Midnight Owl 15K |Race Recap

indexRace Location: North Conway, NH

Race Date: 7/28/2018

Race Managed/Timed By: Mount Washington Valley Skating Club

Proceeds to Benefit (if any): Mount Washington Valley Skating Club

Organization of Bib Pick Up: Smooth and easy! The start point and bib pick up were in Schouler Park in the center of North Conway. There was plenty of parking around the park. The area was well-lit (it was nighttime, after all!). And there were plenty of volunteers on-hand to answer questions.

Organization of Race: It was pretty simple–leave any time after 9:30 p.m. and try to be one of the first five people to cross the finish line after midnight without using a timing device. Leave whenever you think will get you there on time. They had a pace chart set up–so, look at your typical pace for the distance, and it told you what time you should leave to reach the end by midnight.

There were volunteers at most course turns, or at least arrows directing us to turn. There were reflective mile markers. And three water/Gatorade stops. Police were present at two road crossings.

We were directed to wear reflective vests/clothing and to carry a headlamp or flashlight. At least half the field did one or the other. Some people were really not visible; other people had really cool reflective gear!

There were 70-80 people (runners and walkers). And although everyone started at different times, most of us ended within 5 minutes of midnight!

Course Description: We started by Schouler Park in North Conway. There wasn’t really a start line (no tracker on the bib), but we were pointed to a general area to start from! We did a partial lap around the park and then out onto the main road (Route 116) and past shops and restaurants for about a half mile. We turned left onto River Road and it got dark. Good thing for those headlamps!

After a half mile or so on River Road, we turned left on West Side Road, and that’s where most of the running occurred (about 6 miles of it). It was a decent road, nice wide shoulder for much of it. There were some hills, but nothing that felt unmanageable.

We turned right onto Route 116 in Conway and ran another half mile or so to a left turn onto West Main Street. We were in the home stretch … except we had to do about a mile loop! We saw the finish line, passed it, and ran through a neighborhood and sort of industrial area (hard to see–it was dark!) to loop to the finish at Ham Arena.

Spectators/Energy: There weren’t spectators, other than the volunteers at the course turns and water stations. Most runners were friendly and supportive, but it was a very quiet course. I think it would be hard to do this alone, unless you’re really OK with running on a dark, unfamiliar route in the middle of the night!

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Swag: A really cute t-shirt design and a complementary carved wooden “medal.”
They had special awards with a choice of raffle items–the “early bird,” for the first person to cross the finish line, the youngest and oldest runners, the person who came the furthest (with other cute names that I don’t remember), and for people who ran in another race earlier in the day (I won one of those!). And there special prizes for the first five people who finished after midnight (a mosaic hot plate).

After Party: They had cookies, watermelon and water at the Ham Arena. So, that was a little lame. And they made everyone stick around for the awards before bringing in the shuttle to take them back to Schouler Park.
Other Thoughts/Comments: This was a really unique event. It was a fun challenge–how well do you know your pacing?! I would do it again, especially if I could find a decently priced room to stay in the area. It was a long ride home after running for almost 2 hours!

If you’re looking for a challenge, and something a little unusual, I would HIGHLY recommend this race. If you know your pace, it’s a good chance to win a race!

 

~ Alicia C.

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Down East Sunrise Trail Relay | Race Recap

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Race Location: Ellsworth to Eastport, Maine

Race Date: 7/20-7/21/2018

Race Managed/Timed By: Crow Athletics

Proceeds to Benefit (if any): The Down East Trail Coalition, who maintain the trail

Organization of Bib Pick Up: Bib pickup is at the starting line of the relay 30 minutes before your team’s start time. Teams have a staggered start depending on the estimated finish time of the team. Start times run from 5:30 p.m. Friday to 1:00 a.m. Saturday.

Organization of Race: The race was well-organized; we received our start time the week of the race & the race started on time. There were a lot of details provided on the website and in the driving, running, and race packets. On the course there were markers at the hand off points, and markers at tricky turns for both runners & drivers. Once the race started, there wasn’t much oversight. There were port-o-potties at a few exchange points but not at most; there was no oversight at the exchange points, & there were no medical personnel. The course is broken into 16 legs and teams can have a maximum of 8 people. Teams have to run a 12 minutes mile or faster.

