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Good Times 5k Spring Series Week Two

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
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on Wednesday, April 16, 2014
in Road Races

Last night was week two of the Good Times 5k Spring Series. After the extremely windy conditions of week one I was hoping for better weather. Despite the wind and rain throughout the day, the weather actually improved slightly by race time. It was still windy but it was a warm 60 degrees with little to no rain for the race.

My goal for week two was to run a steady pace and get close to my time from week one. Even though the weather was a lot better my legs were still tired from my triathlon this past Sunday. I am getting a little old to be racing twice in three days with no effect on my performance.

I started nice and strong running a decent 6:17 for the first mile. I knew right away my legs had no zip but felt OK. As I started the second mile I began to fall apart. I am beginning to think this new second mile for Good Times is a lot tougher than the old course. The hill up to the bridge is longer and the running is awkward with potholes, sewer drains, and jersey barriers in your way. I ended up running 6:41 for mile 2 which was only 7 seconds better than the week before when I almost came down to a walk due to the wind. After mile two my legs gave out and I had to concentrate to avoid losing a ton of time. I ended up with a 6:46 3rd mile. After a sprint to the finish I ended up with 20:16. This was 7 seconds better than last week and the same time I got in the 5k at the triathlon two days earlier.

I have done the Good Times Series many times and it is important to not get too high or too low week to week. Running a 5k for ten weeks straight is not easy.  Many things happen week to week that can effect the way your legs feel. Other races, tough work schedules, sickness, etc. can all have an effect on your body resulting in a poor or mediocre performance. The key is to run as steady as you can and fight through the bad weeks and then really take advantage of the weeks you feel great. You never know how your competition is feeling week to week but assume they are having as many ups and downs as you are.

Good Times rolls on....week 3 next week.

My results week two: 20:16   10th overall   2nd in age group

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Nor'easter Reverse Triathlon

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
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on Monday, April 14, 2014
in Triathlons

On Sunday I did my first triathlon since my Ironman finish in September 2012. The Nor'easter Reverse Sprint Triathlon is held on the campus of the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. What is a reverse triathlon? Basically it is exactly what you would think it would be. Same thing as a normal triathlon except the disciplines are in reverse order. The race is a 5k run-11 mile bike- then a 150 yard swim in the Campus Center pool. I had never completed a reverse triathlon before but it sounded interesting. Not to mention it is the first triathlon of the season within driving distance of my house. 

The Race

I enter a lot of races and I have to say that this race was extremely well run and organized. A ton of volunteers, very clear signage, huge indoor transition area, and easy logistics in and out of the race venue. I left this race knowing I will definitely add this to my schedule next year.

This year unfortunately the weather was not cooperative. The rain started lightly in the morning and then became steady rain for most of the race. In addition the temperature dipped and was freezing. Basically the entire race was 40 degrees and steady rain. Luckily this event is prepared for this and has an indoor transition area. This really was a life saver on this cold and rainy day.

The Course

Remember...this race is a reverse triathlon. The race starts similar to any 5k road race. The course starts in front of the Campus Center at the University of New England. The 5k course was slightly rolling throughout but overall was not that difficult. Dealing with the rain, wind, and cold was not too bad on the run. I did not hold back at all on the run and ended up with a 20:18 5k good for 11th overall. Since the transition area is indoors you actually run to the side entrance of the building and run right into the transition area in the gym.

The bike was cold...I dressed appropriately but was wet from the run and started to feel the cold on the bike. The course was soaked with a lot of puddles but was not a technical course and did not have any tight turns or long descents. I really did not feel unsafe at anytime on the ride. The course is slightly rolling with no big climbs. I had no problem maintaining 20-24 mph for many sections of the course and was in the big ring for the entire race. The training is paying off for me on the bike as I ended up placing 15th on the bike portion of the event. This is huge for me as I usually place high on the run and then give a ton back on the bike...not this time.

After completing the bike I now had my first bike/swim transition. My hands were numb and I was soaking wet. It took forever but I was able to take everything off and then ran to the pool area. Now the race clearly stated that for safety there is no running once you reach the pool area. You have to slow to a walk and there is no passing allowed until you enter the water. The swim is only 150 yards and is one length of each lane. Once exiting the pool you immediately cross a mat and the race is over. I completed the swim without issue. The warm water actually felt great after the freezing ride.

My results: 1:00:58      11th overall and 4th in my age group

Recap

I would definitely do this race again. Great organization, good venue, and a nice and easy early season course make this a great way to get the triathlon juices flowing in April. I was able to film the course the day before the event so look for a course video soon.

The race venue is very close to Old Orchard Beach. I ended up getting a hotel the night before and had a good time in OOB. There are a ton of bars and restaurants with many of them open despite the early season. We ended up checking out a disco band called the Motor Booty Afair at the Brunswick on Grand Avenue. This is a great bar right on the ocean. Lively nightlife on Saturday night and then a great race on Sunday! How can you beat that!

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Good Times 5k Series Week One Race Report

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
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on Wednesday, April 09, 2014
in Road Races

Finally after what seemed like the longest winter of all time the 12th Good Times 5k Spring Series began last night. This series has come to symbolize the start of spring and the racing season for me and many other local residents. It is always interesting to see who starts the season in good form or who may have put on a few pounds over the winter months. 

 The New Course

The series started with a slightly new course due to the demolition of the University Avenue Bridge over the winter. The start line of the course was moved up a bit but was in the same general area behind the parking garage. The course remained the same until a new but very short gravel section near the dorms. After passing the dorms, the new bridge is about a block past the old bridge so now the hill up to the bridge is longer. After that the course remains the same until the finish. After the left turn to the finish behind the parking garage the finish line is almost right away. Now you should start your finish line sprint before the turn to account for this.

The Race

If you had asked me mid-day yesterday how the weather looked for the race I would have said fantastic! Winds were calm and it was 65 degrees. Unfortunately as the afternoon waned, the winds picked up significantly. By race time it was about 55 degrees with a heavy wind.

It was nice running in shorts and a t-shirt on April 8th but the wind ended up being a huge factor. The first mile is somewhat protected from the wind but you could definitely feel it. I ended up running a nice and controlled 6:18 for the first mile.

Soon after the first mile mark the protection of the dorms is gone and the wind was in full effect. I really struggled running up the hill to the new bridge. As I climbed the hill the wind was blowing hard from my right and I felt like my race number was going to be ripped off. After I turned right on the new bridge the wind was in my face and I felt like I came to a stand still. I was barely moving and struggling. I recovered a bit on the downhill after the bridge and tried to get some kind of running form back on the VFW highway. I crossed mile two with a split of 6:48...ouch!

Once I reached the Aiken Street Bridge I again was faced with a tremendous wind. I ended up holding my race number down with my left hand the whole way across the bridge. I finally got to the final straightaway and muscled home to the finish. My mile 3 split was 6:38. One interesting point is that I ran 13:26 for the last two miles of the race and only three people passed me. That would never happen in a normal Good Times Race. Usually 20 people would have passed me if I ran that slow after mile 1. That proves to me that I was not the only one struggling with the conditions. 

 

After the race we checked out the new venue for the event. Finn's Pub had a much bigger downstairs bar than Hookslide Kellys and a much bigger area for the pre and post race announcements. The bathrooms were cleaner as well. I think this new venue will work just fine. I will miss the outside patio area but for the Spring Series most of the time it is cold or rainy so being indoors is probably better.

My results: 20:23   14th overall and 2nd age group

 Hope to do better next week!

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Impressive Longevity or Depressing Mediocrity?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
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on Sunday, April 06, 2014
in Road Races

I have done over 400 races in my career at distances including 5k's, half-marathons, marathons, triathlons and the Ironman. I don't really have a favorite race distance but by far the 5k is the race distance I have completed the most. In my career I have completed 186 5k races. That means that 46% of the races I have completed in my career have been a 5k. Even I was a little surprised by that amount.

 

Now like a lot of runners I keep very detailed records of my running stats. I analyzed my 5k racing stats over the years and found some interesting data. I looked back and tracked just my 5k races over the last three 10-year-age-categories I have been in. Keep in mind I am only 41 so I have not been in the 40-49 age group for very long. Now the below data includes total number of 5k's completed, average time, how many times I broke 20 minutes, and how many age group places (1st-3rd).

20-29     Completed 45 5k races-average time 19:56-broke 20 minutes 29x (64% of time)-placed 17x

30-39     Completed 124 5k races-average time 20:05-broke 20 minutes 62x (50% of time)-placed 39x

40-49     Completed 17  5k races-average time 20:21-broke 20 minutes 4x (24% of time)-placed  6x


My lifetime average time for all 186 5k races is 20:04. I have always said I feel OK with my 5k time if I break 20 minutes. As you can see above I have broke 20 minutes 95 times which is 51% of the time. I also have placed 33% of the time which has stayed pretty consistent despite the age group changes.

Enough stats already!!!  Why am I outlining all of these stats?  If you exclude a dozen or so bad performances/great performances basically all of my 5k's for the last 20 years have been between 19:15-20:15. My question is the title of this post...Impressive longevity or depressing mediocrity? Regardless of your answer you have to give me one thing...At least I am consistent.

