Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sidehiller Snowshoe Race

This Saturday will be Amber's first snowshoe race of the season. That is if it isn't cancelled. We should find out later today whether there will be enough snow to race on the fairgrounds. The course has already been modified so it no longer crosses the road but instead stays nearly entirely on the fairgrounds.
The revised Sidehiller course
Paul Kirsch, Sidehiller's race director, describes the course as " a 2 lap course of the Sandwich Fairgrounds (about 5 miles total distance). Relive your great memories of the Cattle area, the Swine, the Oxen, without all of those pesky crowds!! "

It will be really disappointing if this race doesn't occur since it is the only race that Amber and I have done every year since we started snowshoeing in 2009.

2011 Results:


2010 Results:
9DannyFerreira27ConcordNH34: 01

27            Amber Cullen            27             Concord NH             38: 39


2009 Results
8           Danny Ferreira    26                   Concord NH           39:15
28        Amber Cullen  26                       Concord NH            48:03


Wow! Can that really be correct? Amber took off nearly 10 minutes from her time from 2009 to 2011 while I took off less than five minutes. The 2009 and 2011 courses were the same and it appears that this year's course will be the same(or similar) as the 2010 course. Will we see the same level of improvement? Let's hope!

Danny chasing DD as always...

Is this a race?

Up Next: Treating the Multisport Athlete Conference in NYC Friday, Sidehiller Saturday, Moving my sister into her apartment Sunday. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Whitaker Woods and GBTC Invitational

This weekend was my return to racing after not having raced since early December. Other than when I had a stress fracture before Leadville, this was probably the longest time between races since I've started running. The weekend would start out with Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble on Saturday, the first race of the Granite State Snowshoe Series. Amber wasn't able to come up due to her training but I headed up with teammate and running partner, J Massa.

The field of racers was smaller this year than last likely due to the poor snow conditions in the rest of the state, but it was their loss as the snow in North Conway was great. Kevin Tilton put on another amazing race with really cool prizes(wrestling-style belts) for the overall WWSS winners. It was nice getting back into the snowshoe season and to see everybody but it was a rude awakening of my fitness.

I started out probably a bit too fast as it was but it felt comfortable for a while until it just fell apart and I pretty much had to walk it in. I thought I would be able to take a solid minute off my time from last year but instead took off a paltry twenty-something seconds. I will have to run a smarter race next week at Sidehiller if I plan on placing top ten there.
The start of the race

Amazingly, Whitaker Woods was actually my better race of the weekend. Amber and I headed down to Harvard for the Greater Boston Track Club Invitational Track meet where I was planning on running a fast mile. I had run a 4:49 at Reggie Lewis in early December and I was hoping to go under 4:40 at GBTC. For whatever reason though, I got caught up too slow in the first 400 and never could make up the time. Felt sluggish and like I had no turn-over. I guess that's what happens when I take time off running. However, Amber and Deidre joined me for a 10 mile run around the Charles River after the mile which with the post-run food at the Regal Beagle nearly made up for my poor performance.

We have Sidehiller this coming weekend and we may sign up for the BU Valentine Invitational for one more chance for me at the mile. Or I just might scrap it and start training for triathlons as we've got New Orleans 70.3 in April. I just really don't want to wake up early to get in the pool. Oh well.

Friday, January 20, 2012

First Race of the Season This Saturday

It finally looks like we may have a race this weekend. With some snow already on the group and a little more expected, Whitaker Woods should be on. This will be the first race in the Granite State Snowshoe Series and put on by Kevin Tilton. Last year's course was a great combination packed ski trail and powdery single track with just enough hills to make it challenging but not unbearable. I would expect similar trail design this year.

Several racers last year got off trail, including Amber, so the results didn't necessarily accurately reflect the competition but it will likely draw a great crowd as it is the only race this weekend.

Neither Amber or I have put on our snowshoes this season, and Amber will be sitting this race out due to a long bike that she needs to do on Saturday. She'll be there next weekend though for the Sidehiller course which will also serve as the USSSA regional qualifier. Whitaker Woods will surely be a rude introduction back into snowshoe racing, but guarenteed to be a fun time. Check it out here.

I certainly will not be wearing that Orange hat again.

Hopefully at Sidehiller Am and I can get another picture like the one on the cover of Level Renner. Guess that means Scott Mason needs to be shooting some pictures.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Amber and Danny in Level Renner

Check out the newest edition of Level Renner.

Not a bad cover:)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

If I sound dumb on paper, just wait to hear me talk

I was talking with someone about aquathlon the other day and how I thought it would really suit an athlete like Amber. A strong swimmer and runner should do pretty well in that event. I never got to find out whether the person agreed or disagreed with me however because we ended up discussing pronunciation of the word aquathlon. Apparently you're supposed to pronounce aquathlon aqua-thon not a-quath- alon as I had been. This quickly lead me to think about other words that I have been notorious for mis-pronouncing. Here's just a smattering:

Pronunciation (pruh-nuhn-see-ey-shuhn) noun- I'll quote the dictionary for this one: the act or result of producing the sounds of speech, including articulation, stress and intonation, often with reference to some standard of correctness or acceptability.

