Welcome to the September 2019 edition of the Upper Valley Running Club newsletter! Keep your submissions coming — email firstname.lastname@example.org and check out our submission guidelines here.
Table of Contents
- Letter from a Board Member by Tim Smith
- Photo: UVRC at Vermont 100×100
- Race to the top of Vermont by Bill Young
- Summer Running by Judy Phillips
- Harpoon Flannel 5K by Geoff Dunbar
- A letter to UVRC by Mary Peters
- Why do you run? by Julia Neily
- Route Database Intro by Laura Petto
- Route of the Month: New Boston by Laura Petto
- Ask the Coaches
- How Not to Dread the Long Run by Jim Burnett
Letter From a Board Member
by Tim Smith
This year has seen a transition for the club and for myself. A year ago Kim Shefield coached us through TNT, and I was president of the club. Since then Kim has moved to a land where machines have to condition the air and running across highway overpass is considered a hill workout. I’ve stepped down from being president (thank you for the four years!) and am now taking over as coach.
At first this may not seem like a big transition since over the past few years I’ve been involving in lead winter TNT. But I considered that more of an organizational role than a coaching role. I rarely offered anything more then just the workout. 6 x 800m, adds up to about 5k, so close enough. But this year I have the opportunity to do more. It is like after you have run your first 5k and caught the itch and want to race longer or faster.
I’m am scratching that coaching itch.
In preparation for this fall, Dorcas took over as coach this summer and let me step back and prepare myself. As runners you know the way to do something well is to develop a plan with stages and steps. So over the past few months I’ve been in training to be a better coach.
I met my old college coach in Albuquerque (he just retired from coaching at the University of New Mexico) and spent a day prying into his brain, distilling his insights. I’ve read my Jack Daniels’ with more attention then when I was preparing for my thesis defense. And I spent three days at a USAFT coaching school at Yale. That school required me to read for many more hours afterwards and then sit a few hour exam to get my certification.
So will it make any difference to our club? In truth we will probably still run 6 x 800m at some point, but it helped me see this whole runner/coach things from a larger prospective.
I think the most important things I got out of coaching school is that my basic concepts of training, developed over years of being on various teams with a variety of coaches (both good and mediocre), are not that far off.
I did learn a lot about aerobic vs anaerobic vs ATP performance, recovery cycles, supercompensation models, macro- vs micro training cycles and so forth. But these tend to be subtile points unless we are stepping up our game.
So what now?
TNT will look about the same as has with Dorcas, but now I feel like I can answer some of those questions which you would like to pose to a coach. In particular I would like to start to talk a bit more about training outside of TNT; about designing your weekly, monthly, seasonal training cycles. I want to help athletes figure out what their goals are and how they are going to get there.
There are still vast holes in my running knowledge. I would like to know more about injury prevention and recovery. I would like to know how we should modify our training as we age. I would like to be able to sort our food fad from facts.
So yes, I am a work in progress. But actually that is not a bad spot to be.
Early this summer Rebecca encouraged us all to start taking back the #UVRC hashtag by posting your photos and tagging them on Instagram. Here are this month’s submissions:
Photo: UVRC at Vermont 100×100
by Amanda Kievet
Some of the UVRC folk who ran the Vermont 100 on 100 race last month. The race is a 6-person team relay (or 3 if you’re into road ultras) that runs 100 miles more or less along VT RTE 100 from Stowe to Okemo.
Race to the top of Vermont
by Bill Young
Thank you Coach Den Hartog for recruiting UVRC Runners for another “only-one-hill” race. Although we suffered, the senior runners in the photos appreciated the climb. Nancy Dunbar, also in the START photo, Dorcas and others took home medals. Craftsbury Academy xc skiers won most of the top spots. We chatted with them at their vans. We recognized Olympic competitors, like Dorcas in the group. The young skiers have secret snow hidden under saw dust from last year to start the ski season early. The Race to the Top course was 4.3 miles long and climbed 2,564 vertical feet on the famous Mt. Mansfield Toll Road to the summit parking lot at 3,843. Racers experience a steady incline averaging about 11 percent over the length of the course. At the summit finish area, we were rewarded with one of the most beautiful views in New England overlooking three states and Canada.
by Judy Phillips
Summer is my favorite season for running because of the number of races available during the week as well on weekends. I also love the sun and heat after a long winter and cold, damp spring.
