It’s finally wonderful spring running weather, and I can tell from the many race reports we’re getting! We’re always looking for submissions of all types, and can be sent to email@example.com.
Table of Contents
- Letter from a Board Member by Paul Coats
- Things I See When I am Running by Lori Bliss Hill
- Runamuck 50k Race Report by Amanda Kievet
- Boston 2018: Before, During and After by Jennifer Hansen
- Ryan’s Run by Erin Wetherell
- Runner Profile: Mike Musty by Lorna Young
- Ask the Coaches
- Empire State Building Run-Up – 1986 by Ken Stone
- Emil Zapotek by Kim Sheffield
- Nashua Soup Kitchen 10k Photos by Pam Moore
Letter from a Board Member
by Paul Coats
“Have fun playing kickball”. A dear friend of mine and Kristen’s used to hear this everyday before going to work as a PE teacher. It was funny on one hand but belittling on the other, inferring that her work was of little prestige and importance.
On the contrary, I believe any work that allows you to invest in the health and well-being of another person is some of the most valuable and noble work to commit to. It’s why I love working as a Recreation Director, and among the hundreds of programs and projects we own at Leb Rec, the UVRC is among my all-time favorites!
The UVRC is all about building a community of people who are interested in their physical health and well-being. I love that! The board, pacers, committee members, and our many volunteers dedicate free time and effort towards making club activities inspiring and enjoyable for our members and race participants. I love that! And you, our UVRC members, are serving in these roles and are showing up to team activities. These sort of things are what make the Upper Valley Running Club a group that Kristen and I love being a part of, and the Upper Valley a place where we want to live.
Paul Coats, UVRC Treasurer
Things I See When I am Running
by Lori Bliss Hill
The weather is warming up and it’s time to shed some layers. Where do you shed your layers?
Runamuck 50k Race Report
by Amanda Kievet
Runamuck was my second 50k after the Vermont 50 last September. Even though this was my first time running Runamuck, the course was very familiar since I have done many long runs through this beautiful area.
We got a surprisingly big dump of snow starting the afternoon before the race, turning the world back into a Feburary-era snowglobe. I hooked my Nanospikes onto my running pack, just in case.
The race starts from Suicide 6 ski area in Pomfret on Stage Road and the first 2.5 miles are along the paved road, which is only more annoying with the knowledge that I’ll have to run this again with more than a marathon under my belt to the finish line. After the paved section of Stage Rd, we hit the slushy mud section before turning left onto Lime Pond Rd where the hilly fun began!
The race director was parked at the intersection with Lime Pond warning people that the tire tracks were surprisingly slippery. Not being one to take a chance with traction, I took a second to put on my Nanospikes and headed on up, getting comments from everyone I passed on my smart choice to bring them. I suppose this is the home turf advantage?
Lime Pond Rd winds steeply up past beautiful farms and sweeping pasture. It was hiking time already. Until we hit a nice downhill section, where my spikes really helped me confidently glide.
At mile 6ish, we the course turned left onto Sayer Rd and we started our first “loop” (look at the map and you’ll see what I mean). There was a lot of climbing for the first miles, but then we got a long gradual downhill section to get refreshed, ending with an aid station around mile 12 on muddy Broad Book Rd.
Webster Hill didn’t disappoint with super slippery packed snow and a solid one mile climb to Skyline Drive (start of “loop 2”, mile 14), which then gently rolled until Allen Hill which was a solid downhill stretch for around 2 miles.
After a short stretch on paved Pomfret Rd, we turned onto into one of my favorite areas, hiking Dana Rd sharply uphill, and then turning onto Old Kings Hwy for even more steep up, and then finally down to Galaxy Hill Rd. Because one of the usual course roads was closed due to snow, we had a lovely out and back to the top of the hill on Cloudland Rd. At the turn onto Cloudland, was an aid station where I refilled my waters for the last time.
After the Cloudland section, I felt like I was home free, finally in the single digits of miles left. Galaxy Hill Rd was a pleasant downhill stretch, followed by a short up onto Webster Hill Rd, and then a much longer and steeper up until the close of the second loop and the steep (and not so slippery this time due to sun warming the snow) Webster Hill section down (mile 25).
There is a short and extremely muddy section of Sayer Rd to meet back up with Lime Pond and then the rest is just like the beginning.
It’s amazing how you can be running on slippery packed snow for miles, and then turn a corner and have mud you could sink into up to your ankles if you didn’t pick your next step carefully. It felt a bit like playing hopscotch running through it.
Lime Pond was a nice and easy (except for being slippery) downhill to Stage Rd, where the real mental challenge of the race was. It was a horrible last 3 miles on Stage Road, especially once I hit the paved 2.5 mile section due to the monotony and feeling close but not quite to the finish line. This is the one section where I wished I had headphones as having music to anchor on would have been helpful. I ended up counting strides to make the time go by.
When I was around .25 miles from the finish, I saw my husband waiting for me, hanging out with the race director, cheering me on. I can’t say this made me push any faster, but I was super happy to be close.
It was a very casual race overall — no real starting or ending line, no precise timers, no medals. But that was what was great about it. Pressure was off and everyone just had a good time. Most folks I talked to were from out of town, and most training for bigger and more high-profile races later in the season (myself included). And, according to my watch, I did end up beating my Vermont 50 time by a good 10 mins, finishing in 6:12:44.
