Thursday, October 14, 2010

Grog and Dog Jog

If it is Columbus Day weekend, it is also time for another Grog and Dog Jog.
 The Grog and Dog, Put on by the Wild Colonial Tavern in Providence is a relay with a twist. You run one and a quarter miles, eat a hot dog, drink a beer and hand off to your next runner, this happens four times. This getting to be a very popular event with 70 teams entered, up from 50 a year ago. Many teams dress in some sort of costume, though not mandatory, it does make for a lot of fun. For the average person out for a Sunday afternoon  drive in Providence, they probably don't, believe their eyes at what is running down the side of the road. 

Me, Peiter, Mark and Pali...the Droogs

We had two teams entered in this years event. The "A" team, who are the two time
defending champs consisted of Bob Jackman, Dave Principe, Zak Kudlak and Alan Bernier. They were in costume, but we really don't know what they were supposed to be. Our team, the "B" team was Mark Howard, Peiter Snoeren, Pali Frazier and myself. We were dressed as the Droogs of Clockwork Orange fame. We were there to have fun, unlike the "A" squad that had the target on their backs..

Dave P. (with the orange hair) keeping an eye on the competition

As we lined up at the start, the final instructions were given out by race director, Brien Lang, who was running with his team of Merry Maids. The race started at the sound of a tuba. The race went out fast as a pack of 8 or so gapped the field almost quickly. I dropped in with the second pack as we made our way across the Point Street bridge and then up the other side of the Providence River. It is great for spectators and competitors alike because you watch your runner across the river and cheer them on. I was concentrating on staying with one of the maids. I haven't the slightest idea of what pace i was running, but does it really matter in something like this? Coming on to the final stretch on South Water Street, i had planned top back off a bit to make it easier to eat and drink while not gasping for air. So much for that plan. I came blasting into the table where you grab a beer, Narragansett Lager to be exact and your choice of tofu dog or saugy. I went for the tofu dog because i am not a red meat eater. First, i dipped the dog into the beer to make the bun go down quicker, one big bite, swallow, down the beer and shove the rest of the dog in my mouth. Sounds easy, doesn't it. It isn't. It is not easy to chug a beer after running a hard mile and a half. I handed off to Peiter Snoeren, giving him the mug and our Droog cane to carry on his leg. 

Alan Bernier finishing up for the win with some very fast onlookers
Up front the TNT A team was locked in a battle with the Providence Cobra team. At the end of the second leg, they were neck and neck, but Bob J was much quicker eating than the Cobra runner and handed off a 30 second lead to Zak Kudlak. Essentially, the race was over with their quickest runner, Alan Bernier anchoring the race and there was no way in hell they would lose unless Alan fell in the river. As for us Droogs, Peiter, Pali and Mark ran well. Mark did suffer a bit after the race, maybe a little indegestion. We finished somewhere in the top third, and enjoyed every minute of it.

This is a great event for a good cause, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, and on top of that, what else are you going to do on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CVS Downtown 5K

This past Sunday i headed over to Providence to watch some of the USA's top runners compete at the CVS Caremark Downtown 5k. The race is the 5k National Championship.It was a beautiful day to spectate. See my photos of the race here:  

Molly Huddle

In the past 20 years that this race has been held, i have only managed to run it once in 1998 when i was first a master. The race was not a national championship then, but it did have plenty of prize money that brought in a very competitive field. The course was flat as a pancake then, not like now with the hill to launch you at the start and climb to finish. I don'y remember too many details from the race itself, it was too short and fast. I do remember have the top three Kenyan women led by Catherine Ndereba come buy me with a quarter to go and not being able to do a thing about it. I think i was more concerned with trying to beat the guys around me that i thought might be masters. Turns out there were 4 of us within 11 seconds, i ran 15.25, good for 5th in age group, 7th master ran 15.32, like i said, it was a good field.

Harvard Pilgrim 5K

Providence, RI

September 20, 1998

Results by AB-MAC Finish Systems (800-745-5152)

