June 2020 Newsletter
Note from the Editor
Thanks for all the submissions this month!
Ultrarunner, web developer, knitter, quote unquote farmer.
Lifelong runner, computer scientist, sci-fi lover.
Table of Contents
- Letter from a Board Member: Running on Fumes? by Rebecca Stanfield McCown
- Main Street Mile - Results by Tim Smith
- The 2020 COVID Bridges Half Marathon by Geoff Dunbar
- Time To Say So Long by Mary Mancuso
- Lone Runner Challenge - May 2020 by Tim Smith
- A Virtual Column by Judy Phillips
- ??? what's this ???? by Ellie Ferguson
- Bri Schreiner by Scott King
- Ask the Coaches: How to Restart?
Running on Fumes?
By: Rebecca Stanfield McCown
Welcome to June, Upper Valley Runners. If you are reading this, it means you have managed to navigate at least 11 weeks of life changing global pandemic. It means that you have either seen your job completely shut down or your job has become exponentially more intense. You may have even taken on several new jobs like “remote learning facilitator”, fulltime childcare provider, fulltime eldercare provider, designated grocery store shopper, or sourdough bread baker. If your time at home has been anything like mine, it has had moments of joy and moments of tears. It has felt both like the longest 11 weeks and yet somehow, I can’t believe that we are waking up to summer weather and June.
As we move into a new month, one thing I am feeling more than anything is exhaustion. I have spent the last week writing and deleting what I wanted to share in my greeting to you. And after the emotional roller coaster that was this week, I decided that what I wanted to share was that it is ok to be exhausted. We have to remember that nothing about the pandemic is normal and it is making us examine our lives in ways we never would have. The protests and demonstrations we are seeing are American’s crying out that the “normal” so many are longing to go back remains broken and deadly for people of color. And if you are anything like me, the way you have chosen to deal with all this is to run, spin, and strength train until you are so tired there is no way you can stay awake at night thinking about the challenges of 2020. So yeah, I’m feeling pretty tired right about now.
But what do we do about the physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that many of us are experiencing? Well, I am going to do what I do best and make a list. A list of what I am going to intentionally focus my energy on and a list of what I’m leaving behind.
What I am leaving behind:
- 30-day challenges, unless it is a 30-day savasana challenge but somehow that hasn’t popped up on Instagram yet.
- Remote learning and the pressure to ensure my kid is learning everything he “should“ be. School ends in five days, we’re going to make those five days relaxed and not a slug through weblinks and virtual worksheets.
- Trying to do both my fulltime “real” job and fulltime parenting. Multitasking often leads to both tasks being done poorly. I have no idea how to do this but I’m going to start by remembering to close my work computer when I’m on mom-duty.
- Half-done tasks, if I haven’t finished in 11 weeks, it is likely never going to get done and it is time to move on. Clear out the mental space for something new, the basement never really needed to be reorganized anyway.
What I am using my energy for in June:
- Running for both physical and mental calm and clarity. And maybe even finding a virtual race or challenge that will spark a little competition and fire.
- Reflecting on my gratitude for living in the Upper Valley where we have access to beautiful natural spaces, ample ability to social distance, and low traffic country roads for running.
- Reconnecting with friends in socially responsible ways now that Vermont and New Hampshire are beginning to slowly open up.
- Learning more about the impacts of systemic racism and the actions we all need to be taking to dismantle it. (This is what I wanted to write about for this opening. I had so many half sentences written on race, the outdoors, and running but the grief and exhaustion of being a person of color this week kept me from finishing any of them.)
This monthly greeting has little to do with running. However, as I have connected with colleagues across the country and we have shared honestly about how we are managing through this time, one thing always happens. At the end of the call (or most likely Zoom), we reflect on how we didn’t realize so many others were feeling the same way, that we had assumed we were the only ones struggling because everyone seems so calm and focused during meetings, and that is reaffirming to know that we were not in this alone. Take this June greeting as my reminder to you that while we may still be physically distant, we are socially connected. My experience the last 11 weeks may look nothing like yours, but we are still weathering this storm together and I bet we have felt a lot of the same feelings. This my reminder to you that you are not feeling all of this is isolation and hopefully my sharing will make you feel a little more connected.
