Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NETT comes out in force at Walter's Run

Nothing gets the Mini Ponies out like a free brunch!

There were plenty of NETT folks out at the Walter's Run in West Roxbury on Sunday, taking a number of age-group awards.

In the women's race, Mary Smith took first in the 20-29 category (6th overall) Adrienne Cyrulik just a place behind took second in the 30-39 category, while friends of the club Wendy Akeson took 3rd in the 40-49. Also in the women's race, Karyn Eminem took her first strides post-surgery to support the race, Chrissy "Buros" made us all feel wimpy by running pregnant, with Doris working as pacer for both.

In the men's race, NETT went 7-8-9 with Crazy Dave, Chris Smith and Frank KJ all scoring in their age groups.

Along with all those folks, it was great to see some friends of NETT were out in force including Alissa Nelson, Victoria Groves, Tom Donohoe, and Harry Benzan.
(Apologies to anyone I missed!)

After the race it was back to Dave and Doris' for brunch by a cozy fire.

HUGE congrats to race director Keith Shields and all of the volunteers from the Parkway Running Club. The course was filled with volunteers and the pre- and post-race organization was perfect. There is a lot of effort put into this race and it showed on race day. Nice job PRCers!

The race is named in memory of Walter Burgess, a PRC member who passed away. The race raised more than $7,000, which will be split evenly between the Walter Burgess Scholarship Fund, the Boston Globe's Globe Santa charity program, and the YMCA's Reach Out Campaign. (Photo courtesy of West Roxbury Patch)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Early Days of NETT (part II)

We'll continue our reflective period here with some thoughts from another one of NETT's founders, Paul Miller, about the early days of NETT. (To see part I go here)
"So in my memory, it was Dave and Bruce (not sure which one first) that got fed up of our previous club and decided to leave it. You said you had mulled over for some time the idea of starting your own club. With you and Bruce deciding to leave, I decided I'd rather join whatever you were up to as training with friends was more important. (We got some early flack from former coach about forming "a social club" rather than "racing team".)

In terms of the early name, I know there were suggestions of calling it "Banana" among some of early members and Bruce and I were against that as making the team name an "inside joke" would not be ideal for encouraging outsiders to join, and certainly not for encouraging any serious runners. Various names, including things like "MetroWest" were flung around but NETT became agreed upon. Whether there should be three "T"s or not (the third one being "Tri") was also a matter of debate.

The first track workouts I remember were at the Watertown track, before they shifted to Bentley due to too many "walkers" on the town track. The Weston High School grass intervals were a regular summer + early fall favorite workout as well. I remember my Dad coming to one of those the year Alex was born: 2003 (yikes -- seems like yesterday). He commented on what a nice bunch you were, after we had a meal post-workout. As an aside, seemed like you'd already been dating Doris for a while then ;-)

I'm pretty sure that Jerry was one of the early members as well as Paul Young, Ben Winter and Anthony Chamberas. I think Joe Hardin joined NETT pretty early too -- I think he joined NETT in the first year. Dave Shackelford came to workouts pretty early on too.

The early races I remember were the Mayor's Cup, New England XC Champs, Andover XC and the BU mini-meets in those first years I think. I think my first official non-tri race with NETT was the Marathon Sports 5-miler in Wellesley, a few weeks pre-Ironman when I PR-ed. Later that summer Dave and I both did the Pisgah 50K while I think Anthony and Dave Bartel did the shorter race.

I also did my only ever snowshoe race with Dave the first winter on the team. I would never have even worn snowshoes or done a 50K trail race without the influence of NETT.

The early social events I recall inclued the annual party with "awards" at your apartment on in Newton and "Table football" competitions were a big hit.

For me a great memory was seeing Dave after we all clubbed together to get him a decent bike when he was injured. He was quite overcome and surprised as I recall. (Editor's note: I'm STILL overcome when I think about it and tell people where I got such a kickass bike! I still don't feel like I belong on that thing, but love it nonetheless).

All in all, I think the way the team works is great -- without a strict set of rules or anything, essentially anyone who is willing to put in the effort gets to make something happen. If they are thoughtful of others then what happens will be popular and keep going. So, as it should be, those who put the most in are the ones who get to decide the direction of the club.

For me the ideal club is one within which you can find a training partner/company in any of your regular workouts (hence variety of members is good) and go to races knowing you'll have a team member there to look out for. Pretty much as it is -- no obligations, but the more you put in the more you get out.

If I had any recommendations to new members it would be to take what opportunity you get to try something new (snowshoe/orienteering/trail racing/triathlon?) and don't be shy of suggesting your own "meetups" and races to do."

Thanks for the memories Paul! Great stuff.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Race Roundup

There were a few NETTers out on the roads this Thanksgiving.

Frank KJ headed out to the Stow race. Here's his report:

Returning for the 3rd time to Stow Gobbler 5K I had expected to toe the lines with Jerry but he was MIA for the day. Instead there were a bunch of high school kids including Katherine DZ; Daddy-o Jim was there as well. The high school kids took off like rockets and I was in 15th place. Some of them were good and stayed ahead, some of them faded quickly so around mile 10 I was in 11th place. A guy around my age came alongside at mile 1 and we pushed each other until mile 2 where he decided to make a move and got a gap of about 10 feet. Meanwhile we had passed a couple of guy and I was now running in 9th place. I thought I would not be able to close the gap again but at around 2.5M he started to fade on the slight uphill up to the parking lot while I was able to keep my pace. We ran together for .25M and then at the 3M sign I put whatever I had left into a "sprint" and crossed the line in 17:55; good for eight 8th place and third master. Katherine was sub-24 on a cruise and Daddy-O Jim DZ was just under 28. The course is actually 5.1K (3.16M) so based on that I am very happy the performance. Next up is Walter's Run."

Crazy Dave and DOris headed to the Donohue's 5K Turkey Trot in Watertown for a great pre-Turkey Day run. Well organized, and the best part was the post-race food! Eggs, bacon, sausage and home fries for all runners! Doris ran great at 29:21 on a very long 5K course while Dave was 18:20.

If you have other results to add, send them along to Crazy Dave.

Nice work Frank!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Early Days of NETT (part I)

This time of year, I always get a little nostalgic because NETT really took shape during the fall of 2002 (the Andover XC Race was our first official NETT race).

