Sunday, December 14, 2008

NETT scores big at Mt. Hood and enjoys the fruits of their labor

It was a busy weekend for the NETT crew, mixing with the Assault on Mt. Hood XC Race in Melrose on Saturday and another wildly successful brunch run on Sunday at Casa de Miller-Medzon.
At the Assault on Mt. Hood, it was the NETT ladies who were all smiles, easily defending their women's crown with a top-notch team led by Adrienne Cyrulik, Mary Smith, Karen Ringheiser, Katherine De Zutter (seen here), Karyn Miller-Medzon and Chrissy Durden. (Note results on coolrunning are innacurate and RD has confirmed NETT's team score well ahead of the other women's teams). After their impressive win at Andover a couple weeks ago, they really have gotten used to the paparazzi attention.

On the men's side, it was all the Mini Ponies finishing up in third place (by a mere two points). Team members included Crazy Dave, Chris Smith, Ryan Hunt (an early NETT runner that comes out of semi-retirement each year for this race), Martin Bures, Dima Feinhaus, Jack Burke, (who brought along not only the always lovely Jen this time, but also his brother Paul) and Jim De Zutter.

Just as last year, the Assault on Mt. Hood was capped off with a great post-race party including free beer and a plentiful pasta dinnner that can't be beat. Age-group awards included the much sought after Tough as Nails Ale homebrew.
More photos from the Assault can be found here on the Melrose Running Club's site.

On Sunday, it was the NETT holiday brunch run hosted by the ever hospitable Miller-Medzons. After a nice run down to Fresh Pond, it was back to the house for a great brunch at Dr. Ron's waffle house. It was a great chance to relax and socialize for NETT members old and new. Special thanks to Ron, Karyn, Noah and Daniel for the hospitality.

There was even a nice surprise at the brunch some of you might have missed--Oona proposing to Doris, which came as a surprise to almost all of us--especially Bridget and Crazy Dave! Thomas, however, seemed to be unphased, yawning at the prospect of a second mommy, and more concerned with what everyone was planning to be for Halloween next year.

And with the Patriots capping the weekend off with a thrashing of that biker gang-turned football team, it was just about the perfect weekend anyone could hope for.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

NETT dominates Andover XC Race again

It was a tour de force for the NETT teams at the Andover Country Club XC Race today in Andover, Mass. with the men's team easily taking their fifth team title and the women battling it out for a four-point win to defend their own title.

The men's team was just an army of MiniPonies galloping around the golf course, winning with a score of 25 points. The massive squad included: Paul Miller-Medzon (the M-M family liked Paul and Alex so much they decided to adopt Paul, apparently), Crazy Dave, Dave Mingori (who ran out of his mind in a PR time), NETT rising stars Pat Dwyer and Martin Bures (see how tightly bunched the four NETTers are here), stalwarts Jerry De Zutter, Paul Young and Frank KJ, Janos Mako, XC star in training Brian Scanlon, Noah "Little Skittles" Miller-Medzon, trail expert Jack Burke and the always enthusiastic Jim De Zutter, who threw down the hardest kick of the day flying to the finish line. That's a baker's dozen of coyotes out there ripping up the course for our fifth straight men's team win at Andover, dating all the way back to 2004.

The Ponyettes had a much tougher job, in an extremely competitive women's field, but definitely rose to the occassion, successfully defending their title with a tiny score of 14 points, only four points in front of AHS (?) in second and five points in front of MRC in third. Led by Adrienne Cyrulik, who's wrapping up a very strong fall, the women's team also included Tina "I hate trails" Wang, rapidly rising star Katherine De Zutter, NETT newcomer Peggy Davis and a slightly disabled Karyn "Eminem" Miller-Medzon and trail expert Chrissy Durden. Jack's better half Jenn was also ripping it up out on the course (just in case she thought her great run went under the radar).

All in all, it was a banner day for our growing team. Special thanks go out to Dr. Ron's Daycare as well as Alex Miller and Jimmy De Zutter for their steadfast support of NETT.

One thing you notice in reviewing the photos is the groupings of NETT runners working together. Dave H, Dave M, Pat D and Martn all ran close. Jerry and Paul ran their umpeenth race in close proximity. Chrissy and Eminem were neck and neck. Photos even show Jack and Katherine pacing together mid-race. Great stuff.

NETT fun fact: Andover was the first race we did as "NETT" back in 2002 (see results here), when the men (we didn't even dream of a women's team back then-we didn't even have uniforms yet) finished second with 69 points.

