Massachusetts after serving a 5 year term and returning to their (and my) birth state of Vermont. After getting in and out of the office for a half a day It was my turn to start packing as much as possible for the Vermont 50.

Once in Vermont it was a short stop off to help the last of the unpacking at Dustin and Heather's new spot in Stockbridge. Which is now going to be my home away from home during the Peak runs as it's 10 minutes TOPS from Aimee Farm. The group of us was off to the Long Trail brewing company for my annual pre-race lunch.

Sunday most of the gang too part of the Vermont 50. Details of that here!

Oktoberfest is just around the corner! One of my annual staples. Where there will be a ton of food, a ton of beer, and perhaps this year, a new venue.

By The Numbers:

Miles Run:
# of Runs: 12
Average Miles: 10.3

Month Starting Weight: 169 Lbs
Month Ending Weight: 171Lbs
Weight Change: +2 lbs

Race Results:
Pisgah 50k - 6:20:06
Vermont 50 Miler
- 10:53:15

Upcoming October Events:
Oktoberfest Road Race (3.6M)
Sullivan Expedition

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pisgah 50k Race Report

Pisgah 50k
September 19, 2010
Team Robert - Pre-Race

Fresh off a strong 16 mile run with Rik and I at Pisgah. My brother Steven was ready to attack Pisgah. My concern for him was that once in the woods, there is no bail out points. So i suggested that Rik and he do the 23k option and see how things go before deciding on heading to Ascutney for the VT50. Rik, Steve and Loni toed the line for the 23k. Grant, returning to my side after a 2 year hiatus, was planning to crush a PR and "whip" me into a PR myself after i made him suffer earlier in the year at Pinelands.

Aparently over the summer Rik had grown some super spicey pepers that he had conned Steve into licking and had brought me one to take home. It was described as being so hot that it "just made your mouth numb," and was transferred to me in a twisted sandwich bag like drugs.

With the standard pre-race chat we were off. Grant pointed at these super fit shirtless guys and said, "those are the guys we're trying to beat right?"
With Grant and I trying for a PR we quickly pulled away from Loni, Rik and Steve who were doing the "easy" race of 23k. Leah was just out to hike, enjoy the day, and work on some downhill training for the VT50 the following weekend.

Grant and I talk for awhile about the course, and how for him it's like his "home course" being his first ultra. And then we talk about how long the first downhill stretch is. We catch Dave Delbac really early on. TOO early on i said. I never catch Delbac this early. Either we were WAY to fast or I was in for a world of hurt later in the day. At the bottom of the first long decent you come to a hair pin turn in a swamp. Normally slippery and dangerous, but this year with the dry weather. Just another photo op

At the first climb the pack we had been running with splits up a bit. One guy, a road runner, was out on his first 50k and asked for some advice on what he was to expect ahead. Other seasoned veterans piping in on details that i had missed out on. It was shortly after here that i took a typical mid-race pee break where you step off the trail and find a tree. In this case i found a tree with an odd view. There was an old 50s sedan no more then 100 feet in front of me near the swamp. Obviously abandoned years and years ago, but it made me smile and think about how these massive trees were once so small or not even there that this was passable by such a vehicle.

Grant looks back at the next climb and see's me gaining. If you know either of us, we're the yin and yang of trail running. While I'm able to climb like a champ. Grant is able to pound the downhills at such a rate that i've never seen. This makes it tough to run together on some days, but also is a great motivator for one another once we've decide we're going to run "together"

For those who've done Pisgah long enough I'm sure you've run into the bee's in the first stretch. Before the start of the race Rik asked "you gonna keep at eye out for people 'dancin'?" Regarding the first time Rik and I had run together and had come across this bee's nest. Rik and I had been chatting until we saw a runner in front of us lose his mind and freak out. It wasn't until we were in the nest ourselves that we knew what was up. Luckily for us, this year. No bees were to be found. I quoted GIR and cracked up as we rolled into the first aid station

