Monday, October 22, 2012

2012 Baystate Marathon

We left early to get to Lowell High School so I could pick up my bib number.  After picking up my number, I went to get my Baystate T-shirt.  I needed a medium but there were only small and xxlarge left.  I got ready for the race inside the warm lunch room of the high school.  At 7:30 we went outside.
Not doing a marathon before, I wasn't sure which pace line to get in.  I went into the 10:00 line.  It was 7:45am and it was chilly waiting for the start.
After the American Anthem, they played I got a feeling just before the start.
After the gun went off, it took me a minute to pass the start line.
I started off too fast.  I slowed down before the first water stop.
When I got to the 1st mile marker, it read 10:20.
My plan was to walk at the water stops and drink water and run under 150 bpms and pick it up after mile 20.
After passing mile 7, I could see the bridge I need to run over.  Everything is going well.
When I passed mile 12, the lead vehicle passed me and so did the leader.  He was close to being done and I had another loop to do.
When I took a right over a bridge, Jenifer, Ryan and Krista were there cheering me on.  While I was going over the bridge, Krista ran with me cheering me on.  It was great seeing them.
Now the second loop.  Nutrition is going perfect and legs are still feeling good.
Going over the bridge again, I passed mile marker 18.
My legs started to hurt.
I kept running and kept walking at aid stations.
I hit the wall when I passed mile 21.
I slowed down and kept running.  Soon I started to walk.
I started to fartlek between the caution cones.  After running down a hill, I walked between cones and when I started to run again, I saw the 1 mile to go sign.  Yes!
I picked up the pace and just before the finish, Jenifer, Ryan and Krista were there cheering me on.  I took a left and it was .2 miles to go.
I finished!
I had a hard time walking so the medics checked me out.  I was OK.
The Baystate marathon was the hardest race that I've ever done.  Luckily I took Monday off to recover.

Monday, June 11, 2012

6/10-11/2012 Camel's Hump Backpack

On Sunday morning, I woke up at 3am and got ready for my trip.  I left the house at 4:15 and what I thought would be a 3 hour drive was a 4 hour drive.
Once I got to Appalachia, I geared up and was on the trail by 8:40am.  It will be 12.5 miles to Camel's Hump.
About a mile into the hike, I found a campsite.  Once the tent was somewhat set up, I continued up.  I'll finish setting it up when I get back.  Little did I know that I wasn't going to be sleeping there tonight.
To get to Camel's Hump, I had to climb over five mountains.
The trail was wet and muddy and there were many bugs.  One section I think the moose liked, there was poop everywhere.
The farther I got into the hike, the rougher it got.
I met a man that was heading south.  He told me that he was heading to Mass.  Cool.
Once I got to Montclair Glen Lodge, it was only 1.7 miles to the summit.
Now the real climbing begins.
Scrambling up many boulders, I was on the summit.
There were great views.
When I tried to eat my peanut butter sandwhich, it was very difficult because I was dehydrated.
When I headed back, I stopped at the Glen Lodge and filtered water.  After filtering two liters, I went and got another 2 bottles.  When I tried to filter water again, my filter didn't work.  Great.  So I filled two of them with water and I can boil them to purify them at camp.
It was 4:20pm when I reached the summit.  So I tried to go as fast as I could back to camp before dark.
Heading back, I was malnourished and still dehydrated, since I've only eaten a few Snickers bars and half and pb sandwich.  I tried to eat the other half of the sandwich but I couldn't.
I was going good on the flats but when I came to a climb, I slowed right down.  I had no energy.
I thought I was making good time but halfway back, it was dark, so I put my headlamp on.
Trying to follow the trail, I got lost.  I couldn't find any blazes.
I didn't panic.  I stood there for about 10 minutes figuring out what I was going to do.  I also looked around for any trail markers, none.  I have to spend the night here.  I'll have to wait here tomorrow and hope that Jenifer called Vermont State Police after 12pm (since that was our plan on my itinerary).  It may take all day to find me.
So my first priority was to change my wet cloths.  Great, I left my dry cloths at the tent.  So I put on my rain pants and rain jacket.
Now what am I going to use for a shelter?  I had a black plastic bag in my pack.  I use it to cover my pack when I leave it outside the tent.  I laid it out on the ground.  Then I got my emergency blanket.  I've been carrying that for about 15 years and now I'm finally using it.
I put on my headlamp and lit my candle lattern.  I grabbed some birch bark and twigs to start a fire.  The birch bark lit but the twigs didn't.  I tried to place the twigs on the bark as it burned so they would dry out but they didn't.
So now it was bedtime.
I wrapped the emergency blanket around me and laid down.  I tried using my wet t-shirt as a pillow but that didn't work.  The ground would be my pillow.
I was warm in my little makeshift shelter.  I was worried about hypothermia.  Every time I got the chills, I would adjust the blanket.  I also heard a few noices during the night but it didn't bother me.
I got up around 3am.  I looked around for a trail marker and not too far from my shelter, I found a blaze.  I slept on the trail, so I wasn't lost.  I ate a Pop Tart for breakfast and drank the last of my water.  I had water in the truck so I would have to wait until then to have some.
I put away all my gear, put on my headlamp, and I was off at 4:20am.  It would be 5 miles back to my campsite and 6 miles back to Vt. 17.
Soon I was dehydrated and malnourished again.
As I was going down the LT, I heard something in front of me.  To the left on a stump was a large porcupine.  I stopped.  I tapped my LEKI's on a rock and it climbed down the stump.  It looked at me, then turned around and ran down the trail.  As I was hiking down the trail, I almost tripped over the porcupine.  He stopped on the trail and I came about a foot from him before I seen it.  I took a couple steps back and the porcupine looked at me again.  Then it ran down the side of the trail.
Some of the climbs back were tough.
I got back to my campsite and broke it down.  Loaded up all my gear and headed to the truck.
A few more climbs on the way and I just didn't have the energy for them.
When I got close to the end of the trail, I could hear cars so I knew I was close.
It was the hardest hike that I've ever done.  25 miles.  I learned a lot on this backpack and I will do things differently next time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

