Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hoot Toot and Whistle Snowshoe Race

The morning started out relaxed and fairly warm. My wife and I met my friend, Greg Hammett, at Bickford's Restaurant in Brattleboro for a good hardy breakfast. After breakfast Greg and I headed West into Readsboro for the 1st annual Hoot Toot and Whistle Snowshoe Race. The first thing that we noticed was that about every 6 miles the weather would change drastically. One minute it was sunny, the next there were flurries. The road went from bare, to snow covered. Luckily we were in Greg's truck which had 4 wheel drive. On one of the hills headed into town we lost traction and fished tailed back and forth. I was impressed with Greg's driving skills because he kept the vehicle in the correct lane, and after four very scary seconds had everything under control. A few minutes later (and after are heart rates were back to their normal rates) we arrived. Initially we were disappoint because we seemed to be in the heart of town and couldn't figure out where we would race. After we signed up at the Readsboro Inn and jogged to the start we were pleasantly surprised to see a beautiful Catamount Trail tucked in between the road and the river. Everyone toed the line at 10 am and we were off. It was a rat race for about 30 yards to get into position on the single track trail (which most of the race seemed to be). I got through first but for less than a half mile. Greg seemed to have enough snow being thrown into his face and made a move on me which I didn't answer. Greg and I have a history of battling out 5k's and he knows my weaknesses (the first 1/3 of the race). It takes me a bit to get into it and get my breathing in a good rhythm. He started to pull away and I knew if I didn't stay within 10 yards I would lose it mentally. About a mile and a half in, my heart rate seemed in sync and all systems were a go. I pulled left into the deep snow and prepared a surge to take the lead. It worked and I soon found myself blazing the way until the trail broke into two. I guess I missed the very obvious, stay left arrow and stopped just past it. Greg soon was there and like a good sport pointed in the right direction. The next part of the trail seemed to get deep and less traveled. Although, it was my favorite part of the course. The trail was very winding and rolling. It was very exciting to be leaning into the turns right and left. The course was sort of like a lolly pop. Out, loop, and back the same way. So I soon found myself heading back against very supportive traffic. My right snowshoe was getting loose and really bothering me. So much so that I stopped, tore my gator off, and quickly adjusted. I didn't have much time because Greg was right there. He was nice enough to pick up the gator and return it to me later (his second good deed for the day). I knew now that I had to surge the finish line to fend off Greg. The race was finally over. I can't get over this sport of snowshoeing. The amount of effort it takes to run a 27 minute 5k is unbelievable. I love it! It becomes a personal battle against the terrain and elements. The post race festivities were held at the Readsboro Inn and was put together very nicely. They had some very good veggie soup (stew?). I had a great conversation with Greg and Dave Dunham over a Long Trail while we waited for the awards. Actually, Greg and Dave did most of the talking, but I had fun listening. I talked Greg into joining CMS which is huge news (I have been bugging him for awhile). I think the icing on the cake was the $2 discount that CMS runners get next week at Northfield. He is a very talented and dedicated athlete that will benefit the team immensely. He showed interest in the USATF NE 10 miler and the New Bedford Half Marathon. We need to gear this guy up! Since Greg is CMS blood now our team took 1,2, and 3 (Dave Dunham being third). Anyway the race was fun and I enjoyed being a part of it. Here are the results for the top ten:
1 Justin Fyffe 27:30
2 Greg Hammett 27:53
3 Dave Dunham 29:18
4 Ken Clark 29:32
5 Paul Bazanchuk 30:38
6 Brian Northan 32:50
7 Edward Alibozek 33:39
8 Rick Pacheco 34:24
9 Jay Kolodzinski 34:49
10 Erik Wright 34:52
I hope to see everyone next week at Northfield (including Double-J who stayed East. Go West young(?) man, Go West).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Smith College Track Meet

I finished the week with the Smith College Indoor Track Meet. This was the first indoor meet that I have ever competed in and it was pretty fun. It's kind of cool to have two firsts in one weekend. The other being the snowshoe race. I competed in the 1 mile and the 800 meters. I was unsure what to expect because of my high mileage (for me). I was pleasantly surprised to run the mile in 4:33 and the half in 2:12. I think that I can do both considerably faster if I focused on those distances. But that is not my plan right now. It's 50K or bust. My friend Mark Miller ran the mile in 4:18 and teammate Matt Clark ran it in 4:26. My Dad, 51 years old, ran a 67 second 400. He almost broke the age group record for the facility! Now he just has to do a bit of conditioning to get his mile time down. He completed his first legitimate timed mile in 5:49. Very impressive but a bit off par for someone who can run a 67 quarter. You may see him on some of the hills this summer in the USATF Mountain Circuit. I may go back next week to get in under 4:30. On another note, I heard back from Buzz Burrell and La Sportiva. I just picked out my first installment of mountain shoes, sized my Team 2009 uniform, and picked out some really cool gear from their associate sponsors (Ultimate Direction, Petzl, Julbo, Sugoi, and DeFeet). I am very excited about the upcoming mountain season and happy to be a part of the La Sportiva team (they have really good stuff).

