October 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to the October 2017 newsletter. Another great job by the contributors! Only one note from the editor: Our club on puts on one race a year, the Thetford Foliage Five, October 15th at 2pm (https://lebanonnh.gov/1078/Foliage-Five), benefiting the UVRC scholarship program. I encourage everyone to come out and volunteer, or run, or both! On to the newsletter.

Table of Contents

Letter from a Board Member: Saturday Morning Run

By Megan Miller

I have been in the Upper Valley for 3 years and have been a member of the running club since then. I joined the board this past January and currently organize the Saturday morning runs. The Saturday morning runs are how I started with the club and have been a fixture of my week for years. It just doesn’t seem like Saturday if I don’t run with the club. When I started with the club, I had not been running much for almost a year due to injury and was not the fastest person there. The small group that met faithfully over the winter was patient with me and let me tag along. I had never had a group of people to run or to talk about running with before. I learned a lot and became more consistent in my training. Also, scrambling to keep up with everyone else made me get faster. So much so that I was able to achieve my long time dream/goal, qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Because of the running club, I did not have not to face my 20 milers alone. I could count on club members to help get me through at least half that distance. This past winter when March was brutally cold and there is no rescheduling, I did not know how I would mentally get myself through any of those miles. Thankfully, other club members showed up and agreed to go a 10 mile loop with me. That was the highlight of the training cycle for me and a good confidence boost. Long distance running can be a solo sport, but for me the Saturday morning runs bring out the camaraderie and comfort to be found in a group of people flying down a hill and all that you can hear is the sound of feet on the pavement. Hope to see you there!

Things I See When I Am Running

By Lori Bliss Hill

This is where I wish there was a scratch and sniff component to online photos.

There is a strong smell of apple in the air when you run past this tree.

Welcome New Members

  • Rich Joseph
  • Sandra Laflamme
  • Geoff Martin
  • Olivia Martin
  • Jennifer Williams

Vermont 50

By Mary Peters

“Here are some who like to run. They run for fun in the hot, hot sun.” -Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss is a wise, rhyming prophet. September 24th began foggy and a lovely 58 degrees. The 50 mile bikers and runners left in waves early in the morning, some still in the dark, and the 50k runners showed up around 7 to begin nervously milling about. This is the 25th year of the VT50, and we all ran in memory of Mike Silverman’s mother, and Lou Schmertz, one of the original bike racers. At 8:00 the 50k pack moved over the start line, and we were off into the Vermont backroads!

I first ran the VT 50k two years ago as my debut distance over 20 miles, and I trained for the 50 mile this summer. Unfortunately I had an IT band flare-up about a month ago, and switched to the 50k after taking some time off. Having many 20+ mile runs under my belt gave me confidence for the distance, but I was still unsure how my knee would hold up over several hours of ascents and descents. We gain a lot of elevation in the first few miles, and then get onto soft single track with rolling hills. UVRC member Cara Baskin made a cameo from the west coast and I was glad to start the race with a friendly face.

Mountain bikers connect back into the main course at about mile 12, and then the rest of the race is a constant game of leapfrog between bikers and runners. Runners can hike past bikers as they push their bikes up the steep hills, and then the bikers zoom past runners as we pound down the slopes. My knee was feeling surprisingly good, so I kicked up the pace a bit around mile 10 to catch a few women in front of me. I grouped up with some new friends and felt great until suddenly my calves cramped up around mile 19. Of course I had just passed an aid station and waved off the salt capsules, thinking my electrolyte drink was enough. A kind biker offered me salt tabs and I kept on for another few miles until the cramps returned. No less than 5 passersby shared their salt capsules with me over the remainder of the race – this is the community that I love! Thank you, kind strangers. I ran when possible, but otherwise tried to hike and enjoy the scenery. My husband, Travis, met me at the mile 29 aid station, where I loaded up on salt, cookies, Coke, and encouragement, and then took off for the last 2.5 miles. They contain a loooooong stretch of winding trail up a grass hill baking in the heat (have I mentioned it was 92 degrees by then?), and some covered trail on Ascutney before descending another grassy hill to the finish.

This race was not pretty from a physical standpoint, but the mental effort I went through is something I can be proud of. I reminded myself to take pictures and enjoy myself, and I celebrated the victories of each hour passed, each hill summitted, and each cramp mastered. The VT50 is such a beautiful, well-orchestrated race, and I encourage anyone who is looking for their first ultramarathon to try it!