2012 Pumpkinman Sprint Triathlon

Friday 9/9.
To rest up for the Pumpknman Sprint Triathlon, I took Thursday and Friday off from work. I did get some rest of Thursday.
Friday morning I met Dave, John, and Dan at Knights Pond for a 6:45 swim. As we headed down, we noticed fog on the pond. Down on the shore, we could not see the buoys.
When we started to swim, we headed towards where we thought the 1st buoy would be.
We found it, but we couldn't see the 2nd buoy.
We tried to follow the shore but we could barely see any trees or the shore. About 2/3rds of the way there, we saw the buoy.
The fog started to lift and we had no problem heading back to shore. It felt good to get a last swim in before the tri.
After the swim, John and myself went up to Spring Hill and saw Kat. We grabbed some no parking signs and we went out to sweep the Sprint and 1/2 Iron bike and run courses.
There was a lot to clean up on the Sprint bike course. The 1/2 Iron course wasn't bad.
We finished up around 12:30pm.
My parents visited for the Pumpkinman Traithlon Festival. Around 4pm I went with my Mom to Spring Hill for early packet pickup.
When I got home, I took down my bike and put my race number on it. Then I leaned it on the compressor so I could put it in my truck in the morning.
Saturday 9/10.
When I woke up at 4am, I was surprised. I slept through the whole night.
After breakfast, I went out to put my bike in my truck. When I went into the barn, my bike was on the floor. It fell during the night. I picked it up and didn't see anything wrong so I put it in my truck. I gradded the rest of my gear and headed to Spring Hill.
I pulled in at 5:45am and headed down to the volunteers parking.
After parking , I did my triahtlon warmup drill sets. Then I did a 16 minute warm-up run.
After stretching, I set up my bike on the trainer.
Once on the bike, I started my warm-up. I tried to shift to the front large chanring and I couldn't. I tried to adjust the cable but it didn't work.
"Bob, the race is up there" I heard. John Sutherland was there. I said that I was giving everyone a head start. I told John my problem and he suggested to bring my bike up to Papa Wheelies tent. "Great idea John, thanks." I wasn't sure if I should bring it up now or after I do my warm-up. I figured that I could do a warm-up on the middle chainring, then get the bike checked out after body marking. So that 's what I did.
When I brought my bike to Papa's, there was a mechanic there and I told him the problem. When he was checking out the bike, he asked if I took off the back wheel. I said no but it did fall down overnight. He said that was enough to move the back wheel so it wouldn't shift. He fixed it! "Thanks Papa Wheelies."
I headed over to tranisition.
I started to set up transition when I heard "5 minutes before the prerace meeting". "Great". I came here earlier so I would have more time in transition.
I rushed to get everything set up and wetsuit on. Then I headed down.
The nerves started.
When I got near the shore, I saw Dave. We chatted a bit, then I headed closer to the water.
After the meeting, "I got a feeling" was playing on the speakers. The Elite were going to start soon.
My wave started a minute after theirs.
"GO!". The Elites were gone.
So my age group headed into the water. I was in the middle of the back.
"GO!". I started to freestyle.
I got bumped many times. Once the chaos was over, I was 1/2 way to the 1st buoy. When I went up for air, (the water was so choppy from all the swimmers) I got a mouth full of water. I had a hard time after that.
My plan was to swim freestyle and when I needed to, I would side stroke to get my breath back. Then freestyle again. But now I was in survival mode. I couldn't clear the water out of my throat.
I got to the 1st buoy and headed to the 2nd. About a 1/3rd of the way there, I saw all these green swim caps racing to the first buoy. "Great"
I continued to side stroke towards the second buoy. It felt like my legs were sinking. I didn't think I was gonna make it. "I'll never do this again".
If the green swim caps passed me, I never saw them.
Once I got (luckily) to the second buoy, I felt a little better. I did some freestyle but I still couldn't catch my breath. I heard "Looking good Bob" and I had no idea who said that. Then I seen Jason in a canoe on the course. I freestyeled a few more times but near the finish, I side stroked.
Once I felt the shore, I had a hard time walking. It may have taken me a minute to finally get out of the water. I started to run up the hill but I couldn't find the zipper cord in back of the wetsuit so I started to walk. I had to walk up Powderhouse. When I got to the top, I ran to my bike.
It took me a little while to get my focus back.
Once on the bike, I started to get better.
The bike race went good. No problems on the course and I went up Great Hill faster than ever before.
After a 48 second T2, I was on the run.
The run started off tough. Once I turned onto Junction Road I was feeling good.
After passing Spring Hill and heading towards the hill down to the finish, I had two 40's in front of me and I wanted to pass them. I attempted a pass in front of the garage but I didn't have it in me.
I grabbed a water and seen Jenifer, Ryan and my parents.
After I cooled down, I went to check the results.
I came in 123/401 overall and 16/29 in my age group.
My swim was almost 2 minutes faster than last year. How?
I also moved up 49 spots from last years finish.
It was an excellent triathlon but it was also my hardest yet.
I learned a lot and I have a lot to work on for 2012.