Friday, November 28, 2008

NETT Thanksgiving Racing Roundup

There were Mini Ponies out at all turns on Turkey Day. Here's a quick rundown of some of the highlights:

First off, here's a report from Frank KJ out at the Stow Gobbler, in Stow, Mass.:

"It was a fast and flat 5K course that is actually closer to 5.1km than 5km. 500+ runners/walkers in its second year. I came in at 17:49, 7th overall, 2nd master. Jerry 18:02. 8th overall, 3rd master. Jerry claims I am now a professional runner since I am out of work. Personally, I believe the 3 years age difference is starting to show ;-)Tina 21:08. 8th overall, 1st in her age-group. Continues her natural talent for picking races at which to shine. Katherine De Zutter zipped along in 22:31, 15th overall, 4th in her age-group. She's definitely learning and improving each race with some guidance from here dad, Jim Jr. who finished in 26:37.,193rd overall; Jim Jr. keeps shaving off the pounds and the seconds.

After the race we headed over to Jim Sr's place for the traditional De Zutter Thanksgiving 5K run aka the Tri Town Turkey Trot."

Over at the Feaster Five in Andover it was Frank White in 28:33, Karyn M-M in 38:30 in the 8K and Karyn's sons Daniel in the 5K (21:33) and Noah (23:22), who took second in his age group of 283 kids!

Over in Somerville at the Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 miler, it was Crazy Dave in 22:23, Pat Dwyer a few ticks back in 23 flat and Chris Smith in 23:25.

And a late-breaking note from John Kinnee who ran the Ayer Firefighters 5K (which starts basically 100 yards from his door!): "The Ayer race went great yesterday. I finished 5th overall in 16:54. [John's friend] Halaina was the first woman in 18:30 and won by 1.5 minutes. I'm psyched to break 17 and I want to continue running hard for a while. When is the first BU inddor meet?" Talking BU meets already! Good sign for Young John.

Our pal Vlad Luppov popped up at the Thanks4giving 5 miler in Lowell, running 30:29 for 5 miles!

I'm sure there's more out there, so will post as I get time. Congrats to all. On to Andover!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Brunch Run Fattens NETT Ranks

We all had a great run and brunch at Frank and Tina's place today. The five-mile group sped around the Battle Road Trail while the longer group followed Frank over the river through the woods, quite literally.(Adrienne teaches the boys a lesson in common sense)

We had the usual stalwarts (I always hated that term--stalwarts--sounds like something you catch in a public restroom) along with some new faces coming out. While we don't keep very accurate records, it's likely the largest group run in NETT history. Everybody chipped in with the massive food spread, but special thanks have to go out to Jim D and his fam for the extra efforts on the food prep--what a great spread. This guy keeps showing up with piles of turkey, he's going to be in great shape because he's going to get invited to a LOT of runs.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

DimaD resurfaces—on Dorney Lake

Bad news for the runners in the U.K. Dmitry Drozdov aka the Russian Rocket has begun running again across the pond. He recently crushed the competition in a 10K around Dorney Lake near his home. Here’s his report:

“The Coyote shirt is running again. Too bad New England is abbreviated. I managed to run 10k under 33 minutes with almost no training. The second guy was around 35 minutes. This was a cancer research charity race around Dorney Lake which is the rowing venue for London Olympics. The place is 3 miles from our house.”

Where's Dima? Look for the biggest grin. WE know why he's smiling, don't we?

Congrats Dima. Great to hear. Dima makes friends so easily, doesn't he?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mini-Ponies swarm the Busa Bushwhack Trail Race

Holy Coyotes Bat Man!

It was an all-out trail running assault at the Busa Bushwhack in Framingham on Sunday, as the NETT runners were out in force, showing up in various age groups, genders and distances in the results.

In the 9.3 mile race, on the men's side NETT had three in the top eight finishers (John Kinnee--no longer fighting for the dark side--as well as Dave Mingori and Chris Smith), and four in the top 13 with Dima Feinhaus thrown in there. We had the top two masters, (Dave Mingori and Chris Smith) and Bogie D proudly flying the NETT flag out there.

Chris gets the "how to make a hard race harder" award as he struggled with a deviant contact lens most of the race and wound up losing a good chunk of time and about 50% of his vision by the time he hit the tape.

