Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Groton Town Forest Trail Race

In the weeks leading up to Bay State, I heard that some of the NERTs (New England Running Twits - search #NERTs on Twitter) were going to run in the Groton Town Forest Trail Race on October 24th. Just a week after Bay State, initially I was undecided. But as time passed, I made up my mind. If my legs felt OK, I was going to run. The only question was whether or not I'd tackle the 3.5mi or 9.5mi course.

My left knee felt a little questionable during a recovery run on Thursday night, but by Saturday morning it was feeling much better. A short bike ride through the woods, and I was all excited to run the trails Sunday morning. Still, I wasn't sure which distance I'd sign up for.

Sunday morning, I got a late start out the door, and arrived just in time to register. I saw Doug (@ReallyNotARunnr) on the way in and decided then that I felt good enough to give 9.5mi a shot. Registered quickly, and picked up a hat and gloves for $6. It was chillier than I thought it would be. Made my way back to the start/finish area and met up with Doug and the rest of the NERTs running. After a few minute delay, we were off.

Chris Russell (@cyktrussell) of RunRunLive fame was our pace runner at the onset. Chris was running "slow" that day. The pace was comfortable at first, and I hung with our group for about 2 miles or so. Eventually I dropped back and I lost Chris, Sandy, and Doug around the bends and over the hills in the deep forest. First 2 miles, according to Garmin - 09:17, 10:41

Garmin provided some elevation data. Not sure of the accuracy in the deep woods, though...

Over the next couple of miles, I went fairly slow (10:27, 10:58). Around mile 5, the pace started to pick up as the trail descended deep into a glacial kettle. I was surprised to see the splits from the Garmin later, as mile 6 was a pretty significant climb, and I still managed a sub-10:00 pace. Down and up - 09:17, 09:45. Mile 7 was largely uphill, and my pace slowed accordingly - 11:49.

At times, the pack of runners would thin, and I'd find myself alone on the trail. It's amazing how much of a zen-like quality trail running has. You're constantly engaged. In the moment. Watch out for that root, avoid that rock. Save some energy for that climb. Grab that tree. Don't hurt yourself. On the road, I find you can lose yourself in your head. On the trail, you lose yourself, to the trail.

Sometime around mile 8 or 8.5 - I saw Doug scaling one of the hills ahead of me on the trail. I called out to him, and he waited up for me. We ran the next 1-1.5 miles together (again, the Garmin was probably wrong on distance) and chatted about the trail, and tried to avoid injury. Doug had rolled his ankles on the course earlier, and had lost Sandy and Chris. Things were going great until about 1/2-3/4 mile to go, when I rolled my ankle. Wasn't too bad though, and after a few hops on it I was good to go.

We saw the finish and I asked him if he wanted to run it out. He said he wasn't sure what he had left in him but he'd give it a go. We took off down the final stretch, blowing past one older gentlemen and bearing down on a small dog on the trail. He surged. I surged. It was pretty exhilarating to have the energy left to open up like that at the end of a challenging course. Eventually, Doug edged me out for a one second victory in our first ever trail race.

Doug & I on the far right, sprinting to the finish! (thanks to Kim A for photo)

After the race, I made my way over to the registration area and picked up my t-shirt. The NERTs hung out and had some post-race beer and food. Great time with some great running friends -

L-R: Me, John (@thinmedic), Doug (@reallynotarunnr), Sandy (@trifatlete), Melody (@mrsknitpho), Heather (@wickedphysics) - Photo courtesy of @cyktrussell.

Thanks to everyone involved with this race. It was a blast. Thanks to Chris for putting the word out about this run. Definitely going on my check list of "to do" races for next year.

Until next time - run well my friends.


  1. Hey there Adam, glad I found your blog and even happier to see I had a photo of you running you could share on your blog. I always take pics of the runners after a race and love it when I find the owners so they have it as a keepsake.

    Love the phrase you used "On the road, I find you can lose yourself in your head. On the trail, you lose yourself, to the trail." as it's so true and why I love trail running so much.

    Take care.

  2. Thanks for the comment Kim. I was glad to find the photo, and from that, find your blog. Great trail running posts and photos. And, I agree wholeheartedly. I'm going to try and find some ways to get more trail running in now!

  3. That elevation chart looks painful! Fun race report! Love that picture of you and Doug coming down the finish! Did you catch the guy in blue? Definitely have to think about putting this on the calendar for next year. Let's see if I'm recovered from the VT50.

  4. @Luau - Profile was a challenge at times, but a ton of fun. I think we caught that guy. Don't know. That last bit was kind of a blur. We are speedy, ya know? :)