Welcome to the August Newsletter!
Here it is, your August newsletter. We’ve got race reports from Bill Young (now with 100% more flies), Dave Sullivan, and Mary Mancuso. The coaches tackle how to help your sedentary friends getting into running, Laura Petto fills in with a heartfelt article on how she got into running, and Kim Sheffield reports on the awarding of the first annual UVRC Student Award. All that, and the usual “Welcome to New Members” and “Things I See When I Am Running”. As always, if you have something to contribute to the newsletter, fire it off to email@example.com.
Table of Contents
- Welcome New Members
- Running with the Flies By William Young
- Bill Luti 5 miler Race Report By Dave Sullivan
- Ask the Coaches
- Running Away From Home By Mary Mancuso
- UVRC Student Award By Kim Sheffield
- Packing Your Running Shoes By Laura Petto
- Things I See When I Am Running By Lori Bliss Hill
Welcome New Members
- Lynne Goodwin
- Paula Sundstrom
- Valerie Valant
Running with the Flies
By William Young
Why run with flies? The “Black Fly Blitz” 5 K in Wilmot NH on 29 May was bite free and beautiful. The flies failed to show up except for the to-die-for tattoo. I still have mine. The Girl with the Black Fly Tattoo thriller will be on bookstore shelves soon.
Wilmot is close to home, the course is bucolic New England and the village organizers were super friendly. Lorna Young blitzed the course of course as the fastest female. Lori Bliss, her twin daughters, Rob Daniels and I paced Lorna for the first 10 meters. The black fly run was fun.
“Stick the deer fly paper to the back of your hat,“ advised the smiling race registration volunteer at the Bear Brook Trail Half Marathon on July 8. “You can count the flies you caught when you finish.” Three hours later I had no bites but an impressive bug collection. Race veteran Rebecca Stanfield did not mention the flies but did advise us to add an hour to our usual half marathon time and she was correct. There were lots of rock-stacles, root-stacles and mud-stacles to slow you down. The top of Catamount Mountain also had blue berry-stacles. You get to climb up and down the Mountain twice. The cool 7 AM start, constantly changing woodland terrain, BBQ, old time blue grass music and fly competition added to the fun. Susannah Colby, my daughter Hillary Wheeler and I give the race six thumbs up.
Bill Luti 5 miler Race Report
By Dave Sullivan
Bill Luti is a legend in the running community–he coached Boys’ Cross-Country at Concord High School for 25 years–from 1957 to 1982. During that time his teams won 13 State Championships and 4 New England Titles (plus four runners up titles). He also coached Girls’ Spring Track for ten years and his teams won 5 Class L titles, 7 State Titles, and 1 New England Crown. He returned from retirement for a two year stint as Girls’ Cross-Country Coach and brought the team to a Class L and State Title. Coach Luti also brought running to the community at large, before the “boom”, with fun runs, road races, and the formation of a local running club.
Runners coached by Bill at Concord High retain the lifetime title of “Luti Alum,” including no less a luminary as US Olympian Joan Benoit-Samuelson. Joan raced with us this year, winning her age group in a time of 31:44 (below the US-ATF guideline for her age). Other “Luti Alums” were eligible for special age and gender-graded prizes, awarded after the race, including UVRC’s own Cindy Edson.
Coach Luti also had a tradition that the last runner to finish the race would be a fictional character (so no “real” person would be last), and in keeping with his wry sense of humor, this year the final runner in the results showed up as:
489 1:41:00 20:12 J Strap M 999 Keene NH 21.11%
As for the day and course, we were pretty comfortable at the start under cloud-filled skies, but as the race went on and the sky cleared, the humidity really set in and we all began to glisten heading onto the track for the finish line at Memorial Field. 29 Wooly Syrup Chuggers participated in this NH Grand Prix race; 22 of the club members scored points for UVRC. Despite this strong showing, we still trail the Gate City Striders Runners and the Greater Derry Track Club in the overall NH Grand Prix standings. But our hopes are high with the next race in the series “on home turf”: the “Run From the Law 5K” in Canaan. Help us make up some ground in the overall standings by joining us on August 6.