On the women's side, defending champ Adrienne Cyrulik shaved more than a minute from her time last year, but the women's field was just outstanding this year. Adrienne finished a very strong 6th woman overall, 5th in her division. And Karen Ringheiser, with only a week's rest after the Baystate Marathon, churned out a very good run to finish second master.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!! In the 5.3 mile race NETT's Paul Young took the win in a very speedy 31:36. (Editor's Note: Mr. Young's been on a victory march of late, also winning the Diamond Hill trail run and the Stone Tower 15K). Dima's 14-year-old son Issac finished 18th overall in 40:29 and got an autograph from Richie B himself.13-year-old NETT newcomer Katherine De Zutter finished in 45:15, outclassing her dad, Big Jim De Zutter, who ran his second race of the weekend in 51:43. This guy has caught the racing bug!

Where was big Jim the day before, you may ask? Why he was ripping it up out on the trails Saturday with little bro Jerry out at the Wachusett Reservoir Deer Run, another NETT favorite. Jerry skidded around to a third-place finish in the 10K while big Jim took 14th in the 5K.

All in all, it was a great weekend for the NETT teams out there. And what better race to support than the one to honor the one and only Rich Busa, a living legend if ever there was one!

All photos courtesy of the Michael Laing & Glenn Meister and the Greater Framingham Running Club. For more photos, go here.

Mary runs phenmoenal debut marathon in Manchester

Not only was it a fast debut marathon for Mary Smith at the Manchester City Marathon, but it was a smart one too.

Mary started off running relaxed and comfortable and by the halfway point in the race, when the crowd thinned dramatically with the drop of the half-marathoners, she got down to business, cranking the pace down to 7:45s and passing people left and right. By the last mile of the race, at a steep hill, she was one of the few runners striding up past walkers and shufflers. "You must be running a great race, as you're only the second person to pass me today," one runner told her as she flew past.

The end result was a 3:28:56, good for 77th place overall and 6th in her age group. (Note, Frank points out that the "net time listed on the results are not accurate. Mary did not cross the start line until 1:20-1:25 after the gun went off.
I would say her halfway time is closer to 1:43:50 and net time 3:27:30 - so even splits and a very well-paced run.")

Mary's fans were all over the course, cheering her on.

Note the strong form she maintained all the way through the race.

Congrats Mary!Photos courtesy Big Ben Winther and Frank KJ.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NETT Duathlon & Triathlon Season Recap

And now, here's Frank KJ with the NETT triathlon season wrapup for 2008:

This year marked the first year New England Track & Trail was listed as an official USAT club. As a result of that this was also the first time we participated as a club in FIRM’s Grand Prix Series. And Jerry did an outstanding job in creating some truly unique triathlon and cycling uniforms!

The FIRM Grand Prix Series is comprised of 10 triathlon and duathlon races between April and September. NETT participated in 6 of those races and scored enough to place 7th place out of 12 clubs in its first year. The following 11 people raced in at least one GP race: Paul Miller, Joe Hardin, Jerry De Zutter, Jim De Zutter, James De Zutter, Tina Wang, Mary Smith, Bruce Goode, Frank Kjaersgaard, Al Prescott (swimmer) and Norm Collard (cyclist).

Clubs that participate with at least 3+ people in at least 5 GP races are eligible for price money. Although we participated in 6 races we only had 3 or more people in 3 races so we missed the payout. If for example just 2 more had raced at Old Colony and 1 more at Webster we would have won about $200. Hopefully, we can add more people to the 09 roster and show up in bigger numbers.

Beyond the Firm Grand Prix Series, NETT multisporters were present at many other races:

-In the Kids’ category Alex (Paul’s daughter) and Audrey (Jerry’s daughter) entered the ranks of triathletes by participating in the FirmKids race.

-In the Teen’s category Katherine De Zutter finished 2nd in her age-group at Wrentham Halloween. And Nicholas used his swim skills to help Frank and Tina place 2nd relay team at Sudbury.

-Martin Bures took 3rd at WildCat before we really "knew" him. This guy can swim, he can run and he can bike. If he joins some rides with us and he will be moving way up in the ranks next season.

-Adrienne re-emerged on the duathlon scene at Wrentham Halloween – and took 1st place.

-Our pal Adam Brown and his better half Liz finished their first Ironman race with a strong performance at Ironman USA in Lake Placid.

-Karyn Miller-Medzon had some bad luck early in the season with injuries and never got to race in a triathlon. I have no doubt she will be on the circuit next year.

-Crazy Dave missed out on his usual one or two multisport races this year due to "scheduling conflicts", but did manage to coordinate a Mock Tri out at Walden that saw some first-timers like Mary Smith and Eri give triathlon a tri.

