Welcome to the first 2019 edition of the Upper Valley Running Club newsletter! I hope everyone had a great time over the holiday, whether or not you stuck to your running schedules (I know I didn’t). Keep your submissions coming — email email@example.com.
Table of Contents
- Letter from a Board Member Jim Burnett
- Winter Motivation by Keriann Ketcham
- TNT and the Occom Pond Party by William Young
- Running Away from Home by Mary Manusco
- Things I See When I am Running by Jim Burnett
- Bobbing Headlamps by Amanda Kievet
- Runner Profile: Kristen Coats
- The Survey Says…
- Jingle Bell Run Photos
Letter from a Board Member: It’s Time to Set Fresh Goals for UVRC
by Jim Burnett
First and foremost…Thank you Tim Smith for four years of stellar service as UVRC President.
Are we a better running club now than we were four years ago? (as the politicos might query) I say a resounding YES and we can do even better. How, you might ask??? Here’s how.
1. When I first joined the board 6 years ago, we elected a President and Vice President with the intention of having the President do his or her best for two years, while grooming the VP to take over after that and installing a new VP to follow the same 2-year escalation – observe, learn and lead if you will. I like this idea and suggest that when the board meets in mid-January to elect new officers we consider this proposal.
2. The first order of business for the new board might best be to revisit the UVRC mission statement, last edited in 2015.
The UVRC promotes and encourages distance running as a participatory activity and as a competitive sport. Toward those goals, the UVRC promotes and conducts races or other running activities; disseminates information on running via presentations and educational programs; conducts training runs and social gatherings; and does related activities. (The UVRC Bylaws are available via a link at the bottom of the ABOUT page of the UVRC website.
I’m not saying let’s change it. If we love it, let’s reaffirm it.
3. I think we should grow the club membership with a goal of reaching 500 members in two years. Why? In 2016 we surpassed the 400 member mark. We also won the NH Grand Prix that year for the second year in a row and started the hugely successful Couch to 5K Program. More members means more participation and builds a more competitive running base. Perhaps after that second NHGP win we became a little complacent (I’m pointing at myself here too) and also perhaps we felt there was too much emphasis on competition at the expense of participation. But, do you know what? Winning the NHGP is in reality all about getting warm bodies of all abilities and all age groups to the starting line! Our membership dropped to 300 this year. You could say that raising the membership fee was a big part of this and you would probably be right. But, I think the fee is more than reasonable given the services we provide. We need to advocate for ourselves a little more, recruit more aggressively and continue to build on the social benefits of UVRC. Let’s have more get-togethers sponsored and paid for by the club.
GO Pub Night, GO Lucky’s, GO after-race breakfasts…
4. Frankly speaking, we/the board needs to get more organized and structure our departments, programs and projects with built in accountability, i.e. good old Old Business-New Business meeting format with Action Items and weekly reporting.
5. Our next President and Vice President – I encourage all current board members (new and old) to step forward and lead. Am I willing to step up? Yes, but I’d rather see one of our younger members, a woman perhaps, take the reins. We have the talent and the leadership to promote and grow the club we love. GO UVRC!!!
It should be an interesting board meeting in mid-January. If nothing else, I hope I have stirred the pot.
by Keriann Ketcham
In the past, I have been a consistent, fair-weather member of this club. However, I typically have a very difficult time getting outside in the cold of winter, so I spend a lot of time with Netflix and the interval setting on the treadmill this time of year.
One of our club members, Kristen, recently posted a short but encouraging winter exercise-themed video on Facebook. After viewing it, I decided to set a few activity-related winter goals for myself:
- Take at least one evening outdoor walk during the week.
- Do at least one outdoor activity on the weekend. For me, this is cross country skiing, snowboarding, hiking, or running.
Now that my goals are public, I hope to stick with them until the winter is over. Feel free to reach out if you want to help me meet any of these goals! Thinking warm thoughts, Keriann.
TNT and the Occom Pond Party
by William Young
When: Tuesday, February 5
What: The Occom Pond Party Ice Castle will be glowing near the DOC House
Come early or stay after TNT to warm up inside and play outside. Our basement is warm.
The castle ice slide, snow moose luge and Zoooom snow tube run should all be good to go.
Kids are welcome. Helmets are also welcome.
How about recovery hot chocolate and marshmallows?
Volunteers are Welcome.