Ask the Coaches
Got a question for the coaches? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it on!
I’ve got a friend who might be interested in getting in to running (or getting back in to running after a long layoff). What advice can you give me on helping her to get started?
#1) Identify Goals. Running is not one-size-fits-all, and your workouts will vary in duration, intensity, terrain, and more, based on your goals. Are you running for general fitness? To lose weight? As a social outlet? The prepare for a race? Your success in the future depends on identifying your goals now.
#2) Good Shoes. If you know what kind of shoes work well for you, get a new pair for your big return to running. Don’t run even one workout in an old beat up pair. If you don’t yet know what kind of shoe you like, there are a TON of factors that make or break the fit of a running shoe, so head into your local shop or start by asking an experienced runner or coach what things you should be considering.
#3) Start Slowly. We’ve all heard this one before. The biggest threat to a beginning or returning runner is injury. If you are truly running for the first time, or the first time in a long time, alternating walk/run can be a good way to start. If you’ve been semi-active or running occasionally, you might be able to get away without the walking. Even so, you should be aware of your pain-points (where you’re prone to minor injuries or stresses) and maybe learn how to strengthen or increase mobility in those areas. Running mileage should increase very gradually. Formulas like the acute-to-chronic ratio can help you determine whether you are progressing at a safe rate.
#4) Have a Plan. The culmination of the above three. Even if you don’t want to follow a daily training plan, an outline will keep you on track, improve motivation, and help you avoid injury.
I’m a coach, so obviously I believe that having guidance is one of the most important things an athlete at any level can do. In the interest of keeping this short, each of these objectives just scratches the surface, but I am more than happy to answer questions in more detail. Please feel free to email me at Carly3ski@gmail.com
– Take him or her out with you- I am impartial to trails, so taking them out on your favorite (short) route is guaranteed to get their passion rejuvenated.
– Sign up for an event!
– Join your local running club UVRC or Team AMP. 🙂
– As far as the physical return to running, I would prescribe a 2-1-2-2 Ratio of Run-Rest- 2On 1Off 2ON 2Off
With 4 runs spread out over a week, the athlete should get the unpleasant DOMS phase out of the way the first week and then fall into a more natural schedule that fits their life and schedule- I say this because I was in the best endurance shape of my young life at age 20 in College (avg. about 12hr of cycling/week) and after having a bad bike race on a Saturday, decided to jump in a local 5K on the following Sunday. Regardless of my cycling fitness, that one 5K made me sore for the next week! Best to jump back in two days at a time!
Running Away From Home
By Mary Mancuso
This year on the 4th of July I found myself visiting my hometown of Springfield MA. The city has had its ups and downs in recent years, but has always maintained an active athletic enclave. In addition to various athletic clubs, it is the birthplace of basketball and home to The Basketball Hall of Fame. http://www.hoophall.com/
The local running club is The Greater Springfield Harriers, http://www.harriers.org/ which hosts road races and series throughout the year. I jumped in on their annual 4th of July 5K, a nice little race on a flat fast course that starts and ends downtown at the Hall of Fame.
This race was a perfect little gem of an event for a visitor like myself. It started promptly at 9:00 AM, so I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn but it wasn’t so late as to make for a scorcher. It was easy to find; who can miss the big round front of the Hall of Fame? The course itself was a loop that doubled back on itself, so you really had a sense for where you were all the way. And the finish was great, right at the front door. There was ample parking, good (real!) restrooms, excellent post-race snacks and even a tech shirt for late registrants like myself.
I couldn’t really take advantage of the speedy course due to a tough spring of fighting off (sitting out?) various injuries, but if I were in the market for a 5K PR course, this would be high on the list. Beware, though, the urban competition is a bit sharper and deeper than what a country runner like myself usually faces.
