Sunday, October 30, 2011

Emma Hits Her Stride at Waltham Halloween Race

A great Halloween race report from Frank KJ:

With Wrentham Duathlon postponed to next week, Emma and I decided to join Tina for a 5K race in Waltham. Nice little race for a good course - only downside is that the course is on Waverly Oaks with a lot of traffic. Luckily we got through it safely. As you can see from the results - - Emma placed 3 and 3/4 right in front of myself in 4th place. Tina placed 2nd overall. Afterwards a cold red-nosed Emma enjoyed all the attention in her Tigger outfit while Tina and I collected a couple of Best Buy gift certificates.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Breaking News: NETT Racks up the Wine and Pumpkins at Groton Trail Race

The NETT Mini Ponies had a great day at the Groton Town Forest Trail Runs today, highlighted by a 1-2 finish in the women's 9.5 mile race.

Mary Smith has clearly bounced back from the Nipmuck Marathon, running strong enough to take the women's win in her first crack at Groton (time to come), while Adrienne Cyrulik was not far behind to finish second place overall. What a great finish for the Ponyettes. Both earned themselves a coveted bottle of wine made personally by race director Paul Funch.

In the men's long race, CrazyDave chugged along fast enough to take the master's win, while Eri Verter, in the final stages of marathon training, cranked out a very strong run on the trails.

In the 3.5 miler, NETT "better halfs" Chris and Doris both enjoyed their first trip to this race with Chris earning himself a pumpkin for his efforts.

It was great to see some other NETT pals like John "I hate Facebook" Kinnee, Brodie Miles and Tom Hildreth mixing it up on their first trip to Groton as well.

As always, Paul Funch and his crew put on a great event--just what trail running is supposed to be. A well-marked challenging course with all sorts of surprises, helpful volunteers, VERY generous prizes (homemade wine takes a LOT more effort to make than a plastic trophy), and some nice post-race snacks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NETT gives back to the trails

This weekend, a couple NETTers decided after all the dirt they've taken off the trails (and tracked into their cars, yards and living rooms), they should spend a day fixing them up a bit. Here's Mary's report:

"Saturday the Needy Little Man (aka Crazy Dave) proved that he's truly very generous. Dave and Mary joined the Friends of the Blue Hills in their organized trail maintenance day. The work days were started as a way for avid Blue Hills users to give-back, and help maintain the network of trails. Work days happen one Saturday a month (during Spring, Summer, and Fall), and include clearing brush and downed trees, digging ditches to re-route water and minimize trail erosion, and other small projects.

There were over 30 volunteers lined up at the Houghton's Pond parking lot. The core group of organizers (a bunch of guys named Bob) gave a brief description of the scheduled projects and then organized all the volunteers into smaller groups. Mary & Dave joined the "Brushing Group" which involved clearing downed trees that were making the trails impassable. The trees had been down since Hurricane Irene blew threw New England. The destruction from Irene was incredible. There were rows of huge downed trees, that fell like domino's in Irene's wrath. Some were so large, they looked like baby Red Woods! However, that did not deter Mary, Dave, and the 3 other's in the group. They worked diligently to clear the downed trees using only a hand saw and pruning sheers. The 3 guys in the group did all the sawing, while the gals worked with the pruning sheers and then used their pure brute strength and determination to move all monstrous logs (that the guys cut up).

The trail work day wrapped up around noon. The amount of work that done with 5 people, a saw, pruning sheers, and a whole lot of determination was absolutely amazing!! The next scheduled work day is November 12th.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Molkie Takes it Up to a New Level Down in Jersey

As most of you know, our pal Dave Molk headed South this fall to do smaht guy stuff. Well, he's definitely being smaaht about his running too, finishing his first 50K this weekend at the Mountain Madness 50K on a monstrous course down in NJ. Here's his report:

"I just finished my first 50k down here in Jersey and I'll start by saying that in my experience so far, the trails in MA are vastly superior to the ones down here. Take advantage of them. The race was Mountain Madness and claims around 5000' of elevation gain but luckily most of that is rolling, rather than steep scrambles. The terrain reminded me a lot of the Blue Hills, minus the Skyline trail. I ended up running the whole thing with a really nice guy who had ample ultra experience, so he definitely helped me more than I helped him.

I had tweaked something in my leg the week before the race (everyone's nightmare), so was considering not doing it at all rather than get into trouble mid-race. Luckily, we had good drop points for the first 10 miles and everything felt ok, so I kept going. Nutrition became a bit of a problem later in the race, as I got really tired of Clif Shots, which in turn led me to reject pretty much anything I tried to eat. I think Hammer shots are the worst product I've ever tried (stocked at the aid stations).

Other than that, I stayed hydrated, blister, cramp, and chafe-free, and tried to look at it as a fun adventure/hike in the woods. I had a few mental lapses but the body stayed strong and the legs were good up to the last mile and a half, which was downhill and beat up my quads more than I expected. Still, things are feeling good today. Course marking was similar to Oxford, so I got some extra mileage in, but luckily not too much. We had a gorgeous day, starting in the low 50s and ending in the 60s, with sun for most of the time (although we had a lot of tree-cover).

