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Featured Review: Frigus

10887264_1619465784948111_4202685732232091291_oFor the second time in my life, I let Andy Weinberg talk me into doing a race that I was convinced was beyond my capabilities.

The Endurance Society‘s second event.  Frigus.  A winter race with the options of a 10k, 30k, or 60 snowshoe; 10k, 30k, 60k back-country ski; 5k sled run; and combined, 30k ski, 30k snowshow, 5k sled run.

I wanted to sign up for the 10k snowshoe.  I ended up signing up for the 30k snowshoe.

Taking place at Blueberry Hill Inn in Brandon, Vermont, with packet picket offered Friday evening in addition to Saturday morning.  While a room could be booked at the Inn, it was rather pricey.  They also offered space in the upper loft of the ski lodge where we could drop a sleeping pad and sleeping bag.  We had access to bathrooms and running water and a place to sleep that couldn’t be closer if we tried to the start for $12.  Arriving early meant that time could be spent with other racers and the race directors.  I couldn’t imagine starting the race any other way.

10974727_1627509224143767_5408604746780086258_oWith packet pickup, we were provided with our bib, a t-shirt (reminded me of our NE Spahtens shirts in the male cut) that were unisex size but super soft.  We signed waivers, confirmed our distance and were given the option to change it, and were reminded of our start times.  They had the finishers medals on display, as well as the winners certificates, and the winners Endurance Society etched maple syrup bottles.

A great evening of visiting with friends, a decent nights sleep, and it was morning and the air was buzzing with the energy for the day.  The morning was spent visiting, hugging, feeling nervous about the race!  The temperatures were in the single digits when we started with the highs promised to be in the low twenties.

All the skiers were to start at 7:15, all the snowshoers were to start at 8:15, and the 5k sledders at 9:15.  Andy called out that all heats would be starting on time.  10 minute and 5 minute warnings were given, that a brief meeting was to be held before each heat started and they wouldn’t be waiting if you weren’t there.

10506838_10155223366425357_4869254861594683998_oAndy instructed everyone to get behind the start line for the skiers, a combination of 10k, 30k, 60k, and combined racers.  They were given there briefing and off they went.  An hour later, the snowshoers were given the same.  We had 2 miles of gradual up, 2 miles of steep up.  We would have one aid station at approximately the halfway point.

And we were off.

Neely Fortune, Mathieu Lo, and I decided to stay together, walk the course, have fun, push ourselves to finish.

The first section of the course was for all 3 distances.  At some point the 10k would turn off and we would continue on.  It was incredibly inspiring to watch Mark Webb crutch his way up the hill, taking on the 10k.  I was able to have a glass of wine with Amy Parulis and her father as they were doing a party lap 10k to celebrate his birthday.  I tackled Mathieu, my way of passing along Ilene’s hello.  Got a hug from the fantastic Richard Ricciardi.

10676158_627406416924_7211098258695582779_nThe course was beautiful.  Mountains, streams, lakes, snow.  We went uphill, downhill, flats, up and down.  We passed my next home, crossed some bridges, saw some skiers out for a jaunt, snowmobilers, and we were at the aid station.  Greg Tappin was there with a smile and my chocolate milk and gluten free pretzels for me!  While we were there, we were lapped by a 60k skier.  He was flying!

We were told we were approximately halfway.  On we went.  We would get passed by more 60k snowshoers, Drew lapped us on his way to a 2nd place finish, listened to music, and start to feel our bodies breaking down.  Hip flexors, knees, chafing.

It wasn’t long before the finish line was in sight.  My own personal cheering section was waiting for me.  I hurt.  I wanted to cry. I did it!  I hugged Lisa Klinkenberg, looked at the ground, and laid down.  I was exhausted.  I was given my medal and mustered the energy to stand up and get inside where there was chili and warmth.

10801600_10153062948853903_839463310116814731_nThere was a fire outside to enjoy and racers still on course.  We enjoyed the fire, the sunset, and cheered racers as they came through.  Since the course didn’t close until midnight, there was a bit of time left to wait.  Having been in the back of the pack too many times to count, whenever possible, I like to be there to greet finishers.

We took a trip up to the aid station in hopes of catching friends and cheering them on.  We missed Amanda and Billy, helped out Ryan with encouragement to keep going since if he finished he would be the 2nd place finisher for the combined, cheered on Shannon and Doug, visited with Jane and Ted, and heard from Eric that he hadn’t passed Liza and Jordan.  Worried that they were headed back to base, we headed back ourselves.

The fire needed stoking, racers were finishing, and eventually we got word that Liza and Jordan were still on course and would be finishing close to midnight.  It was an amazing atmosphere.

Overall, The Endurance Society nailed it.  There seemed to be no issues at registration, they didn’t run out of medals, race directors were visible and available.  No one got lost, the event started on time, everything that was promised was delivered.

My Official Results: 8:04:05 for the 30k Snowshoe
Next year: make my first lap faster than this year… and still go out to finish the 60k!!!

I cannot wait for Infinitus!

