Monday, January 31, 2011

Sidehiller Snowshoe

Kristen and I headed up to Center Sandwich, NH for the Sidehiller 4 mile snowshoe race. The race is part of the race series: Western Mass Athletic Club / Dion Snowshoe and the Granite State Snowshoe Series. In addition, it was a qualifying race for the USSSA Nationals race to be held in Wisconsin later this winter. My intentions were to connect with Bob Dion from Dion Snowshoes to upgrade to a new pair snowshoes (racing model 121), replacing the pair that I had since 2004. They are a touch lighter and have a few other small upgrades including a reinforced cleat and quick binding system. The race also gave me a chance to break them in.

This race is always competitive and knew I would have my work cut out for me. This course reverted back to the layout from two years ago. It contained a quick loop around the fairgrounds and across the street through wide open fields that is mostly single track. The snow was a light sugary consistency underneath a light top crust which made the track slow for my 157 lb frame. I felt like a slug through most of the course and did not have to fight too much with anything but the snow under foot. I owned 11th place after 600m and throughout the race. I had a single file pack of guys about 10 – 30 seconds throughout for me to stare down but never close on. It took me 35:41 to track what might be a shade more than four miles. I am curious if anyone wore a GPS through this one.

The team did very well. Kevin Tilton took the win with Jim Johnson right behind him. Dave Dunham ran a very smart race making his way up into sixth place and Scott McGrath who I heard joined the CMS ranks was right in front of me. Kristen was all over the place taking photos. Meanwhile, NH Chronicle was on site taping footage and interviewing several folks like Kevin and Jim. I look forward to the segment in the future. I ran a cool down with Dave Dunham a few minutes after the race. Kristen and I soon hit the road for lunch at about twenty minutes away at Walter’s Basin on Little Squam Lake in Holderness. I had an awesome Tuna Melt and Fries. I wish I had the chance to spend more time and even a night or two in the area. It is a shame to “hit and run” the north country.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A moderately challenging Derry Prep 16

The Derry Prep 16 miler is as advertised: moderately challenging. This is one of those races that proudly displays the course elevation profile on the technical shirt given to all pre-entrants. My goal was to run a pace close to a marathon goal pace if the road conditions were decent. I have run this race twice before. My foray in 2001 was a learning experience. Don’t bother driving in a snow storm to attend a road race unless you are allowed to wear snowshoes in the race. Joe Shairs and I ran 6:22 pace in 2006 during a string of long runs that winter to get us ready for the New Bedford Half Marathon.

I warmed up with Andie Colon, Mike Quintal, and Jim Johnson over the first .75 miles of the course hoping to see an indication of the road conditions. There was plenty of bare pavement. As it turned out, the shaded sections of the course still had a hard packed snow but you could run over the tracks left behind by vehicles over the last 36 hours since the last snow fall on Friday afternoon. I got out into the top ten immediately after the start. I ran the first few miles with Mike Quintal. I never looked at the watch so I was just running against the course but wanted to stay close if possible to those that could pull me along the first half. Then I had some company in the middle miles with Tim Catoggio who runs for Marx Running. He was already running well under his advised pace. He planned on taking off after 13.1 miles and he certainly did, making his way up to 4th place in the end. I was crawling up the hills after mile 10 and the splits prove it. Still I could see a few guys about a minute ahead and plugged away. I rolled up on Mike Quintal who was hurting pretty bad with 2 miles to go. I went onto hit my quickest split of the day 2 miles away from the finish chasing down Humberto Rodriguez in a downhill stretch.

I finished with the 16 miler in 1:37.46, a 6:07 per mile average. My pace for the first five miles was 5:58, 6:00 through 10, and 6:08’s through 13.1 miles (Half Marathon). I promptly did a cooldown walk into some dry clothes and broke bread (Pizza, Soup, Hot Chocolate) with Kristen and the CMS gents: Mike, Jim, and Jason Dunklee. The Nike Lunarcrap that I wore provided a heel blister on each foot were stinging pretty good. That is my fault as I should have left them home. The legs are a bit sore today. I certainly got their attention in this tough course.