I’ve always used races as part of my training, rather than training for each individual race. I try to schedule two races per weekend; sometimes work or injury interferes with my plan, but I set up a racing schedule months in advance. I research each race primarily based upon logistics (with few exceptions, my husband prefers not to travel more than an hour for a race); distance as it fits into our training plan; type of course (point-to-point being our least favorite as it requires some kind of transport to the start typically and always seems overly complicated); pacing requirements; and elevation chart. The latter factor is the one to which I pay least attention, much to my husband’s consternation; hills are unavoidable in Northern New England and, frankly, I’m just not good at analyzing those charts!
In July, I set up our annual “Anniversary Challenge”: 4 races in 4 days, kicked off with a 5 miler, then 3 5k’s. We do the Peaks Island Road Race, a 5k in York, Maine the next morning, an early morning 5k on Monday, and the Newburyport, Massachusetts Yankee Homecoming 5k Tuesday evening. Peaks Island was my husband’s first race 9 years ago. He’d never really run before; it turns out, he’s a natural athlete. He’s had some health stuff he’s had to work around, but this activity has definitely been a good thing, making him more focused on his health. He’s also a very good sport about my ambitious race schedule.
After a winter and spring dealing with back pain, I slowly made my way back in April. I began running more so I could be better prepared for my summer goals.
The “Summer Trifecta“, as I think of it, begins with the Stowe 8 Miler in early July. This is such a beautiful course and the race is well-managed. They’ve added a 5k so a lot of the slower runners opt for the shorter distance, which makes the field much smaller than it used to be, and I’m very far behind. But I truly love this race, and oddly, and happily, I keep shaving minutes off my prior years’ times. I’ll take it!
Next in my summer series of challenges, was a grueling 10k on Westport Island, Maine on August 18th. It was deceptively hot, no sun, just high humidity and tons of mosquitoes (I was covered in bites). It’s a very hilly, challenging, scenic course; it’s my favorite 10k. It’s beautiful and peaceful. This is a very tiny, low-key but well-managed race.
On August 24th, the biggest challenge was met. We did the NH 10 Miler in Auburn, NH. The course is stunning; basically, a loop around Lake Massabesic. This was the fourth time I’ve run it; we have done it every year since 2015, but 2 years ago I had an odd experience: I felt great, but just “ran out of gas” – no energy – at mile 4. I had to walk the remaining 6 miles. I was crushed. So last year and this, I was very anxious about my ability to finish. This year I had to run through some pain issues but persevered. My time was two minutes faster than last year’s (still much slower than before the injuries sustained in an accident 10 years ago), and I was feeling better afterwards than last year. The joy at the finish was incredible.
In between there were other races – a four mile race Thursday evening August 22nd, and the five miler, 5.7 mile race and a bunch of 5k’s I mentioned above.
Nothing makes me happier than meeting a challenge.
Harpoon Flannel 5K
by Geoff Dunbar
Harpoon passes along news that they’ve renamed and rescheduled their old “Oktoberfest 5K plus” to be the “Flannel 5K”. This is a popular race, and despite it not being in any of our regular series, it always draws a good crowd of UVRC runners. I have fond memories of UVRC winning the first “coed team” competition, and dozens of us crowding under the awards tent to share a victory boot of beer. This year it is a direct conflict with the NHGP race Granite State 10 miler, but if you’re looking for a shorter race, closer to home, with more beer at the finish, this might be one for you.
Official information from the race director:
Harpoon Brewery in Windsor VT is hosting our Flannel 5k on Sunday, September 22nd, 2019 at 10:00 AM! The scenic, foliage filled 5k course starts and ends at Harpoon Brewery. Post-race, we’ll have a flannel-themed party with fresh Harpoon beers, a light lunch provided by North Country Smokehouse, live music from the local band Hot Flannel, games and more! We’re excited for people to grab their favorite flannel and join us as we celebrate all things fall! Net proceeds will go to The Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center. We are proud to partner with such a well-respected institution in the Upper Valley and look forward to raising much needed funds for cancer research and patient care at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.
Here’s the info broken down:
- Harpoon Flannel 5k
- To benefit the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center
- Sunday, September 22, 2019
- Harpoon Brewery
- 336 Ruth Carney Dr.
- Windsor, VT 05089
A letter to UVRC
by Mary Peters
When Travis and I moved to the Upper Valley 6 years ago, we were both coming out of a rich college team experience. Although we had each other to run with, we didn’t know how to cope with the New England humidity and then winter, so we passed almost a year without running. That culminated in me crying about missing my friend Running, and we decided to join the local club for a Saturday run in 2014. That day we met a few runners, Geoff and Nancy Dunbar among them, and thought that the runners in this area were people we would really like to know. Later that summer we met Tom and Pam Moore at the WNHTRS, and so became friends with another pair of UVRC superstars.