A lot of runners have come and gone in the past eight years, but a few folks have asked recently about the history of NETT. So I decided to check in with my co-founders Paul Miller, Dave Bartel and Bruce Goode about those early days and see if they remember things the way I do (none of us are getting any younger).

In this, the first installment, we'll have a Q&A with Dave Bartel about the early days. I've known Dave since the 7th grade and while he's not all that active in NETT these days, he was an important player in those early days and continues to do a VERY good job of reminding us all not to take ourselves too seriously.

In your memory, how was NETT formed? Who played what role?

The idea of forming a running club was first brought up by Dave Hannon. He had run with other running clubs in the past and wanted to branch out on with his own club with the idea to create a more laid back, let's have fun and win some races idea. This idea of a running club was one of the many topics we would discuss while running. It should be noted that Dave and I originally met while growing up and running at Chelmsford High. Having more like minded people to run and ultimately train with was very refreshing for me. It almost made the running aspect take a back seat to the comraderie of everyone and we ran with.

Was there any mission statement or overarching plan or goals to it all or was it more of a less structured thing?

In the beginning it was less structured, getting together for runs and going from there. It worked out for me and Dave that we both lived and worked in the Waltham/Newton area. This afforded us the opportunity to meet up for runs more often than not. Dave introduced me to the Lincoln Woods and was one of my favorite places to run. (The other being the Carlisle State Forest.) As I (we) started meeting up with more people, Bruce, Paul Miller, random one off's, Ben, Anthony, Dave Shackelford, workouts and races became more structured (planned) with time.

What were the early runs and workouts like? Where did we meet?

The early runs were divided between Lincoln Woods and runs from Brandeis into the Weston area. I recall participating in a majority of the causal runs and especially the Sunday monring long run at Lincoln Woods. Eventually I began participating in the specific workouts, tempo runs, hill workouts and track workouts. The fondest memories that stuck with me are the long runs in Lincoln and the Prospect Hill hill workouts (that mother effer is appox .9 miles gate to top!!)

Beyond the four founders, who do you recall as being the earliest members of NETT?

Anthony Chamberas. Anthony was like the fifth Beatle. He had the right mindset, participated in runs when his time allowed and could be considered and original 'silent' founder. And Ben Winther. Why? Exactly. Paul Young was also involved in those days.

How about races? Do you remember doing any races in the early days of NETT?

In the early days I really enjoyed the training more than the races. On training runs we all ran as fast as the the slowest person there. No one was there to 'win' the training run. Well, maybe Big Ben sometimes, but that's why we love him! When Dave did coax me into a race it was a Thanksgiving day race or the Yankee Homecoming. On a personal note, the Falmouth Road Race was one that I looked forward to each and every year.

Do you remember any early social events? Where were they what were they?

I do not recall many social events. Rumor has it I was at one particular event from what I was told. Apparently I horrified a friend's girlfriend (now wife) when I relieved myself on the sidewalk outside their apartment. Dave and Doris drove me home. The next day I saw Anthony and his girlfriend (now wife) when I went back the next morning to pick up my car. Pictures of this event never surfaced so it may not have ever happened!!

Overall what is your favorite memory/memories with NETT?

Favorite memories are of the Lincoln Woods training runs. One in particular was with Dave, Ben and Cindy. After crossing the MBTA train bridge re-entering the woods into the rocky, curvy downhill Dave stumbled and fell banging his knee on a rock. We were unaware that something like this would cause him to pass out, or as I like to call it, taking a "dirt nap." As we suddenly stopped and stood over Dave lying on the ground barely breathing, Ben's first response was, "Should we poke him with a stick?"

The other memory was always having a steady, reliable running partner in Crazy Dave.

Any words of advice for new members? What you, as a founder, would like to see happen with it all?

Know about and understand the banana. If that makes sense to you, you certainly belong with NETT!!

Thanks Dave! Stay tuned for interviews with our other co-founders.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

UPDATED: Mini Ponies run Wild in the streets of Manchester

Yes, the herd of Mini Ponies took to the roads this weekend at the Manchester City Marathon with some great results. But why not let some of the herd tell the story themselves.

First off, Eri "Muscles" Verter's report:

"This was my first official half marathon. My goal was to break my Derry performance which was 7:16 m/h avg. I don't know if it was waking up to an adrenaline rush from Dave's phone call of "Are you almost here Eri?" or was my hard training with you guys, but I shattered it with a 7:02 pace (according to official results and 6:59 according to my watch). I was a bit faster on the second half which tells me that I was efficient in my energy conservation. It was a lot of fun to do it with so many people that I knew. Doris's signs and shouts of "Go Eri" and Ben's "Go Muscles" shouts definitely helped me a lot mentally while I was running. Thanks to some competitive people at the end I finished my last mile with 6:22 m/h and kept my impassibility since mile1-2. The next challenge will be this year's Derry 16 miler at the end of Jan."

Oh yeah. We got tickets to the GUN SHOW. Muscles finished 44th overall in 1:32 for the mathematically challenged.

Next up, let's get Chris Smith's take on the day:

"My day started off with a little adrenaline rush. I rolled over in bed looked
at the clock to see how much more time I had to sleep and to my surprise the
alarm should have gone off twenty minutes prior. I jumped up but figured I still had plenty of time to get to Manchester by 8:00 to meet Ben with my number. Had breakfast and was on the road by 6:40. I had already made up ten minutes. Got to Manchester, no trouble finding parking, to the hotel, find Dave, Doris and Mary. Eri… woke up more than twenty minutes late. Ben and Cindy show up then Eri(followed by the NH state police). Dave, Cindy, Mary, Eri and I head to the start as Ben and Doris tactically plan out their viewing/support route.

Being a smallish race I am able to line up near the front Dave a couple rows back. I don’t know where everyone else ended up. The first mile was mostly downhill but a little bit of a head wind to contend with, I still think it was a little short though, I had a ~5:40 split. I settled into my pace. The course was littered with these annoying hills, up and down. Some of the down hills where so steep they were tougher than going up. Overall I felt good throughout the race. My time does not reflect it though but it was one of the more difficult half’s I have run.

