Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Update: NETT braves the cold at Derry

NETT had another solid showing at the Boston Prep 16 mile race in Derry, NH this weekend, which lived up to its reputation for bone-chilling temps and a course of non-stop hills. But never ones to be intimidated by such things, a group of hearty Mini Ponies galloped their way to strong finishes.

The day started with a visit from a "ghost of Derrys past" when Big Leo Fahey rang up Crazy Dave on the cell phone on the ride up. "Dude, I'm in the car in front of you" Leo said. But, when asked if he was, in fact, making his return to the Derry race, he said "What are you f--ing crazy? I'm going to coach a volleyball tournament! I'm NEVER running that race again."

Well, despite Big Leo's absence, New England Track & Trail was well represented. Frank White posted yet another solid result at Derry, coming off an ankle injury and a triple effort in Bermuda last weekend to finish in 1:45. Dima Feinhaus notched a 1:50 effort for 27th place overall and Karen Ringheiser put up a very strong 2:06 run, good for 10th female master. And Crazy Dave slogged his way to a 1:42.

The tag team of Karyn Miller-Medzon and Peter Evers churned out a 2:26 effort for a very solid Boston prep run while ultra specialist Bogie D simply laughed the hills off en route to a 2:46.

But clearly the star of the day goes to youngster Eri Verter, who ran not only his first-ever 16 mile race, but likely his first 16-mile run in a stunning 1:55, or 7:12 pace, to finish 61st place out of 650 finishers. Given the course, the cold and his race experience level, this amounts to a very promising finish for a guy who's only done a handful of races. His secret? Well regular trips to Prospect Hill are a good start.

(photos here courtesy of Dima F. To see more pics of the race, see Scott Mason's PHOTOS HERE )

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not the USUAL Bermuda vacation

How did you spend YOUR weekend? Maybe you did a race? Maybe you even did two races? Or maybe you jetted off to Bermuda for the weekend? Well even if you did ALL of that this past weekend, Frank White's got you beat. This lunatic flew to Bermuda Friday, ran three races in three days, and flew home Monday!

The Bermuda International Race weekend hosts a mile race on Friday, a 10K race on Saturday and a marathon/half marathon on Sunday. But if those events individually aren't challenging enough for you there's the Triangle Challenge where you do all three events in three days and your times from all three are combined.

And apparently Frank just felt doing one race in a foreign country on a weekend wasn't enough of a challenge, because he did the mile, 10K and half marathon in a combined time of 2:11 to finish third overall. "I died in the last 5K of the half-marathon and got passed for second place," Frank griped, but still gave the trip and the races high marks. And Frank's got some friends that live in Bermuda, so the overall costs of the weekend sufferfest were limited.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snowshoe season heats up for Mini Ponies

Well if you don't like snow, you've probably either moved to Florida or taken the radio into the bath tub with you by now, but for those that do like the white stuff (not THAT white stuff), it's been a very good January. And that certainly includes a big part of New England Track & Trail's members.

Last weekend, it was a great day for a casual snowshoe hike on the trails in Lincoln. Crazy Dave led the way on his XC skis and Doris, Adrienne, Mary and Chris followed the tracks on their snowshoes. It was only the second time for Mary and Adrienne, but they shoed like seasoned veterans, hopping rock walls and following their brainless leader across fields and trails.

But this weekend, it was time to get our race on and NETT attacked the Beaver Brook 5K Snowshoe Race in Hollis, NH with great success, taking 2nd and 4th on the men's side and 2nd and 2nd and 3rd on the women's side, in addition to various age group awards.

For the women, NETT North's Jennifer Shultis (now a resident of Peterborough, NH) took 2nd behind a ridiculously fast Kara Haas (more on that later). While Jennifer's run was very strong, she's an experienced snowshoer and we've come to expect those kinds of finishes from her (although not always wearing a skirt! No sh-t, the chic wore a skirt in the snowshoe race). The surprise on the women's side was Mary Smith, taking third place overall in her FIRST EVER snowshoe race. Before the race, she was calm and cool, as the video at the bottom of the page documents. It was clear that she handled the new sport with ease and even added a snowshoe cooldown for good measure. Another one hooked!