Boston 2018: Before, During and After
by Jennifer Hansen
In the Spring of 2016, I was inspired by my brother, who has run the Chicago marathon many times, and my son, a local racer, to train for the NH marathon. At my brother’s suggestion, I used Hal Higdon’s marathon training Beginner level, a free online guide. As my training progressed, I began hoping for a sub-4 hour time, which seemed realistic since I was able to keep under or around 9:00 for my long runs. I was quite happy with my time of 3:54, and noted it was a Boston Qualifier (BQ). The NH marathon was on October 1, past the Boston 2017 deadline. In 2017 I did a lot of trail racing and hiking, and decided to apply for Boston 2018 in September. My 10/1/2016 time would be what I would use, according to their rules. I was notified on my birthday that I was accepted, forked over my $150, and entered the race.
Training for Boston began the second week in December. I decided to use the Hal Higdon “Intermediate 2” program to work on adding more miles and improving my target time. I found that it was quite a different challenge to train for a marathon through the winter than in the summer – different, and good. One factor which made winter training for a spring marathon much more appealing is that I didn’t feel as torn between hiking and running, and my few winter hikes fit in pretty easily as cross training days. While summer training in 2016, I had had to take a break and pick up the training again after hiking the full Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains, since the traverse route I chose covered 12 hours, 24 miles, 11 summits, about 9K elevation gain–more strenuous than a marathon in many ways, with at least a week of recovery time. Further, in the winter, I never had a problem with dehydration and overheating, as I found when training in the summer.
I followed the program quite legalistically. I copied the entire program into my google calendar at one go, so I could see the 18 weeks marked out for me, as well as making a google spreadsheet of my own where I logged my route descriptions and times. I also created a column with week’s mileage and cumulative mileage, so I could track my progress. Since I’m a voice teacher and church musician, my workweek runs from Monday evening through Sunday afternoon, with Saturdays pretty full, so I made my long runs on Mondays. For the most part, I don’t teach voice students in the morning, so it was easy to fit in training runs during the week without running in the dark. And I did resort to the treadmills at the CCB for the iciest or coldest days. One goal was to make it through the winter with no injuries from falls or otherwise. I decided to use my last 20-mile training run (3 weeks before the marathon) as a time trial, to see how it felt to aim for 8:30. Except for my two trips up Seminary Hill, I was able to keep that pace and came in about 8:37 for 20 miles, so I decided to aim for 8:30 in the marathon.
I spent the last week of my training finishing the taper, reading about weather and preparing all my marathon gear. It was going to be cold and rainy, for sure. Just how cold and rainy, I had yet to discover. I bought some half-price sweats at LISTEN for my pre-race cover layer, assembled my Clif bloks and clear garbage bags, and made sure to sleep really well on April 14. On the morning of April 15, I headed down to Boston to pick up my bib at the Seaport Expo. I lasted about a half hour in the crowded convention center, just enough to get my fill of free samples before heading to Rhode Island to watch my daughter’s rugby team win a rugby tournament. It was windy, but not rainy. Perhaps standing on the sidelines in the wind for 5 hours isn’t the very best way to prepare for a marathon, but that’s motherhood.
I had decided to go it alone for this marathon, since my husband Mark, a CPA, would be working many hours until April 17 finishing tax returns, and I had talked through my travel plans carefully with him to make sure they made sense. My friend in Beverly, MA gave me a place to sleep and the assurance that she would come in and rescue me if I needed it after the marathon. I got another fine night of sleep, and got up at 6 to drive to the T station at the northern end of the orange line. The T put me right out near the finish line, where I walked through heavy rain to drop my bag full of clean dry clothes at the gear check tents. Following the flow of ponchos and garbage-bag-wearing runners, I walked through the Public Garden and through security, along one side of the Common to where runners were boarding the dozens of school buses. The bus ride to Hopkinton seemed long, and I thought: we have to run back all this way! It was raining so heavily and the bus was packed with breathing runners, so the driver had difficulty keeping her windshield clear.
We were discharged at the Athletes’ Village on the grounds of the public school in Hopkinton. The mud was already about an inch or two deep on the athletic field, where I immediately joined one of the dozens of porta-potty lines. From there I wove through the tent where runners stood or huddled crowded together, refugee-like, on garbage bags. A cup of coffee and a banana from the canteen at one end would have to do, as I joined the flow of runners heading towards the start line more than half a mile away. I tried to use the half mile to perform my warm up routine – lunges, grapevines, leg swings, sidesteps, always while moving forward. As we walked, people began to shed their comfort items. Garbage bags, pants, shirts, gloves, hats, nutrition bars, water bottles all lined the edge of our route, and I occasionally saw volunteers trying to scoop up the soaking clothes into bags which we were told were destined for donation. Another wait at another series of porta-potties, and I heard the loudspeaker announcement that Wave 3 was now entering the starting area. I stood for only a few minutes, trying to keep doing my dynamic stretches, until I too had to shed those extra layers and prepare for the start.
Wave 3 was to start at 10:50 am. I think it took about 6 minutes of jogging until we actually crossed the start line, and it was such a relief to be running at last – about 5 hours after starting my day.
My splits help tell the race story. I have a simple watch that keeps up to 30 splits, and I have used it a lot in training. It was handy to have the mile markers on the race, though I ignored the display time. My watch exactly agreed with chip time, I was happy to find out afterwards.
First half, exactly on target and a little ahead: 8:26, 7:58, 8:07, 8:08, 8:19, 8:17, 8:19, 8:34, 8:15, 8:23, 8:32, 8:29, 8:28. Obviously I was significantly too fast at mile two, three, and four, but I was pleased to be in the ballpark for the rest. The several miles of downhill felt great, and even the rain didn’t bother me. I was able to take it in the sights – red-jacketed volunteers every mile handing out water, enthusiastic spectators yelling their support, the sounds of swishing raingear and splashing feet. As far ahead as I could see, bobbing, colorful runners filled the roadway. I had been quite worried about feeling crowded/ claustrophobic, since I train alone and the NH marathon in 2016 only had 500 runners at the start, which narrowed down to 200 marathoners as the 5-K and 10K runners peeled off. The Shamrock Shuffle was definitely the largest running event I’d ever entered. No need to worry though, as I never had to change my gait and easily passed, or was passed, as the race went on. Running through Wellesley, I was still smiling, as the photo shows, despite my ringing ears from the “scream tunnel” passing the college.
