Welcome to the July Newsletter!
Great newsletter this month. We’ve got race reports on the Covered Bridges Half Marathon, the Vermont City Marathon, Six in the Stix, the Cranmore Mountain Running National Championship, and the Mount Washington Road Race. We’ve got a runner profile on Mary Peters, and a “Letter From the Board” from Betsy Gonnerman. “Ask the Coaches” tackle trail running, and Ellie Ferguson weighs in on the benefits of trail racing. All that, and regular features “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
- Letter From the Board by Betsy Gonnerman
- Welcome New Members
- Covered Bridges Half Marathon by Rob Daniels
- Vermont City Marathon by Pam Hausler
- Six in the Stix by Len Hall
- 2017 Cranmore Mountain Running National Championships by Len Hall
- Ask the Coaches
- Trail races by Ellie Ferguson
- “I want to run the Mt. Washington Road Race every year until I’m 101,” says George Etzweiler, by Jim Burnett
- Runner Profile: Mary Peters by Lorna Young
- Things I See When I Am Running by Lori Bliss Hill
By Betsy Gonnerman
I have been a member of UVRC since moving to Hanover in 2012. I am currently serving as the Secretary on the Board.
Most of you know that I am 72 years old, which makes me probably the oldest female member of the club. I have been running for 40 years. But many of you may not know this about me.
After having breast cancer at 50, I became mostly vegetarian, as I thought this would be a healthier diet for me. Over the next 18 years, I did eat chicken or fish occasionally, but no other meat.
But in 2013, after watching a couple of videos (Forks over Knives and Food Inc.), and reading The China Study and other books, I made the decision to adopt a totally plant-based diet, as it has been shown to prevent and even reverse many diseases, and improve one’s health in many ways. I currently eat no fish, meat, or dairy products. My diet consists only of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Within 2 months of making this change, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels normalized, and I was able to discard my two blood pressure medications, which I had been taking for almost 20 years. Despite the previous changes I had made in moving to a vegetarian diet, my blood pressure had still remained elevated, and I was always told that my family medical history was the reason. No doctor had ever told me that dietary changes would make a difference. I was surprised that the additional elimination of dairy could have made such a difference. I feel so fortunate that I discovered this, and hope that I will continue to live a long and healthy life, with running always a part of it.
- Martin Dyxenburg
- Jennifer Fullerton
- Yufeng Guo
- Christi-Lynn Martin
- Katie Shelton
- Lauren Sippel
By Rob Daniels
I checked with Jared Rhoads and it turned out we had the same plan. Start between the 1:35 and 1:40 pacers and begin at 7:30 minutes per mile. I had my doubts I could do 1:35 this time around. I hoped I could bring in in under 1:40. It would be smart to be a little conservative. Keep something in reserve and then go for it after the hill at mile 8. It had worked for me the last time I did the race a couple years back. And then we both went out for the first couple miles more like 7:10. Over the 1:35 pace!
It’s easy for intentions to go out the window with the adrenaline rush of a start and more than 1,000 runners behind you. About mile 4 in downtown Woodstock I knew there wasn’t going to be another gear for the finish. Rob Frost and Leah Eickhof pacing the 1:35 group were long out of sight. Jared looked steady in front of me. If I could keep him in view I’d stay ahead of Geoff Dunbar and Yufeng Guo leading the oncoming band of folks working to come in under 1:40.
I had plugged in a recent 5K time to an online predictor for a half marathon and it gave me 1:38 + or about 3 minutes over my slowest effort from last year. I knew better than using one data point to draw a conclusion but it still give me pause. I hadn’t completed a long race since October. Have I slowed that much? Part of me wonders why I am all that concerned about my race time. I do OK but it’s not like I’m super fast. It is vanity? No doubt. Fear of aging? That too. But it does have a positive aspect. If I don’t have these goals I probably don’t run.
Besides the idyllic Vermont scenery, Covered Bridges really is a forgiving course. After you get over the hill at mile 8 the gradual decline to Quechee can make up for overdoing the start. If you don’t have the strength to pick up the pace it can at least aid you to maintain momentum. I wasn’t hitting a wall anyhow.
Part of the rush I get from racing is the push/pull aspect. You are the chaser and the chased unless you’re in the front or back anyway. I respond more to the latter. Like the fox in front of the hounds. It may say more about me than I really want to know. But Jared keeps going and that help me too. I probably won’t catch him but at least I have a target and I think a little less about discomforts.