Every year (for the last 10 years) around this time I prepare to compete in the Good Times 5k Spring Series. I have written a number of posts about the Good Times Series. (check out the series here). This is a 10 week series where you run a 5k on Tuesday nights. By competing for 10 weeks in a row (not counting any additional races I compete in on the weekends) at the 5k distance you get a good feel about your fitness. As I look forward to starting this series on April 8th I am in reasonably good shape and feel I can run some fast times.

Despite all of my training this winter and the hope and promise a new racing season brings somehow I think I will be somewhere right around 20 minutes.....(hopefully a few seconds under)

 

 

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Prospect Park Duathlon Race Report

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Sunday, March 23, 2014
in Triathlons

 

I am back!!  Last Sunday I completed the Prospect Park Duathlon in Brooklyn NY. This duathlon has several distances to choose from, but I went with the Classic Distance. Due to construction they had to lengthen the course so the race ended up being a 3.8 mile run, 14.2 mile bike, and then a 3.9 mile run.

What do you get your family for Christmas? Last Christmas I gave my brother-in-law Mike entry into this event as his gift. Not a conventional gift but he was happy as an early season race of this length forces you to get motivated. After a long winter of training I wanted to see the results of our training.

 This was my first multi-sport race since I completed the Ironman in September 2012. I have not written many blog posts this winter but I have been training hard for the last 3 months. Due to the terrible winter we have had and my schedule, all of my rides and many of my runs have been indoors. Training indoors has definitely reduced my training volume but I hoped that an increase in intensity could compensate for some of that reduced mileage.

The Course

The entire course is held on a traffic free 3.75 mile loop inside Prospect Park. The race starts and finishes by running this loop (with a short additional run to transition) and then the bike covers 4 laps of the same loop. Half of the loop is flat to downhill and the other half is rolling with one tough hill that gets progressively harder with each loop. I would have taken video but by the end of the race there were so many walkers/runners/cyclists going around the circle it would have been impossible to film. This loop is very popular with local residents. This creates some minor issues as you are racing alongside people that are not racing. Several times I had to slow down to avoid packs of runners or walkers. Not a huge problem but something to be aware of when competing in this event.

 My Performance

The race started with a 3.8 mile run. I ran a controlled pace keeping in mind this was not a road race and I needed to keep my pace in check. I ran a solid 6:38 pace for the loop and then headed out on the bike.

Now it is always interesting when you haven't ridden outdoors since Labor Day and your first ride is a race. I didn't even get a chance to warm-up on the bike. My first loop was tentative but I got progressively faster with each loop. I ended up with an 18.6 MPH average. Not that fast but the hill on each loop did knock down my average speed. I should have done better but I am not unhappy with my first race performance.

I have been training with my brother-in-law Mike all winter and he ended up beating me by 45 seconds on the bike leg. I will get him next time. We are not competitive for the run portions but are usually close on the bike splits. I always joke and say he sandbags his first run just to beat my bike split. Either way this is added motivation to make sure I hammer my next ride.

The second run was 3.9 miles and I was pleasantly surprised my legs did not blow up. I really haven't done any brick workouts so I was interested to see how my legs would respond. I ended up with 7:38 pace for the second loop. One minute difference per mile first run compared with the second run. Not terrible but again plenty of room for improvement.

Results

I ended up finishing in 1:44:33  25th overall and 6th in my age group. Very happy with my first race of the season! My brother in law finished in just under two hours and also had a good race. Definitely gives some validation to all of our hard work this winter.

Post Race

One of the great things about racing in NYC is that there is plenty to do after the race. We had a great time at several of the fine establishments in the city. There seems to be a bar or restaurant everywhere you look. We did a little sightseeing and relaxing.

On Sunday I woke up and felt fine with minimal soreness. I actually ran a nice and smooth 6 miles in Central Park to complete my trip. Overall a nice weekend and a great way to start my racing season! Next race in two weeks.

 

 

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Want to Film Courses for View The Race?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Friday, January 03, 2014
in Race Videos

 

Have a video camera? Enjoy running and think filming race courses may be interesting? Do you have contacts in the running industry that may be interested in having a course filmed? We are looking for amateur or professional videographers to film road races across the country.

In 2014 we would like to increase our course library and would like your help to do it. If you have a video camera and are interested contact me at the email below and I can explain the process. We are also looking to add race videos that have already been filmed. Take a look at the options below.

 

► Want to get paid to film courses for VTR?
Film one race in your area and send to us for approval to ensure video quality/technique will work. Once that is completed we will market our product in your area and let you know when we need an event filmed. We will pay you to film courses in your area!

► Are you a race director that has the ability to film your course?
Send us the video and we will take care of the editing for a small fee. You can then use that video to promote your event and add to your website. We will also add it to the VTR course library at no additional cost.

► Already have a course video?
Send us your video and we will edit and create a voiceover for your event. We will then add it to the VTR library. This is a great way to showcase your event, increase searchability, and drive traffic to your event.

► Just want to film races for fun?
Send me a course video and we will add it to our website if possible. We are always looking to add interesting races/videos to our website.

Race related videos?
In addition to filming courses we are also accepting live race videos for our website. If you have some interesting live video from your event let me know and we can add it to our live video section.

 

Contact me for more information. You will not make millions of dollars taking video of race courses for View The Race but if you are interested in some extra income and would be willing to market our product to race directors in your area let me know.

Many of us attend many events throughout the year…Why not shoot some video before your next race? Remember you are providing a service to your fellow runners allowing more people to …View The Race Before You Do The Race!

Contact me for more details:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you and Good Luck in 2014!

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2013 Race Season: Pause for Reflection

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Saturday, December 28, 2013
in Training

The end of the year is naturally a time when most of us spend some time reflecting on the year almost past and the year to come. As we near the end of 2013 I have given a lot of thought to my race results and accomplishments in 2013 and my 2014 goals.

 

If you have read my blogs you know that I completed my dream of finishing the Ironman when I turned 40 in 2012. To be honest, since I completed that race I have not had the drive or motivation required to do anything impressive. Now that doesn’t mean I did nothing in 2013. Check out my race season below. 

February Hyannis Half Marathon Road Race 13.1 miles 1:43:32 361st overall Hyannis MA
March Freeze Your Buns Road Race 5 K 0:20:18 13th overall 3rd age Nashua NH
March Leprechaun Leap Road Race 5 K 0:20:56 6th overall 1st age Nashua NH
April Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:15 17th overall 7th age Lowell MA
April Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:19 18th overall 4th age Lowell MA
April Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:19:58 22nd overall 8th age Lowell MA
April Firefighters Road Race 5 K 0:20:12 12th overall 1st age Lowell MA
April Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:30 14th overall 5th age Lowell MA
April Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:19:58 10th overall 5th age Lowell MA
May Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:36 21st overall 4th age Lowell MA
May Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:19:54 19th overall 3rd age Lowell MA
May Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:19:37 14th overall 4th age Lowell MA
May Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:04 17th overall 5th age Lowell MA
June Good Times Road Race 5 K 0:20:23 25th overall 6th age Lowell MA
October New Hampshire Marathon Road Race 26.2 miles 4:11:59 80th overall Bristol NH
November Tyngsboro Trot Road Race 5 K 0:21:06 7th overall 3rd age Tyngsboro MA
November Wolf Hollow Half Marathon Road Race 13.1 miles 1:48:18 116th overall Nashua NH
November Thanks for Giving Road Race 5 K 0:21:17 27th overall 5th age Lowell MA

As you can see I did complete a couple of half marathons and the NH Marathon but was not close to my PR in any of them. I had a few decent 5ks in 2013 as well, but overall it was a very boring season and certainly nothing to get excited about.

As you reflect on the past season I think it is important to be honest with yourself. If you were unhappy with your results, what happened? If you truly want to have a better 2014 you need to know why 2013 went wrong. Ask yourself a few questions:

**How did the training go in 2013? Did you miss workouts or spend the required time training to meet your goals?

**Did you battle injuries?

**Did life throw obstacles in your way that prevented you from reaching your goals?  Kids?   Job?   Life Event?

**Maybe you completed the Ironman the year before and decided to play golf and hang out with your friends all year?     (oh, sorry that was my year)

Either way once you figure out what happened you can realistically look at 2014 and decide what will be different. Many of us get excited at the end of the year looking forward to a clean slate and the endless possibilities of the New Year. Being realistic about your life situation will help you make attainable goals for 2014. There is nothing worse than setting goals, signing up for races, and then realize on February 1st there is no way you will meet the goals you set the month before.

 

As I look forward to 2014 I have already made a few modest commitments. I will be returning to the triathlon world in 2014. My training partner and brother-in-law Mike wants to finish a half-Ironman in 2014 and I will be going along for the ride. We have committed to a duathlon in March and a triathlon in April as our first multi-sport events. I am always cautious about signing up for too many early season events due to limited outdoor training opportunities in New England. Look for a number of posts about our early season training progress as we start down the road of returning to triathlon.