Many others purchased the new cool NETT multisport uniforms, some overcame their fear of swimming in open water and expressed interest in racing triathlon next year. DimaF and Karen Ringheiser attended a few Walden swims and boldly stated she is ready to make her Ironman and triathlon debut at the same race next season; how about we start you up with a few sprint races first Karen?

Congratulations to everyone on their accomplishments and looking forward to an exciting season next year.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

NETT takes Wrentham by storm

It was a very good day for NETT at the Wrentham Halloween Duathlon with the men taking three of the top five spots and the women also taking top spots in their age groups.

First off, in the "what else would you expect?" category, Paul Miller won the race, for the umpteenth, finishing in 56:10. Jerry De Zutter put in a rock solid performance to finish second overall and Frank KJ just a bit back in fifth. Three in the top five! Jerry's brother Jim had a great race also, finishing in 1:21, sixth clydesdale!

And the NETT ladies just dominated their age groups. Adrienne Cyrulik finished 1st in the 30-34 group in 1:09, Tina Wang fourth in her 35-39 group in 1:11 and Katherine De Zutter, Jim's daughter, took second in the 0-19 age group!Here's Jerry's report on the race from the field:

"The day started very moist and rather windy, the wind died down at race time and the sun came out as we raced and warmed our bones by the time we left.

Paul and a relay team runner pulled away from the rest of the field in the opening 3 mile run. Frank and I were near each other early in the run, eventually separated by the agressive running of a combative lady (why do they have to be like that!!) which made me want to leave the comfort of our nice little group and forge ahead. I'm not sure if the speedy Adrienne and Tina duo ran near each other but their splits indicate they were able to keep each other in sight with Adrienne just ahead. Bro Jim was watching his daughter Katherine run away from him keeping in mind, I'll get you on the bike my pretty!! When I got to T1 I saw Paul leaving the transition on his bike and never saw him again til after the race. In fact I didn't see anybody the entire ride, well except for the guy who was in second and missed a turn very early on, heading out to Rt.495, bummer. Multiple accounts of wheel slippage by myself and others at speed during the 11 mile ride due to the wet leaves and twigs covering the roadways. Except for the back and forth battle between Jim and Katherine the rest of us maintained our NETT-relative positions. Other athletes challenged us but we beat them back! So, Jim was able to pass Katherine on the bike and got out onto the second run well ahead of her. And Jim was able to hold Katherine off to the finish but he now has a bad case of swivel head-itis."

And to top it all off, everyone looked great in their new NETT uniforms.

Black Cloud over Mayor's Cup

Despite the surprisingly sunny skies on Sunday, it seems NETT was covered by a big black cloud at Franklin Park.

After managing to get five hearty souls signed on to run the Franklin Park 5K at the Mayors Cup XC race, when all was said and done, only two Mini Ponies crossed the finish line, Dave Hannon and Janos Mako, thanks to a set of circumstances beyond our control (a car accident and a migraine headache).

But always the optimists, we here at the NETT news desk want to highlight the bright spots. First off, Janos Mako, aka the Hungarian Land Shark, ran a great 5K to finish up at 19:11, 10 seconds better than his time from last year and 7th master overall. We should all be that lucky, huh?

And in the boys' 11-12 year old race, Noah Miller-Medzon aka Little Skittles, blasted out a 6:52 for 1.1 miles to finish 21st out of 154 kids. Congrats!

Given that kind of bad kharma, maybe it's time we all go volunteer at a homeless shelter or something?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Great results at Groton, Baystate

NETT sure showed some strong results at the Groton Trail Race this weekend. While results aren't posted yet, here's a quick report from Frank KJ:

Paul Young was 2nd overall and first master in 1:01:53. We came really close to the master's record but took a spill in the last mile. John (Aniken) Kinnee was 5th overall in 1:02:51, and a bit faster than last year. Frank KJ, 9th overall, 5th master in 1:06:43 (2:50 faster than last year - just missed 7 min/mile pace)

And finally Jennifer Schultis was on hand with a small EMS expo and Darn Tough Sock raffle.

Thanks for the report Frank. Meanwhile, up in Lowell on Sunday, there was some phenomenal results from some Mini-Ponies at the Baystate Marathon. Dima Feinhaus (a half-degree of separation) ran a phenomenal time of 2:54 and Karen Ringheiser did the same by clocking a 3:14. Also Jean-Dany Joachim clocked a solid 3:36 up Lowell.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wayland XC in Pictures

It was another strong showing for NETT on the trail at the Wayland XC Festival on Sunday with the women finishing third and men fourth. But sometimes pictures just tell the story better than results. So here's the Wayland XC race in photo essay form:

Eminem hugs the corner tight.