I feel that we're still going way to fast through the first aid. We catch up to
Julie on the next climb. Julie is another strong New England Ultra Runner that normally i cross the path with at Pinelands, Peak, or the VT50. We chat for a bit to pass the miles. How she might be at Vermont or perhaps in VA picking up another rescue dog. Joe huffs and puffs past us, we catch him again at next climb. He asks over his shoulder, "you must have done this before." We lose him again at the next downhill, only to stop and take a photo of a cool balanced rock before rolling into the next aid station. Grant and I climb up switchbacks talking about P90X. How i've heard nothing but good things about it, and how he and his girlfriend have been talking about getting it. At the top of the climb joe catches us once again. Only this time to pull ahead for good. As we climb up Chesterfield Hill we catch up with another GAC runner who's fast. Chris i believe. Grant scoots ahead and runs into the 2nd aid with those two with me in tow. I'm already starting to feel the effects of the swift start.
From the second manned station it's a climb back up to to where the 23k-ers tie miles and hours ago. Here i finally decided to add the gatorade mixture into the my nathan backpack. Hoping that the minimal extra calories will help get the lead out of my legs. I tell grant i'm hiking ahead knowing that he'll catch me on the next decent. I wasn't joking, just after the trail leveled out Grant came up on me like i was standing still. still saying he was feeling great. He might have been feeling great, but i had to pull out my camera to snap a photo of how i was feeling. At the 17 mile aid station, we were told we were, "about mid pack." Which at this point of the race was better then I ever had been. We tried to wolf down some food but we both decided that eating store brand fig newtons was like eating concrete as the sometimes delicious treat turned into paste in our thirsty mouths.

Then the summits, or rather, the 3 false summits before the actual climb up Pisgah. This was where i would excel and turn things around if I was going to. Grant, who claims to not be a strong climber, kept up with me step for step.
(Grant and I at the summit)

As we come off the top, Grant has a look in his eye. He's gotten over the worst part. He'd been telling me all day that i was going to lose him on the climb. And that we wouldn't know how we were doing for our PR goal until we reached the Kilborn Loop. On the decent into the aid station, i told him to just go ahead. And ahead he went. He was leaving the aid with John Izzo as i rolled in. I was hurting something fierce. I grabbed a banana, some pretzels, and quickly leave. Knowing i wouldn't catch either on the down, but perhaps at the long climb at the bottom i'd stand a chance to real them in.

I ate so much food, and drank so much water on that loop. I caught Izzo just long enough to ask him how he was doing to which he said. "i don't think you're going to catch your friend." Then he disappeared as well. I was done. Totally done. I wanted nothing less that to be out there anymore. When i came back into the aid station Leah and Loni were waiting for me. They offered to help, but i wanted none of it. I topped off what i could in my pack. In 26 miles, and approx 4.5 hours. I'd drank about 5 liters of water and had only pee'd once. And STILL was battling cramping whenever i would link a stretch of running. As Leah and Loni walked with me up the access road they told me that Grant had come through 15 minutes before. And Izzo maybe 10. It took a lot of effort to walk PAST Leah's car and continue up the trail. I hadn't run with another soul for about 6 miles when I met up with Paula. She was another GAC runner that i had spent time with on the trails on countless occations. She mentioned to me that she was the "unfriendly runner" from Sherpa John's VT100 Race Report. But had told me that with the backstory that she had been puking for hours and hours. She didn't need to defend herself to me. I laughed and told her, "yeah, Sherpa is that kinda guy. He certainly knows how to start something with just
a few words." She told me that if i wrote about her i'd have to write something nice. And I had no reason not to. The chat we had took me out of the doldrums that i had been in up to this point in the race. All of a sudden I had some new found speed and I was off down the trail. She was obvoiusly a vet of the race as well, and told me to, "save her a burger."

4 runners and two climbs later I saw someone ahead i recognized. It was Izzo! for the next mile i quietly stalked him, slowly closing in, but not close enough to where he'd hear my footsteps. Deciding where the best place to pass would be. Then all of a sudden i recognized where we were on the trail. The final turn before returning to the road back to the fire station. It was on. I flew down the trail and patted him on the back at the gate. "Get the Lead Out John, I'll save you a burger!"

