Tuesday, January 13, 2015

NETT Members Get Rewarded at North Shore Trail Series Awards Night

Three of NETT's finest got their just desserts at the recent North Shore Trail Series awards nights. Here's Bobble Head Bob's report:

The North Shore Trail Series awards night was held Jan. 12 at New England Running Company in Beverly. Those of us at the awards received really nice zip/hoodie sweatshirts and a pint glass for completing at least 8 of the 9 trail races.

The results of the 9-race series are here. Chris "Fluffy" Smith took second in his age group, Alison Lackey took second in her age group, each of them running all the races except the Stone Cat marathon. I took first in my age group for the second year in a row, and fool that I am, I ran all 9 races including Stone Cat.

This trail series is lots of fun and very well run. Races take place on nice trails in places like Lynn Woods, Gloucester, Beverly Farms, South Hamilton, Ipswich, and Wenham. The race courses go from 5K to 5, 7, 10 milers and end with the Stone Cat trail marathon in November. This year they may replace one of the 10 milers with a half marathon in the spring sometime. I highly recommend the series to all NETT members.

Congrats to all! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Strong Results from the Annual "NETT Winter Double Header"

The NETT Mini Ponies produced some quality results during its annual "Winter Double Header" that includes running the Assault on Mount Hood XC Race on Saturday and Walter's Run on Sunday.

On Saturday the Melrose Running Club hosted an NETT favorite event at the Assault on Mount Hood. This year the organizers had to call an audible on the course design the day before the race. To the club's credit the last-minute course changes were well-marked and worked out well.

NETT's men's masters team took second place, with Fluffy Chris, Crazy Dave, Big Ben, Patrick and Andy all powering their way over the very challenging course. That's three nutcrackers for those keeping score. Ethan was the lone NETT "open" male putting in a hard enough effort to produce just the right amount of nausea and enjoyment.

The NETT women scored sixth in the open category with Kristin, Alison, and Bridget pulling together a great team effort. Kristin grabbed third in the women's masters division as well.

The post-race at the Assault was the usual fun. Nutcrackers, pasta, and free beer for all that wanted it. Seriously does it get much better than that?

Maybe it was the free beer or the simple excitement of racing XC again, but Big Ben seemed to take a particularly strong affection for his new friend, the nutrcracker.

At first it was just a pleasant prize. "I like my nutracker," Benny said. "He's fancy."

Then he decided he likes the nutcracker enough he's going to steal a kiss from the nutcracker. "Did you like that nutcracker?" "Uh oh...I don't like where this is going," says Doris.
Of course, then it just got weird, with Ben going hog wild on his new friend. Doris tries in vain to shield the eyes of the other nutcrackers from the adult activity happening only inches away.

With the weirdness behind us, on Sunday, it was onto another NETT favorite, Walter's Run 5K in West Roxbury, hosted by the Parkway Running Club. NETT's provided strong support for this race the past several years and done pretty darn well in the age group results and this year was no different. Bob was the big winner for NETT, finishing first in his age group with a huge PR on the course. And three Mini Ponies did the double and produced great results--  Alison finished 7th female overall and third in her age group. Fluffy Chris notched a second place in the very competitive men's masters field followed by Crazy Dave nabbing a third in the division. Apparently racing these back-to-back races gave Dave and Alison devil eyes while Fluffy gained a nuclear glow.

As always, the Parkway Running Club put on a fantastic, family-friendly event. The new venue (the West Roxbury Irish American Club) was a great place for pre- and post-race activities. There were literally dozens of volunteers (including Doris) out on the course to direct the runners and piles of raffle prizes.

All in all, it was a great NETT-style weekend of racing and fun.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Franks Leads an Estabrook Exploration That Goes Off the Edge

Frank was kind enough to lead a few hearty NETTers on an Estrabrook Exploration run. Here's a few pics to tell the tale.
The "before" shot.

A couple Wylie Coyotes in the snow.

Very soggy shoes.
Huh.Frank appears to have fallen.

He's rolling off the edge of Punkatasset Hill. Should we help him? "Watch out for for that rock, Frank." 

I'm sure he'll be fine. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bob Nabs Second....the Hard Way

Congrats to Bobble Head Bob who took second in his age group at the recent Stone Cat Trail Marathon...the hard way. Here's his report:

"Well, I managed to come in second in my age group as I completed another Stone Cat trail marathon up in Ipswich. It was the last race in the 9-race North Shore Trail Series. I was well ahead in points for the series and didn't need this race in that respect but I still wanted to at least do better than last year time-wise, which I did by a few minutes. So, that's the good news.