For a couple of years we attended UVRC runs here and there, but it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to coach Couch to 5k that we became consistent members. Couch to 5k always meets either right before or right after UVRC workouts, so I had no excuse to stay home due to laziness or fear. Since graduating from college, I had become complacent and almost accepted that I would never run “fast” again. Participating in TNT workouts at first just for fun, and then for actual speed, reminded me how satisfying it is to strive for new paces and build strength while in the company of like-minded teammates. Travis and I ran quite a few road races with UVRC and I finally had the revelation that very few lifelong runners actually peak in their early running careers; there is no reason that my fastest times are already behind me! Both UVRC and Couch to 5k inspire me to do my best in my current stage. In 2017, it was racing fast road races to build to a BQ marathon; in 2018, it was learning about mental strength while recovering from injury; in 2019, it’s lacing up every other day to exercise for myself and this little fetus that is making me suck wind with each step.
Although the Upper Valley was so foreign when we arrived in 2013, it has now become another home. The running community here has helped me embrace winter and survive (but not entirely embrace) the humidity. I now accept that the NE mountains are legitimate, and my college town is no longer the hilliest place I have run. Couch to 5k has taught me patience and perseverance, and UVRC has taught me to keep pursuing my goals at every life stage. I can only hope that our next community is as inspiring as this one.
We will keep chugging syrup and bragging about the winters in NH for as long as we live. Thank you for the miles, the high fives, the races, the laughs, and the UVRC jerseys and Couch to 5k shirts that we will keep wearing proudly.
Come run with us in Bozeman!
Why do you run?
by Julia Neily
Why do you run? I asked myself this after I did the Vermont City Marathon May 2019. It hurt but felt good achieving that goal. But I was tired and training took a lot of time. I am working on balance in my life. I have three daughters – one is married and on her own, the others are 12 and 13 one with special needs. Jim Burnett gave wise advice: make running a family affair. Emily (13 year old) has started volunteering at races, and Jeff my husband joined the UVRC and is doing the series.
For years my main motivation to run was weight management, followed by stress management. Couldn’t I achieve these without logging so many miles? Can’t I just walk or eat less or meditate more and achieve the same goals? Is running all that great? Is it really necessary? So I dialed back, in June, ran less, walked more, ate less, weight stayed same. More time for other areas in my life. But then I realized I run for so much more. My jaw was tight due to clenching my teeth as a stress reaction. I was not sleeping well, waking up too early. I was cranky, more controlling, had less time for self alone and was butting in on my husband’s relationship with our daughters. They started saying don’t you need to go for a run? Its true I can eat less and stay the same weight and I can go for walks instead of working up a sweat running but I missed the relaxation after a run, I missed sleeping soundly, I missed the long runs on back roads with the beautiful trees, birds, deer, and even porcupines. I missed the way the sky changes, the clouds, and the exhilaration of a long run well done. I also learned that just running without cross training doesn’t work for me. I added Weds Yoga a regular part of my week and aiming for Friday TRX. I hope to also sprinkle in swimming. So still working on balance and back to running more, sleeping better and less butting in on others’ relationships.
Route Database Intro
by Laura Petto
Each newsletter (or thereabouts), we’re going to feature an Upper Valley running route. Eventually, we will gather all the routes by length, terrain, elevation, difficulty, etc. on the main website. My goal in doing this is to create a database of routes which allows runners to find the exact run that they would like, or to explore new areas. When I first moved to the Upper Valley, I was so unfamiliar with running hills, after living in two very flat places. I would have loved a database to ease into the hillier runs. Now, I am looking to expand my running repertoire and diversify my Strava heatmap! I’m hoping that creating a route database will benefit all types of runners.
I’ll be writing route features for the next couples newsletters to start us off, then I’m hoping that we’ll be overwhelmed by submissions from our amazing Wooly Syrup Chuggers. Email email@example.com if you have any questions or comments.
Route of the Month: New Boston
by Laura Petto
Route Name: New Boston
Route Distance: 11.31 miles
Elevation: 800 ft of elevation gain – mainly lower grade hills, maxing out at a short period of a 10% grade going up West Wheelock and a short portion of an 8% grade going up New Boston
Terrain Type: Road and Sidewalk
Description: This is currently my favorite route, especially at sunrise. The elevation gain is deceptive to me – it certainly doesn’t feel like that much gain, probably because most of the gain is low grade. Going up New Boston has 304 ft of elevation gain in 1.61 miles, with a few twists and turns as you go up. Getting to the top is absolutely spectacular – there’s a gorgeous mountain vista with beautiful fields. Keep going, and you’ll get some rolling hills with shade from very tall trees. Right after Sundback road, there’s a field on the right that always seems to be filled with verdant flower growth – right now, there’s an abundance of yellow flowers, but earlier in the spring, I saw lots of lupines and Queen Anne’s lace. The whole run makes me so peaceful – I forget the effort and find myself lost in my surroundings, from the stone walls peppered across the landscape to the gentle creek that twists along the big climb to the fields of flowers after the top. It’s a quiet run, too – I usually see one or two bikers, but I’ve only ever crossed paths with one runner.