#'s 1001- 2000 - - #'s 2001 - 2245 - - Kids Races - - Kids Photos - - Team Results- - Story - - Photos
===== ================= = == ======== ===== ========== == ===== =======
    1 KHALID KHANNOUCHI M 27   1/658  M0139 MOROCCO        4:20   13:27
    2 STEPHEN KIOGORA   M 26   2/658  M0139 KENYA          4:22   13:32
    3 JOSHUA CHELANGA   M 23   3/658  M0139 KENYA          4:22   13:32
    4 PETER GITHUKA     M 29   4/658  M0139 KENYA          4:22   13:33
    5 JAMES KARIUKI     M 27   5/658  M0139 KENYA          4:22   13:33
    6 HEZRON OTWORI     M 25   6/658  M0139 KENYA          4:24   13:40
    7 JAMES BUNGEL      M 26   7/658  M0139 KENYA          4:25   13:42
    8 PAUL MBUGUA       M 32   8/658  M0139 NEW PALTZ  NY  4:26   13:45
    9 ISSIAH KUREISHA   M 23   9/658  M0139 KENYA          4:26   13:46
   10 GODFREY KIPROTICH M 27  10/658  M0139 KENYA          4:26   13:46
   11 ANDREW LETHERBY   M 22  11/658  M0139 AUSTRALIA      4:26   13:46
   12 PAUL MWANGI       M 25  12/658  M0139 KENYA          4:29   13:54
   13 SAMMY NYAMONGO    M 28  13/658  M0139 KENYA          4:31   14:01
   14 PLILMOM HENNEK    M 28  14/658  M0139 ZIMBAWAE       4:32   14:03
   15 JOHN KAGWE        M 28  15/658  M0139 KENYA          4:32   14:05
   16 CHARLES MULINGA   M 26  16/658  M0139 ZAMBIA         4:33   14:07
   17 JOESEPH KARIUKI   M 27  17/658  M0139 KENYA          4:36   14:16
   18 JULIUS RANDICH    M 31  18/658  M0139 DALLAS     TX  4:37   14:18
   19 DONAL O'SULLIVAN  M 25  19/658  M0139 USA            4:41   14:32
   20 CASEY O'SHEA      M 24  20/658  M0139 USA            4:42   14:34
   21 PETER KOECH       M 42   1/391  M4049 ALBERQUQUE NM  4:42   14:36
   22 RISTO ULMALA      M 31  21/658  M0139 FINLAND        4:43   14:37
   23 JIM DANDENEAY     M                   TAUNTON    MA  4:48   14:54
   24 ANDREA WITCZAK    M 42   2/391  M4049 POLAND         4:50   15:01
   25 CHRIS MAGILL      M 25  22/658  M0139 CUMBERLAND RI  4:52   15:06
   26 KEVIN O'NEIL      M 28  23/658  M0139 N KINGSTON RI  4:52   15:07
   27 AMIT NEEMAN       M 42   3/391  M4049 ISRAEL         4:52   15:07
   28 CHRIS VOLANTE     M 24  24/658  M0139 PAWTUCKET  RI  4:53   15:09
   29 DAN JOHNSON       M 26  25/658  M0139 USA            4:55   15:14
   30 CHRISTIAN LYNCH   M 23  26/658  M0139 USA            4:55   15:14
   31 CATHERINE NDEREBA F 27   1/640  F0139 KENYA          4:55   15:15
   32 DELILAH ASIAGO    F 27   2/640  F0139 KENYA          4:56   15:18
   33 TERESA WANJIKU    F 25   3/640  F0139 KENYA          4:56   15:19
   34 JIM HAGE          M 42   4/391  M4049 USA            4:57   15:21
   35 ANTHONY ANDERSON  M 22  27/658  M0139 USA            4:58   15:25
   36 SCOTT MASON       M 40   5/391  M4049 WARWICK    RI  4:58   15:25
   37 KEVIN MCCAFFREY   M 41   6/391  M4049                4:59   15:28
   38 ANDY WEDLAKE      M 26  28/658  M0139 WALTHAM    MA  5:00   15:30
   39 LIBBY HICKMAN     F 28   4/640  F0139 USA            5:00   15:31
   40 BARRY HARTWICK    M 43   7/391  M4049 USA            5:00   15:32
   41 MATTHEW RUANE     M 22  29/658  M0139 BOSTON     MA  5:02   15:37
   42 EDGAR GONZALES    M 35  30/658  M0139 FRAMINGHAM MA  5:02   15:37
   43 ROBERT JOHNSON    M 23  31/658  M0139 USA            5:03   15:40
   44 DON SIKORSKI      M 32  32/658  M0139 NORWICH    CT  5:03   15:40
   45 AMY RUDOLPH       F 25   5/640  F0139 USA            5:04   15:43
   46 JANE OMORO        F 27   6/640  F0139 KENYA          5:05   15:45
   47 CHARLES STOCK     M 23  33/658  M0139 USA            5:08   15:54
   48 JON LAWSON        M 26  34/658  M0139 BRISTOL    RI  5:08   15:55
   49 JANE NGOTHO       F 24   7/640  F0139 KENYA          5:09   15:57
   50 CHRIS LAWRENCE    M 32  35/658  M0139 PROVIDENCE RI  5:09   16:00
   51 MICHAEL GRAZIOSI  M 36  36/658  M0139 GLASTONBUR CT  5:10   16:02
   52 JOHN ANTHONY      M 23  37/658  M0139 NORWICH    CT  5:11   16:06
   53 LESLEY LEHANE     F 35   8/640  F0139 CHESTNUT H MA  5:12   16:07
   54 LUDMILA PETROVA   F 29   9/640  F0139 RUSSIA         5:13   16:11
   55 CHRIS BIANCHI     M 29  38/658  M0139 PROVIDENCE RI  5:13   16:11
   56 GEARY DANIELS     M 44   8/391  M4049 DUDLEY     MA  5:13   16:12
   57 MARGARET KAGIRI   F 26  10/640  F0139 KENYA          5:13   16:12
   58 ED ZUBRITSKY      M 38  39/658  M0139 GROTON     CT  5:14   16:13
   59 JOE SULLIVAN      M 42   9/391  M4049 USA            5:14   16:14
   60 LYNN DENIRRO      F 36  11/640  F0139                5:14   16:14

Monday, September 6, 2010

Guest Blogger - Ray Nelson

Hi all, I have decided to include a guest blogger to the site. He is longtime runner and friend, Ray Nelson who is a USATF certified course measurer. I thought it would be interesting to get a little insight into the measurement of race courses.

Take it away Ray:

I have been measuring course for over 30 years, starting out in 1978 with a measuring / surveyor’s wheel, and walking courses.   As a competitive runner back then, I wanted to know the ‘actual’ distance of race courses, rather than the ‘stated’ distance which was usually not accurate.  I wanted to be able to compare and assess my race performances and check my performance level and progress.  And if a 5 miler was short, say 4.8 miles, I couldn’t get a decent reading on how I was doing.  So it was kind of for selfish reasons that I first got into course measurement, wanting to know the actual distance so I could then calculate my real per mile average, and compares races, etc.
In 1978, I recall flying from westerly, RI  to block island with Pat McNulty, friend and Johnson &  Wales AC teammate, to “wheel walk’ the Run Around the Block 15K. It took us a long time to walk the course, compared to using a bicycle, but  we marked the course which as far as I know is still being used today, and has not changed !!!

In the early 80’s I learned that there was a road running “technical council” founded by Ted Corbitt, and got hold of a Procedures Manual, bought a Jones counter, and basically taught myself how to measure a course according to TAC standards (The Athletics Congress), the name for the sports governing body at the time, since changed to USATF.
In 1986, I was invited by John McGrath, former publisher of NER magazine, to measure the Boston Marathon, along with David Katz, an expert certifier from NY.  We rode our bikes together but did independent measurements.  When we got to 10 miles we compared notes, and discovered that we were within 1 foot apart – an extremely close correlation!!  From that point on, I had gained considerable respect and personal validation that I was going the job right !
After serving a year-long apprenticeship, I was appointed NATIONAL CERTIFIER in 1992 by Wayne Nicoll – the Eastern Chairman of RRTC at the time. Wayne and I had done some measurements together, and he was my mentor, who showed me the fine points of course measurement.  So I have been a USATF certifier for 18 years, and have measured 100’s of courses, probably close to 1000, mostly in RI and MA.

Accuracy is important to standardize performances so they can be graded and count legitimately as PR’s, and for records in general, including world / American, and age group records.  In 1993 Elana Meyer set a world record for 5k on the roads at the downtown 5k in Providence.  In order for her record to count, the course had to be accurate, and not less than 5000 meters.  The following week Pete Riegel from OH,  national chairman of RRTC at the time, come to Providence to perform a ‘validation’ measurement of the course to make sure it was at least 5000 meters, so that Meyer’s record could be ratified.  So my work, her performance, and the race reputation were all on the line. Bottom line was that the course passed !!
Anyone is eligible to measure a course by following the procedures, and submitting an application and course map to the certifier for that particular state.  You need a Jones counter which attaches to the front wheel of the bike, and a calibration course of at least 1000 feet or 300 meters.  The calibration course is tape measured, usually 100 feet at a time, and the endpoints are marked with nails. There is a separate section in the procedures manual  for measuring a calibration course.  Prior to measuring a course, the bike must by ‘calibrated’ on the ‘cal’ course. This takes 4 straight, wobble-free rides and recording the number of “counts” for each ride from end to end.  From the average number of counts of the four rides, the number of counts is figured for each mile or kilometer, and for the total course distance.   Now you are ready to do the actual course measurement.   For USATF certification, you must measure according to SPR (shortest possible route) that the runner can take, i.e. measuring by tangents.  This can be challenging without police escort with traffic coming at you both ways!!  This is why early Sunday mornings are generally best for measuring when there is the least amount of traffic, but it can still be tricky.  The course must be measured at least twice, and the difference between measurements cannot be greater than 0.08% of the race distance (4 meter for a 5k).  After the course measurements, the bike must be post-calibrated to again figure the number of counts for each mile, etc.   The details of these procedures can be found at  .

