Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bob Tears it Up this Weekend..and All Year

Congrats to Bob who won his age group in a race this weekend and also collected his winnings for the age group win in the North Shore Trail Series. Here's his double-feature report:

"On a whim, I decided to run the 5K Festivus road race today (Sunday) in Salem. Walter's Run was the first road race I had done in about a year I think and my legs did not act up so I thought I'd give another go at a road race just to build on that success. Wearing my Red Sox santa hat, I came in first in my age group!

This time, I waited patiently without any expectations (they didn't post the results anywhere), to avoid another premature, ill-fated trip to the awards table.

Also, this weekend, because the official awards ceremony was canceled because of a recent snowstorm, those of us who participated in the North Shore Trail Series stopped by the New England Running Company in Beverly, MA to pick up our awards individually. The results are here: 

It's probably my best athletic achievement to date, and it only took 60 years! The series ran from May to November, beginning with a 5K and ending with the Stone Cat trail marathon, with trail races of 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9 miles in between. Of the 8 trail races in the series, I came in first place in my age group in 6 of them, with a second (to Marshall!) and a third in the other two. As a result, I took first place in my age group for the series overall and received a spiffy Salomon "North Shore Trail Series" jacket and a gift certificate for a new pair of Salomon trail running shoes! It was great fun all season long, running with nice folks and enjoying the outdoors. And all those training runs and races with my NETT teammates during the season helped my fitness immensely, so a big thanks to all of you as well."

Congrats Bob. While we at NETT are always quick to claim victory this one is really your hard work all year. Thanks for representing NETT so well. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mount Hood 2013: A Frosty Fury of Fun

This year's Assault on Mount Hood XC didn't disappoint-- a cold, hilly, sloppy course, good competition, great post-race fare and a pile of nutcrackers to take home.

The course this year had its surprises--all of which went uphill! NETT put three teams into the race: men's "open", men's masters and women's masters.

The women's masters team finished first overall and was led by Kristin, sick as a dog, digs deep to be the first female master. A real gutsy race. Newbie Mairead fit in really well charging through the snow and ice, and Scott's wife Donna rounded out the set.

Zack led the charge for the men finishing 2nd overall, with Crazy Dave and  Fluffy Chris rounding out the Men's open team which finished 2nd overall.

Despite his only training being swinging a hammer the last six months Andy led  the men's masters team to third place with Patrick, Scott, and Jack in tow.

Nutcracker count: 11 by my count! Congrats to all who braved the cold. As always, the Melrose Running Club did a great job in putting this race on. It's an NETT favorite for a reason.
More pictures to come soon.

NETT Rips it Up at Walter's Run

NETT runners have been busy racing and eating the past couple weekends, so here's an update.

Last weekend, it was the NETT favorite Walter's Run 5K road race in West Roxbury. As in years past, NETT runners ran away with age group awards. On the women's side, Mary led the charge finishing 3rd overall. Amanda and AC took 1-2 in the 30-39 age group. NETT newbie Mairead won the 40-49 age group with Tina taking third.

On the men's side, Frank and Crazy Dave ran stride for stride and came in together a few clicks over 18 minutes finishing 2nd and 3rd in their age group. Noah Eminem won his age group in 20:15 and NETT pal Matt Moore ran away with the 20-29 age group. Bob was only one spot out of a bronze in the 60-69 age group.

To see more pictures, take a look at the NETT Facebook page here.

After the race Dave and Doris hosted their usual brunch giving everyone a chance to catch up and enjoy some great company.

As always, Keith Shields and the Parkway Running Club put on a fantastic event. Extremely well organized, friendly and knowledgeable volunteers and a great kids event as well. All of the money raised goes to charity, including the Walter Burgess Scholarship Fund

Sunday, December 01, 2013

L'Chaim and Gobble! NETT Performs Thanksgivukkah Miracles at Warrior Run

It's a true Thanksgivukkah miracle!

In honor of Thanksgivukkah, several NETT members headed over to Brookline, Mass. (where else?) to run the Warrior Run XC race and the results were nothing short of a miracle. 

The event was full of NETT friends and faces. The moment we pulled into the parking lot we heard the familiar and soothing voice of Michael Mahon, who was closing up his XC grand tour for 2013. From the Thomas Chamberas 6K in August to the Warrior Run in December, Michael rode his bike to a pile of XC races. That on its own is truly miraculous. 

Toeing the line for NETT at Larz Anderson Park were Chris, Eric V, Crazy Dave, Illya, and Doris. The course follows the Brookline High XC course, a two-loop (plus) course that includes two steady climbs on each lap. Doris ran steady and strong over the bumpy ground and finished up in about 27 minutes. But HER miracle move came after the race at the raffle, where she won a gift card to the Real Deal deli in West Roxbury. Winning a gift certificate to a deli at a race in Brookline on Thanksgivukkah? The only question is do you get a turkey sandwich or brisket?? 

Doris even had a semi-miraculous (okay, more coincidental) reunion with another familiar face--Bumble Bee Lady who she met on Thursday at the Franklin Park 5K was at the Warrior Run too.  

