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