In conclusion I am looking at 2013 as a bridge year….it may be a bridge to tremendous success in 2014 or it may turn out to be the bridge to nowhere. Either way I plan on challenging myself in 2014 by racing more often and entering more challenging events. Like a lot of people I am kicking around a few crazy ideas for 2014 but my veteran experience tells me to keep those ideas quiet until I have a few solid months of training under my belt. As you create your plan for next season don’t forget the most important thing….Have a good time and enjoy life! This is supposed to be fun!

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2014 Goal Race Planning

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Friday, December 20, 2013
in Training

After the holidays many us start the process of planning out our big races for 2014. Some of us already have a plan, and others are still trying to decide what they want to do next season. I am a firm believer that anyone can do anything if they commit to it. This is a great time of the year to figure out what you really want to do and then start down the road of meeting your goal. As an athlete and a veteran racer that usually means selecting a big race and then putting together a plan to train for it.

 

5 Steps to Planning Your Next Goal Race

 

1) Self-Evaluation

How did last season go? Are you happy with your race results? Are you burnt out? Proper self-evaluation is a key part of the race planning process. For most of us racing is a hobby and something we enjoy doing. Did you have fun this year? If running and racing has stopped being fun then you are doing something wrong and need to fix it in 2014. Don't make the mistake of signing up for races in 2014 just because "I always do that race". Once you evaluate where you are mentally and physically start to think about what you "really" want to achieve in 2014. What distance do you enjoy the most? What event have you always wanted to race? Make a point of making sure you know what you want to do before committing to a bunch of races.

2) Be Realistic

A big part of making sure you have an enjoyable and successful season is choosing realistic goal races. If you are reading this and have never swam before I wouldn't recommend signing up for an Ironman event next season. Look back at 2013. What races did you complete? Did you leave any "unfinished business" in a particular race distance? As I mentioned above,  I do believe anyone can finish any event. What I am recommending is for you to consider all of the training involved with each event before you sign up. If you barely finished a half marathon this fall signing up for a marathon next year is going to take a tremendous amount of effort. Do you really want to do this? Choosing an event that is so far above your current fitness level is a recipe for disaster. Remember step 1? Self-evaluation....Complete an honest self-evaluation and choose events that are a natural progression from your 2013 season. I guarantee you will be a lot happier in 2014!

3) Timing is Everything

Now that you have completed steps one and two you are ready to sign up for your big goal race. The key to choosing the right race is to make sure you have enough time to train for the event. If you have decided 2014 is the year you want to complete a marathon you need to make sure the timing is right. When do you want to start training? What kind of shape are you currently in? Do you want/need stepping stone events to lead up to the big goal race? Don't make the mistake of rushing to the nearest race calendar and signing up for the race with the best website. Do your homework and find out how long it will take to train for your event based on your fitness level. If you don't plan on starting any serious training until February 1st and you plan on taking 4 months to train for your marathon then June would be the first month to start looking at races. Know in advance how long you need to train before you start looking at events. The worst thing you can do is set a goal and then sign up for a race that is too soon. Make sure you have enough time to train to ensure your goal becomes a reality.

4) Stay Focused

Now that you have selected your goal race don't make the mistake of signing up for major events that are scheduled after your big day. If you are completing your first marathon in June don't sign up for a second marathon before you have completed your first one. Enjoy the process of training and focusing on your big race without having to worry about other challenges. Many people forget or are unaware of the mental and physical strain they will experience after months of training. Once you have successfully completed your goal many times all you want to do is take some time off. After some reflection you also may decide to do something else. Don't lock yourself into another event.

5) Keep Racing

Keep the racing juices flowing! if your big event is 4 months away or longer, break up some of that impending training monotony with some racing. If you are training for a marathon sign up for a half marathon that will fit nicely with your training. Maybe you can even find a 30k or 20 mile race that would also fit. I recommend reviewing your training plan and signing up for a few events that fit right away. Not only will this keep you motivated but completing these secondary races are excellent training for your goal race. These races can be used to test your pacing, nutrition, and pre-race routine. Don't wait! If you wait to sign up for secondary races something will always come up and you will not be able to enter the race.

 

Follow these simple steps and you are well on your way to having a great 2014!

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Running Fashion

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Saturday, December 07, 2013
in Uncategorized

I know nothing about fashion and never in my life has anyone mentioned I was "fashionable" or even that I wear particularly nice clothes. I usually dress in jeans and a nice polo shirt or sweater. I have been running and racing for over 25 years and there is something that has always bothered me. Why do runners feel a race t-shirt is appropriate attire for any situation? I go out to bars and restaurants all the time and I rarely see someone dressed in this manner.

Go to any running club function, house party, or dinner and you will see many people with the classic race t-shirt tucked into dress pants with a belt. Why is this? Do they feel that because they are at an event that is related to running that running clothes or a race-t are a must wear? Is it self-promotion?...Look at me I did a marathon so now I feel comfortable going out to a nice dinner with a t-shirt and dress pants. Is the race t-shirt considered some type of uniform? Is it possible they own no other clothing and rely on races to provide their wardrobe?

Not sure if it is better or worse but the other group you will see at these events is the people dressed like they are about to go out for a run. It could be 7:00 at night at a restaurant and they will show up in full running gear. Why?  You may even see the super classy compression socks or sleeves. Or how about the blue compression tape? You mean to tell me you cannot even get through a nice dinner without compression socks or tape?   Really??

I don’t think because I am a runner that I must wear running clothes when I go out to dinner or a party. A nice polo shirt and jeans/shorts is the way to go. I don’t believe because you are a runner that you have to wear running clothes 24/7. As the Christmas Party season arrives let’s make a point to class it up. Put away the race-t’s and compression socks. Show the world that you can be a runner and dress nice as well.

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A Runner's Journey

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Sunday, December 01, 2013
in Road Races

I am always inspired by others who have had the courage and will power to change their life. Below is the story of Daryle Lamoureux who transformed his body and lifestyle to become a marathoner and is now a Certified Running Coach. I met Daryle this summer during an RRCA Coaching Course in Salem, Massachusetts and was inspired by his story and I know you will be too.

 Now that my 2013 racing season is over, I can take some time to reflect on the past 18 months. To say that this time has been life-changing would be an understatement.

 The plot of the story will seem familiar to many, but the great part of life is that we live our own version of a “Choose Your Own Adventure Book.” This means that we have the chance to make changes that will greatly alter the outcome. So here’s how my life and running story go.

 Have you ever found yourself in a rut? Have you ever tried to get out of it? It’s not always very easy. In the spring of 2012, at the age of 41, I finally admitted that I was in a rut that was only getting deeper.

 Growing up I was relatively active, but for the most part was not involved in organized sports. And I never was what anyone would describe as a runner. However, I did enjoy running whenever I did. When I was in college, I decided that I would run a 5K. I continued to sign up for the occasional 5K/10k and even ran a few with my wife before we settled down and started our family. Even though we ran these races, we never ran regularly or trained for them.

 Once we had kids and settled into the daily routine of being adults, running, exercise and fitness were all pushed to the side. From 2000 (when our first daughter was born) until the spring of 2012, I was relatively inactive and started to put on more and more weight.

 So now back to that fateful date in the spring of 2012, I found myself weighing almost 280 pounds and realizing that this was not the person that I wanted to be. The Wednesday before Memorial Day my wife and I walked into Seacoast Kettlebells determined that we were going to change our lives. We started eating better and working out regularly, and the weight started to shed away.

 As I started to make this transformation, I knew that I wanted to start running again, to race and to be a runner. I laced up my running shoes during the first week of July, and much to my dismay I wasn’t able to run even a quarter of a mile. But that didn’t stop me.

 I kept going out and working away until I could run longer and longer. By the beginning of August, I was going for a 3-4 mile run (which always involved some amount of walking). Then one day at lunchtime I went to Runner’s Alley to buy a new pair of running shoes, and there was a sign advertising their half marathon training group.

 I read the description and talked about it with someone in the store. The only requirement was being about to run 3-4 miles a few times a week. I was on the edge. I was concerned that I might be the least prepared runner in the group, but I signed up.

 The group started running the following week, and I just settled in. I ended up being a middle of the pack runner and worked my way up closer to the front by the end of the group. Running regularly became addictive, and I immediately started to think about new goals (of course, I would have to run a marathon).

 At the same time, I came across a one page interview with an ultra marathoner named Scott Jurek in Time Magazine. I read it with complete fascination and admiration. He talked about running 135 miles through Death Valley in the summer (the Badwater Ultra marathon) and other feats, all while being a vegan.

 Even though I had always been a very prolific meat eater, I knew that my diet still needed to change more. I read Jurek’s book Eat and Run and then came across Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra (another vegan ultra athlete). After reading their stories, I was convinced that this was right for me too and would make me a better runner.

 So we stopped eating meat and animal products and became plant-powered. My weight continued to drop, and I definitely felt better with this change.

 At the beginning of November, I ran my first half marathon with a 9:37 pace. My goal when I started the group (other than finishing) was to run no slower than a 10:00 minute pace. So this was a success all around. Right after finishing the group, I signed up for my first marathon: Delaware Marathon in May. This was followed by signing up for many other races too (another half marathon, a 20 miler and a bunch of 5Ks and 10Ks).