I think the most dangerous course I measured was a 10 miler in Worcester, MA in heavy traffic without a police escort. The race director did follow me in his car with flashers on, but it was quite a harrowing experience with more than a few close calls, and getting called every name in the book!! I definitely used up 1or 2 of my ‘cat lives’ on that measurement, and looking back on it, I probably should not have done it.

Ray @ Block Island in 1980
I measured the Boston Run to Remember Half Marathon in South Boston a half dozen years or so ago, and then found out the day before  the race that the course had to be changed, as part of it went through private property and the owner said NO  to using his land !!!  So I was called upon to adjust and re-measure the course with the race a day away.  Driving up to Boston on that Saturday in early March, it was snowing hard  in blizzard-like conditions.  I was wondering how I would be able to do the measurement in this horrible weather, and thought how bizarre it was.  Fortunately the snow shifted over to slush, and rain, and the temperature did not drop below freezing, so I was able to ride my bike and get it done, but now without incident.  On Day Blvd. I biked through a large puddle, as that was the ‘shortest line’ to take, and for accuracy sake did not want to go around it.  Unbeknownst to me, I  hit a pot hole, and lost control of the bike and went  head over heels into the puddle.  I was wearing several layers of clothes and a gortex outer layer, so I did not get chilled to the bone.   I shook it off and went back the previous mile mark and continued on the remaining few miles to the finish. After a hot shower and dry clothes I was fine, and the course was done!!
Don’t get the wrong idea, most course measurements during peaceable weather, and minimal or no traffic , are not catastrophic, and are quite enjoyable. I get to go to places I would not ordinarily go to, and some are like mini-vacations in a sense. The best one was the Mt. Desert Marathon in Maine, starting at Bar Harbor and going by Arcadia National Park. It is by far the most scenic course I have ever measured. I was awestruck by the majesty of this course.

In 2007 I helped design, measure and certify the Women’s Olympic Trials course in Boston.  After a short opening loop, the course repeated an exact 6 mile loop four times. I designed it so that the mile marks on the 6-mile loops overlapped at the same points, making for easier splits and course management.  That was a difficult assignment and one in which I take considerable pride.
I recently measured the B.A.A. Half Marathon in Boston, a major race that just last week (mid-july) sold out in just two hours !!!!!!!!!!!!

I take pride in the maps I produce, doing my best to make sure they are clear, neat, and accurately depict the course.   I look back on some of the maps I made 25 years ago and note the poor quality, as with most jobs, it takes time to develop one’s skills and get better and better at what one does. That is what I strive for……….. to find ways to improve, there is always room for that.

Course maps for all states at all distances by different measurers and certifiers  can be accessed from the website.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Run to the Top of Vermont Weekend

OK, So i know i haven't blogged in a while, as i was reminded over the weekend by another fellow blogger. So here goes....

Over the weekend the Turtles headed up to Stowe, Vt for the 3rd Race to the Top of Vermont up Mt Mansfield, the highest point in Vermont. Heading up on Saturday were Bob Jackman, Larry Walker, John Peabody, Vicki & Chris Jasparro and myself. We all made this trip last year only Vicki did not run, this was to be her first mountain run. We arrived at the Golden Eagle Resort on Saturday afternoon, we had rented the "White House" out on the main road in front of the resort. It was too early to go pick up numbers so Ken Skier of RunwithKen fame came over with a growler of Berkshire Beer and we all chilled out for a while, then it was up to the ski resort for number pickup and then dinner.

One thing we love to do is hit up brewpubs wherever we go and this was no different. Heading back from the ski resort, we stopped at The Shed Brewpub where we had eaten last year also. Sorry to say, the beer was just mediocre at best and the food was overpriced. Fifteen dollars for a quesidilla? Of course the real reason we went was for the beer, too bad all the beers i sampled tasted like the main ingredient was a handful of caramels. Now i've hit enough brewpubs and i also homebrew, so i know what a beer should taste like. I know...I am a beer snob. I just don't know how a brewer can not taste the off flavors in a beer. Maybe they like this "flavor". The IPA did not taste of hops. The DunkelWeizen did not have that wheat taste i like. The stout just tasted wrong. I could get more taste out of PBR's. I suggest they try a different yeast, it could make a huge difference. Of course, if you only want to sell so- so beer to tourists, keep doing what your doing. Looking for a beer in Stowe, don't go here. Funny thing is we went here last year and the beer wasn't bad otherwise i would not have returned this year.  I should have stopped at Millie's in Manchester, NH on the way home just to say i had some great beer on this trip. So much for my beer rant, on to the race.

Race morning dawns and everyone is up early for the 9am start, it is nice to be 10 minutes down the road from the race. Last years winner, Jim "DoubleJ" Johnson stayed with us Turtles and payed the price as the TV was on til 2:35 in the morning which doesn't help with sleep. You should have had a few beers with us JJ, that would have helped knock you out. My back was killing me in the morning, I popped a handful of Motrin and hoped for the best. Once at the race lot, i went for a warmup (do you need a so called warmup when it is 70 degrees at 8am?) with Bob and JP. The back really wasn't any better. We were at the start area with a half hour to go, i was getting hot and i could use more water.....water, at a race...nowhere to be seen. Why in hell was there no water before the race, i know we runners should always be prepared and there was more water in the car, but the cars were at least a 1/4 mile down the road, and i mean down! It is hot out, try supplying some water for the runners before the race next time!!

The race goes off on time at 9am. You start on an uphill so the pace goes out slow for me and John Peabody, who i started next to. I went through the mile in under 12 minutes and i knew today would suck. I got to the 1 1/2 mile point of the course just as a car! was coming up the road through the crowded dirt road which begs the question, WHY is there a car being let up the road right after the race starts? At this point i realized that my race was over, why should i suffer for 3 more miles when my back is stiff as a board. I turn around, remove my number and jog down the mountain. Now i know how Kevin Tilton felt at Mt Washington, only i am a slow middle of the pack runner, not a favorite. It was nice how many runners asked if i was ok as i ran past them on the way down, we really are a caring lot.

Up the mountain, Vicki was running good, taking 3rd place overall for the women. Bob, Chris and John were off last years times and Larry ran faster than the previous year. I heard the was a big lack of water at the top of the mountain too. Maybe one of next years sponsors should be a water company. Maybe they can import some from Maine.

I really want to like this race, but there are too many little things that seem to be overlooked. Oh well, it doesn't matter now, i won't be coming back again. I would like to do the 100 on 100 relay that starts in Stowe the day before and runs 100 miles down Rte 100 to the Okemo Ski area. Long relay races can be a lot of fun.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm A Goon!

First let me say that i am still a Tuesday Night Turtle and will always be one. I was there at the beginning of the Turtles, 21 years ago in 1989 and would not think of leaving this great group of runners.