But perhaps the most impressive Thanksgivukkah Miracle came when the race organizers announced the top 3 finishers in the Masters division at the awards ceremony. Apparently the trio of NETT elders Eric (17:06) , Chris  (17:23), and Dave (cough cough) found a bit of extra oil, mixed it up with some tryptophan and finished 1-2-3 in the Masters division. A with Ilya running a great race finishing up in 21:25, good for sixth master in the race, NETT went 1,2,3 and 6 in the Masters race. Mazel-tov and Gobble Gobble! 

Overall this was a great race for a lot of reasons. All money goes to Brookline HS XC, which has its own NETT connection because Eric's daughter Gabby is on the team and won the HS girls race!). There's an extensive raffle (all the HS kids recruit the sponsors which is a great tradition). The course is challenging, but not insane (Doris said she'll do it again--that's a good sign). Special thanks to Allison for cheering and moral support. And as always, racing with fellow NETTers made it the best Thanksgivukkah ever!  

Zack Celebrates Thanksgivukkah The FAST Way in Newtown

It's not exactly a surprise, but Zack Schwartz blasted through his hometown Thanksgivukkah race to win it easily. Zack ran the Newtown, Conn. 5K in 15:50 sporting his hometown shirt proudly. Congrats Zack! Happy Thanksgivukkah!

Friday, November 29, 2013

NETT Runs Turkeyiffically on Thanksgiving!

As has become the tradition. Thanksgivingukkah saw a broad full stable of Mini Ponies out galloping around the streets and trails of the Boston area in local turkey trots for some great causes.

The biggest team of Ponies showed up at the Strides for Stroke 5K in Lexington. This race has become an NETT favorite for several reasons. First of all, it's for a great cause--money raised goes to the Steven T. Hill Stroke Foundation. Read more about the cause here. Two years ago, Frank KJ started the tradition by winning the race and being crowned Turkey King!  Last year an NETT father/daughter duo won the crown.

And this year.....drum roll please......Slava wins the Turkey King Crown! As detailed on the NETT The Facebook page Slava earned the title by braving howling winds and very cold temperatures to win the Strides for Stroke 5K in Lexington today. Other intrepid runners who braved the cold (and whined about it!) were Patrick, Frank KJ (who ran an impressive race pushing Emma all the way), Eminem, CP, and Amanda, who, in their new tradition, chatted, made weekend plans, and gossiped their way through 3.1 miles (one of them huffing and puffing more than the others).

Great work out there folks!

There were some other Mini Ponies out there on a cold and windy Turkey Day. Captain Fluff took his usual stroll around Somerville in the Gobble x3 and finished top 20 in a race with more than 2,500 people!

Crazy Dave and Doris made some new friends over in Franklin Park at the Franking Park Turkey Trot to support the Franklin Park Coalition. This was a first-year event that brought in around 500 runners on a cold and windy day. The course wound around the park and had a fun costume contest. As you can see, the folks in costume were quite outgoing. Results aren't posted yet, but Doris had a great run and Crazy Dave was 6th overall in a comeback-to-semi-real-running effort.

I'm sure there were some other NETTers out of the stable on Thanksgiving morning, so we'll update as more reports come into the NETT news room.

And members should check the Meetup page for more upcoming events--it's the Most Wonderful Time of the NETT year!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Congrats to Bob on Winning his Division in the North Shore Trail Series

BIG congrats to NETT's Bob Segal for winning the 60+ age class in the North Shore Trail Series this year. What a feat! Here's Bob's report:

The series started in May with a 5K trail race and ended in November with the Stone Cat marathon, with a total of 8 races. You score points based on your percentage of the winning time. They take your best 7 races of the 8 to determine the top three in each age/gender division.
Last year I was fourth in the M50-59 division, so this year my goal was to try to be first in my new 60-69 division. I was able to accomplish that by winning 6 of the 8 races in my age group, while coming in second (to Marshall — always an honor) in one race and third in the other (the marathon, where I was pretty
banged up and undertrained so was just glad to finish).
As you can see by viewing the results in the graphic, half of life is just showing up. :) Complete results are here:
(Note that Chris Smith ran some of the races too, in spectacular fashion.)
That said, what I'm even more proud of is that in only my second full season of competitive trail racing, my point total not only won my age group but would have put me a respectable 5th in the very, very tough and competitive M50-59  division.
Thanks to all my NETT teammates for all the training runs and support during the season — that was a great help toward achieving my goal, plus you guys are fun to hang out with!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Favorite Hometown Runs: Duxbury, Mass.

Editor’s Note: This is a follow-up to Frank’s post from March 2012, where he reviewed his favorite run in Kolding, Denmark. Check it out here.

While Duxbury, Mass. isn’t technically my hometown, I do consider it something of my “adopted” hometown. My parents have lived there for almost 20 years and I actually lived there for a year while a struggling (in more ways than one) newspaper reporter. In that year and a few times in the years following, I did a fair bit of running in and around Duxbury and one of my favorite runs is a trail loop through the North Hill Marsh area. So while I was spending a few days this week in Duxbury, I decided to run the loop again after a roughly 10 year absence. Here’s how it played out.

Here’s a link to a map of North Hill Marsh trails and another one of the Round Pond trails, in case you want to follow along. I sure wish I had the map with me during my run (I was sure my memory would serve me better, but alas Father Time had a couple tricks up his sleeve…) The trails are well marked with colors and letters, but of course, I learned these trails before there were markers, so the little buggers only served to confuse an already confused old man further.  

