Letter from a Board Member

Letter from a Board Member: Matt Sherman

By: Matt Sherman

My name is Matt Sherman and I’ve been a member of UVRC Board since 2021. I’ve been running with the club since 2018, though I’ve been taking a break from more consistent running as I’ve had some injuries keeping me off the road and trails. I’ve taken the opportunity to try out that thing called yoga and it’s been great for helping with mobility and strength, as I’m sure many of you can relate to! I’m more of an at-home, YouTube yoga practitioner (shout out to ‘Yoga with Adriene’ and Benji!), but the catalyst for me was going to baby goat yoga last summer down in Springfield, VT. That’s me down below with Princess Leia, who proceeded to run away immediately when I tried the classic baby-goat-on-back photo op. I didn’t take the rejection personally (well, not that personally). Baby goat yoga was a springboard for me to finally give the old yoga thing more of a go! I’m hoping that the increased mobility and strength can help get me back into running more consistently and we’ll see if 2023 is the year I get back into racing. My pre-Winter goal was to run the Shamrock Shuffle, but I unfortunately won’t be racing it this year. But if you’re reading this, YES, you should run the Shamrock Shuffle! It’s Saturday, March 18th in Lebanon and is a great local event!

With that, I hope you’re enjoying the classic New England weather, teasing us with spring warmth and coming back with snowfall for days. When it comes to winter activities, I always tell myself I’ll get out more and this will be the year I go cross country skiing and Nordic skating and winter hiking more often. But I also say the same thing about actually putting effort into my Halloween costume. Like “Next year, I’m actuallllly going to make some really cool homemade costume that’s a combination of some obscure reference and also punny” butttt I always end up going with my back up costume… Anyways! I know I’m looking forward to coming out of my hibernation and getting more active as we approach these warmer days. We’re almost there! See you all soon!

Race Announcements

March 2023 News and Announcements

By: Robert "RJ" Jones

Fam, in an effort to make us ever more efficient at disseminating knowledge I'm going to try to make this general News and Announcements a recurring thing for our Newsletter. So what follows are a couple things to keep on the radar and to stay updated with club happenings

Racing News

This month we have both a UVRS Race and a NHGP race!

March 18th is the annual and much beloved Shamrock Shuffle!! You can register for that here: https://lebanonnh.gov/816/Shamrock-Shuffle 

And be sure to do that before March 11th to get your t-shirt! Unless of course you already registered for the whole UVRS (you can do that here)

Later in the month on March 26th is our first NHGP race, the Nashua Soup Kitchen 10K. Info and registration for that is hither: https://nsks.org/run-and-walk-for-food-and-shelter/

You can check out the full series here: https://www.nhgp.org/2023-series/

Club News

Join the Social Committee!

As much fun as it is to run with y’all, we also want to host more fun social events for our members! But we need your help and ideas to do so! Consider joining the UVRC Social Committee and make your cool events ideas into a reality! 

We will be having a committee meeting towards the end of March (dinner provided), please reach out to contact@uppervalleyrunningclub.org if you’re interested!

Spring Couch to 5K Season is Just Around the Corner!

The Kick-off will be April 22nd so there is still time but March will fly by before you know it! So sign up soon while you’re thinking of it!

Couch to 5k NEW

Couch to 5k Alumni

March Runner’s Night Out will be March 14th @ Hanover Ramuntos (IT’S PI DAY!!!!)

I’m not saying anyone has to….but if people came to Runner’s Night Out with pies it would really butter my toast and fill me with joy. 

Membership Update

Just a fun note for the curious: As of right………now we have 204 registered members! I’m so happy we have such a large Fam and I hope to see all 203 (not counting myself) of you at some point this year! 

UVRS Finisher Prizes

If you weren’t able to attend the Runner’s Night Out and pick up your sweet sweet finisher prize for the UVRS, worry not! We WILL get them to come heck or high water. Please reach out to contact@uppervalleyrunningclub.org to arrange a pickup or delivery of your prize.