That being said, yesterday after the Mt Ascutney Mountain Race in Windsor, Vt, I was inducted into the Goon Squad Runners. I consider it an honor to be a Goon. I love the name of the club, much like the Turtle's, it is unconventional which gets noticed. I like the way you race in numbers, your turnout at Grand Prix races is admiral. The race shirt is great too, the lone "G" in a collegiate style that shows up for miles, trust me on that as a photographer. I have met some of the Goons at various races and know some of you through cyberspace and know most of you through a lens. I hope to meet more of you in the near future. Thanks to Doctor Death (Chris C.) for presenting the coveted "G" shirt at the river after Mt Ascutney with assist from Thunder God (Thor K.) and Taz (JJ). It was a great setting to find out you are a Goon. Doc...Good thing you did this after the race because it might have been incentive for me to grab back that 9 second lead you had on me at the finish and beat you!

Oh Yeah, My official Goon Name -"Flash".  Here with Thunder God, Doctor Death and Taz.

As for the race.........

This was my fourth race of the year, the first one not on snowshoes. I ran here last year as my first mountain race ever. It was brutal, half pavement, half muddy trails probably not the best choice to get into mountain running. This year it was back to the road for the whole run. I was liking it already. I arrived at the race real early, making much better time from RI than planned. Drive time was 2:40 for the 185 miles to Windsor, VT, slightly over the speed limit. The drive went by fast, some Motown and Bob Marley helped. One thing i notice with mountain/trail runners is that they like to show up early to races and when you are in nice settings like this, why not!  I had no sooner parked when Dave Dunham pulled in next to me with Little Dave. After that it was just a steady stream of cars and still a hour and a half to race time. I started my warmup with some of the CMS and INOV8 crew but cut back early as i wanted to keep some energy for the run up.

The race started a minute or two after 10am, just as the sun seemed to blast out from behind the overcast sky. I started out slow, real slow, knowing i have only been running steady for two weeks. The hill slams you right away and it is a good steady climb. I probably started too far back as i passed a number of runners in the first quarter and then settled in with a lot of runners i would be with all the way to the top. I pulled up with Doctor Death, No not the grim reaper but Chris Chetsas of the Goon Squad and we chatted for a second or two and i pulled away. Shortly after, he came back by me and we went back and forth to the top. I slowed to a walk at about 3/4 miles and then alternated run/power walk to the top. Everyone around me was doing the same. My first mile was about 12.05, second was 13 change and not sure of the rest. In the end, i ran 13.04 pace for 48.18 and 98th place, about mid pack. Not bad for where i am right now, I do hope to improve by the time of the Race for the Top at Mt Mansfield at the end of August. After the race, i ran back down the mountain with Doc D, it was a slow but enjoyable run. He had mentioned walking down the mountain earlier, but he beat me so i figured the hell with that, we are running down. 

Post race, a huge group headed over to the river a few miles from the race. The water was cool but not cold, it felt great anyway. The beers flowed and the conversation was great. When does a group this big meet in a setting like this after a race....uh...never, well, almost never. What a fun time.

It is always kind of sad to see the USATF-NE Mountain Series come to an end. I went to 5 races this year, 4 as photographer and one to run. Now i look at next weekend and say to myself, what am i going to do? Yard needs some work...ugh! 

Time to get me into shape too. Snowshoe season will be here before you know it and i would really like to be competitive this year.

Congratulations to Eric Blake and Gina Lucrezi on their 1st place finish in the series.

Congratulations to everyone else out there who competed in this great mountain series. I look forward to next year already.


Scott (Flash)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cranmore Hill Climb Photos

Cranmore mountain 11.4 km USATF NE championship

See You Next Week at Loon Mt.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mt Washington Weekend Musings

First off, let me say that i did not run the 50th version of the Mt Washington Road Race. I was entered, but i am in no shape to this kind of thing right now. The way i see it is that even in shape you are going to suffer so why multiply that pain by ten. I don't want a Scott Graham-ish look on my face at two miles, at least Scott's was at 7+. So instead of running, i was there with cameras to shoot and then on to the partying.

A few thoughts and observances from the weekend.

---We stayed over at Attitash Mountain Resort. What a great place, the condo slept up to 14. There are
    special rates for MW runners and they have bears wandering around to keep you on your toes. There
    were three MW runners staying here, Bob Jackman, Carl Pecchia and Martin Tighe. CMS had taken a      
    condo on the other side of the tracks from us which prompts the question of who was coming from the
    wrong side of the track? Lets see....they were faster than us but we probably drink more, i guess it IS
    the Turtles.

---I brought 20 bottles of my homebrew up for post
    race at the base of the mountain, an Imperial IPA
    code named MW 50-50. It seemed to go over
    pretty well for the lucky one's to sample the
    brew. Chris Dunn was the lucky first recipient,
    the benefit of being parked next to the GTI. I
    wish i had more to go around, maybe next year.
    Fitz finally got his hands on some, i think he has
    been looking forward to it for quite some time.
    I think i may brew a batch for a snowshoe race
    this coming winter, what do you think Chris?

---It was a beautiful day on top of the mountain,
    some wind, but out of the west so you did not
notice it much on the other side. I liked last year better
    as the clouds were below you and the effect was great. Being clear all the way up makes for a tense
    ride at times for the passenger, right Jackie? Last year driving through a cloud means you don't see the
    drop off that is ten feet to your right. This year i got to drive Bill Riley down the mountain. Bill
    finished 1st in the 70-74 age group. His time was a bit off as he was looking for about 1:35 but had to
    settle for 1:39......not bad at 74 years old. Bill's wife Debbie had her Sea Shades sunglass booth set up
    down below which doubled as our drinking base camp. Thanks Debbie and Bill.

---One thing i love about this race is that you get to hang with so many good people after the race, one
    big party atmosphere. You don't get this at many races, not like here. Runners tend to hang out much
    longer. There are a lot of old school runners here as well as the regular mountain runners and snow-
    shoe people. Many people that i see at a lot of races, all great people. Tuckermans Brewing is here
    pouring their good beer. There is live music. Teams set up their tents, break out the grills and beer.
    How can you not like this scene.

---There were a lot of good performances, JJ ran a PR. DD ran above expectations, Dave Quintal had a
    good one. I felt bad for Kevin Tilton just not having it on Saturday, but i imagine he will be back with
    a vengeance. Bob Jackman had a solid first run up the hill. Congrats to Reno and Bill Riley for
    winning their age groups.

---Good to hang with the CMS crew for a while late saturday night at the condo. Knocking back a few
    Genny Cream kingers with the brothers Quintal and the rest was fun.

---Great to see my friends Sarah and Sheila. Been a whole year.

---Good to catch up with ex-RI runner John Gorman after the run.