      Danny's pronunciation: proh-noun-see-ey-shuhn. It's not a good thing when you can't pronounce pronunciation. If that's the case you may be putting the wrong  emphasis on the wrong syllable.

Expedite-(ek-spi-dahyt) verb- to speed up or hasten.
       Danny's pronunciation: ek-speed-iate- Apparently I was trying to put the emphasis on speed.
Self-deprecating-(self- dep-ri-key-ting) verb- to belittle oneself.
      Danny's pronunciation: self- dih-pree-shee-eyt-ing - actually a very similiar meaning if you use depreciating instead of deprecating but no less not the word I was meaning to use.

Surreptitious(sur-uhp-tish-uhs) adj- acting in a stealth way.
    Danny's pronunciation: sur-rip-it-tus)
Latin(lat-n) noun- a language not spoken except in some churches

     Danny's pronunciation: lad-in. Apparently it should have stayed unspoken.

Epoch-(ep-uhk) noun- a memorable date or period of time
   Danny's pronunciation: Ee-pok- I didn't even realize I was mispronouncing this one until yesterday.  

Fun run(fuhn ruhn)- noun- a mythical "easy" run where people just apparently frolick over hill-side and glen.
   Danny's pronunciation: peyn.

Amber(am-ber) noun- a professional triathlete married to Danny. Also a color and a fossil resin that can house DNA to create jurassic park.
  Danny's pronunciation: uhn-stop-uh-buhl

Friday, January 6, 2012

How to Become a Professional Triathlete!

People unfamiliar with triathlons(and apparently my swim and bike abilities) often ask me why I don't become a professional triathlete like Amber. My usual flippant response is something like: I don't want to take anything away from her, or triathlons bore me etc. The real(obvious) reason why I don't become a professional triathlete is because it's a PROFESSIONAL SPORT! It's pretty much the same reason my football career ended when I opted for a Division I college instead of Division III: participation only takes you so far. The rest is a combination of genetics, dedication and sport-specific talent.

The main difference between triathlon and other professional sports is that you don't pay to see a pro triathlete compete, you pay to compete yourself and you get the added benefit of seeing some of the guys on the cover of LAVA magazine. While that's really cool on the amateur end of things, it makes it tough for pro triathletes as their revenues come primarily from prize money and, for most, supplementing it with "real work". So you may even see a professional triathlete next time you go to PT.

But how many NFL or NBA players do you know personally? It seems that sometimes because you are accustomed to having something or someone nearby, you lose sight of how special that thing or person really is. Triathlon has arguably some of the fittest athletes in the world(ask Lance Armstrong after his return to the sport this year) and is also one of the hardest to get into. It's amazing how many amazing college players get drafted with franchise hopes on their shoulders only fizzle out not contributing much to the sport. Just to get into triathlon you have pretty much be competing at a professional level prior which ensures pro triathletes will be competitive in that arena.

Let's take a look at just what it takes to become a professional triathlete:

Option 1: Finish within 8% of the winning elite time (on the same course as elites) in three USAT sanctioned events that offered an elite/pro prize purse.

Option 2: Finish top-10 overall and within 8% of the winner’s time at ITU Age Group World Championships.

Option 3: Finish top-10 overall in the amateur field at Ironman World Championships.

Option 4: Finish top-5 overall and within 8% of the winner’s time at USAT Age Group National Championships.

Let's explore each one of these options a little closer;
Option 1: Finish within 8% of the winning elite time.  
This one's tricky. What's your best bet for coming within 8% of a pro? Long-course, short-course, for me the answer is no-course.
    8% of the arguably slow course of Ironman St. George would be a 9:13. I finished in 11:17. To cut out two hours, I would have needed to swim 20 minutes faster, biked nearly 2mphs faster and still run a Boston Marathon Qualifying marathon time on a very hilly run course. OR I could have only done one lap of the marathon.
   Maybe Short-course? Well at the Philadelphia Triathlon this past year, Olympian Andy Potts showed up and put down a 1:46:05 for an Olympic Triathlon. That's a .9 mile swim, a 24.8 mile bike and a 6.2 mile swim. Let's up my bike and run first. On a good day it will take me an 1:12 to bike than distance, and I'd be very happy to run a 34 minute 10k. So that leaves me with... Wait! 5 seconds to swim. Well not exactly because I don't have to tie Andy just be within 8% of him. So 8 and a half minutes to swim nearly mile. There better be a darn fast current!

Option 2: Finish top-10 overall and within 8% of the winner’s time at ITU Age Group World Championships.

 This option requires of several increasingly difficult hoops to swim, bike and run through just to get to Age Group Worlds. First, race a Age Group Nationals triathlon qualifier. Qualify. Pretty Easy. Race at Age Group Nationals. Qualify. Substantially less easy. This is the A-race of the year for most triathletes and they come in hot. If you're not running in the 33's for the 10k you're probably not standing a chance. AND THEN, it's time for Age Group Worlds. Oh wait, you're not just competing against your age group anymore though but against all age-groups.
This year the swim got canceled so if I had made it through all the hoops, it would have been my shot. Here are the top ten male finishers on the  120 km bike and 30 km run course.
The times are pretty much meaningless to me as well, until you see that they were biking nearly 23 mph and running low 6's for nearly 19 miles on a very hilly course.

