Wednesday, June 29, 2011

REG camp domination

Here is an update from Olivia, Corey, and Hannah, who are spending the week in Craftsbury VT at the Regional Elite Group camp.

While all you guys have been busy doing double pole tests and parkour, we (Corey, Eli, Hannah and Olivia) here at REG Camp have been testing, roller skiing, eating and sleeping up a storm. We’ve just finished our third day of testing—these tests determine who qualifies for the National Elite Group Camp in the fall. Our first test was a skate rollerski agility sprint course. At the beginning of the test, Hannah told Corey, “I’m either going to go embarrassingly slow or kill myself” due to the tricky course—downhill 360s, zooming across the grass, slaloming down the pavement and random 180s. Luckily we all made it through alive without battle scars (although there were many falls amongst others). Rob congratulated us on “no blood!” before reading the results, which only shows us how much wiggle room the CSUers have to improve on agility.
The next day (Sunday), we had a two-hour double pole ski behind Ida Sargent, a U.S. ski team member. In the afternoon, we took another 1.5 hr classic ski and did some drills with U.S. Ski team coach Bryan Fish. Hannah, unfortunately, did not make it back on the vans and was left with two teammates stranded in the middle of Vermont country—land of no cell phone service, no internet access or even people, but plenty of cows. Luckily, she hitchhiked back to camp with a Bulgarian ninja named Krum (not the Harry Potter guy).
Yesterday was our test day numero two: a lovely uphill run time trial. After a good 18→26 minutes of huffing and puffing, we all made it to the top. Eli came in third for REG Campers☺ and Hannah and Olivia killed it! Meanwhile, Zoe and Corey (both unable to run) took a nice mountain bike ride (1 hr 46 min 32 seconds) around the lake and were almost torn from their bikes by rabid dogs. Fortunately, the two young ladies have quads of steel and were able to escape this terrifying experience. Later we all enjoyed a two-hour nap, fast asleep on our bunk beds (camp certainly makes us tired). In the afternoon, we skated around and then in the evening, we watched a NENSA presentation and then ate Raisin Bran into the late hours of the night with Rob and Alex.
Today, our final day of testing was the Canadian strength test (almost identical to the most recent CSU strength test—except the coaches regulated 90 degree pushups, full extension pull-ups, etc.). CSU represented—all four of us were bulging with muscles and grimacing with pain. Hannah sported her Raisin’ the Bar jersey in motivation to raise the bar. We proved to be far better at strength than agility, surpassing many other REG campers. Then Corey and Olivia took a long swim across the lake and arrived 1 hour 16 minutes later, very cold and tired. Now we look forward to hill bounding intervals, double pole intervals and a four-hour OD! And especially to our two days of rest before CSU Camp!
Hannah feels happy. Corey feels really really really. Olivia feels very empty ;). Eli feels. Alex feels very caffeinated. And Rob feels very immersed in the moment (and also supercalifragilisticexpialidocious).
There is plenty of anticipation for sharing super camp experiences with all of you in just a week. Nom nom nom.

Hannah negotiating the corners of the agility course. Photo courtesy of Chris City.
Olivia stares down the competition. Photo courtesy of Chris City
Corey on the agility course. Photo courtesy of Chris City.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Huge Mt Washington Post

Three good stories and some photos from the Mt. Washington road race yesterday.

Hannah Smith:
Yesterday I embarked on what I had considered for many years (many years being the years I had heard all of Rob's epic stories about it) to be the ultimate test: a road race up Mt Washington. If I was a sensible person, I would have reconsidered when malox was one of the first things on Rob's packing list for this event. But, by the time I was going over the packing list Friday morning, I had already put in too many hours of preparation to shy away from a challenge just because it was becoming clear that I would probably feel like puking at the end.

