Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Eminem's Take on KBVCM

Big congrats to Karyn once again for her gutsy performance at the Vermont City Marathon. After some much-needed rest, she's put together this great race report:

I arrived at the starting line well-hydrated, well-fed, proudly attired in my Hannah t-shirt... and terrified!. I was worried about a nagging hamstring that's been bothering me for the last month or so. But also afraid of embarrassing myself in front of the fleet-footed mini ponies who would be waiting at the finish line.

I took my place somewhere in the back of the very crowded starting line, and waited for the gun.

The first two miles were incredibly congested. But they did serve me well, by preventing me from making the same mistake I always make -- letting adrenaline get the better of me and starting out too quickly. By the end of the second mile I'd passed the 4:30 pace group, passed the 4:00 hour pace group and planted myself firmly about 5 or 6 minutes behind the 3:45 group. Exactly where I wanted to be.

And there I stayed, running happily (past the drag queens, past the drummers) for the first 9 miles. My hamstring wasn't bothering me, the weather was good, and I felt great. Mary gave me some company around mile 9.5 or so, which was fabulous. I cannot say thank you enough. She filled my water bottle, regaled me with her European tales, and even -- yes, it's all true -- put my candy wrappers in her pants (I swear I saw this happen!). When I cruised through the half, and back through the park around mile 15 Dave and Doris were there cheering enthusiastically.

Everything was going smoothly and I seemed to be on pace to run a 3:50 - 3:54.
By mile 18 it had gotten hot -- but we passed through a great little neighborhood where kids were handing out popsicles. I took one, and kept on going. Had a slight side stitch, which didn't develop into anything serious, and headed toward the 20.7 mile relay exchange where Daniel's head stuck out above the crowd. Daniel was waiting with a fresh bottle of gatorade, a banana and TONS of encouragement. About two minutes into our run I heard a little voice and noticed that Adrienne was right there as well. (She was previously blocked by Daniel). The company was welcome, since my hamstring -- the one that I had been worried about -- started tightening up. My stride was getting a little shorter and I could tell that I was losing time.

My incentive at this point was to get to mile 23, where I knew Noah was waiting (yes, parents even worry about their kids 23 miles into a marathon). I wasn't going to be really comfortable until we had picked him up too and I knew that everyone was safe and accounted for. With lots of encouraging words from Daniel and Adrienne we made it to 23 where Noah was ready and waiting.

FABULOUS. I dug deep for miles 23 and 26 but I could tell I was slowing, but the support I got kept my pace steady.

Just a hair before mile 26 Crazy Dave, Doris and Chris caught my attention to tell me how close I was, and I used every ounce of energy I had left to do my equivalent of a sprint to the finish line. I had my eyes glued to a woman about 20 feet in front of me and decided that I was going to pass her, and when I did, I glanced at my watch (which had ticked up to 3:58:30) and grinned. I knew I'd make it under 4 hours and that I'd done everything I could to achieve it.

Disappointed that I didn't qualify for Boston? Sure. But I would have been more disappointed if I didn't feel like I'd given it everything I had.

On that day, at that time, I gave it my all. And even though I was a little floppy at the end (last time I make fun of Dave for being a Needy-Little-Man), I was moved to have so many supportive friends around me. Thank you.

Monday, May 28, 2012

NETT vs. The Vermonster

Vermont City Marathon: Meet the NETT Mini Ponies!

NETT's road trip to the Vermont City Marathon was born the day Eminem and Peter were shut out of Boston 2012. After a couple "white lies" (with only the best intentions), it was decided NETT would head up en masse to Burlington and run some relays while supporting Karyn in her full marathon.

The results surprised even the most optimistic among us!

First and foremost big congrats to Eminem for meeting her goal of a sub-4. It was a deceptively warm day and Karyn paced herself smartly in the early miles, staying relaxed and drinking like a thirsty Canadian on Half Price Molson night. And in true NETT form, she got plenty of support from CP, AC, Big Dan and Not-so-Little Skittles. The strong support brought her in just under her goal time in 3:59, nearly cracking the top 10 in her age division. She crossed the line and was surrounded by a support crew bigger than most elite runners have.