After it was quickly back to the car for some warm clothes then some hot soup and hot chocolate and hot chocolate and. … ok maybe I had more than my share but did I mention it was cold. I then find Cindy and Eri and we then spot the familiar pink hat of Mary. She looks like she has not even gone for an easy jog. I’m starting to suspect that she may have just gone back to the car and taken a nap. Now we wait for Dave. The only one crazy enough to do the full marathon. The clock ticks 2:54 and here he comes with a smooth stride but looking a little rough around the edges. Dave was bloody with a dazed look on his face as he finished. Crazy may have beat the hills of Manchester but they didn’t go down with out a fight."

Thanks Chris. For the record, Chris was 11th overall in the half in 1:24 (sixth master--stacked field eh?)

Now let's get Big Ben's unique take on the day.

Some folks know that I scratched from the Marathon, after pulling a calf muscle during a track workout on the Tuesday before the race. I’m a moron. I know most of the team was all worked up about oversleeping and whatnot, but I woke up on time. I ate a leisurely English breakfast of blood sausage and grilled tomato, dry white toast, and tea. I quit coffee the previous Friday.I might start up again, I’m not sure.

At 7:15am my beautiful wife Cindy told me to get in the car, and we flew down to meet the team for our 8am rendezvous. I wasn’t worried about anything until 7:45 when I looked at my phone, which was set to silent, and noticed that I’d missed a call from Crazy. I was immediately worried something was wrong, so I handed the phone to Cindy. Cin’ called Crazy, he was in our designated meeting spot, we caught up with the group about 5 minutes later. No big problems.

After we handed out the number bags it became apparent I hadn’t made sure there were pins for the numbers. My bad. It was stressful time for me. Chris had a whole bunch of pins. I felt a lot better.

We took some photos. We all checked out Mary’s new ring. It’s pretty impressive. I have a picture. The gun went off and Doris and I drove out to the 7 mile mark. It was really cool. Everyone looked awesome. I almost missed Cindy running by because I went to take a wiz. Doris had me driving her car through Manchester, because I knew the area. She’s a great new car. It’s a stick shift. I learned how to drive on a stick shift…in 1985. It still works.

We drove around some more, saw those guys at the half finish, then drove back out to get some Powerbars to Crazy. We saw him at 23 and 24, then back at the finish.
We had a great conversation with the volunteer at mile 23. He was stationed right next to a fresh dead squirrel, I covered it with leaves so Doris wouldn’t have to look at it. A group of spectators showed up a little later and stepped in it. I apologized, but I thought it was really funny.

Doris got really mad at me because I farted while we were outside waiting for Dave at mile 24, and the wind blew it at her. I felt bad, but I thought that was really funny too. Then we saw everyone back at finish. Doris probably won’t hang out with me any time soon, but I think she still likes me.

I’m really impressed with everyone’s performance. The half marathoners all exceeded THEIR own expectations and they all looked fantastic coming through. Crazy Dave ran a ballsy race, it’s a hard course, it was cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, and he ran all by himself for the last half."

Thanks Benny. In terms of numbers, the orignal ponyette Cindy Winther busted out a 1:49, obviously unflusterd by the fact that her husband sat the race out with a genital injury.

As brother Chris alluded to, Sister Mary Smith sailed through a 1:42, unphased by the extra piece of equipment she carried on race day (I'll let her tell you that one!). Congrats to her!

HUUUGGE thanks to Big Ben and Little Doris for their support on the course. Afterwards it was time for Mexican food and the biggest glass of beer you ever saw a bloodied marathoner drink!

And in the full marathon, Crazy Dave made his less-than-triumphant return to the road marathon after a LLLOOONGGG layoff to post a 2:54, clearly paying the price for adopting the "Ricky Bobby" race strategy. If you ain't FIRST YOU'RE LAST!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Getting Down with a Crowd at Busa Bushwhack

"There's a lot leaves and acorns out on the course, so remember, there's only one winner, so the rest of you can be careful."

The words of our esteemed host Rich Busa was more than just Richie being his jovial self, it was a fair warning. There was more blood at this race than most but the great vibes are always unbeatable at this race.

First off, big thanks to the Greater Framingham folks for hosting and putting on such a great race. They brought a ton of folks out to the Chamberas race this year and we did our best to return the favor and bring a lot of NETT folks to this race as well, in both the 10 miler and the 5 miler.

Okay, onto the results. In the 10 miler Chris Smith continued to show his fitness with a 1:08 to walk away with the master's title. And then back in the 1:16 to 1:18 range, there were a few members of the NETT family. Not-yet dad Frank KJ got in his last race before the big day and cranked out a 1:16 (It was great to see our old pal Andy Illidge one spot behind Frank looking fit and half his age!) Marshall Randolph was 1:17 [insert generic comment of disbelief about a guy his age, etc.], and the Turkish Twist Eri Verter was just a few ticks behind in 1:18. Mr. Consistency Jack Burke ran 1:24.

Mary Smith celebrated her "NETT anniversary race" by hula hooping her way to a 1:28. Katherine De Zutter took the long way home to finish in 1:45 while dad Jim finished the 10 miler in 2:01.

In the short race, Crazy Dave and Doris ran 1:04 and were greeted by our host, Richie, who gave every finisher their own dog tags. I really like the fact that Rich greets everyone at the finish personally. Always a class guy.

Post-race fare provided a special surprise: Pancakes! In all the years I've been doing races, never had pancakes. That was great. And there were donuts, pastries, and all kinds of other great stuff. DEFINITELY, a good feast at this race.

All in all, it's a great race and a favorite for the NETT gang--definitely the biggest group we've had at any race this year, with a LOT of NETT shirts out there too, which is great to see.

Pics posted here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trusty Stable of Mini Ponies head out to Groton Trail Races

A few of the trusty Mini Ponies ran the Groton Town Forest Trail race last weekend, with strong results.

On the ladies side, Adrienne Cyrulik finished in 1:19 and Beth Murphy took a break from studying for the nursing boards to crank out a 1:26, just one place behind of NETT-North member Jennifer Shultis.

On the men's side Marhsall Randolph continued to defy father time in 1:11 (good for 17th overall) while Eri Verter continued to impress by cracking the top 20 in 1:12. Jack Burke was Mr. Consistency again in 1:17. And Crazy Dave ran 1:03, good for 6th overall.

