Sunday, May 15, 2011

Race Report: Soapstone Mountain Trail Race

A few hearty NETT members headed down to the legendary Soapstone Trail Race on a wet Sunday. A first-timer, a second timer seeking redemption, and a veteran of more Soapstones than most of us could ever hope for.

Big congrats to Chris Smith, for his successful return to Soapstone after getting disastrously lost here last year (we were about 80% sure he had been abducted by aliens at a certain point). Chris finished 10th in 1:56 this year. Here's his take on it:

"I laugh at you Soapstone Moutain! (insert diabolical laughter) Is that all you've got? Actually, I almost didn't go when I woke up to hard rain. I checked the radar and it didn't look too bad so I got up and headed out. The race started with a nice temperature but sketchy footing. I was going even slower than usual on the downhills. With about 5m to go it started to downpour. The trails turned to rivers. After the last big climb I was just ahead of two guys. I fell at the beginning of the decent and lost one spot, lost another spot due to my slow decending speed. I could see them just ahead on the fire road to the finish but there was nothing left in my legs. I finished 10th place, but I am beat."

Also big congrats to Dave Molk who cracked the top 20 in his first attempt at Soapstone. (After his strong effort at 7 Sisters, clearly Molkie is checking off all the "classics" on the New England Trail racing circuit). Here's Dave's report:

"It was a wet race, although we started off dry (at least, not raining). I took two diggers but didn't have any shoes sucked off by the mud, which I was pretty worried about. Fun course, thank god we didn't have to go back down that big hill, although there was a long descent near the end that was also really slippery. As seems to be the trend at the moment, I had a better second half. Fun race. Chris looked good, but I couldn't actually see him, as he was out of sight in front of me the whole time."

And one of NETT's trail running veterans Dave Mingori was just minute behind Molkie in 2:05. Surf through the Soapstone results and you'll see Dave's name in a lot of results, always pretty high up--the guy's just a trail running stalwart and put in another great effort.

Great work guys! Putting the "T" back in NETT!

Monday, May 09, 2011

NETT Dynasties Do Battle at the Duel in the Pool

The stakes were high and the terms were set. Two all-star NETT triathlon relay teams went head to head at the Sudbury Sprint Triathlon, pushing each other to phenomenal results.

Team 1, aka the Wang Dynasty, of Nicholas (swim), Frank (bike) and Tina (run) was unbeatable head-to-head. So in a show of true sportsmanship, they agreed to provide a 10-minute cushion (thanks in part to the Montreal Canadiens' Lars Eller) to NETT team two, aka the Chow Dynasty, which consisted of Dave's niece Julie (swim), Crazy Dave (bike) and Doris (run).

The Wang Dynasty was first up, with Nicholas swimming his 400m pool leg like a marlin covered in butter. Fast and smooth despite having spent 6 hours doing hard labor the day before. Frank headed out on the bike and put down the Danish hammer, and laying down the second-fastest bike split in the relay. With that Tina took off looking like she'd never even heard of the Boston Marathon, throwing down a sub-16 minute run for a total relay time of 40:27.

If the Chow Dynasty was going to win the bet and a free breakfast at Helen's Restaurant in Concord, it would need to put in a 50:27, no small task for two first-time triathletes and a "cyclist" who looks more the part than acts it. After a long warmup, Julie took off on her first-ever triathlon swim leg like a pro. She beat her seed time by 30 seconds and ran like a started deer out to the transition area to send Dave off on the bike leg. Dave, extremely concerned he would be the weak leg on his team, gave it everything he had, but still gave up more than two minutes to Frank. The race was in Doris' hands, er, feet.

Doris sped off on the run leg, knowing she'd have to work hard to keep her team in contention. With the bet on the line, Doris knew it was close and kicked it in the last 300 meters like there was a shoe sale on the other side of the finish line.

When the dust settled, it was close, but the Chow Dynasty kept it to an 8:41 gap with a 49:08, thereby winning the bet!! Breakfast at Helen's to the victors!! (Special thanks to the Chow Dynasty team mascot, M, and of course Emma for her undivided attention as a spectator).

Also putting in great performances at Sudbury were Big Al Prescott and his wife Judy. Al, who even took a spill on the bike ("It's boring if there's no blood!") put down a 49-minute effort while Judy put in a 1:02 solo effort. Great job by both.

All in all it was a fun event--the pool swim makes it a great first-time event, and the weather cooperated nicely.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Liz's Take on Boston

Well, as most of you know our latest NETT casualty, Liz Haacke, has returned to her native Northlands. But before she left, she threw down a great Boston Marathon. Here’s her take on her first Boston.