I finished with 6:29 for 13th place."

Big congrats Molkie! Way to make us proud!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

MiniPonies Tackle the Trails at Nipmuck Marathon

A couple hearty MiniPonies took to the trails at the Nipmcuk Trail Marathon on Sunday and the results were one great finish, one acceptable finish given the circumstances, and a whole lot of stories to tell.

First, we'll check in with Mary "Candy Pants" Smith on her race. CP finished 7th woman overall in 4:50 (time means nothing in this event, except to say it's a rugged run). But it's not even so much WHAT she did, but how she did it. Starting out easy, weaving her way up through the pack, bee-bopping along most of the way, and finishing looking like she could have run another 10 miles. Here's her report:

"Overall this was a great race! A little crazy, a smidge muddy, and a bit hilly...but I would do it again. The race was 2 out and back runs: 6+ miles one way back to the start and then 6+ miles in the other direction and then back to the finish. The out and back on the single track made it tougher to pass (especially when the speedy runners were coming toward you) but it was encouraging to see the other runners. Somehow Dave managed to provide pertinent advice both times we passed each other.

I was a little nervous going into the race, wondering if I trained enough - I just ignored that part of my brain until the race started. The pre-race de-brief was informative yet, shall we say 'interesting'. I don't think words could explain the actions of Nipmuck Dave & his pre-race mud jaunt. When the race started, I was toward the back, which was good and bad...good because it forced to start slowly, but bad because it was hard to pass on the single track. The people in front of me were walking up every hill and through every mud crossing (and there was plenty of mud). The 1st 3 miles of the race were slow and mentally tough - trying to navigate around the other runners. About 30 minutes into the race, the weather gods decided it wasn't muddy enough, so they brought on some more rain. It rained just long enough to make sure everything was soaked and that the mud was plentiful.

I got to see Dustin & Doris (our biggest fans) at the half way point. Dustin told me I could quit the race, but I told him that if I quit - I'd have to find another marathon to run before the wedding (I set a goal for myself to run one more marathon before the wedding-mission accomplished). I enjoyed the 2nd half of the race more than the 1st, even though the 2nd half was slightly longer & more technical. All the runners spread out and I was able to run alone in the woods...and there was less mud. Plus, since I started so slowly, I was able to speed past people who were starting to struggle. A memorable section of the 2nd half was having to slide over a big fallen log (because it was too big for me to jump) but then crossing a marshy area - where I had to wade into shin deep water for 3 or 4 steps before I got to the footbridge (which was also submerged). I thought of it as a way to clean off some of the mud. The course continued through the woods, on a short stretch of dirt roads, over some significant climbs, and down a treacherously slippery set of stairs to the final turnaround.

The last 6 miles were challenging, but we were all like horses headed to the barn. I tried using Jean Dany's attitude of "run harder when you're tired so you finish sooner". I saw Doris & Dustin again at one of the aid stations, and then was off to finish the race. The last 2 miles were the toughest but I knew the end was near. As I crested the last hill and headed to the finish I felt "OK" but was glad to see Dustin waiting for me at the bottom - I knew it was almost over and that I was about to finish! I finished in 4:50 slightly slower than Dave's 3:55 effort.

There was post race food and drink (who in their right mind wants more Gatorade after a marathon). We got some food, checked some results, & I even found some evidence of Candy - CP lives on!! Thanks to Dustin & Doris for waking up at 5am on a Sunday, and especially to Dustin who missed all the 1:00 football games!"

Crazy Dave could have taken a lesson from Candy Pants and taken a different approach. Unfortunately for him, the race played out in a not-so-pleasant manner. A slightly upset stomach meant he limited his food intake to basically less than half a sports bar. And for a race this long, that spells disaster. The last five miles, he was not his usual peppy self and struggled up some of the hills he was actually looking forward to early on. The result? He gave up two places in the last 1/4 mile to finsih 6th overall in 3:55, good for first master (thanks mostly to a kids' soccer game up in NH somewhere).

As the photos on Dustin and Mary's Facebook show, Crazy Dave was basically a ghost after the race (check out the last picture as well as Dustin's hilarious comments throughout!), turning whiter than Pat Boone at a Clan rally. Not to worry for all of his many many fans out there, all's well with Crazy Dave and he's back to his usual wisecracking self (as the previous and current sentence will attest to).

The Shenipsit Striders did a great job putting this race on for the first time in the fall. They made sure there was plenty of mud, a couple knee deep water crossings, and plenty of aid at the aid stations and volunteers on the course. Congrats to Clint Morse, taking the reigns from Nipmuck Dave.

HUUUUGE thanks to:
Dustin for waking up at the crack of dawn, driving all the way there and back, taking pictures and all out support.

Doris for the continued support and post-race medical care.

The race volunteer in the white Boston Marathon jacket who watched Crazy Dave like a hawk after the race, repeatedly asking if he was okay and if there was someone coming to get him. No joke--that is exactly what he (I) needed at the time whether he (I) knew it or not.

The Newton Wellesely Hosptial Bear for checking vitals.

And ALL of the race volunteers who spent a long Sunday in the woods so that a bunch of us whackos could run around in the mud.