Monday, January 28, 2013

A fun weekend

After a weekend of snowshoe racing and hiking the Franconia Ridge, I had an even more packed weekend the next one.

Danny barely eeeking out a 3rd place finish ahead of Chris Dunn

Amber pushing to the front lines

A view back on the Flume Slide I cruised down
With only a fair amount of peer-pressure, J Massa decided to join me for a hike on Saturday up East Osceola and Mount Osceola. He has previously mentioned that there was no point in hiking as he could often get better views from a quick google search, but nonetheless opted to humor this fine morning. I should say fine, COLD morning. I had been out on Thursday hiking Willey, Field and Tom and was hoping that my nose would have warmed up some in the two days between but it did not. Other than the nose, it really was a perfect day for a hike.
View from Flume

If you haven't hiked the Osceolas from the Kanc side, it is a very different hike from Waterville Valley which is where I had hiked it previously. From the Kanc it is an easy 1 1/2 run in with almost no climbing, but is made up for with a unrelenting(or relentless, you decide) climb to the summit of East Osceola. The climb over to Mount Osceola has a little chimney that you can skirt around but otherwise isn't too bad. Unfortunately as it is an out and back, you have to descend that chimney which is somewhat treacherous(ask Massa how close he was to flying off into the abyss), then make a slow slog back up to East Osceola.
That's where the fun begins! From East Osceola, it is nearly a mile of fun sliding all the way down to the cross country intersection of Greeley Trails. I've been doing my fair share of slides(most notably North Tripyramid and Flume Slide) but this was probably the most fun of them. It was probably more fun than the other two because it was quite a bit safer. Without the risk of injury, I could really pick up a bit more speed and just enjoy myself. Plus there weren't any tears of fear freezing to my face. Massa's experience as a rugby player as well as cyclocross racer definitely seemed to help him on the descent. He'd bomb down and just when you'd think he'd have to stop to avoid a rock or tree, he'd do a little flip or hop and just continue on. It was a sight to see. Which I believe most are. With his help, I've finished up January with 18 of the 48 4,000 footers hiked. It will certainly have to be a busy February and early March if I'm going to get this done.

While I was hiking, Amber was done in Nashua competing in an indoor time trial. She ended up in third place losing to second by a second. 1 second. But she produced her highest wattage for that duration of a time trial so things look like the 2013 triathlon season is going to be fun!
Amber sweating it out at the time trial

After volunteering at the Black Ice Hockey Tournament on Friday, I decided to go back to watch it Saturday afternoon with my dad. We ended up not spending much time outside-mainly because I hadn't dressed appropriately, but we did have a fun time hanging out listening to the Strings and Things band at the UNH law center. We would have stayed longer, but I had to get ready to watch Dancing with the Stars.

Our friend, Jeremy Woodward, was gracing Concord with his wonderful dancing skills at NHTI's Dancing with the Stars which is a fundraiser to support the President’s Fund for Excellence at NHTI. His dance partner, Erin Grizone, did not disappoint either. They did a great swing dance and won the competition outright. It was very impressive. Check it out. It was also fun to sample all the different foods and drinks that local restaurants had provided for the evening. Amber must have noticed my joviality as somewhere in the evening, she convinced me it was a good idea to drive her down to Boston the next morning for a continuing education course.
Jeremy and Erin

All the Stars

Michael Wade of GCS had emailed me earlier in the week about a Masters Indoor Track Meet in Providence RI on Sunday. I had given it only a moment's thought but decided against it due to the distance. However, when I realized I had been douped into driving Amber to Boston, it became a viable option. No cold toes or nose? Oh yes, mark me down. Competing against men and women in their 70's and 80's? Oh boy, this is getting better by the moment.

I headed down after dropping Amber off not knowing what to expect. Would it be a bunch of CMS guys like Dave Dunham and Dan Verrington ripping it up or would I be competing against the old guys from the Concord YMCA who heckle me in the pool? The first person I ran into that morning was Justin Soucy who is only one year my elder so I knew I'd have some competition in the 5k. That was the only event he was running since he had to get back to Durham to coach his team at the High School Indoor meet at UNH. I had also signed up for the 400 and the mile since I didn't need to be back to Boston until around three. These would be my first three races in several months with several months more of no fast running. I realize fast running is relative with some people doing cool-downs faster than my PR's while others race at my easy run pace. However, none of my fast running for me in months. For example, I haven't run a race(or training run) where I've done anything faster than 5:45's since September.

And yet, here I was trying to run three fast races with minimal preparation. The 5k was first and is obviously psychologically the hardest. 25 laps! Yikes! That is brutal.  As the gun went off, I settled in behind Justin. There were a couple of fast guys from BAA that looked like they were going to lap us several times(it is 25 laps)...Justin pulled for the first five laps with his wife diligently shooting out our splits. After going out a little too fast for the first two 39's, we settled in consistently hitting 41's. After the fifth lap, I pulled ahead for the next five, telling him that we could alternate every five. I brought us to the second kilometer averaging 41 or 42 every 200. Justin took over the lead and threw down a 39 which was enough for me to blow up at that point. While I stuck with him for a bit, I faltered around the 4k mark, drastically slowing. I staggered in with a time of 17:26 more scared than ever how amazingly fast Amber has become running(she did 17:36 at Rock N Race and had a big smile on the whole time).

Meanwhile, no smile on my face, but a fair amount of cottonmouth. After a ten minute cooldown with Justin, I had run the furthest I have in several weeks. Still the 400 and mile to go.

The 400 is a brutal race. Two laps indoors at nearly full speed. It's very difficult to pace as was proven by my 26 second first lap and 34 second 2nd lap. Oh yes, I certainly went out too fast. I was hoping for a mid-to low 50 and ended with 60 flat. Not so good. And as luck would have it, the mile was up next. I didn't even bother looking at my splits this one just hoping not to pull anything or hurt myself. I pulled in for a third place finish with a 5:16... Yikes- I did a 4:47 last year around this time. However, since Justin and I were the only 30-somethings with little enough self-respect to show up to a Master's meet, I was able to take home a gold, silver AND bronze medal for the day. Not too bad.

I headed up to Cambridge where I was going to meet Amber after her class(the crazy girl ran there from Allston-not directly there but managing to find enough bridges to do repeats on for a while first). I hung around the Harvard COOP, not to be confused with the Dartmouth(or Concord)Co-op then we went out for dinner at the Border Cafe and called it a weekend. We were asleep earlier than most weekends which says a lot.

Up Next: Quebec City Winter Carnival 10k snowshoe race! 2/2/2013

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