2017 Western New Hampshire Trail Running Series

By Jennifer Hansen

Many thanks to the organizers and individual race hosts of the 2017 Western NH Trail Running series.

I tried the Dirty 5K on a whim on Mother’s Day this year and was hooked! Several months and many races later, I have become a diehard trail racing fan. Here’s what I love:

  • Total Focus. It’s so easy to space out on a road run, to daydream, chat, think about breathing or pace, etc. On a trail run, all of my attention is focused on the ground, on choosing a place to plant the next foot, on adjusting to the challenges of roots, rocks, moss, boards, dappled light–and in a race, to be doing that as fast as I can. Sustaining such total focus for the duration of a race is exhilarating, exciting and ultimately refreshing.
  • Primeval. Whether I’m alone in the woods (with whistle, pepper spray, map, and hydration vest) or one of a line of people panting through the trees, running on trail gives me a sense of participating in something that has been done by humans for many, many years. We’re not carrying spears or bows, but we could be. It’s an ancient form of a very human activity, and it feels elementary and satisfying.
  • Friendship. The WNHTR attracts a certain kind of runner that appreciates the above activities, so I guess right there we have more in common. But the point system also encourages sticking with the series. I’m here with Beki Auclair, a runner from central VT who became my friend this summer just because we saw each other roughly every other Saturday. Hanging out waiting for the prizes is a great way to spend time chatting and getting to know race mates.
  • Prizes. Maple syrup, King Arthur bread, smoked bacon, farmer’s market jam — so glad to be here in western NH!

If you haven’t tried a trail race, maybe this will inspire you to check out the 2018 Western NH Trail Running Series.

Runner Profile: Travis Peters

By Lorna Young

Town: Hanover, NH (current)

Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area?

Originally I’m from Florida, but in reality I’m from Washington state — a small town named Kelso to be precise. I went to college in Bellingham, Washington where I studied Mathematics and Computer Science. I moved to the Upper Valley to start graduate school at Dartmouth.

What do you do professionally?

I’m a graduate student at Dartmouth, which basically means that I do research and at times help out with classes as a teaching assistant. Specifically, I do research in computer security and privacy. I work with others to examine ways that the computers and devices in our lives are weak and why they get “hacked” so that we (hopefully) can find ways to make them more secure and capable of preserving the privacy of their owners.

How long have you been running?

I’ve been running since middle school – I started in 7th grade as a 400 meter runner / high jumper (my nickname was “Ghost” due to my humorously pale skin). I competed in Track & Field and Cross Country all the way through college. I was on a small hiatus from running for a couple of years but started getting back into it again about two years ago.

Why do you run?

Sometimes I ask myself that very question! It is complicated… I used to feel quite ill before races and constantly battled my terrible inner running demons (“you’re not good enough,” “you’re not fast enough,” “you can’t do this” — real encouraging stuff). Part of the reason I kept doing it, to be honest, was simply habit; each year that passed where I kept at it made it that much harder to justify quitting. The real deal-maker for me was the friends and coaches. Even when running felt terrible, they were there. All of my best friends were runners. My coaches have all been incredibly inspiring and caring people that became pseudo-parent figures and people that I hope to be like some day. Even my wife (and absolute best friend) is a runner. See why I kept at it? Now that my ambitions of being a world-class middle-distance runner are behind me, I’ve enjoyed running a lot more! Anymore, running is about trying new things (like longer races) and staying encouraged with reminders such as “hey, I couldn’t do that last week (or month) — that’s progress!”

Favorite post run treat?

Chocolate milk. No question.

Hot or cold weather runner?

Cold! Hot weather and me… we don’t get along so well.

Morning or evening runner?

Morning. I used to be an evening runner in high school and college, but now I find morning runs to be the most enjoyable. If I can manage to wake up early enough, I like running just before sunrise: the quite town streets, changing light, morning mist/dew, and cooler temperatures are all spectacular!

I run therefore

I eat… and justify my sedentary habits of sitting in coffee shops and my office….

Favorite running book/film?

Once a Runner. I didn’t read it until earlier this year. It was AMAZING! I can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner. It will make you want to run a mile. FAST!

Ask the Coaches

Got a question for the coaches? Send it to newsletter@uppervalleyrunningclub.org and I’ll send it on!