---Note to anyone wearing sandals on a day like this, take them off, apply suntan lotion, put them back
    on. My feet have tiger stripes on them right now and my ankles are burnt too, they feel more like

---Photos for the race are up on my website now,
    see them HERE.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

25 Years Ago -Maine Coast Marathon

I could say it seems just like yesterday that i ran and won the Maine Coast Marathon, but no, it seems more like an eternity. Twenty five years ago i was living in Portsmouth, NH. I was running pretty good, coming back from a bad hamstring pull, I had just run a pair of 5 milers in identical 25.22 times. I was feeling fast. I had teammates from the Amtrol Racing Team going up to Maine to run the marathon, so i decided to join them although i wasn't training for anything past 5m-10k. I ramped up the training a bit so that come race day i had two long runs of 19m and two 14 milers, not what you would call totally prepared.

Race day arrives, the gun goes off and i blast off. I take the lead 100 yards into the race and go solo for the win. Sounds great, doesn't it? It wasn't that easy. I went out at what felt comfortable, building a sizable lead. At 20 miles i was at 1:47 flat with an 8 minute lead. Along the way, my friend Roland Davide, who has the course record and still has the fastest marathon run in Maine at 2:15, was with me on the bike warning that i was running too fast. I should have taken the advice of someone of his running stature, but i felt good. I was thinking from the splits that i was looking at 2:18-19 range...SWEET! Two hours in, well past 22 miles and i am having a sense of impending doom. The legs are starting to go, so i am thinking it is only 3 to go, how bad can it be. Bad. With 2 to go i had to walk, there was nothing left in the tank. All in all, i walked 5 times in the last 2 miles. I finished the race at 2:28., a minute in front of second. It took 19 minutes to go the last 2 miles. It is still a win, just not how i planned to do it. I did get the best trophy ever, a hand made lobster trap table. It still sits in my parents living room in Narragansett

In the twenty five years since this race, i have run 5 marathons. It is not what you would call my favorite distance. I don't like training for them, i really never respected the distance. I would like to do one more though so i could try to get into the 5 Decade Club which is running sub 3 hours in 5 different decades. I have 4 down now from the seventies on with nothing slower than 2:47. I have ten years to do it, we will see what happens.

Check out this link for a cool website on Maine running history:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Boston Marathon Photos

Went up to the Boston Marathon on Monday to spectate and take some pictures.

The shots were taken at 5.5 and 19.8 miles.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Into the Light

 I shot a lot of photos this past weekend between the Merrimack River Trail Race and the Doyle's Emerald Necklace 5 Miler. I think this is my favorite, shot at the Doyle's 5m.

Photos from Merrimack here.

Photos from Doyle's here. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nike Hairs

I just came across this tonite while going through some old running stuff. Years ago, my brother got Don Bousquet to sign one of his cartoons for me. Don is from RI and did stuff in the local papers and Yankee Magazine. He obviously was overstating on my marathon abilities. In my opinion anyway, but i guess i was my own worst critic.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Granite State Snowshoe Finale

  You had to wonder if it really that good of an idea to head up to the Granite State Snowshoe Championship. Here in Rhode Island, the winds were gusting to over 30mph and the rain was coming down sideways. The clocks "sprang" ahead the night before, so you are somewhat sleep deprived for the 6 am departure time AND you have a 4 hour drive in front of you. Sounds like the perfect morning to sleep in.....NOT! Actually, i had no intentions of missing the final race of the season and then towards the end of the week, Dave Principe confirmed he was going too. Now i did not have to go up solo which made it much easier. Dave's son, DJ came along too, as we hydroplaned our way to Great Glen. I think Dave was getting a bit nervous as we hit the halfway point in Portsmouth and it was still raining heavily. Three hours in and still raining, we get into North Conway and wonder where is the snow. As we gained elevation heading towards Pinkham Notch, the wet roads slowly turned to slick, sloppy roads which caused a hairy moment or two in the last few miles (see Ryan Triffitts blog).  Once we arrived, there was plenty of snow and more coming down.

I was not running the race because of a sore foot i am just getting over. So i did my usual thing, i photographed the race. This turned into more of a challenge than i figured on. At race time, the snow was coming down pretty good, mostly sideways though and right into the front of the lens, meaning the auto focus was getting thrown off.  I was constantly wiping water off the lens glass too which was giving the photos a softened effect, not what i was looking for. I found that the camera kept focusing on the snowflakes and not the runners . I have shot in snow before as well as rain and even monsoon conditions and this may have been the toughest race i have done. So, all in all, i wasn't totally thrilled with the results, but considering the weather, they aren't that bad.  See them at

As for the finish of the race, it had to be one of the best i have seen. I was standing on the last downhill before the finish line that was about 100 meters away. As they came into sight, Kevin Tilton led Jim Johnson down the hill. At the bottom of the hill, Jim was pulling up even with Kevin, then as they approached the shed and went out of my line of sight, Kevin seemed to be pulling away again. When both came back into sight from behind the shed, Jim looked to be sprinting to catch Kevin and put in a final lunge at the line. Both went down and i could not see who won from my vantage point. In the end, it was called a tie. That last 30 seconds of the race was great! A fitting end to the GSSS season.

Another great finish to the season was having the post race awards at the Great Glen Outdoor Center. Sitting in a warm room with all those windows, looking out at the snow falling and the start area of the Mt Washington Road race was real nice. There was food from the cafe, a big cake with little pine trees on it and most importantly, a keg of Redhook LongHammer IPA. Boy did that IPA taste good after standing outside getting cold and soaked. The raffle was huge as they went two times around so as to not to leave anything untaken.

Big thanks go out to Chris Dunn and all the crew at Acidotic Racing for a great snowshoe series. In a winter season that lacked snow, the races still came off in a first class manner. Let us hope that the big snow is back for next season.

A big shout out goes to my teammates, the Tuesday Night Turtles, as we moved up to fourth place in the final team standings. Bob Jackman ended up third in the overall standings. Dave Principe was coming on strong at seasons end (look out next year). DJ Principe, at 11 years old, ran 4 races. Ben Keefe, John Peabody, Jenny Saunders, Vicki and Chris Jasparro all were there along the way. I even got out there 3 times in between aches and pains. I think we should have a stronger showing next season.

What is in that trash can Chris??? Could it be Longhammer IPA?

More Race Reports:

DoubleJ Running                                             Dare Might Things

HAV2RUN                                                       DoubleD Mountainrunner

Now on to the trail and mountain series. See you out there.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Greetings From Syracuse

This past weekend was the USSSA National Snowshoe Championship in Fabius, NY. My original plan was to run this race as i had qualified at the Sidehiller in Center Sandwich, NH. At the time, I figured that i had 5 weeks to get ready, but the way this winter was going, who knows what would happen. Well....Two weeks ago at the Horse Hill SS race in Merrimack, NH, I end up aggravating a nerve on top of my foot which made running impossible. Turns out that i probably had the strap on my snowshoes too tight and that led to the problem. All is well right now, I ran a 3 mile tonight without problem, but lack of training has really screwed up the season. Lack of snow hasn't helped either.

