December 2016 Newsletter

Welcome New Members – by Betsy Gonnerman
2017 Race Ratings Survey – by Geoff Dunbar

2016 NH Grand Prix Individual Prizes Awarded and 2017 NH Grand Prix Racing Schedule Announced by Jim Burnett – by Jim Burnett
Couchers No More – by Mary Peters
Ready, Set, Turkey Trot – by Bill Young
Fun in the Snow – By Tim Smith
An Ordinary Runner in an Extrodinary Race – by Michele Maxson

Welcome to New Members

By Betsy Gonnerman

Abagail Barmon David Bates Rio Burnett
Meghanne Cheevers Robert Gill Simon Keeling
Jim Smith Justin Smith

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2016 NH Grand Prix Individual Prizes Awarded

&

2017 NH Grand Prix Racing Schedule Announced

by Jim Burnett

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First: the Granite Runners for 2016, those who ran all eight series races were awarded their pullovers, above. UVRC Wooly Granite Runners include,

  • Jim Burnett
  • Kevin Hartstein
  • Cindy Edson
  • Gunner Currier

Second: prize money was distributed to clubs for overall age-group winners and top three age-graded runners.

UVRC Age-Graded Prizes

Male

  • 1st Rob Edson $70
  • 3rd Rich Smith $50

Female

  • 1st Betsy Gonnerman $70

UVRC Age Group Winners

  • Male 29 & Under – Kevin Hartstein $50
  • Male 40-49 – Rich Smith $50
  • Male 50-59 – Rob Edson $50
  • Male 70+ – Bob Katz $50
  • Female 30-39 – Megan Miller $50
  • Female 40-49 – Cindy Edson $50
  • Female 60-69 – Deb Keane $50
  • Female 70+ – Betsy Gonnerman $50

Third: the schedule for the 2017 NHGP was determined as follows. The 2017 schedule is also posted on the NHGP website: www.nhgp.org

  1. March 11 or 12, 2017, Leprechaun Leap 5K, Nashua
  2. April 9, 2017, Red’s Race for a Better Community 5 Miler, Dover
  3. April 30, 2017, Chief Maloney 10K, Greenland
  4. May 21, 2017, Gate City Striders Half Marathon, Nashua
  5. July 15, 2017, Bill Luti 5 Miler (50th), Concord
  6. August 6, 2017, Run From the Law 5K, Canaan
  7. September 4, 2017, St. Charles Children’s Home 5K, Portsmouth
  8. October 10, 2017, Granite State 10 Miler, Concord

Summing it all up: So, Woolies, we have our work cut out for us next year. The Shamrock Shuffle 5K, on which we have relied for an early series lead the past two years, is ineligible in 2017 (races cannot be slated three years in a row) and the only UVRC-hosted (local) race in 2017 is the Run From the Law 5K in Canaan! On the bright side, that means we have 7 fun UVRC road trips to look forward to in the Lebanon Recreation Dept.

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2017 Race Ratings Survey

By Geoff Dunbar

This month, December 2016, the UVRC conducted a survey of its members, asking for input on races. The main purpose of this survey was to gather data on the club’s preference for the makeup of the two races series that we plan to emphasize for 2017.

The two main race series that the club participates in are the Upper Valley Running Series, and the New Hampshire Grand Prix. The Upper Valley Running Series is put on by our own club, coordinated by UVRC board member Dave Sullivan. It consists of races that are in the Upper Valley, and tends to attract smaller races and a less competitive atmosphere. The New Hampshire Grand Prix is arranged by the running clubs of New Hampshire, and serves as a competition between the clubs. (UVRC two time defending champion!) This being New Hampshire, it is still fairly low key, but does involve larger races, more competitive fields, and more travel. I would note that since clubs in New Hampshire are pretty small, participation numbers are an important factor, and I’d encourage any runner in our club to come out.

The survey was pretty simple; we just asked club members to rate each race’s suitability for either series from 1 to 5, and whether they had participated in that race in the past. There was also an optional comments section. 43 members were kind enough to fill out the survey. Without further ado, here are a couple of charts summarizing the results for each race. I’ve separated into two charts, one for UVRS and one for NHGP (there is some overlap). I include the average rating in the survey, the number of people who indicated they had run the race in the past, and the rating of just the people who had run the race in the past. The ratings are color coded; green is better.

For UVRS:

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And for NHGP:

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You can draw your some of your own conclusions, but I’ll give a few observations.