Isolation leads to exhaustion, so now more than ever, we need to tether our boats together to have the energy and stamina needed to stay afloat in these stormy seas.
Main Street Mile - Results
By: Tim Smith
Like everything else in 2020, the Main Street Mile was like no other year's.
A few months ago Liz Burdette, from Hanover Rec., and I sent dozens of emails back and forth discussing if it made sense to have the event. What would it mean in a time of social distancing, and would anybody show? In the end we decided to put the event out there, give it parameters to be safe, and then see if anybody toes the line.
In the end we decided to run the race on its traditional course, but to allow people to run it during a week long period. We then asked people to either self-report their finishing times, or to let us take their times from Strava.
Normally Dartmouth Triathlon co-host the event with us, which then allows us to use the Dartmouth Green for the finish area, but this year the Tri-team is every where but Hanover. In the end Dartmouth agreed to let us finish in the traditional place on the Green if we did not make that a focal point where people would gather. So just a line scratched in the dirt for the finish.
What about police? Normally Liz arranges for officers to stop traffic for the race, especially where Maynard St and Wentworth St meet North Main St. (Wentworth St. is in front of Baker Library - I didn't know its name before). They stop cars for about five to ten minutes. But this year. . .
Given the number of runners in the past, spread over seven days, we are talking about less than a runner per hour. Even if people picked optimal hours, I expect most casual observers would not notice a rise in the number of runners. So no police officers.
What about cheating? One of the inherent problems with self reporting is that anyone could claim anytime. I pointed out to Liz that with our fabulous prizes and massive winning purse, we should probably take blood samples to look for doping. She pointed out that people will do anything for toilet paper and hand sanitizers, but we didn't have an anti-doping budget, so we just trusted people.
And then race day, or I should say race week was upon us. In my pitch for the event I had reminded people, "It is May, the days are warming and soon the air will be thick with the smell of lilacs." Monday was cold and damp and felt more like March then May.
Tuesday's weather was not much different. I did some pace work at TNT, setting Thursday as my target date. Normally the Main St. Mile is Thursday evening.
Every evening I pulled up the Strava Leaderboard, one or two people a day were running the course, which was not encouraging.
But then Thursday the weather smiled on us. I ran at noon and could smell the first faint whiff of lilacs. Within an hour a hand full of people coincidentally converged at the starting line - but were still able to maintain social distancing. Saturday was also a good day.
In the end twenty-five runners ran the race. Twenty used Strava and five self reported.
I am looking forward to next year when I will actually get to see all of your performances.
[Note: The Strava segment we used turned out to be 0.99 miles. So we report both the mile times and the segment time.]
Photos by Jim Burnett
The 2020 COVID Bridges Half Marathon
By: Geoff Dunbar
Flash back to March 13, 2020: the email arrives in my inbox, “Shamrock Shuffle Postponed.” It is now apparent that all spring races are going to be cancelled (as they should). A plan is hatched. I really enjoy training in the spring, but it’s really hard to train with no race in mind. So, I decide to run a virtual race, a half marathon on or around the original date of the Covered Bridges Half Marathon, June 7.
The original plan was to run the CBHM course in Woodstock, VT. It’s a fast-ish course, and on good weather days I’ve put up quite respectable times at that race. However, as spring proceeded, and I’m training on the soft, flat Northern Rail Trail, the plan shifted; I will run the Rail Trail from Canaan, NH back to Lebanon. The whole way is flat or gentle downhill. If I’m going to run by myself, why not choose the fastest course possible? Also, since I am a competitive runner, like Eliud Kipchoge during his breaking 2:00 marathon project, I will adjust the actual race date for ideal weather.
I didn’t really advertise my plan; it’s my own thing. The old joke goes, “How do you know if someone is training for a marathon?” “Don’t worry, they’ll let you know.” However, my family knew, so my wife Nancy and daughter Emma decided to bike with me in support.
Now in late May, I was carefully tracking the weather forecast looking for the best day. A thunderstorm was projected for May 29th or 30th, but Sunday May 31st or Monday June 1st were projected to be cool. Research has shown that around 48 degrees is the ideal temperature for distance running performance. My own experience suggests that once you get into the 60s, things start to get tougher. Tentative plans were made for Monday June 1st, to let the Rail Trail dry out a bit.
