April 2017 Newsletter

Note: As with all of our monthly newsletters, the comment section is open.

Welcome New Members – by Dave Sullivan
Dartmouth Safe Running and Main Street Mile Race – by Bill Young
My Favorite Races – by Amanda Rusin
WHY our Workouts make us Faster – by Carly Wynn
What Every Woman Didn’t Know Was Part of Race Training – by Meghan Soby, DPT
Our Favorite Races – by Judy and Joe Phillips
Keeping It Local – by Paul Coats and Dave Sullivan
NYC Marathon / Grassroots Soccer – by Tim Smith and Bill Young

Welcome to New Members

By Dave Sullivan

Lisa Bill Dawn Brueckner Robin Curtiss Sarah Dunbar Shari Evans
Lisa Gaskin Grady George Jody Grablewski Lisa Johnson Brianne Jones
Lisa Lauziere Sandy Lea Karina McNamara Kate Moore Dick Nelson
Lisa Nichols Marjorie Sa’adah Theresa Sabol Steve Voigt Casey Washburn

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Dartmouth Safe Running and Main Street Mile Race

By Bill Young

Help preach safe running to Dartmouth students on Green Key Weekend–Saturday May 20 from 4-7 PM at Collis Hall. What is Green Key weekend? It is a crazy college celebration of spring with big concerts, sports, and food and frolicking.

Saturday morning, do not miss the inaugural Main Street Mile, UVRC President Tim Smith’s cool and fast new race.

The UVRC is invited back to Green Key evening for the third year to educate students about visible and safe running, walking and cycling. You, the Wooly Syrup Chuggers are the seasoned, smart and sometimes mature running role models admired by the wannabe college crowd. Join our fun community service outreach.

UVRC Volunteer Opportunities:

  • DartMOOSE plus photo facilitator and protector-–Two or more.
  • Jay Walker Anonymous Meeting Leaders-Two or more.
  • Visibility Gift Givers—blinking lights and reflective bands–Two or more.

Wear your BRIGHTEST night running gear.

Contact Bill Young to volunteer at (603) 643-2224 or by email.

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My Favorite Races

By Amanda Rusin

The Sunshine 5K

As I am a newbie and just started racing last season so I don’t have years of race exposure to compare races too but I can say that three races come to mind as being my favorite so far. The Sunshine 5k held in Newport, NH in May means the most to me as it was the first I ever ran. It’s not just because it’s my first it’s also because as you come to the end of the race you enter the covered bridge and on the other side is the finish line. For me there was just something magical about crossing that bridge it’s almost like you get an extra burst and just soar right to the finish line. I’m looking forward to running it again this year and see how far I have come (time wise ☺). The two other races that I truly enjoyed last year was Millennium’s Boot Scootin’ Boogie in Londonderry, NH and Race to the ledges in Concord, NH.

Millennium’s Boot Scoot N Boogie 5K

Millennium’s Boot Scoot N Boogie 5k held in July was an experience for several reasons: The cheering & encouragement of the neighborhood locals who are out cheering you on at the end of their driveways makes you feel like an all-star athlete regardless if your first or last, what other race do you know of where as soon as you cross the finish line you are greeted with different types of sports drinks, pizza, yoghurt popsicles etc., and then there is the western hat, beer garden, concert, and bonfire that comes with the entry (lastly my first run as UVRC member). It’s kind of like you get your exercise in and get to have a night out all in one.