When: Saturday, February 2, all day
What: Design and help build a UVRC Snow Sculpture
Ice Ages is the theme.
How about two big running shoes of snow that kids can climb in?
Contact me if you are interested.
Ice castle crew members are needed.
When: Saturday, February 9. Noon to 3 PM
What: Occom Pond Party
Volunteers and party goers are welcome. Contact me or Hanover Parks and Recreation.
Speed skating distance races at about noon.
Couch Potato and Banathalon Races at about 1 PM.
See video about volunteering.
Running Away from Home
by Mary Manusco
It’s always fun to try a race someplace else, especially for a country mouse traveling to the big city. This year on Thanksgiving I ran in the inaugural Type I Willpower 5K race in Mountain Lakes, NJ, which is a fund raiser for kids with Type I diabetes.
Here in the Upper Valley, if we get a hundred people to come out for a race we think we’re doing okay. This was Mountain Lakes’ first Turkey Trot race, and even on a blistering cold morning (by their standards) they had over 400 runners. Wow!
I was impressed by the organization and quality of this race. It started on the dot at 9AM, as advertised. And who says we have a monopoly on hills up here? The course was a nice big rolling loop, with some challenging hills through beautiful old neighborhoods. It started and finished at the Mountain Lakes Clubhouse, right on one of the pretty little lakes in town.
Afterward, there were plenty of snacks, coffee, water, and hot chocolate. The entry fee was a bit steep at $35., especially since I paid for my two sons too, but reasonable for a suburban race.
That morning, after we had arrived at my sister-in-law’s house, as I was getting ready to go to the start line, check out the photo to see what I pulled out of my hurriedly prepared race bag to run in that morning. Luckily, I had another pair of shoes. Whew!
Things I See When I Am Running
By Jim Burnett
By Amanda Kievet
It’s Wednesday night at 6:25pm. I arrive just in time to stretch my microspikes over my trail runners, don a headlamp, and join a pack of similarly outfitted folks as we navigate our way through the Hurricane Hill trail system — sometimes making a confident turn, and others a bit more experimental. The sound of spikes crunching through snow and ice accompanies our communal moving orbit of light as we go. This feels like an adventure, especially as we hit the crest of our climbing and make haste downward, one after another, being careful to avoid a branch astray. This is how I get through my winter.
I run outside. Spending time outside is one of the reasons I came to be a runner, and so I refuse to get on the treadmill. In the winter, it’s not always easy to motivate myself to get outside. It’s less about the cold, and more about the darkness. I’m happy to live away from streetlights and people, but it can make running by myself along a starlit icy dirt road feel a bit spooky. That’s why I’m so thankful for my running club events: UVRC Track Night Tuesday and the Upper Valley Trail Runners’ Wednesday Pub Run. Every week I have a couple of regular evening group runs where I can join a pack of bobbing headlamps and surge through the night in solidarity with my fellow outdoors runners. I’m also thankful for my flexible work schedule which occasionally allows for a luxurious daylight run.
To those that haven’t tried running through a dark, quiet, winterscape: I recommend trying it. As this month’s survey responses show, there are many likeminded folks out there who embrace this season with the aid of warm layers, proper traction and visibility gear. I have come to appreciate this time of year in its own right for the adventurous spirit it sparks in myself and others, and for the practice of pushing myself out of my comfort zone (what’s really so scary about running in the dark anyways?).
By Mary Peters
Name: Kristen Coats
Town: Lebanon, NH
Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area?
I moved to the Upper Valley from Atlanta in 2005 so my boyfriend (now husband) and I could live in the same city and enjoy life and recreation together.
What do you do professionally?
I work in development at the Upper Valley Haven. The Haven supports people experiencing homelessness and poverty. It is an amazing place!
How long have you been running?
If I told you how long I have been running, you would say, ‘wow, she’s old.’ So let’s just say I have been running for many decades.
Why do you run?
I run for enjoyment, mental health, and a social connection.
Best athletic accomplishment and why?
I completed the Mount Washington Road race in 2015. ‘It’s only one hill,’ but holy sugar, she’s a doozy!! For me it was an accomplishment, because I had to reframe my thinking about hills and elevation and discomfort.
Hot or cold weather runner?
I am courageously becoming a cold weather runner. So far, I am really enjoying winter running!!
What is your motivation?