As for the Nationals, I decided to go up anyway. Turtle teammates Bob Jackman and Dave Principe were going up to race so i packed the camera and figured to shoot the races which i do better than racing lately. We took the 5 hour drive up on Friday, checked in at the Best Western and headed over to the race site to pick up numbers and check out the course. As we pulled off the main road on to the road to the park, i looked at the hill in front of us and joked how they would be finishing up that thing. Yeah...ha, ha, ha. Well, seems i was right and the race would finish the last 350 yards uphill to the finish line. At this point, I was sort of happy that i would not be running the next morning. Oh well, now that we have seen the course, it is time for a beer (more on that later).

Saturday morning comes, it is sorta cold, upper teens. We head up to Highland Park early to see the Juniors go off at 9, followed by the Women at 10 and finally the Men at 11:30. The course is in decent shape from the cold temps overnight, but it is headed for the 40 degree range today. In the womens race, it was good to see Acidotic Racings Amber Ferreira take the National title.

After two races and rising temps, the men took to the line. By now, the snow was getting soft, the course was getting chewed up and that meant the racers would suffer. The softer the snow, the slower the course. Talking to Dave P. after the race, he said how he couldn't get any footing at the start and lost time right away. He also mentioned how his footing was all over the place in the single track. The hill at the end did not help either as he fell on the way down and then almost again on the way back up to the finish.. Of course, watching the mens champion, Josiah Middaugh, run this thing, you would have thought the course was flat. He averaged just under 7 minutes a mile in slow, mushy snow on a hilly 10k route. Just amazing to watch. I guess that is why he is a 4 time National Champion. Bob Jackman, fighting a cold, finished in 30th place at 56.15/9.04 pace and two spots behind was Dave Principe at  32nd/57.17/9.14 pace, good placings in a very competitive race.

Mens Race Results
Womens Race Results

I heard some grumbling after the race about the course, the hill and snow conditions. It is what it is, everyone had to deal with the same thing. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses in different conditions. I wish i could have tested mine, but there is always next year!

Keeping with our tradition, we searched out a local brewpub for a pre-race meal and beer. Into Syracuse we went, Jackie, Bob, Dave and myself, to the Empire Brewing Co. It is down below street level in the basement of an old brick building, a very nice setting on a street loaded with restaurants. Checking out the beer menu, it was quite obvious what i was getting, so i ordered up the IPA along with Dave. It is a nicely hopped brew listed at 6.8% alc. We sampled something called Deep Purple, it is a wheat beer made with concord grapes, it wasn't horrible, just reminded me of grape soda. Bob and Jackie went for the darker stuff, stout and porter. I didn't hear any complaints so they must have been good. Food here was excellant too. I had a Philly Turkey which is a Philly Cheesesteak, only with turkey instead of steak. It was great! No sweet potato fries here, but we did have this big slab of blue corn bread as an app with maple infused butter. All in all, a very good brewpub.

For more Nationals reading, try these blogs:

Kevin Tilton

DoubleJ Running

Dare Mighty Things

Irongirl and Ultrarunning Boy


Mens Race
Womens Race
Juniors Race

Mens Race by Dave Dunham

Sunday, February 28, 2010

DH Jones 10 Miler - Back in the Day 1981

I had thought about driving out to the USATF-NE Grand Prix / Jones Realty Group 10 miler today to shoot some pictures and see freinds run, but sleep got the better of me. So instead of todays race, i am posting some photos and results from the 1981 DH Jones/Sugarloaf 10 miler. I drove out there with race winner Roland Davide as well as Gerry Beagan and Kenny Field. It was a RI 1-2 that day as Ron Gillooly took 2nd place. Roland set the course record at 51.02. I do not know what the current CR is, but seems to be a pretty good time by RI's best runner ever on that particular course.

This day was also the first time i had seen Dick and Rick Hoyt run in a race, it was early in their running career. It is amazing at what they have accomplished in the 29 years since then. I only wish i had pictures of them finishing.

See more photos here.

The race report was from the April 1981 Issue of Frontrunner Magazine. Click on the article to enlarge.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Horse Hill Turtles

Nothing like a beer and some food after a race. After the Horse Hill SS race, we hit Martha's Exchange in Nashua. I recommend the veggie panini with sweet potato fries. As for drink, i started with the Vow of Silence Belgian Stout. It had a real homebrewed taste to it, very smooth and at 7.5%, a little bit of a kick. Sticking with the belgian style, i went for the Abbot's Habit Tripel. For a beer at 9%, it was not noticeable, very smooth going down. As you can see from the picture that Dave Principe took with his Blackberry, mine only came in a smaller glass where his S.H.A.P.E. ale could be served in a 22oz glass.
In 3 visits to Martha's, i have never been disappointed. They rotate different beers on a regular basis and the food is always good. I only wish the few brewpubs down here in RI were more like this, They basically suck in the brewpub world. You might as well head over to Wild Colonial and grab a Gansett. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Now for the race. After being cancelled once for lack of snow and the possibility of it being a trail race, we were blessed with a mid week snowstorm. Merrimack got somewhere between 6 to 8 inches of snow, but you would have never guessed it by looking at the ground on Saturday. Most of the snow was gone!

The big decision today was what to do with two SS races being held and a so called double header taking place. You got Horse Hill at 11:30 and then the Kingman Farm Moonlight race at 6 pm. Reports of lack of snow at Kingman settled the choice, Dave Principe said he was going to Horse Hill and that was it, i would be there in a support role. The more shoers your team has, the better your team places and the Turtles are in a battle for the 4-5-6 places in team competition. Dave was there with the Principe clan, Denise, Tara and SS stud DJ. I drove up with Vicki and Chris Jasparro, both SS newbies. We pulled in the parking lot to see less than 20 cars, so you had to wonder what the turnout would be like. Next in the small lot was DoubleJ in the short bus, so i knew the race would go out fast for the runners up front. Before the race, i talked to Steve Wolfe who said snow coverage was pretty good but there were some thin and bare spots out there. Steve also said the course was pretty flat......Never trust someone from New Hampshire telling you that the course is pretty flat :)  I went out for a couple of miles to warm up with Dave and DJ, Chris and Vicki went out to test their loaner Dion snowshoes. I got a chance to catch up with Jim Hansen before the start, we had a good battle last year over at Feel Good Farm. I could only watch his back today. We then headed up to the path for the 11:30 start time.

A few words before the race start by director Mike Amarello and we were off. JJ took off like a bat out of hell and the rest followed. Uphill for a quarter and then into single track. I went out easy, running with Vicki. Dave was out in the front pack and Chris was in the second pack. I was running comfortably for the first half of the race with Vicki right on my tail, but as i was hitting my aerobic capacity, i pulled to the right and let Vicki go by. Why hold up someone else? Nice thing about snowshoe races is that most everyone is aware of shoers behind them and will gladly pull over to let you by. In the end, JJ won easily, but the battle for second was close with Dave Principe edging out Sean Snow for second. Other Turtles were Chris Jasparro in 10th and his wife Vicki in 15th, not bad for two runners who never put a snowshoe on before today. I place 19th with a so-so effort and 5th Turtle was DJ Principe in 28th place. DJ and a few others took a wrong turn out on the course, so their times should have been about 2 minutes better. DJ was the youngest on the course by 6 years, he being 11 years old.