Good looking group!

Take no prisoners Mary!

Karen scampers along.

Dave takes second masters honor!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

NETT Women Cash in on Last Place Finish, Men Sprint to Faster Finish; Leave with Empty Pockets

It was another strong showing out on the XC trails of the Topsfield Cross Country Festival this year for NETT, with the women and men racing in extremely competitive fields. Here's Karyn Miller-Medzon's (Eminem)report:

"The women approached the 5k starting line this morning with the intrepid team of Karen Ringheiser, Adrienne Cyrulik, Liz Wagner, Tina Wang, Chrissy Durden, Deb Robertson, and Eminem (aka Karyn Miller-Medzon). The field was small (only 35 runners) but very fast. Merrimack Valley's Kara Haas won in speedy 18:40 and the top 10 women were all under 19:30.

Karen Ringheiser led the NETT team with a valiant 21:21 (19th) , followed close behind by Adrienne, with a 21:42 (22nd). Liz was next with a very balanced 23:23 (29th), then came Tina with 24:14 (despite having to retrieve her shoe from an oozing hill of mud). Chrissy and Deb were close behind with respective (and respectable) 24:30 and 24:46 (32nd and 33rd place). And then, finally, Eminem came barreling through the finish line with a 25:05 (quickly noting that the old adage "I might not be first, but I'm not last either" had to be amended--because she was, in fact, the last placing female).

BUT....last place finish aside, the NETT women placed 4th overall, and were handed a hefty check for $75, which paid for a delightfully deep-fried lunch at Woodman's.

As for the men, the field was larger, and incredibly competitive. But that didn't scare our manly men (who included Paul Young, Martin Bures, Frank Kjaersgaard, Adam Brown, Brian Scanlon, and Daniel Miller-Medzon). Jerrod Shoemaker won in a seemingly effortless 25:20 and second place finisher Kibrom Temelso finished nearly a minute later in 26-even. Paul led the NETT charge with 31:08 putting him in 38th place. Martin, Frank and Brian followed closely, all timing out in the 32-minute range. Adam was next, with a 33:41, and Daniel completed his first-ever 5-mile race (after a too-quick start) with a very respectable 37:12. (Unlike his mom, and despite being 15 and the youngest competitor, he didn't come last)!

The Youngstah (Paul Young) and the Youngster (Daniel M-M)

The men's team finished in 6th place overall--bringing them lots of congratulations, but no cash. Still, the kindly women of NETT generously decided to split their bounty with the men, and everyone had a great lunch following the race."

Congrats to ALL! ESPECIALLY some of the new faces we saw out there.

DaveM's team wins Greenway Challenge!

After a postponement due to weather and a lot of uncertainty Dave Mingori's team rallied last weekend to win the Greenway Challenge. Here's Dave's report:

Well, we won yesterday to make it 6 out of 8 years! Our final time of 4:18.24 was only 8 minutes slower than what I was projecting for a "best case" scenario. We beat our initially projected time by almost 20 minutes (we were anticipating 4:35). Our winning gap of 16 minutes was our largest of any win (although of the 2 teams that beat us last year, one didn't show and the other was DQ'd - see below). Results will only be posted by total time on the Greenway page. Split times by leg are not kept track of by race people, so we get splits taken by combination of individual participants and support people.

I personally was quite happy with my legs. Did the first 4.75 mile leg in 27:43 (5:49/mile). I started the leg in 2nd, overtaking the guy in front of me in the first 1/4 mile. Knowing the course helped as I knew where I wanted to back off the gas in order to conserve a bit for the final leg, then push the final rolling 3/4 mile on trail where I knew others would be tiring and slow down. My final leg is an extremely fast leg. Pancake flat on a bike path, following the river. Is actually a bit net downhill since the river loses some in elevation along that stretch. I ran 19:18 for 3.55 miles which works out to a 5K equivalent of about 16:51.