I usually park at the two small dirt lots on Mayflower Street. On one side of Mayflower Street is the Round Pond section of trails. While there’s not a lot of distance here, it’s a great way to start your run and get a couple really nice views across some cranberry bogs (that will be a view you get plenty of on this run!).  After meandering along the Yellow and White trails for a bit more than a mile, you can get the Red trail to cross Mayflower Street and start on the North Hill Marsh trails.

This is where the confused old man got downright befuddled. After starting out the way I had a hundred times on the Pond Loop, I somehow completely missed the Kettle Hole Loop which skirts the Mayflower Cemetery.  Instead, I cut straight over to the Green Harbor Trail and then caught the Connector Trail back to the Pond Loop.  Boy, it’s amazing what a decade will do to a guy’s memory.

The Pond Loop from there is a joy to run. It runs a complete circle around the pond, which is a Mass Audobon property. There are some nice views of the pond, bird watching stands, some running across cranberry bogs, and virtually no hills.  

Here’s a short video clip from the run.

Despite a couple wrong turns and dead ends (“I’m sure this trail used to connect to that bog!”) I enjoyed my first trip back to these trails quite a bit. It was fun to test not only my fitness, but also my memory (I think I failed on both counts but had a lot of fun in the process).

Some Well Deserved Kudos for Frank KJ

When you really think about it, we at NETT are a bit spoiled. Oh, another 1:30 half marathon from a 65-year old? Our team won the Vermont City Relay? A Mini Pony ran a 10K at 6:30 pace....pushing a jog stroller? Yup. 

Frank KJ did just that last weekend at the Genesis Battlegreen 10K, clocking a 40:18 for 10K while pushing Emma in the jog stroller. And while most of us thought it was impressive, this blogger from who was just in front of Frank put it in perspective when he said, " This amazing runner maintained a 6:30 pace at the 10K race--while pushing that stroller!He was just behind me when I took this photo.  (A moment later he was far ahead. :) Despite that stroller, he finished 10th out of more than 200 runners!"

Congrats Frank! Well deserved Kudos. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Boys Rule Girls also rule but for the sake of this blog post we wanted to make it more male-focused

The NETT men spent Saturday morning running the hell out of Great Brook Farm State Park, covering nearly every square foot of the forest.

Frank KJ planned a varied and intriguing loop for us all. Fluffy, Crazy, Big Ben, the Russian Rocket, Flippy McNastics and Keith (okay, we need a nickname for Keith) rambled up and down some of the lesser-known trails while chattering away about everything from spiked Gatorade to the favorite past times of high school boys in Chelmsford (get your mind out of the gutter). We talked psychic owl dreams and came up with a great new product to market--trail running underwear!

And before we called it a day we came up with a great new promo video for NETT. Take a look:

I for one can't think of a better way to spend a chilly Saturday morning.

Go Mini Ponies!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

NETT has a "Medals" Weekend

Massachusetts. Connecticut. New York. Vermont. NETT scored top finishes in races in several states across the Northeast this Columbus Day weekend.

On Saturday in Hartford, Connecticut native beet juice Zack blasted through to a 1:10 half marathon in Hartford to finish 12th overall, while Eminem churned out a 1:51 of her own in the Nutmeg state. 

Speaking of Connecticut natives, Bob spent the day locally, picking up some hardware at Lynn Woods. Here's his report: "After some spotty training the past few weeks dealing with various nagging injuries and a transition to a new gluten- and dairy-free diet (no oats, beets, or cranberries either!), I managed to eke out first place in my age group at the Stone Tower 15K Trail Race at Lynn Woods. Very nice medals this year, so I attached a photo." Nice work Bob! 

Meanwhile up in Vermont, Doris, Dave and Rick Cleary tackled gale force winds at the Green Mountain Marathon and Half Marathon. Despite the winds, Doris danced through her third half marathon. Rick finished in 1:45:52, 8:05 per mile, good for 70th place in a field of 384; sixth of 27 in M 50-59. Rick said, "It was a fabulously beautiful day in Vermont, except for the wind.  The course is out and back, mostly north followed by mostly south.  When it’s unseasonably warm (about 50 at the start at 8:30, up to mid-60s for a high) the wind is from the south.  Uh-oh … I noticed on the way out to the turnaround that I could feel the wind at my back.  Not a good sign.  I kept my splits fairly constant (51:30/54:22 is my best guess) but the way back really had some ‘hang on to your hat’ moments when the course was right next to the water.  It made me really glad I wasn’t running the marathon, as 13 miles of that wind would have done me in."

Unfortunately, there was one Mini Pony who did, in fact, have to go the full way in those winds. Despite going out conservatively in the first half, Crazy Dave still lost time in the second half but managed to move up the rankings to finish fourth overall, second master in 3:00. The highlight of the day for him? "When the person giving out the awards said 'hey these masters runners don't look old enough!'" Worth 13 miles of pure headwind right there.

Meanwhile out in New York at the Hudson River Mohawk Marathon, Youngstah ran a marathon on a completely different course in a completely different state than Crazy Dave and finished within a minute of Dave's time in 3:01. Odd, right? Well it's NOT the first time this has happened. The NETT research department is looking into the exact date and time as we speak. 