 

While planning my race schedule, I had started to think about a 50K for the fall. But then I succumbed to the suggestion that that was too long to wait. I signed up for the Pineland Farms 50K in New Gloucester, Maine on Memorial Day weekend … two weeks after my first marathon! People were telling me that I was crazy, but I like a challenge.

 Four weeks before the Delaware Marathon, I had a tendonitis flare up in my ankle. I wasn’t able to run until the day of the marathon, but this didn’t stop me. What it did do, however, was completely change my expected outcome. I was training for a sub-4:00 marathon, but instead ended up with a sub-5:00 marathon. The most important thing was that I finished, and it was an incredible experience.

 Two weeks later I was feeling better and found myself about to run the trails for the Pineland Trails 50K. It was very exciting. The new twist was that it had been very rainy leading up to race day, so the trails were covered with ankle-deep mud for most of the race. Once again, not a great pace, but I finished.

 Having finished these two races confirmed that I am a runner, I love training and I will continue to run as long as I can. Once again, I signed up for a fall marathon (Clarence DeMar in Keene, NH) and another 50K (Big Bad Ultra 50K in Pownal, Maine).

 In the meantime, I switched to running 5Ks and 10Ks to see what I could do. With each race, I was getting faster and faster and every race becoming a PR. I ran my final 5K of the season with a 20:41 time and a 6:40 pace … faster than any 5K that I ran in my 20s.

 I then had a chance to redeem myself at the Clarence DeMar Marathon. I went into the race trained and injury free. I crossed the finish line with a 3:41 time. I ran this marathon at a faster pace than I ran the half marathon less than a year prior.

 

The 50K, however, was a much bigger challenge, and I knew that when I registered. The course had a fair amount of technical single track trails together with 4,500 feet of elevation gain. But I ran through it and finished strong (just not a PR).

 My 2013 racing season ended with the Seacoast Half Marathon (the same race that I was training for the previous year). This time the race was very different. My legs were still not fully recovered from the marathon and 50K in the previous weeks, but I felt good overall. I went out and gave what I could. At the end of the day, I crossed the finished line at 1:44:50. This mean that I had shaved 1:37 off my pace and more than 20 minutes off my overall time!

 More than anything else, this previous 18 months has made me part of the running community. People ask me for advice: How did I go from where I was to where I am now? I found myself drawn to trying to help people achieve similar things in their lives. Therefore, I decided that I wanted to become a running coach.

 I started coaching training groups for Runner’s Alley (an intermediate 10K group and a beginner’s 5K group), and I became a certified running coach. I have both RRCA and USATF running coach certifications, and now I am working with small groups and individuals to help people achieve their running goals.

 Daryle Lamoureux is an RRCA and USATF certified running coach and serves on the Board of Directors of the Coastal Athletic Association. You can get in touch with Daryle through his coaching business Zosha Training (www.zoshatraining.com).

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Racing on Thanksgiving Day

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Sunday, November 17, 2013
in Road Races

 

When you think of Thanksgiving Day the first thing that comes to mind is probably turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and pie.  For many, Thanksgiving is also associated with a sporting event.  You might be thinking football, but there's another type of event that thousands of people participate in each Thanksgiving Day...running a road race.

According to the website Running in the USA there are 68 road races on Thanksgiving Day in New England. Chances are if you're a runner you will be running a race that day. These holiday races are also filled with families and friends who have a tradition to run their local Thanksgiving Day race each year. For many of these entrants it is the only race or even the only run they complete all year. The question is...Why do we run on Thanksgiving Day?  I did some research and did not find a definitive answer. It appears that the idea of burning calories off the morning of our big Thanksgiving Day Feast is a popular reason. Also, the idea of a holiday tradition seems to be important to many.

I do not have a long standing tradition of running on Thanksgiving Day. This year will be my 7th year in a row. Running a local Thanksgiving Day Race is convenient, so you don't have far to travel after the event. My hometown race is the Lowell Thanks 4 Giving 5k. This race has only been around for 12 years. I have completed this race 9 times and plan on entering every year. I really enjoy the atmosphere of running Thanksgiving morning and including this race in my holiday traditions.

New England is not the only place where Thanksgiving Day Races are popular. The oldest Thanksgiving Day Race in the country is the Buffalo Turkey Trot (118 years) followed by the Thanksgiving Day Race in Cincinnati, Ohio (104 years). One of the biggest events is The Dallas Turkey Trot which has over 25,000 entrants.

 What races do we offer on View The Race? We currently have 12 Thanksgiving Day events. See our list below.

Feaster Five

The Feaster Five Road Race in Andover, Massachusetts is one of the biggest road races in New England with 10,000 entrants competing in either the 5k or 5 mile races. This race often has some local celebrities competing and will be celebrating its 26th year in 2013. I completed this race only once. (32:46 in the 5 miler)

Thanksgiving Day Road Race

The Thanksgiving Day Road Race in Southport, Connecticut will be celebrating its 35th year in 2013 and has around 5,000 entrants. This race is a distant second to the Manchester Road Race in Manchester, CT which has 13,500 entrants and is in its 77th year. Unfortunately we do not have that one on VTR.

Dreamcatcher Classic

The Dreamcatcher Classic Road Race in Weymouth, Massachusetts will be celebrating its 21st year in 2013. This is a great event with 1500 entrants competing in either the 2 mile or 5 mile road races. Proceeds support the Julie Rodick Scholarship Foundation.

Thanks-4-Giving

The Thanks-4-Giving Road Race in Lowell, Massachusetts will be celebrating its 12th year in 2013. This race offers both a 5k and 10k race. This is my home course and I plan on being one of the over 1000 entrants that run every year. This year will be the 10th time I have completed this race. My best time is 19:34. (I always do the 5k.)

Turkey Trot Road Race

The 5k Turkey Trot Road Race in Derry, New Hampshire will be celebrating its 40th year in 2013. This is a great 5k road race that runs around Beaver Lake in Derry. This race has close to 1500 entrants. I have done this race once. (20:10)

Whitin Five Mile Road Race

The Whitin Five Mile Road Race in Whitinsville, Massachusetts will be celebrating its 25th year in 2013. This race has a great history and has close to 1000 entrants every year. The race starts and finishes at the Whitinsville Town Common.

Ayer Fire Department Thanksgiving Day Road Race

The Ayer Fire Department Thanksgiving Day Road Race in Ayer, Massachusetts will be celebrating its 9th year in 2013. This race has grown in popularity with close to 800 entrants every year.

 The Fisher Cats Thanksgiving Day 5k

The Fisher Cats Thanksgiving Day 5k in Manchester, New Hampshire is only in its 3rd year in 2013 but already has over 1000 entrants. This race starts near Delta Dental Stadium and actually finishes with a run around the warning track and a finish line near home plate.

Ashenfelter 8k Classic

The Ashenfelter 8k Classic is a Thanksgiving Day tradition in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Join over 2,500 runners as they start Thanksgiving Day with a road race! This rolling course features long straightaways with few turns. Proceeds from this race benefit the Glen Ridge Educational Foundation.

Run 4 the Pies

 The Run 4 the Pies four mile road race is a Thanksgiving Day tradition in Tequesta, Florida. Over 1500 runners start their Holiday with a great run through the neighborhoods of Tequesta. This race is well organized by the Palm Beach Road Runners and supports the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd's Food Pantry.

Marathon Sports Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 Miler

The Marathon Sports Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 Miler is a great Thanksgiving tradition in Somerville, Massachusetts. Join over 2,000 runners as they start off the holiday with a 4 mile run through the streets of Somerville. The course is mostly flat with just a few small rolling hills.

York Turkey Trot 5k

Please note this race is held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving....The York Turkey Trot 5k is a great Thanksgiving Weekend tradition in York, Maine. This 5k course passes by many famous York landmarks including The Old Parish Cemetery, Civil War Monument, and the Hartley Mason Reservation. Celebrate the holiday with a great Thanksgiving Weekend 5k in York!

 

Pies at the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Race

If you already have a tradition of running on Thanksgiving Day hopefully I have filmed your race. Watch the video of the course and get excited about this year's race. If you do not have a Thanksgiving running tradition consider one of the above events. If you are not near one of the above events check your local race calendar...chances are there is a race near you.

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Is Cycling On The Roads Too Dangerous?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Friday, September 27, 2013
in Cycling

 

The last few years there seems to be more and more incidents of cyclists being hit by cars. The most recent incident was the senseless act that cost the lives of two cyclists last weekend at the Tri-State Seacoast Century in New Hampshire. The last few seasons there doesn't seem to be a week that goes by without hearing about a fellow cyclist being hit by a car. Are these incidents happening more often or is it just easier to spread the word via email/Facebook?

As a cyclist and triathlete for over 20 years I have ridden thousands of miles on the roads. About 18 years ago I was hit by a car during a 60 mile training ride. I was lucky. I survived the crash but suffered a back injury that kept me out of work for 3 months. My bike was also totaled costing me thousands of dollars. For years afterward it was rare for me to encounter someone else that had been hit by a car. Now it seems that more and more cyclists have either been hit, ran off the road, or had a near miss with a motorist.