Course Description: The trail system is gorgeous, as are the surrounding areas. The race is 102.7 miles total, with 85 on trails and the rest on roads. The course is broken into 16 legs. The Down East Sunrise Trail is a rail trail with a mostly sand & gravel surface. The exchange points were pretty easy to find & had enough side of the road parking for teams. There were 42 teams this year, which was double their team number from last year. This is the 5th year of this race. At the leg 13 exchange point, the ATV club offered bathrooms & homemade breakfast starting at 3 a.m. The race organizers hope to build more local support in coming years. Eastport is the eastern most city in the US and the sunrise is spectacular to see as a runner or from the car! The sunrise started around 3:30 a.m.

Spectators/Energy: The teams and runners were very supportive of one another, and there was a positive, albeit tired, energy throughout the entire relay. There were no spectators on the trails, but teams cheered on runners along the road portion of the race & the downtown Eastport finish line. Mostly the energy was from runners & teams supporting each other.

Swag: A hefty medal with the state of Maine & rail road ties. The ribbon around the medal shows all of the legs of the relay! In order to keep costs low, the shirt was for sale, and not part of the registration cost.

After Party: Was held at the Quoddy Bay Lobster restaurant. Wait times were long, so we just got ice cream & hung out for awards to be given.

Other Thoughts/Comments: This was my first relay, so I can’t compare it to Reach the Beach or other relays. I loved the experience and the challenge of this relay, and also being able to explore northeastern Maine. It has a rustic feel since it is on trails, and has few facilities available, but I think that adds to the unique challenge and adventure of this race.

~ Erin M.

Goffstown Berry Classic | Race Recap

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Race Location: Goffstown

Race Date: July 21, 2018

Race Managed/Timed By: Granite State Race Services

Proceeds to Benefit (if any): Goffstown Historical Society

Organization of Bib Pick Up: The organization of the bib pick up was an easy and pleasant experience. The volunteers greeted me with their happy faces and offered to keep my bag under their table.

Organization of Race: The race was very organized through Granite State Races as well as providing plenty of spectators and other volunteers to make the event run smoothly. Each participant was provided with a map of the course at the time of registration. There were enough spectators/volunteers to direct us on the right path and also give us the enthusiasm we need to keep the positive energy flowing. Last, the Goffstown Historical Musesum was open so we were able to use their restroom before and after the race.

Course Description: The course started across the street from the Goffstown Historial Society. We ran to the intersection of Parker Station Road and Rt. 114. Police officers provided their assistance by stopping traffic so we could run across the street on Rt. 114. We then turned left on to Parker Station. I believe this is where our first water stand was at but I am not sure since I didn’t take a cup. Next, we crossed Howe Bridge and turned left onto River Road. We ran east on River Road then turned left onto W Union Street. At the turn, we were greeted with volunteers who provided us with water. We continued to run on W. Union Street till we had to turn left on Rt. 13. We ran on Main Street then directed to take a a left on Church Street. We continued running north on Church St. till we hit the intersection of Rt 14. We were then greeted with police officers who helped assist us to run across the street to continue running west on Rt. 114 back to the Goffstown Historical Museum. Overall, the race was a beautiful 5-mile loop along the Piscataquog River and through Goffstown village. The course was provided with enough water stations and spectators to help us complete the race.

Spectators/Energy: All of the spectators provided a lot of energy and cheered us on during the course of the race.

Swag: The first 50 runners received a maroon Goffstown Berry Classic T-shirt and at the end of the race we were treated with some yummy strawberry shortcake. It was absolutely delicious!

Other Thoughts/Comments: Can’t wait till next year’s race!

~Kat K.

Hugh Holt Memorial 5 Miler | Race Recap

IMG_6646Race Location: Raymond NH

Race Date: 7/8/18

Race Managed/Timed By: 3C Race Productions

Proceeds to Benefit (if any): Scholarships for children in the summer program in town.

Organization of Bib Pick Up: Bib pick up is in the lobby of the middle school. I arrived about 5 minutes before the race started, grabbed my bib and shirt, and was ready to go.