Variations: Can be cut shorter or longer depending on how far the out-and-back on New Boston is.
Ask the Coaches
Got a question for the coaches? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it on!
Important! We’re getting dangerously short on questions. Send us your question if you want to see this feature in upcoming newsletters.
I was thinking this weekend, as I am training for the half marathon, “Why I am so much slower this year compared to last?” In my analysis between the two years, I feel that one reason is hydration. I find myself not hydrating during my longer runs as much as I did last year. Last year, I had a small CamelBak that I borrowed. This year I bought a larger one, that I do not like as much, so I do not use it on my long runs. Thus by mile 8 or 9, I start really feeling the muscle fatigue. What advice do you coaches have regarding hydration?
First off, although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, I always encourage my athletes to drink on long runs. Sometimes just water, but sometimes electrolytes or a salty drink. Electrolytes help regulate neuromuscular firing patterns, and cramping is the body’s first way of saying, hey things aren’t lining up properly on a cellular level. Rehydrating with just water may be sufficient, but if you start drinking more during runs and it’s not helping, then you need some electrolytes. You will also probably need electrolytes for runs in extreme heat, or long races.
That said, this question sounds like it’s primarily an issue of how to carry your fluids. Looks like you need a different Camelback, or similar. I have no qualms with the Camelback, but it can be cumbersome, and is often much more water than you need. There are Camelbacks that sit on your hips that some runners prefer because they don’t chafe as much as backpacks, and there are vests that hold flasks instead of a bladder… I believe Solomon leads the industry for those. If you don’t need much water, maybe just enough to take the edge of thirst off, you could just carry a small flask in your hand. Of course, for intensity workouts, track workouts, or other runs where you are doing laps, just bring a bottle and drop it at one point on the lap. I personally have gotten used to running with a waterbelt, same as I ski with, that carries a bottle. Most runners find this unacceptable because it’s bouncy, but one can get used to it. If you really don’t want to carry anything with you, consider driving your loop beforehand and leaving some water drops for yourself. That’s more trouble than it’s worth, IMO.
Fluid consumption should be spread out over the course of the workout; don’t wait to drink it all when you’re thirsty. Same goes if you’re doing intervals. Take a sip after each rep of your interval workout. Don’t guzzle it all at once.
Sounds like you already know the point at which you start to feel your dehydration impacting the workout. The trick is to get ahead of the problem. If you notice it around mile 8, then any run longer than 6 miles probably needs some water; runs in the heat and sun may require water sooner, and more of it. Make notes in your training log of how you feel with different degrees of hydration, and different fluids consumed. That’s how you will find your patterns.
As far as getting the salts you might need, electrolyte tabs, Gatorade, and other similar supplements are a great option for workouts where you will be truly depleting yourself. If you can’t tolerate the dissolve-able tablets, or electrolyte energy chews, some people like flat Coke with a little salt in it. Sounds super weird, but actually gets the job done pretty well.
Post-workout is also an important time to drink. It’s your recovery window for hydration, just as it is for nutrition. Straight water is fine in most cases if the food you’re eating is high in salt, sugar, fat, and key nutrients like potassium (bananas are high in potassium and sugar- great for post workout, but throw some PB on there to get your fat and protein.) But there’s nothing wrong with an electrolyte supplement too. After the workout is a great time for this. Products from companies like Hammer Nutrition, Gu, and even drinks like Gatorade and Powerade have their place right here. The trouble is in the sugar content. Most consumers do not need a full serving of any of these products.
So, major points:
- Water AND electrolytes are important
- Timing is important. Replenishment after a workout is always key, some workouts require water and/or electrolytes during.
- Trial and error is a good way to figure out your own boundaries. If your thirst exceeds dryness in the back of your throat, you’re too thirsty.
- Avoid cramping if at all possible. If you have a tendency to experience muscle cramps, take water and electrolytes early in the workout
- Sip throughout the workout, don’t guzzle all at once
- Supplements are good. Be mindful of sugar quantities, and know that you will not need a full serving after all but the very hardest and most depleting workouts.