Check out these cool sites:

I will also be keeping a team blog with La Sportiva and Sugoi Brand Champions throughout the year.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Greylock Glen Snowshoe Race

The morning started out a bit slow. It took me 6 tries to get my Prizm up and out of the driveway. I had to keep backing up and getting a running start. The rest of my solo road trip was a lot better. I have never traveled East on the Mohawk Trail (RT 2) and must say it was one of the most beautiful rides I have been on. This was also my first snowshoe race and didn't really know what to expect once I got there. It was cold, as you can see from Tim Van Orden's frozen beard. I also noticed that my "trail blazer bear claw" shoes were twice as big as everyone else's. Ben Nephew pointed out to me that Dion Snowshoes allow people to borrow some of there "racing shoes". This was greatly appreciated. I loved the shoes and felt like I was running with regular road sneaks (except for the fact that I was running 7:30 mile pace). The workout was much harder than a normal race. It felt much like a mountain or trail race where your time doesn't reflect your effort. This should not be my last winter adventure. The results from the race were:

1 Justin Fyffe 29:37
2 Ben Nephew 29:47
3 Jim Johnson 29:51
4 Matt Cartier 30:14
5 Dave Dunham 30:18
6 Tim Mahoney 31:31
7 Tim Van Orden 31:48

This race was the highlight of my week. After spending most of the day in the Birkshires, I had the urge to stop and pick up a few pints of their famous brew. It was the perfect ending to a great day. My training log for the week looks like this:
Mon 6.2 am 9.2 pm
Tue 6.2 am 6.5 pm
Wed Off (knee soreness)
Thu 6.2 am 6.2 pm
Fri 6.2 am (-18 degrees)
Sat 2 mile warmup 4 mile race 2 mile cooldown
Sun TBD I plan to go to SMith College and beat myself up on the track

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jan 5-Jan 11

I had a pretty good week of training. I have kept up my milage and feel suprisingly ok. My body seems to be excepting the new stress that I am putting it through and handling it fairly well. The new kicks are a great relief! I have deviated from my proposed schedule a little, but here is how my week went:
Mon 6.2 am 6.2 pm
Tue 6.2 am 9.2 pm
Wed 6.2 am 6.2 pm
Thu 6.2 am 6.2 pm 12x400 repeats with 1mile warm up/cool down
Fri 6.2 am 9.2 pm
Sun 22 miles
Week Total 94 miles

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jan 5- Jan 11 Schedule

Last week I fell short of my 100 mile goal and only totalled 95. I am still
pleased with this, as it is my biggest week ever. I will be maintaining this type of milage throughout the winter. My training weeks will start on Mon and end with a long run on Sun from now on too. After talking with Dave Dunham my daily 6 minute pace is a bit too ambitious. He says 6:30 pace will still bring my fitness up to par and not break things down. I am also going to start rotating a few pair of shoes (another valuable DD training tip).
Well, here is my schedule for the week:

Mon 6 miles into work 6 miles home total 12
Tue 6 miles into work 6 miles home 1/2m WU 1/2m CD 12x400 repeats total 16m
Wed 6 miles into work 9 miles home total 15m
Thu 6 miles into work 9 miles home total 15m
Fri 6 miles into work 9 miles home total 15m
Sat 10 miles total 10m
Sun 20 miles total 20m
Weekly Total 103m

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hampster on a Wheel

I wimped out today and did my run in the wonderful comfort of my basement, on a treadmill. The weather here in E. Dummerston was 1 degree. This I can handle. The windchill dropped the temp down to -8 with gusts making it feel as low as -25 degrees. That's just too much. I totalled 10 miles today with virtually no incline. I figured I deserved a break from the unforgiving terrain I usually trot. I set the mill at 10mph, plugged in my MP3, and let her rip. I turned the music off after 30 minutes because I feel that the boredom of thread mill running is good for mental stamina. I like to think that practicing keeping my mind busy with no other stimulation helps give me the tools necessary to race well, especially in an Ultra Marathon. The 50K that I'm training for is 12 x 2.6 mile loops. This will get very boring. Anyway, I have 79 miles banked this week and feel relatively good. I will probably double tomorrow and take it easy Saturday because Sunday it's back to square one.