Organization of Race: This race is tiny! There were about 45 people there this year. The timing and organization is very low key, but it works since it’s so small. There is no starting arch or anything, but a little S spray painted on the ground in front of the school. There are water stops every mile (yay!) where the volunteers also yell out the time on the clock. One weird thing is some times the water stop is randomly on the other side of the road. Timing is done manually, so there are no chips on bibs.

Course Description: The first mile or 1.5 is pretty flat. Then it’s rolling hills for the whole rest of the way. Some of them are kind of big, but most aren’t too long. It’s doable!

Since the course is not posted online, here is the turn-by-turn:

  1. Start at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School.
  2. Right out of the school onto Epping St.
  3. Left onto Church St.
  4. Right onto Main St.
  5. Left onto Old Manchester Rd.
  6. Left onto Batchelder Rd.
  7. Left onto Old Fremont Rd.
  8. Left onto Main St.
  9. Finish on Main St. at the commons about .25 from the start

Spectators/Energy: This race is during the Raymond town fair, so there are some spectators on the common that you pass during the first mile and at the finish. The rest of the race is through back roads and is pretty quiet.

Swag: Cotton t-shirts for the first 60 runners. Since it’s so small everyone got a shirt.

After Party: Water, sports drink, some fruit and snacks on the common.

Other Thoughts/Comments: I’m not really sure why this race is so small. Raymond is in a great location between the seacoast and Manchester and everyone is always looking for 5 milers and 10Ks! A lot of the runners (out of the 43) are actually pretty fast. I ran a 10:30 average pace and I finished 34/43. There is no reason all those normal people runners shouldn’t come out and enjoy this loop! It’s also extremely cheap at only $20.

See you out there next year!

~Jessie A.

Gear Review |Salomon Sense Ride Trail-Running Shoe

20180623_112956Feel free to read the entire post, or skip to the end for a list of pros and cons.

I had the opportunity to test a pair of the Salomon Sense Ride trail-running shoes at the SRTT Retreat June 22-24, held at Geneva Point Center in Moultonborough, NH.

Despite being a road runner and a hiker, I had yet to combine the two and run on trails. Trail running has been front-of-mind since last year, so the opportunity to try on shoes and take them for a run in the woods was appreciated!

Our Salomon rep, Eric, started by explaining how trail shoes are different from road-running shoes. Here’s an overview:

  • Trail shoes are more rugged than road shoes – they offer more traction and stability for uneven terrain. The Sense Rides have less stitching holding the various parts of the upper, and instead favor bonded overlays. This tends to last longer than stitching does.
  • Trail shoes are often a bit wider than the average road shoe, which increases stability when the foot strikes the ground. As a result, you may find that you can wear a regular size in these if you normally wear a women’s wide or men’s shoe for road running. (Get fitted, though!)
  • Trail shoes fit snug around the arch/instep to prevent the foot from sliding around in the shoe on uneven terrain. Many people can get away with wearing their regular size (rather than sizing up like you would for road shoes), but the goal is a snug fit around the arch with a thumb’s width of space in the toe box.
  • Arch support is less of a concern in trail shoes because pronation/supination doesn’t occur on a trail the way it would on a flat road. As a result, insoles may be less of a concern in trail shoes for many people who use them in their road shoes.
  • The outsole has a rugged tread, or “lug,” that grips the ground. Think about the difference between the tires on a car versus the tires on an off-road vehicle… then apply it to shoes. This lug wears down slower on a trail than the soles on a pair of road shoes.
  • The outsole is sometimes “decoupled,” which means that the part of the outsole that touches the ground isn’t a single piece but is actually broken into multiple pieces so that the foot can bend and grip the terrain easier, as well as absorb shock more efficiently.
  • Some trail shoes have a rock plate in the sole, which protects the foot from… rocks.

The Salomon Sense Ride does not have a rock plate. It is a “transitional” shoe, which means it’s meant to work well on rail trails (much like the Goffstown Rail Trail’s unpaved, crushed stone) and transitions well to something a bit more rugged with lots of rocks, roots, etc.