Race to the Ledges 5K

Race to the Ledges 5k held in August has the best included post-race brunch calorie replacement that anyone could ask for! This was a brunch like no other; fresh fruit, granola, yoghurt, handmade goat chesses logs, muffins, pastries, quiche, French toast, OJ, and much more (I’m salivating just thinking about it!). The race is a mixture of trail and road (my first time doing a rocky path so I was little hesitant to start) and is decent run not a very large race crowd as I finished third in my division. Upon finishing the race there are prices pulled via bib numbers so everyone gets an equal chance regardless how you finished. I thought the prizes were very nice and plentiful (although I didn’t win anything because that’s just how my luck is!) there were gift certificates, backed goods (awesome looking cake) etc. Lastly the awards ceremony was neat as they had a hand built pedestal that they had the top three of each age division come up get a medal and take a picture. I am defiantly looking forward to participating in this race again! (Yes, I know it seems more about the food then the running but really if you can combine the two it’s a job well done in my book!☺)

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WHY our Workouts make us Faster

By Carly Wynn

We all have our favorite workouts, and today I’m going to break down for you one of mine, and reveal the physiological underpinnings that make it such a goldmine.

Being fast at any endurance sport comes down to how well the athlete has forced their body to adapt. Some factors, like VO2 max, have a genetic limit that is reached after a relatively short period of time (around 20 weeks in this case.) When coaches talk about ways to become stronger, faster, better runners, we talk about lactate threshold, capillary density, and economy. Basically, what we want to achieve as runners is

  • The most efficient use of our muscles and their energy supply
  • The most effective clearing of blood lactate
  • The strongest cardiovascular and circulatory systems delivering maximal oxygen

Of course, there is no one workout that targets all components of our bodies simultaneously. The workout I’m going to present today yields significant improvement in the capacity of our heart to move blood (and therefor oxygen), induces a rapid rate of capillary and mitochondria growth in intermediate-twitch muscles fibers, and reinforces nervous system messaging and recruitment. First, let’s break down the workout. Then we’ll attack the jargon.

Hill Repeats are a favorite of mine for their “bang for the buck” status. Less painful than 5k or 10k pace workouts and short enough to fit into the average lunch break, these repeats pack a powerful punch. How can you get started?

I always recommend to my athletes a minimum of 15 minutes of warm up before repeats, and 10 of cool down after. Many seasoned runners will prefer more. When you’re ready to start the repeats, first find a hill with proper steepness. It should be a challenge, but should allow you to maintain good stride form. Choose your number and length of repetitions from the following options:

  • 10-15 repetitions of 30 seconds, with 60-90 seconds rest
  • 6-8 repetitions of 60 seconds, with 2-3 minutes rest
  • 4-6 repetitions of 90 seconds, with 4-5 minutes rest

Judge your pace by feel. It should FEEL a bit faster than a 3k, but your speed will be slower than actual 3k pace because you will be running uphill. Run your first repetition at this pace for your chosen duration, mark the spot you reached on the hill, and for every subsequent repeat ignore the watch (you read that right) and just run to the spot you marked. Jog back to the start.

This workout can be done up to three times per month. You should NOT run to failure in this workout. After your last repetition, you should feel as though you could run one or two more at that pace. Pushing it will only negate the benefits. Trust me, I see far more athletes training too hard than too easy.

If you just want the workout, no science, then you can stop reading here. Otherwise, read on for some physiology jargon!

As mentioned above, this workout is great for increasing the amount of blood your heart can pump in one beat, referred to as “stroke volume.” The surprising part is that it’s the RECOVERY between repeats that causes the greatest adaptation. When you rest between repetitions, your heart rate drops quickly, but your rate of blood flow is slower to catch on. This forces more blood into the heart’s ventricles, temporarily manufacturing an increased stroke volume. With repetition, the heart adapts until this increased volume becomes the standard. How cool is that!?

Increased blood flow means more oxygen to your muscles, if it can get to the right place. After a workout like Hill Repeats, capillary density increases around muscles that were recruited (used) during the workout, allowing increased oxygen delivery to these muscles. Capillary adaptation occurs only around the recruited muscles, meaning swimming, skiing, or biking won’t build capillaries in our running muscles.

It’s the job of mitochondria to use the oxygen to make our main source of aerobic energy, ATP (adenosine triphosphate.) In response to increased demand, mitochondria will grow or replicate, but during this process of adaptation they are out of commission for ATP production. This is one reason you may feel sluggish as many as ten days after a hard workout.