A little trash talking went on before that leg to get me pumped up. I knew we had almost an 8 minute lead going into the kayak section leading up to me. I knew our kayaker was pretty much unbeatable in the boat he had. So barring hitting a rock or something it was quite likely over. So only 22 minutes into the leg a 2-person racing canoe comes around the bend and people start yelling "what number are you". I know there's no way they should be in the race but I recognize the canoe from prior years, and it's a REALLY fast boat and paddler. Well it turns out it was team 2 who had been DQ'd in the very first bike leg (they beat us last year by 3 minutes). Not sure exactly what happened but I think their biker missed the start then cut the course trying to catch up. So one of the paddlers says "no, we're not in the race but if we hadn't been DQ'd we'd have won". I couldn't resist so I asked him how he could be so sure since they weren't actually racing (you know, tried the logic approach). He asked me if I was on Great Canadian and then said "you'd have lost".

Just at that moment our paddler comes into view. Now I'm in race mode and a bit PO'd at the guy as well. The adrenaline is now going quite nicely and I hit the mile in 5:15! Okay, maybe a bit too aggressive but just kept pressing, going thru mile 2 in 10:44, hanging on for mile 3, then going into overdrive once I could see the finish with 1/2 mile to go.

Here are our splits, rounded to nearest minute (except my legs which I personally had timed exact). Our paddler is my friend Mark who I won the Tuckerman 2-person with. We had a guy Mark works and trains with do the first bike leg and mtb leg. Our usual biker did the 2nd bike leg.
1) 15.7 mile bike in 42 minutes (22.5mph). Pack start with 2 pretty good hills in last 3 miles. Our guy basically hung with a pack of 7 or 8 then dropped the hammer on the final hills, gapping the group with one other rider, opening up 30-40 seconds in those last couple miles. His time also includes the transition time for the kayaker to get into the water, since we started the next split once our paddler was in. Subtract at most 40 seconds.

2) 4.5 mile kayak in 43 minutes, including a 250 yard portage (~ 2minutes out of the water). Accounting for portage and transition, he averaged about 6.7mph on the water. He paddles a 15' Pyranha down-river racer.

3) 6.8 mile mountain bike (our leadoff biker doubled up here) in 43 minutes. Very technical course, but he was still only 5 minutes off what we believe was the fastest time of the day.
4) 4.75 mile run in 27:43

5) 17.9 mile bike in 49 minutes (22.0mph). This was the most nerve racking leg as our guy flatted with 2.5 miles to go. He decided to keep going at that point rather than stopping to change the tube as the final run in was mostly flat and straight with just 2-3 tight turns toward the very finish. Maybe 2-3 minutes lost due to the flat. Had it happened earlier, he'd have had to stop and change it, so a bit of luck on our side there.

6) 4.2 mile kayak in 34 minutes (7.4mph). This is the leg we knew we'd crush people on as we had an extremely fast flat water boat. It was a 18.5' composite sea kayak. Same paddler did both legs.
7) 3.55 mile run in 19:18

So maybe a NETT team next year to mix it up?


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The October Rick Report: Triennial Trail Relay

Our roving reporter, Rick Cleary, has outdone himself in both the roving and reporting categories and files this report from his trip to upstate New York:

Hi running pals:

Below is a report from the 2008 Triennial Trail relay, a bizarre event held every three years. Note that this is a long message even for me. I was very flattered by the fact that a number of people came up to me at the post-triennial party and mentioned that they enjoyed reading my race reports so I may have gotten slightly carried away. (Mathematician's warning about the last sentence: Remember that zero is a number ...) A non-zero number of people also told me that they can't believe I weigh more than 190. I should have made them try to lift me.

On to the report:

The triennial trail relay is the only trail race I do. I am not a very good trail runner. Actually with a moment's reflection I realize that these days I am not a very good road, cross-country or track runner either, but I still look forward to giving those a shot. (I am a good runner/glutton but the Big Man Run is only once a year.)

Trail racing is not a perfect match for me for several reasons:
-I have a very high natural RFG. That's Respect for Gravity, a measure of my unwillingness to fall down steep hills.
-I never did have much of a lift in my stride, and recent marathon photos suggest that neither of my feet ever leave the ground. This makes rooty, rocky, uneven terrain a place where falls are likely. Combined with my high RFG, I tend to shuffle the trail downhills instead of taking advantage of them.
-I am gregarious and enjoy running most in a group. Trail running is by nature solitary; requiring running single file even when one has company. This discourages story telling, or at least telling them in a loud voice so the whole line can hear, but that's hard when you're supposed to be running near aerobic threshold.