"THANKS EVERYONE for all your support his weekend," she said. "It was a fabulous time, and I'm blown away by how well everyone did. I have to say, the NETT family rocks. (And boy, can you guys pack away the Ice cream!)" (More on that later)

Congrats Karyn. You did the work all winter, stuck to the plan, and executed with keen precision on race day.

But Karyn's finish was only the beginning of the good news. The two NETT relay teams stormed the course to finish first and second in their respective divisions.

The five-person relay kicked off with Doris running a 5K PR, weaving through the crowded field like a Ninja on roller skates! On Leg 2 Mary did what Mary does and ran a blistering pace and got Crazy Dave the bracelet in a flash. Dave held his own before Adrienne tore out around the neighborhoods and got Chris in great position to bring us home in sub-5:50 pace, kicking past teams right to the line.

We finished FIRST OVERALL out of 493 teams in the mixed open relay division in 2:53 (amazing considering two of us--almost three--are masters). We were the 9th relay team overall out of 715 five-person relay teams. It's a great example of five teammates all telling each other to "relax and have fun" but when it came their turn to run, every one of them dug deep because they didn't want to let their teammates down. .

Lastly, came the inspiring performance by "For Hannah", Marshall and Tina's two-person mixed masters relay team. Tina set out at an aggressive pace from the gun and held onto it all the way through the halfway exchange zone. Marshall continues to baffle us by running a 1:30 for his leg, crossing the line as the SECOND mixed masters two-person relay.

Part of it was our special shirts reminding us what's important. Part of it was the support from our teammates. But NETT clearly ran above its ability level in all areas this weekend. NETT also ATE above its ability level as well. Saturday night's pre-race meal was a delicious Chrisfest (there were four in attendance) capped off with a game of "How old ARE you?" from Frank and a special good luck message from Peter. Sunday's feast of Chinese food at A Single Pebble kept the pace up.

And Monday's eating...well...Karyn can tell us about that later....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chris Tackles Soapstone Again

Smitty took a trip down to CT last weekend to take another shot at a race that has become his nemesis in recent years. Here's his report:

"Today I ran the Soapstone Mountain Trail Race and I always wondered how I would fair if I got a clean look at THE HILL early in the race. I always get stuck behind someone and I hate to force my way by them especially where I am not much of a down hiller they pass me on the back side then I look like a total jerk.

This year, I went out at a good pace and was surprised I was feeling pretty good after expending so much energy yesterday. I hit the big hill in the lead and was up and over and done with the down hill before I got reeled in. About halfway I started feeling Saturday's race in my legs then I took a wrong turn, not too bad before I figured it out and back tracked back on course but fatigue set in quick and the second half of the race was not so pretty.

I took a tumble on the second half and I must say even in my fatigued state I executed a perfect tuck and roll right back up onto my feet. Some cuts and a dirty NETT singlet but that's trail running."

Molkie Ties For the 8th Dirtiest German in Philly 50K (and Completes his Jedi Training)

Great news! Our pal Molkie checked in this week. He took a break from his musical pursuits and jumped into a 50K with great results, 8th overall, winning his age group. But perhaps most importantly, in this race he completed his NETT Jedi Training and achieved Jedi status, spreading the Force.

Here's his report:

"I did the Dirty German 50K today--how cool a race name is that? It was relatively spur of the moment, but I've been at a really good fitness level, and was not able to make Pinelands 50K as planned, and this one was under an hour drive away in a park in Philly.

It was gorgeous weather, a well-marked, mostly flat course with some really nice single track, again considering that it is in Philly. Anyways, I met a fellow Middlebury College alum before the race started and then bumped into her around 4 miles into the race, so we ran together the rest of the way and tied for 8th overall at around 4:23.

I got first in my age group and won this sweet weather house. Felt great the whole time, and we dropped around 5 minutes on the second lap and picked a bunch of people off (race was two 15.5 mile loops).

(Editor's Note: As always, Molkie is being humble about the role he played in pacing this girl. To read her side of this story, check out this blog post. (BE SURE TO READ THE COMMENTS ON THAT POST!) Clearly, he helped her a lot and made NETT proud by showing such a selfless attitude out there. The Jedi training is complete. The Force flows strong in this one.)