And the last bit of jargon for today: nervous system recruitment! On a basic level, when you run, your nervous system must coordinate the timing and velocity of contraction for all the muscles controlling your various joints. No small job! Short repetitions such as Hill Repeats increase signal strength across neurons, increasing the force of contraction, and powering a stronger stride. Voila!

Wow, a lot goes into a simple workout…and there is so much more an athlete or coach can factor in when designing a workout or training plan. So when you’re out running your next workout you can ponder the myriad ways you are using all of your body’s systems. If you like these insights into the physiology of your workouts, you can find more of them at my blog at enduranceefficacy.com

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What Every Woman Didn’t Know Was Part of Race Training

By Meghan Soby, DPT

Ladies, lets talk about your core. Nope, not your abdomen, this one is even deeper. I’m talking about the one inside your pelvis, the one that when it fails, no one likes to talk about. Ever had any pain between your legs during a run? Had leakage of urine during a run or after a particularly grueling workout? The feeling of heaviness between your legs? More likely than not, you may have experienced some of these symptoms or similar ones, and it can indicate an underlying pelvic dysfunction that may impact not only your running activities, but your daily life.

The pelvic floor consists of muscles that provides support to your pelvic organs, control toileting, assist with stability of spine with the abdominal and back muscles, contribute to sexual arousal and climax, and for women, provide support to a growing baby. Dysfunction of the pelvic floor can result in a wide variety of symptoms such as accidental leakage of urine or stool, the feeling of heaviness or as though something is falling out, pain with activities such as running, and pain or difficulty engaging in sexual activity. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women will have dysfunction of their pelvic floor muscles. Women have a higher risk due to their anatomy (men have two openings through the pelvic floor with the urethra and anus while women have three including the vaginal opening), pregnancy and labor, and body changes during menopause.

Now if you are in an activity that increases the load or force through the pelvic floor such as running, you put yourself at a greater risk. Each impact of the foot hitting the ground forces the pelvic floor to contract against the downward force of the organs within the pelvis while maintaining its hold on the urethra and anus to prevent accidental leakage. That’s tiring work! In some cases, the pelvic floor demonstrates no impairments and is able to hold up to the changes in demand. Others may notice a slow development of issues like the ones mentioned above that worsen progressively with continued running.

So after last month’s article, you may be thinking, “ok, I’ll just do some kegels and that will fix it.” No. Kegels are not the answer to everything when the pelvic floor is compromised, in some cases it may worsen your symptoms. Reasons for this stem from the fact anywhere between 25 and 35% of women are not performing a kegel correctly and some individuals have very tight pelvic floor muscles that become more painful with contraction and are unable to relax. What do you do to fix this issue then? Depending on your symptoms, there are a variety of different treatment options. But if you are having symptoms, I recommend you follow up with your doctor or a specialist such as a gynecologist or a urologist so they can assess the issue and monitor it.

In regards to treatment, there’s PT for that! A physical therapist specializing in the pelvic floor can assess the strength and flexibility of the pelvic floor muscles and provide an individualized program that will progress toward your goals. Treatment interventions with physical therapy can include exercise, breathing techniques, re-education of the internal muscles with and without electrical stimulation, massage to tight muscles (internal and external), and education engaging the pelvic floor during activities such as running.

Much like physical therapy for other joints or body regions, it does not guarantee the symptoms will go away completely. An example: If you have sustained an injury to the knee that is not addressed early on, you may develop muscle imbalances, adjust walking or running pattern to avoid increasing pain, and you may even dramatically reduce your running frequency or duration. The longer the issue persists, the higher the chance of needing more invasive treatments to correct the impairment. The majority of women I see for pelvic floor dysfunction report YEARS of dysfunction, its become a part of their everyday life and have developed habits to avoid addressing the dysfunction within. In some cases, simply tuning one into how their pelvic floor is supposed to work and helping to relax and/or strengthen the muscles will dramatically resolve symptoms. For others, there may be need for surgical intervention. Much like a knee injury requiring surgery, it does not correct the underlying muscle weakness or incoordination, most will still require some guided physical rehabilitation to get everything back in working order. You can’t escape PT, embrace it, love it.