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Featured Review: Massasoit 5k – May 2014

 

Massasoit5k

Massasoit State Park is literally 10 minutes from my house, but until this race I had never been there.  When I heard there was a 5k trail race being held so close to home, I was all in.  This was the first race held here in quite a while as East Taunton stopped approving requests for such events a few years ago.  Evidently there has been a big trail biking race here in the past, but with budget cuts the park has also started to need a little more love and attention.

 

The race description as per the event website (northeastracers.com):

“We are very excited to feature just a sampling of one of our favorite trail systems!  This 5K trail run starts off on some nice flat fire lanes, but don’t let it fool you!  Soon enough you’ll be winding through single tracks and rolling through the hills along the shoreline of Lake Rico.  This trail race is put on in cooperation with the Friends of Massasoit State Park, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.   Our hope is to revitalize interest in the recreational uses of Massasoit.   After being unstaffed by the State for years, some of the park has fallen into disrepair.  However, the trails are still in great shape and you are going to love this course! We hope to see you there!”

Parking:  Free and inside the park, close to the finish line

Registration:  Simple and organized, close to the finish line as well

Facilities: Port-a-potties

Schwag:  A comfy Tshirt, offered in cuts for men and women.  Bling awarded to overall winners and all age group winners received a reusable cinch backpack.

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Post-Race: At the finish line they offered water, Muscle Milk, mini muffins, bananas, and Pop Chips.  (Not a bad spread for a race consisting of 80 or so participants)

It was a short walk to the starting line from where everyone parked (and the finish line), just long enough to loosen up the legs a bit.

This course was great, and technical.  I am by no means a speedy runner, but when I am on my game I can crank out multiple miles in the sub 10 minute range.  I wasn’t pushing my pace, but I was comfortably running and cranked out 12 minute miles.  The trail definitely started off fairly flat, and eased into some rolling hills through the woods.  Toward the middle of the trail the hills were fairly significant.

My favorite part was climbing and descending hills with “steps” created by roots.  Some of the climbs were steep, some of the descents were a little tricky.  The trail was winding, but it was so much fun!

Anytime you take the the woods in a race the idea of course marking comes to mind.  The course marking for this race was great!  Signs were placed where turns were necessary or questionable.  Cones were set out where runners shouldn’t go, therefore forcing everyone to stay on the same trail.  There was one point I, for a split second, did not realize where I was supposed to go.  I attribute that more to “race brain” as there really was just the one trail to follow at that point.  In speaking with Dan, the RD, he lamented not using mile markers.  I actually didn’t see this as a problem, and suggested maybe using a “1 mile to go” sign at the end and call it a day.  If you sign up for a 5k, you pretty much assume it will be right around 3 miles and this one was right around 2.9 miles.

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10344148_779006395444687_3735147265377170163_oI can’t say enough about how great it was to run in the woods, along water, on a beautiful and sunny day.  I look forward to more events held at Massasoit State Park!

For more information about future races please go to:  http://www.northeastracers.com

For more information regarding the revitalization of Massasoit State Park, click here.

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“What the ruck, cover your mouth when you burpee” Challenge.

This past weekend, with no big obstacle course event on the calendar, the New England Spahtens paid a visit to the Music for Life, Rock N Run 5k in Westminster, MA.

Mike M, the race director, has run with the Spahtens before at Spartan Race and the Fall Ruckus, and knows that we like things a little off kilter – so he offered a prize. A growler of Wachusett Brewery beer to the first person to cross the finish line, having worn a ruck and done 30 burpees at three points during the race.

Corrine won the growler (and doesn’t even drink beer), and in the few days we were offered the same deal by the race director of the Huff and Cuff 5k in Denvers, just down the road from the MuckFest MS venue. Run his 5k with rucks, burpee 30 times at each mile marker, and the winner gets a growler of beer.

Sign up here: http://huffncuff5k.com/

Who are we to say no to something like that?

Huff and Cuff 2012 startline
Huff and Cuff 2012 startline

On top of that, Spahten supermom to be – Shaina – is organizing her own 5k, and has extended the same offer – ruck, burpee, cross the line first for a prize.

Sign up here: http://www.firstgiving.com/luk/LUK5k2013

Shaina with a ruck, double wide and baby on board!
Shaina with a ruck, double wide and baby on board!

We’re now 700 + strong. We’ve made a clear impact on OCR events coming to New England – now, even the “normal” 5k road races are paying attention.

We’ve said it before, but this will be a great year to be involved with the New England Spahtens. 

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2013 started out RIGHT!

Happy 2013, Spahtens! They said that the thing you spend the first day of your year doing is the thing you’ll do all year.

I hope so 🙂

Today a large group of Spahtens met up on Salisbury beach for a 5k or 10k road race, and followed it up with a dip in the ocean. We had a blast. The ocean was lovely, the sand was fine, and the road race was fast. Some of those statements are nearly true, as well.

new years race
Shot taken by Vince Rhee

I’ll happily spend the rest of 2013 with these fine folks!

GPS Log