Then he started to run. *F* i thought, i was already dancing on cramping up due to the running it took to catch up with him. I maintained my pace and out of the corner of my eye i see him jump a little. Then a yelp, then more jumping and groaning. He was also battling cramps and the short jaunt caused him to do the same thing i was just avoiding. I ran the next two miles with my head on a swivel. Looking back to make sure he didn't catch back up to me. One runner passed me as i was snapping photos of the farm. It was too nice to not spend the 15 seconds for.

I rolled in well after Grant, who'd really put the hammer down since the last time I'd seen him. Coming in well ahead of his previous Pisgah and 50k PR times. Loni, Rik and Steve had come in happily hours earlier. Steve, had a last bit of speed himself, leaving the others in his dust at the last aid station. Me, I rolled in at 6:20, nothing special, about 15 minutes off my 50k PR, but, it was the fastest i've run this race in the 8 years i've run it. No complaints here!

Complete Photos Here

Team Results:
Steve -3:29:07

Loni -3:33:44

Rik - 3:34:05

Grant - 6:07:21

Josh -6:20:06

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010 - Vermont 50 Race Report

Vermont 50 Mile
September 26, 2010

(The Gang post our Pre-Race tradition of lunch at Long Trail)

(Poor Pre-Race photo, but it'll have to suffice)

"I'm going to run with this guy!" John exclaims to someone talking about me. I laugh and tell him if he's going to get me to run with him he's going to be setting a PS, a Personal Slow. We laugh, the buzz of the crowd. And for once in many a year, we started on time.

We trot down the road at a respectable pace i felt. Gilly asked, "are we going too slow?" Boy i hoped not, Leah was starting to pant and i was already saying things like "man the start of this race has too much running." The banter bounces around to Leah's awesome comment the day before of, "Vermont is kinda bumpy," to talk about Kermit the Frog watching 2 girls one cup on YouTube. John's bright idea of Two Girls, One Tent, but nothing sexual, just two Gilly and her sister playing chess. "It'd go viral in an instant!" It was around here that John proclaimed he was going to ride the moose and i was able to snap a quick photo that he said would be as classic as his pizza slice photo

(John molesting the Moose)

John disappears up the trail but I trot between Gilly and Leah for the next mile and pull them out of the Coon Club and up the trail. They both chat as i ran ahead with a couple of younger fellas. One guy had biked here last year and the other guy was a road runner that had the great proclamation of "a 50k? Why would you do that? If you are going to do a 50k you might as well just do a 50 miler." I laughed and simply said, "We'll talk again after Dugdales." I wished them well and stepped off the trail and snapped a photo of the ladies who were chatting along together just behind us.

(Leah and Gilly chatting away on the climb)

Somewhere in here Gilly gets a burst of speed and leaves Leah and I in the dust. We fall in line next to 2 other guys. The dude on the end looks at us and goes "are we off to see the wizard?" One of the guys was named Paul, he had military background, not sure of which field now and he told us a game he and the other copter pilots play when flying across the country. If you can spot a school bus, a trampoline, and a swimming pool in one yard, the other guys have to buy you a case of beer. I can only imagine how many cases of beer are dished out on that trip.

Leah and I roll into Skunk Hollow well ahead of her goal time. She's more than happy. Peter (her father and 2nd on their relay) snaps a photo and then takes off. I refill my gear, grab massive handfuls of food and kiss Leah goodbye. I look around the station. Where's Gilly? huh, she must have gone in and out. So i leave in haste in hopes to catch her on the next climb. For those of you familiar with the course, you KNOW this climb. It's a 1-2 mile dirt road climb that Vermont Post Card Photographers dream of.

(Vermont Countryside)

I catch up again to Paul, this time with a woman who paced her husband here last year, and Clayton, a fella from Jaffrey who came in 5th place earlier this year at the Morefun Wapack race here in New Hampshire. She looks at me and goes, "based on what you're eating, i have to assume you've done this before." I look down, I've got 3/4 of an orange, two quarters of a turkey sandwich, and 3 potatoes dipped in salt still. Mind you this is 1/2 a mile out of the aid station. "Yeah, a couple of times," I'm able to get out between gulps.