My suggestion if you start noticing symptoms, get seen sooner rather than later. It is much easier to rehabilitate this area when symptoms have not been persisting for several years. While aging, childbearing, and anatomy predispose women to a higher incidence of pelvic floor dysfunction, it does not mean it is a normal part of aging. The symptoms can be embarrassing, frustrating, and isolating. But it can be resolved, and you can get back to what is most important to you.

Meghan Soby is a pelvic floor physical therapist from Valley Regional Hospital.


Try this exercise: lay on your back with your knees bent. Place one hand on your tummy and another on your chest. Draw a slow breath through your nose and let your belly rise, the chest should not move. Slowly exhale out through pursed lips, letting the belly drop. This is called diaphragmatic breathing. This technique also moves pelvic floor in time with your transverse abdominis, the deepest muscle of the abdomen and very important core stabilizer. I use this exercise to start the coordination of the core of your abdomen and back with the deep core of your pelvis during treatment of a wide variety of pelvic dysfunction. As the belly expands, the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles stretch, while during exhale, or belly down, the muscles recoil. This exercise is wonderful because it is both relaxing to the body as well as improving the recruitment of the pelvic floor muscles.

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Our Favorite Races

By Judy and Joe Phillips

  • Northeast Harbor 5 Mile Road Race (Maine) – Probably the most beautiful course of all. Just stunning.
  • NH Ten Miler (Manchester, NH) – Very challenging course in late August. The first year we did it (2015) it was on my birthday; I’d never run a race in all these years on my birthday. Completing the race that day brought me such joy!
  • Portsmouth Market Square 10k (NH) – My husband’s favorite 10k. We love Portsmouth!
  • The Great Island 5k (New Castle, NH) – Another of his favorites…This is a beautiful course, partially along narrow streets with beautiful, historic frame homes.
  • Cinco De Miles (Bedford, NH) – My husband added this one. A fun 5k. The Most Interesting Man was at the inaugural race. He found me interesting.
  • Cupid’s Chase 5k (NYC) – We have gone to NYC the past few Valentine’s Day(s). When we travel, I look for races…the first two years, this was held in Hudson River Park, in lower Manhattan. This year it was in Riverside Park, on the Upper West Side, a part of the City we’d never been to…great fun!
  • Westport Island 10k (Maine) – This is my favorite 10k of all. Tough course, it’s usually hot and buggy, and it’s a very small field, so I run alone, which I love.
  • Sprouty 10k (Sharon, VT) – New race for us; last year was our first, and I loved it!
  • Great Swamp Devil Run 15k (Basking Ridge, NJ) – I’m from the Garden State, and this race route abuts my favorite route (a 15k) I ran for years when I was younger, from my parents’ home to a turnaround. (I used to love running this route especially Thanksgiving morning, listening to “Alice’s Restaurant” on my old Walkman). This race is fast and flat!
  • The old Philadelphia Distance Run (PA) Half-marathon (has a new corporate name now); beautiful course, I ran it a half dozen times, the last time in the pouring rain with pneumonia (I didn’t know, although the hacking cough should have tipped me off!).
  • Stowe 8 Miler (VT) – Challenging, beautiful course, great time of year. Love to find Vermont races!
  • Peaks Island Road Race (ME) – A five miler. This has lots of sentimental value for us; this was my husband’s first race in 2010.
  • Four on the Fourth – (York, Maine). Great way to start our favorite holiday.
  • Millennium Mile (Londonderry, NH) – New Year’s Day. This is a great family event. My husband and I love starting the year off with this short run, followed by brunch out!
  • Columbus Marathon (Ohio) – my only full. Great course! Did it on little training – it was a bit of a miracle!
  • St. Charles 5k (Newington, NH) – Easy course, great food, running nuns! All for a good cause.
  • Jingle Bell Half Marathon (Atkinson, NH) – We loved this race, and stayed at one of the best B&Bs ever the night before.