And I did feel like puking at the end, but let me explain this a little bit. I'm assuming that most readers of this post have probably ski raced before. Juniors, you, like me, are all used to racing 5-10ks which take between 12-40 minutes depending on the snow, technique, course, weather, wax etc. At the end, your head is spinning and you want water and sometimes to be dramatic you collapse over the finish line. So, yesterday's race was like that for me except that it took an 1:42:30, so at the end I was somewhere between 3-8 times more depleted. At two miles, I wanted water, at three I ate a Gu but didn't have enough fluids along with it which left me feeling dehydrated, at four I got water but was still dehydrated, by 5 my legs were shaking and although I was running as fast as a could, I realized there were people around me walking faster. By about 7, I couldn't bear the peppiness of my mom and Jamie's cheering as I passed them on the side of the road (which for me is saying a lot because I usually love hearing people cheer). By the time I crossed the finish line, Rob found me, walked me over to a corner because apparently I looked like I was going to puke (but I didn't, probably because there was nothing left to puke up at that point).

Chocolate milk, a banana, and dry clothes have never made me so happy. And by the time I was warm, dry, and fed cruising down the mountain with my mom, Jamie, Lisa, and Rob, I was saying, "That was fun, I'm glad I did that." Which, to me even sounds weird after the race description I just gave you, but like other races, despite the mental and physical challenge, it was also rewarding. Despite the depletion and fatigue, Mount Washington also offers spectacular views and running or not, there is something I really love about scaling mountains.

Things got even better when back at the start it was a beautiful day in the mid 70s, sunny, and a Thanksgiving feast and ice cream were being served to all racers for lunch. Then a nearby stream provided the most scenic and welcome ice bath of my life.

It was fun to take part in the allure of this crazy thing the coaches (and many other crazy skiers including Kris Freeman who I met waiting around by the start) go off and do each June. So, will I do it again? Well, I won't be making a tradition of it each year like Rob, but I probably will race it again at some point. After all, it is just one hill. :)

Rob Bradlee:
After I introduced Hannah Smith to about the 10th old Nordic ski racer that I knew, she said, "Sure are a lot of fitness junkies here". The Mount Washington Road Race is such a pure test of aerobic fitness that anyone who takes a little pride in the work they have done to build up their aerobic engine wants to give it a test at the race that has "only one hill". She got to meet Kris Freeman from the USST before the race, and we waved at Keith Woodward from Craftsbury (multiple past race wins), Eli Enman who can still run 75 minutes in his 40s, Sue Long Weymess, former USST, Bob Treadwell, former USST, Charlie Kellog, CSU, Williams, and USST, and we saw the event organizers induct Mike Gallagher, USST and 4 time winner of the event back in the late-60's, into the race Hall of Fame. This running race is definitely Old Home Day for Nordic skiers.

Hannah had wanted to do the race when she was 14 and a very enthusiastic, but not yet fit J2. I told her it was too tough and she had to wait till she was a senior in high school and had few years of serious aerobic conditioning written in her training log. As a much wiser senior she was a little less sure she wanted to do the race, but I wasn't going to let her get away now. So instead of relaxing for spring of senior year she found herself doing 90 minute runs on the treadmill at full incline, hard intervals up Prospect hill, and running up Mt. Kearsage for "fun".

She was rewarded with an excellent result and a strong performance. Her time of 1:42 would have won the under-20 age group last year by over 10 minutes. However, you never know who will show up and Carolyn Stocker from Westfield MA won the age group this year with a blistering time that set a new record and in the process took away the record from CSUer Evelyn Dong. Still, Hannah was on the podium and dutifully wore her CSU jacket up to receive her medal. Nice work!

We lucked out on the weather this year. It was raining at 8 AM as we huddled under the big tent at the base, but at 8:30 when we wanted to start warming up the rain let up and it was just humid and cool for the start. By the halfway point the skies started to clear and we had views down to the parking lot and across to Madison and Adams. As we approached the summit the top cleared off and we could see the summit building perched on the rocks in the sunshine.

I had struggled with a few injuries this spring and hadn't been able to train to my usual level so I had my worst time (1:36), but was able to run a steady pace and do better than I feared I might. The CSU Masters women were awesome, easily winning the team contest thanks in part to Lisa Doucett and Donna Smyth. Marshall Randolph, Fabio Schiantarelli, and I were part of CSU men's Masters team that made the top 10 for teams.