As he has for more than 15 years, Paul Funch put on a great race. Well marked course, helpful volunteers and some nice prizes. Keep it up Paul!

Looking forward to the Busa Bushwhack this weekend.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Frank scores BIG with Louisa May Alcott

Frank KJ decided to sneak in one more race before his life turns upside down and had great results! Here's his report:

Tina and I drove to Concord where I ran the Louisa May Alcott 10K race and Tina walked 2 miles. And funny enough I ended up winning the race running behind the lead police car the whole way. So what if there were only a few people in the race – a win is a win.

The race organizers do a good job of keeping it fun and low-key while still getting all the essential race tasks executed smoothly. I ended up with a finish time of 37:54 but a couple of the miles were long. In fact, when I measured the course using MapMyRun it came out to be 10.2Km (6.35 miles) making my pace pretty close to 6:00. I am definitely very pleased with that.

Results at

Friday, October 22, 2010

Boston Marathon closes out in eight hours. A tribute to its greatness or a total scam?

Note: The following post is the opinion of the author and not the opinion of New England Track & Trail as a group.

Eight hours. That's all it took for the Boston Marathon entries to fill up this year. It's been shorter and shorter the past few years and for some reason, the BAA chose to delay the entry date this year, perhaps in an attempt to achieve what it has--a ton of publicity and an even more "elite" feel to the race.

The event brings to mind a few questions, the most prominent being what are the BAA's priorities in selecting entries, was this year's process fair, and if not, is there a better process?

I did a bit of poking around this week to get some background before developing my opinion. One area I've just never been able to decide where I fall on is the massive number of charities being given bib numbers to the marathon every year. Obviously, on the one hand, this is a great thing and raises tons of money for very worth causes, but that comes at the expense of many runners' goals and dreams. It begs the question: is this a race or a fundraiser. I think this year shows it can no longer continue as "both." According to the BAA site, there are currently 23 charities receiving numbers. SEE THE LIST HERE.

People who know me know I'm a big supporter of charities. I co-direct a race with 100% of entry fees go to charity. And I've worked at BAA charity events for years. But does giving race numbers to these charities really help them raise money or does it just make the BAA look charitable while clogging up the entry process? The Museum of Science CEO made $400K in 2008. How many runners does it take to cover that? Every time I'm there it's packed. I'm just saying....

The Boston Debate League is given numbers. Its mission "is to extend the social and academic benefits of debate to as many Boston Public Schools students as possible." The Boston Arts Academy is a public school that gets numbers.

I'm not saying these aren't worthy charities. But the race seems to only focus on the front end and back end of the race field and has forgotten us in the middle. Take a look at John Hancock's Boston Marathon web page here. It emphasizes the elite runners, the number of charity runners and the amount of money it spends--on elite runnners. There's not a word about the "rest of us".

So that's the answer? As I see it, there's a couple approaches: One, have a second marathon, perhaps the same day as the Jimmy Fund Walk, for charity runners. The problem here? Shutting down the roads for this event. And it likely robs them of the "glory" they get running down Boylston St on race day, which is really what motivates many of these runners (and almost anyone running Boston).

Another option: Eliminate the charity bib programs and have the BAA donate a percentage of each entry to the charities. They get the money, we get to run. (Heck, John Hancock spends $1M on prize money alone).

Got a thought? Post a comment here. If you're an NETT member, you can respond to our poll on the Meetup page.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Strong results from Wayland, Hudson Mohawk

Just a quick update on some recent results in NETT-land.

Paul Haus ran a kick-ass race at the Hudson Mohawk Marathon last weekend, running 3:11, with almost perfect splits (1:35, 1:36). "I felt really good that day, and was actually surprised that I was able to pace myself so well since the battery on my watch ran out on mile 9. Anyways, I'm really psyched that I officially qualified for the Boston Marathon, which was my primary goal. I'm also very proud of my sister who ran her first marathon in 3 hours 51 minutes!"

Also, there were a few Mini Ponies out at the Wayland XC Festival. Eri Verter showed up only moments before the start and used that adrenaline to uncork a 19:28 while Jim DeZutter charged to a 26:10. On the women's side Karyn Miller-Medzon finished 13th overall in 22:56. And Little Skittles Noah M-M finished 20th in the male 11-14 3K in 11:53.

Congrats to all!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Things I Didn't Know I Loved

Yes, we are a literate bunch of Mini Ponies. Many of you participated in our Poetry Festival last February.

Well, I came across a poem this week that I thought many of you may like to read. It was written by a 14-year old girl who was battling Leukemia and unfortunately lost her battle a few years later. So yes, it's a tear-jerker, but worth a read.
Things I Didn’t Know I Loved
by Jamie Connors

Fourteen years old, I’m sitting in a wheelchair
Being pushed by a nurse down a stark white corridor, She stops to get my chart

I close my eyes, I’m running, Muscles flexing, adrenaline pumping
Sweat trickling down my forehead as the sun beats down on my back
No one can catch up
Speedy Gonzalez
Pure ecstasy
The best high in the world…
I open my eyes to the cold, harshly-lit hallway before me
My blanket slips
I adjust myself,
It’s extremely difficult
I’m practically out of breath
All seventy five pounds of me ache
Only skin and bones
I knew I loved running
I never knew I loved muscle,
Never knew I loved fat

To read the rest of the poem to to ParkwayBoston for the full version.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

MiniPonies rack up awards at Houghton's Pond Trail Race

How often can a running club say it brought six members to a race and all six go home with an award? The NETT MiniPonies galloped away with a host of age-group awards at the Houghton's Pond Trail Race Sunday in Milton.

On the women's side, Adrienne Cyrulik and Wendy Johnecheck went 2-3 in the 30-39 age group. And Kristin Hall walked away with the 40-49 award, finishing 4th woman overall.

On the men's side, Crazy Dave took 3rd in the 30-39 age group, while Jerry De Zutter made a surprise showing to grab third in the 40-49 age group and of course, our pal Marshall Randolph walked away with the 60-69 prize, by close to seven minutes.

All and all, it was a great race, well-marked, good volunteers and a challenging, but runnable course. Special thanks to Mary Smith for coming out to cheer us on.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Brunch Run!