And lastly on Monday, AC Soggy Shoes Galbraith blasted through the Tufts 10K. "I had a good race today. Felt good, perfect day, and I took some time (not much) off last year. I ate beets last night and drank a cup this morning! I'm not a fan of beets.  I'm not sure 35 seconds is worth the beets."

Great work all around! 

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

NETT takes two age groups, puts four in the top 40 at Cape Ann 25K

Last weekend it was the Ponyettes running wild in the streets of Quebec, this weekend it was the boys’ turn to run wild, this time on the streets of Gloucester and Rockport at the Cape Ann 25K.

NETT won two age divisions and put four guys in the top 40 runners at the Around Cape Ann 25K road race on Labor Day. Of course, Marshall the Machine won the 60-69 age group in 1:54 and Crazy Dave took the 40-49 age group in 1:41. Youngstah cracked the top 20 with a very solid 1:47 and Patrick finished 34th overall in 1:52.   

The awards were very nice (engraved leather photo frames) and the race and post-race event was very well organized. Races don’t stick around this long without doing something right. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mini Ponies Take to the Streets of Quebec City

While most of the herd of Mini Ponies was volunteering and ensuring a successful Chamberas Race, a vanful headed to Quebec City to take on the "Circuit Courir a Quebec". CP Pizarro represented NETT in the full marathon, Eminem & Amanda muscled through the 1/2, & Little Skittles (not so little anymore) took on the Canadians in the 10k. As usual NETT
also traveled with its chief photographer, doctor, and electronics wiz...aka Dustin, Dr. Ron, & Daniel.

The runners headed out at 6am to catch the ferry & respective buses. Amanda, Eminem, and Noah were able to walk together to their buses, while CP had to split from the group and hop on the ferry to Levis and then a bus to the starting line. Little Skittles was up 1st for his first EVER 10K! He ran like a seasoned veteran, running conservatively for the first 5K and then speeding through the second 5K. He ran an impressive race, finishing in 44 minutes!! The kid pulled out a 20 minute 5K for the 2nd half of the race when he realized tht 10k isn't that long afterall! Hope the Belmont XC team & their competitors are ready to be smoked!

Next up were Karyn & Amanda in the 1/2 marathon. Both went into the race with a strategy and stuck to it. Amanda made the 13.1 miles (21.1K) look easy. She covered the course in 1:33, which earned her the honors of being 9th out of 656 in her age group -- and 14th woman! Karyn, sped over the course in just under 1:50, one of her best races of the year, giving her a 15th place out of the 211 old ladies in her age group! They worked the crowd as they flew over the Quebec streets (drinking beer and eating poutine on the way) and made NETT a household name. (Okay...the beer and poutine are a bit of an exaggeration)

Finally, it was time for CP to tackle the marathon (and the men).  She ran the first 1/2 in just under 8's - using the bulkier men as wind blocks to alleviate the headwind off the St. Lawrence River. She barreled up the hills, running steady, but passing people all the way. After the 1/2, as the race headed toward the Quebec Bridge, she started to quicken her pace and really got cranking...clicking off some sub 7:30 miles. During the last 10K the weather started to heat up, and there was no shade to be found. Rather than be bothered by the heat, CP decided to start noticing her surroundings - which was beautiful scenery and gaining ground on many other marathoners. At 7K to go, she started counting the number runners she flew the end the number ended up being around 93 people (99% men...sorry guys). She flew to the finish, watching every kilometer pass by (Canadians love their metric system). There was a cohort of NETT supporters awaiting her finish. She finished in a time of 3:24:06, good enough for 3rd in her age group & 11th woman overall!

Thanks to the help of Dustin, Ron, & Daniel, the race was well documented and all of the logistics were perfectly planned out. It was a successful trip for all, so successful that Dr. Ron found the need to breakout into the 'Gangnam Style' dance...believe it - it all happened!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chamberas Race A Record Success

New England Track and Trail hosted another successful Thomas Chamberas XC Race this weekend, providing a fun and challenging event for more than 200 runners.

We had runners from a number of clubs near and far. As always, Greater Boston Track Club and Greater Framingham Running Club brought a swarm of runners. US Navy Prep made the long haul up from Newport again this year and the Western Mass Distance Project came out in force as well. HFC Striders, Greater Lowell Road Runners, Central Mass Striders and Cambridge Running Club were also out there.

But the race isn't just a club race. We strive to create an event that welcomes runners of all abilities and we did that again this year. I talked with people who had never done a trail race and one girl who had never done a race of any kind! This was her first race and she completed it!

The runners all loved the water bottles they got and as always, Michael P. Mahon provided a moving tribute and rousing rendition of the national anthem to get things moving.

Full results are posted here. 

After the race we were all treated to a free pizza party at the British Beer Co. in Westford! Free pizza for dozens of sweaty runners--that was really really nice of those folks. In fact we had a LOT of very very generous sponsors. I am always amazed by the generosity of these companies--not every company will support a small event like ours no matter the cause, so please pay it forward by supporting all the companies that donated to our race.

A huge thank you to everyone who came out. A special thanks to our huge crew of volunteers. It takes a lot of bodies to pull this kind of race off and I am continually amazed by these people willing to give up their Saturday (and a good chunk of Friday for some) for this event.