Club Announcements

Need Volunteer Website Keeper

It pains me to say this Fam but our website needs some help! Or at least a bit of more regular updating and some razzle dazzle. I’m looking for someone with website design and maintenance skills to volunteer to take the helm of keeping our website running smoothly and looking fly. If interested please reach out to contact@uppervalleyrunningclub.org and let me know!

Race Announcements

The Family Place 2023 CBHM Team

By: Lisa Banks, Advancement and Administrative Assistant at The Family Place, and Robert "RJ" Jones

The Covered Bridges Half Marathon continues to be an incredibly difficult race to get in on registration day (because it is a supremely good race). But if you missed out and had resigned yourself to the “better luck next year” camp, I have exciting news for you! While the CBHM has many individuals that run, did you know they also support several teams that represent charitable organizations and non-profits? One such local team is the Family Place.

Located in Norwich, Vermont, the Family Place  "delivers comprehensive programs designed to strengthen positive relationships, teach essential skills and promote enduring healthy growth for families with young children in the Upper Valley and surrounding communities". Since 1985, The Family Place has provided "a whole-family approach to helping children thrive". They "work with children and caregivers together, promoting positive parenting strategies and ensuring that children have the kinds of experiences that support their physical development, their social functioning, their ability to learn, and their long-term health." They provide several crucial services to the community such as: "parenting classes and groups, nursing services, early intervention, child advocacy, and child care financial assistance".

They are a wonderful organization and you can both support them AND still race in the 2023 CBHM by joining their racing team! As of now they still have open spots so please see the details summarized below (and more on their team page here) and consider registering with them! You can also learn more about The Family Place and the work they are doing for the community at their website: https://www.familyplacevt.org/about.

Race Announcements

Central Vermont Runners Race Series

By: Robert "RJ" Jones

I wanted to take a moment to mention that we are surrounded to the North and South by some really awesome running clubs! Our neighbors to the North in Vermont’s capital city Montpelier for example have a group of highly active and dedicated runners called the Central Vermont Runners (CVR). 

Much like us they are a hodgepodge of runners of every kind, your road runners, your trail runners, racers, ultra runners, you name it. Also like us, they have a running series! Sadly I wasn’t fully aware of the CVR until recently so I wasn’t able to let you know before the official start of their racing series (they kick off on New Year’s Eve!) BUT they have a lot of races coming up on some great courses that I think are worth the “relatively short” trip up 91! 

The official details for their racing series are as follows:

“The Central Vermont Runners race series is a group of races in which CVR club members are awarded points based on their finishing time compared to the best time run by a CVR member in their age group. Standings are published throughout the year, and awards are presented to the age group winners and additional overall points leaders at the annual CVR banquet.

Our race series consists of 13 races. This includes trail races as well as road races. To be considered for the race series, a runner must be a member of CVR and volunteer in at least one CVR event (we hold 20+ events a year).  Our race series begins with a New Year's Eve 5K. Our next series race is the Kaynor's Sap Run on April 1.”

Their race series is below and you can see their full racing calendar and learn more about their club from their website: https://cvrunners.org/

2023 CVR/ORO Race Series

Member Submission

CCBA and Finding our Stride are Looking for Coaches

By: Robert "RJ" Jones

Do you have coaching experience and want to make a positive impact in the community? If so, I have good news! Finding Our Stride, in partnership with the CCBA, are looking for a Head and Assistant Coach to lead their after school program this Spring!

You might have heard of Finding Our Stride, a local non-profit committed to improving community health and engagement through running and other activities, from Kristen Coat’s phenomenal article in last month’s Newsletter.

They continue to provide support to our community through youth engagement and you could help with that by coaching! 

In the program itself Runners meet twice per week after school (coaches can determine which days) and the program is open to Lebanon kids attending CCBA’s after school program. A season will last for between 6 and 8 weeks with a start time around the first or second week of April

Head and Assistant Coach will be provided a stipend of $700 and  $600 respectfully.

