Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bob Goes All American

Huge congrats to our track demon in-residence, Bobblehead Bob, who raced his way to All American status at the Bay State Games.

Get this--Bob ran the mile in 5:55. At age 61. I'm not kidding. Here are the results. Obviously, that wasn't good enough for Bob, so he ran the 800 also in a 2:43. (Those Chelmsford guys in NETT might recognize another name in the 800m results as well).

Huge congrats Bob. That kind of result takes a lot of hard work and some gutsy racing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mini Pony Trio Takes Top Spots at Hale Obstacle Race

Apparently, the 26x1 relay wasn't enough for three adventurous mini ponies. So after helping put the first "T" back in NETT, Crazy Dave, Big Ben and the original Ponyette Cindy took to the trail of Hale Reservation for the Hale Obstacle Course Race. And the results were....surprising.

The race involved running 5K on trails with various "obstacles" the overcome along the way. This included a hand-over-hand climb up Cat Rock, carrying logs, doing push-ups and sit-ups and a few other challenges along the way.

So, the results.....yeah....technically the results list Big Ben as the top finisher and Crazy Dave a few strides behind. Well the heterolifemates were certainly just a few ticks apart, but the actual race winner was Dave Conforto of the HFC Striders (lawschool classmate of another MiniPony all around good guy). Despite their best efforts to convince the organizers they were not, in fact, 1-2, somehow the results still showed them as the top 2 and Cindy as the second-place female finisher.

As with all the races in the Hale Race series, the funds raised go to help inner-city kids go to camp out in the 'burbs, so all the fun was for a good cause.

And as you can see, the trio (and Doris as their cheering section) had a LOT of laughs at the race. When asked why on earth he was laughing so hard in the picture, Dave said. "Me and Ben....won!" But why's that so funny? "It's funny 'cuz we're fat."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

NETT Claims 4th Place at the SRR 26x1 Mile Relay

NETT made history on Saturday, by gathering 26 club members to claim 4th place overall at the Somerville Road Runners 26x1 Mile Relay. This was (as far as any NETT member can recall) the biggest group of NETT runners ever assembled for a single race and huge thanks to team captain Eminem for gathering the troops, herding the cats, and dealing with a few last-minute curveballs with her usual calm.

Here's NETT's race by the numbers:
Overall place: 4 out of 17
Finish time: 2:34:56
Fastest split of the day: 4:33
Youngest member of the NETT team: 15
Oldest member: 62
"Top 3" finishes in the age groups: 6
Countries represented on the NETT team: 8
  • Haiti
  • Taiwan
  • Denmark
  • Turkey
  • England 
  • Russia
  • Canada
  • US
But perhaps the most fun part was the mix of members that came out for the day. The NETT roster represented a great mix of longtime members and new faces (some very new) and all mixed together well. The "old guard" was well represented. Two of the club's founders Crazy Dave and Paul actually finished within two seconds of each other and were 9th and 10th masters overall--how's that for consistency over the years? "First generation" NETTers who have been members for more than a decade came out including the Winthers, Jean Dany, and Jerry D. Club stalwarts like Bob, Eminem and the KJ-Wangs were there all day. And a host of new faces all seemed to really enjoy the event.

The team's performance was best summed up by the comments of an SRR runner who approached the NETT table at the post-race party and asked "So Track and Trail? What are you guys all about?" (And just to show she respected our club she dumped a pitcher of beer on our table and laps!)

Big thanks to the SRR folks who organized this fun event. What a nightmare the results for this thing must be! Nice work. (I was impressed at the "green" commitment when a guy who ran a 4:45 mile is picking recyclables out of the trash 20 minutes later).

We'll be back next year.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Busy Weekend for NETT Racers at Multiple Event Events

It was a busy weekend for NETT members racing on the roads and trails this weekend.

For starters, Frank KJ took third overall at the Rye by the Sea Duathlon. He ranked fourth in the first run, 8th on the bike, and fourth on the second run. How that gets him third overall is beyond us here at the NETT news room but that's what the results say. Not bad for a 47-year-old!

 Not to be outdone by Frank's run/bike/run Amanda took to the roads of Newton Saturday for a run-run-don't run at the Heartbreak Hill Festival. She completed the 5K in 23:53 and only a couple hours later banged out a 10K in 48:42. Take THAT boys!