(Running the climb?)

While they were all virgins to THIS race, they had one thing i didn't. Urgency and the ability and desire to run UP this slight slope. So needless to say, i let them go and snapped a bunch of photos. You can't beat this stretch, it's just too awesome to rush through. Also, if you've run this race before, had you ever taken the time to see the MASSIVE cow sculptures on the hill to the left? I bet you haven't.

(Cattle Sculptures)

At the top of the climb you turn left down what you'd have to assume is someone's super long driveway. Normally the course leaves the driveway and goes into what i've dubbed "fern gully" for the last few years. This year that side trail was covered with wrong way signs and the course continued down the steeply sloped, hard packed drive. I was bummed. Not just because one of my favorite segments of the course was gone, that the short relief from road that always provided me before the LONG road stretch to Garvin hill. Which if you ask me, is the worst, most monotonous stretch of the course.

(on the climb up Garvin)

I start up the hill with a guy from Bellows Falls, a woman, and a Death Race finisher. He talks about how tough the course was. About how they made them memorize Greek this year. I overhear it and remind him, "didn't you have to carry pennies and eat onions too?" To which he shakes his head and goes "yeah, 30 pounds of pennies!"

(Views from the top of Garvin)

As much as the views are nice, i know i'm burning time. Add in the fact that i know the long road stretch is done and my mood was already improving. Armed yet again with a handful of oranges, pretzels and watermelon i head into the woods. Popping out a few miles later to seeing a woman walking her three dogs and a horse. I could only laugh. In the city they make you keep your dogs on a leash, here in Vermont, only your horse.

(Woman walking her "pets")

Somewhere in the next stretch i met up with another GAC member named Roy. We chat awhile about other races we've done. He was at Pisgah with me a week prior, but an hour back so we never had spoken. He's a much faster runner, but i keep catching him on the climbs. He put it so well after we leapfrogged for awhile. "You're just geared differently." It was brilliant. Simply put, yet almost exactly the term I'd always felt for myself on these things. Or well, the gear i put on myself due to lack of training. I tell him that I'm rewarding myself at the fire place with the chairs to a good 2 minute sit.
(views toward Blood hill and Askutney from said chairs)

I catch up to Roy again breifly before getting into Margaritaville. We chat about how we've run together countless times up to this point, but had never really ran any miles together. He says this is why he loves running these things. You meet so many different people. One woman that he had run with at a 100 a month ago out west, had won the race a few years prior. The last thing he said to me before we parted ways at the aid station was. "A woman told me once at an Ultra, 'Nice work!' to which i said, 'lady, work is what i do on Monday, i do this for fun!'"

(Coming into Smoke Rise (Margarittaville))

I leave the aid station with a full cup of soup, a turkey sandwich, and more watermelon. I wolf down food as i walk past the long driveway up to the mile 76 aid station of the Vermont 100. A woman catches up to me and we chat a bit before her and the fella she's been running with blast down the trail ahead of me. I feel like i'm turned around. They've added new singletrack here. I suspect to make up for the trail lost back at "fern gully." I start playing leap frog with some bikers. They huff and puff on the climbs and i pass them, then they come screaming past me on the next down. I state on one long down,"aid at the bottom of the hill!" To which, three turns later, crap, nope, two more monster climbs loom ahead.

Finally the last decent into what appears to be an empty Dugdales? Huh? Where is everyone? Quickly i see that the new location in the Silver Hill Field up and out of the road. Leah and her dad give me a hug and a high five respectively. I ask how everyone else is doing. Ed was long gone, Sherpa shortly after him, and they hadn't seen Gilly or Loni yet. I grab a bunch more food and take off down the trail groaning "Ungh, i just wanna be done with this!"