But the biggest highlight of the day came when Thomas came across the finish line. He ran the entire race on his own! He's a fit and healthy kid, thanks to the knowledge and therapy available for CF patients today and your running this race helps move that forward.

On behalf of myself and the Chamberas family (and really all CF patients that will benefit from your donation) thank you thank you thank you!

See you next year.

-Dave Hannon

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Taking NETT to the top of the world!

Marshall took his NETT shirt all the way up near the angels on top of Mt Whitney in California this week! 14,505 feet! 

This was the second high-altitude NETT shirt ascent of the summer. Earlier in the summer, Little Skittles (allegedly) took an NETT shirt to the top of Peru at more than 15,000 feet!
Great stuff guys!

Friday, August 02, 2013

NETT preparing for XC season, Chamberas XC race

The NETT gang is lining up the supplies, the time, and the promotion for the 11th Annual Thomas Chamberas XC Race.

We've had a great response already. The race will again be the kick off for the USATF-NE XC series. USATF-NE and GBTC coach Tom Dederian has committed men's and women's teams to the race (thanks as always) and our sponsors are coming through again.

The always supportive Michael Mahon has been counting down the days to the race on his Twitter feed--literally:

One quick note about the race--the start/finish is in a different parking lot. See the web site for more details:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Whose Bloody NETT Shirt from the Dipsea Trail Race?

Yup, one NETTer recently ran the legendary Dipsea Trail Race for the umpteenth time. Any guesses who?

It was our own Patrick McVeigh. The NETT news crew got a chance to ask Patrick about his experience at Dipsea this year and here's the interview.

How many times have you run it? When was the first time?

I think I have run it about 15-20 times. The first time was when I was in high school. I grew up in San Francisco. Showing my age, my first race was probably about 1973. It was a kinder, gentler race back then. Not as many people ran it and not as many runners had quite the ego trip they do now (lots more pushing by fast runners to get by slow runners now....but maybe I used to be one of the fast runners pushing their way through and now am one of the slow runners getting pushed out of the way.)
It's a handicap race so where do you start relative to others?
 This year I got a 10 minute head start. 57 year old men start with 41-43 year old women and 15 year old girls. Next year I get an extra minute head start. The biggest head start (25 minutes) is for boys 6 and under, men 74 and over, girls 7 and under, and women 66 and over. The winner of this year's year was a 55 year old woman, Diana Fitzpatrick, who had a 16 minute head start. (Quite a runner, she also has qualified for 3 Olympic marathon trials.)
The beauty of the Dipsea is that everyone believes they have a chance to win. And if you don't win this year, you always think that extra minute head start is going to let you win next year. I don't know why more races aren't done on a handicapped basis.
So how would you characterize your race this year?
 I ran 1:08:34 which was reduced to 58:34 with the 10-minute handicap. I came in 103rd this year (out of 1,500) which was my best finish since 1999. It was my best handicapped-adjusted time since 1999 and my best scratch time since 2001. The race is about 7.4 miles which usually feels like about 5 miles straight up, 1 mile relatively flat along the hilltop and then 1 mile straight down. 
The Dipsea is the second oldest race in the country and really is the all-star game for California trail runners. Competition is stiff and bragging rights are all important. The fact that a 60 year old can beat the hot shot 30 year old and hold that over him/her for a year, makes the race pretty intense. So while the course is probably the most beautiful run I have done, it also is maybe the most intense. Runners get crazy on the steep downhill. As I have gotten older, I certainly have lost some of the crazy instinct. 

Where did that blood come from?
 As anyone who has run in the Lincoln Woods with me probably knows, I tend to trip over rocks more often than most. During the Dipsea I knocked myself over twice by running into  tree branches and also sliced my thumb when I fell after tripping over a rock. It had rained that morning and the downhill section of the course was pretty muddy and slick. 
Will you be back to it again?
 I say I will keep doing the race until my sons Finn (7) and Gus (4) are old enough to do it with me. Then I will probably slow down and do it with them. There is a famous quote by Jack Kirk, who was known as the Dipsea Demon. He ran the race until he was in his 90s and died at the age of 100. He said, "Old Dipsea runners never die, they just reach the 672nd step." This alludes to the fact that about a half-mile into the race, you run up three flights of stairs with 671 steps. The 672nd step is, I hope, heaven, though I do fall a lot. So I will probably keep doing it until I can't. Certain races get in your blood. Running the Dipsea will always remind me that I grew up running in the San Francisco Bay Area and includes many of my favorite things....running in the hills, running among the redwoods and running with the smells and views of the ocean. I have told Julie to bury some of my ashes on the course, though if I hit too many more trees, all of me might remain out there. 
What advice do you for others considering doing the Dipsea?