Second half, my body began to wear out and my times almost exactly corresponded with the elevation gains: 8:38, 9:01, 8:37, 9:14, 9:37, 9:20, 9:40, 10:16, 9:07, 9:35, 9:37, 9:57, 11:53 (1.2mi).
I developed a severe side cramp which I tried to walk out, but finding no improvement, I just resumed running and the cramp diminished in a couple of miles. At times the rain and wind intensity were laughable, especially passing over 128 and into Newton. Occasionally someone would see my racing singlet and call out “Go, UVRC!” which gave me a grin but not much else. My quads were cramping in unfamiliar ways, and this demoralized me enough that I didn’t want to push the hills the way I had planned all winter as I slogged up Slayton Hill, Poverty Lane, Methodist Hill, Ruddsboro Rd, Stevens Rd, and so forth. Despite gloves and hat, my hands were so cold that I had a hard time opening my zipper pockets and Clif Bloks. I had planned to eat 3 sleeves of 6 bloks each, and only took in 8 bloks total, not enough nutrition for four hours. I only stopped at a few water breaks in the first half and maybe one in the second half, which was also poor planning but shows my desire just to get it over with. My lower GI was also cramping and complaining, yet I had no will to stop at a potty. Last six miles, I was determined to push enough to keep a PR within reach. Taking the final corner onto Boylston for the last half mile, I felt no rush of adrenaline, merely a thought that the huge finish line structure looked SO FAR AWAY! But I reached it – in 3:52:59, just fast enough for a PR.
Almost as soon as I stopped running, I started shivering. I shuffled forward to receive water, a little nutrition, a medal which someone put over my head, and a heatsheet blanket which someone else put on me since my fingers weren’t able to open it up. A few of the volunteers with wheelchairs eyed me, and I eyed them back, but I shook my head. I was thinking of that gear tent! Unfortunately, the tent, which had been amply staffed in the morning, was understaffed now, and runners were rummaging through the numbered bins to find their gear. My bag was not in the proper bin, but I just kept going through bins until I found it. Fortunately, with all the runners packed in there, that tent felt a little warmer.
Back out on the exit path, all I could think of was somehow getting to the subway entrance. Maybe I could just make it back to the car all wet and change later, somewhere? As I passed other gear tents which were emptying out, I caught the eye of a red-jacketed young woman who wasn’t helping someone else. She said, “Do you need help?” I said, “Yes, please! Can you hold me?” She took me, sopping wet, in her arms, and I hiccuped a couple of weak sobs before we set about peeling off my wet layers and replacing them with blessedly warm and dry ones. A couple of other volunteers showed up with more heatsheets to protect what remained of my modesty and we managed to install me in dry gear from head to toe. My young friend balled all my soiled and soaking gear into my bag and after thanking that young woman with all my heart I was good to go.
Through the exit, I headed right down into Arlington station, which was another refugee site with runners all along the walls, trying to get dry. The lovely T workers waved us all right through the turnstiles, and two trains and 20 minutes later, I was back to my car. I checked in by phone with Mark and headed back to I-93 and home. It was a slow ride because of the rain and traffic, but after a stop in Warner, NH for a nice long washup in the rest room and the purchase of nectar and ambrosia: a chocolate milk, a large Americano, a bag of Bugles and a packet of turkey and cheese, I hobbled back to the car for the final leg. Mark met me at the CCB with my bathing suit, and after a shower I sank gratefully into the whirlpool. NOW my 2018 Boston marathon was over.
Hampton Half Race Report
by Yufeng G
I got to the race thanks to carpooling with fellow club member, Nagendra. So huge thanks to him for making all of what follows possible. He drove us down the morning of the race, and upon parking and getting to the hotel, we separately prepared for the start. It was pretty chilly out, and windy to boot. I wanted to run a marathon paced effort today, to check my training, given a full-on half marathon effort wasn’t going to be as useful in these conditions of >20mph headwinds and suboptimal temperatures.
The hotel that served as home base for the race worked well enough, though the lack of restrooms in the lobby area was apparent: many people thought that the bathroom line was for bib pickup. Luckily there was amply facilities across the street (lots of flushing toilets and sinks too!).
As the start time neared, I prepared myself for the strong and cold wind coming off the ocean, whipping the water into a frenzy. No time for enjoying that view, however; a few striders and then I took a spot in the starting area, hiding behind a few rows of runners in hopes that they would shield me from the wind in these final minutes.
The course started out with a sort of loop through town. Since the 5k and the half marathon start at the same time, I lined up a few rows back, in anticipation of the 5k runners going out much harder than the half marathon runners. So I was a bit surprised to see how open the road was as we got under way. Right away a group at the front formed, a group of 4 runners who shared the same team singlet. They were moving, and I didn’t feel super inclined to chase, given my pacing goals for this race.
I tucked in behind a runner nearby, and settled in. No way of telling at that point who was going to stick around, slow down, or take off later. The wind was pretty strong depending on which way we were facing and how the buildings were (or weren’t) blocking. First mile was very obviously short by several tens of seconds, but my watch was ticking around 5:45 pace, which was a strong opening, and wayyy faster than I had intended to be running. I asked my buddy/pacer/wind blocker what he was trying to run today. He told me he had hoped to break 1:17.