Lisa, Hannah, and I were lucky to be supported by the Amie and Jamie team who drove up to the summit with our post-race gear bags and then hiked down to cheer us on when we most needed it. Hannah was ready to puke at the finish, but recovered pretty quickly. She said she was glad she followed my advice of using her heart-rate monitor as her guide and maintained a disciplined pace the whole way. She felt she was going too slowly for the first two miles, but was glad she had something left for the final two. The post-race experience is more like a ski race than a running race. You are soaked, dehydrated, depleted, the air is cold, and at 6,000 feet you don't have enough oxygen. We went inside and completely changed into dry clothes including warm-ups, down vest, wool hat, and ski gloves. And had some chocolate milk for recovery of course.

For any CSU Juniors who think they might like to run this race, the same rules still apply. It's a very tough effort and I think only seniors should do it and only if they are willing to do the preparatory workouts. It's a suffer-fest as is, but really is no fun if you are not ready for it.

Lisa Doucett:
With the welcome addition of Jackie Shakar to the women's senior team to run the Mt. Washington Road Race, we planned an assault on the team record for the division established in 2008 at 5:05:31. We would all have to average 1:41 to break the record. If each of us ran what we had in 2010 when Jackie was not a team member, we would also break the record, so we knew what we had to do.

It poured rain while we prepared for the start and many of the runners spent time on the all important clothing decisions. At the base, the air temperature was warm and it was humid, but we all know how Mt. Washington can be very unpredictable at the summit. Luckily, the rain stopped just as we lined up for the start and it cleared out for most of us until we reached the summit which was still in the clouds.

Among the seniors, we all bettered our last year's times, with Jackie turning in a time of 1:33:54 for second place in the 50-54 year olds, Donna Smyth running a 1:37:25 for 4th in the same division and I managed a 1:38:02, for 4th place in the 55-59 division. Hoping we grabbed the top prize, we stayed for the award ceremony to pick up our hardware. We were announced the winners and we were told they will verify our 4:49:21 as a new team record for the race.

Along the way, with CSU'er Suzy West winning the women's masters 45-49 division in 1:23:19, the club also won the Women's Master's team award. Suzy was also recognized for an age graded award for her stellar time. Also on the Master's team was Jackie, Donna, me, Deb Thomas (1:57:02) and Jennifer Ray (2:06:06).

Hannah Smith ran the mountain for the first time in a great race performance of 1:42:35 for 2nd place in the women's under 20 years of age division.

A good day on the mountain for the CSU women.

 Clearing Sky
 The first two runners in the fog
 Suzy West had a great race
 Amie Smith cheering
 Rob looking pretty darned good!
 Donna Smyth
 Lisa towing a pack of men
 Stephen Peckiconis
 How does Marshall smile while suffering at 6000 ft?
 Paul Thompson
 Hannah questioning her sanity while Amie cheers
Rob and Hannah all smiles after a good effort!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Littleton Photos

Albert Innamorati was cruising around on his motorcycle and got several shots yesterday of CSU in action on a rainy day.   Thanks for the photos!
Jim drafts Olga
 Jamie playing crossing guard
 Chris and Max
 Rob on the big hill
Jim checks for cars
Jacob, Gavin, Zoe hiding, Cate and Rebecca on the long hill

Monday, June 6, 2011

All State Track Meet

The full results of the All State track meet held last weekend have finally been posted.  The CSUers taking part had a good day, with Ellen Goldberg and Julia Schiantarelli on the winning Newton North team. 

Olivia Cannon had an excellent two mile race, finishing 18th in 11:35.92, which I believe is a PR for her and quite a bit above her seed.  Ellen Goldberg finished 7th in the discus, throwing 111'09".  From what I can tell, Newton North changed up their 4x800 relay team and Julia was replaced with another runner.  NNHS finished 4th in that race. 


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Good Luck Tracksters!

Good luck to the CSUers competing today at All-States down in Bridgewater.  Ellen is ranked 7th in the discus, Julia is on the NNHS 4x800 relay team that is ranked 11th and Olivia Cannon is ranked 24th in the 2 mile.  From W. Mass the 4x800 relay team from Mt. Greylock includes EHS skiers Kat Chenail, Amy Santella and Mackenzie Hitchcock.  May you all run fast and Ellen uncork a good one!