556 1205
532 1738
545 2323
623 2946 5 miles
535 3522
558 4121
557 4719
555 5315
638 5953 10 miles
641 1:06:35
630 1:13:06
629 1:19:35 (low 1:20 Half Marathon)
624 1:26:10
526 1:31:26
620 1:37:46

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beverly Citizen Snowshoe interview

I got a nice call from Christopher Hurley from the Beverly Citizen earlier this week for an interview about the Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe Classic.

Beverly’s James Pawlicki keeps pace in the Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe Classic posted January 12, 2010

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe Classic

If nothing else, I emailed Ben Nephew (CMS - Inov8) as soon as I registered for the Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe Classic on Thursday night. I asked him to come back up here and consider this race that he won last year. He was considering a three hour drive to hit up a snowshoe race in Pittsfield, MA. I woke up this morning, coughing and hacking up flem which has been the norm since Wednesday. Colds suck, period. I looked outside, disappointed. There was a lack of fresh white stuff on the ground - at least 2-4 inches promised by the weather folks yesterday. I packed up the gym bag and two pairs of snowshoes and hit the door one hour before the race was to start. Kristen and I drove over to Salem in an easy 15 minute drive. I got a pair of cool socks with the Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe logo made by the sockguy for pre-registering. I took a quick peek at the course map with Ben Nephew and course co-designer, Patrick Smith. Patrick Smith, Jay Curry, and others were on the greens during the week shoveling snow onto clear grass to prepare for the race and finalize a course. The course was different than last year in that it did not have the single track woods loop. I went back to my car to swap out for the smaller cleat as I had the large cleat installed from the last snowshoe race last year.

I warmed up on the course minus the snowshoes with Brett Rickenbach (Winners Circle Running Club) with whom I suggested during the week that he try this race out. This was his first snowshoe race. I brought him my extra pair of snowshoes but he ended up renting a pair from Dion Snowshoes which I've been rocking since 2004. Bob and Denise Dion were on hand offering their wares and renting them for $5. There were bare spots scattered on the golf course so it was going to be interesting to see what the backside of the course was going to look like. The race bolted out and I settled into third after a few minutes. Ben was out in the front with Steve Dowsett (UMass Dartmouth). There were plenty of rolling hills to slow the pace. I kicked it down each hill. Ben began to pull away from Steve before a mile when I started to focus on reeling Steve in. I caught Steve around 1.75 miles. I was pretty much exhausted after 20 minutes so I quelled any thoughts to go after Ben who seemed to tire and was not pulling away. I rolled into the finish line in 25:23. Ben ran 24:49. Steve was right behind me with a 25:49. Brett ran a solid 26:56 just ahead of Acidotic Racing's Chirs Dunn. I headed out for an easy an easy cooldown with the guys before the top twenty finished.

Some thoughts came to mind after the race. The Dungeon Rock racing crew of Patrick Smith, Jay Curry, and others put in a lot of time in during the week to spread snow on the bare spots to give us a manageable course. Whatever frozen grass we ran over today, I hardly noticed. I'd say we were on snow for 98% of the 3.1 0r 3.2 miles that they measured out on google earth. We dealt with what was given to us which is a common theme in New England racing. The second thought was the time and effort that the Dion's put in to come to races and make it affordable to get folks without snowshoes fitted to take part in the races. They drive all over New England and New York from their headquarters in Vermont. In addition, kudos to Doug Bollen who is behind the series of races in Salem all year 'round. Lastly, with the snow that began to fall toward the end of the race made me wonder just how many snowshoe races that I have raced while it was snowing. Of all the snowshoe races I have done (at least 25), I couldn't recall one. Thus today was the first. Dave Dunham may correct me on that.

The best part was chilling out after the race with plenty of hot cocoa, chili, powerade, water, peanuts, bananas, and bagels. I won a raffle prize - gift certificate to the New England Running Company and won a cool hat for second place overall.

Olde Salem Greens Snowshoe Classic full results
Photos taken by KrissyK

Finally, I want to plug a lecture in which Chris Dunn is the lead speaker in Salem this Tuesday on winter endurance training. Here is a story.

Event Details:
What: Lecture and Social Gathering for Endurance Sport Athletes.
When: Tuesday, January 11, 7:00 pm.
Where: Salem Mass YMCA, 1 Sewall St., Salem, MA 01970
Cost: Free and open to the public.

Jim Pawlicki, Brett Rickenbach, Ben Nephew, and Steve Dowsett emarking on the cooldown.