At least one person gave the comment (paraphrased), “Enough of downtown Lebanon, let’s get some more variety!” However, the survey does not agree. Lebanon races were among the few highest rated races.

For the New Hampshire Grand Prix, people very much prefer races closer to home. Even races in Concord got more love than races further away. The series ended with a half marathon the past two years (WMM Half Marathon in Conway, and NE Half Marathon in Concord). To my mind, both races were a good experience, but the NE Half got a much higher rating. I attribute some of that to simple geography.

I found it interesting to compare a race’s rating in the survey, vs. just the rating of people who had actually run the race in the past. Generally, it seems that people who had run a race in the past had a more favorable opinion of the race. I consider it a point of concern if the rating of past participants is lower (or about the same) as the rating of people in general. I won’t single out any races for public shaming, but you can find them yourself in the two charts.

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who helped out by filling out the survey! We’ll definitely take this data into consideration when selecting the races for the 2017 UVRS and NHGP.

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Couchers No More

Mary Peters

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Thanksgiving Day concluded the third round of UVRC’s Couch-to-5k program, and the first program we have had in the fall.  These runners and walkers persevered through multiple time adjustments, the end of Daylight saving, rain, snow and wind.  They encouraged each constantly and improved immensely over 10 short weeks.  We had over 30 participants enrolled, and 12 ran the Zack’s Place Turkey Trot in Woodstock, while a few people ran in other turkey trots on their own.  It’s safe to say that these people are no longer couchers!  As one former participant said at TNT last week, they’re not the Couch-to-5k group anymore; they’re the 5k-to-10k group.

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Ready, Set, Turkey Trot

By Bill Young

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The Norwich and Woodstock Turkey Trots are fantastic fun runs. Both make your feel good, thankful and entitled to a feast. The Haven and Zack’s Place are the beneficiaries. I love running in Woodstock on Thanksgiving.  You revisit 5 K of the CBHM course. Woodstock scenery is pure Currier and Ives. Children are everywhere. To top it off, I occasionally win my old turkey age group.  The UVRC Couch to 5K team chose Woodstock for their fall graduation race. Angie reported that they had a blast. Congratulations.

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Friends, family and proximity to home favored Norwich for me this year. Five hundred athletes, stroller rollers, dogs, and walkers gathered at the bandstand on the town green. The turkey flavored swag was over the top: cool green ski hats, loud running shirts, water bottles plus hot chocolate. Donations only. Sign up and run. Molly Turco’s brief pep talk, thank you and “ready, set, trot” launched us out on the 2.2 or 4.4 mile course through town. You relive parts of the CHAD in reverse. Snow started falling as we ran over the river and through the woods.

Turkey trot tip; news photographers love ridiculous hats.

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Fun in the Snow

By Tim Smith

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Megan Miller, Tim Smith & Thomas Gessner on a Saturday Morning UVRC run.  (photo Credit: Cherly Bush)

How many times have (non-runner) friends and family asked if I am really going to run on a cold winter day? There is this idea that going outside and running is some sort of penance. Or that our motivation for going out is to “show off”, to demonstrate how macho or virtuous we are. The colder the day, the heartier we look.

But for me that is not really it at all. In general I run in January for exactly the same reasons I run in July. I run to get ready for a race (in January that race might be far away), and I run because I enjoy touring the corner of the world where I live.

If the sun is bright, of course I’ll be out there.

COLD IS NOT REALLY A PROBLEM

True, there are a number of obstacles to running in the winter, but the temperature, at least in my view, is the least of them. Okay, I’ll admit, the first few minutes of a run can be hard. When I head out the door and it is 10 degrees, I am always debating about how many layers to wear. Wear too little and be cold and miserable. Wear too much and in ten minutes I’ll be hot and sweaty. And then later on the run, if I slow, that sweat will leave me with a chill. So I am looking for that balance point, cold for five minutes until the body’s furnace gets roaring, and then toasty until I am too tired to keep up the pace.

By the middle of the winter I usually have developed some sort of internal clothing-temperature chart. From 30 to 40 degrees, a long sleeve and a short sleeve top. I then add a layer for every ten-degree drop, and at some point also add an outer wind shell. At the beginning of every season I have forgotten what the equation is, but once I have developed my system it means I have less time to debate about taking the plunge into the frozen afternoon, because it really is a plunge.

I do find myself bracing for “the plunge”, that first few minutes outside before my body heats up. When running, your body produces a lot of heat. If you are running 5 miles in an hour, you’re producing about 500 Watts of heat more than usual. 10 miles per hour means 1,000 Watts (very roughly). So run hard, get hot, and enjoy the day!