Monday, July 11, 2011

7/10/11 Breadloaf, Wilson, Camels Hump Backpack attempt

I got up at 2:45am and took a shower. I loaded up the truck and was on the road by 4am.

On Rt. 4 heading to Concord, I stopped at the Hess gas station in Chichester. When I tried to use my Visa Card, it said "See Cashier". So I went in.

I told her that the pump didn't accept my Visa. She told me to go out and press pay inside, then come back in to pay. So I did. When she tried to use the Visa to pay for it, it didn't work. She kept trying, and it didn't work. She called her manager and nothing.

I called Jenifer (which was camping with our kids) to tell her what was going on. She called Northeast Credit Union. First they said that we didn't have any debit cards. Later they said we had cards and that they should work. When Jenifer called again after failed attempts with my card, NCU said that there was a glitch with their systems and noone could use their cards and they didn't know how long it would take to fix it.

Jenifer was able to give them a credit card number over the phone. PAID!

Now I was on my way to Vermont.

I geared up and was on the Long Trail by 10:10am (3 hours late).

After the 1st mile, I started to look for a campsite. After 2.5 miles, nothing. GREAT!

So my planned backpacking trip became a peak bagging hike.

I took my tent, sleeping pad, pans and stove out of my pack and stashed them behind a tree a little ways down the Burnt Hill Tr.

My original plan was to find a campsite close to the road so I wouldn't have to carry the heavy pack. So after I bagged Breadloaf and Wilson, I would hike back to the camp, spend the night, and leave early the next morning to drive to Came's Hump for another hike. If I carried the heavy pack 5 miles to a campsite, I definitely wouldn't have enough energy for the next days hike.

With the lighter load, I was able to move fast.

The Long Trail was narrow and very rough. Mud, rocks, moss, roots and water. My feet started th hurt.

I saw fresh Moose tracks on the trail. Soon I had to avoid stepping in Moose poop.

Soon I was on the wooded summit of Breadloaf. There was a spur trail from the summit that lead to a view west.

The trail from Breadloaf to Wilson wasn't too bad. When I got to the top, I almost walked by the summit. There were a few logs in front of the summit. Another spur path lead to a lookout east.

After taking a break, I headed back.