My motivation is the grace I have been given over and over and over again. I used to struggle with a significant addiction. Like any addiction, it wants ALL of you. Being on the other side of that is a gift, one that I don’t ever take for granted. Running keeps me grounded, and that motivates me to be true to who I am and to share who I am with those I love.
What is your favorite race?
My favorite race is from childhood, the Lilac Bloomsday Run, which is close to my birthday in May. It is a purse race and attracts many elite runners from East Africa. I love it because it is a 12k race, which is my favorite distance. The course takes you through bespoke historic districts and captures exquisite views of the Spokane River. The race attracts close to 50,000 runners.
What is your diet like?
I eat a plant-based diet. My splurge is usually on nuts, seeds and almond butter. I definitely have a sweet tooth, and I love making creations with a variety of whole foods, which includes a healthy dose of maple syrup or honey or both.
If you could run with anyone, who would be the person?
Not because she is a runner per se, but I would love to go on a run with Michelle Obama. Some of the best conversations I have are during runs with people, and it often doesn’t matter how well I know them. I can imagine a run and chat with the former First Lady would be pretty epic.
Additional input or comments? People to mention?
I would like to shout out to all the Couch to 5k participants (Couchers). These are some of the hardest working, most determined and completely inspiring runners I know. If you ever need a dose of encouragement, come run with us. And consider co-coaching a season of Cto5k – you will love it!!
The Survey Says…
For our December survey we wanted to know if your running schedule changes over the holidays and what tips you have for winter running gear. We received many great responses and tips. With regard to winter running we liked this comment; “The cold is temporary, you’ll warm up!”
Enjoy the results and look for next month’s survey!
1. Does your running schedule change during the holidays?
Other responses to holiday running schedule
- I split my time between Nordic skiing and running
- Actual running stops/ decreases. More boot camp and spinning (inside is nice)
- Hiking, skiing and building ice and snow stuff consume most of my energy and time. I still run but erratically.
- Do more cross training and running at different times to accommodate all the extra plans and travels
- If there’s snow, I switch to XC skiing!
- More treadmill and more hilly road runs since the rail trail is covered in snow,
- I have to accommodate additional social events and holiday parties, so it just changes when I can run, and possibly how much.
- I pretty much run as much as I can when I am not injured.
2. If you were asked by a runner new to winter running about winter running gear, what one item would be your top recommendation (provide category and brand)?
- Micro spikes and/or Nanospikes by Kahtoola. Each about $65. Microspikes have almost replaced crampons for most winter hikes and are great for Winter Wild ski slope runs. They also work on running shoes. If you will be on hard surfaces (roads) they are not good. The much smaller Nanospikes fit on running shoes and provide excellent traction for icy winter blacktop running.
- Kahtoola Nanospikes are great for running on slippery roads
- Traction: Road Icebug spikes – Trails Katoola micro spikes
- For one specific item to add on key training days when you must go out, but conditions underfoot are treacherous – Kahtoola Nanospikes.
- Mircospikes are great for adapting normal shoes for icy/snowy runs.
- I think having a buff is important. Your neck can get really cold from metal zippers and your face can also freeze. The buff helps keep some of the moisture in the air and provides relief from the elements.
- Thermonet Buff is great in winter!
- Ear warmers – EMS actually makes a great lightweight fleece one
- Skida hat
- Get a lycra neckwarmer (not fleece)
- Polartec neck warmer/gaiter (Eddie Bauer $20)
- In New England, a face cover is my top recommendation. I wear the ones that I’ve gotten for free at races. They’re stretchy and can also be fashioned into hats or can just be worn as an extra neck layer. They’ve definitely saved my nose and lower face from the cold!
- Cold Avenger facemask, for those brutally cold days when you still want to run outside
- For me, it’s all about keeping my ears warm, so I have two different headband/earbands that I use: a smaller smartwool one when it’s 35*+ and a larger, thicker skida one that covers more of my head for when it’s colder.
- Running tights. As a guy, I resisted these for a while. Then I got a pair of black Under Armour running tights, and they are great. It makes running in 20-40 degree weather feasible.
- I love my Under Armour thick leggings. I don’t think they’re top brand or anything, but I’ve had them for years and I love them!
- Nike hyperwarm tights
- Mitten shells (OR makes some; I have some cottage-manufacturer-made mitten shells from Borah Gear; Mountain Laurel Designs makes some great ones). They pack up easily and keep your fingers warmer than gloves.