But then emergency struck! Training on the Rail Trail had made it apparent that wind could be an issue, especially on the exposed sections along Lake Mascoma. The forecast for both May 31st and June 1st were for 10-15 mile per hour winds out of the north-west, meaning a significant head-wind for the entire race! Plans adjusted, and I decided to go back to the CBHM course which runs mostly east or south-east. However, by Friday, the forecast shifted a bit and the winds were still projected to be strong on Sunday, but less so on Monday, so I switched back to the Rail Trail plan.
Race morning Nancy and Emma moseyed out of bed just in time, and we drove to the trailhead in Canaan at 8am. Emma would bike with me the whole way, and Nancy would drive back to Lebanon and then bike out to meet us. After a short warm-up, Emma and I were off. My race goal was to come in under 1:30, a 6:52 pace. The first mile came in around 6:40, I missed mile 2, but mile 3 was 6:45. Things were looking pretty good.
Having Emma along was a big help. A half-marathon pace for me isn’t that hard for the first few miles, but the thought, “I have to keep doing this for 10 more miles?” definitely crept into my head. Since this was a race of one person, with no other runners to provide mental energy, having a biker along the whole way was great. Since I wasn’t one for much conversation, she filled me in on what she had recently learned in school, mostly Roman history and mythology. It was like listening to the “History with Emma” podcast.
I stopped looking at my watch after mile 5, figuring it was going to be what it was going to be. In Enfield, around half-way, we met Nancy biking up the other way, and she cheered and then turned and joined us. Nancy also took a video:
Emma and Nancy chatted for the rest of the way while I concentrated on the work at hand. A little head-wind kicked up along Lake Mascoma, but not too bad. Thankfully the last three miles of the course are the steadiest downhill of the course. I even picked it up a little for the last mile! Going by GPS, I stopped running (and my watch) at 13.12 miles, for a time of 1:28:18. Here’s my Strava:
Overall this was a very satisfying experience. Thanks especially to my biking support crew. It would have been more fun to run the real CBHM with a few thousand of my closest friends, but we must do the best we can do. Here’s the Strava segment if you want to join me in this particular virtual race (UVRC-adjacent runner Andy McGibbon is the current leader at 1:19):
Time To Say So Long
By: Mary Mancuso
I have lived in the Upper Valley for a long time. When I first came here, one of the things I missed most was the camaraderie of my old running club. I was so happy to hear about UVRC a few years after the club was formed. I joined and took advantage of all the club had to offer. I met a lot of good runners through the club, and by good runners I mean anyone who is a member and I see at races, club runs, track workouts, and C25K.
A few of things I especially liked were the bus rides to Grand Prix races, our own race series, and helping out with C25K. When I needed (W over 50) runners to make up a VT100on100 team, UVRC was the first place I looked.
Now my husband and I have moved to Boise Idaho. It’s a bit to far to return for weekend runs and races, but I hope to see some of you again, either here or there. Know that I will miss you all, and I’ll be thinking of you as I run along the Boise Greenbelt and in Camel’s Back Park.
With Fondest Regards,
(Contact the newsletter team if you want email or phone to say goodbye to Mary).
Lone Runner Challenge - May 2020
By: Tim Smith
UVRC runners were out there exploring the region this last month and it has been fun to read their reports at the end of each weekend! Below are report and comments that people posted, plus photographs they shared.
"Around the home waters. It packs hills, flats, woods and Canaan St. in 4.6 miles." - Rob D.