By the time we’re in Quechee village it occurs to me a 12 mile race would be a lovely idea. This is a good place to stop. I had forgotten how distant the end line seems from most of the final mile. The view to the finish is obscured by trees and the road’s bend around the Ottauquechee but eventually the band and announcer can be heard. Suddenly the view to Dewey Field opens up like a surprise party. I crossed the line a bit over 1:35. Better than expected. My goal race for the spring is done.
By Pam Hausler
About 3 years ago, I wanted to do something different for my birthday. My friend, Cindy, suggested I run a marathon to celebrate. I had been running pretty steady for about 8 years but never thought I was “marathon material.”
I decided to go for it and I was able to train and finish.
When I was done, I was so pleased with my accomplishment but never gave a thought to running another one. Until last year, when I was thinking that I did not want to be “one and done.” I wanted to do the Vermont City again. It is such a fun race. The spectators have so much spirit and great popsicles are given out in the neighborhoods. Church Street is an experience not to be missed.
I did not sign up for last year’s race. I am glad I didn’t because I would have been disappointed when they stopped it because of the hot weather. In December, I decided to sign up for this year’s race.
It was a fantastic beautiful day and I enjoyed every minute of being on the course. I felt proud that I had trained on my own. The best part was having my daughter cheering me on and how proud she was of me.
My plan is to sign up for another one in the fall. I hope whichever one I choose, it will be as fun as the Vermont City Marathon. I would recommend it to anyone!!
By Len Hall
If you need a change of scenery away from pavement while running, the Western New Hampshire Trail Running Series is a great option.If you are looking to put in some fast running PR miles, it is NOT the series for you. Yes, you can run fast, but you may still be 2 to 4 or even more minutes per mile slower than a road 5 miler. For series details, go to http://www.wnhtrs.com/ . There are 9 races in the series and it started out with a 5k non-points event in Hanover. It is an excellent starter event to see what many of the courses are like. Generally, there is little to no pavement, plenty of small rolling hills, twists and turns, and some bigger and/or steeper ups and downs. Have I mentioned that there are some times plenty of roots and rocks to look out for as well mud, especially this year. The first points race of 2017 is in the books called Six in the Stix. All points are tallied by age group and you score your best of 6 of 8 events for your series total (minimum of 3 to qualify for the final series awards) . And there are still 7 events left. Now onward to a Six in the Stix race report.
The race venue was at the football field of Newport High School. Race day Saturday June 10 was near perfect for running, coolish with low humidity. This race as well as many of the others in the series are about the best in New England for getting the bang for your buck. A $15 pre-entry ($99 for the whole series of 9 races) is almost unheard these days where you get a t-shirt, plenty of pre/post race snacks and liquids, awards 3 deep in age groups and an awesome raffle. There is a good course description in the WNHTRS site, so I will not try to totally reinvent it here. The course is a big loop attached to a field section. That loop generally climbs the first 2 miles, then rolling descends the last 3-4 miles.
The race started out fast since it is flat for almost a 1/4 mile where you enter the woods jumping the first small stream (or not). Then the initial climbing starts with some flatter sections thrown in. You have a chance to pass here and there on the double track, but once you hit the single track, you occasionally have to bide your time for a place to get around someone. Being an up hill runner, I had to try to get positioned to take advantage of those up sections, which tended to be in the first half of the race. There were a number of mudholes, none of which were too serious and could be mostly avoided (by me anyway). I was able to reel in a number of the fast starters on the climbs. The course did not have any long, continuous descents which I was grateful for. From about 2-2 1/2 miles on, it was down, but with many minor flats or ups. I may have lost only 2 places on the down (darn those youngsters). You do have to pay attention to trail markings. I missed a turn at one spot, but a young runner behind me called me back. I returned the favor to him later on. A few runners chose to get a close up of the trail, ie eat dirt. Talk about youngsters being fast, an 11 year old won the race outright of 130 runners. But you don’t have to race or run hard to enjoy the trails. Actually, those who aren’t really racing for a finish award are probably getting the most out of the run (you know, smelling the roses). In a trail race, you also don’t feel as guilty walking here and there. Besides, the trees help hide you. So take a break from the roads and explore some trails… and trail races.
By Len Hall
June 3, 2017 North Conway, NH
The Upper Valley Running Club had a good showing for the small number of members attending. From what I see in the results, I believe 100% of the attending UVRC members scored NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP medals. Odds are, does that mean if you should decide to run for UVRC next year, that maybe YOU could score some NATIONAL hardware!!!!???? Please consider it. You can actually start getting ready this year by trying one of the remaining NE-USATF mountain races.