Scott Sanders:

I’m 42 years old, and whenever my heart rate reaches about 175 bpm, my pace slows down. For instance, when I run intervals, my pace often starts at a comfortable 7 minute mile and as soon as my heart rate reaches 175 or higher, I get tired and I slowdown to 7:30 or 7:45. Besides putting in the hours, are there any pointers or workouts that I could try. (start a little slower, hill workouts)

Carly Wynn:

To answer this one, I’d love to ask Scott a couple follow-up questions. I’m wondering:

-How long he maintains that 7mm for before his heartrate reaches 175

-Whether he is targeting certain heartrate ranges for his intervals and if so how and when did he come by those numbers?

Scott Sanders:

I noticed this correlation after a TNT workout in August. For that workout, I was running 400 meter intervals. After zooming into my interval stats (through Garmin Connect), I noticed that my pace decreased once my heart rate reached 175.

I looked at my latest stats for September, and this correlation isn’t as strong. But the latest workout was for a 200 meter interval. My pace still decreases in the high 170s and low 180s, but I also noticed that my pace slows down around 10 or 15 minutes into a workout and then picks up for awhile, and then decreases again around 35 – 40 minutes into my workout.

I am new to TNT so I may just need time to get my body used to running at faster paces.

Carly Wynn:

For a runner in their 40’s, 175 is probably pretty close to max heartrate. In the absence of some tests we can’t be sure, but you may be reaching anaerobic threshold. As anaerobic energy production peters out after 60-90 seconds, I think you are simply hitting the wall before the end of your 400m workouts. You wouldn’t notice this effect as much on the shorter 200m workouts.

Interval paces should be based on the result of some sort of test, whether it’s a max heartrate test, lactate threshold, blood lactate, or simply a recent race. If running a 400m at 7 min mile pace puts you at your max heartrate, you probably need to be running your 400’s a little slower. 200’s might be okay at that pace.

Consider what race you are training for. If it’s a 5k, and your recent 5k time was around 22 minutes, 7 min mile pace should be reasonable for 400m repeats. Base your interval time ranges on your current finish time for whatever your goal race is. In general, longer repeats (800m and over) will be run at your race pace or slower, while shorter (400m and under) will be run a bit faster than race pace. If you are running at an appropriate pace and you still find yourself slowing down when your heartrate reaches a certain threshold, then I suspect you are either starting too fast or not sufficiently warmed up. Aim for very even spits when running track workouts, unless the workout calls for you to manipulate your pacing. If pacing is most challenging for the first one or two reps, the add a couple strides or other up-tempo bursts to your warmup before starting your intervals.

There is also the question of how significant the fade is. If your pace drop by a few seconds per mile in the last 50m, that’s probably a mental fade. Just focus on keeping your splits as even as possible, and hanging tough when you feel the fade starting.

As always, I’m happy to offer suggestions for structuring interval workouts, including the distance, number of reps, and pace. Just shoot me an email at Carly3ski@gmail.com

Carly Wynn is a personal coach at EnduranceEfficacy.com, and can be reached at efficacy@enduranceefficacy.com.

Berlin Marathon

By Mary Dunbar

How did running marathons become my retirement hobby?

When I retired at the end of 2007, I had a bucket list that included running a marathon by age 70. Previously, I was a jogger who never entered a race. I checked the marathon off my list in 2009 at age 67, when I ran the San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon, with a medical escort, no less, provided by my daughter-in-law, Nancy Dunbar. Nancy stuck with me and my 13+ minute pace until the last few miles, when it was clear I was going to get to the finish line. At that point, Nancy race off but reappeared at the finish line, where we collected Tiffany finisher necklaces from tuxedoed firemen – definitely a glamorous touch!

That should have been the end of it, but it occurred to me that I could probably qualify for the Boston Marathon if I worked at it. After several attempts, I qualified, so I ran Boston in 2015. That should have been the end of it, but I tried Boston again in 2017 in hopes of being in the top three for my age group. That didn’t pan out. Then I learned about the Abbott World Marathon Majors. It seems that if you finish the Tokyo, Boston, Virgin Money London, BMW BERLIN, Bank of America Chicago and TCS New York City Marathons, you are eligible for a special commemorative medal.

The Berlin Zoo

At the time, I had finished Boston and New York. Then Marathon Tours and Travel, a firm that works with the Boston Marathon, informed me they had a place available in the September 24, 2017 Berlin Marathon. So I decided to try to do the six major marathons as the capstone to this chapter of my life. My husband, Rob, and I paid Marathon Tours $1,165 each, plus $200 for my race entry. I would be a runner, and Rob would be my support. We arranged our own air flight plans using airline rewards.