My feet, back, and shoulders were hurting. Down, up, down, up.

Heading towards the Boyce Shelter, I got the idea that if noone was at the shelter, I could put my sleeping bag in the shelter to hold a spot. Then head over to the Burnt Hill Tr. to pick up my gear, set the tent up in the shelter and spend the night.

When I got to the Boyce Shelter, 2 people and a Saint Bernard were there. Plus I couldn't find water nearby so staying at the shelter was not an option.

So when I got to the Brunt Hill Tr., I went down and picked up my gear.

My shoulders were hurting for the rest of the descent.

When I got to the truck, I dropped the pack in the bed. I set up my stove on the tailgate and cooked Chicken Ramen noodles with Pepperoni for dinner.

I called Jenifer while the Ramen was cooling. I told her about my day and that I was heading home after I ate.

This was my second attempt for Camel's Hump. Denied.

It still was a great hike. I bagged 2 more peaks for the New England 100 Highest list. 65/100.

Hiking 15.8 miles, there was no way that I could of hiked 25 miles the next day. This morning I had a hard time walking.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

7/2/11 Parker Mountain Backpack


I got to the trailhead for the Carter Smith Tr. around 2pm. I put on my heavy backpack and started to head up Parker Mountain.

The trail starts off easy, then becomes steep and eroded. It took a little while to get use to carrying a heavy pack again.

Heading up the trail, I saw the downed tree that points to a lookout. From the lookout I could see Blue Job Mountain. At the lookout there was a cross with plastic ivy on it. I wondered if someone got hurt.

After leaving the lookout, I started to climb again. Soon I saw the faded path on the left that leads to my campsite from last year.

I set up my tent and checked out the views. I could see Blue Job again.

I grabbed my pack and continued towards the summit.

After some more climbing, it levelled off. Then I was at a clearing with great views. I could see the smoke stacks in Newington but it wasn't clear enough to see the Atlantic Ocean.

I found a few wild blueberries, Yum!

There were a few more ups and downs before I reached the summit cairn on Parker Mountain.

I took my pack off and took a break. After some GORP, I headed back down.

When I got back to the tent, I filled my Therm a rest and organinzed inside the tent.

I found a flat rock a little ways from my tent. This will be my kitchen for this evening

I started to boil water for 4 cheese lasagna from Hamburger Helper, minus the hamburger. I added the powdered milk to the boiling water. Soon it overflowed and spilled all over the place. I put in the pasta and sauce mix and mixed it. I had to add more water so it would cook. 10 minutes later, it was done. It wasn't bad but it burned to the bottom of the pan.

After dinner, I cleaned up the kitchen. Since I couldn't find water and I didn't have enough water to clean the pan, I brought it down to my truck, since I didn't want to store it and have a bear for an after dinner guest. The truck was only a 1/2 mile away.

After I came back to the tent, I changed my clothes and hung out in the tent.

6:11pm. Hopefully it will not be a long night.


I had a rough night trying to sleep. I left the sleeping bag at home and I wanted to try sleeping on the Therm a rest with a pillow and blanket. I read "The Appalachian Trail Backpacker" and went out a few times to roam the area.

I read until 9pm and blew out the candle lattern.

Fireworks, motorcycles, and dogs kept me up for quite a while. I was able to sleep on and off until around 3am. Then I set my alarm for 4 to get up.

At 4am, I was up and wide awake.

I organized inside the tent, then went out and started up the stove. As the water started to boil for my oatmeal and java, my headlamp died. I went into the tent and got my candle lattern.

From the ridge where I camped, the views were to the east. The sun was rising as I put my tent into its stuff sack.

I loaded up my backpack and headed down.

5:30am. Cool! I can go home and make pancakes!

This was an excellent warm-up backpacking trip. I learned a few things to do and not to do for next time, Vermont!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

6/25/11 Aggieman Triathlon

I woke up @ 4am to finish getting ready for Aggieman. Jenifer got up a little later and we left and got to the Eliot Boat Basin before 6am.

We dropped the kayak off near the boat dock, then I parked the truck. We were the 1st ones there.

While I was doing my Drill Sets, I heard thunder off in the distance. Soon it was over us thundering and raining.

I went and did my 16" warm-up run, then headed over to registration to get my timing chip and body marked.

Then while I was setting up my bike trainer, a person from Aggieman annouced that the kayak was going to be cancelled due to the weather. "Great" If that was the case, we would do a duathlon or the race would be cancelled.