“Well that’s brisk,” I thought, and we both acknowledged the added challenges of the winds. As we looped back through the start area around the 2.5mi mark, the wind was in full force in our faces, and I tucked in behind, thankful to not be taking this on by myself. He continued to charge forward, and I stuck behind him, as I was barely keeping up even with the wind blockage. Not long after the 3mi mark, another runner caught us, which was a bit surprising to me. Who started so far back and yet made up ground through the strong headwind? Turns out he was doing a tune-up for Boston and was just tempoing. We continued northward, single-file.
A bit past the 5mi mark, we (finally!) turned left, away from the coast and worked our way inland and uphill slightly. There was a water stop ahead, and then a hill after. Shortly after this, I lost my group as they pulled away. I was pretty beat up from the early pace and the brutal winds, both physically and mentally. The effort of holding 5:45 to 5:50 pace in the early miles had finally exacted its toll, the hand-numbing wind no longer served as a distraction from the effort. Also, the hills weren’t exactly helping.
These hilly miles were a difficult mental battle, as I had no one to run with, and I needed to decide what I was going to do with this race. I had gone out harder than I thought I would, and it was time to assess whether I could hold this pace of right around 6-flat, or slow down further to marathon pace (around 6:22) and turn this into a workout.
I knew that if could hold 6-flat, the faster early pace would yield a PR, even though that wasn’t the original goal today. That was a big “if”, given how I was feeling. But I was somewhere in the top 10 at that time, so I decided to give it a go. Mile by mile, the distance ticked down, but I managed to hold my effort without completely losing it. The advice of taking one mile at a time really held true for me in this instance.
In the midst of all this, there was a gel station, where they were handing out Clifshots. I wanted to grab 2, but even though there were two volunteers staffing the table, only one had a gel out; the other person was just standing there. I’m guessing this was because it was early enough in the race, so they didn’t need to both be staffing. I tried to grab a 2nd gel off the table. Not only did I come up empty, I managed to knock some gels off the table in the process, so apologies for that.
After the 10 mile mark, the course finally turned back toward the ocean. The end was near. But boy was I tiring. My glutes were particularly unhappy with me. Thankfully the wind was at my back now, though it didn’t really feel like a boost. The finish line seemed far off, and the tide had risen considerably while we were out running further inland. The waves crashed against the sea wall and the ocean spray left large puddles of cold unpleasantness that needed to be run around, or through. About 2 miles from the finish, someone in a brown collared shirt caught and passed me. I had managed to maintain close to 6-flat pace, and now began, finally, to press for the line. In the final mile, I mustered what little racing vigour remained, having not run a race in ages. Normally, I’d be able to put in a good surge with 2k to go, or at the very least, with 1k to go, but this time I only managed to really kick it in at the 13mi mark, with a few hundred meters remaining. Finish line in sight and no one around, I went for the line. I could see the time was still 1:17, if only barely, and I pushed to get under 1:18:00. I couldn’t be sure if I was over or under 1:18, but knew that either way, it was still a PR.
I grabbed a banana… okay it was two, and threw down some water, walking back to the hotel. No jogging just yet. Too tired. It’s interesting how the elation of running a new PR fades as the years pass. When we first start running, every new record is a great victory, celebrated and documented. I had just run the fastest I’d ever run 13.1 miles in my life, but this isn’t what I remember PRs feeling like. I had at least shown myself that I was rounding into good shape going into the marathon that was to come, and that would have to be enough.
This race had great post-race amenities: there was hot soup, Lindt chocolates, and some local beer. On a day where it was below 40F before even accounting for the 20mph winds, all that anyone really wants is some hot soup after a hard-fought effort.
by Erin Wetherell
Ryan’s Run is a very small, informal 5k coming up in June that has been going on for a few years now in Lyme. It’s very low-key, so perfect for all levels (walkers, slow runners, fast runners etc) and mostly on dirt roads.
Runner Profile: Mike Musty
by Lorna Young
Name: Michael Musty
Town: Piermont, New Hampshire
Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area? I’m from the Upper Valley originally. I was born at the old hospital before DHMC. There is a great video online of the demolition.
What do you do professionally? Graduate student…does that count?
How long have you been running? Since 2015
How long have you been running competitively? I’m definitely not competitive, but I started doing running club races around 2015 I think.
Why do you run? To get away from the computer and to get in shape for long hikes!
Recent memorable moment while running? Proposing to Nicole Labrecque this past September. It was pouring rain that day and hardly anyone else was on the trail. But as soon as I popped the question there was a girl picking up flags for a race the previous day to take our picture! I’ve included it with this bio.
Best athletic accomplishment and why? Probably doing the Pemi Loop a couple years ago with Peter Fullerton. I don’t think it was much of an accomplishment as far as time goes (10h30m), but it was lots of fun!
If you like to race, favorite race distance? Why? I really enjoy all distances. As long as I’m able to get out there I’m pretty happy.
If you like to race, notable race moment? OR most memorable race?
In 2016 Nicole and I ran covered bridges together. I took it pretty seriously and had a good result for me (1h33m). I think it’s one of the things that got me motivated to improve.
Training partners? Ben Musty, Jon Epstein (before he moved!), Nicole Labrecque, Peter Fullerton. TNT once in a while!
Cross training activities? Riding the bike and aqua.
Favorite local running route? I like lots of the standard routes in the Hanover area (Rip, Trescott, Hopson, Pine Park). If I’m dog sitting I enjoy Boston Lot. If I’m at home I like Cape Moonshine Road and Mount Moosilauke.
Favorite post run treat? Milk and cereal.
Strangest place ever run? Glacier d’Orny. Not on it, but next to it!