"I did basically the same loop as last week, but my normal direction! I threw in a variation of the TNT workout, which I missed. This was a replacement for a run around Goose Pond and home after a family Moose Ridge hike. Forgot my road shoes and decided to bag the 20- miler plan. Glad I did. My legs are cooked!" - Joffrey
"Occom Pond" - Geoff
"Occom :)" - Laura
"Ran the Shaker 7 course, but starting at the bridge. Plus a bit. Beautiful day to run next to a lake!" - Tim
"Boston Lot!" - Chris
"Also Boston Lot" - Sara
Alex - "I ran across the Hyde Covered Bridge in Randolph. I had planned this run before Tim and I had decided the challenge for the week. I was lucky that it was a perfect fit (I have a pretty good backup, the Union Village Covered Bridge is about 200 ft from my house). I did cross the river once more for a total of 2 bridge crossings." - Alex
"25 bridge crossings on this route" - Geoff
"I ran across the Moore Lane little bridge across the Huntley Meadows creek on my Dutton Hill run" - Laura
"A dozen bridges W.Leb & WRJ - or more, depending upon how I count!" - Tim
"I counted running over or under 13 different bridges. There were a bunch more culverts and stream crossings I didn't counts as well!" - Joffrey
"Thank you for the inspiration. I never spent time counting the bridges I cross :-) Only 8-9 bridge crossings between the start and my finish at Lou's for brunch including Ledyard. Like Laura, I hopped over the Moore Lane bridge too! Does the bridge between the Hood museum and the HOP count?" - Madeleine
"OK maybe not the biggest bridge span in the UV" - Rob
"9 bridges in my modified CBHM" - Ryan
"While running on the Greenway I found an old structure somewhat resembling a hunting blind but connected to old railroad equipment. I've yet to determine what it was. I didn't have a camera/phone with me but will take a picture of the structure soon!" - Hannah
"I found a red trillium in Mink Brook!" - Nancy
"Old Bridges and Cellar Holes. Cook's Bridge (off go Buzzell Bridge Rd.) and maybe(?) a mill house from Rice's Mill." - Tim
"I explored a similar area to Tim and had a photo journal of the run. Its some of my favorite sites about the Union Village dam and its history. I had a few more photos I wanted to snap but unfortunately it was just too hot to continue." - Alex
"Beaver Meadow Rd, Bragg Hill / Sound of Music Beautiful Morning Run!" - Tim
"I feel like I run up and down hills most days now but I used this challenge to detour on my run into town to run up Douglas Hill in Norwich for the first time. I usually run down this hill and although it’s steep, it’s fairly short. Thank you again for the inspiration!" - Madeleine
"I got in a couple of miles up the Enfield side of Ruddsboro (and then a lot more)" - Joffrey
A Virtual Column
By: Judy Phillips
Or, Favorite June Races from Years Past
As I write this, yet another annual favorite has been cancelled, the St. Charles 5k in September. So the races kicking off the summer, especially the Memorial Day weekend races we’ve run annually, have been cancelled, as well as the races on our schedule for June, July and August. Summer racing is over before it started, and it’s looking like these events will be gone through the Fall.
I’m thinking that, as I'm sharing information about races that don’t exist on the current schedule, my submission itself is entirely virtual. So I’m inviting Club members who are reading these monthly articles to submit their favorite “virtual” summer races, run them virtually on or about the previously scheduled date, and share your experiences in the comments section. Or just do it “virtually”.
June favorites include a number of races well known to the Club’s runners, including Skip’s Run, the Covered Bridges Half, the Shaker 7 and the Capital City Classic 10k in Concord, NH. Here are some of our favorites, all requiring a road trip to explore new routes and scenery:
6/6 York Hospital 5k - York, ME
We love this run through scenic York Village and York Harbor, including the Wiggly Bridge and a short trail section through Steedman Woods. The course terrain is varied and there’s a hill or two as you head to the finish.
6/13 Market Square Day 10k Road Race - Portsmouth, NH (New date: 9/26)
My husband’s favorite 10k! We love Portsmouth and Seacoast races, and this is followed by an exceptionally fun street festival. You get to see the length and breadth of one of the nicest cities in New England, including a jaunt through historic Strawberry Banke. There are some hills, crooked streets and a bit of traffic, so the course is not without its challenges. We HIGHLY recommend this one!
6/27 South Berwick Strawberry Run - South Berwick, ME (5 Miles)
The South Berwick Strawberry Run is a 5-mile loop race always held the last Saturday in June in conjunction with the South Berwick Strawberry Festival.This is a fun way to explore this nice old town. It starts and finishes at the Marshwoods Great Works School, with the town’s annual festival following.