We duly set off on Tuesday, September 19, and arrived after an overnight flight on Wednesday, September 20, a day before Marathon Tours’ program began. We were fortunate to get into our hotel room when we arrived in the morning, as check-in time is usually mid-afternoon. We slept for several hours to make up for lack of sleep on the plane and the six-hour time difference, had some lunch, then set off on a walk through the nearby Berlin Tiergarten, originally a hunting grounds for the aristocracy but now one of the largest urban parks in Germany. We ended with a quick tour through the zoo adjacent to the park, then took transit back to our hotel.

The following day, Marathon Tours people were available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to greet us. We had the day on our own, and Marathon Tours had a reception for us in the evening. One of the Marathon Tours people told me (as I recall) that they had 630 customers this year, up from 420 the previous year! During that day, I did my last Tempo Run, working hard not to get lost in the Tiergarten, which is a challenge. We were fortunate throughout our time in Berlin to have cool weather – highs of 60 or so – good running weather – even as the US east coast had sweltering temperatures. We took the day easy, resting up for race day!

The Berlin Wall

On Friday, Marathon Tours gave us a city tour, then dropped us off at the Expo. Berlin is a very impressive city. It was largely demolished in World War II. The most important monuments (icons!) and buildings have since been restored or recreated, but there are many new buildings. The Germans have capitalized on the opportunity to build new. They have had the economic strength, skill and determination to do it successfully. We visited traces of the Berlin Wall and heard about the Berlin Airlift, as well as about past and present conditions in the eastern part of the country. We walked through a large Holocaust memorial before going to the Expo to pick up my bib and packet.

The Expo was very big, with an impressive number of promotional booths for marathons in other places worldwide. Also, lots of gear, clothing, shoes and energy products were for sale.

On Saturday, runners were bused to a 6K Breakfast Run that started from Charlottenburg Palace and ended at the renovated stadium where Jesse Owens won his four gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games, dashing Hitler’s hopes to demonstrate the superiority of the Aryan race. The 6K run was a good warmup for the marathon the next day.

In the afternoon, Marathon Tours had arranged for a showing of a new documentary, Skid Row Marathon, featuring L.A. Judge Craig Mitchell and some of the homeless people who have benefited from his amazing running program. The Judge and a couple of the formerly homeless were present and spoke to us after the movie. The movie is very inspiring; see it! Marathon Tours also provided a Pre-Race Dinner, with pasta and more. German cuisine has vastly improved since some of our previous visits to the country. Pork seems to be the meat mainstay, but we both had wiener schnitzel which is very good, amongst other dishes. Leaving the pre-race dinner, we admired inline skaters and paralyzed bicyclists racing by, consigned to race the evening before the runners run.

Our hotel was close enough to walk over to the marathon start, but the circuitous route took me a full hour. I still had plenty of time to warm up before the 10 a.m. start for my wave.

I’ve discovered that my age/gender group is in the last wave in these big marathons, back with the tourist and charity runners. We’re not competing with the Kenyans, Ethiopians, or younger runners! Runners wore shirts proclaiming their countries: Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and more. Charity causes included MS, children, cancer, hospitals, and so on. I was on pace to finish the race in five hours until mile 17, when my motivation flagged. Rob took a picture of me as I passed at about mile 20. Drum and other bands played and crowds cheered for us along the way, and I always had lots of other runners around for company. I earned a finishers medal after 5:14:16 and was fourth of 11 finishers in the 75-79-year-old women’s group.

Finisher medal!

I returned to Cleveland Heights in time for a City Council meeting on Monday evening. (I am a councilmember.) Rob went on to Nijmegen, Holland for chemical research using lasers, his passion.

Berlin and the Berlin Marathon are impressive. The World Majors are all, as advertised, major events, and not easy to get into. However, I am in the October 8, 2017 Chicago Marathon as a charity runner (it still counts if I finish in time!). I’ve never done two marathons so close together, but I think I can do it. I expect getting into the other majors may take another year or two, alas. Maybe I’ll persevere that long.

Aside from the Majors, there are many good marathons. I’ve enjoyed, and found memorable, various smaller ones. We runners have many ways to challenge ourselves. Marathons are just one choice. It’s amazing what we can do if we try! Geoff and Nancy Dunbar, and our younger son Bill (who is also a runner) have certainly been inspirations for my running, too.

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, movie recommendations, etc, send to newsletter@uppervalleyrunningclub.org.

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  1. Paul /

    I love these newsletters! Thanks to all who contributed

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