If you are interested, please reach out to Marisa Miller and Mike Fenzel for more details

Member Submission

Running Injury Free: How to beat the odds

By: Eric Ellington

Member Submission

Things I would Tell Past Me Before He Started Running

By: Robert "RJ" Jones

In no particular order

  • You are a naturally heavy sweater. The amount you sweat will border on concerning and preposterous but that’s just how your body does and there’s nothing wrong with that
  • You need to warm up. Yes, every time. It may seem tedious but you’ll thank yourself later
  • Always, always, ALWAYS, empty yourself before you go on a run even if it’s just a suspicion. Otherwise you will be forced to do some things you will not be proud of.
  • It’s going to suck for much longer than you think but only if you try to do too much too fast. Take your time and give yourself grace. 
  • Your actual pace is irrelevant. There are people that can run 2 miles in the time it takes you to run 1. And that’s totally fine, and you don’t need to try to become that fast person! The sooner you start running to run and not running to reach an unattainable goal, the sooner you’ll actually enjoy running. Comparison is the thief of joy my guy
  • You WILL enjoy running. Eventually. 
  • Get some GD good running headphones that loop over your ears and treat them well because otherwise you will burn through them like crazy.
  • Even after you get consistent at running you’re going to have bad days where you just aren’t into it. Run anyway. The consistency is worth it and you’ll always feel better that you did
  • It can be too; cold, hot, windy, or rainy to run. You have nothing to prove or gain by ignoring your gut. Be sensible or be sorry
  • At least for your feet the whole neutral, over pronation, under pronation stuff is useless. Just get a shoe that doesn’t hurt and roll with it. Saucony and Brooks all the way
  • Your feet are totally whack. They’ll carry you further than you ever thought, but they are whack
  • Your toenails can fall off from running too much. Yup. 
  • The "Runner's High" is real! It doesn't happen often but it does happen
  • Nipple chafing is also real and can/will happen to you if you aren't careful
  • Hills are weakness but you *can* do them
  • You can run further and faster than you give yourself credit for
  • Keep running. Even when you don't want to. It's one of the best decisions you've ever made
  • If you let them dry, you totally can wear the same outfit multiple times. It'll start off gross but then you'll realize how often you have to wash your clothes otherwise and you'll get over it real fast
  • Don’t listen to what anyone says, run commando it’s fine.
Member Submission

Running with Running Club North

By: Tim Smith

"Welcome to FBD - Fahrenheit Be Darned - or whatever you what to call it", intoned George, the soft-spoken coach for Running Club North (RCN). "We'll head out past Beethoven Hill, and then out around the farm loop - not the Farmer's Loop . . ." Farmer's Loop is the northern ring road for Fairbanks, the farm loop circles field the university's experimental farm. ". . . and then onto the commuter trail for awhile - near campus it might be plowed." At this time of year, the commuter trails are generally packed by fat bikes, with a few skiers, runners, and dogs. ". . . cross Smith Lake . . . and return by Sheep Creek."

It is 5:45 p.m. and very dark outside in January. There are about a dozen of us heading out the door of the Patty Center, the gymnasium for the University of Alaska at Fairbanks (UAF). I feel like something out of a bad sci-fi movie, you can hear the clatter of our spikes on the tiles, most of the club is wearing "Icebug" running shoes. As we approach the door we are all 'energy' our running vests; neon red, green, blue, yellow, purple, and pink, half of them strobing. It is pretty cold tonight, I think I saw -10 F before leaving the house. My coldest run so far was -17 F, but tonight people are also talking about the wind.

I fall in with Kelsi and Peter. I find that if I work hard I can match their pace - barely. I understood most of the route George had laid out for us, but I'm not clear on the farm loop, or how to get from Smith Lake to Sheep Creek, so I am inspired to stay with these two to find the way.