Any notable streaks or other unusual running events? I hike Moosilauke (almost) every year on January 1st for over 20 years now.
What made you start running? Nicole is the one that really got me motivated to run at the beginning.
Who is your running “idol”? I’m a fan of Tyler Andrews. He runs for Hoka (I think) and took a pretty non-standard path to becoming a pro runner.
Are your reasons for running now the same or different than the reason you first started? Yes. At first I was pretty results oriented. I suppose I still am, but I’m much more focused on the long-term and staying away from injuries.
Why did you join UVRC? I’m not sure what prompted it, but the club is great!
Ever run in a costume? Nope, but I do enjoy wearing my childhood fleece cap for style points.
The only running shoe for me is? Not picky about this. Maybe I should be?
Ever been injured? How did it happen? I’m always being a baby about something, but usually it’s because I feel great in the summer and go overboard in the fall.
Hot or cold weather runner? I really enjoy the cold, but I seem to be injured more during the winter months.
Morning or evening runner? Morning!
What is your motivation? Getting outside, improving, and Nicole.
I run therefore I am more pleasant to be around.
How did you become interested in running? It was mostly just the people around me at that time…and then I got hooked.
What is your favorite race? VT100 even though I haven’t done it. I helped out at the UVRC station a couple years ago and had a blast. I also really like Road to the Pogue. Those emails are hilarious.
Favorite running book/film? I enjoy a good running podcast.
What does your daily workout consist of? These days I’m just trying to get out there and do some kind of aerobic activity for at least 45 minutes a day and do enough strengthening/stretching to not get injured.
How about favorite work out? Definitely the long run.
What is your diet like? Everything.
If you could run with anyone, who would be the person? Where would you run? I would run with my grandparents on my dad’s side. They both passed when I was little and I always wanted to know them. I would run in Hawaii where my grandmother’s family is from.
Additional input or comments? People to mention?
Thanks to all the people that make the UVRC such a warm and accepting club!
What else should the club know about you? Maybe one of these years I will actually complete the UVRS.
Aside from running, what are your hobbies? Ummmm…math!
Ask the Coaches
I’ve recently been wearing a Garmin heart rate monitor while running and noticed that my heart rate seems pretty high, even during moderate efforts (averages usually in the mid to high 160s). What are your thoughts on this? Are there things I can do (other than running more :D) to get my heart rate down? Do you have any particular advice with respect to using heart rate monitors and data for training?
Runners, coaches and scientists rely on accurate heart rate information to measure levels of effort, fatigue and overall fitness. A belt with a heart rate (HR) sensor strapped around a runner’s chest, is the device of choice. First and foremost, it’s important to strap the HR monitor on properly. If you are wearing a shirt, it’s a good idea to wet the area of the shirt (cotton fabric is most absorbent) that covers the sensor and to wet the your chest and the sensor contacts that press directly onto your chest. Water increases conductivity and prevents false spikes in HR caused by static electricity, which may show up in your data at the beginning of your run and last until sweat provides enough liquid to improve conductivity.
Beyond false positive static electricity issues, there are a number of true positive internal and external causes of abnormally elevated HR. Externally – cold temperatures can cause you to tense up, even start to shiver. This added stress on the body could signal your brain to speed up your HR to compensate. The brain triggers the heart to “throw fuel on the fire.” Internally – other forms of stress or excitement can trigger a similar adrenalin response by the brain. If Travis’ HR elevates with only moderate efforts at the beginning of his run, I would suggest that he was not thoroughly warmed up or his body was not fully recovered from his last workout.
One of hottest topics in fitness training in the past five to ten years has been, and continues to be, the importance of not overtraining and getting adequate rest and recovery time following workouts. Dr. Jack Daniel’s book, “Daniels Running Formula”, (1998) and now in its third edition, focuses on determining your aerobic/anaerobic threshold, then, depending on the distance of the event or race you are training for and its commensurate aerobic and anaerobic requirements, performing most of your workouts just below your threshold in order to avoid overstressing your cardiovascular system (over training) and allowing ample recovery time between quality workouts, usually three days.
In his book “1:59 – The Sub-Two Hour Marathon is Within Reach…” (2014), Dr. Philip Maffetone states that Training = Workout + Rest. The point is that training without proper rest and recovery leads to overtraining, injuries and underperformance. Research shows that 99% of the energy required to run 26.2 miles at world record pace is provided by the aerobic system and only 1% is supplied anaerobically. The sub-2 hour marathoner, he says, will need to avoid overtraining and perform most of his/her training within 10 beats per minute (bpm) of his/her Maximum Aerobic HR. This metric is similar to Daniel’s “threshold” but, instead of being determined by race performance, Maffetone calculates his “threshold” at approximately 85% of VO2 Max by the formula 180 – your age, minus up to 10 bpm for recent illnesses, surgeries or injuries and plus up to 10 bpm for well conditioned runners over age 65. The advice from Daniels and Maffetone is clear, if you want to improve your PR, improve your running efficiency while running under your threshold, don’t over train and rest up between workouts.
Recently, I have been following Maffetone’s suggestion to train at my Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF), while making sure to rest and recover afterward and between quality workouts. Using Maffetone 180 Formula, I determined that at age 68, my MAF is 180 – 68 + 10 = 122 bpm. I use a Suunto Ambit3 GPS watch with a paired HR monitor belt. The display is setup to show my current HR in large digits so I can check my HR as I run. For a recent 2 hour run on the rail trail, I started with a 20 minute warm up increasing my HR gradually to the lower range of my MAF, 112 bpm, then gradually increasing to the top end of the range, 122 bpm, for 80 minutes and finally, cooling down for the last 20 minutes, letting my HR decrease to 90 bpm. Suunto has a website called Movescount that crunches all kinds of data based on HR. My average HR for the 2 hours was 116 bpm, max HR was 124, average pace 5:51 mpk, distance 20.5K, time 1:59:38. Hey, I just realized I went sub-2 hours of 20.5K. Of course, this was for 20.5K not 42K, details, details…
Start of 2 hour run from O&B’s with UVRC
Very interesting response, Jim – thank you!!