6/28 Lobster Roll 4 Miler - Scarborough, ME
Nice run through Scarborough to the Old Orchard Beach town line, an imperfect loop followed by the perfect lobster roll lunch from Bayley’s Bait Shed Bar and Restaurant (lunch not included in registration fee). This race attracts a small field of runners, including a larger number than usual of older racers, some who share the most amazing stories of races over the years. We met a man who’s a bit famous; he’s a 75 year old retired firefighter who does a marathon every weekend, including one (too) soon after heart surgery! I should add, he easily blew past me.
The perfect finish!
Judy Phillips Norwich
??? what's this ????
By: Ellie Ferguson
Alas, could things be starting to return to something resembling 'normal'?? Please,tell it is so.. I was at my local super Walmart this afternoon doing my once a week shopping trip and, do you believe that I actually saw, what you ask?? Well, it was white, round, soft. It was(wait for it) TOILET PAPER.. AND PAPER TOWELS... on the shelves...I thought I died and went to heaven. I couldn't believe it..Granted the toilet paper was in a package of TWELVE.... I couldn't resist, I bought 1 package... Having used a couple of rolls since my last hoarding adventure, I now have 16 rolls of toilet paper.. I think I am good for now. Now I think I see part of the problem. Packages of 12?? Really?? I really didn't need or want to buy 12.. But that's what they had.... I can't not hoard if I wanted to..Carry on....
By: Scott King
Name: Bri Schreiner
Town: Lebanon, NH and Chatham, MA
Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area?
I’m from New England. I moved to the Upper Valley in 2010 when my husband started medical school at Dartmouth (now Geisel). We recently moved to Cape Cod after he finished his training in 2019 (yes, 9 years and 3 kids later).
What do you do professionally? I’m a dermatology PA.
How long have you been running? I’m pretty sure I came running out of the womb, but I can’t actually remember that, so the safer answer is 5th grade. It was the only team sport offered to the 5th graders.
How long have you been running competitively? 5th grade
Why do you run? I love the simplicity of running. I love to be alone. Running is incredibly cathartic for me. I do not run with music. All I need is my heart, my shoes, and my breath. I love that.
Recent memorable moment while running? I planned a beach run around the tides. I had to time the run so that I didn’t get stranded. Running on Cape Cod is sort of indescribable.
Best athletic accomplishment and why? My (then) 8 year-old daughter enthusiastically agreed to participate with me in a sprint-distance triathlon last summer. My greatest (athletic) accomplishment is my children. Any parent would understand.
If you like to race, favorite race distance? Why? I love sprint and Olympic distance triathlon. I swam competitively starting at age 5, so it made sense as an adult to become a triathlete. But biking is hard. The expression “It’s like riding a bike” does not apply to me. That said, I am committed and I love a challenge.
Training partners? I generally run alone, but if I had to choose, I’d choose my (now 9 year-old) daughter or my husband.
Cross training activities? HIIT, yoga, bodyweight strength/circuit training
Favorite local running route? The Rail Trail!
Who is your running “idol”? Maribel Sanchez Souther, a local running legend who passed away in 2016 at the age of 41 after a valiant battle with cancer. She completed the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in an hour and 37 minutes just two days before undergoing a mastectomy. More importantly, she was an amazing person and an awesome mother. She had a huge heart and was an incredible runner. I loved knowing her, even though it was only briefly, and my heart still aches because she was taken so young.
Are your reasons for running now the same or different than the reason you first started?
I think I’ve always loved running because it makes me feel free. Running has always functioned as an escape for me. Running also encourages me to reset. I’m always a better person after a run.
Ever run in a costume? No. I do run in a mask now though. Does that count?
The only running shoe for me is Hoka Rincon or Clifton.
Ever been injured? How did it happen? I used to get ankle strains all the time running cross country because of all the exposed roots in the trails. Running on the roads used to give me knee pain. I’ve changed my running form to a mid-foot strike and strive for a cadence of 180 strides per minutes, and I feel great.
Hot or cold weather runner? Neither extreme.
Morning or evening runner? Morning.
What is your motivation? My kids.
I run therefore I deserve to buy new shoes frequently.
How did you become interested in running? The 5th graders in my middle school were not allowed to join any of the organized sports teams except cross country. It worked out for me because I was naturally fast. I didn’t work very hard (athletically) through high school and ultimately ended up “quitting” cross-country my senior year. I found triathlon in college.
What is your favorite race? Road to the Pogue or Skip’s Run!