After the race i realized that i had broken a cleat on my Dions. That was nothing compared to DJ who had his rear strap slip up above his shoes and dig into his achilles. Steve Wolfe was running on busted up snowshoes too. Lousy snow conditions can really do some damage.

It seems there is snow/rain in the forecast for this week. Lets hope it is more snow than rain in Exeter, NH. Next week is the Hullaballoo and i really want to run it.

Photos courtesy of Denise Principe

                                                                                    Race Results Here

                                                                                    DoubleJ race blog
                                                                                    Jim Hansen blog
                                                                                    Steve Wolfe blog

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Turtles @ Sidehiller

Nothing like waking up bright and early on a Saturday morning to find it is 7 degrees out and you have a 3 hour drive in front of you where the temperature will be dropping even lower. So it was, yesterday, as i waited for Jackie, Bob, Dave and DJ to get to my house for the trip up to Center Sandwich, NH and the Sidehiller snowshoe race. It really isn't too bad a drive, as it tends to go by fairly fast. We had the Family Guy's Star Wars adventure going for the back seat passengers, some good politically uncorrectness to pass the time.

 By the time we got off the highway in Ashland, the temp was reading -1 or 9, depending on which bank you prefer. The one thing that was noticeable was the lack of snow and because of that, the Sidehiller course had been altered from last year. This year it was a 3 lap race around the fairgrounds with a few short excursions into the woods. A very fast course. For some anyway.

We arrived about 9:45 for the 11 am race and headed to check-in. Right away you could spot the horses, Jim Johnson was there with a copy of the Fosters Daily Democrat newspaper pullout section "Showcase" with an awesome snowshoe race photo on the cover taken by yours truly. See the article by Geoff Cunningham here. Also spotted at check in were names like Dunham, Ferenc, Morse, Quintal, Wolfe and Tilton. I was thinking i should have photographed the race instead of running it. Too late now. We did a short warmup with the CMS boys and then it was time to race.

At the start, i was lined up about 3 rows back. I did not know what to expect here. The front row looked like just a regular stacked 5k race, all of them were ready to just slam the pace as the race started. I was just there to run steady and finish. I started next to teammate Ben Keefe and his brother, Josh, who was sporting a nice moose hat, antlers and all. When the race started, everyone went off like it was a road race! I'm thinking, Damn, what is going on here. I can't figure out if i went out too slow or too fast. I ran with a group for the first 1.7 mile lap, feeling half way good, but really not sure how things were going. At the short hill right before the finish, i walked to the top and started running again. My knees were not liking the uphills today, as they were sore for most of the week and the only way to make them feel better was to try massaging them by getting my fingers up under the kneecap. A nice form of self torture :) Once at the crest of the hill, i was just fine. I finished the first lap in 13 change and then dropped off for the next 2 laps. The 2nd lap was 14+ and the last dreadful lap was 15 or so. I was hoping to have a somewhat better race today, but it just wasn't in the cards. I went into the race with only 10 miles for the week and fighting off a chest cold. I know, i don't like excuses either but half way through the race, i knew i wasn't going to run anything worth bragging about.

 Up front, teammate Bob Jackman was running a good race, finishing in 7th place. Not as good as last year, but a much better field today. Turtle Prez Dave Principe, who has been bitten by the SS bug, sporting brandy new Atlas snowshoes, finished up in 14th place, not too far behind Jim Pawlicki and Eric Morse and realizing what a difference a real pair of shoes make.  Next Turtles up were Ben and Josh Keefe in 32nd and 33rd place. The elder Keefe let the kid brother win :)  I was the next TNT runner in 47th place. After me was DJ Principe who was having a bad day. DJ was complaining of a sore calf muscle on the warmup and it really came around to bite him in the race. He finished in 76th place, no where as good as he ran at Feel Good Farm, but still kudos go out to DJ, the youngest finisher in the race. One more runner of note is Rose, Ben's signifigant other who finished 87th.

All in all, a fun day. TNT'ers Bob Jackman, Dave Principe, and myself all qualified for the SS Nationals in Syracuse, NY in March. 

One other note from the race. It was great to meet up with former employee Chris Tessier from Athletic Attic days, who i had not seen for 20 years. We worked in the RI Mall many years ago, drank beer in the parking lot after the store closed and were big Police fans, the band, not the local constabularies. Where is your next SS race Tess?

Race is over, now what? Oh yeah, brewpub time!

Today's choice is Milly's Tavern in Manchester, NH.  Situated in the basement of an old mill building on the river, it is a great location! The place was deserted for the most part, being a Saturday afternoon.  The Turtle crew grabbed a table and tripled attendance at the bar. The beer menu had 16 beers on tap, all in house brews. I naturally gravitated towards the hoppiest they had, ManchVegas IPA. It is a decent IPA with good west coast hops and not too much maltiness. A very drinkable IPA. I was bummed out that the Imperial IPA was not on tap as it was last time here. It Rocks!! I did try the cherry porter. It is a pretty good brew with subtle cherry flavor. As for food, i had the BBQ Chicken Quesadilla with a side of sweet potato fries. The sweet potato fries were good, not outstanding. 

On a side note, as i type this, i have Pulp Fiction going in the background. Is there a better scene than Mia getting the adrenaline shot from Vincent when she is OD'ing. Oh well, probably not everyones cup of tea....... 

Next week? Looks like Exeter. Talking with Northfield RD Dave Dunham on the warmup, seems like that race could be a no go. I prefer to do the longer race, but i want to race no matter what. Looks like Exeter. Then Horse Hill, Kingman Farm and Nationals. Granite State Finals, maybe i run........maybe i just take the camera, what do you think, Chris Dunn??

More race blogs here when they are good and ready to post: 

Dave Dunham
Jim "DoubleJ" Johnson
Acidotic Racing
Steve Wolfe
Jim Pawlicki

Sidehiller Results
Sidehiller Photos 



Saturday, January 23, 2010

First Snowshoe Race of the Year.

Finally, I am competing in my first snowshoe race of the season. The location is King Pine Ski Resort and the Pooh Hill SS Race in Madison, NH. I had been a bit banged up due to a knee problem suffered 3 weeks ago, but the pain has subsided and i felt a need to race.

I started the preparation for the race on Friday night with the best massage therapist in RI, Nikki Toth. She pummels the knots out of my legs like no one else and seems to enjoy it.

Saturday morning, Dave Principe, Jackie and Bob Jackman and me, headed out for the 3 hour drive to Pooh Hill. It is not too bad a drive, straight thru Boston and up to Rte. 16 in NH to Madison. When we left here in Warwick, the temp was about 25 and as we headed north, it kept dropping. By the time we reached Madison, the trucks thermometer read 13, but it was a dry 13 :) Oh yeah, the sun was out too.

