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Mt Washington

I have been slow to report on the Mt Washington road race, but it is still worth writing about. In many ways it was actually a boring race. I went out hard on the first couple hundred meters of flat, sharing the lead, fell to 11th when the climb started, and passed about one person per mile until I reached four miles. Just past mile five, former winner Rickey Gates passed me back, and so I finished in 8th place. I was 30 seconds behind Rickey at the finish, and almost a minute ahead of 9th place, so there just wasn’t much drama (unlike last year, where I passed Dan Princic in the final minute).
It was, however, a great day. I ran up the hill in 1:05:55, a little over 30 seconds under my previous best. I have been pretty tired the last couple days in a way that tells me I really dug deep.

Here is a picture of me:
Mt Washington copy

And here is the picture that the Concord Monitor (our local paper) ran. Kris insists it must be that he is just prettier than I am:
Kris Mt Washington copy

This makes four times as the top New Hampshire finisher. This all feels pretty good, but I am certainly not the most impressive finished from last Saturday. For that category, here are the contenders:

Joseph Gray was almost 8 minutes ahead of me. His time of 58:15 (run almost entirely by himself) is the second fastest in the race’s 50+ year history, and he is the first to win back to back races in over a decade.

Simon Gutierrez (the last man to win back to back races) is now 49 years old. I was only about a minute behind him last year, and I thought with a good effort this year I might finally catch him. Instead, he finished in 6th, almost two minutes ahead of me. If I make it back next year, it looks like I am going to be crushed by a 50-year-old.

But Simon has nothing on George Etzweiler. 10 years ago, the oldest age category in the race was 85+, but they have had to amend this twice; George finished the race this year at age 95. He was over two hours behind me, but he made it to the top. I was with a group that stopped and cheered him as we rode down, and you could see that he was working hard to maintain his pace. I don’t enjoy three hour maximal efforts now – I have a hard time imagining trying that 57 years in the future!

Racing Up, Racing Down, and Moving

So usually if a race is a week old I figure there is not point in blogging about it. But I am going to today, because I have an excuse… Anyway, I raced the Pack Monadnock 10 miler last Sunday. I raced this three years ago, losing to Brandon Newbould in the final climb (the course climbs about 1800 feet, half in the last two miles). This year I entered with elaborate contingency plans should I be racing any of several potential rivals, but none of them showed up. I had a 20 second lead by two miles, over a minute by seven miles, and earned an easy four-minute victory. Then I went home to work on packing up my house. The next day my nephew and I moved all of our furniture and most of our boxes. On Thursday, in addition to more moving-related tasked, I did the downhill…

Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race

With my impending move to the Netherlands, I have decided that this is definitely the time to get in as much mountain running as I can while it is still an option. The flat courses in my future could be good for PRs, but this weekend I drove up to Sleepy Hollow for the kickoff of that USATF mountain running series. I was a little confused about the course and ended up running the middle of three loops for my warmup, when I had hoped to run the final loop. This had no effect on the outcome of the race, nor did the fact that I expected Josh Ferenc, the defending champion who is running more and more ultras, to take the race out slow, and so I arrived at the line having run a fairly relaxed warmup. Maybe after running ultras this race feels like a 100 yard dash…

Running Season

I just had my first race of the year. It was an inauspicious lead up, as I took most of last week off from training with a nasty virus, and then took Tuesday off of both training and teaching to stay home with a sick child. This pushed my first track workout to Wednesday, only two days before my first race. I have been trying to get away from 400s on the track – I have found that I am getting better and better at doing 400 meter repeats as time goes on but that my performance in these workouts is less and less connected to my racing. So I did three times (200/200/800) with (200/200/400) recovery. The 200s were all 33 and 34. The 800s were 2:25, 2:26, 2:27, as steadily increasing effort levels. This is fairly fast for a skier (or a 38-year-old teacher) but not promising. I…

Last Intevals on Upper Osceola

Yesterday I did my final set of skiing intervals, on one of my favorite places for intervals, the Upper Osceola trail at the North End of Waterville Valley. Readers should have three questions about this (listed below in ascending order or relevance): 1. How did the intervals go? Can you give us excruciating detail? 2. Why are you doing ski intervals after all the races are over? 3. What do you mean by final? [You should read this answer.] And my answers: 1. The intervals were okay. My goal, as it often is, was to go faster each time, and I did that. The snow was wet, dirty, and slow, and I don’t know how well I was skiing, so my time for the first intervals was quite slow – 5:51. On the second interval I managed to hold on to V-2 a little better and got to the top…

A Frustrating Final Race

I skied my last race of the season on Saturday. It did not go well. The last time I raced the Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon, I dropped the second place finisher in the first 5 km. Even though I knew that several Craftsbury Green Team members would be there, along with David Sinclair and a strong college skier contingent, I still let the memory of easy victory allow me to believe I was the favorite. Unlike the last time I skied this race, there was still a very large group at 5 km. And I (in what is a bit of a theme for this race) was careless, allowing myself to drift back in the group on a big downhill, so that when I major pile-up occurred at the bottom of the hill, I couldn’t avoid it. I did managed to bail in such a way that I broke neither…

Three Point Three

That was my margin of victory Sunday. I just typed a long race description, which WordPress lost, so I will just say that I was only able to ski faster than Gordon on this course because I have skied that loop hundreds of times, including over a dozen races and dozens of intervals, over than past 32 winters. I guess I should clarify that the race was a Holderness, about 15 minutes from where I now live. I got one split, about 1.5 km from the finish. I was told I had “a couple second lead.” I wasn’t sure how accurate this was, but I pushed harder than I thought I would be able to all the way to the line. Without the extra motivation of believing it really was a close race, I don’t know that I would have finished that well. And if I really had a lead…

Pro!

I raced two SuperTour races this past weekend, and had by some measures my best result since my “retirement” 9 years ago. Saturday was a 10 km freestyle, and was a combined Eastern Cup/EISA College Race/SuperTour with 214 racers on the start list. I was in the second seed group, which started after the first seed, so if anyone had been giving me splits this would have been an advantage (but no one was…) I started very aggressively, attacking the first kilometer of the course and catching my 15 second man by the two km mark. I passed a couple of others who had started just in front of me as well, and caught my 30 second man near the lap. I drafted him for a bit, then took the lead again. He stuck right on me, and I was unable to generate the same power and speed I had…

SuperTour

I drove up to Craftsbury this morning to race in the 30 km classic mass start SuperTour race. It was a small race – just 33 entrants, but a fairly strong field, headed by my brother. After two weekends of college racing the start was refreshingly mellow. We went out for a couple kilometers and everything was pretty easy. I had asked Zach Caldwell for skis with killer kick even if it cost me on glide, and he delivered; while I think he was a bit disappointed in the less than perfect glide on my skis, I had incredible kick the whole time, even when my technique went near the end of the race. But this did put be a little behind the lead group as we started up the hill on Ruthie’s. I caught the group remarkably quickly, and was surprised to find myself sitting in 11th place at…

More Intervals with Kris

About a year ago I posted about classic intervals up Tripoli Road (pronounced “Triple-Eye” by a majority of locals, in case you are curious), where Kris gave me a 30 second head start and then chased me down. He apparently enjoyed it, so this week we returned and tried it skating. Last year, as best I can remember, Kris was theoretically in level three for the early parts of his intervals and only hitting race pace late. This year, he was race pace early and above race pace at the end. And whether on not that is true, I am sticking with that story because otherwise I have lost too much fitness in the last 12 months. Last year, I held him off for over 8 minutes each time. This year, he caught be at about 7:15 (6:45 for him) on the first interval, 7:10 on the second, 7:00 on…