I’ve read a fair bit about different formulas for max HR, etc.; this seems to be a highly contended topic (as you point out), so I’ve been wrestling with how much to take away from my observations from my own HR…
According to the Maffetone 180 Formula you cited, my Maximum Aerobic Function (approx. 85% of V02 Max) is 180 – 28 = 152. In your article you say “…perform most of his/her training within 10 beats per minute (bpm) of his/her Maximum Aerobic HR” — should I interpret this to mean that all of my runs should be around this number? Or just my more high-quality workouts?
Some thoughts and notes (for what its worth):
– Last night at TNT I was running intervals at about 6:00 pace or a little under. My avg. HR was 171 (according to Garmin analytics, this is 89% of my max HR). Max. HR of 191 was recorded last night.
– My HR monitor won’t even connect with my watch if there isn’t sufficient conductivity — when I wear it, I always wet the contacts before putting on the chest strap.
– I also saw a doctor recently and had some tests done (I had a murmur as a child and sports induced asthma; I was “cleared” of these in my mid or late teens… whatever “cleared” means :D) and got an EKG (never had one before!) — everything looks to be in order. As a result of my visits I was asked to manually take my pulse during runs and compare with my HR monitor to see if it was reporting my HR accurately — we concluded that it seems to be fairly accurate.
– I’m trying to be more cognizant of rest and recovery. Mary and I try to do no more than two hard workout efforts per week with at least a couple days between them. Our non-hard workout days are usually run at 8:30-9:30 min/mile pace. Some of my lifestyle may not always be the most helpful for effective rest/recovery though…. Admittedly, I like beer (what can I say – I’m still in college ;), especially in the evenings to wind down from the day and visit with friends and what not; my understanding is that alcohol can interfere with sleep cycles and thus my recovery. Also, I am a grad student, which results in its fair share of sleep deprivation. I’d say I get at least 6 hours of sleep most nights. One of my personal goals is to increase my hours of sleep 😀
The remaining question for me: what are the things that I do to improve my running efficiency? Are you saying this is this just a matter of consistently running at or below my threshold (roughly determined above)? (and getting sufficient rest between workouts?)
p.s. nice work on the sub-2 hour (half-ish) marathon 😉
Thanks for responding to my “Ask the Coaches” article about your elevated HR during moderate effort runs. Without getting into specifics about individual workouts intentionally, everybody is unique, Maffetone suggests general guidelines for workout days and recovery days that emphasize not overtraining. So, generally speaking, he suggests the typical 3 quality days a week with one being a longer timed run along with 4 easy days. All these quality works are performed within your Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) range, in your case between 142 – 152 bpm. Keep in mind that he is talking about training for a 1:59 marathon but says the principles apply to runners of all skill levels who are training for races upwards of 10K, particularly half and full marathons where energy demands are 95-99% aerobically based. He does believe that “overreaching”, as opposed to overtraining, can benefit your aerobic fitness, leading to increased running efficiency. Overreaching involves doing a second workout before you are completely recovered from your previous workout. You still train within your MAF range but before you are fully recovered. He suggests stacking longer timed runs on weekends, for example. Instead of doing 4 hours on Saturday he suggests doing 2 hours on Saturday and 2 hours on Sunday. It’s important to adapt to being on your feet for a long time but not so long as to cause extreme fatigue that could result in sloppy inefficient running form and injury. Split it up and stay efficient. Another method of overreaching is to run occasional races, 5K – half marathon, as time trials. Overreaching should always be followed by thorough rest and recovery, perhaps four days or more if necessary. The idea is train at MAF and rest/recover and your pace should increase over time. If you want to dig deeper, I suggest you read Maffetone’s book.
It’s always a good idea to see a doctor if you have concerns about abnormal HR. It also important to remember that it takes persistence to get an HR monitor to work properly and consistently so you can trust it.
With the exception of track workouts, timed long runs or race/time trials where you are intentionally overreaching then thoroughly recovering, you should stay within your MAF range. The goal is to gradually improve your fitness aerobically and by running more efficiently in order to increase your pace while maintaining your HR. It may take 6 months to improve your efficiency by 3-5%. Maffetone suggests other ways to improve your running efficiency, such as using minimalist running shoes, losing weight gradually, sleeping longer, etc. Again, check out the book, very interesting.
Hi Jim and Travis,
I just have a couple thoughts. There’s a range in people’s maximum heart rates. Most people roughly fall into the formula, 220- (age) = Max HR… but not everyone.
As Jim knows, Maffetone acknowledges this. In his book he suggests adding or subtracting 5 bpm based on various lifestyle and training factors. I’d encourage you to read it and then re-calculate. (Article about Maffertone’s 180-Formula)
Lastly, you could do a “test” yourself to determine your max HR and then calculate your training zones from this using standard percentages. Basically, you’d run as hard as you can somewhere between 10 and 15 min and take your max HR during that time. This would be a functional test for max HR. (Article about Joe Friel’s HR Max test)
I hope this is helpful.
Empire State Building Run-Up – 1986
by Ken Stone
Every third Thursday in February since 1978 the New York Road Runner Club in cooperation with the Empire State Building host a stair run of the 86 flights, from lobby to the observation deck, of this iconic NYC landmark. The race has always been something of a media circus, but nonetheless or maybe because of that, it remains a memorable event from my past.