Only non-runners have often told me, that the cold will also hurt my lungs, but according to Runner’s World, no runner has ever truly had “frozen lungs”. It just doesn’t happen. What sometimes does happen is that runners develop a hack, which is due to the air being really dry. But you will have the same effect if you are running inside as well

IT IS DARK

One of the real difficulties with running in the winter is that the days are short and that means 5 or 6 o’clock runs are in the dark. The ways to deal with this are kind of obvious, the simplest being running mid-day. But for many of us that is just not an option. So we run in the dark and worry about not being seen and should we be wearing reflective vest, or blinking lights or headlamps? I am sure you guys have figured out your own solutions, so I wouldn’t belabor it here. But the main point is that there is a solution – so again, you can get out there and run!

What a night! Some of my fondest memories are runs on truly bone cracking cold nights by moonlight! Once I’ve got my internal furnace stoked up to 700 Watts, with a new blanket of snow reflecting the stars and the moon and even the Milky Way! The entire world is still except my own personal plume of vapor and the crunch of corn snow underfoot.

BAD FOOTING

This is one of those things, which are either an issue, or not. There are days where the roads are icy, days when they are slushy and days when they are dry and slightly salted. Slushy days really mean just having an adequate supply of socks.

Two years ago I became tired of slipping too much while running, when I had an epiphany. I was getting snow tires put on my car when I realized, why should I not do the same thing for my feet? Apparently this is something, which a lot of other runners had already figured out. So I got myself a pair of trail running shoes with pretty aggressive treads, and now look forward to plowing through some iffy footing.

ALTERNATIVES

One of the other enjoyable things about winter running is that it is racing off-season. Which means I am running to be in shape and to be outside. I can accomplish that in a few other ways besides lacing up the running shoes and hitting the roads. I enjoy skating, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Friends of mine have tried to convince me of the joys of swimming in pools or running on treadmills. Some of you may enjoy these activities, but for me they miss the element of being outside.

I’ll also admit that I have been running in Leverone field house – but that is only available for December, and the attraction is mainly something about the novelty of indoor track.

Snowshoeing can carry me to mountaintops where I have the world to myself. Skating can fool me into thinking I am graceful, and can almost fly (especially by moonlight). But really when it come to an alternative to running, there is nothing quite like cross country skiing.

Gliding through an upper valley forest of stately white pines. Climbing and sweating my way up hills capped with balsam fir. Plunging into a ravine where I can hear a lively brook beneath the mantle of snow. It is almost enchanting enough to seduce me away from running! Almost, if the season was longer.

WINTER is here! You can either hibernate and hide under your down comforter, or you can get out there and embrace the most bracing time of year!

I’ll see you, rosy cheeked, at the Saturday morning run, and by star and moonlight at TNT!

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An ordinary runner

By Michele Maxson

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Hey ya’ll! My name is Michele and I’m your average, everyday runner. I’ve never run a sub 3 hr marathon….or even a sub 4 hr marathon, last time I ran an 8 minute mile I thought I was going to poop myself and just hoped that I’d pass out before it happened, and I’m surely not consistent, I just run when I can squeeze it in. I’ve tried joining the speed workouts, but I always feel weird with my stubby little cellulite legs standing on an oval with all the long lean runner’s grouping together in the 6 minute or 7 minute mile pace and I usually look around thinking “okay, who will run a 9-10 minute mile with me.” You’ll also find it to be a rare sighting to catch me out on a road race because those things hurt my hips, make my knees ache, and are well, I’ll say it, they’re expensive and I’m cheap (anything more than $2 per mile, that’s just too much $$ for this grouchy lady). So this is for all of you average runners who would prefer to eat brownies for dinner than run the Boston Marathon. To you I say “Get out on the trail, average ordinary runners can do extraordinary things!” Like the Ultra Trail Cape Town.

It starts with a glass of wine, a late night, and ultrasignup.com. I see this beautiful picture of mountains on the homepage, I’m feeling a little happy (thanks to the wine) the distance is a 65K, a distance I’ve done before, and I click the “register button.” I almost poop a brick when I see it costs ZAR 910 to enter. I Google the conversion rate and find out it’s only $65 USD, check the conversion on 2 other websites, then ask my husband to verify because that just seems too cheap for such a beautiful race. SOLD! I’m registering for this thing. Fast forward to the race (I could write a novel about the entire trip, but I’ll just focus on the race, I’ll write a little brief about my ‘training runs’ and the baboons out there later).