Option 3: Finish top-10 overall in the amateur field at Ironman World Championships
Let's see how the top ten males and females finished in last year's trip to Kona:

1st-8:48:44- a 2:58:33 marathon!
10th-9:01:34 a 3:07 marathon(qualified for Boston after biking 23 mph and 2.4 miles)


Yikes! Those bottom scores are FEMALES! Under 10 hours all of them. In Kona heat! I would be VERY hard pressed to qualify as a female. And by very hard pressed, I mean it would be impossible.

Option 4: Finish top-5 overall and within 8% of the winner’s time at USAT Age Group National Championships.
1st- 1:52:18

2nd- 1:54:09
4th- 1:54:49
5th- 1:54:51
To place top five at the 2011 Nationals, I would have biked 25.5 mph and run 5:17's for 10k for FIFTH PLACE!
1st- 2:06:02
2nd- 2:08:43
3rd- 2:08:48
4th- 2:10:06
5th- 2:10:12
For Fifth Female, I would have biked slightly under 23mph and run a 39 minute 10k! And still would have had to swim better than I ever have.

As can be seen by all four of the non-viable options, it is very hard to become a professional triathlete. The only thing harder than becoming one, is staying one. 8% of the winner's time is the standard so if you're racing with Chrissy Wellington or Craig Alexander you're most likely out of luck.

I'm beginning to embrace my non-professional triathlete status and I hope the majority of you out there do as well.

Still think you can become a professional triathlete? Then, the next step is to find a good coach. Can you think of a better option than being trained by a professional one? Amber is accepting applications for athletes now. Click here

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dartmouth Relays

This Sunday I will be heading up to Dartmouth College to participate in the 43rd Dartmouth Relays. I will not be doing a relay. I've entered the 400, the mile and(if I'm feeling ever so ambitious) the 3K. I figure the 400 speed will make the mile pace seem relatively slow...

I was recently complaining to Amber how quickly I fell off the track workouts wagon. There were about three weeks in late November that I was all about them and was doing 2/week or so. Since the Northeastern Track meet in early December? Haven't done a single one. So while originally I was hoping to build upon the speed that I was developing, I am now revising my goal to have not lost speed. I seeded myself in the mile at 4:40 but would probably(can't guarantee with a crotchety young man like me)be happy with anything under 4:55.

Here's my game plan:
 First 400-70seconds
 Second 400- Try to pick it up to 67.5(my goal pace for the Greater Boston Track Invite on Jan 22)
 Third 400- 70 seconds
 Last 400- Hang on for dear life.

Amber may join me up at Dartmouth, so having her there may motivate me to run a little faster- or it could get me to talk myself of running it at all...

Either way it looks to be a fun day of racing and if you're not doing anything there's sure to be some very fast runners up there to watch(or compete against).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

San Juan 70.3

Amber will be doing San Juan 70.3 this year on March 18, 2012. As much as I would love to go cheer her on, I've got the Winter Wild Championships at Bretton Woods that Saturday so won't be able to make it. This 70.3 is guaranteed to be fast and competitive as it will be, for most pros, the first race back from taking the winter "off".

The course promises to be an early season challenge as the bike course is described as: "Athletes will endure a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride with short but challenging hills." The run sounds amazing as they will run along the Atlantic Ocean, past 16th century Spanish architecture to the turn around point at the entrance of the famous Fort San Felipe del Morro which was designed to protect the town from attack by sea.

Look at these speedy pros from last year.

1st- Kelly Williamson: Swim: 26:34  Bike: 2:24:12 Run:  01:20:25 Total: 04:15:38

2nd- Kate Major: Swim: 27:31 Bike: 2:22:05 Run:1:25:09 Total: 4:19:09

3rd- Caitlin Snow: Swim:27:37 Bike: 2:26:14 Run: 1:21:51  Total: 4:20:33

4th- Magali Tisseyre: Swim: 27:32  Bike: 2:20:59 Run: 1:28:29 Total: 4:21:36

5th- Margaret Shapiro: Swim: 27:29 Bike: 2:19:34 Run: 1:33:51 Total: 4:24:52

6th- Desiree Ficker: Swim: 29:27 Bike: 2:23:22 Run: 1:30:20 Total: 4:27:48

7th- Kim Loeffler: Swim: 31:43 Bike: 2:25:21 Run: 1:26:56 Total: 4:29:02

8th- Nina Kraft Swim: 25:57 Bike: 2:31:29 Run: 1:29:47 Total: 4:31:53

9th- Bree Wee: Swim: 28:01 Bike: 2:26:21 Run: 1:33:41 Total: 4:33:23

10th- Ariane Monticeli: Swim: 31:41 Bike: 2:25:45 Run: 1:31:29 Total: 4:34:31

I expect good things from Amber who has been benefiting from a nice reduction of volume while keeping her intensity up going into this winter. She's maintaining her same speed and power output at a fraction of her volume. I can't wait to see what 2012 brings for her.
Stay tuned:)