If you want to do the Dipsea, be patient. It is hard for outsiders to get in. Continuing runners are selected by finishing in a certain position, new applicants are mostly chosen on a first-come, first-served basis which favors those who live near the race as snail mail from the East Coast will never get there in time. Your only chance for running is to apply and hope you are one of the few chosen in a lottery. If you get in, you run in the Runner's Division, which starts after the Invitational Division. You have to earn your way into the Invitational Section with a good showing. Either is fun, though, and gives you the spirit of the Dipsea, which for me really comes in watching the start of the race when the little kids head off with the 'oldsters' in the first wave of runners. 
Other advice? Practice running stairs. I think I have become semi-famous with the T-employees at the Porter Square T station for running intervals up the flight of stairs there. they are the longest, steepest stairs I can find in the Boston area. For some reason, they find it amusing when I run 10-15 intervals of the stairs. 
Final advice. Run hard so you will be able to eat a lot. I am happy to share my favorite refueling stations for both before and after the race.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bob's Magic Formula Keeps Working

Bob continues to find success in his new age group,  this time winning it by about 17 minutes, thanks in large part to his continued consumption of...BEET JUICE! Here's his report:

"Sunday I came in first in my age group in a tough wet muddy 5.5 mile Summer Solstice Trail Run at Gay City state park in Hebron, CT. In the attached photo, I am holding the key to my success in one hand and the fruit of my labors in the other."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mini Ponies Stampede Through Belmont at Brendan's 5K

The Mini Ponies galloped through the  12th Annual Brendan's Home Run 5K race in Belmont this weekend. Here's a report from Karyn M-M who hosted NETTers at her place after the race for a brunch.

"We had a nice time -- we ran over to the track from my house. Slava, Chrissy, Martin and Lincoln met us
there, as did Ron and Louie. Along the course we saw NETTer/NYCer Deb Robertson -- who is very noticeably  pregnant! We invited her to come along to brunch, which she did.

Everyone ran well. Noah and Marshall dueled it out and Noah edged out Marshall in the last 100 meters (he swears he didn't use CP's elbow trick…though I'm not sure) and came in ahead by a hair (PR for Noah and 1st place in his age group for Marshall).  Slava, Chris and Mary ran well. So did Daniel, who hadn't raced in about 2 years. Amanda was happy with her run as well.  The gang jogged back to my house for brunch, which included beet salad (wish I'd had it before the race!). Tina, Nicholas, Emma and Dustin joined us for brunch. All in all an
excellent NETT day."

By the numbers, NETT was all over the age group results with a 1st, two seconds, a fourth and on and on.

To see more pictures check NETT on The Facebook here.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

NETT Brings Support to Great Lincoln Steeplechase

A few NETT members came out to support the Great Lincoln Steeplechase, one of our favorite low-key
trail races in the area. Marshall and Bob went 1-3 in their age groups and Marshall even provided the medals for the race winners!

Also on hand were Frank, Tina, Emma, Karen and Mary to volunteer at the race, lending a hand at the finish line and in other areas. 

As always race director Pete Foley put on a great event. While we always want this race to be healthy, we also love that it hasn't grown out of control over the years. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

NETT's Inside Take on the Vermont City Marathon and Relay

Now that the NETT crew from the Vermont City Marathon and relay finally dried out from all that rain, Eminem sent in their race report.

"I cannot say enough about what a resolute team we have. Despite unbelievably bad weather -- powerful rain, temps that felt like mid-30s, and very strong winds -- no one even considered backing out. Not even Soggy Shoes Cyrulik!

Everyone was at their appointed spots at their appointed times, everyone ran as though the sun was shining. Marshall doled extra sets of warm clothing to under-prepared team mates, Noah stood shivering at the starting line in his NETT singlet, Tina provided her hotel room for soggy mini ponies between running legs, and Amanda ran nine miles just to keep me company. Daniel -- who didn't have to run at all…I had recommended he stay home -- stood out at mile 20 waiting for me to arrive, (after waiting for Noah at his transition) and ran through puddles to pace me to the finish line at 3:57.

And Frank and Emma (dressed fashionably from head to toe in rain gear) watched the start and the finish. As for Zack and Chris, they ran as though propelled by beet juice and refined sugar. (Okay…they WERE propelled by beet juice and refined sugar). 

I wouldn't recommend running a "Marathon Splashdown" (as the Burlington Free Press called it), but if you're going to run one, my recommendation would be to join NETT first.

The Chrono Track results have more info than the coolrunning ones.  They divide the relay into all the various categories -- so you can see that NETT came 2nd out of 383 teams:

The individual ones are cool on Chrono track too -- you see the person's stats, as well as a video of the person finishing: (You just type the person's name in). Tina's official finishing time was 3:54:10; mine was 3:57:33 NETT's relay time was 2:51:11."

Sunday, May 26, 2013

NETT "Pours" it On at Vermont City Marathon

Despite the rain, wind and cold, a crew of the heartiest Mini Ponies galloped to success at the Vermont City Marathon this weekend.

First off, big congrats to Eminen for earning that elusive Boston qualifier in very poor conditions. She ran a strong and steady 3:58. Tina was just in front of Karyn running a 3:55 while pulling double duty, running the first half of the mixed relay with Marshall. Their mixed relay team, by the way, was 7th in their division (mixed masters) out of 55 teams.

The NETT five-person relay team of Captain Fluff  Smith, Soggy Shoes Cyrulik, Poker Face Mahoney, Little Skittles, and Beetlejuice Schwartz kicked complete arse by throwing down a 2:51 good for sixth place out of more than 700 teams. As a mixed team, no less. That's a 6:32 average pace.

To see full results go here.

To see some photos go to the Facebook here.