Springfield MA is only a couple of hours south of the Upper Valley, and the Harriers host races all year round. It’s a nice alternative if you’re looking for a change of racing venue and don’t feel like the usual Concord/Manchester/Boston sites. You might be pleasantly surprised if you venture due south for a race this year.
UVRC Student Award
By Kim Sheffield
Upper Valley Running Club (UVRC) presented its first student award to a 2017 UV graduating senior. The purpose and selection criteria of the award was to recognize student runners who have pursued academic success, demonstrated a commitment to service and embraced running during their high school career.
Athletic Directors, Cross Country and Track Coaches from 12 UV high schools were contacted and provided the UVRC Student Award application information. Based on applications received, the Student Award Committee and Board members chose our inaugural Student Award to go to a Lebanon High School graduate, Raphael Harriman. Paul Coats presented the award to Raph at the 6.2 Red White Blue race on the 4th of July.
Raph maintained a 3.5 grade point average. He performed a variety of community services on and off campus, some positions included dietetic aide at DHMC, volunteer at Cioffredi and Associates Rehab Center and freshman orientation leader for 3 years at Lebanon High School. Raph ran cross country and track in middle school and all 4 years of high school, he was the captain of the cross country team his senior year.
Raph will attend Ithaca College this fall where he hopes to major in Physical Therapy. The UVRC is awarding $1000 to Ithaca College to go towards Raph’s expenses. The UVRC looks forward to recognizing future UV graduating seniors.
Packing Your Running Shoes
By Laura Petto
Although I come from a wonderful running family, I have not always been a runner. My earliest images of running were seemingly effortlessly fit cousins and aunts and uncles who seemed to delight in racing. I never considered other reasons to run. As long as I can remember, before the nourishing smells of spiced pumpkin pie and garlic mashed potatoes filled the house on Thanksgiving, bitter winter air would fill my family’s lungs for five speedy miles through Cleveland. If we were lucky, one of them would place in their age group and would win a coveted local pie. Most years, pies came. But never from me – my family’s love for running eluded me. The few years I huffed through the Turkey Trot, I finished wondering why one chose to do this, year round, for fun! My lungs burned and I thought my legs would buckle underneath me at any moment. I focused intently on giant crimson numbers at the end, never appreciating the joy between the start and finish line. I found little inspiration in the uniform grayness of the streets, sidewalk, smog, and sky. The candid pictures that lined my aunt’s house of her finishing marathons with a giant smile, sweat glistening on her freckled, muscled arms showed a love of running I simply couldn’t fathom.
Almost six years ago, packing for my first year of college, I never thought to pack running shoes for Maine. I had so much I wanted to explore in my first year – but running wasn’t anywhere on that list. My new friend Amy, ever the outdoorswoman, ran occasionally and asked me to join her on a crisp, early fall afternoon. Attempting to embrace the pervasive college spirit of adventure, I said “yes” with a strong dose of apprehension. I ran in a beat-up pair of converse that was the closest footwear I had to running shoes. I carried years of anxiety about my athletic performance and the discomfort I felt when pushing myself so hard.
Amy completely changed my perception of running. Slow and steady, she guided me around the quad, bouncing up and down with excitement about all things college. We were slow and happy. Running at a pace that didn’t result in sweat coming from every orifice and in pain resonating through every muscle group was unfamiliar. However, this pace introduced me to a new joy in running – observation! The late afternoon sun cast gorgeous shadows from the chapel onto the leaf-strewn paths. Professors and friends smiled and shouted hello as we pounded down the crisscrossing paths. And when I got out of breath, she stopped and we danced in the leaves. Once rested, we again began a repetitive route around the well-worn bricks, backpack-adorned students, and enduring trees that reminded me just how transient we were on the old campus. Her voice vibrated with excitement about anthropology and biology. I gushed about my theoretical math class. And we repeated it the next week. We stopped and walked less often. Without my noticing, my legs grew stronger and I ran without pain. I didn’t think of our habitual jaunts as running at first. We couldn’t be running – I stopped, I was slow! We never raced and I never thought about the act of running – we just ran. That wasn’t my definition of being a runner. And… yet… I found myself lacing on a new pair of running shoes, by myself, on a nippy autumn afternoon when I couldn’t finish a difficult proof and I longed for the peace and freedom of a meditative, undisturbed run.
