Monday, December 28, 2015

2016 Snowshoe Racing schedules for New England and beyond

2014 Snowshoe Nationals, Prospect Mountain, Woodford VT
Photo by KrissyK
In the spirit of the white stuff touching down upon us tonight, I wanted to share three 2016 Snowshoe racing schedules for those in New England: Granite State, Western Mass Athletic Club, and Central MA. All sites are currently getting updates for event URL's and finalized race distances which can often be dictated by snow conditions (if there is snow). Keep track of the links below for updates. 

The Granite State web site is pretty good with advising if the race is still happening the evening before the race. 

The WMAC series will send out an email update the Friday or afternoon before the race. If you do not get those updates, let me know and I will get your email added to the list. 

Lastly, the Central MA snowshoe series will hold their races regardless of a lack of snow (sneakers with use of traction device permitted). Otherwise, they will communicate through Facebook, web site series below, or through email to registered athletes. 

Best 4 races score in the series
January 16, 2016 Whitaker Woods (4 miles) - North Conway NH
January 23, 2016 Moose Mountain Runaround – Brookfield NH
January 31, 2016 Beaver Brook – Hollis NH
February 7, 2016 Horsehill – Merrimack NH
February 13, 2016 Kingman Farm Moonlight (4.5 miles) – Madbury NH
February 20, 2016 Exeter Snowshoe Hullabaloo (4 miles) – Exeter NH
March 5, 2016 Granite State Championships – Wolfeboro NH
March 12, 2016 Northeast Championships* Woodford VT
*not part of the GSSS scoring

January 9, 2016 Hilltop Orchard 5K – Richmond MA
January 17, 2016 Greenwood Gallop 5K – Mt Prospect, Woodford VT
January 23, 2016 Hoot Toot & Whistle 5K – Readsboro VT
January 31, 2016 Curly’s 4 miles? - Pittsfield MA
February 6, 2016 Northfield Mountain 4 miles– Northfield MA
February 7, 2016 Saratoga Winterfest 5K – Saratoga NY
February 13, 2016 Camp Saratoga 8K – Wilton, NY
February 20, 2016 WMDP Snowshoe Scramble 5K/10K – Holyoke MA
February 21, 2016 Brave The Blizzard 5K? – Guilderland NY
February 27, 2016 Snow Summit 5K – Woodford VT
February 28, 2016 Bay State Games – Becket MA
March 6, 2016 Thunderfest 5K - Adams MA
March 12, 2016 Northeast Regional Championship – Woodford VT

Central MA Snowshoe Series presented by DION Snowshoes

January 17, 2016 Moore State Park 5K – Paxton MA
January 31, 2016 Newton Hill 5K – Worcester MA
February 13, 2016 Wallum Lake Twilight Tour 5K – Douglas MA
February 27, 2016 For the Love of Snowshoe 5K – Holden MA
March 5, 2016 Leominster State Forest 4.5 miles – Leominster MA 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

CMS 52 week 5K series, race # 48

I had plans to run at the BU development meet but an opportunity came up to run the CMS 52 week 5K series (race #48) in Worcester. It provided an opportunity to pick up some uniforms for the team. I have been a member of CMS since 2004 and never ran in the CMS 52 week 5K series out of Worcester State University. They are held each Saturday at 9:00. Students pay a dollar, CMS members pay $3, and non-CMS runners pay $5. The course alternates from clockwise one week to counter clockwise the next. This was a clockwise direction. I saw Patrick Caron from Needham and yelled out to him so we could warm up for the race. We had a nice battle at the Stone Tower 15K trail race a few months ago. I was glad he showed up because he knows the course and he is fast. He ran the course and won a few weeks ago in 17:44. We ran the first 3/4’s of a mile on the course before having to get back so we did not miss the start.

It was chilly (32 degrees), sunny, and windy. We got some announcements at the starting line from CMS team president Stephen Laska about CMS events including the Freezer Five in January. There were plenty of CMS volunteers ready with hand held timing and Popsicle sticks for us when we finish. He also mentioned cones were at each turn except for the last right hand turn at the gas station where we would have less than ¾’s of a mile left. Patrick bolted out and I followed a few strides behind breathing heavy. He was flying. We had a good downhill stretch through the mile where I saw a 5:23 split and a half second behind Patrick. I passed him after a hill in a side-neighborhood and seemed to lose him through 2 miles where I slowed to a 5:51 mile. There was some elevation in this mile and a head wind. I took the right hand turn at the gas station and now had the wind at my back. Patrick caught me at 2.6 miles and I gave him kudos for catching up. He looked really good and effortless. I had to bear down and dig to keep him close. I trailed him by a half second all the way to the finish line. I had no extra gear, just maxed out, unfortunately. I ran 17:28 to his 17:27 (results). We headed out for a cool down on the course in the counter clockwise direction and discussed racing plans for 2016. I expect him to have a solid year filled with personal records. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Assault on Mt Hood 3.5 mile xc

