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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Mountain Running

In my last post I promised an update after the Loon Mountain Race. But in the couple days after the race I was away from internet and by the time I had the chance to post I didn’t have much to write. Basically the only drama was whether I would finish in 3rd or 4th place (well, I did wonder a bit if Noah Hoffman would crack hard, but that was a silly thought). And by about a third of the way through the race 3rd place seemed unlikely – and by 40 minutes into the the one hour race it was clearly impossible. And nearly as unlikely was getting caught from behind. I ended up 4th, about a minute behind 3rd and a minute clear of 5th, and solidly in first place for the 40+ age division. I was a little slower than two years ago on nearly the same course, but the course this year was slower due to water and washouts. Overall, it was a very meh kind of day.
Yesterday I went for another sort of mountain run – a Presidential Range traverse, with Kris, Noah, and Andrew Drummond. I have done this twice at hiking pace, most recently 19 years ago with Kris and one of my high school friends. It was a solid run, about 6:15 for 21 or 22 miles of some of the most rugged terrain you will find in New England. We summited each of the five highest mountains in New Hampshire (and New England) along with two other official 4000 footers. I still don’t carry a camera or smartphone, but you can check out pics and more info on the hike on Noah’s blog.

Slow 10 km

Four months ago when I last blogged, I think I mentioned that my next planned race was the Rotterdam Marathon. My plans did not work out. After a 1:14 half marathon time-trial one afternoon, I was feeling confident. Then I went to Ramsau for February Break and did a ton of nordic skiing, which also felt great. When I came back, I had severe pain in my IT band. For a while I was down to running about five miles every other day. There have been twists and turns dealing with the injury, but I am just now feeling like it might be behind me. And despite reduced mileage I have had lots of training hours – a huge skiing week in Norway at Easter and lots of biking to fill in the missing running. My track workouts have been solid, I have felt fit, and so I went into…

European Club Champions Cup

I had kind of figured that I was done getting flown at others’ expense to compete in races. But it turns out not! Last year (with no help from me) my club, Leiden Atletiek, won the Dutch championships for cross country running, and with this victory came an invitation to the European Club Champions Cup in Albufeira, Portugal. Each team is allowed up to one foreigner, and I have been running fast enough to help the team, so they brought me with. It is definitely interesting traveling with a team whose language you don’t understand to a third country whose language you also don’t speak. My Spanish – left over from high school – makes me possibly more conversant in Portuguese than I am in Dutch, but that is more commentary on the sad state of my ability to learn the language of my new home than a claim that…

Two slow Saturdays in the snow.

So I actually entered a ski race a week ago, and should probably blog about it. I have waited due to a few factors: jet lag, a desire not to compete with U.S. Nationals coverage, and not wanting to admit how slow I raced. The race was a Zak Cup at Gunstock. The last time I raced at Gunstock was an Eastern Cup several years ago where I requested to be seeded as a Master racer so that I could make my start time after working in the morning. The snow slowed after the faster seeds and then started to speed up again as I started. By the time I finished the tracks were blazing fast. I won that race, but it is hard to say whether I did so despite or because of the changing snow conditions. Last Saturday I started in bib #1, a consideration given to me…

Racing in a Foreign Country

You might think that after a year in Holland – a country where almost everyone speaks good English – I would have the logistics of racing figured out. I thought so too. I was wrong. Buses don’t run early on Sunday morning, so in order to get to Amsterdam for the Dam tot Damloop 10 miler, I had to first bike the the Leiden train station. There were two detours along the way. The first had signs indicating the alternate route, but the second had nothing (I later learned the the best course of action was to ignore the barrier and ride through the “closed” path). I didn’t do that in the morning though, so I missed the train I was hoping to take and got to Amsterdam 15 minutes later than I hoped. I still had plenty of time before my race, and I got in a decent warm-up,…

Tips for Master Skiers

Last Thanksgiving, I received an email forwarded through FasterSkier asking if I would write advice for another older athlete with kids and a full time job. I have received a couple similar requests over the years, and I keep thinking that I will make a blog post about this soon, rather than trying to respond to individuals. I have started the post a couple of times – maybe this is the version I will actually finish. 1. Train every day. This is really the most important part of getting and staying in shape. And for many, it is the hardest. Now, a day off here and there is a good thing, so – like any advice you receive, particularly from me – take it with a grain of salt. But as a parent with a full time job, there is almost always a reason to take a day off: family…

A Not-So-Triumphant Return to the Track

On Friday night I competed in a track meet for the first time in more than 18 years. The last time I was at a track meet I set two PRs – one in the hammer (101’3″) and one in the 400 (57.5) – I was actually drafted at the last minute to rabbit the 800. How all that came to be is a story for another time. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on my return, but it actually felt quite familiar. Despite being in another country, and being alone, the feeling of being at a track meet is very much the same. There was the rush of adrenaline every time the gun went off to start another heat, the nervousness of checking out the competition, the frustration with the meet being a bit behind schedule. And about that schedule – the 5000 m was schedule to start…

January Track Workout

I doubt my blog silence has been noticed by many, what with Nationals going on, not to mention three U.S. women on podiums in different stages of the Tour de Ski, but it seems I do still have a blog! I was home in New Hampshire for three weeks, and got to see lots of family and friends. And despite the weather (Kris and I summitted Sandwich Dome on Christmas Day, and there was no white stuff to be seen) I managed to get in about 20 hours on snow. Now that I am back in Holland, this has given me the answer to a question I have had for some time: just how many days of all skiing does it take before the return to running is all sore muscles and excruciating pain? Turns out the answer is somewhere south of 10 days 🙁 Anyway, sore – and jetlagged…

Technique Drills

I know this blog is on a skiing website, and I know that this is the time of year when a lot of readers (if I have a lot of readers) might be looking for some technique drills to get ready for the upcoming ski season. I don’t think this is the post for them (but it might be. You’ve come this far, so why not keep reading?) This is a post about technique drills for running. It is not a post I ever thought I would write, as I have always been skeptical of any attempt to dictate running form. My experience over the past couple of months at my running club, however, has changed my mind. In particular, this week I considered not going to the weekly track workout, as I have been nursing a hip injury. But I went. I felt my hip a little during the…

Dam tot Damloop

Okay, WordPress has eaten this post twice. The most brilliant prose I have ever written, and it is gone (as far as you know). Here are the highlights: The Dam tot Damloop in Amsterdam has 48,000 participants. The winning time was 45:19. I was 30th, 28th man, 2nd over 35, in 52:05. The Dutch have outdoor, semi-enclosed urinals at there races which makes the line at the port-a-johns a lot shorter. Near the start of the race I ran for over a kilometer through a tunnel under the canal. That was kind of cool (not least because in created a small hill on which I made crazy amounts of time on the Dutch runners who really can’t handle the least hint of an incline).