Additionally, the Sense Ride has a heel-to-toe drop similar to many road shoes. These are an 8mm drop (for reference, my road shoes are Saucony Omni, and those are also an 8mm drop).

For new trail runners, the Sense Rides would be great. For experienced trail runners who tackle more technical trails, something more advanced may be necessary.

When Eric picked up a pair of shoes to show off some of the attributes, many of the ladies in the group ooh’ed and aah’ed. They were a pretty color! And so sleek!

(Although, honestly, Eric was kinda nice to look at, too.)

Once the presentation was over, it was time to snag a pair of shoes to demo.

Admittedly, I was nervous.

20180623_102113Sometimes I trip just standing still, and I tend to shuffle my feet when I run, so the potential to not pick my feet up high enough while running the trail was a concern. Additionally, when I hike, even despite nice trail shoes, I don’t always trust the amount of grip that they have on smooth rocks.

Eric mentioned that trail running is often walking for a few steps, then loosening up and running for a bit, then walking again. Sounded a lot like intervals (shout out to all my 3:1 ladies!), but less structured.

The goal is to just get all loosey goosey and let it all go. The less time your foot spends touching the ground, the better.

It’s a great form of cross training because it uses your muscles differently, and helps road runners stay on the road longer, simply because it helps prevent overuse injuries.

Sign. Me. Up.

As the group took off on a flat, dirt road, I couldn’t tell if they felt any different than my road shoes. It wasn’t until I walked up a moderately technical part of the trail that I noticed how well they gripped. (BTW, these can totally be worn for hiking, as long as you’re kind to your ankles.)

Then I asked to pass a couple ladies so I could let it rip and take off for a run… WOW.

These shoes GRIP.

It wasn’t too long before I found myself completely alone in the woods with only the sound of my excessively heavy breathing for company (I have the Instagram video to prove it).

20180623_104105Then I caught up to another group, and passed them, as well.

I felt like I was FLYING down that trail.

Turns out I was averaging 13-minute mile for most of the run, with my fastest pace at a 10:07. But I felt like I was working so hard – and I was.

Side note: my heart rate was in threshold (or orange zone, or zone 4, or 165-185 bpm) for the majority of the run. I hit a max HR of 192 (my personal max HR is 206, so I really wasn’t far off from that).

Trail running is HARD, yo.

But what surprised me the most was how free and fearless I felt, simply because I had the right shoes on for the task at hand. Not once was I worried about lack of grip on any of these surfaces. I honestly didn’t worry AT ALL.

And it was FUN.

The trail had roots, smooth rocks, moss-covered rocks, sand, gravel… these shoes performed spectacularly on all surfaces. With the exception of pavement.

I spent a short amount of time running on a road in the Sense Rides, and I felt like I was peeling the soles of my feet from a tacky surface. My legs felt excessively heavy. These shoes are not recommended for roads (not by me, anyway, and feedback from many others who tested them and ended up on pavement said the same thing).

So… long story short, I enjoyed the demo enough that I went to REI.com and bought a pair using my member dividends (AKA: giant discount, because I spend so much money there).

Runner’s Alley was kind enough to facilitate the connection with Eric, so I’d suggest heading on over there to give them your business! The shoes are regularly $120, but SRTT members get 10% off at all three Runner’s Alley locations.

PROS CONS
· Quicklaces with a pocket to hide the extra length in so you don’t trip · Expensive ($120) if you’re a newb and not sure about your long-term plans for trails
· Relatively light shoe (pair weighs 1lb) · Limited color options (REI only has 2)
· Breathable mesh upper · Not waterproof
· No need for special insoles (for most runners)
VERDICT
Totally worth the investment for a newbie trail runner that wants to spend more time on trails enjoying nature.

~ Emily D. blogs at sofashrunable.com.

Retreat Sponsor Spotlight: Justin’s

Today, we’d like to spotlight Justin’s nut butters who sent two different flavors of squeeze pouches for our retreat attendees to try!
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The squeeze pouches are great for on-the-go snacking and come in flavors like honey peanut, chocolate hazelnut, and maple almond. Their butters are great on toast or fruit or just right out of the pouch!  They also make larger jars, snack packs, and yummy nut butter cups.
justins