What does your daily workout consist of? I generally do a circuit training workout on most days for about 45 minutes. I run at least three times a week. I swim when the weather allows for open-water swimming. I bike when my kids want to go for a bike ride.
What is your diet like? I eat everything. I don’t pay a lot of attention. I eat when I’m hungry and often when I’m not hungry. I’m fairly certain I was born with a tape worm in residence. My (its?) metabolism is unbelievable.
If you could run with anyone, who would be the person? My husband
Additional input or comments? I really miss living in Lebanon and hope to be able to return for all the running events again once we can race again!
Aside from running, what are your hobbies? Wearing and applying sunscreen, turning kids laundry outside out, loading and unloading the dishwasher, playing cello and piano, and reading the New York Times
How to Restart?
I’m in a two-month lay-off due to injuries sustained from hard falls; I have been in pain and haven’t run much since. I need a re-start; I am afraid to fall (I’ve always been clumsy!), and it is harder to recover when older. The cancellation of all my scheduled races hasn’t helped me keep on track. The virtual race option does not appeal or provide the incentive to re-start my serious training planned for this year. My question: is there some magic motivational tool that can get me out there, on the roads again, and away from the “safety” of the treadmill?
— Judy Phillips
"Magic tool." The search for the magical answer is an ongoing one. The short answer is no, there is no magic tool. There's no secret that you're not in on yet. Everybody needs something a little different to make us click, and the process of learning about oneself and one's needs is ever-evolving.
Your question is a psychological one as much as a physical one. You need something that will help you gain back your confidence. You need something that will help you take back control. And don't we all need that, in these unprecedented times! So I'm going to turn this question back to you and ask what you can do to gain some control over this situation. What caused your previous falls? What is different about the treadmill that's reassuring? Does it prevent you falling? Make falls less consequential? What resources do you have that could help you address the root cause?
If balance issues are a concern, you could address this with your doctor. There may be something out of whack in your inner ear that could be treated. Same if vision (and ability to see obstacles) is the issue. If you're an ankle roller, a more stable (less high) shoe might help. You could start just by walking, and then maybe incorporating a little jogging, just to help you feel more confident. If you keep stepping off the curb or tripping over a sidewalk, ease yourself back in by jogging the perimeter of a field, or on a track, where there is less to trip over. Field running, or soft and non-technical trail running (like on woodchips, or even a dirt road), could be a good idea simply because it's a softer surface to fall on than asphalt, if you truly anticipate falling always being a part of running. It all comes down to what has caused the falls, and the loss of confidence, in the first place.
Now to the motivation. If virtual races, time trials, and other "imaginary" tests aren't exciting you, it's possible you might want to reset your training plan. You don't need to be following a "serious" competitive plan if you have no love for virtual races and no real races to go to. You can take this time period to lay off the strict schedule, incorporate more cross training, start strength training, and/or focus your energy on a solid recovery routine and other self-care tactics that matter just as much as training and are so often overlooked. Training plans should match lifestyle. If your lifestyle and goals have been impacted by Covid-19, adjust your training plan to match!
I should add that if you are still in pain, cross training in the way to go until you heal. It's not just a question of motivation, it's also a question of what is safe and advisable for your body.
As we get older the reflexes, strength, and balance that we trusted to catch us diminish, and the body that once bounced back quickly is more 'breakable'. Now, as I come back from injury, as I go out to exercise in my older body, in places where I used to bomb downhill with aplomb, round corners with grace, and welcome the pain of effort, I am cautious, slower. Now I come to exercise with the perspective that I am coaxing my body to go as far, as well as it can on that day. To motivate myself I often tell myself I'm just going out for a walk, explore a new place, or find what new flowers have bloomed. When my mind and body is ready to run, I run and stop when it's not working. Or I go for a nice walk and go home to garden. I expect your confidence will return. Be kind to yourself.
Now, too, we can walk, hike, run with friends at a physical distance that still allows for that motivational, reassuring social connection. This is so nice because if we do fall there is someone there to help us. Reach out to your UVRC mates - there of many of us in your 'shoes', too. We can start running, physically 'together'!
I hope that helps.
Dorcas DenHartog coaches cross country running at Hanover High School and summer track for UVRC