Why is this? Are cyclists to blame? Now we all know a few riders that do not follow the rules of the road and take unnecessary chances but I believe the vast majority of cyclists are very cautious riders. Why? Well it is the obvious...our life depends on it! In New England most of our roads are not setup to accommodate cyclists. We have narrow roads with little to no shoulder or bike lane. I am not sure if it is because cyclists are only on the road for about half of the year but many motorists just do not know how to drive past a cyclist. Take a look at a few examples I describe below:

1) Driver gives way too much room as they pass almost hitting a car head on coming in the opposite direction.

2) Driver gives you no room and could "shave" your legs as they pass many times without even slowing.

3) Driver refuses to pass you and rides your back tire "afraid?" to pass.

4) Driver pulling a trailer or boat passes you with plenty of clearance but forgets they need to give extra room for what they are pulling and you are almost clipped.

5) Driver passes you and beeps the horn for no reason sometimes startling you and you almost wipeout.

6) Driver passes you and immediately turns in front of you.

I could go on and on with different scenarios. If you have ridden frequently on the roads you have experienced all of the above and then some. All of this does not even include hazards such as pot holes, rough road, sewers, road debris, dogs, etc.

With all of these dangers out on the roads is it just too dangerous to be a cyclist? As a responsible family man is it irresponsible to put myself in harm's way and go for a ride on the roads? The bottom line is that you are at risk every time you go out for a ride. Extreme caution and following the rules of the road will not defend you against many drivers that really could care less about your safety. Speeding, distracted drivers (texting/email/phones), and increased traffic have made our roads a perilous place. As a cyclist it is your "right" to ride on the road. Unfortunately this is little comfort when you are hit. We are defenseless and rely on motorists to avoid hitting us. I don't know about you but I do not have that much confidence in my fellow man.

Think of this... Police Officers need a special law to tell motorists to slow down as they pass. (Move Over America). Police cars have flashing blue lights, project authority and still have trouble avoiding being hit. What chances do we have? It is really frustrating and maddening to hear incident after incident of fellow cyclists being injured or killed. What is the answer? More rail trails? More bike lanes? More laws to protect cyclists? I do not know the answer but cycling seems to be becoming a very dangerous sport.

As a cyclist, the fact of the matter is if you are hit by a car chances are you will be badly injured or killed. Your bike will be destroyed costing you thousands of dollars. The driver of the car will have minor vehicle damage and will probably face minimal or no punishment. We have all of the risk! Maybe cycling is just too dangerous....should we just give up on cycling in New England? Or better yet should we all just move to Southern California and enjoy the countless miles of bike paths?

As I pondered these thoughts a police car pulled someone over in front of my house. The officer got out of his car and started talking to the driver. Seconds later another car flew down the road driving at least 15-20 miles an hour over the speed limit and had to brake heavily to avoid hitting the officer. This is despite the fact they would have had a clear view of his flashing lights for a good distance. The officer stopped the driver and yelled at him to slow down and pay attention then the guy sped off.

How do we get people's attention? What can be done?

Feel free to share your thoughts below.

 

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New Hampshire Marathon Race Strategy

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, September 17, 2013
in Road Races

In just a few short weeks I will be running in the New Hampshire Marathon. My last 20 mile training run is behind me and I have started my 3 week taper. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided to enter this race simply because Newfound Lake has been a frequent vacation spot for me over the past 10 years and I thought it would be cool to actually race on roads that I have completed countless training miles. It is really a beautiful course at a great time of the year.

I thought it would make sense for me to share my marathon strategy for this race since I know the course so well. This is a very challenging course. If you were looking for a PR course this is not it. There are several demanding hills on this course that will test your legs both going uphill and downhill.

The strategy I am using to tackle this course is not for everyone. If you are a strong marathon runner or someone that is looking to run a specific time then my strategy is not for you. If your goal is to finish the race intact with hopefully some zip in your legs for the last 10k then consider my strategy.

My goal is to finish the race with enough energy left to take advantage of the last flat/downhill 10k. What is my current pace? I completed my last training run on the course last Saturday and ran 20.5 miles at 8:32 pace. I parked at the school where the race starts and ran the entire course. I only skipped the out and back portion of the course that heads out to Sculptured Rock. If you are looking to run a solid race consider my strategy...it may work for you.

Start to 8.5 miles

The race starts on Route 3A right in front of the Newfound Memorial Middle School. This first section of the course is completely on route 3A and has no turns. That is the good news. The bad news is that most of this section is uphill. The key to this first section of the course is pacing. Having a tough uphill soon after the start is very dangerous to an inexperienced or nervous runner. You will be full strength and the temptation will be to power up the first set of hills. Please...do not make this mistake. Start this race very slowly and gradually pull yourself up the first couple of miles.

Soon after you pass West Shore Road (check out course video and map here) you will have a short but nice downhill and then you will be faced with a short but tough uphill. This is the first hill I suggest you walk. Yes,  I said walk at the 2 mile mark. At this point you probably think I am crazy and that you are in better shape than me. All I can tell you is that I left my watch running for all of my walking breaks and averaged 8:32 last weekend. The goal is to walk when you feel your pace slipping and your heart rate accelerating. It just does not make sense to push your body over the "red line" at the 2 mile mark. If you walk 20-30 steps on the steepest part of the hill you can stay in control and not burn out your legs.

I use this walking strategy on the first hill after West Shore Road and the last big hill right before the left turn on North Shore Road. If I am having a bad day I may walk a few steps on a couple of other hills on Route 3A as well. This whole first 8.5 mile section is either uphill or downhill. There are no flat sections. This strategy also works for me because as soon as I start running again I return to my steady pace. I also take advantage of the downhills on this section by lengthening my stride and increasing my speed. I do not lean back and slow my pace.

North Shore Road to the Village Store (Miles 8.5-11)

This next section is short and is all on one road. No turns on this section. As soon as you take the left on North Shore Road the first feeling you will have is relief that you are finally off route 3A. Unfortunately you will not have a lot of time to think as you will immediately be faced with a screaming downhill. I stay in control but I do take advantage of this downhill to make up some time. If you are not a confident downhill runner this part of the course will not be enjoyable for you. After flying down the hill there are a couple of tough but very short rollers followed by a tough climb to the top of Devil's Hill. This is the next hill on the course that I walk. I make it about half way up and then walk the rest of the way. At the top of the hill you will have no time to rest as you will be faced with the toughest downhill on the course. This is an extremely steep downhill. I run down this hill but some of my friends walk down it to save their legs and avoid injury. Again, if you are not confident it doesn't hurt to walk the steepest part of the downhill to save your legs. After you get past this downhill there is another short but tough uphill as you approach the Village Store and then the road flattens out.

Out and Back to Sculptured Rock (miles 11-17)

This next section is more rolling hills but does have a few flat sections. Since this part of the course is still early in the race you need to ensure you do not increase your speed too dramatically on the flats. There are also several tough uphills in this section. After the turnaround you will head back towards the Village Store so you will know what is ahead of you on the return. There is another hill I walk on the return trip to the store. Again the key is to listen to your body. If you feel that walking would be similar to the pace you are "running" then switch to a walk and save your legs. Way too early to exhaust your energy stores at this point. The key to surviving this section of the course is to maintain an even pace.

West Shore Road to Route 3A (miles 17-24)

This part of the course starts with a couple of tough uphills. I use my walk strategy on a couple of early climbs on this part of the course. There are a few tough uphills from miles 17-19 and then you hopefully will be able to take advantage of the flattest part of this course. After you crest the hill shortly after Berea, you will have a nice downhill and then the course is flat or slightly rolling for the remainder of this section. This past Saturday I ran 7:58-8:08 pace for miles 19-24. The only exception is one tough but short uphill at the ice cream stand before taking a left to stay on West Shore Road. I actually walked about 20 steps on that hill and used that opportunity to take in nutrition (Snickers Bar) and Gatorade. (See my nutrition plan here)

This section has the most beautiful views on the course as well with the iconic Newfound Lake view right at mile 20.

 

At the very end of West Shore Road just before the right turn on to Route 3A and the final section of the course there is another short but very tough uphill at the church. I walk this uphill and take on some final nutrition before my push to the finish line.

Route 3A to the Finish Line (miles 24-Finish)

This final section is the easiest section of the course. That is if you think the last couple of miles of any marathon are easy. Remember that tough uphill that started the race?  Well, here is some payback. You now get to run down that hill to finish the race. The last section of this course is mostly downhill all the way to the finish. If my strategy works on race day I hope to still be running a solid pace to close out the race.

Final Thoughts

With a tough and technical course like the New Hampshire Marathon proper pacing and strategy are key to a great performance. This course has some tough uphills but if handled properly you should still be able to take advantage of the downhill sections and the last 10k. Don't let your pride get in the way and refuse to walk when your body is screaming at you early in the race. If you are not fit enough to run this entire course then walk the tough parts and run solid on the easy parts. It is a simple strategy that I hope will result in another 8:30 pace performance in 3 weeks!

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Zumba for Runners and Triathletes

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Thursday, September 12, 2013
in Training

This is the first of several articles designed to get triathletes and runners to try something new this off-season. All season long we either run, bike, or swim and do very little else. Even if we wanted to try something new, chances are there is just not enough time in our busy lives. As the off season approaches I encourage everyone to take a break from the training grind. This is the time of the year when you are free to expand your horizons and do something other than running, cycling, or swimming for fitness.