NETT had a great day on Saturday at Frank and Tina's Brunch Run. Thanks so much to them for hosting. We got some new faces, some of the old guard and some faces we haven't seen in a LONG time and were very glad to see again. We had a folks out there running, pushing baby joggers, biking with the kids, walking, playing soccer and more. And then of course it was time to eat! A really fun day.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Scientific proof that short runners age slower than average people!!!

There is rejoicing amongst the Lollipop Guild!

Some recent research proves what we all already knew--short runners age slower than the rest of the world! According to some recent research nicely covered here in Wired, time moves slower the closer you are to the earth and also the more you move.

According to Wired, "Time dilation arises in two situations. In one case, time appears to move slower the closer you are to a massive object, such as the Earth. So a person hovering in a hot-air balloon, for example, actually ages faster than someone standing below."

So by that theory, yes, the shorter you are, the slower you age, right? RIGHT?

Secondly, "Time also ticks by faster for someone at rest relative to someone moving. Einstein dramatized this second strangeness with the twin paradox — one 25-year-old twin traveling in a rocket ship near the speed of light for what he perceives as a few months will return to Earth to find the other has reached middle age."

So, someone that moves a LOT--like a daily runner--ages slower.

So, short runners rejoice! We do, in fact, age slower than others. And I, for one, plan to make the most of those extra few seconds we Munchkins get by doing more of this kind of stuff.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Breaking News! TDD = Total Defiant Domination for NETT going 1-2-6

Some VERY exciting results from the TDD Triathlon today. Here's Jerry's report?

NETT had several of us in today's TDD triathlon in/around Douglas State Forest in Douglas MA. Weather was a welcome wee bit warmer than what had been forecasted, still a bit chilly for standing around, great for racing. Joe, Frank and I lined up for the men's 40+ wave, Jim raced in the 5th (?) and final wave with the clydies. Tina, Jimmy III and Raj. were there for moral support and to tell us all how great we looked. We were all in/out of the waters of Wallum Lake between 5 and 6 minutes with Joe posting the fastest swim split by a few seconds. During this swim portion a common theme for all was major swimmer congestion leading to full contact swimming.

After getting wet we dashed to our bikes with Joe making a quick transition and Jerry passing Frank in tranisition, who was looking down at his wetsuit, stuck on his lower legs and crying in an eerily similar-to-Nancy Kerrigan voice "....Why meeeee....". Nevertheless Frank left T1 just behind Jerry and they were off in pursuit of Joe. Somewhere behind (since he started in a wave 6min behind us) Jim made his transition to the bike. Fairly uneventful on the bike, I slowly pulled away from Frank and slowly reeled in Joe to post the fastest bike split of the day. All pretty cut and dried.

Joe and I got off the bikes together with Joe out of T2 first. Somewhere on the first dirt road section of the run I was able to catch up to and pass Joe, both of us cognizant of Frank lurking behind. As I ran steadily, making a good effort but not putting myself too far into the red zone, I noticed, as we ran on the out and back section or the road that no one was coming back towards me. This was odd since the young guns (all men under 39) had started 6min in front of our wave. I started thinking about it, trying to figure things out, taking note of when, finally the first guy passed me going the opposite direction, well within 6min. Couldn't crunch the numbers so just forgot about it and picked up the pace a little, now slightly aware that I could be racing for a win or at least a high placing. Anyways, picked up some ground on a couple guys, passed one but another guy clearly pulled away from me. Finished strong and had barely turned around when Joe pulled into the finish after an obviously strong run. Then Frank turned up soon enough. Jim pulled in after making a good effort on the tough short run course (longer than the advertised 5K).

When the results were posted, I was surprised to find that I had notched the win. Joe made an impressive effort to finish a close second (1st AG) and Frank finishing 6th (4th AG), all of us under an hour, with Jim finishing as 4th clydie.

Our whole crew went over to a local diner for the post-race feed and race de-brief. Was an excellent way to spend the morning. Thanks everyone.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The multiple talents of NETT

Sure, we're a running club. Sure we do triathlons, snowshoe races, bike rides, orienteering, etc. But there's at least one of us who has a real hidden talent. Until now! Take a look:

Congrats to Frank on Firm Man #10~

Frank raced his 10th FIRM Man this weekend waking up at about 3:45, driving all the way to RI and back by himself! Here's his report.

Today I raced Firmman half-ironman for the 10th time and it was one of the toughest ones. It was cold and cloudy in the morning so there was no spectacular sunrise over Narragansett Bay this year. And it was quite windy. For the swim leg the windy was favorable as it was coming out of the East/Northeast pushing me the one mile down along the beach so fast that I ended with a sub 26 minute swim for 1.2M. Although mostly favorable the water was actually so choppy that it was rare that I caught a glimpse of the buoys. The cold temperatures and wind made the bike leg challenging. With the tail wind on the out section I rode 25-26 mph easily at times but meanwhile my feet and hands got numb. The last 19 miles back to Narragansett were almost entirely straight into the wind. That combined with the fact that my longest ride in the last 5 weks was 30 miles meant I had to dig really deep. I was really close to running out of gas around 48 miles but having done the race 10 times helped me through. Continuing along the theme of being unprepared my longest run in weeks have been 8 miles so I had to rely on muscle memory to carry me through 13.1 miles. The first 4 miles went okay, the next 6 were slower but acceptable. At mile 11, however, my tank was next to empty and I had to walk a bit at a water station to get some water and get myself composed for the last 1-2 miles. But I finished and I am quite happy with my time of 4:43:30 considering my low training volume and the conditions. Results have not been posted yet but I think I placed around 20-25th overall and 5-6th in my age group.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

NETT Smiths take 2nd, 6th spots at Walpole 10K

The NETT Smiths duo (Chris and Mary) ran the Walpole 10K on Labor Day with great results. For Chris, it's his hometown race and for Mary it's her next-to-my new hometown race. Here's Mary's report:

After a long trail run Sunday, I figured why not jump into the Walpole 10K race - since Walpole & Norwood are practically neighbors. In a field of about 95 women, I ending up finishing 2nd with a time of 45:53. Finishing 2nd & not knowing my 10K PR, I have to assume I had a pretty good race. My strategy was to take it easy the 1st few miles (since the muscles felt a little tired after Sunday's run) and re-evaluate after the 1st few miles. I found myself in 2nd place at the 2 mile mark & just never looked back. It was a nice race (flat / rolling hills) with a ton of Walpole participants and plenty of spectators out on the course.