Most people know the most famous mountain race in the Northeast, the Mt Washington Road Race. That one is all up (except for 100 yards at the start) and on a road, either paved or dirt. Cranmore is an up and down race and also a trail race. The significant climb and descent involved make it a “mountain” race. Below is a recap except written by USATF Mountain, Ultra & Trail Running Council Chairperson Nancy Hobbs.
“The largest field in the 31-year history of the Cranmore Mountain Race enjoyed temperatures in the mid-50s under cloudy skies at the Cranmore Mountain Resort, which hosted the USATF Mountain Running Championships today in North Conway, New Hampshire. More than 300 runners participated in the day’s events including an introduction to mountain running in the form of a challenging 5-kilometer Citizen’s Race, followed by two laps of the same course for both a men’s 10K and a women’s 10K.” Go to http://trailrunner.com/trail-news/ for the complete story.
You’ll read about the top men and women who qualified to be on the 2017 USA National Mountain Running Team to run in the World Championships later this summer. Almost every one of them had a fairly expressive adjective (or 2?) for the challenging course. The men’s race started at 8:45 am, so we had the best temperatures of the day. I was probably about 3-4 wide rows back and the runners went out hard. Me? Not! I was not looking forward to the steep continual down hill. Maybe I wasn’t looking forward to the steep uphill either. But, way more so than the down. Since we had a monsoon season late May and early June, the course was really wet in 5 or 6 places, mostly in the down section. And you had to do the course twice. If you hadn’t done the course beforehand, having 2 loops works well to at least prepare you for the 2nd time around. The course was 98% the same as 2016, so I was kind of mentally prepared. Soon after the start, you head uphill then quickly to a 100 yard long single track that gagged up and I had to walk behind the others that couldn’t run. We quickly broke out onto a wet, muddy slope and had room to run. It wasn’t long before going straight up a slope where many were now walking and Bob Mulvaney and I ran (I use that term loosely here) past many. Higher up we transitioned onto a steeper slope (40-50% incline) and the power walk began. The top runners do run it. The part where I actually felt the worst was the transition from finishing the top of the steep section where you turn into a short, steep downhill section. Even though you are going down, the legs are screaming. If you survive that, you then go up thru a fun section of switchbacks in a glade. Then there is one boulder scramble. You are at the top, but there is a 1/3 mile loop down then back up to the top before you really start the serious down hill. I think since I ran this course last year, I was more mentally prepared to NOT dread it, but flow with it and stay upright. Also, there was a 2nd loop to do, so I was trying to run fast, but safe as well as not redlining it. I made it thru a number of mudholes where more people fell than not. I went thru the bottom “finish” area and started up for the 2nd loop. More walking on the first than the first loop, followed by a slower top section. But the 2nd trip down went well. I was only passed by 3 of 5 guys that I had passed on the way up. And I didn’t fall. Teammates Bob Mulvaney and Gene Fahey ran well, and with Bob falling 3 times. I was 2nd and Bob was 3rd in the 60-64 age group. Gene was 5th in the 65-69 AG. Combining our times, we (UVRC) took team placings of 3rd Masters (40+), 2nd Seniors (50+), and 2nd Veterans (60+). All of us were surprised at the 40 and 50 team placings. We need more UVRC runners out there, especially the younger age groups. So, see you at a mountain race soon?
Got a question for the coaches? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it on!
“Now that we’re moving into summer and things are drying out, what do you think about incorporating some trail running into our running? What should new trail runners be aware of? Anything that more experienced trail runners should consider as they move from the road to the trails?”
Ohh great question! I’m a huge fan of trails, and not just because they’re super fun. They’re also excellent for strengthening stabilizing muscles, which can be hard to exercise otherwise. (Although I will add that a wobble cushion or wobble board is a good complement to any trail runner’s injury prevention plan.)
If you’ve never been a trail runner, you’ll want to consider two things.
One: You’ll probably need a different pair of shoes. Trail running shoes provide several things that road shoes may not: Traction, stiffer sole, rock plate, waterproofing, more durable uppers, and maybe even extra cushioning. You’ll want your trail shoe to resemble your road shoe in several ways. Heel/toe drop, pronation control, and width should be similar. If you run in a road shoe with low stack height, try to do the same for trails to avoid rolled ankles. If you’re a high-cushioning type, go for the lowest stack height you can find that still provides adequate cushion, and start on soft dirt trails. I’m a proponent of flexible-soled shoes for both roads and trails, so I would recommend the most flexible trail shoe you can tolerate, and no rock plate unless you’re running on very sharp rocky trails.