I am no different than anyone else. Other than golf I really have not done any other sports or exercise programs outside of my comfort zone. I am probably the least likely person to try anything new. Rather than continue this trend and because I know there are others out there like me I decided to change. My goal is to show that runners and triathletes can try something new and hopefully encourage people that are afraid or hesitant that it can be fun to try something different.

 

What is the first thing I tried? Well, you can probably guess by the title of this blog....Zumba! Now what is Zumba? According to Wikipedia:

Zumba is a dance fitness program created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez during the 1990's. Zumba involves dance and aerobic elements. Zumba's choreography incorporates hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, and martial arts. Squats and lunges are also included.

Why did I choose Zumba as my first new topic?  My mother-in-law has been talking about Zumba for several months. During a couple of family cookouts I heard her mention how great Zumba is and how much she enjoyed going to the classes. She mentioned she has lost weight and is now going regularly. Now at the time I knew nothing about Zumba. I just assumed it was like Yoga or something similar. When I decided I wanted to start writing about new things I wanted to pick something I knew nothing about and the first thing that came to mind was Zumba. I figured, "How hard can it be..my mother-in-law is doing it, right?"

I decided the best place to go was the studio that my mother-in-law attends. I contacted Nicole Detellis who is the owner of Fuse Yoga & Fitness in Londonderry, New Hampshire. I explained that not only did I want to attend one of her Zumba classes and write an article about it I also wanted to film my experience. This is View The Race....everything is about video. Nicole was accommodating and agreed to my request.

My Experience

First off you really need to understand I had no idea what Zumba was all about. I purposely did not want to find out much about it prior to attending the class. Again my goal is to show that anyone can try something new and you don't need weeks of planning to get out there and give it a shot.

I arrived at the studio feeling a little self conscious. I was happy to see that the class was small and everyone was very welcoming. Nicole was terrific. She welcomed me and made me feel at ease despite the fact I still did not know what I was in for. Everyone gathered in a room that looked like a dance floor with a wall mirror in the front of the room. A few seconds later the music started and Nicole started leading the first workout set. I was caught a little off-guard as there were no announcements or "starting gun".

Now right off I realized I was not dressed properly. Unfortunately I do not have any workout clothes other than Spandex tri shorts. I figured Spandex would not be welcomed so I decided to wear some old golf shorts and a loose fitting race t-shirt. I wore running shoes but found that for Zumba there are special shoes with no tread that work well. Check out these Zumba Shoes on Amazon. It would have made it a little easier to slide my feet on the floor but it didn't really matter.

 

 My impression of Zumba is similar to the definition. It is basically completing a dance routine for each song with a little aerobics mixed in. Since I had no previous knowledge of the routines I basically had to follow the instructor and try to mimic her moves. This is easier said than done. Nicole is a fabulous instructor with high energy and an obvious dance background. I was very impressed and at times felt like I was at a show watching her perform.

I really have only danced at weddings and have definitely never performed a solo dance routine. Despite this fact I had a fun time. The class was one hour long and time seemed to fly by as I tried to follow the moves for each song. I did not feel overly strained but I started sweating heavily about 20 minutes into the class. By the end my shirt was soaked. I think I would have got an even better workout if I completed more of the moves and really was able to get into each song. Due to my lack of ability at times I was a little lost and ended up skipping some of the movements. I am sure I would do better if I tried it a couple of more times.

My Review

If you like to dance then Zumba is for you. Everyone knows someone that likes to dance and is probably not working out. Encourage them to take a Zumba class or better yet bring them to a Zumba class and give it a try. The energy in the class is great and makes you want to learn the moves for each song. I think this would be great cross training if you want to work up a nice sweat and have fun for an hour. Instead of cycling on the boring trainer or running for 30 minutes on the treadmill try a Zumba class. It was a lot of fun, and I may try it again.

 

Want to see how I did? I am posting a few videos of my experience at the below link. If you promise not to laugh you are allowed to watch this video. Seriously...promise...Better yet focus on the instructor.

Click Here to watch my Zumba experience!

Thank you

Special thanks to Nicole Detellis from Fuse Yoga & Fitness. If you are interested in Yoga, Zumba, or Surf-Set Fitness check out her studio. The welcoming atmosphere and great instructors will make it easy to stay in shape this off-season.

**Fuse Yoga & Fitness is offering a "New Student Pass" for only $25 for 25 consecutive days. This is good for ANY class at Fuse Yoga & Fitness.***  

Conveniently located just off route 93 (exit #5) in Londonderry, NH.

Contact Nicole ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or stop by to try out a class.

Why wait?

Click here for this week's workout schedule.

 

Fuse Yoga & Fitness

182 Rockingham Road

Londonderry, NH 03053

Phone: 603-432-1626

Website: http://www.fuseyogafitness.com/

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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New Service: VTR Live Race Filming

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Friday, September 06, 2013
in News

View The Race is now offering a new service. In addition to narrated course videos, race website design, and race registration we are now offering live race filming. This is just another way that View The Race can continue to be a resource to runners, cyclists, and triathletes by allowing you to View The Race Before You Do The Race!

How does it work? 

The concept is really pretty simple. Everyone enjoys the pictures that photographers take at races. It is pretty cool to see yourself in several snap shots from different areas of the course. What would be better than a picture? Video of course...Everyone loves to see themselves in action on the race course. Even if it is only for a few seconds it is still cool to see what you looked like on a race day.

What makes View The Race different?

Now I have seen many videos of runners crossing the finish line and we definitely will have a camera at the finish line to get that all important finish line sprint on video.  In addition to the finish line video we will also strategically place a second or even third camera to capture racing action from different parts of the course. This will enable athletes to see themselves several times on the course. Imagine seeing yourself on video 3-4 times in the same race.

Video Editing

Probably the most important part of our new service is the video editing. Here are a few things we do to make your live video great to watch.

1) We try to list as many names as possible on the video. As athletes are seen in the video we match up the race numbers with the results and list the athletes name, time, and place as appropriate. We especially like when there is a great sprint to the finish between two racers and we make a note of that on the video when possible. I also will add a few comments if I see something noteworthy. This gives athletes a chance to be "famous" on the video.

2) In order to shorten the length of the video we eliminate any space between runners. This allows a continuous flow of runners on the video and eliminates any "dead" time on the footage.

3) We also make separate videos as needed with descriptive titles so you know what part of the race you are viewing. For instance finish line, top of the big hill, corner of Smith St and Jones St, etc.

 

This is a new service and is a work in progress. As more races are filmed I am sure we will be adding new features and enhancements to the videos. Check out a few of the videos we have filmed this summer on our new Race Event Videos page.

As we continue to develop this service we are offering this free to all races for the remainder of 2013. If you are a race director please contact me if you are interested in having View The Race film your event. In addition if anyone has any ideas on how to improve these videos please let me know. Our goal is to be the website athletes rely on to View The Race Before You Do The Race!

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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Long Run Nutrition: What Should I Use?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Wednesday, August 21, 2013
in Training

 If you run longer than 1 hour for any of your weekly workouts, you have probably considered what nutrition may be necessary to improve your performance or to complete the distance more comfortably. Fueling for performance during exercise is a huge industry. If you are looking to fuel your body on your next long run the choices are endless. How do you decide what is best for you? What does your body need to perform?

First of all let me explain my credentials. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. What I have to offer is personal experience and a lot of trial and error. I have completed 6 marathons, 2 half Ironman races, 2 Ironman aqua bikes, and a full Ironman. I have also completed 40 half marathons. During these events I have made every mistake in the book. These mistakes and a lot of experimentation during training have allowed me to "figure out" what seems to work for me on long workouts.

At what race distance do you need to take in nutrition? The reason why there are so many products and different opinions is because everyone is different. We all have different genetic make-up, fitness levels, weight, backgrounds, etc. All of these factors and many more determine what you need to improve performance or just to finish an event.

One of the funniest things I have seen is a number of years ago Manny Ramirez, who was playing for the Red Sox at the time, hits a home run and after running the bases grabs a medium Gatorade and chugs it down. Now, even Gatorade would have to admit you don't need their product after running the bases. So when do you need it? I typically use the rule that if I am going longer than 75 minutes then I probably need some nutrition.  If I am running for 2-3 hours or longer then I need to plan to intake food/drink every 45-60 minutes to make sure I am fueled and hydrated throughout the run.

Ok, I know I need nutrition. What should I eat/drink on my run? There are many factors involved with this answer but I will try to cut through the mystery. Here are the most important factors for me:

1) How does it taste?

If you are fueling during a marathon you are already in enough pain. Don't make it worse by eating/drinking something that tastes like s*%t. The number one thing for me is I have to like the taste. This is especially important in the later portions of the race when you need fuel just to finish the event. The last thing you need is a bad taste in your mouth.

 

2) How does your body react?

This requires experimentation. With so many products and flavors out there you have to know if eating/drinking something will result in an upset stomach or bathroom issues. It is essential that you test your nutrition plan in training before race day. One of the biggest "rookie" mistakes is grabbing something new from a water stop during the race and having a negative reaction.

