Hop River Trail Running

This afternoon I joined a running friend for a few miles on the Hop River Rail Trail.

Steele's Crossing

We set off around 2pm – with the temperature at 45 degrees. On December 30th! This weather has been unbelievable and perfect for winter running. I hope that it stays mild this winter. My friend is a local competitive runner who often wins her age group, but we intended to run a nice, casual run. She even brought her lovely dog. The weather was perfect and it was a nice winter day on the trail. We ran up to Burnap Brook, a gorgeous, rocky creek.

Burnap Brook

A Rocky Pool in the Brook

It was a busy day on the trail. We even saw some people rock climbing at a rocky outcropping. We had a lovely chat and a wonderful run. All in all, it was a beautiful day for a winter trail run.

Trail Running Joy

CT Pace Per Mile Update: End of Year Runs

As my [three] faithful readers know, I am a state reporter for Pace Per Mile. I provide reports about goings-on in running in the state of Connecticut. I’ve decided to offer some additional information on my blog. The following information is part of my Pace Per Mile report for December 26, 2011 – January 1, 2012. You can find the details for my featured races here…

Orange Gordy Cap, Courtesy of BCG Westfield

Gordy’s First Race, Sunday, January 1, 2011, 11am, Westfield, MA – Sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield and B & E Tool, Gordy’s First Race offers both a 5k and 10k option for New Year’s Day runners. The races start and end in front of Westfield Middle School. The registration fees are $20 for the 5k and $25 for the 10k. Orange beanie hats are provided to the first 150 pre-registered participants and all runners are invited to a post-race party.

31st Annual Freezer 5, Sunday, January 1, 2011, 11am, Sterling, MA – The Central Mass Striders are sponsoring the 31st annual Freezer 5. This 5 mile race is billed as featuring the flattest 5 miles in Sterling, Mass. Which, according to the organizers, “ain’t too flat”. The race starts at 11am with day-of registration permitted (9-11:45am). Registration is $20 (free for 70 and older) and all pre-registered runners get gloves, a cotton t-shirt while supplies last, a finishers’ surprise, and a post race party featuring soda, seltzer, and “goodies”. Sweatshirts will be awarded to the top three finishers in each age group.

Brian Aselton Memorial Snow Dash, Sunday, January 8, 2012, 1:30pm, East Hartford, CT – This 5k race is cosponsored by the East Hartford Parks and Recreation Department and the East Hartford Police Department. Proceeds from the race benefit the Brian A. Asleton Memorial Scholarship Fund and the East Hartford Police Department Child Safety and Crime Prevention department. The race begins at the Langford School and features a course with gentle, rolling hills.The entry fee is $25 and race day registration is available. There are age group awards as well as award for top police finishers and top police K9 teams.

I hope that you can find time to support one of these races, as a runner, volunteer, or spectator. Next week, I will be featuring races that might make a good New Year’s resolution – a 5k, a 6.55 mile race, and half marathon in March. There will be plenty of time to train and challenge yourself to a new distance.

Caution: Attracts ducks

Today I headed out for an impromptu trail run with my running friend. The forecast was calling for a rainy, grey day, but we were hoping for the best. Running friend and I set out from my house to run the trails on a Joshua’s Trust  property close to home. We went in the usual direction, only to find that two adjacent kettle ponds had flooded, resulting in one giant, impassable lake. Rather than get soaked, we decided to go around the pond and on a trail that cuts between the second and third kettle pond. When we got to the end of the trail we came upon a flock of ducks.

Not the actual duck - duck body double

These were really, really tame ducks. In fact, the ducks were so tame one let me pet it. The ducks even ran along with us for a little while. A word of caution – ducks do not seem to understand single track trails. They were dangerously underfoot. I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t have my camera to take a picture of the ducks, and would have to find a picture online when I blogged about them later. At the end of the run we decided to go back, with cameras in hand, to see if the ducks were still there. Being a lover of all animals, I brought along some reduced fat Triscuits. Sadly, the ducks were on the opposite side of the pond.

Far away ducks

I tried to entice the ducks to come closer by using my own unique bird call – I randomly flung Triscuits in their general direction. They were unimpressed. The lesson here – running attracts ducks.

Race Recap: 2011 Scrooge Scramble

Today, after opening presents and rejoicing in my new running gear…

Post-Christmas mess

Joe and I ran the 2011 Scrooge Scramble. This was the 21st annual Scramble, hosted by the Cornerstone Foundation, in Rockville, Connecticut. Over $2000 in cash, and a small mountain of clothing and other goods, were collected from race-day donations to support the shelter, soup kitchen, and teen drop-in center. I arrived early to register and was met by a very friendly lady at a VERY low-key registration desk.

Scrooge Scramble registration

It was 28 degrees and cloudy at the 10:30am race start. The event included an easy, out-and-back course and lots of canines and costumes. It’s a pretty low-key event. It is timed, on the honor system, with the race directors handing out an index card noting the finisher’s place at the finish line. A few shelter residents were on hand to cheer on the runners, and there were lots of people in the holiday spirit and in great costumes. There were a few people notably absent in holiday cheer, cutting the course and jumping in front of other runners on the back part of the out and back, but the vast majority of people seemed to be running for fun, not for times. All in all, it was a fun race. And, what’s not to like about a race that rewards finishers with baked goods?!

Yum

Update: You can find the results from the 2011 Scrooge Scramble here.

2011 in Race Shirts

2011 was an eventful year – at least for racing. In 2011 I ran my first (and second and third) half marathon and won my first ever age group award. What better way to remember all those races than to show off my collection of “free” race shirts.

It all started with a charity race [group of older ladies walking around a local park] in Florida with my mom.

Winter Haven Citrus Classic

Next up, a few local 5ks – Max’s O’Hartford and the HMF Extreme Scramble (#3 to be exact).

Max's O'Hartford 5k

HMF Extreme Scramble

In August I ran for a PW (personal worst) and an age group award in the Bolton XC Classic. A cool shirt, and an even cooler prize.

Bolton XC Classic

My awesome prize - a hand painted rock.

I ran my first (and second and third) half marathon…and found out that I loved the distance.

ING Hartford Half Marathon

All Women and One Lucky Guy Half Marathon

Monson Memorial Classic

Finally, and perhaps most memorably, I walked the South Foster Fall Foliage 5k with my injured mom. She was clear that she would finish the race despite a serious knee injury. Her biggest fear was finishing last. Not to worry – I finished dead last and we had a great time.

South Foster Fall Foliage 5k

What’s up for 2012? I’m not sure yet. I will be working on building my race calendar over the next few weeks. I know it will include the Nation’s Half in DC – a bucket list course. I can’t wait to do a few more half marathons – and maybe get an age group award that’s actually a PR.

So, what’s the best race you’ve run? What Connecticut races should I not miss?

Edit: I was reminded of two races I ran, but did not get t-shirts for. I also ran the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving and the wonderful Bolton XC Series in the summer.

Entering the Blogosphere

See the little black line. That's my ACL.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how much my running life has changed in the past year.  Just over one year ago I began running for the second time. This time following a knee reconstruction due to a complete tear of my right ACL. It has been a crazy journey – and one that I wish I had recorded for posterity. I learned a lot, changed a lot, and I didn’t write any of it down. Not great thinking on my part.

So, my blog starts today. I will record the next phase of my running journey here, and mainly for myself. Because I don’t want to forget one step of this process.