About the prizes:

According to the race director: these unique awards come from the Black Forest of Germany. They are German weather houses. They can predict future weather pretty much as reliable as "Glen Hurrican Schwarz" . Here is how they work: There is a gut string inside which reacts to all changes in air humidity. Depending on wether the air is dry or humid, the gut string changes it's position and twists more or less, so that the female turns outside when it is dry (predicting nice weather) and the male, when it is humid.

Congrats Molkie! Thanks for reprezentin' NETT down South!

Wellesley 1 Miler for the Hannah Randolph Fund a HUGE Success

(Editor's Note: Apologies for the delay on this posting, but life gets in the way).

The Wellesley 1 Miler turned out to be a massive success with 330 finishers! The race raised a lot of money for both Children's Hospital (a donation of $2,000 will be made to Children's in Hannah's name) and the Hannah Randolph Memorial Fund.

It was so great to see so many members of the extended NETT "family" volunteering and running in the race. Thank to you to each and every one. So much more to say about this one, but I think it's best to say it in person. Personally the hug I got from Karen on Mother's Day was the biggest thanks I could imagine.

There are hundreds of pictures from RaceMenu on the Facebook here:

There's also a great set of photos on the Wellesley Townsman's site here:

Changed for the Better. Changed for Good.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Winning Ways Continue at Sudbury Tri, a Family Affair

The Sudbury Sprint triathlon was a family affair for NETT once again this year with an overall win, a relay win, a first-ever triathlon finish and more.

First off, big congrats to new NETT member Zoltan Varga who just blew us all away literally and figuratively with his unbelievable win. He covered a 400m swim, a 7 mile bike and a 2.3 mile run in 36:13. No, that's not a typo. Great job Zoltan! Welcome to the US!

While Zoltan might be a new member to the NETT family, there were a lot of other NETT family "members" (literally) out there doing damage. In the relay division, the Wang Dynasty has given way to the Chin Dynasty, as Nicholas and Frank won the relay thanks to strong, even splits to come away with 38:15. The only drawback was Frank now has become the target of an MSCPCA campaign to add motion detectors to racing bikes.

Also in the "family" department, Crazy Dave and Doris helped pace his niece Julie to her first ever full triathlon finish at age 13! Granted, Dave caused the equivalent of a rush hour traffic jam in the pool and almost had a stroke before making the final wall but he caught up with Julie on the bike leg and Doris joined them for the run.

There was more of the NETT family out there as well. The always jovial Big Al Prescott cracked the top 50 overall in 44:20 (six places in front of his US Senator, I might add) while his better half Judy cracked the top 10 in her division as well.

And old pro now (okay, not old, but an experienced triathlete, Katherine DZ finished 3rd in her age division (that'a a competitive field these days!).

Congrats to all! It's great to see such fit families representing us.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

NETT Continues its Winning Ways at Pipestave, Cure is Coming

The Mini Ponies are having a winning week and it's only Saturday!

In the Pipestave Hill 5K Trail Race on Thursday night, NETT took the overall win and put four men in the top 16 places! Dmitry Drozdov announced his return to the New England racing scene by running away with the race winning in 18:02. Chris Smith won the master's division in 18:45, while Crazy Dave and Patrick McVeigh each took third in their age groups.

It was a strong showing for NETT in the first race of the North Shore Trail Series.

And on Saturday, it was a strong showing for NETT at the Cure is Coming 5K for ALS in Lexington in the results and behind the scenes. Mary Pizarro continued her winning ways and won the women's race in a blazing 20:14. On the men's side, NETT recruit Zack Schwartz laid down a blistering race for second place, while the duo of Dmitry and Chris finished 4-5 to give NETT the top two master's spots. (Given his impressive results lately, race officials conducted a surprise blood test on Chris after the race, by the way. Results are pending.) Stephen Peckiconis nabbed the top spot on the 50-59 age group. NETT v 2.0's duo of Not-So-Little Skittles and Alexandra flew over the course in fine form!

Behind the scenes race director Jerry De Zutter put on a great event while NETT folks were all over the course volunteering for a good cause. It was great to see such a good turnout for Jerry's race.

All in all, it was a true NETT family affair. Always good to see. Proud to be a pony.