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The last 24 hours have given me a few of minutes to revisit The Loop. It has been fun to read the stories to see what people have been up to. The lurking made me a bit guilty for not submitting anything so here are some thoughts on things since I last posted. Baconator- Being in Maine, I'm glad we'll still be able to share our weather-related challenges, a measurement of the most dedicated or foolish among us. Running in Maine, it is close to my heart. The weather has been kind thus far, but I've begun my daily peek at the forecast for the Dec. 9 Millinocket Marathon and Half. I'm signed up for the Half. For those that don't know, the race was created to try to boost the economy in a Northern Maine community hit hard by a mill closing. It was frigid cold at last year's race, where there were 700 runners or so. This year more than 2,000 are registered. On a cold December day when there might not typically be a visitor, us runners will be in town to feed the economy. We all warm up from it. Current forecast calls for a high of 31 degrees and 1-3 inches of awesome snow! Which is better than last year's single digit wind chill! The downside will be the view of Mt. Katahdin might be blocked by clouds. The race is FREE, but runners are invited to give to local charities, and spend money in town. RR- Turkey Trot. It has been an interesting year of running. Tremendously excited to have run Boston for the first time and perhaps the last. Not proud of my time but everything else was incredible and the rest of that story is a different blog. Speaking of blogs, I need to circle back to a blog from last December or January. I don't remember which. In it I made the strategic decision to avoid a race in order to move up an age group (50-59) for my racing club. The obvious thinking was that I would be faster than those "old guys." Guess what? I wasn't before and I wasn't this year either. Took me all year to realize it. Moving forward, I'll be working on seeing if there's a way to be faster at 51 or dealing with how to come to grips with being slower. Which brings us back to the Trot. The local high school runs the Turkey Trot. It's sponsored by the sophomore class, of which my son is a member. He worked really hard on the race, which from the days working up to race day, looked a bit scattered, but was fine on race day. All the volunteers did great. The race is a little out and back 3 miler. The forecast was for 40s to low 50s, chance of rain in the morning. No problem race is at 1. I got there early only to be directed by my son to the pre-registration line. I picked up my timing chip and my wife's registration and shirt. She was skipping the race due to her illness, an asthma challenge she has been fighting for months. I had our stuff and returned to the car. It had started raining, but it was still about an hour before the race. From looking at the radar on my phone, the Fun Run kids would be drenched at 12:30 but we would be dry at 1. I would later see photos of the Fun Run. The series of pictures starts with a young girl taking a face plant at the start on the wet road. It looked nasty. There were a series of pictures of her falling to the ground, seemingly in slow motion. I felt for her. The next photo showed the same girl crossing the finish line, then all the other kids finishing. She had won the race. Tough cookie. As I returned from a quick warm-up, I met one of my age-group nemeses. He is new to the running circles, actually returning to the circuit. He has beaten me in all the short races this year but I still like him. We talked about the weather and I assured him I had seen radar and we would be fine. Well, I saw him again at the start line, and as the rain fell from the skies and he wiped his smartphone, he said, "what radar were you looking at?" Apparently, the wrong one. Luckily for us, by Maine standards it was a warm rain. He mentioned that he was running Millinocket too, and was trying to stretch his mileage. We agreed to meet after the race to add on some miles. Stupidly, I think I might have said I'll wait for you. I didn't even mean it. I went out a little fast, 6:15. The middle mile has a little hill which slowed me to 6:44. At the turn I could see how far away I was from the age group leaders, which is to say, mostly out of reach. The good news was I was breathing hard enough that I wasn't worried about any pain in my legs. Last mile was 6:33. I reeled one person in with a half-mile to go but the next runner was just too far ahead to motivate me. He ended up being in my AG but 10 seconds was too far in the final stretch into the wind. Anyway, the gentleman I spoke to at the start won the age group. I was fifth in the age group, 29th overall 19:47. My AG friend waited for me so that was cool, and we did 3 more to cool down. The added bonus was we both qualified for turkeys as parents of students, and because he won the age group I took the turkey in the parent group! Yay food! Then I kind of ruined it by looking at my previous Trot results, only to prove that I was getting slower with age. Father time remains undefeated. I think my next running goal is to figure out dealing with being slower or get faster. Not sure what will happen, but I have a hunch I won't be faster. But if I can stay healthy, I'll enjoy the journey.
Trail running really started one summer when I just couldn't stand running on hot pavement through hot air while the hot sun beat down on me. Even though my closest trail system was on top of a mountain with no cell service I felt I had little choice and OH SO CAREFULLY trained myself to run on trails. I was terrified of rolling an ankle and breaking something as the sun set, my DH (non-runner) would never find me in time and the healthy population of black bears would have me as a substantial meal. I split my time between the trails and roads depending on time of day, mileage and weather. Around this time last year one of my running buddies introduced me to her running buddies and a running crew as born. We trained for a 5 miler that we ran together last December. After that race we all agreed that we really enjoyed each other's company on our Sunday afternoon jaunts and wanted more. All winter long we met on Sunday's, no matter the weather, and ran all kinds of fun trails. We trained for a ridiculous race in May (Hyner) requiring massive climbs and learning to descend with no regard for ones own life. We were appreciating what a beautiful area we live in- ESPECIALLY in winter (this was last year on the Loyalsock Trail): On Saturday, we got to run a race on more of these beautiful, cold Pennsylvania trails. I'm just getting over a wicked case of peroneal tendinitis so I chose to run the 10K race while my crew ran the half. The temps on top of the hill hovered around 13 balmy degrees at the start. YIKES! It's been since February that I've run in temps that cold! But I was ready in tights, long-sleeve tech t, vest and headband-ear warmers. No gloves or heavy coat needed- even though it was super cold there was no wind and the sun was out. I will admit it took a full mile before I could feel my fingers but after that I was fine. This 10K course is extremely runnable- mostly double-track or wide single track. Sections of technical stuff but it's not extreme and does not last long. The worst is the last mile and a half which is all downhill but goes through an oak forest. You really can get some speed up but the trail was completely covered in leaves. Because it's my bread-and-butter trail- I KNOW what roots and rocks lurk under those leaves- totally stressful in fun sort of way? This was not the fastest time I've ever had on this trail, but it was good enough for 4/18 in my AG so I'm really happy considering the extent of my tendinitis earlier this year. My hips were a little tight, and I didn't have my shoes tied tight enough so I've got some callous blood blister issues to deal with so I'm also happy with the choice to run the 10K instead of the half. After I finished I changed out of my gear into warmer clothes- I checked the parking lot but there is a chance someone got a very good look at my anatomy- and headed back up the trail dragging coats and gear for my RBs. Everyone was happy with their times and we headed to the local bar for snacks and lots of hard cider! I am so happy that I'm healthy going into this winter- my favorite running season. Get out there and enjoy the cold! Sure love our new home- so much easier to post pics.