But I love the triennial for reasons that outweight those discouraging factors. I like relay/team events. It's a great chance to get back to the Ithaca area. And, while I don't particularly like racing on it, I have to admit that the Finger Lakes Trail is beautiful and the appeal of running in the woods is not lost on me. The post race party is always a great story telling event. And I have stories to tell since I have done five of the 10 triennials, been captain of a dominant winning team in '96, and always admired the score keeping ingenuity of team Atrocious, especially now that I'm on that most excellent and deserving team!

And so it was that I found myself waiting around Ithaca High at 2:45 Saturday afternoon, where I thought I was to meet Joe Daley to get a ride to the start of leg 6E. I had already gotten a haircut from Al at the Community Corners barber shop and had a nice lunch at the Ithaca Bakery with my son Joe, so I was feeling very much back at home in Ithaca. When Joe D. wasn't there at 3:05, I was pretty sure we'd gotten signals crossed so I headed out for greater Cayutaville. I arrived at the start of my leg after some beautiful "seasonal highway" driving at 3:43, giving me four minutes for some chatting and not stretching. Well, maybe six minutes ... I couldn't remember if my handicap was 13 or 11 minutes. When Joe Daley announced "13 minute start now, anybody a 13 handicap?" a guy at the start said, "I'm a 12." Ah, good, information! I asked, "How old are you?" "51," he responded, so, being 52, I took off and was underway.

Now, as I left several thoughts went through my head:
1.) Q: When was the last time I ran as far as 13 miles? A: Boston marathon, April 21. Nothing over 10 since.
2.) Q: How long will this take me? A: 13 miles on trails, maybe 10 minutes a mile, figure 2:10. Actually the real question was, "Can I finish this before dark." and the real answer was, "Maybe."
3.) Q: Where's Jeffrey? Jeff Juran had posted a note saying he was doing this leg, but I didn't see him at the start. In 2005 we had started our legs (Connecticut Hill to Lower Treman) at the same time, and he got way ahead of me, but then passed me several times as he kept getting lost and coming back. The last time was about 100 yards from the finish. Not seeing him at the start meant that I would spend the next two hours anticipating him about to blast by me while saying something perceptively annoying about how my race was going.
4.) Q: How well do I know this stretch of the trail? A: For about 12 of the 13 miles, I last ran this part in 1991 in Ed's Ultra, but going the other way, west to east. So not too well.
5.) Q: How will I get back to my car when my leg is over? A: That always works out somehow, so I didn't sweat it.

The first 1.5 mile stretch was lovely dirt road, not technical though quite steep uphill in spots. I caught the two women in my leg (Becky and Chris) and enjoyed conversation for half a mile or so. Becky and Chris said they had head lamps in case they got lost late, and I had images of my lying by the trail around 7:30 that night waiting for them to go by. Then I pulled away and got lost. The 51year old who had made up the minute on me and I got turned around at the first significant turn in our leg, falling well behind Becky and Chris, who made the right turn. My 51 year old companion turned out to be long time Cornell student and employee Dave Kalb, who has recently resumed his running career, and we kept each other company the rest of the afternoon.

Dave and I 'repassed' Becky and Chris about a mile later, just as we were starting to get overtaken by some of the scratch runners who went by very impressively. Shortly thereafter we began the treacherous, steep, winding, slick, rocky, descent into Texas Hollow. It threatened to be an endless descent as well. Dave has bad knees and kept saying, "I'm going to need a double dose of Naproxen later..." I have really good knees and kept thinking, "Don't fall. Here comes Jeffrey, any second now, I just know it." But it was nice to have the company, and Dave and I could now be each others' biographers as we had plenty of time to share life stories.

After going downhill slowly for what seemed like hours we emerged and saw a few smiling support fans on Texas Hollow Road. They gave us some water and a brief cheer and off we went. The trail follows the pleasant dirt road for maybe 100 meters, and then turns and goes up the section that people mean when they say, "Yeah, there's a part where you'll need to use your hands." It was straight up for a long time, side hill and slick mud. A deer flashed across the trail just a few yards ahead at one point and disappeared into the deep ravine to our left, which I was mostly scared to look into. Finally at the top we resumed some running on fairly tough trails, past the first orienteering control set out for us to punch the tickets that nobody had remembered to bring to the start of this leg. Just after that Dave and I came out on South Hill road in Burdett, right where Ed's Ultra used to start. For the first time I dared to look at my watch. It was 5:18, so we'd been running almost 90 minutes; about 40 minutes to go by my calculations. It had now been a long time since we'd seen another runner and it was pretty clear that barring a major directional screw up Dave and I were done passing or being passed except that I knew Jeffrey was about to go flying by.