The men's race was chock full of drama, with Chris Smith taking us all out strong in his only second snowshoe race (he was third last week at the Pooh Hill race). Chris led for most of the race, towing a few guys along including Crazy Dave, sucking wind a few yards back by halfway. But lurking back in fourth was the always tough Rob Smith who found a high gear in the last half-mile to dust us all easily. You'd love to hate a guy that pulls something like that off, but Rob's such a nice guy (seen here with Dave and Mary), you gotta give the guy credit for a good win. Chris did an amazing job and finished second in his second ever snowshoe race--it's clear that he's got some serious potential in this sport. And Crazy Dave was fourth place only 13 seconds in front of a fast-charging Kara Haas (I swear I looked back with 200m to go and there was no one behind me--she came out of NOWHERE!).

RD Michael Amarello gets high marks for not only getting 50 people to a first-time snowshoe race but a good course and markings and nice t-shirts and prizes.
But the person that deserves perhaps the MOST props, is Mary's beau Dustin, who was perhaps on of five spectators in the freezing temperatures supporting Mary and the rest of us, taking great pics, shivering and looking at us all like we really really need professional help. When asked if he'll be at the next snowshoe race, Dutsin's reply was: "I'll be there in spirit."(In comparison, Doris has been to enough snowshoe races at this point, that she had me drop her off at the Pheasant Lane Mall on the way up!)

All in all, it was a fun day in the snow. Those interested in doing some snowshoe races, there's plenty more coming up:
  • Jan 31 Northfield, Mass. (A very tough mountain course)

  • Feb. 8 Frosty's Dash for a Cure (5K) in Atkinson NH to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis

  • Feb. 14 Horse Hill 7K in Merrimack, NH
And plenty more on these sites: http://www.runwmac.com/ and the Granite State Snowshoe Series.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Winter Multisport Races coming up

For those of you who haven't heard about it yet, the rapidly growing winter multisport concept is gaining traction (get it--traction!) in the New England area.

The 2009 New England Winter Multisport Series is made up of three races--one in New Hampshire and two at the Weston Ski Track in Weston, Mass. The first winter triathlon in the series on January 25 is at Gunstock in New Hampshire and according to the web site, it's pretty simple: "Winter Triathlon is a succession of a run, mountain bike ride, and X-country ski segment separated by transitions."

The Gunstock race distances are scheduled to be a 5K run (on snow), 7.5K mountain bike (on snow), and a 6K X-country ski (on water--just kidding, on snow).

The Weston triathlon on Saturday, Feb. 7 will shoot for the same distances, although snow in Weston is less reliable.

The final event of the series is a winter duathlon at Weston on Feb. 22 (unfortunately, the same day as the Hyannis Marathon!) and will feature a 4K run, 6K ski, and another 4K run. This race is also designated as the club championship race, so anyone not doing the Hyannis race for NETT should consider this event.

Lastly, note one the sponsors of this series, Patrick F. Dwyer and Associates, should be a familiar name to NETT members.

While you might not have tried this sport before--no worries. I don't think many people have, so there's definitely no harm in giving it a whirl, especially if you're an experienced mountain biker and skier.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

How to make your CURRENT mile time into your PR using Math.

Recently, I was chatting with Rick Cleary, NETT's resident mathemetician, mostly lamenting about my mile time. He was talking about a recent math meeting he attended and I jokingly suggested that with all that brainpower, they could figure out a way to turn my latest, extremlely sub-par mile time of 5:06, into a respectable PR. Here's Rick's surprisingly lucid and realistic reply:

"This is easy, in fact I've already solved it using the famous ClearNote (TM) system, short for Cleary Notation.

Here's how clear note could work for you:

First, and most importantly, rephrase 5:06 as 4:66. Just tell a couple of people you did a mile in 4:66 without saying it too coyly.

Second, in a later conversation with one of these people remind them that you recently ran "Four something."

Third, as word of your four something makes its way through the running community, start to call it "Four and change."

Fourth and finally, tell people "My PR is 4 and change, I just ran that time again the other day."