(The old pick-up truck as you approach the singletrack on blood hill)

I LOVE this stretch of the course. Knowing that John was only 30 minutes +/- helped. I had someone to chase, and if there was anywhere on this course where i would make up the time. It was here. I saw people i hadn't seen in hours. Laughing and making comments like "if you think this sucks for us, imagine the poor souls on that tandem bike!"

(Watch out, Bikers Endo-ing, get your camera's ready!)

At Falloon's the crew was pretty sad. I was greeted to a "help yourself to what little we have left." It was mildly disturbing to know that i was so far ahead of where i was last year, but there was hardly any food left. I didn't grab quite as much as i would have normally figuring the people behind me would like some. I look at the guy next to me and say, "off to the love shack!" He looked at me like i had gone quite mad.

(The Love Shack)
Shortly afterward the shack, while i was eating my last slice of watermelon i spotted a "Sherpa 'Shroom" note and quickly snapped a photo.

After Falloon's normally you just shoot out next to the top of Silver Hill, this time the trail turned and more "new" single track was ahead. It was great, i was having a ball. As Goodman's was getting closer, either i was getting slower or the runners behind me were getting faster. At the long road approach i turned around to see what at one point was no one, to see about 8 runners. I grabbed 2 quarters of grilled cheese, 2 quarters of turkey, pounded down two cokes and blasted down the trail. I managed to stay ahead of the crowd for another two miles before they passed me. Roy and this other guy passed me like i was standing still. It was a tad un-nerving, i couldn't tell if i was going really slow or they were just really fast.

(The view that all VT50ers want to see)

As i close into Johnson's my stomach gurgles, I'm amazed that somehow I'm hungry. So i pound down my last fruit cup and two Gu's hoping that it'll give me that last bit of boost i need to roll into the aid station where Leah awaits. As i cross the bridge i see Leah running toward me.

"Yay! John is just ahead of you" - Leah
"John... Sherpa John?" *puzzled look* - Josh
"YEAH!" -L
"What time is it?" - J
"4:40" - L
"OH F ME! I've got 34 minutes to run 2.8 mile to catch Sherpa and set a PR!" - J

And that was it, the race was on, no more whining, no more nothing. I put as much food in my hands as possible, pounded 3 cups of coke, and left the aid station. "Jesus baby, you're 48 miles in and you're still kicking my ass!!" Leah panted behind me as i marched up the climb. I catch John "Not Sherpa" Larcroix at the 2 mile mark. I tell him if he see's Rik before i do to give him hell that he's not here and I'm off. Leah mentioning time every couple of minutes, and I'd curse and pick up the pace. As we cross the ski slope i see someone finally.

"hey, is that john?" - J
"yes" - L
"don't say anything until i catch him" -J
(the plan was hatched)

John looks over his shoulder
"WHAT!? OH NO!!" - SJ
"I've been running you down since Coon Club you M-er F-er!" - J
"wanna run in together?" - SJ
"if you hurry up!, i got like 2 minutes to set a PR!" - J
I speed down the trail and i hear John yelling out "i'll take FIVE, FIVE PIECE NUGGETS!"
I smile and grit my teeth and try to run down Roy who was just ahead.
I sprinted across the finish line just behind Roy, and looked at the time.

I happily take my medal and shake Mike Silverman's hand and thank him for another amazing year. Loni was at the finish, she had been pulled at Dugdale's but was very happy of her performance, as was I. Sherpa and his co-runner came in shortly after I. Gilly scored her redemption from missing the cut off at Johnson's last year and rolled in under an hour later. Dustin and Heather joined Leah, Loni, Peter, Ed, and I for some post race beers.

(Post Card Photo Op)
Just like last year though, this finish has a twist. I had run this race believing that my PR was 10:56. When i came in at 10:53 i was pumped. Sadly on the drive home, i discovered that i had beaten this years time by under a minute two years prior. Oh well, better luck in 2011!

Team Results:

Team Patriot (Leah, Peter, Ed) -9:30:22
Josh -10:53:15

Loni -32 - 8:06 (Missed Cut Off @ Dugdales)

Friday, September 3, 2010

August Recap

"August is going to be a pretty quiet month i think..."