I wasn't the only NETT "Smith" out on the course - Chris ran his hometown race in just under 37 minutes (36:59). His parents even came out to watch and support the race. Chris placed 1st in his age group and was 6th overall. Also, he was a lucky winner of their "random raffle" - winning a 6 pack of Sam Adams Oktoberfest! All in all - Great Labor Day Race!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Runaway Bride

We started the marriage off right with a jaunt up Mount Mansfield. Looks like Doris has been doing some secret training while Dave's spent a little too much time in the bowling alley instead of the track.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Frank and Martin go crazy at Cranberry

The NETT multisporters were again kicking booty out at the races this weekend. Here's Martin's report:

This past weekend Frank and I did the Cranberry olympic-distance triathlon in Lakeville, MA. The day was perfect - the water was just cool enough to be wetsuit legal and the sun provided a bright, warm day. This race was pretty large with pro/elites and many collegiate teams including Army and BU. The swim was ~0.8 miles, the bike was 25 miles and the run was 10K.

My goal was to get out with any front swimmers in my wave and then calm down and settle into the swim. The gun went off and I put a few strong strokes in and then looked to my left and right to see where the field was. I found myself in the lead and settled into a controlled pace. Because I went off in wave 6, I started making contact with earlier waves but they were thinned-out enough to be able to get through them without too much trouble. I got out of the water first in my wave and ran to the transition to the bike. The bike went really well - the course had some tight twists and turns in the first several miles which slowed things down a bit but I concentrated on picking people off. I managed to work through the bike leg without getting passed by anyone behind me and had a quick transition into the run. The run went really well but I was pretty tight from the bike effort. The course was largely shaded but there were a few exposed spots - by now the sun was up and hot. I again just concentrated on trying to pick off as many people in front of me as I could. I crossed the finish line in 2:11:12. That was good enough for 1st in my age group and 8th over all and was extremely happy with the race.

Frank had a great race as well. He went off in the wave after me and posted a time of 2:19:03 for 3rd in his age group and 32 over all.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thomas Chamberas XC Race A Big Success on All Levels

Well it was another impressive showing at the 8th Annual Thomas Chamberas XC Race this year, with 150 runners coming out to run a great, challenging XC race and help raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The weather was nearly perfect--bright sun and warm temperatures after a cool morning. We were treated to a very special pre-race ceremony, courtesy of XC superfan Michael Mahon. Mike talked a bit about Cystic Fibrosis and encouraged everyone to donate to the cause. He also gave a moving tribute to local running legend Larry Olsen, who passed away this year. He belted out the national anthem like only he can (see the video here) and lastly, he unveiled the jersey of his favorite team--the Montreal Alouettes (this guy's got two passions--cross country and Canadian football).

New dad Ryan Carrara became a three-time winner of the race, trouncing the course in 18:07. Amelia Lanberg won the women's race in 20:54. The Greater Boston Track Club won both the men's and women's team titles. The Greater Framingham Running Club had an absolute ton of people out for the race as well so BIG thanks to them for their support, as well as the Greater Lowell Road Runners who brought some of their youth runners decked out in funky tie-dyes. And the Naval Academy Prep School that brought men and women's teams again this year. Also thanks to the Eastern New England Trail Race Series for including our race again this year--loyalty is what helps small races like ours keep on every year.

Other race notes:
-We had four men over the age of 70 finish the race that deserve special mention: Jonathan McKenzie, John Parker, Edward Ginsberg and John Shane.
-We probably broke the "furthest traveled" this year with a couple from Lebanon in the race.
-We had two pregnant volunteerts (that we know of!)
-Thanks to some generous donations and a successful raffle we likely raised more money for the CF Foundation this year than ever before.

As always, our army of volunteers were just perfect. Thanks to all of you who helped volunteer (you know who you are and how much we appreciate it). It really is one of the things that makes this race work. Special thanks to Joe Hardin, Paul Young and Ben and Cindy Winther for their LOOOONG support on the volunteer side. They have been there every year, going back to our days when we first put this race in Rhode Island as a XC relay.

Special thanks to our sponsors:
aLoft Hotel in Lexington, Mass.
La Sportiva
Darn Tough Socks
Road ID
City Sports
Marathon Sports
The Run Smart Project
Apofacy Solutions
Ryan Miller, yoga instructor
And any others we've missed.

And thanks to all the runners and other supporters. Got feedback, good or bad, email me at with comments.

(Photos courtesy of Frank Georges,

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Porne┼čte departe Bogie. Run far.

As most of you know by now, NETT said goodbye to our friend Bogie this week, who's heading out Colorado to live the trail runner's dream and train in the BIG mountains out West. While we'll always consider him an NETT member, given that he'll be a significantly less active member going forward, I thought it might be a good time to share a few memories about Bogie's time with NETT. (If you have memories you'd like to add, feel free to post in the comments or email me directly and I'll post here).

We first met Bogie through Jennifer Shultis a few years back. As Jennifer tells it, she just bumped into him while running through the mountains of New Hampshire one day and started chatting and running with him. After coming out for a run with us in Concord, we didn't see much from him until maybe a year later and he became a regular on the Monday Battle Road runs and some of the long runs on weekends.

And his running improved dramatically in the time we knew him. In his early Battle Road runs, I remember he'd really just run on his own or struggle to keep pace with the group. But for the past year or two, he's been right there stride for stride with main group.

Perhaps Bogie's biggest contribution to NETT came on the administrative side, however. As most of you know, he introduced us to the Meetup at a time when we (okay I) was struggling to find a way to manage the posting of our runs and workouts, etc. I think since moving to Meetup, we've had more consistent attendance and brought in a bunch of new members and we've got Bogie to thank for that.

But Bogie's trail running activity in New England extended far far beyond NETT. In his relatively short time as a trail runner and short time in New England, he managed to direct three different trail/ultra races in the area (Wapack end to end and two Fells races) and ran nearly every trail race he could find. (Some of us might say he runs TOO MANY races, but I digress). I've been running trail races in New England for, well, a long time, and Bogie has gotten to know dozens more people in roughly one quarter of the time.