Next on the calendar was the 11th Annual 3.5 mile Assault on Mt Hood cross country race. This is a tough course all over the Mt Hood golf course. It was a new course with a few new twists as in more elevation. CMS had five guys and we wanted to make two teams of a scoring three members so I recruited Andreas Heilmann who was solo for the BAA. We made a masters team of Tim Van Orden, Gregory Putnam, and myself. The open team was made up of Matt Veiga, Dan Verrington, and Andreas who has won this race in the past. The weather was perfect, sunny and close to 50. After a clean start, the crowd narrowed onto a cart path and 800m in, we were single file looping around Mt Hood.

It is all about the Nut Cracker prizes
Photo by KrissyK
Coming down on the cart path, I noticed my right foot feeling some discomfort on each foot plant and push off. The thin Inov8 flats were not helping any and I tried to run on grass any chance I could and avoid any rocks into the ball of my foot. I focused on Matt Veiga ahead while the hills continued. The second mile was a blistering 6:30. I caught Matt eventually but it was not easy.
Coming down the hill in pursuit
Photo by KrissyK
The last mile was tough as I passed one CRC runner but could not catch the other. I finished 9th overall, 3rd master behind Tim (3rd OA) and Greg (6OA). 20:55 was the time with a pace of 5:59 per mile. The masters team took the win over NETT and CRC. The open team placed 2nd overall behind NETT and ahead of CRC. You can’t beat the post-race party. A Mt Hood pint glass with beer, pasta, salad, cookies, and Nut Cracker prizes awaited.

Less than 800m to go. Slow and painful.
Photo by KrissyK

11th Annual Assault on Mt Hood 3.5 mile cross country results

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mill Cities Relay

This past Sunday was my 5th consecutive Mill Cities Relay with the Somerville Road Runners. I ran on the coed open team in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Last year, I got bumped onto the masters team. I ran the long leg (#4) in 2011. Since then, I have been fortunate lead off the relay for the teams. I like the first leg for a few reasons. It has a wide downhill start and I can see all competition around me. I can time my warm up appropriately so I am at the starting line for the 8:00. It was a cold morning with a frost on the grass but the sun was rising and sure to warm up into the 50’s by 1:00.

With the drop of the brick, the race sprinted out. I chose my position carefully and scanned ahead for any master runners. David Long (Wicked Running Club) and Doug Martyn (Whirlaway) were just ahead. I passed Doug before the first bridge and got in behind David. We passed the mile in 5:31. David said that was pretty quick and I shrugged while mentioning to just keep it going. We slowed to a 5:40 into mile two and he was now behind me. We would occasionally run past his relay car of Wicked mates who would cheer for us. The rolling hills slowed me down to a 5:50 through 3 miles but I bounced back with a 5:43 and 5:46 that had a little downhill in them. I passed no one and no one passed me since I broke away from David before mile 2. I did have SRR’s Sean McDonough (his first race since exactly one year ago) in front of me battling someone else along the way. I rolled into the relay exchange, hearing David behind me (see video below). My time was 30:46 for the 5.4 mile leg handing off to Sanjay D’Souza. I traded the slap band for his keys. I had the masters team in the lead by less than five seconds.

I got in the car after a quick photo with Krissy (she ran leg #4 later in the morning) and drove off along the leg 2 course following along into relay exchange zone #2. Sanjay held his own giving up a few seconds to Chris Nolin from Wicked. John Wichers took over for the 3rd leg running 2.5 miles before passing the reigns over to Greg Pickelsimer who got the lead back and extended it for our masters team. Sanjay and I drove into relay exchange zone #4 to give Joe O’Leary a heads up and to support teams along the way by shouting out the window at anyone we knew. At the last exchange zone, I caught up with the teamates and watched Greg come in and hand off to Joe who was the last leg runner for our team. Out team, SRR - Joe O'Leary and the Heartbreakers would win 1st place in our master category with a time of 2:34:46, just about three minutes ahead of 2nd place Wicked Persistent, and 3rd place, Brick Chasers (GDTC).

2015 Mill Cities Relay Results

Krissy and I after my finish
Photo by Maryann Kozlosky
Just before the 1st exchange zone
Photo by Krissy Kozlosky

Myself, Joe O'Leary, Greg Pickelsimer, John Wichers, & Sanjay D'Souza
Photo by Chris Klucznik