In general, we love well-managed events, with a marked course, helpful volunteers and, for me these days, a patient scoring company! My favorite distance is 15k; it’s hard to find races this distance. We did the Gate River Run (15k) in Jacksonville, FL last year and that was one I’d always wanted to do – I recommend that for a warm getaway in March. We did the Orange Blossom Half Marathon in central FL this past March, another one on my list, and it was surprisingly hilly, and tough because I was coming off a long layoff (surgery and illness), and my husband hadn’t been running. I was so grateful to finish! We celebrated for a week.

The biggest problem with our favorites is that there are conflicts because sometimes two races are scheduled on the same day, or because of work commitments. All the more joy when we can make that favorite!

This was especially nice bc we ran this race on our 13th anniversary! That’s my running watch I’ve had since 1994.

Cinco De Miles 2013. The “Most Interesting Man” was a special guest.

NH Ten Miler 2016.

NH Ten Miler 2016.

My favorite photo of my husband! His race # is his fav – 22.

Westport Island 10k

Westport Island 10k – Age group award

Cupid’s Chase 2017 – post-race celebration

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Keeping It Local

By Paul Coats and Dave Sullivan

Shamrock Shuffle Race Director Paul Coats with an award winner

Today a strong theme in the sustainability movement is “going local.” From eating food grown locally to shopping at local stores and markets, we reduce our collective carbon footprint when we take advantage of what our local community has to offer.

So applying that concept to running, we’ve developed the Upper Valley Running Series: races in our local area, put on by local race directors, and supportive of local charities. The series began in 2013, and we’ve grown from 15 participants to 55 in this current year. (These are club members who enroll in all of the races in the series at a discounted price.)

In order to make the series attractive to all in the local running community, we stress participation over competition, as the most valuable prizes are awarded to those who complete most of the races in the series. Last year, we awarded a free entry to this year’s Covered Bridges Half Marathon to 42 club members who completed 6 of the 8 races in the series. This year we can’t be as generous (we want the race to be able to donate as much as possible to its charities), but we are still offering bypass entries to the 2018 CBHM for those who run at least 6 UVRS races this year. These entries will allow you to skip the mad 10-minute or less rush that Monday night in January when the short registration window opens.

The start of the Shamrock Shuffle

For us to offer the series registration at a discount, we have entered into agreements with local race directors to discount individual registrations for series participants. They also give us an additional fee to support the prizes we award at the end of the year. Why would they do that? Well, as a club of nearly 300 members, we are able to ensure that these races attract a large number of runners who might otherwise not attend the race. As an example, UVRC members represented at least one third of the runners of last year’s Under the Tree race in Hartland, VT, and helped them well surpass their fundraising goals for their local charity.

There is still an opportunity to register for this year’s series, as we are offering a discount on the remaining 7 races. This offer will expire a few days before the second race in the series, Run Around the Lake, in Barnard, VT on May 21st. Come join our local movement!

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NYC Marathon / Grassroots Soccer

By Tim Smith and Bill Young

From Tim: If you are interested in running the NYC Marathon and support Grassroots Soccer, here is a really interesting opportunity. Grassroots Soccer has a number of “charity slots” for the marathon. This means that you get guaranteed entrance into the marathon if you promise to raise money for Grassroots Soccer.

Grassroots is an international organization, however locally based out of Norwich, which works to promote adolescent health in developing countries, using soccer as an entrance point.

I am attaching the flyer they sent me. The application is here.

If you have questions, contact Pam Miles at Grassroots.

From Bill: I ran for GrassRoot Soccer in NYC several years ago.

It was a wonderful experience including team bonding.

Fund raising is not my favorite activity, but this was worth the work.

I ran with my daughter Hillary.

The following book is a good read for all runners and especially for family runners: My Year of Running Dangerously

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