It was a very successful day all around despite some very difficult conditions. It's a big testament to the strength and teamwork that makes NETT what it is.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

NETT Takes Five of Top Seven Spots at Walpole 5 for the Fourth

A gaggle of Mini Ponies took to the woods of Walpole today at the Walpole 5 for the Fourth, a XC hosted by the new club, the Walpole Rebel Runners, in Chris Smith's hometown to raise money for Walpole's Fourth of July Celebration. The NETT results were impressive on all levels.

Here's Mary's report of the day:

"The Walpole Trail Race (5 for the 4th) was a nice event.  It was on the trails behind the Walpole HS (Chris Smith's old stomping ground).  It was a small low key trail race (perfect for NETT).  The trails weren't very technical, 1/2 of the race was on a gravel fire road, so it was a very runnable event.

In total, there were 6 mini ponies at the race but only 5 mini pony runners.  Dave did not race, since he's recovering from a 'small cold'.  Dave ended up unintentionally volunteering at the turn around point (an out and back that they didn't have a volunteer at).

Chris Smith battled with a high schooler (or so I'm told) and won the race.  He was followed by Big Ben (3rd overall), then Marshall (not sure of his place - but I assume he would've won his age group), followed by Me (2nd woman) and then Amanda (3rd woman).

At the start of the race Amanda said she was going to just "jog" the run and was worried that she shouldn't have worn her NETT shirt as she'd embarrass our group  - obviously she came in 3rd and was no where near an embarrassment :)

Big Ben entertained (as usual) providing random tidbits of knowledge - ask him about the difference between a Rotary vs a Round-a-bout."

Marshall added his take on the day as well:

"Mary graciously let me overtake her about a half mile from the finish because
she knew that my spirits can always use a boost. I certainly appreciate the 10
miles that she was forced to run Saturday making it possible for me to run with
her today.Toughest part of the day was having Amanda doing an IT band recovery 2 mile jog
and then lighting it up for the 3rd mile and almost catching Mary and me at the

And ya gotta watch those warm down runs.... someone put a brand new root in the
trail and I hit the ground with every part of the front of my body which was
probably lucky since I seem to have escaped unscathed."

It was a fun day with some of the core NETTers.

Monday, May 06, 2013

NETT Sets a Good Mood on Moody Street

Two NETT members rocked the streets of Waltham at the Moody Street 5k this weekend, winning their divisions.  Slava took 5th overall (out of 1,089 runners) in a time of 17:54, good for first in his division. Patrick was 10th overall and also first in his division with a time of 18:54.


Saturday, May 04, 2013

NETT continues its assault on age-groups at Pipestave

It's still early in the trail racing season, but it's looking good already for NETT as they came away with age group awards at the recent Pipestave Trail Race. Here's Bob's report:

Chris Smith and I won our respective age groups this evening in the Pipestave 5K trail race, the first in the North Shore Trail Series (the first race is the only one on a week night). No confirmation if Chris  drank beet juice before the race too ...
Nice work boys! Setting the bar pretty high!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Back to Business: NETT hits the roads and trails

Well it's been an odd/difficult/emotional -- pick your adjective -- period to be a runner, a Bostonian, a human lately. But  NETT is doing its part to make sure the terrorists don't win. And that means running -- a lot.

First off, big congrats to NETT's Boston marathoners Marshall and Amanda. At first, in the wake of all that happened, congratulating finishers in the marathon just seemed insensitive to those that were injured or died that day. But Martin, Krystal, and Lu  were all there to support runners and ignoring the great performances that day the great spirit that drew these folks to the finish line. So here we go:

Marshall ran his usual strong race finishing 16th in his age group, in 3:17. Just amazing. Amanda laid down a PR time of 3:24 after putting in a very very solid training period and racing very smart. Mark my words--this is just the beginning for this Ponyette.

Since the fateful day NETT has been busy in more ways than one. We ran a memorial run along the marathon course from Natick into the finish line area to visit the memorial. There are some pictures of our visit here on the NETT Facebook page.

More recently, this past weekend, NETT hit the trails in a big way. Big congrats go out to Bob Segal who won his age group in not one, but TWO trail races this weekend! Here's Bob's report:

"You may recall, that I accidentally double-booked myself this weekend with the TARC half-marathon Sat. in Jericho Woods, Weston and the Foxtrot 10-miler at Blue Hills Sunday (which I registered for without remembering I had the TARC race that same weekend). So I decided to race the half marathon hard as I could to better my time from last year and maybe place in the top 3 in my age group. I improved my time by 10 minutes and came in first! See the results here. 

On Sunday I decided to go easy and see how I felt. Lots of rocks and hills (I can see how you fell and broke your ribs there) but by mile 5, I still felt pretty good so I picked up the pace to see what I could do. I finished first again!" See the results here. Lovin' this new age group so far ... must be the beet juice I continue to drink before every race."

Nice work Bob. Meanwhile on Saturday, Crazy Dave and Chris hit the trails in the Blue Hills for the Blue HIlls Brewery's South Shore Trail Race. It was ultra-low key (self-timed, no official results) but important number to remember was two-that's how many beer tickets each runner got! (Chris was second overall, Crazy fourth, by the way).

And Sunday it was really back to the normal with a brunch run at Frank + Tina's the most NETT of all NETT activities.