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This is where I want ordinary runners to know that we can do extraordinary things. The lineup of participants says there are only 5 Americans total out of 1000 participants. So yes, this slow, flat-footed, shuffler was literally representing our entire country in South Africa. No pressure, right? The distance, a mere 65K (sarcasm here because I’ve run that distance a few times before, but every run I just pray I don’t die before I cross the finish line), the elevation, a mere 10K gain (20K total). So, it’s like the Presidential traverse, just longer…. or I keep telling myself.

The race started at 4am, all of the 65K and 100K runners gather in the dark at the start. Americans are known in other countries to be big people, but here I am, standing at a towering 5’2” staring at all these foreigners waists and long lean legs with my number, name, and country plastered to my bib with pride and fear. First we run through the city for 10K, all downhill on the roads, people passing me left and right and I try to not beat my legs up before we hit the trail. Then we start heading to Signal Mountain, veer off the roads and hit the single-track trail. Everyone squeezes together, there’s no room to pass, no one wants to pass, it’s straight up hill, in the dark, with the lights of the city spread out as far as you can see below you, the ocean spread out in a black mass peeking out around the side of the mountain and a line of headlamps stretching up, up, up and around the mountain. And we climb, and we climb, and we climb. This is the theme of the run “And then we climb”. The trail switches back between roads that heads up the mountain and a groomed foot trail that’s single track steps. Around the back of the mountain, down the other side of the mountain, into the valley as the sun starts to come up over the horizon. Aid station #1 at mile 8 in the valley is no aid station at all. It’s a few jugs of water and people scanning our numbers to track mortality rates. I fill up my bottles knowing the next aid is a big one at mile 16, just got to make it up Table Mountain.

 

And then we climb. And we climb and my lordy do we climb. The climbing just won’t stop! First we have to climb steps for the better part of a mile and the rocky theme song stuck in my head. We run around the base of Table Mountain, those steps just get us through the talus field, not up the mountain. Then we hit “the climb”. It’s 1500 ft. elevation gain in less than 1 mile. And we climb like I’ve never climbed before. Barely at mile 10 in a 40-mile run and the trail spreads out in front of me looking more like it should be a mountaineering adventure with ropes and harness and no summit in sight. The trail is still well groomed with big steps cut into them or built out of rocks. So we climb, all of us, in some weird daze thinking “if I make it to the top, there’s no more hill” and we climb, for more than an hour up steps that keep getting steeper. I start passing folks who have sat down on the side, I pass folks who are already out of water, I pass a couple that are already breaking into their spare food. And I climb.

Finally, I see the summit and hear the beeping of the bib scanner thinking okay; the aid station came up sooner than I thought. But no, I climb out of the canyon and onto the Table Mountain plateau, it’s beautiful, with Cape Town below me on the left all buzzing with life, the ocean below me on the right with sound of the waves rolling on the beach, the mountain is covered in a light fog and the plateau is covered in a thick, deep layer of phragmites, rocks, beautiful pink flowers, and runners sitting on the rocks digging through their packs to get out food. But no aid in sight. And then the shuffling commences. I shuffle along the plateau, my quads not fully firing, there’s a lot of walking involved trying to re-assess what I’ve done. Then we continue to climb, up rocks, and then down rocks, sitting on our butts and sliding at times, across boardwalks built for mountain bikers, through thick phragmites covering the trail so you can’t see your feet or the rocks. I keep hearing and seeing people slipping and sliding as we clamor up and down this spectacular rocky trail. I keep thinking, “up and over this next ridge, there has to be aid”. My water bottles are running dry and I’m considering breaking into the mandatory reserve water that they made us carry for the race, and I’m only at mile 12. It’s only been 4 miles and I’ve already blown through over ½ liter of water. Not even a ½ marathon, this was a terrible idea, I’ll just make it to the aid station and say there’s no shame in quitting. This is too rough, my quads aren’t really working, I wasn’t prepared for this. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, up rocks down rocks, across more mountain biking boardwalks. WTF? Only mile 14?? Where is this aid station! Shuffle shuffle shuffle, slide up, and slide down, shuffle shuffle shuffle. OMG OMG OMG!