Two: Start slow. This is perhaps the most versatile piece of advice ever. But it applies here as much as anywhere. Get on only moderately challenging, non-rocky trails to start, and don’t do two trail days consecutively. You will be working new muscles, so just as you would want sufficient rest when starting a new strength routine, you’ll want to give all those stabilizers some time to recover.
For beginners and experienced trail runners alike, keep in mind that your pace is going to be different on trails than on roads. If you’re a number cruncher (as many of us are) do not trick yourself into thinking you need to run the same pace on trails as roads! Depending on the difficulty of the trail, the same effort may be anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes per mile slower than you’re used to on roads.
For experienced and competitive runners, bear in mind the Rule of Specificity. If you’re really trying to maximize race results, you want to be training under similar conditions to what you’re racing. Trails racers should run trails. Road racers should run roads. That said, variety is also an important part of health and an excellent way to avoid stagnation, so even if you are a dedicated trail or road racer, throw in a different type of run once every week or two.
Personally I love converting road runners to trail runners, so don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com with questions about shoes, injury prevention, or training plans.
Trail running is a great addition to your running schedule at any time, but especially in the summer. The soft surfaces give your legs more of a break than the roads, and the tree cover will help you stay cooler. Here are a few things to consider as you begin trail running:
- The pace is going to be slower than on the road, because of rocks, roots, logs, and other nature. That’s okay! Maintain the effort you want and don’t worry about pace.
- Have a buddy on your runs, in case of cranky animals, ankle turns, or confusing trails. If you don’t have a running buddy, I still suggest letting somebody know which trail you’re heading to, just in case.
- Run before you race. Help your ankles and hips and brain get used to trail running before you try to speed up. Trail running does challenge your body and depth perception in different ways than road running.
- Take time to stop and smell the roses! We live in an amazing area, full of trails and beautiful protected areas. Some of my favorite places to trail run are: Boston Lot (Lebanon/Hanover), Pine Park (Hanover golf course), the Appalachian Trail, and Farnum Hill (Lebanon). Enjoy the fresh air and the amazing places your feet can take you 🙂
Mary Peters ran cross country and track at Western Washington University, was an assistant coach for Hanover High School track, and coaches our own Couch 2 5K program in the fall.
Trail running can provide great benefits, not without some risks. You’re on soft surfaces, uphill, downhill, and side hill. Uneven surfaces condition your legs, ankles and feet to stabilize. Proprioceptors (“balance sensors”) are on high alert. Feet and calves are pushing off at many different angles, and your core, engaged. The Upper Valley affords spectacular scenery on the trails, around ponds, across creeks, up bluffs to distant views. Awesome for runs.
Trail running comes with some risks – roots, stones, rocks, and holes can cause trips, falls and sprains. To enjoy the benefits and minimize the risk, two suggestions: 1) get the right footwear – a trail shoe with good tread for gripping the earth, 2) Be alert. Be alert with your eyes and your feet. Your eyes need to be hyper vigilant to spot obstacles. In case your eyes don’t spot the ‘hazards’, foot placement needs to be cautious – careful not to roll an ankle, hit a hole or stumble. Place your foot tentatively so if there is a hazard, you can react quickly. Scan the trail for overhanging branches.
An excellent read in Running Times, June edition 2013 – trail running exercises to strengthen and develop your body for trails, a “fitter and faster” you.
My favorite Upper Valley trails:
- Plainfield Elementary school has some fun trails. When I coached the Lebanon High XC team, we trained a lot on these trails. Our favorite run was to run up to a rock bluff that had a 360degree view overlooking VT and NH. We would run 2 miles up up up, take in the sight, then come down to the end of the trail to soak our tired legs in the cold brook.
- Woodstock’s Mt. Tom trails – 20+ miles of wide, pine needled carriage trails winding over 500 acres of National forest.
- Woodstock’s reservoir trails offer miles and miles of single track trails – lots of roots, rocks, hills to contend with. Perfect training for an experienced trail runner. A reservoir pond soaks your weary legs for your cool down.
Prepare for the trails. Enjoy the sights!!!
Kim Sheffield is a former master mile national champion, coaches our summer TNT workouts, and is a founding member of the UVRC.
By Ellie Ferguson
While many of you are hitting the roads, I’ve been off in the woods in several places… Up here with have a twice monthly trail series called the Shoefly trail series. Once a month is at Parker Mountain in Littleton, the other run is at the Kingdom Trial in Burke.. with fun to be had by all. Every time it’s a different course, very laid back with ‘bookend prizes’ (read helicopter hats) with other funny prizes including the BCD (blood cloaking device) and occasional other funny things. Also Brookie’s Challenge over the WMRHS cross country course as well as one in Bradford Vermont in April which included ice, snow, mud, standing water. And then there was Cranmore Mountain Race. I am now having to choose between trail races.. Not a bad problem to have. Happy Trails….. Ellie Ferguson.