Mini Ponies Chris, Allison, and Bob headed north to the Kupenda 5 Mile XC race in Wenham in continuing pursuit of their age-group titles in the North Shore Trail Series. Chris was 7th overall, second master in 31:11. Bob got a raw deal by having to score in the 50+ age group, but still managed 10th. Allison skipped and weaved to 38th overall in 40:45

On Sunday, NETT runners didn't get much saner with a couple hearty souls braving the mid-day heat of 80+ degrees at the Great Lincoln Steeplechase. Crazy Dave managed third overall in 43:45. Katy/Kathryn ran hard early on and won her age group in 58:28. If Dave had remembered her NETT shirt, we're sure she could have shaved a few mins off that time!

The best part of the race was winning a Marshall-made Medal with a great picture of St. Anne's church on it. Nothing like it anywhere. Thanks Marshall!
Congrats to all the Mini Ponies out there this weekend.

Monday, May 26, 2014

NETT Travelogue: Taiwan (subtitle: Of mountains, magpies, and earthquakes)

Frank and family just got back from an exciting trip and was able to file this extended report to the NETT news room:

"We just got back from Taiwan. This time I was lucky enough to rent a bike and do two rides in the Yangmingshan Mountains. And two mountain runs as well. The added bonus this time was that Nicholas joined me for one of the rides, and Tina for one of the runs. I have added links to the recorded GPS and photos so you can get a sense of the workouts.

By the numbers:

  • 35 lb. tour bike with triple cassette rented from the friendly people at
  • Two rides covering 66.5 miles with 11,040 ft. of climbing. Average speed not even 11mph.
  • Two runs covering 17.2 miles with 3,985 ft. of climbing. Average pace around 8:40
  • Number of 7-11 stores in Taiwan: 4,910

Ride 1 -
Nicholas at mile 0.6

At mile 3 (can you find Nicholas?)
I asked Nicholas on the flight if he was interested in joining me for the 1st ride and he said yes. I told him about the climbs, heat and humidity and he still said yes. So off we went early in the morning. It was a warm sunny day with fairly low humidity so pretty ideal for a ride. The first 2 miles have 2 extremely steep sections with grades over 20% so Nicholas quickly took to walking instead of biking. It took 25 minutes or so to cover those two miles. The next 1.8 miles follow a beautiful winding road with bamboos lining the road, waterfalls and great views over part of Taipei. At one point I was even lucky enough to see two monkeys (formosan rock macque) cross the road in front of me. There are constantly sounds coming from the lush green around you – birds singing, amphibians croaking, or monkeys chattering. There is a small town here which marks the entrance to the Yangmingshan National Park - - and the remaining 4 miles to the gap. Some of the things you need to get used to in Taiwan are: stray dogs that luckily are too lazy or hot to bother chasing you, cars and scooters driving fast and close to you and likely paying more attention to their phone than their surroundings. On the flip side most the roads are in excellent condition and there is typical a shoulder. And there are actually a good amount of cyclists on the roads. With lots of stops, walking and pep-talking we finally make it to the Xiayoukeng fumaroles. It took us 2.5hrs to cover the 8 miles! After a few photos, we carry on. While Nicholas rests at Lengshuikeng with its volcanic landscape, I continue down the other side the mountain for a few miles before returning back to Nicholas. I have great views over the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. From here on it is pretty much downhill the entire way back. Sounds easy right. Well not when you have very steep descents with lots of hairpin turns and poor brakes. Let’s just say our fingers were numb when we returned the bikes. Great ride and kudos to Nick for doing it with me.

Didn't get a photo of the monkeys but this is what it looks like

Taiwanese blue Magpie

The road up Mt. Cising with the fumaroles in the background

At the sulfur pits aka fumaroles

Resting near creek colored by sulfur

All smiles at the end of the ride

Ride 2 -

For this ride I went solo. It had been raining the day before so the days were a bit went. And it was a bit overcast which is actually not a bad thing in Taiwan. It was about 78F at the start of the ride and at the end it
My companion for the day
7-11 Pitstop
was 84F with humidity of 66%. Pretty much right of the gate there is a 2M climb with an average grade of 4%. Then it is 3 miles downhill to Beitou known for its hot springs. Next, followed the first real test of the day – the 1.7 miles up Xiaopingding with an average grade of 9% and some parts well above 20%. Sweating from punching the pedals was quickly replaced by sweating from fear of skidding out on the steep slippery downhill with multiple hairpin turns that took me down to the main road. For the next 9 miles I followed a busy two-lane highway; nothing like being at a red light surrounded by countless cars and scooters filling your lungs with CO2. I saw a girl on a triathlon bike with deep rims wheels in long pants, long sleeves and face mask – guess that’s the way to stay healthy and avoid sunburn. Luckily the air quality and scenery changed as soon as I turned back up into the mountains. Over the next 13 miles I would climb 2800 ft. along small roads lined with rice paddies, banana trees, and bamboos. The grade was not too bad and pretty consistent so I could pedal smoothly up. I even passed a number of people on road bikes so that felt good. After that it was all downhill to Taipei.
A few low-hanging clouds over Mt Cising