thumbnail_tablemountainThen I hear it, in the distance, the glorious voices from the aid station at mile 16! Then I start my internal pep talk that keeps me through the rest of the run. “Okay Michele, it’s only a 10K to the next aid station. Just walk there; it’s not a thing, just get as far as you can. Yum, SODA! Yum, PBJ! Oh god! That wasn’t a PBJ, who mixes vegemite sandwiches on the same plate as PBJ, what a sick joke. Don’t do that, don’t sit, just get a few sandwiches and walk off. Yup, that’s right; just give it an easy shake out. Keep on shuffling, see! You can still run, it’s a shuffle, but at least you’re running. Check it out, I just passed him with my sexy, ultra shuffle. Come on legs don’t fail me now! Oh, look at that! That’s the prettiest flower I’ve ever seen! I wish I had a botanist here to tell me about it. I wonder how this plateau was formed”. And the internal conversation continues as I shuffle along the mountain around some dams, and down the other side.

I’ll be honest, there’s a lot I don’t remember. Like how I made it through the next aid station or at what point I arrived back in the valley shuffling through vineyards. The next thing I remember is feeling sticky as I shuffle through more and more vineyards in the blazing sun, I was vaguely aware that my legs, arms, and face were getting pretty toasty from sun burn, but I just kept on shuffling with my internal dialogue telling me about that really neat lizard that I just saw, or wondering if they pick the grapes by hand. I feel like I look like one of those girls from an ultra distance running movie with my huge pack, shuffling along the side of the road, all hunched over, kicking up more dust than the cars going by and I have a strange sensation of pride when I wipe my face and it scratches me because of all the salt. Shuffle shuffle shuffle, up hill, down hill, shuffle shuffle shuffle. At some point after I got toasty sun burnt I was welcomed back onto single track trails in the mountains. And I realize that I’m climbing again. And this isn’t one of those smallish hills that are up and down, no this is serious climbing again, the stair stepper had recommenced. One more aid station and the finish. I can’t do this, I can’t climb anymore. What kind of a terrible idea. I’m proud that I made it over ½ way. Only 5 more miles to the last aid station that’s only an hour and a half max, my husband will be there, I can drop.

Really, it’s okay, no shame, I’m not ready for this. Then it’s down down down down down. I can do down! So I shuffle shuffle shuffle shuffle. The aid is only a few kilometers away! But through another sick joke, the aid station is in town, at the top of a million concrete steps. I’m sure it was only 10, but it may has well been a million. And there he was! Finally!! I made it! I can quit!! I tell him how much it hurts, how much I can’t do this. I sit down while the volunteers fill my water bottle with water and ice. I eat PBJ sandwiches, making sure that I don’t touch the vegemite. Then I say out loud “the finish is only a 15K away, I can walk 15K”. This is the first time I’ve sat during a race and when I stand up I stumble like I’ve downed 3 tequilas, and I have this weird euphoric feeling too, again like when I’ve had 3 tequilas. Stumble stumble shuffle shuffle shuffle. Then the last, climb commences. It’s a single track, dirt trail, no rocks, the trails too steep for rocks, they’ve all rolled down. Not in the woods, up the side of the mountain, full sun, too steep to see the top. 10 steps, stop and breathe. 10 steps, stop and breathe. I join a small group of 100Kers who are on the same 10 steps, stop and breathe routine I’m on. I don’t know how long or how far we climbed. I’m guessing it took the better part of an hour to get up there and maybe a 5K.

Finally at the top, a 10K to go, around the base of Table Mountain again, along the ridge. It was beautiful, I can catch glimpses of the finish line back in the valley 6 miles away whenever I shuffle around a curve. Shuffle shuffle shuffle which is now the shuffle of a walk more than the shuffle of a run. Then, down a twisted, steep jeep trail, shuffling past folks who’ve taped up their knees, one couple are holding onto each other because knees are giving out, quads are giving out. Re-enter the city, hit the asphalt and walk walk walk (that asphalt hurts more than all my shuffling downhill combined!) back to the Rugby Center, to the finish line, shuffle shuffle shuffle over the finish line. Get my picture, sit down, I want to cry, I can’t believe I did that, all my muscles tingle and throb when I stop. Will’s there and I look at him. “That was that toughest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t want to do that again. This is the first race I couldn’t do again.” He just smiles and nods and tells me I don’t look that bad.

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We leave Cape Town the next day, take a 2 hour flight to J-burg, then stand for 2 hours in the security line in J-burg, to get on a 17 hour flight back to Atlanta. I sleep a lot, the first time I’ve been able to sleep on a plane. We land in Atlanta and I get this idea. Next year, I’m going to try to do the 100K.

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