The "bad" news is that after the first loop I was on a PR pace to finish a good 40 minutes faster, until the following occurred during the second loop:
  • Fell twice, tripping on leaf-covered roots
  • Sprained my left big toe
  • Ran an extra 5-10 minutes off course when I missed a turn (course was well marked, but sometimes you zone out and get tunnel vision when you are by yourself)
  • Developed a severe cramp in my right calf that wouldn't quit. (I switched from heavier gloves to lighter running gloves at the halfway point but the weather actually got colder and windier instead of warmer such that I could barely use my fingers to open zippers, protein bars, etc.during the second half of the race. As a result, I didn't take in enough electrolyte capsules as I should have, which probably led to the cramps.)
I also learned again that despite all my successes this season on the track, roads, and trails, if you don't dedicate your training specifically for the marathon distance for at least 2-3 months, you may struggle during the latter stages of the marathon, as I have done two years in a row now. How do I know this? Because my first Stone Cat was my best---because I trained specifically for the Nipmuck and Stone Cat marathons (which were a month apart) that year. Training and running  1, 5, and 10-mile intervals and races all season and then throwing in a few longer runs the last month before a marathon won't get it done.  

But perhaps I'm being too hard on myself. It was a good season me overall and for many of my NETT comrades, so let's just celebrate that!"

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Veteran Mini Ponies Look Ageless at Busa Bushwhack

A couple of the more seasoned NETT runners took to the trails at the Busa Bushwhack with great results.

Here's Bobblehead Bob's report from the 10 miler:

Weather was dicey but ended up not being too bad --- all things considered --- for my first Busa Bushwhack ever. It's a 10-mile (or can choose 5 mile) trail race in Callahan State Park in Framingham. Was around 38 degress, damp, and windy with a bit of snow spitting intermittently, but the woods blocked most of the wind and the trails had only a few muddy spots.

I guess the course has changed here and there over the years but, regardless, except for the beginning and ending miles, the middle of that race was pretty technical, so it was a good workout and prep for Stone Cat Marathon this Saturday.

Had a good run and came in third in my age group and in the top third of all finishers. My age group winner was Bob Sharkey, an almost legendary trail runner I had never seen or met until that race. He ran 7:45 miles. I ran 8:50 miles.

Anyway, it was lots of fun. Richard Busa was there handing out pint glasses and celebrating his 80-something birthday. Greater Framingham Running Club did a good job and the course was well marked."

Congrats Bob. In the five-miler, Steve Yankum finished 14th overall. Here's his report:

"I got bushwacked by a guy from NH.   When I signed up for the race I saw that they had special "valuable" prizes for under and over 60
in addition to the age group trophy's.   I checked all the past results and nobody over 60 could touch my times.  I was going for the prize!

Before the race I saw this older guy with long runners legs and thought "not good".  So I get out there and shadow this guy for the first 3 miles.  So here I am knowing who I have to beat and I can keep up with him.  But I lost by 40 seconds and shook his hand afterwards.  New Hampshire!  But I had a good time and a good run.  Bob S. did good in the 10 miler.  Nice trails for a race.  Next year after Frank trains me more on the hills I am going to kick ass.

Full results here:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

NETT Around the World: France

A couple Mini Ponies recently made their way to the sunny shores of the French Riviera and true to form, there was more running than beach lounging.

We planned our runs bright and early as a chance to site see around Nice.
On one of our runs, we came across a triathlon being set up.
It was apparently a pretty big deal!
Not to outdone, Dave planned his own one-man triathlon. (You have to actually get in the water, knucklehead!)
Dave got to know the Parc du Chateau quite well during the trip. It had everything a Mini Pony wants in a travel run: hills, trails, fabulous views and just in case he overdid things, a cemetery.
We were sad to say goodbye, but we'll definitely come back to Nice. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NETT Takes to the Trails

Autumn is a great time for trail racing and several NETT runners took full advantage of fine fall weather to race some trails. 

Several Mini Ponies raced at the Groton Trail Race. Adrienne took 1st in her age group for the second week in a row, in 1:15:50 -- which earned her a bottle of Merlot. Also over in Groton Youngstah cranked out a 1:07 while Marshall continues his comeback finishing second in his age group (second to the race's founder, I might note).

At the Ravenswood Trail Race in Gloucester, Kristin, Alison and Bob won their age groups while Fluffy Chris was sixth overall on the technical course.

Meanwhile over in Lincoln, Katy and Paddler Steve raced the Scarecrow Classic 5k. Steve, who memorized every inch of those Lincoln trails this summer, took first in his age group in 20:45; with Katy taking 2nd in hers, in a speedy 23:02.

Congrats to all!