Roads are good and all is green 

  Flower Clock in Yangmingshan Park
Run 1
Somehow, I managed to persuade Tina to do this run with me. Probably, because she really likes to run uphill. It was a nice sunny day without too much humidity so we were lucky. We started by going up the same 2 miles that Nicholas and I biked earlier. We ran it faster than we rode it. In total we ran up 1,800 ft. in just over 5.7 miles but with the downhill sections here and there it was closer to 2,500 ft. of total climbing.

  End destination is the building up on the hill

Run 2:
My last run is a run I have done before when visiting Taipei. Maybe not quite Mt. Washington but it is brutal. Just 0.6 miles from the apartment is a road that goes 2.6 miles up, up and more up – 1,221ft or 9% grade to be exact. Add to that 1) cars and scooters driving fast up/down the mountain will little attention to runners, 2) torrential rain and thunder creating ankle-deep streams of water in several places and 3) toast legs from hiking and carrying Emma a lot in the last 3 days. It wasn’t pretty but with several stops and jumps to the curb I made it safely up and down again. After the run, Tina told there had been a small earthquake while I was out there.

Soaked after 60 minutes in torrential but warm rain

Sunday, May 18, 2014

NETT Around the World

NETT members popped up in two different countries this week -- Canada and Taiwan.

Frank and family were over in Asia and he and Nicholas decided to take a bike ride. Of course, since it's Frank, it's not just any bike ride. "We planned a ride in 80F and 85% humidity  with a total of 5,000ft over two Cat 1 climbs," he tells the NETT newsroom. "Well he made it up the 1st one. 2400ft elevation and it took a long time."

Not bad! 

Meanwhile, up in Canada Karyn MM took a much more flavorful approach to her athletic vacation. Here's her report:

If you ever want a race that you will love, consider the one my friend Elysa and I did this weekend. It’s called The Chocolate Race. There are 5k, 10k and 10-mile options. And runners of all levels. You get  skewers of chocolate-covered marshmallows and strawberries at the 1k and 6k  water stops (on the 10k course.  I think you only get one chocolate stop on the  5k but several more on the 10-mile course! Then, at the finish line, you get: 
chocolate truffles, chocolate milk, chocolate ice cream, chocolate croissants, chocolate fudge, chocolate-covered apples…and then, next door, you get chocolate martinis. It’s a blast! The course is along Lake Ontario, so it’s gorgeous. (We stayed at Niagara Falls for the weekend, but the race is in St. Catharines about 25 minutes away).

Elysa and I ran the 10k race — though I wouldn’t say we raced it : ) The perfect re-entry to racing after the Boston Marathon."

Congrats Karyn!

(Note how both Frank and Karyn make their partners in crime don the NETT shirt for their events. Love it! 

NETT Hosts a Successful Wellesley One for Hannah's Fund

Congrats to NETT for successfully organizing and hosting the Wellesley One Mile Run for the Hannah Randolph Fund at Elm Bank Reservation on May 11. We had more than 400 registrants in three waves and NETT provided the volunteers, some generous donations, and a LOT of heart in this event.

It was a great day to see hundreds of kids and adults running around the park with big smiles on their faces. We had free ice cream, arts and crafts activities for the kids and a lot of food. Awards included sponsor donations and Marshall-made medals for all finishers and age group winners.

The day was capped off with a very special visit to Hannah's Bench on top of the sledding hill at Elm Bank Reservation.

For more photos check out the race's Facebook page here.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Mini Ponies Go 3,4,6 at Hale 5K Trail Race

NETT had a strong showing at the weekend's Hale 5K Trail Race in Westwood. In fact, NETT went 3,4,6 in the race, winning three age goups. And what's more impressive is the fact that it was a master, a woman, and a 60+ taking those spots! 
Big congrats to Amanda for winning the overall women's title in 26:10. Bob won his age group in 27:02. And Crazy Dave took third overall first in his age group. And NETT pal Stephen P took the 50-59 age group as well. 

Special thanks to our cheering section as well! 

The race raised funds to provide scholarships to let kids attend camp at Hale. 

And if you haven't run out at Hale yet, stay tuned for an NETT run there this weekend!