3) Easy to use?

The choices are endless. GU, gels, shots, bars, etc. It is essential that you are comfortable with the product. Some factors here include things such as:

a) Is it hard to chew?  Is it possible you will have to stop running in order to eat? Especially when you are exhausted towards the end of the event. Breathing and chewing can be labor intensive when you are struggling.

b) How do you open it? Can you open it while running or will you have to stop? Will it melt after a few hours making it impossible to open?

c) How will you carry your nutrition? Some are easy to carry and others are more difficult. Will all of the items fit in your fuel belt?

4) Does it work?

Something could get high marks on all of the above points and fail on the most important. It has to work! If you are fueling properly you are consuming 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour. There are many other ingredients that could improve performance including sugar, caffeine, electrolytes, sodium etc. Again experimentation is key. Once you know something works in training you can enter your big event with confidence.

So you want details....Here is my nutrition plan for my upcoming marathon in October. I use these items for all of my long runs so I know how my body will react.

Breakfast: cup of coffee, bagel with peanut butter, and one Ensure. I eat the coffee and bagel as soon as I get up and then drink the Ensure about an hour before the event. This combination gives me the carbohydrates and enough calories to give me some power. The caffeine jump starts my system.

During the race: Starting at about the 45-60 minute mark I will eat one mini Snickers bar (yes..I said Snickers) and then eat one every 45 minutes until the end of the race. Throughout the race I also drink Gatorade making sure I drink early and often to get calories and to maintain hydration. Eating a Snickers bar is easy to do and has a great taste. I also get sugar and caffeine in addition to carbohydrates.

I also plan on using my secret weapon at the New Hampshire Marathon. Around mile 17 I will have a friend hand me an ice cold Mountain Dew. This is a totally different taste than Gatorade and is filled with sugar and caffeine. Exactly what my body needs to power through the last section of the race. I first started experimenting with soda on long bike rides during my Ironman training. I ate so much junk food during the Ironman my training partner said I was utilizing the "teenage diet" nutrition plan. But guess what? It works....so don't judge me. Watch the Tour de France. You will constantly see the riders being handed cans of Coke. It works.

 

After the race:  Cold beer! Celebrate! You did it!

The bottom line is that everyone needs some type of nutrition for long distance events and you need to experiment to determine what works for your body. Whether you use the latest scientifically tested formula or you use Gatorade, Mountain Dew, and Snicker's Bars if you get to the finish line and meet your goals then one choice is not better than another. I don't use products because they are cool or the latest trend. I use what works and so should you. Start experimenting and find that perfect combination that will keep you energized and allow you to cross the finish line.    

Cool

 

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Ending Summer with a Classic Road Race

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Wednesday, August 07, 2013
in Road Races

If you were to flashback to 1635, Hingham, Massachusetts was a bustling area that earned the title of being the 12th town in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Beginning with friendly relations between the native Algonquin Indians and European settlers, the area has transformed into the 22.5 square-mile town that Hingham boasts of today, a residential community just 15 miles south of Boston. Its several recreation sites and parks are scattered among historic architecture and open space, creating the perfect family atmosphere and offering endless opportunities to community members. This summer, on Friday, August 23rd that same atmosphere will offer one of the best races on the South Shore: The Marathon Sports End of Summer Classic.

What’s so exciting about this particular race? Volunteers and supporters say that you’re going to notice the addition of several new twists, adding entire new dimensions to the experience that the race’s previous years lacked. The evening will kick off at 6pm in Bare Cove Park, with the first ElliptiGO challenge ever organized on the East Coast. For those who don’t know, ElliptiGO’s can best be described as elliptical machines on wheels, traveling at a top speed of 20 miles-per-hour. Race Director John Childs, a former runner and avid ElliptiGO user, says this will be the biggest “ElliptiGO only” event in the world this year, with the exception of the World Championships near San Diego. It will be a great way to try out something new alongside good running tradition.

 

HINGHAM, MA: Race Director and running enthusiast John Childs eagerly awaits this year's End of Summer Classic.

 

Race organizers have also added a new 3-mile run to the signature 5-mile event due to popular demand. According to Childs, the race will not only appeal to veteran runners, but also new runners and walkers who want to participate in a more comfortable distance category. Both the 3 and 5 milers will start promptly at 6:30 PM.

In order to capture this great event the race will also be filmed from above, using an unmanned aerial film platform to provide a bird’s eye view. This will make the race the first local event to employ this new technology, and the resulting footage will become part of a documentary about the race and Bare Cove Park.

As if you didn't need anymore incentives to participate this year, there will also be tech shirts for the first 400 entrants provided by Mizuno, awards by Marathon Sports, cash prizes in the overall category, custom made mugs to a few lucky runners, great swag in runner bags, and of course the great post race bash at the nearby South Shore Country Club. The entire scene will be surrounded by displays of quality running-related businesses, cheering bystanders, and an overall exciting atmosphere that only a strong community of runners and Hingham residents could bring. “We strive to make it the most fun road race possible,” says Childs. “Not only for the runners, but for the volunteers and the sponsors.”

All proceeds from this event will benefit Bare Cove Park, a scenic wildlife sanctuary and place for public recreation. Your summer won’t be complete until you get hands-on with this unique experience, surely making it one of your all-time favorite annual races.

 

For more information or to register, go to: www.endofsummerclassic.com.

 

- Kristin Concannon

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The Joys of Summer

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Monday, August 05, 2013
in Uncategorized

Last week I heard someone say, "Where has the summer gone? The summer will be over before you know it." The complete tone of the conversation was depressing and made me feel like I should start unpacking my winter gear and running to the store for ice melt. You know the people I am talking about. The kind of people that thrive off the doom and gloom of life. Now I know the calendar says we are steadily marching through the summer months but I refuse to throw in the towel on this summer.

 

If you live in an area of the country that has cold, snowy winters this time of the year is to be especially savored. As we start progressing through the month of August thoughts about how little time is left this summer are hard to ignore. Before you know it the mornings will be a little cooler and the leaves will start to change. Labor Day and the start of school are right around the corner. Before you start packing your shorts away consider the other side of the coin. There are still almost 4 weeks before Labor Day weekend. What are you going to do with the next four weeks?

Have you gone for a run at the beach or around the lake?

Have you taken a long bike ride up the coast?

Have you hiked up that mountain yet?

How about that camping trip with the kids?

Have you had corn on the cob and hot dogs?

If you have not taken advantage of getting outside this summer due to the heat or a busy schedule make sure you get out there in the next few weeks. Go for a run/walk at the beach, plan a long bike ride, or just play a few rounds of golf. Get outside and enjoy the late summer/early fall weather and make sure you do not let this time slip by before it is too late.

Runners and triathletes know what I am talking about. Since everything we do is better done outside we tend to take advantage of every opportunity for outdoor activities. Thoughts of the bike trainer and the treadmill should be motivation enough to not waste a single day. Being active is so easy in the summer and many of us live a completely different lifestyle this time of the year.

If you haven't had time to make a memory this summer there is still time left. The next few months are some of the best of the year for running, walking, golf, hiking, or really anything outdoors. Get out there and have some fun! You will be glad you did!

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Juicing: Three Days of Misery

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Tuesday, July 09, 2013
in Weight Loss

 

If you followed the weight loss journey my brother-in-law lived last year then you know about juicing. (check out his story here) He lost over 60 pounds by juicing and then switching to a vegan lifestyle. All you hear about these days is juice fasting. People that "juice" claim it is not only a great weight loss program but also can cure joint pain and other physical problems. I may be a little jaded about juice fasting due to the amount I had to hear about it from my bother-in-law for the last 18 months. One thing I can't argue with is the results. Everyone who juice fasts loses a ton of weight quick. Why? Well, basically because you are starving yourself. I am sure there are plenty of people that gain the weight back in a short amount of time but my bother-in-law has kept the weight off and is in much better shape than he was 70 pounds heavier than he is now.

Despite my skeptical feelings on juicing I felt it would make sense for me to try it. How can I comment on something I know nothing about? I figured I would try juicing for three days to see what this was all about. Now three days is not much of a commitment but I figured that would be enough to get a feel for this latest weight loss fad. I have heard everything about juicing. The pain of the first few days, rapid weight loss, cleansing of the mind and body,....blah, blah, blah....I will let you know the true facts.

Now I made sure that I did not tell anyone about what I had planned. The last thing I wanted was my brother-in-law to hear what I was planning and make a big deal out of it. I would simply go out and buy a juicer and then "juice" for three days. Easy..right? It would probably suck but at least I would know what people are talking about.

Sunday

Since I do my long runs on Sunday I figured I would start my 3 days of juicing on Monday. I ran 12.2 miles in the heat and then went out and bought a juicer. There were a few choices but I bought a Dash Juicer. My next trip was to the grocery store to buy the fruits and vegetables I would be juicing.