Sign in and it was time for a 3 mile warm-up. I was surprised that my knee was feeling quite good, no aches or pains. Looks like the massage helped! I cruised thru that and felt pretty good about what was about to come. Now i just wondered how to dress, so i went for the thin polypro and Turtle tank top and no hat. It may have been cold, but the sun was warming things up just fine. This was just the second time this year that i was on snowshoes, so there was some trepidation heading into this race. So the gun goes off and unlike last year at this race, i hold back and keep it easy. As we run thru the early single track, i am actually feeling pretty good. No oxygen debt, no high heart rate, i like this. Thru the little ups and downs, everything seems to be working well and i actually manage to pass a few runners out there. Coming up to 30 minutes of running, i was starting to feel the lack of conditioning that you really need to run in snowshoes. I walked a short hill but was running within 20 seconds. Then came the zigzag across the lake thru a narrow trail with slow, soft snow that really seemed to sap my strength. So for the last 2 miles, i survived by running and quickly walking up a few of the inclines. Into the finish and a 47 minute 8 k, give or take a bit, and it was over. All in all, a good race. It surpassed my expectation so i was happy with it.

Bob Jackman finished up in 3rd place and Dave Principe took 10th place. Nice run guys!

I have to applaud Chris Dunn and  the Acidotic Racing Team for the job that they do. This is a very organized race, even going off right on time. The check in is easy and post race is a great time with lots of awards and a large raffle. Oh, by the way, i won the big prize...Kahtoola the raffle. Thanks Chris.

Now that the race was over, time to think about the task at hand. Turtle tradition says we have to hit a brewpub on the way home and today that choice is the Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, NH. After a race this grueling, you find yourself craving a good brew. Well, there aren't many better spots than this. The Bottle Rocket IPA was up first for me, quite tasty with a good hop bitterness but not overpowering. Bob, Jackie and Dave all went for the Stout and seemed to enjoy it. Food wise, i went for the salmon fillet sandwich with chipotle mayo and fries. I was a bit bummed out that they did not have sweet potato fries as i tend to judge these places by their IPA's and sweet potato fries. The fries were good none the less. I tried a barleywine ale also, it was good and malty with some good hop overtones, i recommend it if you find your way to Portsmouth. I do like my homebrewed IPA much better, for the record.

Next week it is the Sidehiller Snowshoe race in Center Sandwich, NH, which also means i get to go to Milly's Tavern in Manchester after the race. Nothing like good snowshoeing and good beer!!!!

Thanks to Steve Wolfe and Krissy Kosloski for suppling the photos above of  fat old me.

 It was funny how a few runners asked who was going to take pictures at the race, since i was running and Krissy Kosloski who shoots too was competing, but turns out that Krissy dropped out and grabbed her camera so see her photos here. For the record, i love shooting photos at the races but would much rather run. I will find my way to another SS race to shoot this year, but it is not a priority. Either way, i will support the sport!

If you would like to read some blogs of the fast guys up front, check out these:

Jim Johnson
Steve Wolfe
Acidotic Racing

Todays Results:

Go Here.



Sunday, January 17, 2010

Feel Good Farm Snowshoe Race

Usually when we go to a snowshoe race, there are 2 or 3 Turtles competing, but Feel Good Farm was a major breakthrough for the club. We went up to New Hampshire with 6 runners, should have been 7 except for my gimpy knee. Regular shoers Bob Jackman and Ben Keefe were joined on the line with Dave Principe and son, DJ as well as John Peabody and Jenny Saunders. The latter 4 runners have never run a snowshoe race before and ended up choosing a race that might not be the best initiation to the sport. The course is between 4 and 5 miles, exact milage really doesn't matter as you can't compare race to race because the courses vary so much. Jim Pawlicki noted in his blog that his Garmin measured at 4.03 miles. Total climbing elevation was 2200 feet. I ran this race last year when the snow was much deeper, this year you had to deal with some icy, almost bare ground with a lot of rocks in a few spots. As i hiked up to the top of Moose Mountain with Jackie Jackman to find a spot to capture some good photos, i noted to her that there were some real treacherous downhill running and it made me happy that i decided not to run here.

It turned out to be quite the day for a snowshoe race. Temperatures were approaching 45 and the sun was shining brightly. There was some wind at the top of Moose Mt, but nothing to affect the run. The big question for the day was how to dress for the race. A few brave souls went with shorts, but many opted for tank tops and short sleeves with their tights.

I parked myself at the top of the second climb and waited. First up and over was Kevin Tilton with a sizable lead, first Turtle up was Bob Jackman in 5th place with newby Dave Principe running in the top 20. Next Turtles up were Ben, then DJ, John P and Jenny. By then i was shooting from the downhill where everyone looked great. I even got a few smiles as runners ran by the camera. As we moved back down the hill shooting as i went, Kevin came by for a second time looking somewhat out of control, but that is how you run downhill in snowshoes and you really are in control of your running. This section of trail had little snow, lots of ice and rock. This must have been the reason for a number of broken cleats on snowshoes, hopefully they were wearing Dions where replacing a cleat is a cinch. Once past here, there was plenty of snow for the rest of the downhill into the finish.

Bob finished up in 5th, Dave P was 19th, Ben came in 28th. John Peaboby was 49th followed by DJ Principe(11years old) in 64th and Jenny at 73rd place. There were 100 finishers, a bit of an improvement from the 12 finishers last year. I am not sure how the team awards go, but it looks like the Turtles did ok as we had 3 in the top 28. CMS Polarbears put 3 in the top 6 and Acidotic Racing put lots of runners in the top 30. Post race was a good time. There are no indoor facilities here at Feel Good  Farm, so the warm weather made it quite enjoyable. There was a big pot of portuguese kale soup, thanks to race director Mike Amorello. I heard Mike comment that the RI'ers should have brought up some quahogs. We will Mike, one of these races.

Next up is the Pooh Hill Snowshoe Race on the 23rd. I plan on running this one. It is really pissing me off that the knee isn't healing as fast as i want or like.

As is tradition after a snowshoe race, we hit a brewpub on the way home. This time it was Martha's Exchange in Nashua. We were joined by Dan Scotina, Chris Smith and Emily Trespas. The beer was good, i had a Belgian called Barrel of Apathy, very tasty. There was a lack of a real IPA which really bugs me since i am a hop head when it comes to beers. The chicken mozzarella panini was very good but i would not recommend the sweet potato fries, they were over cooked with no meat on them. I heard no complaints about other beers, so i assume that everyone liked what they had. I think Emily had the appropriately named "Blond Bombshell" A fun time was had by all. After next weeks race we get to hit Portsmouth Brewing, i can't wait, it is one of my favourites.

On a side note to Steve Wolfe, sorry to hear about your dog. It really hurts to lose a pet.

Want to see a bunch of photos from the race, see my site: ScottMasonPhoto

More photos to see here at Krissy Koslosky's site.

Race Blog Roll Call:  Dare Mighty Things - Chis Dunn
                                Breakheart Trail Running - Dan Scotina
                                   Good Clean Run - Jim Pawlicki

Race Results here at Coolrunning

SeeYa Next Week