- Lightweight Lined Nylon Mitten (Gordini Stash Lite Touch $35)
- A huge fan of the $5 fleece gloves and headbands from Walmart
- Mittens over gloves is a good solution for really cold days if your hands tend to get cold on runs.
- Besides hat, gloves, etc., one of the best winter items I have is my Brooks Cascadia thermal vest. On the coldest days (below 20) I use it under a running jacket and it keeps my core warm. On more moderate days (+25) I wear it as an outer layer with a long sleeve shirt.
- Under Armour shirt for sure! It’s hard to pick just one especially because I have a tendency to get very cold, especially my hands and feet, but keeping your middle warm with not too many bulky layers is key.
- Running shoes with non-meshy uppers. I have a pair of Saucony Peregrine 8 Ice and am finding those warm and dry to run in even on snowy trails.
- The Salomon Speedcross 4 Trail-Running Shoes are great winter shoes all around. Their grippy, spiky soles are great on ice and crunchy snow so you don’t even need microspikes all the time.
- I love my Saucony Xodus 6.0 Trail running shoes. They are not just good for trail running but are great when the roads are covered with snow…and they are waterproof
- Trail running shoes have better treads and are warmer as well.
- No particular brands but you need a hat, scarf, ear muffs, and suitable gloves to help you keep warm. The bad thing about winter running is wind – windy and cold are miserable for you face and hands, so keeping those areas warm is essential (to me).
- Darn tough socks, fleece lined tights, under armor tops, any hat or buff, warm gloves… still searching for a great pair!
- Layers, layers, layers and make notes as to what works in what types of conditions, temps and footing.
- Find a good wind protective layer. All the major brands have them, but you’ll need to sort through what works for you. Some people run hot, some run cold, so it can be tricky to give a blanket recommendation.
- Warm reflective gear, right now I’m loving Oiselle’s Magic Number tights and Power In Full Zip Jacket
- I’ve had an LLBean running jacket for eight years now. It’s been great and it has lots of pockets – great for inhalers, handwarmers, ID cards… and it’s warm!
- With correct gear, I can be comfortable running in any weather above single digits. Key gear: a good running jacket and pants, XC skiing hat and gloves, layering shirts appropriately. For trail running, either yaktrax or microspikes are essential. If the surface is packed down, I prefer yaktrax.
- I would recommend merino wool… ibex! (Too bad they went out of business!!)
- Also, a good wool baselayer (I love Oiselle wazzie wool), warm tights, and a lightweight windbreaker. Lots of layers are key for staying comfortable in the winter. The biggest rookie mistake is to overdress and not be able to shed any layers.
- A running partner. Someone who will encourage you to come out running, even when it’s very cold or very dark outside. Any brand will do.
- Hand warmers are really nice.
- I also have a cool running belt that weighs only 2 oz but can fit gloves, spikes, headlamp, and a jacket so I can better manage layering and necessities during a run.
3. Any Other Comments?
- Try cross country skiing
- Winter running can be some of the most beautiful and rewarding running if you’re properly dressed and equipped. But you often have to let go of tracking your pace. Don’t do it. Rate your outing on effort and you’ll be happy you went out.
- I lower my expectations in the winter; I don’t worry about running more slowly to be careful on icy hills and corners.
- Winter running is FUN.
- When there’s wind, snow, sleet, single digit temps outside, it’s very motivating to say, “BRING IT ON!
- I want to be able to run outside in the winter, but I have Renaud’s pretty bad and my hands have a very tough time being outside if it’s less than 25 degrees. I think I should move to Florida.
- I try to get outside and run at least twice or three times a week, with the rest of my running being done on a treadmill. On warmer days, I can manage a reasonable long run (10 – 14 miles) and on colder days I keep it short (6 – 10 miles).
- Everyone should try running on trails in yaktrax or microspikes during the winter. Boston Lot is great since the fat tire bikes pack down snow to create a nice smooth surface. Actually easier to run in BL in the winter!
- Gloves and hats are important for me as well, and to be honest it doesn’t matter what they are, just as long as there is a layer (I lost track of my running gloves before my marathon and ended up having to wear leather gloves! lol)
- Winter running is really fun and highly underrated.
Jingle Bell Run Photos
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 Amanda Kievet, with article collection by Laura Petto. Any comments, questions, submissions, winter running tips, etc, send to firstname.lastname@example.org.