There's the old joke about Cleveland where the tourist says, "I spent a week there one day." In similar fashion the last 40 minutes took 65. I was particularly discouraged when we came out off the trail onto Burnt Hill Road just past the next checkpoint, and there was a sign saying "Logan Road, 1.0 miles" It was downhill and I felt like we were running hard, but it took 14 minutes. I hope it's more than a mile.

Crossing Logan Road was disappointing in one sense, in that in 1996 my leg to Watkins Glen had started there and so I sort of felt like I should be done; but encouraging in another as I remember the trail from there to Satterly Hill and our finish pretty well. Dave got a few steps in front and got done before me, I was too concerned waiting for Jeffrey to pop out from behind a tree to put up much of a fight. The views from the top of the hill were spectacular looking south toward Odessa. Lorrie Tily was watching and taking pictures near the end of our leg, she said, "Not far to go now!" Well, that's no help, coming from Lorrie that could mean we still had 50K and she wouldn't think it was far.

And then we were done! Whoo-hoo! Tessa Dumont graciously gave me a gluten-free beer, and I didn't miss the gluten at all. I enjoyed seeing Becky and Chris come in with no need for their head lamps. Herb Engman kindly gave some of us sweaty guys a ride back to the start of leg 6E; and the post race party was a blast as always.

Thanks to the Rossiter brothers for their great efforts in organization, to my Atrocious teammates for their hard work and to the Finger Lakes Trail Council for keeping the trail passable!


NETT goes 1-3 in Maine Duathlon

Here's a short and sweet update from Jerry D on a trip to Maine with Dr. Miller:

"Paul and I raced the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust (CELT) Duathlon yesterday. Here are some results for your viewing pleasure. It was 1.5mile trail/mud run, 14 mile bike and 5k trail/ mud run. See Paul was sandbagging it, he had the 74th fastest run split on the first run! :-) I'd be interested to know who put up the #1 splits.
Nice work Paul!

1 Paul Miller Men 35-39 9:16.6 (74) 35:28.9 (2) 18:28.6 (2) 1:03:14.26
2 Corey boilard Men 30-34 9:05.7 (67) 35:43.0 (3) 18:38.6 (3) 1:03:27.40
3 Jerry De ZutterMen 40-44 9:25.3 (78) 36:31.1 (5) 20:02.9 (4) 1:05:59.46
Nice work guys! To see some great pics of the guys in their new uniforms (and the rain!) go HERE

Monday, September 22, 2008

Toledo Joe does his damage under the radar

For those not keeping track, Toledo Joe Hardin has been posting some very impressive triathlon results this year, in his own humble, under the radar way.

Most recently, he finished fourth overall in the Masters-Dominated Nantasket Triathlon this weekend.

The week before, he was third overall, first master, at the 5 Star Triathlon.

In early August he was fifth overall at the Wild Cat triathlon in Lowell.

And he, along with teammates Paul Miller and Bruce Goode, have been posting some ridiculously fast times at the weekly Charlie Baker Time Trials in Concord.

Nice work Toledo Joe! Keep it up! And remember ladies...he's single...if you can catch him!

New NETT Tri-gear broken in at Firmman

Boy, did NETT look sharp at Firmman in the new NETT uniforms. And NETT delivered some sharp results as well.

In the mixed relay, the team of Al Prescott, Bruce Goode and Mary Smith took 3rd place. Al posted one of the fastest swim splits of the day with a 25:37 for the 1.2 miles, Bruce faced a 56 miles TT for the first time and that on his brand new Triathlon bike. Despite going off course twice and crashing due to a broken aerobar Bruce persevered and handed the baton off to Mary who - reliably as always – ran a solid half-marathon in 1:35. And that just one week after running in Reach The Beach.

In the individual results, Jim de Zutter showed same high spirit in the aqua bike division despite no less than 3 flats. After the 3rd flat he was close to throwing in the towel and jumping in the sag wagon. But with some help from the mechanical van he got back on the road and finished strong.

Frank had promised himself to have a good experience from start to finish and had just that with solid splits in all three legs and energy to smile and say thank you to the volunteers and spectators along the way. In the end, Frank was only two and half minute slower than last year. 4th in age group and 15th overall.

Ali (NETT by affiliation) had a phenomenal race finishing 2nd age-group and 7th overall due to a strong swim, strong bike leg and fast run leg - 1:28 half-marathon off the bike. That is 6:43 min/mile pace – including the infamous finish on the beach.