How Not to Dread the Long Run
by Jim Burnett
My long run tomorrow will circumnavigate the bumps on the profile of Mt. Desert Island you see above, except for the leftmost, Cadillac Mt. I have planned a 50K double loop, the first around Pemetic Mt. and Jordan Pond and the second, referred to as “Around the Mountain” (actually around two mountains, Penobscot and Sargent). Having put this long run (technically run-walk) on my training schedule months ago in order to prepare myself for the VT50 five weeks out, in turn a stepping stone to the NYC Marathon ten weeks out and the Boston Marathon farther yet down the road, I have been dreading it off and on ever since. That is until yesterday afternoon when I said to myself, “Enough already!” Now, I am sitting on the porch of the cottage that I share with six-odd cousins with my run-walking buddy, Mookie, having hatched a plan to get up early and go have some fun for about six hours tomorrow morning. If all goes well, the weather looks awesome by the way, Mookie and I should be done by noon-ish and on our way back to base camp while scouting out tasty food to eat on the way. But, this all depends, of course, on how it all sugars out, as we Wooly Syrup Chuggers like to say.
When does just a run become a long run? What may seem long to me may seem short or moderate to you or vice versa. The word “long” implies long in distance, time or effort, if you allow the use of “effort” as a unit of endurance. I think a long run is a combination of these three measured on your own scale and I would add that a long run is not a long run unless you dread it at least a little bit.
If you want to dread the long run a little less, my first suggestion is don’t get ahead of yourself. There you are staring at the long run (long for you) six or eight weeks out on your 5K or half or full or ultra marathon training schedule and thinking “Ugh!” Give yourself a break. Tell yourself you don’t have to do it when the time comes if you aren’t ready. Loosen the value on the pressure cooker. Give yourself an “out”, then keep it on the schedule and just let it sit there.
My second suggestion is, as the long run approaches, maybe one week out, ask yourself if you are ready or not. Look at your training log and see if you are on track. If you aren’t, push it back or shorten the distance, time or effort on your schedule, no worries. This is not being a slacker, this is being smart and listening to your body.
My third suggestion is make your long run an adventure = make it fun, have a plan and always have a Plan B. George Sheehan, the Runners World writer and author, and runners’ guru said, “We are all an experiment of one.” Our bodies are our individual laboratories, every run is data to be used to get better, faster, stronger and healthier. If you need to experiment with fluid or fuel replacement, the long run is the time to do it. Want to find out if your feet will hold up with more responsive running shoes? Give them a go. Jeff Galloway, an Olympic long distance runner and famous for his marathon training plans, suggests saving your energy at the beginning of your long run so you can finish strong and feel good about your effort. I know when I’ve had a good long run if I find myself planning the next one as I come down the home stretch. Success breeds success, right? But remember, if things don’t go well, back off. Run a little, walk a little, run a little more. I like to make a game of it. Walk for five minutes, then jog to complete one mile. For the next mile try to clock a little bit less time by either walking faster or jogging faster. Continue while trying to gradually shorten your mile times. Simple games make the miles fly by.
I must admit that my plan for tomorrow is somewhat complex. This is what happens when you read a lot of running books. I am particularly interested to find out if a boiled potato will help me fuel through the last 10K. At about 20-25 miles, the body exhausts it’s supply of carbs and switches over to burning fat. In the book I am currently reading entitled, “The Longest Race,” by Ed Ayers, the author reveals the magical effects of eating a boiled potato at the 25-mile aid station of the JFK 50 Miler. It turns out that the potato provides the slow burning carbs necessary to slowly process body fat into energy for the leg muscles. It’s important to ingest slow burning carbs, sweet potatoes are best, because fast burning carbs like gels create a flash fire that doesn’t last and only leads to a further lowering of blood sugars following a short lived boost of energy. I have accommodated Mookie in my plan too. I will walk the first mile with Mookie, then take him back to the Jeep for a siesta while I do my first loop, then walk with him for another mile, then back to the Jeep for more R&R, then I do the second longer loop and walk with him for another mile at the end. If I need to bail out at any point (Plan B) the Jeep is not far off and Mookie will welcome me with licks and kisses – he could care less if I finish the 50K or not.
It’s a paradox really. A long run is not a long run unless you dread it. So, you can’t really “Not Dread It.” But you can “give yourself a break” and dread it much much less. And, there is a built in bonus payoff here too. As much as we would like to think so, dread is not going anywhere. Let “dread management” be your goal. Taming dread is what it’s all about. Run long, run happy…
About this Newsletter
This newsletter is put out monthly by the Upper Valley Running Club, the premier (and only) running club in the Connecticut River Upper Valley Region. This month, the newsletter was edited by Amanda Kievet, with article collection by Laura Petto. Any comments, questions, submissions, winter running tips, etc, send to email@example.com.