Now you have to understand. My diet consists of the three food groups....meat, potatoes, and beer. I do eat an occasional fruit but I hate vegetables. My wife makes me eat a small amount of veggies at most meals (yes, like a kid) but I absolutely hate the taste and avoid veggies at all costs. Because of this I loaded up the cart with apples, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, etc. Basically if it was a fruit...it went into the cart. My wife made me grab some carrots and broccoli as well. Later in the day I setup the juicer, had a nice dinner of grilled chicken and a baked potato and then relaxed with a few beers. Good last meal before my three days of juicing.

Monday  Day 1

Weight: 183

I woke on Monday feeling normal but knowing (dreading) the fact that I was basically going to starve for the next three days. I also immediately missed my coffee. Oh well...I had my first "juice" which consisted of strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, plums, and nectarines. I had no recipe. I just threw a bunch of stuff in....Once the container was full I mixed it up and drank it. Not bad....Over the next several hours I kept sipping juice and I had a ton of water. I was hungry but not too bad. I did question why I was doing this several times but decided to keep going. I was fairly busy at work which helped. I noticed when there was a break in the action I was starting to feel hungry and think about food.

Through breakfast and lunch I finished my first juice which was about 4 cups of liquid. Dinner time came and I was considering just having water and skipping the juice. I was really sick of drinking juice and I was only 12 hours deep! My wife suggested we make a totally different mixture of juice so we made one with apples, grapes, strawberries, carrots, peppers, and even a few pieces of broccoli. I agreed to adding the veggies only because I knew I would never taste it. I ended up drinking 24 ounces of this new mix and it wasn't too bad and did taste a lot different. A couple of glasses of water ended my day. This sucks!

 

 

Tuesday Day 2

Weight:  180.5

I woke up on Tuesday not feeling too bad but again dreading the fact I would miss my morning coffee and I couldn't eat anything. I lost 2.5 pounds in one day but I think if you only ate a small amount of Cheez-its a day I would lose weight too. I had my juice and now the real test. I have to run. Now I would usually run an easy 5-6 miles on Tuesday but I have heard (and assumed) that due to the lack of eating I would have no energy. I decided to run an easy 4 and see what happens. Now it had only been 32 hours since I had eaten real food so I figured this run would not be too bad and I was right. My energy level was a little down but I completed the 4 miles in 32:20 (805 pace) and felt OK.

The remainder of the day was absolutely terrible. My energy plummeted and I felt very lethargic and unmotivated. I found myself craving food and watching the clock hoping the day would end quickly. I did not have the energy or motivation to get anything done and basically wasted the day. I did perk up a little later in the day.  I found a juice I enjoyed drinking (pineapple, melon, apple) and pounded 3 glasses of juice in a row. This energy was short lived and I soon felt weak and lethargic again. The good news was that by then the day was over and I went to bed. Day 2 complete!

What really sucks is there is a lot of enjoyment in eating and drinking. I am not talking about eating terrible foods like fast food, cakes, candy etc...I am talking about a nice piece of grilled chicken or fish, nice potato, pasta, etc. Not to mention a great cup of coffee and a cold beer. I look forward to great meals and going out to dinner with family and friends. With juicing you eliminate that entire part of your life. No more bars or restaurants....it is hard core. My first thought is that if you have to juice to lose weight then you probably should have a serious health issue and need to take extreme measures to turn your life around. This is not easy.

Wednesday Day 3

Weight: 179.5

I woke up knowing I only have 24 hours to go. I can do this. I really can't believe people have gone 7, 10, or even 60 days with just juicing. This totally sucks. I can understand having a juice to replace one meal of the day but to only drink juice for all meals is terrible.

I wanted to get the full experience so I decided to run 6 miles easy with my wife despite my lack of energy. I had my juice and then headed out on my run. Based on my energy level on day 2 I wasn't sure I would be able to get it done. I managed to run about 4.5 miles before I bonked..no energy, weak, etc. I got dropped on the run but managed to finish in 55 minutes. I ran the last mile in 10 minutes. As soon as I finished I had juice and water but felt dead.

The remainder of day three was pure hell. Hunger pains, weakness, and for several hours I felt sick. Everything I thought about was related to food. The hours slowly ticked by and I somehow managed to only drink juice. I tried drinking multiple juices to bring myself back but at this point the juice seemed to have no effect on my hunger or energy level. I suffered miserably for the remainder of the day.

I planned the ending of the my third day to be no earlier than 4 AM on Thursday morning. In reality I had not eaten anything since dinner Sunday night. This did not seem like an issue before I started juice fasting but on day three I was kicking myself for adding on an additional 10 hours of juice fasting. I had my wife make me a nice plate of chicken and rice and put it in the refrigerator for Thursday morning. Finally the day ended.

Thursday Day 4

Weight: 178

I woke up at 4 AM and immediately made a pot of decaf coffee and heated up my plate of chicken. Wow! That felt good! First food in 3.5 days!

 

Facts and Commentary

* I lost 5 pounds in 3 days- I truly do not believe juicing would be any different than extremely limiting your calories eating/drinking anything else. While only eating fruits and vegetables may appear healthier, you are definitely missing key components to a healthy diet such as protein, fat, fiber, etc. You will lose weight but you are starving yourself...why wouldn't you lose weight?

* Juicing resets your system- Utilizing an extreme diet can be helpful to break bad habits and totally shake up your life. The key is after a short period of turning your life upside down you cannot go back to your bad habits. It is just as important to have a plan post juicing. Juicing alone will not solve the problem. If you return to your old ways you will gain the weight back. That is why my brother-in-law has been successful. He had a plan post juicing to make sure he would not gain the weight back. Again read his three part story here.

* Juicing is great!- Anyone who tells you juicing isn't that bad is lying. Juicing sucks! Maybe it is easier for people who actually like to drink liquid fruits and vegetables. Not sure...for me basically I decided to spend 3 days drinking things I would not normally eat. On the flip side I may have had it a little easier because I switched to decaf coffee a few months ago. I never had a "caffeine" headache which many people get when juicing.

* Energy level?- I can only speak for myself. During my three days of juicing I was weak and had a total loss of energy. My energy levels were way below normal. Food=Fuel=Energy  It is that simple. If you do not fuel your body then you will not have energy. I could still get things done but it was much more difficult in my weakened state. If you do not currently exercise then don't even consider trying to workout during the juice fast. In hindsight I probably should not have ran 10 miles during the fast as this probably took away a lot of the energy I had left.

Final Thoughts

I am happy I went through this exercise to see what juicing was all about. At this point I have no intention of ever trying to "juice" again. This exercise gives me more respect for the effort others have made to turn their lives around by juicing for extended periods of time.

Is juicing right for you? If you are looking for an extreme way to kick off a weight loss program then consider trying three days of juicing followed by a calorie restrictive diet. Hopefully you do not need this type of extreme dieting to lose weight. Exercise and calorie control is a much better way to go and a lot less painful.

Anyone want to buy a slightly used juicer?

 

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John Carson 4th of July 2013 Race Report

Posted by Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy has not set their biography yet
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on Saturday, July 06, 2013
in Road Races

One of my favorite racing events of the year is the John Carson 4th of July Road Race in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. (see a previous blog post explaining why I love this race) The 2013 running was the 12th time I've run this race and my time of 14:40 was one of my worst.  It was exactly one minute slower than I ran last year.  But I'm going to blame that on the heat and humidity, not my fitness level.

When I arrived at the start line the sun was already shining strong and the heat was shimmering off the pavement. The turn out for the race was not diminished by the weather. Over 2,200 racers showed up to run the 2 mile race. I was accompanied to the start line by 14 of my friends and family, including my daughter and sister. We were absorbed into the massive crowd at the start line, and I ended lining up with only my brother-in-law.  While we waited, we bemoaned the fact that we were both completing our first event in a new age category, 40-49.  

The start went off without much adieu.  All of sudden the crowd starting moving forward.  I had not positioned myself as close to the start as I usually do, so I didn't cross the start line for 10 seconds.  While this race offers a chip finish, there is no mat at the start line.  The first half mile was spent jockeying around little kids and people running side by side chatting (really??).  Once I made the turn onto North Road I started to get into a rhythm.  I knew my splits weren't great, so I didn't look at my watch at the one mile mark.  Racers are different, but when I see a slow split mid-race I start to feel a little dejected, so I didn't want to know how bad my first mile was.  Unfortunately, there was someone yelling out the mile time.  I heard "7:30". Ouch!

Just after mile one the road starts a nice gentle downhill (see the course video for a full narration).  I focused on turning my legs over as fast as I could and enjoyed running right down the middle of the road.  The crowds were great, cheering and squirting runners with Super Soakers. There were even a few folks with sprinklers out creating a little patch of rain for runners.

Heading into the center was exciting as always. The crowds were 3 or 4 deep and everyone was cheering. Even though I felt like my lungs were going to explode, I tried to pick up some speed going up the final rolling hill to the finish line. I focused on the fire engine ladder dangling over the road like an upside down  V, with a huge flag hanging from it.  I knew the finish line was just after that. I managed a good sprint and passed a handful of runners at the finish. I was relieved that I managed to stay below 15 minutes after having such a slow first mile.  Final time: 14:40 Average Pace: 7:20

While I'll hope for a cooler day in 2014, I know I'll be out racing no matter the weather.  This race isn't really about a time in the end.  It's about friends, family and celebration. 

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