While I was warming up on the bike trainer, Ed Harvey (Race Director) announced that the weather is going to clear up but he wanted to wait a while before he decided if we were going to kayak.

My support, Jenifer, had to go to the 7:30am support crew meeting.

Just as she started heading over, Ed said that we were going to kayak but was going to start the race a little later.

At 7:50, Ed had a pre-race meeting on the beach. He said that the kayak was a go and the men were going to start at 8:11 and the women at 8:14. After the meeting, all the men got in their kayaks and headed out to the start line.

I've only kayaked a few times before the race and I was nervous.

Ed stood on the beach and he was the start line.

"1 minute to go. 30 seconds. 15 seconds. GO!

I started to paddle and shortly after I watched everyone pull ahead of me.

The kayak course was to go around an island, then head back to the finish. There were 3 of us bringing up the rear.

Halfway to the finish line, a few women passed me.

When I got out of the kayak, I had to run up the stairs to T1.

I had to take off my life vest and Teva's when I got to my bike. I forgot to wipe my feet off and when I did a flying mount, I had grass and small pebbles in my bike shoes.

Due to the rain, the bike course was slippery.

Halfway through the 25 mile bike course, it started to rain. Then it started to rain hard.

I stood up on the pedals to stretch my legs. When I raised my heels for a calf stretch, my left calf cramped up and almost knocked me over. I slowed down a little and most of it went away.

I didn't have a problem with the rain but when I was going fast on a curvey section of Josiah Norton Rd., I almost lost it.

Soon I was getting close to T2. It was a bit deceptive because I started passing parked cars on the right, but T2 was way ahead of me.

I didn't see my truck parked on the road and I got a little nervous. "Did Jenifer make it?"

Just before T2, I saw my truck, YES!

When I dismounted, Jenifer was there with my transition towel and Zoot visor and Kapilani's. It was a good thing she was there. My feet were numb and she had to hold me up while I attempted to put my Zoots on.

I finally got them on, then I headed down the dirt road. I started off slow because my left calf was still hurting. Soon I picked up the pace.

Once I got on the Cedar Brook Tr., I got a hamstring cramp on my left leg. I had to walk until the pain subsided.

Before I turned onto the Goosefoot Tr., I saw a man standing there in a red rain coat. When I got closer, he pulled out a camera and took my picture. He was from Capstone.

It was still raining hard. I had to duck under many branches that were weighed down by the rain. I also started to feel lonely since there was noone around and I had no idea what position I was in for the race. I had to walk several sections because they were steep and slippery. Also I ran through some mud but the big puddles washed my sneaks clean.

Only 200 yards to the finish. Once I was out of the woods, I sprinted to the finish. Jenifer was there and Ed asked me if I was alright.

Jenifer got me a water and I grabbed a sandwich. We didn't stay long since we were both drenched and cold.

Even though it wasn't the best conditions for a tri. I had a great, painful time!

Thanks Ed for a great event. Thanks Steve for lending me your kayak and thanks Karen for the helpful kayak tips.

Monday, June 6, 2011

This morning I planned on doing an Aggieman Triathlon workout on the course. I checked the tides, since it's a kayak start, and low tide was at the time when I wanted to go. So I loaded up my truck with bike and kayak and drove over to Eliot Boat Basin.

Jenifer and myself got to the basin by 10am. I took my bike out of the truck (and I didn't do a warm-up ride or stretch) and got ready to go.

The 25 mile bike course starts off easy but becomes hilly. The roads are pretty messed up from last winter.

During the bike ride, I saw Jenifer a few times. She drove ahead of me and took some pictures.

While I was heading to T2, I saw Jenifer in the distance.

T2 for Aggieman is a person waiting for you to grab your bike and helmet, and they also set up for the 3 mile run up Mt. Agamenticus.

She was taking a picture so I had to set my bike down and put my run shoes on.

The first mile of the run is on a dirt road. I was pretty sore and I was running a recovery run before I hit the trails.

I took a right of the dirt road onto the Cedar Brook tr. It's flat until I got to the Goosefoot tr.

The run started to get steep. Then I had a lot of boulder hoping to do. As I got farther up the Goosefoot, I had to walk a few times.

A left onto the Ring tr. and I was almost there.

Shortly I was on Witchhazel trail for the last .2 miles to the summit (finish).

I planned on running the whole way but my legs had somthing to say about it.

I ran the last section and crossed where the finish line will be in a few weeks.

I did the bike in 1:23.41 and the run in 26.26.

It was a great workout!