August started out where July left off as i continued to push towards a PR at
Pisgah. Grant and I decided to hit up a stretch of trail on the SRK Greenway. The same section that Sherpa and I were going to run a month ago before we had car issues. The trail was pretty rugged. After getting lost several times in the first few miles, then again climbing Ragged. It was a pretty tough trail to follow and I'm glad i had Barkley under my belt or i feel like we could have easily ran 10 miles out of the way. Overall it was a perfect day for a run and we were both happy to knock out the 19 miles and have planned on doing another section soon.
(From the Ski Lift on top of Ragged Mtn)

So if you read my post a few weeks back you would recall me being mildly disappointed to not have an opportunity to run a 5k pr this year. Well i had forgotten that my company puts together a corporate team for the Cigna 5k held in downtown Manchester every August.
Not being one to turn up a free race, i of course join the team. Feeling fat and sloth like i had no intention of coming close to a PR so just for a laugh i decide to run in my fivefingers. Well apparently that's just what the doctor ordered. I sprinted across the finish line in a post-HS PR of 21:28, beating my previous time by over 30 seconds.
(Suz and I pre-race)

The second weekend marked the first annual Summer BBQ Party. A concept that had been in the works for about 3 years now to fill the summertime party gap and having a total excuse to cook retarded amounts of food and drink retarded amounts of booze. With other parties and obligations that come with anything scheduled in the summertime i expected a small turn out. I'm glad i cooked as much as i did because i think we had 20-30 people show up and it turned out to be a damn good time. Tons of laughs, burnt lots of wood, smoked up 20+lbs of pork and almost filled a 50gal trash big with empties.

The third weekend was going to be awesome. After missing out on the concert earlier in the year in New Hampshire I saw that Great Big Sea was playing at an outside concert in South Pomfret VT. Not only have i wanted to see this band for over a year now, it's playing in a spot in Vermont that's near and dear to me being part of the Vermont 50/100 Courses.
(GBS at Suicide Six)

The show was most excellent and we've already decided that we are going to see them again the next chance we get. After the concert we had to jet home and catch a few hours of shut eye before heading down to Nashua NH where we were to run the Moose on the Loose 10 Miler. Leah, Suz, and Gina were to relay the event. While Grant and I were aiming for a Sub 1:24 (to give me a PR at that distance). The weather was cool and overcast and it couldn't have worked out better. The ladies finished unscathed in a respectable 1:34:30 and Grant whipped me to a 1:20:54 10 Mile PR.

Weekend 4 was supposed to be a relaxed weekend by Lake Merrymeeting at a house that Mop and Kristen had got in a raffle earlier in the year. Unfortunately, my home inspections could only be scheduled on Saturday so we had to dash back from the loon filled spot at day break. Before we left we were able to have a wonderful fire and enjoy some camping under the stars with some great people.

Back in Hillsboro and stuffed to the gills on turkey we made preparations for Sunday's Fat Ass 50k that Loni again was hosting. Between her efforts to cram as many miles in before the VT50, and Grant and I's goal to PR at Pisgah we were ready to go come 6am. Leah was the wild card, she had mentioned that she wanted to run some, but her ongoing ankle battle had taken it's toll on her training regimen. Luckily today she got a boost of confidence running over 12 miles with us. The miles past quickly and we finished in approximately 7:35.

Last month i said it was going to be slow, this month, the complete opposite. Some Travel to Vermont, a wedding, a brew festival, ideally a PR at Pisgah, and if the stars align there will be a Team Robert relay team at VT50!

By The Numbers:
Miles Run: 108.5

# of Runs: 22
Average Miles: 4.9

Month Starting Weight: 169 Lbs
Month Ending Weight: 169 Lbs
Weight Change: 0 lbs

Race Results:
Cigna 5k - 21:28
Moose on the Loose 10 Miler
- 43:02
Fox Fat Ass 50k - 7:35

Upcoming August Events:
Pisgah 50k
Vermont 50 Miler