While living in Boston in the early 1980’s I had a weekend ritual of running the steps of Harvard Stadium. Running the stadium was and still is a rite of passage for all the collegiate rowers in Boston and for me and another rowing buddy, Bill McGowan, this activity ended up being something that we kept up after college and did so at a level of intensity that got us thinking should be put to the test. What made the stadium run so effective at building leg drive and power for rowers was twofold: first, the absolute of having to complete at least a full “tour” of 37 sections which is an intense affair in itself but second, the stairs hide a secret in their geometry that provides a gradually steeper arc as one ascends a given section- it gasses you! Running the stadium steps has gained in popularity outside of rowing circles (see the November Project video link) but at the time this was our secret weapon for success at the Empire State Building.
Early in the history of the Empire State Building Run-Up the field was kept to one men’s and one women’s. In my first attempt at the race in 1986 there were 33 men and 11 women invited to participate. Selective entry ensured a relatively even playing field by keeping the number of runners sprinting to the narrow stairway door to about three deep across the lobby starting line. Modern ES run-ups attract close to 500 runners in a 2 all-day affair that accommodate competitive and charity participants in numerous heats. There was no entry fee back then, all one had to do was write a convincing letter to the race organizers to be selected.
I guess the novelty of training on the stairs of the stadium was enough because soon we both received our “press release” folders in the mail outlining what to expect and who the competition was going to be. Here’s an excerpt from the press release:
The entrants to the run-up in 1986 are an interesting group. To mention a few, there was the reigning champion of an ice cream eating contest in Philadelphia, a leg amputee who was the first such to run the Boston Marathon, a French pro cyclist, Amby Burfoot the 1968 Boston Marathon winner and editor of Runner’s World Magazine and the reigning champ and record holder, Al Waquie, who was a mountain running phenom from the Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico and off a recent Pikes Peak Marathon win. On the women’s side was a Lincoln Center dancer, Olympic cyclist and Shari-lyn Safir an actress and model with a self-proclaimed Stairmaster speed record for 100 flights who went on to star in Die Hard movies.
It’s 9 am on race day and we’re in the beautifully ornate elevator lobby of the Empire State Building mulling around with 31 complete strangers experiencing more than the usual race jitters given the bright lights of roaming television crews trying to get air time with participants. The competitors are quickly coming to the realization that the first ten feet to the stairwell entrance are going to be the crux of the race and it’s going to require some less than polite tactics to get there. But like any race you toe up to the line and when the gun sounds you make the best of it. I took up a position right against the inside wall, the shortest line to the door. Here’s a picture of the start from the NY times, February 21, 1986.
Some race beta:
-If it’s not already obvious, fight your way to be early through the stairwell door.
-The first stairwell of 25 or 30 stories are congested “split flights”.. two short and apposing flights to each story. The stairwell here is narrow and filled with dust-filled air. This is not the best place to try and pass anyone or let anyone pass you. Settle into it.
-The upper floors and most of the race are single flights with a long landing between each flight. These are the stories to pass people or in my case get passed.
-Alternate hand rail pulling while taking two stairs at a time. This is the popular and seemingly most efficient method of ascent.
-Whatever you do don’t trip, intentionally slow others down, push once in the stairs proper or stop on the stairs.
The race finishes outside on what is usually a cold and windy observation deck. Quickly the finishers are escorted into the deck lobby and ascended upon once again by the press. What’s the question you get most?….What makes one want to run this race? After more than 30 years to contemplate that question I can’t come up with a satisfactory answer other than the novelty and “specialized” nature of it. The race is not in a particularly nice setting, is a very short distance, has dangerous air quality, requires aggressive tactics to maneuver, supported no charity and, let’s face it, was somewhat contrived.
The medal ceremony was resided over by none other than Fred Lebow, founder of the NYC Marathon, NYRRC President and ultimately one of the “1980’s running boom’s” biggest personalities. No surprise on the finish, Al Waquie placed first in 11:27. I was able to hold on to a second-place finish 14 seconds behind and Bill ran to a respectable 8th. After putting a solid gap in the lead, I started hearing footsteps getting close around the 60th floor, was passed on the 76th floor by Mr Waquie and barely kept it together in the last 10 flights to best the infamous Gary Fanelli, who went on to compete in the 1988 Seoul Olympics as the only athlete from American Samoa.
Luckily Mr Fanelli was a media magnet and drew most of the finish area media. He ran in one of his trademark costumes as “Billy Chester Polyester”, that’s him in the Hawaiian print in the Times photo and here’s an excerpt about him from Wikipedia:
One of Fanelli’s own characters is “Billy Chester Polyester”, reported to be “one of the leisure suit crowd” and wearing “100% synthetic clothing”. He competed dressed as the character in the 1985 Bay to Breakers. Dressed in a summer version of “Polyesther” that he described as “patio wear from Sears” (a straw hat, Hawaiian shirt, and large Bermuda shorts), Fanelli set a national record at the second running of the Jamaica International Marathon on January 19, 1985. His 2:24:41 performance concluded with him running backwards and dancing reggae style over the final 100 yards prior to faking a hamstring injury with ten feet to go and crawling across the finish like a snake. Another account states that in the same costume he ran a 2:15 at a marathon in New Zealand.
Some of Fanelli’s other original characters include “Clarence Nerdelbaum”, a nerd with a calculator and a pocket protector full of pens and pencils; “Yogi High Karma, a wacko guru”; “Dr. Outrageous”, a hip neurosurgeon; and “Gary Wallstreet”, a businessman who raced around Manhattan’s financial district wearing business attire and carrying an attache case. He has also appeared in races as a migrant farm worker, a pirate, and a teamster.