My feet hit the pavement in a successive regularity that was missing from my scattered and incorrect proof. At first, I unsuccessfully circled and circled my argument in my head, desperately trying find a way forward. With a sharp turn onto a neighborhood street, I began my adventure. I harnessed my frustration into an intent focus on my rhythmic steps and put the problem aside. Dusty blue paint peeled off a humble yet elegant old house. Children scrambled up a crab apple tree. I remembered myself climbing on the gnarled tree in my front yard in my favorite matching polka dot shorts and shirt. A smile spread on my slightly strained face, but I was too happy to notice pain. The world had begun its path to hibernation. All of Brunswick was filled with that deep earthy smell that pervades autumn after a rainfall. If I focused on my body, I would have noticed a slight warm burning in my calves and a growing weight pulling my thighs down. But, I turned another corner just as a breeze came by and many fire-colored leaves spiraled off a tree. I continued a periodic pace that calmed my stress. In the next few blocks of nascent delight, the problem reentered my head. How can I show that (0,1) is the same cardinality as the real numbers? I’ve put aside forgotten my old (impossible) approach and I started thinking differently. My legs shuffled fast enough to warm me up in the nippy autumn air but slow enough to have energy to notice the remarkable world around me. Speed and competition don’t cross my mind – I’m not wearing a Garmin and I don’t know how far I’ve gone. By the end of my run, the tense energy that filled me had dissipated, I was more aware of the world around me, and I’d gained confidence in my ability to do what felt so difficult. Running resets my mathematical mind and opens me up to new possibilities.
Running became a sanctuary; both a time away from math when needed and a time of sometimes great inspiration. I learned the sights and smells of Maine by traversing the trails in my running shoes. I gained great friends and learned about myself. The lack of racing and competition drew me in initially. My runs in extraordinary Maine seemed completely disjoint from the competitive, speedy races of my youth. When people ask me why I race so infrequently, I try and (often) fail to describe that racing dampens my running spirit, rather than motivating me. The meditative and renewal of an exquisite and pressure-less run in nature remains one of the greatest joys of my life. The smell of the ocean intoxicates me and I delight in shaking the sand out of my shoes at the end of a long run. Moving to New Hampshire presented new challenges in the form of elevation, but solitary, contemplative and steady runs have continued to bring me great joy, balance and rejuvenation.
Last fall, I had the tremendous opportunity to go back to the place I love so much for a math conference. However, this time, the first item I packed was a pair of running shoes. I planned exactly which of my favorite places I would run to each of the days, dreaming of Mere Point and Maquoit Bay for weeks before the trip. I can’t wait until once again I’m lacing up my running shoes and hitting the sand strewn roads. When I close my eyes and picture one of those first runs when I experienced the indescribable beauty of Maine through the steady pounding of my own feet, a wave of abundant happiness fills me and I am centered. That is why I run.
Things I See When I Am Running
By Lori Bliss Hill
Which side looks most appealing to you? Are you a runner on the left or on the right? This time of year it’s hard not to be both. We are fortunate the Upper Valley allows us the best of both worlds.
About This Newsletter
This newsletter is put out monthly (more or less) by the Upper Valley Running Club, the premier (and only) running club in the Connecticut River Upper Valley Region. This month, the newsletter was edited by Geoff Dunbar. Any comments, questions, submissions, requests for spare change, etc, send to email@example.com.