Monday, November 28, 2011

Catching Up



It's been a while. I've neglected this blog. Neglected all of you. The handful of people that read this. It's just that, I get lost in the woods sometimes.

What's been going on? I've run a couple races, spent a lot of time on the trails, and volunteered at our local Thanksgiving 5k. Bringing you up to speed -

Groton Town Forest Trail Race
Last year, I ran this race one year after the Bay State marathon, and fell in love with trails. Since then, I've relished every chance I get to hit the single-track all around me. There's just something wonderful about it. To be in the moment. Winding around switchbacks and hills in the pine forests and down narrow slopes alongside rushing river waters. I am reborn with every run. Enough rambling.

Final stretch of GTF trail race
This year I found myself rushing to get to the start line, just as last year. As with many trail/ultra events, there wasn't a real start. I don't recall anyone shouting. Certainly no gun. People just start moving. I settled into a nice groove and just ran how I felt. Stopped to tie my shoelaces a couple of times. After the first water stop, I tripped on a root and slid a few feet. Covered in leaves and pine needles. Lost the top to my handheld. Oh well.

Ran at times with another couple in VFFs. When we slowed to walk some of the really steep hills, we exchanged stories about minimalism and trail running. After a while we came to the photographer, and I ran down the final stretch smiling.

It was a great afternoon for a trail run.

Cape Cod Marathon Relay
Earlier this year, I agreed to run as part of a relay team that my friend John was putting together for the Cape Cod Marathon in late October.  As the date drew near, I admit I was planning on bailing out of this relay. But, a couple of people cancelled on him, so off to the cape I went.



Legion Of Stupid Heroes
I left on Saturday, during the start of the freakish Halloween snow storm. I spent the night with a friend on the cape. Had some great dinner and conversation, but of course, a less-than-optimal night's sleep. The night before a race, coupled with being away from home knowing that the family had already lost power and had 8+ inches of snow really wasn't conducive to rest.

Sunday came, and I fully expected it icy, sideways rain and projectile pets. But it was just blustery. The wind was cold at times, but no rain. Sweet. Actually ended up running the first two legs of this race, totaling just over nine miles.

No time for celebration though. After my leg, I hopped in the car and drove home to the snowy powerless family. I think the team finished in around 4:30.

Whose Woods These Are I Think I Know
After the storms, my beloved rail-trail and single-track were littered with downed trees. One weekend, I took a bit of time to explore the trails and assess the damage. While I was out, I ran into a guy clearing some sections by the river with a bow-saw. I thought this was a great idea. Since then, I've gone out twice with the bow-saw to clear out some of the trail that I run most frequently. Even got the 4yo to pitch in one afternoon.


Felt really good to give something back to the single-track. The boy had a great time too - "helping mother nature".

Slattery's Turkey Trot
I wasn't planning on running Slattery's this year, but my brother was hell-bent on running a sub-7:00 pace at this five-miler, so I signed up and figured I go out and have a fun run. I ended up running a bit faster than I thought I would (or could) and ended up posting my 2nd fastest time on the course. My brother finished in just around 34:30. Didn't hit his goal but came damn close and had an awesome race.

Holden Road Race
The last couple of years I've run in this 5k event on Main St. in our town. This year, the race was in danger of not happening after the funds raised during last year's event were never turned over to the Wachusett Food Pantry. Luckily, a great group of volunteers came together to pull of a great race. In it's first year under new management, over 800 people ended up turning out for the new course.  Worcester Telegram Article

I read about the call for volunteers and decided to give something back this year. After attending the volunteers meeting and getting to talk with the race organizers, I was even more excited to be involved. I offered to help wherever I was needed most. As it turns out, this was with traffic before the race.

So, early Thanksgiving morning, I went down to the Big Y (start/finish) and directed traffic until the race began. Then I camped at the final turn, at the end of the last hill, and shouted encouragement to each and every runner and walker. It was great to see such a large turnout. People of all ages and abilities coming out to earn an extra piece of pie or second serving of stuffing.

After the race I hung out and helped break down the tables and clean up. Scored a race shirt and a pair of gloves. You can never have too many gloves.