We'll never forget those that were directly and indirectly affected by the events on Marathon Monday and if I know NETT, we'll be organizing more events to honor the victims and raise money to help them. But it's also good to be back to normal, trying to spread good vibes through running.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Message to Whoever Did This

We supported each other before the blast. We sprinted to help each other after the blast.
We picked each other up off the ground and pulled the debris off each other.
We put pressure on wounds while still in our sweat-drenched singlets.
We wrapped volunteer's jackets around bloodied limbs.
We cried on each other's shoulders, wrapped in mylar.
We continued toward the finish line with bombs going off 20 feet away and immediately turned around to help others behind us.

We'll continue to cross finish lines and we'll continue to turn around and help others behind us.  
We are millions strong and growing stronger every day, including today.

You didn't stop us. You can't stop us.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

NETT's Dietary Secrets Bring Success

It's only Sunday night and it's already been an incredibly busy weekend for NETT.

On Saturday morning, Bob Segal took to the trails like a Mini Pony should and finished third in his (newish) age group at the Merrimack River Trail Race. His secret?

"In addition to just being in better shape and having run the course before, I drank beet juice before the race! An idea that Zach first planted in my brain last fall. It was even written up in a recent edition of Trail Runner magazine, with studies confirming that it somehow helps your body use oxygen more efficiently. So I tried it in a 5K trail race in late March and again yesterday and in both cases I ran faster than last year. I still think most of it has to do with experience and conditioning but the juice may help too!"

Nice work Bob. We love to hear about our veteran runners influencing the kids like that!

Also on Saturday morning Doris and Crazy Dave took to the streets (and bike paths) of Vermont to run the Unplugged Half Marathon. Doris paced herself smartly to a new PR in a decent headwind while Crazy Dave ran a PW in the half but managed seventh place overall and first master.

They Chow-Hannons rewarded themselves with burgers and beers from the Farmhouse Tap and Grill (two thumbs up!) (Doris admitted that burgers were in her mind for most of the race).

Speaking of eating, NETT had its annual pre-Boston carbo-loading fest! A few Mini Ponies ate like a full stable and enjoyed a mess of food! (Thanks JD!) Check out the pics here on the Facebook.

Lastly, GOOD LUCK to Marshall, Amanada and Ali on Monday. The training will pay off.

Friday, March 08, 2013

NETT to host Wellesley 1 Miler for Hannah's Fund

Great news! New England Track & Trail will be organizing and hosting the Wellesley 1 Miler this year on May 12 at a new location, Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley!

Once again all of the proceeds from the race will benefit the Hannah Randolph Memorial Fund, which provides scholarships to deserving 9th graders who share Hannah's enthusiasm for athletics, arts, and friendship.

We can use all the runners and volunteers we can get, so sign up now! All of the details can be found at and on Facebook.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Mini Ponies Brave the Cold to Support Darn Tough Night

A crew of hearty Mini Ponies braved some very cold temperatures recently to come out to Charles River Running Co. in Norwood in support of Big Ben's Darn Tough Vermont-sponsored run.

Big Ben is always looking to get a leg up!

The night started with a "warm up" run with Crazy Dave and new NETTer Ilya running around Norwood while Chris searched the neighborhood solo for fluff.

Later they met up with more Ponies Doris, Big Ben, and Mary as well as some of their pals from Parkway Running Club (Julie, Karen and Lou!) to drink some whiskey and later some beer. Oh yeah, we ran a bit too.

Overall it was a fun night and we all went home with some good raffle prizes (like DTV socks!).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

NETT & Heartbreak Hill Put the Derry Boston Prep 16 Miler in its Place

3 Mini Ponies & 3 Heartbreak Hill'ers (only 4 do the math) decided to trudge up to Derry, NH and take on the 16 miler and the forecast of high temperatures of 20 degrees with 15 mph winds. The trip started off with a slight glitch (the one & only glitch of the day). Someone locked their keys in the car - thankfully it wasn't the driver. As Amanda, Marshall, Mary & Ted arrived at Derry, they were greeted with a blustery wind. After surveying the weather, all made last minute wardrobe adjustments and headed out for the 16 mile run.

Marshall took off like a flash, never to be seen again. Mary & Amanda worked together, chit chatting through the first 8 miles and solving the world's problems. At mile 8, they split apart and finished the race solo. Mary crested the hills like they were ant hills, passing runners the entire time. She even said "the hills weren't as relentless as I expected - they were all runnable. One runner even pointed out a hawk that was perched up in the tree. It must have been looking down at all the runners, looking for its next victim."  Amanda worked the hills and kept Mary in sight through mile 13....which should be renamed the 'wind zone'.  Mile 13 battered the Mini Ponies with gale force winds as they covered the course.  

Marshall was the 1st in the group to finish. He finished 77th overall in a time of 1:56 (1st in his age group & the winner of NH maple syrup). Mary came next in 124th place (11th in her age group), with a time of 2:03.  Amanda finished right behind Mary, in a time of 2:06 and 147th place (14th in her age group).  Ted rounded out the crew with a finish of 2:29.  

All in all a great race, plenty of post-race food and luxurious accommodations (specifically the warm Gatorade on the course and the warm high school for post-race festivities). The day was full of good conversation, quite a few laughs and stories, and a few hilly miles.