By Jim Burnett
At first, George’s goal was to complete the Mt. Washington Road Race at the age of 100 and drop dead at the summit, haha… But, following Trump’s election as president, George now wants to live to be 101 so he can find out the results of the 2020 presidential election and drop dead after the 2021 race to the top of the Rock Pile, hahaha… All kidding aside, George Etzweiler is a force of nature at the age of 97. What is it about the Mt. Washington Road Race that inspires such unfathomable courage, strength and resolve in George?…and, George is not alone! Well, he is in a category by himself in terms of his incredible longevity and fitness, but many elder runners, and elder-elder runners flock to MWRR. What’s going on here???
Let’s compare some numbers from the MWRR to the MillenniumRunning RibFest 5 Mile, held the day after, Sunday June 18th, 2017. First, do you think more men or women ran MWRR? RibFest? Men still outnumber women at MWRR (64%) but women outnumbered men at RibFest (54%). Second, how about elder runners? If we divide runners young-from-old at age 40, do you think there were more younger men and women (<40) than older (>39) at MWRR? RibFest? At MWRR men were older with 70% over the age of 39, while women were younger with 60% under 40. At RibFest, men were a little bit older with 53% older than 39 and women were older with 66% over 39.
Is it the rarified mountain air that inspires the elder-elder runners to challenge the Rock Pile? It’s hard to say, but you can be sure, as long as he is alive, George will be at the starting line. Go George!!! Zooooooooooooom… Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…
For the record:
- The oldest man at RibFest was 83 and George, of course, was 97 at MWRR. The oldest woman at RibFest was 73 and at MWRR was 78.
- 1048 runners finished MWRR, 1778 runners completed RibFest.
- George Etzweiler has finished the MWRR 10 times in the past 12 years – that is, since he turned 85. Each time he has run he has set an record for his age at the time.
By Lorna Young
Name: Mary Peters
Town: Hanover, NH
What do you do professionally?
I’m a teacher at Richmond Middle School.
Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area?
I grew up in Spokane, Washington, and my husband and I moved here in the fall of 2013 so that he could begin his PhD at Dartmouth.
How long have you been running?
Always! Tag was my favorite recess game and the mile fitness test was my favorite part of P.E. My dad, brother and I occasionally ran for fun in our neighborhood, and I was even a “sprinter” in early high school. I started cross country my senior year of high school, continued in college and have been pretty consistent since graduating.
Why do you run?
I run for many reasons, which all help keep me going. I really enjoy spending time with my husband and other running friends, I love to have at least a bit of time outside every day, and it’s fun to challenge myself and see improvement. Last summer I had the realization that graduating from college didn’t mean I automatically slowed down. In fact, I probably still haven’t reached my peak (one of the many reasons distance running is so great). I’m motivated to get stronger and beat my college times!
If you like to race, notable race moment? OR most memorable race?
In 2015 I did the Vermont 50K, which is the longest distance I’ve ever run. It was a beautiful day and full of great views and nice people. My feet hurt terribly and I cried as I ran across the finish line but by the evening I was already online looking for my next race. It was a very unique feeling to be so exhausted but also feel so accomplished.
Favorite training partner(s)?
My husband Travis, hands down. We’ve spent a lot of time training together and we’re certainly the better for it 🙂
Favorite local running route?
Boston Lot quickly became one of my favorites when we moved here. I especially enjoy going up Indian Ridge and around the lake. Any of the trails there are great to run, since it’s so green and well-connected.
Cross training activities?
I herd cats for a living. Additionally, I do some strength training at home.
Why did you join UVRC?
I joined UVRC because Travis and I had such a great running community in college and we hoped for that here as well. We weren’t very involved the first couple of years in the Upper Valley, but then I started coaching the Couch to 5K group last fall and that coincided with TNT and UVRC Saturday runs. That made it much easier for me to get into the UVRC schedule, and I realized how much I’ve missed other runners! It’s so fun to hang out with friends, doing this strange pastime together.
I run, therefore…
I fall asleep on the couch.
By Lori Bliss Hill
Liquid Cooled! What weather makes you feel like running? The rain always does it for me.
Perhaps consider writing a quick newsletter blurb about your favorite running weather. We’d love to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org
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, marriage proposals, etc, send to email@example.com.