Leaving this race mostly spared by the media (except for one persistent local news crew) Bill and I headed back to Boston. Somewhere around Stamford we pulled off the highway for some food and drink and found ourselves siding up to a busy bar with the local nightly news playing on the tube. For fun we asked the bartender to change the channel to the news station we remembered being filmed by earlier in the day, and more, mentioned we had just done this race up the Empire State building. Compliant, albeit skeptical at our request, he turned the knob on the TV (this is 1980) and who’s gob is almost immediately plastered on the screen but yours truly. Luckily whatever drivel came out from that short interview was drowned out by the bar patron’s cheers of delight at having a couple of lads to buy beers for. Yeah, that was the best part of the day.
By Kim Sheffield
We UVRC members are running enthusiasts – we run, we talk, read and think about running. As you know I love Tuesday Night Track (TNT). I coach TNT year-round; for UVRC during the summer months and for a running club in Sarasota, FL, during the winter months. The philosophy of TNT is that speed work increases your pace and reduces your distance race times. Equally important, training in groups is fun, it builds comradery and friendships.
I want to share this story I read in “Running with the Legends”, by Michael Sandrock. The book consists of a series of stories about running ‘legends’. One particular story inspires me every time I read it. I read this story the night before a race. Let me share a bit with you:
“They call him the immortal Czech. Emil Zatopek was born in Czechoslovakia in 1922. A few accomplishments:
18 world records and…
1948 – Olympic Gold 10k, Silver 5k
1952 – Olympic Gold 5k, 10k, and Marathon
It is said that everything about the man is unique: his attitude toward competitors, his training methods, his integrity and his friendships. Gregarious, friendly and exuberant love of life was Emil.”
Emil worked in a shoe factory. One day the factory organized a race; Emil didn’t want to run but obliged. He came in 2ndplace overall. A National 1500m runner recognized Emil for his potential and asked him train with the running club for the Czech National Team. That launched Emil’s running career.
“Emil’s training philosophy was speed and stamina. Speed, by running short distance, 100m; and stamina – not to have too much rest during training – 100m. 100m fast, 100m easy. Emil says, “Why should I practice running slow? I already know how to run slow. I must learn how to run fast.”
Emil’s club members didn’t believe his ‘radical training’. They said to Emil, “you’re not a sprinter, why run 100m fast?” Emil replied, “that’s true, but if I run 100m fast 30 times, that is a 3k, and no longer a sprint.”
Sandrock writes “Emil’s essence of training: running fast intervals for speed and repeating them many times for endurance. A ‘simple’ yet powerful idea.”
His speed and stamina training began producing results. He was clocking times 14:12 for the 5k and 29:12 for the 10k.
“Emil trained hard. Constantly pushing himself. One main workout in 1951:
20x200m, all with a 200m jog recovery.
He worked as hard as possible so that at race time, the race would seem “easy”.”
1952 A Perfect Olympic, Helsinki Finland 10,000m race:
Going into this race he was the world record holder in the 10k. Everyone knew Emil, not just for his fast times but for his friendly manner, warm, outgoing way. There were some very fast runners in this race. He was passed early. But Emil took the lead after 8 laps. It became a two-man race. He won the race, breaking his world 10k record. Gold medal #1.
4 days later (and a 5k prelim)
5000m race :
Emil was not favored. It was a strong field of runners. Fast runners. Emil assessed each runner; going through, mentally, each athlete’s strengths and weaknesses. He was trying to figure out right then and there, HOW to race this field of runners. “He enunciated to himself on the line, “last lap”. This is where the show down began. He’ll stay with the field until the last lap. Then he will try to break away… 400m to the finish.”
There was a pack of runners. Emil ran with them the entire race. Emil started to sprint the last 400m. “Boom, I started to sprint….and the guys were twice as fast as me!” He watched 3 opponents break away from him. Emil thought to himself as he watched the 3 opponents take off…” 1- gold, 2 -silver, 3 -bronze and for me…a potato. What to do?” With 200m to go, Emil says, “Never give up!” He caught the 3 leaders and barely passed them, coming in 1st place. 2nd place finisher was 1 second behind Emil.
Gold medal #2
3 days later, the Marathon.
42k – The Marathon race:
“Emil Zatopek had never run a marathon. He was up against the fastest marathoner in the world, Jim Peters, from England. On the starting line, Emil introduced himself to Peters (Emil could speak 7 languages and tried to make friendly talk with all athletes). Peters kept to himself.
The race began. Emil stayed with Peters stride by stride. At 15k, Emil says to Peters, “the pace, Jim, it is too fast?” Peters says back to Emil, “No Emil, pace is too slow.” (Peters later remarked that he was kidding with his comment). But Emil took Peter’s comment seriously and took off. Urging Peters to join. Peters couldn’t keep up with Emil and he dropped out at 21 miles. Emil ran alone, 2nd place runner was 1 minute behind Emil. Emil ran by the tables with refreshments but he didn’t take anything. He thought he had to pay. He didn’t bring any money so he took no drink. Emil was fighting fatigue. He kept thinking to himself, “run to the flame”. The streets were lined – cheering him into the stadium. He went on to win. He ran the fastest out and back course.”
Zatopek’s ’52 Olympics was one of the greatest performances in history Frank Shorter says it is likely it will never be duplicated.
“It is said that everything about the man is unique: his attitude toward competitors, his training methods, his integrity and his friendships. Gregarious, friendly and exuberant love of life was Emil.”
Nashua Soup Kitchen 10k Photos
by Pam Moore
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 Laura Petto, with additional help from Geoff Dunbar. Any comments, questions, submissions, running song recommendations, etc, send to firstname.lastname@example.org.