Okay, this is beginning ot read too much like an obituary. The guy's just moved to Colorado, not the great trail race in the sky! So I guess I'll wrap it up. We'll miss you Bogie, and best of luck wherever you wind up!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

NETT comes up BIG at Greenfield, Lowell triathlons

After laying low for a few weeks, the Mini Ponies were out in force this weekend, producing some stellar results at two triathlons. First off, here's Frank KJ's report from the Greenfield Tri.

"After a bit of a dry period here's something good to report on the triathlon front. After taking July off to heal from his crash down the Kanc, Martin was back in action at Greenfield triathlon. And he put on quite a show, taking the lead on the swim, biking strong and the finishing off with his usual fast run to take 1st overall more than 4 minutes ahead of 2nd place finisher. Afterwards Martin was interviewed by the local press [perhaps we need a name that caption contest here. I will go first: My coach had me do these excruciating painful hill repeats two weeks ago so the hairpin turns on the hill today actually felt like piece of cake]. Another phenomenal performance by Martin."

Martin said, "It was a perfect day to race. The temperature was cool up to the run when the sun finally got bright. This race was a great fit leading up to Cranberry with a bike and a run leg that were a bit longer than what I will face there. The water for the swim was nice and cool. The race started and I pulled out in front. The way that the swim course was laid-out, I had an opportunity to see where the pack was behind me three times. I grew the lead each time I saw the pack. I had a relatively quick transition with no issues and was off on the bike. Two riders came blowing by me during the first lap which got me a little concerned. There were 4 laps for the course of a little over 7 miles and I feel that I improved on each. One other rider came by me during the bike leg, which happened at the end of lap 2 - it turned out that the first two were doing the race as a relay and the 3rd was the only individual who came by me.

I had a quick bike-to-run transition but had a bit of a snafu leaving the transition - the exit forked left for the sprint run and right for the international. I went left and got confused for a second. I corrected, back-tracked and was out on the run course - this probably cost me 20 seconds. At this point, I thought that there were 3 people to chase down and I was a little worried about catching the first two. It took me a little over 2 miles to make contact with the last guy who passed me on the bike. By mile 3.5, I had passed him. It was around here that a race official told me that I was in the lead. There was a very challenging hill at mile 4 but after I got through it, I felt good and pushed on to the finish trying to put as much distance between myself and the guy that I had just passed. As an interesting footnote, this was my first ever win for triathlon."

Frank decided to the do sprint distance this year and that turned out to be a good decision. "I ended up taking 3rd overall and fastest Master with good solid splits all around - in fact I had the fastest run split off the day and the blisters to proof it. Greenfield triathlon might be a small race but the venue and relaxed atmosphere makes it a real treat and worth the drive. Thanks to Chrissy for coming out to support and take pictures."

But that's not all! Meanwhile, up in Lowell, three Mini Ponies were stomping around at the Lowell Triathlon with some very strong results. Here's Karyn MM's report:

"We had a areat day in Lowell today! Eri, who chose to participate fully clothed, finished his first Olympic distance triathlon and looked very strong at the finish (we don't have any of the results yet, so we have no idea whether we scored NETT points).

I was doing a relay with Mary. My swim was fine, about the same as last year's I think (maybe a few seconds faster) but somehow (???) I managed to take about 10 minutes off my bike ride (43 last year, and according to my watch, a little over 33 this year, with another minute or so to walk to the transition area). Mary of course flew through the running leg, despite the fact that her timing chip was engraving her initials deep in her achilles."Congrats to all! That's the way to represent NETT out there in the field.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NETT take the beach at Cohasset

A few Mini Ponies were down at the Cohasset tri recently. Martin Bures has been really ripping it up this year. Here's his report:

So Jim and Katherine and I did Cohasset this past weekend. It is an Age Group Nationals Qualifier Race and it was filled up. There were 804 competitors. It was a perfect day - sunny, the ocean was glass and it was not windy. The water was cold so a full wetsuit was in order.

I lined up for my wave and waited for the gun to go off. There was some jostling at the start but I sprinted for the open, dove into the water and took a few strong strokes to put me in the lead. I kept the lead through the swim and ran up the beach to the first transition.

I was a little winded from the swim and had a slow swim-to-bike transition but was still in good shape. Only a few people passed me during the bike leg which went surprisingly well despite a few shifting problems due to some cable stretch. We had driven the course the previous day and it didn't seem too bad but we missed a hilly
section which was an unwelcome surprise. All-in-all, the bike went well and I have definitely improved this season thanks to Frank.

T2 was a bit faster and I was out for the run. It felt sluggish at first and there were a few challenging hills but I was able to take back a few places that I lost during the bike. I was empty at the end but it was a great effort. I finished 2nd in my age group, 22/804 for 1:00:25 with some strong competition."

Nice work Martin!

Despite the top-notch competition at this race, Katherine still managed to win her age group by less than a minute in a gutsy performance.

Jim De Zutter put in a super strong swim as well and finished in 1:14. He credits his strong race to his unusual habit of inspecting every grain of sand on the beach prior to the swim.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Inside Scoop on Sisters Smith Success

Sisters Mary and Clare Smith did so well at their first 50K recently, the NETT news team decided to pick their brains on it. (Note the picture here includes their "adopted" sister Janelle Smith.) Here's what we found out from Mary:

• The Mantra for the day was "Stay upright & keep moving forward", which we both followed.
• We enjoyed our day on the trail, stopping at 2 lookouts to look down the valley & take in the scenery.
• The aid station volunteers were extremely friendly & helpful. The watermelon was our best friend!!
• Mile 1-20 were tough, lots of steep climbs (both up & down).
• Miles 21 - 25 Both Smith Sister were plagued with nauseau (thankfully one of us lost the feeling at mile 25)
• Miles 26 - 30 one of us learned that nothing calms nauseau (not water, not gatorade, not ginger candy, not gum, not walking, not running, not nothing.....)
• Mile 30 - We FINALLY found the cure!! One Smith lost their cookies - "I mean Gatorade" all over the trail!! Afterwards - she felt GREAT & wished the "incident" had occured 10 miles ago.
• Miles 30 - 31.2 The Smith Sister rolled toward the finish (finishing together as the 2nd & 3rd Women).
• No major injuries to report (just some heat rash & expected dehydration).We're also pretty sure having a rock-solid sibling to run with is a BIG advantage in a long race like that. Congrats again!