Our pace never looks impressive on my watch, about a minute per mile behind where I think I should be, but most of the time we are in 2-3 inches of snow and I am sure the effort level is more than sufficient. That "Wind", they all complain about it, is a barely felt breeze by Upper Valley standards. But winter wind really is uncommon in the interior of Alaska.

It is about a mile around the farm loop and we meet a few people walking their dogs. I tell Kelsi that I might not be allowed to permanently move to Alaska unless I was to acquire a dog. "Or a team of dogs", she suggests. Kelsi just led a workshop on skijoring with dogs at the "Alaskan Musher's Hall" a week ago.

I have been impressed with the number of people I see biking on the commuter trail. Not right now, but on other days I've seen commuters with handlebar mitts, and headlamps. Some even with full helmets and face shields. And all of them with 5-inch tires or wider.

After the commuter trail, we are on the "North Campus" trail network. Most of these are groomed for cross-country skiers, but the bigger trails have a small side strip for snowshoes, walkers, and of course runners. Because the days are so short, with three hours of daylight when we arrived at New Year's, a number of the trails also have lights. It is a bit magical to be bounding down a trail through a thick boreal forest of spruce all clad with snow, when around a corner we meet the Nordic club. I'm told the Nordic club usually meets at Birch Hill on the other side of town, but occasionally skis north campus. It seems to me as if some of them are skating uphill about as fast as we are running downhill.

A small trail I don't know branches off to Smith Lake, and so we go and run across the ice. The lake probably has 3-5 feet of ice, with another foot of snow on top of that. There are moose tracks underfoot, and Jupiter and Venus are brilliant in the western frozen sky. Another small trail through a bit of muskeg, or spruce bog, and out to Sheep Creek and back to the Patty Center.

On a night like tonight picking the right number of layers is a bit of an art. Last week I was sweating at the end. Tonight I have three layers on the torso and two on the legs and I think it is about right. Five minutes out my fingers were numb, but by mile two I was warming. And mile three to the end were very comfortable.

Back the Patty Center people are trickling in, where George has hot chocolate for use.


So how is RCN different from UVRC? First, a few words about how Alaska is different from the Upper Valley. Alaska has a population a bit larger than Vermont's (733,000 vs. 656,000), but an area 70 times larger them Vermont or New Hampshire. In fact, Alaska is almost ten times larger than all of New England (and Maine is not small!) The nearest rival running club is in Anchorage, 360 miles away. Fairbanks itself has a population of 30,000, and there are members who come in from North Pole (not the north pole), Fox, Chena, etc. Locals will point out that the "North Star Borough" (the equivalent of a county) has a population of 100,000. But it is the size of New Jersey!

The long and the short of it is that people in Fairbanks compete against people in Fairbanks. Once a year they might go elsewhere, and once a year people come here to run the Equinox Marathon.

But they still fill their calendar with all sorts of events. I ran in the Borealis Fun Run, and there is a full moon run every month. There are a number of snowshoe races and they share their calendar with the Endurance North Club, which means 100-mile run/ski/bike races in the wilderness.

A few weeks ago RCN had their winter sociable - a spaghetti dinner, their first indoor event since COVID. Sitting around a table with eight other runners I feel very at home and like I have "found my people". These are people who talk about the same things I think about. Any one of them could have been a member of UVRC - or even Central Park Track Club (the New York City club I ran with during our last sabbatical). Steph is a wildlife biologist who studies geese on the North Slope - but right now is recovering from a foot injury. Kelsi is a physical therapist who also does skijoring. Peter works for the rec. department. Scott is a Coast Guard retiree who hikes in kilts and runs in shorts if the temperature goes positive. And they all welcomed me, like a long lost brother, with open arms.

This is the second time I have left the Upper Valley for a months, gone someplace, joined a running club, and felt -instantly- that I belonged. Why? I think it is because runners see the world as doers and non-doers. And if you see the thermometer at -17F, but still put on you Icebugs, turn on you running vest, and head out the door, you are part of the tribe. You are one of us.

Member Submission

March 2023 UVRC Calendar

By: Robert "RJ" Jones

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