My thoughts on the marathon:
This is a little later than I had hoped to write it, but moving kind of came at me fast and took over my life a bit. So here is what my impressions are from what I remember.

First up, the bus ride out. I was so happy to be going on the bus with Karyn and Peter, it gave me people to talk to and calm me down. And Karyn mentioned that the bus ride is one of the worst parts of the race, and I agree. You are driving and driving and driving thinking the whole time that you need to run the whole way back, you really get a sense of how far you have to run. Also, I was surprised to be surrounded by fellow Canadians on the bus, so we had a pleasant chat about Canada and also the marathon until the man sitting next to me told me Winnipeg is a horrible place, well seeing as that is where I now reside, our conversation was over after that.

Once I got off the bus I found a line for a port-o-potty. Walked around a little then I was time for my wave. Deciding what to keep on, what to put in my bag and what to toss along the way was a challenge as it was a cold wind that morning. One the way to the start I made one last pit stop and then had about 3 minutes to make it to my coral.

Then we were off, and it was a smooth start, one of the fastest starts of all the races I have done, and I kept telling myself to take it slow, that if I thought I was going slow enough I probably still wasn’t and to run my own race. The first half felt great, I had what I thought was a great pace, I saw my friends that had volunteered and had been put at the elite water stop at the 5k mark, so seeing them gave me a boost. Going through Wellesley was fine. Then a few miles after the half my quads started to hurt and my pace started to slow again.

When I knew the Newton hills were coming I welcomed them in a way, I had trained on hills quite a bit, and it gave my quads a break. So I took heart break in stride, it was challenging yes, but so much better than going downhill at that point. The last few miles were decently painful, but I kept going and I saw my friends again in the last half a mile so that gave me a boost.

Crossing the finish line was a great feeling and way more emotional than I thought it would be. Moving through everything in the finisher’s chute was slow and didn’t help with cramping, but it was well organized.

Overall I am glad I did it, and it was a great way to say goodbye to Boston.

Thanks Liz. We miss you already! Best of luck from NETT!!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Molkie Tackles the 7 Bitches the Hard Way

Congrats to Dave Molk, who not only survived his first run at the 7 Sisters Trail Race, but finished in 2:33, 41st place, in one of the toughest races in New England. Here's his report:

"The first half was somewhat miserable despite my starting conservatively, with a few wrong turns, higher temps/sun exposure, and my not being in the race, mentally.

I regrouped at the turn-around, ate a cookie, and started to pull things together. I wish I carried more water, as I kept running out between stations, but passed a lot of people on the way back. I actually avoided getting passed myself on the last 6. Felt really solid on the downhills (except one or two that had me praying to avoid a broken ankle) but the uphills reminded me just how out of shape I am from where I'd like to be.

I'll be trying to get my act together for some races later in the season.
Bottom line: Despite still walking down stairs like Frankenstein (running hard downhills without training them beforehand = demolished quads), I'm planning on coming back next year to run it again and knock some solid time off."

Congrats Dave!

Monday, May 02, 2011

NETT goes 2 for 2 at opening Hale Trail Race

The nice folks at Hale Reservation in Westwood kicked off their 5K trail race series this weekend, and NETT members took the men's and women's division wins. Mary Smith made it look easy, cruising to sixth place overall and the women's win in 25:05, while Crazy Dave took the men's race.

Here's Mary's report:

"After spending 6 nights in Seattle, I couldn't think of a better way to start my weekend than a 5K trail race. I knew I would be tired & still on West Coast time - but as Dustin always says "You can run a 5K in your sleep." So I made the long 4 mile drive over to Hale Reservation. It was a small, low key 5K (close to 75 people)...on nice single track trails. Nothing was too technical or too hilly and the course was well marked. Doing all those runs in Hale definitely gave me a "home advantage" - for the most part I knew what was coming next.

My least favorite part of the race came with about 100 feet to go - some man trying to "Coach" me...saying the finish was right around the corner and telling me to "Empty It Out". I could see the finish line, I know how to run a race, I was in the lead, and there was NO one nearby....I didn't enjoy his "Coaching". However it did provide for some entertainment during Sunday's long run.

So now to the BEST parts of the day. The men's & women's races were swept by NETT!! Crazy Dave crossed the line 1st for the men and I finished 1st for the Women, in about 25 min (notice - I did not mention Crazy's time). The day was filled with nice trails, beautiful weather, "Winner Loving" flies, and quite a few laughs!!

Next 5K at Hale is June 25th at 9 am. They were planning to design a course up Powisset Peak. I definitely recommend them to anyone interested.