Monday, June 21, 2010

MiniPonies out in force at Webster Lake Triathlon

NETT was well represented both in quantiy and quality at the Webster Tri this weekend, with three relay teams and an open competitor taking the race by storm.

In the relays, the big showdown between Dream Team II (Nicholas, Doctor Ron and Little Skittles) and Frank, Adrienee and Crazy Dave was uniquely handicapped at the last minute. Little Skittles had to pull out with an injury, so Tina subbed in. Crazy Dave did his own version of handicapping the race by showing up to the starting line...out of sorts as many of you can attest to.

But at the end of the day, it was a win-win-win for NETT. Frank and Nicholas were both phenomenal in the water (I'm not sure who made it to the beach first, but when you factored in the run across the parking lot to T1 it was basically a dead heat). Dream Team II was slowed slightly when an overzealous race official decided to lecture Dr. Ron on the finer points of triathlon and being such a big proponent of education, Dr. Ron listened and took notes before heading out on the bike.

But that wasn't the rookie mistake that cost him. It was his decision to pass, and taunt, Adrienne early in the bike leg. That woke the beast and AC just stomped the pedals and shot off like a rocket before coming into the closely scrutinized transition area yet again (I'm pretty sure the race officials at Webster were trained by the KGB because they were watching everyone's moves). All kidding aside, Ron's performance on the bike in his FIRST EVER race of any kind was huge. According to one report, he was about one minute off Adrienne's time, which is phenomenal. This guy's going to be a secret weapon in some relays coming up!

Meanwhile, at T2, still in a haze of sorts, it took Crazy Dave three attempts to properly attach the chip to his leg while a race official literally stood over him and watched. With Frank and AC having done the heavy lifting, there was only one relay team to run down which they did easily to capture the relay team title.

Dream Team II, however, produced the most impressive run leg of the day on its way to fourth overall and with Tina and "company" churning out something like a 22-minute run leg (results are a bit messed up). Now while we want to give her praise for this performance, we DO NOT want to encourage such behavior in the future. A 30 or 40 minute stroll would have sufficed there speedypants Wang, so next time we WILL pull you off the course for non-compliance to the very strict rules in the NETT Future Stars development program. (We've already contracted some of those ex-KGB guys that FIRM has!)

Not to be outdone, the third NETT relay team of Eminem, Eminem and Daniel produced some pretty staggering results of its own. For example, what would you give to shave, say, three minutes off your swim time and a couple more off your bike in a year? Well that's pretty much what Karyn did yesterday before Daniel uncorked the third-fastest run leg in the relay competition. Consider they had two people and Dream Team II had four on their (I'll let you do the math!) I'd say they can all be proud.

Despite the whirl of chaos and paparrazi surrounding the relay competition, our sole individual competitor, Eri, was his usual calm and collected self on his way to a 6th place finish in his age group. While we all know he's a very strong swimmer, I'd point out that comparatively his run split was ranked higher than his swim in this race...good sign for this guy's development.

And perhaps the most fun part of this father's day event, is the family affair that is has become for NETT. Last year it was a swarm of De Zutters out there. This year the families were also very well represented in many ways. Great great to see and, I think, a great illustration of what NETT is all about.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Having a Great time at the Lincoln Steeplechase

Several NETT members made good impressions at the Great Lincoln Steeplechase on Sunday and it wasn't all in the results.

Crazy Dave ran the race for the fourth (?) time in 13 years, finishing second in 41:17. Chris Smith took it out hard and held on for fourth overall and top masters' honors. Marshall Randolph won the 60+ age group in 49:17 and Wendy Johnecheck was sixth woman overall thanks to some pacing help from the Youngstah.

But it was Frank KJ, who showed up mainly to take these great pics, that deserves the biggest kudos. While hanging out waiting for us all to finish, Frank was asked if he could help call out numbers at the finish and, true to form, he took to the job with gusto. SO much so, the race organizers gave him a special word of thanks at the awards ceremony
Just the kind of folks we are...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sisters Smith finish second in their first 50K

Teamwork! That's what helped Mary Smith and sister Clare not only survive, but thrive in their first 50K at the Laurel Highlands this weekend down in Pennsylvania.

It was hot and humid on race day--not the optimial conditions to run any race, never mind your first 50K. For those of you thinking Pennsylvania is flat, think again! According to the race web site, the point-to-point course begins at elev. 1200 ft. and ends at elev. 2760 ft. The 50K race saw only 83% of starters actually finish the race this year. Oowwwwccch.

But as we've come to expect Mary and Clare handled what came their way in stride. They ran together to manage the challenges and finished together in 7:14 as the second and third women in the race. That gives you an indication--7 hours for the second place woman to run a 50K course is clearly a brutal race.

Big congrats to Mary and Clare. Great work out there!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

NETT relay teams to duke it out at Webster Lake Triathlon

Let the smack talk and the side-bets begin!

NETT has two very strong relay teams set to go at the upcoming Webster Lake Triathlon and we're taking bets on who's going to win (you can post your vote on the poll on the NETT meetup page).

The first NETT trio has Frank doing the swim, a day post-half-iron, Adrienne on the bike and Crazy Dave handling run duties. At full strength, this is a very solid relay squad for the Mini Ponies.

But as strong as that first team is, if they want the crown, they're going to have to wrestle it from the Dream Team II, which has Nicholas "the fish" in the water (I swear this kid has gills!), Dr. Ron hammering the bike leg and the always speedy Little Skittles on the run (You really don't want to have to kick the last 200 against this kid!).

A third Dark Horse team has Eminem, still recovering from injury, doing double-duty in the swim and bike, and Daniel throwing down the run. With all her cross-training lately, Eminem could make it close enough to give Big Dan a chance to open up those monstrous ground-eating strides and make a run at it.

There is already some controversy surrounding the race, as the NETT News Room, which is fully impartial in such matters, has obtained this photo clearly showing two of the three teams plotting some kind of underhanded doings. Frank's team is clearly a trio of marked men..uh..athletes.

No matter who wins, with those teams it's sure to mean a good day for NETT all around. But just for fun, log into the NETT MEETUP GROUP and post your vote today!