Monday, January 31, 2011

acidotic RACING's Chris Dunn talks with Amber Ferreira

Anyone who has done a race in the Granite State Snowshoe Series has probably seen or met Chris Dunn either as a race director, racer or possibly both. He is the guy with all the logistics and contingencies planned for with backups and backups to the backups. A very diligent guy, who once you talk with him a little, you realize is very friendly and funny as well. Amber and I have been lucky enough to race for his team, acidotic Racing, for the last three winters for snowshoe and trail races. Acidotic RACING jerseys can be found on us featured in Snowshoe Magazine, Running Times and, most recently, New England Runner. And we wear these jerseys with pride. Acidotic Racing not only puts together great races with great competitors but aR, guided by Chris, does a ton of community service as well. Chris sat down with us the other day to tell us a little more about how it all got started.

Why did you start acidotic RACING?

Originally acidotic RACING was started as a way to increase the number of potential teammates for our adventure racing team.

What are your favorite aR events?

For the better part of the last decade I've favored the off-road stuff. And both my own racing and our event management reflects that. I really can't say that I've got a 'favorite' aR event other than the one I'm currently racing, directing, or both.

Non aR events?

For the past 5 years I've circled the Pineland Farms 25k on my race calendar at the beginning of the year. It's the race that I organize my training around for the first five months of the year. Rounding out my Top 3 are the 24 Hours of Great Glen (mtb race) and Reach The Beach. It's no surprise that these two races are both team events. Without question the best thing about aR is my teammates and I cherish every opportunity I get to race with them.

What do you hope will become of aR as a team?

My hopes for aR are now a reality. We've got an incredibly diverse collection of some of the greatest people in endurance sports that I now call friends.

Where do you see the team in five years?

Just this past summer we started an aR-WEST COAST team thanks to the efforts of my friend Brad Brown. I'd love to see Brad grow this group the way we've done it here on the East Coast...focusing on recruiting tremendous people who happen to share our passion for endurance sports. Who knows, within 5 years we may be hosting and racing snowshoe, trail, and mountain races from sea to shining sea?

How did you get involved in snowshoeing?

In 2007, I was a frustrated trail runner looking for a 'distraction' during the long winter months when Mother Nature seemingly conspired against my enjoyment of the trail network where I live. While searching the internet I stumbled upon the Sidehiller Snowshoe Race in Center Sandwich, NH. I bought a pair of snowshoe's that winter and gave it a try and surprisingly finished 3rd overall behind Kevin Tilton and Dave Dunham. It was that early "relative" success that hooked me. It was one of the hardest things I'd done but also one of my most exhilarating competitive experiences.

You have gotten ar in several charitable giving opportunities-tell us about them and how our readers can get involved.

It was important to me when we started the event management part of aR that we make charitable giving a top priority. All of the events we host benefit, at least in part, a charitable organization. In 2010 aR raised over $5000 in cash and collected 69 warm winter coats for local and national non-profits. Some of those organizations include the Cocheco Valley Humane Society, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Alzheimer's Association, and Exeter Conservation Commission. In 2011 we're adding the Children's Hospital Boston as one of our beneficiaries in support of our teammate Timmy Lindsey who's raising money through his Miles for Miracles Boston Marathon team. Please visit his website for more details. And thanks to Bob Dion of DION Snowshoes we're selling 100 $10 chances to win a new pair of DION 121's. All of the proceeds go directly to Children's Hospital Boston. You can buy a "chance to win" at any of the races in the Granite State Snowshoe Series.

A little more about you now, what are your most proud athletic accomplishments?

It's hard for me to talk historically about individual accomplishments. I try not to spend a lot of time talking about and focusing on what I've done in the past. The objective at every race is to 1.) own the outcome and 2.) learn from the experience. If I'm not learning, I'm not growing. And growth is the essential element of power. I derive great satisfaction from every race that I'm able to give my full attention and commitment.

What does a sample training week look like for you?

As I've gotten older my philosophy has become, "train the very least to gain the very most". In the winter macrocycle I put in 6 running/snowshoeing units a week including at least one snowshoe race. In addition, I put in two units of sport-specific resistance training at the gym. As an exercise physiologist I've studied various performance enhancing training techniques and have developed a strength training approach for endurance athletes that I have personally found to be incredibly valuable. In the spring, summer, and fall macrocycles I'll typically add a 7th endurance unit resulting in at least one double each week (i.e. lunchtime speed workout followed by a longer trail run in the afternoon). I also try to sneak in two mountain bike rides each week as well when the weather and trails permit. I'm really just trying to stay as fit and healthy as I can possibly be and if what I do results in me remaining somewhat competitive within my peer group then that's a bonus. I also realize that I'm modeling for my kids. I think it's important for them to see their father exercising and committing to a healthy lifestyle.

Danny's questions-

What superhero's powers do you most covet?

I've always wanted to fly.


I guess because I hear that it's the closest thing to flying.

Running and the associated training requires a lot of time away from your loved ones- how do you make it work?

I'm not sure I always do, but I try my best to involve the family. My wife and I enjoy racing Reach The Beach together. My son and I (along with my brother) race together at the 24 Hours of Great Glen. And my daughters are integral parts of the event management aspect of aR typically volunteering at our races. It certainly helps to have a supportive family and I'm very, very grateful for that.

Tell us about your record toppling goals set by your father and if there are any still out there.

Anyone who knows the Dunn's knows that we're a pretty competitive family. It's not unusual for my father to insist, typically at holiday family gatherings, that everyone has their body fat measured. The women, of course, always seem to get out of it leaving my dad, my son, and I to battle it out for body fat supremacy. In his day my father was a very competitive and talented endurance athlete and established a number of "Dunn Family Records". This past summer I had the opportunity to surpass one of them with my finish at the Mt. Washington Road Race besting my father's time by 4+ minutes. I'll always remember sitting on top of The Rock Pile and calling to tell him. The only record he still holds is the family marathon mark. My best chance to take that was in the early 2000's at the Music City Marathon in Nashville, TN when I missed the record by less than 2 minutes. I don't see me attempting that one again. You can't win them all.

I hear your brother is quite the biker, who'd win in a tri?

He swims like a rock so I'd say me.

How about a pick-up basketball game?

The last time we played pick-up basketball it ended in a fist fight and my father made him drive me to the emergency room. But to answer your of course.

1 comment:

  1. You guys continue to put up interesting stuff here. keep it up.