November 01, 2014

Start and Course MAPS for the 4th TARC Spring Thaw 6-Hour

The 2015 start line 
is the same as in 2014.
It worked so we're keeping it! 

The start line, which is still on school property, spreads out the runner field and eases bottle-necking in the first single-track section of the loop.

Please note that we are not allowed to run on/around the playing fields NOR on the town roads (without a $$$ police detail). Although our race field is relatively small, please seed yourself appropriately for safety.

The race's start line is located by the High Plain Elementary School sign (off of High Plain Road). It is ONLY for loop #1.  You will not return to this start line again after 9 am. 

Be ready to run your race AND at the start line for 8:50 a.m. Allow approx. FIVE minutes to walk/jog from registration area/timing to the race start line.

The 1/2- mile additional distance in Loop #1 will be accounted for in your results. Your loop time is recorded at the completion of each loop by running—in one direction—through the special timing chute.
  • Loop #1 is a distance of 4 miles.
  • Subsequent loops (#2, #3, #4, etc.) each measure 3.5 miles. 
The timing area (NTS/Norm's Timing System), runner loop check-in, AID/drop bag area, and the finish line are located near the Wood Hill Middle School sign (off of Cross Street). Volunteers can check in here, too. 

If you do not complete the 3.5 mile loop by 3:00 pm, the accrued miles of YOUR PREVIOUSLY completed laps will be your recorded mileage in official results. Runners that come into finish—after the 6-hour time limit— forfeit their last loop. If you finish in over 6 hours—even if by less than a minute— this last loop will not be counted in the official results (but you know you ran it). We need to draw the line somewhere...

Also, you do not need to run for the full 6 hours to make the race results. When you are done for the day—please tell the official at start/finish so we know not to send out a search party or famished Yeti. Results of runners who complete over the marathon distance (26.2 miles) will be sent to Ultra Running Magazine. Take up any timing issues with Norm, "The-Great." He makes things right in the world.


If you are unable to complete a full 3.5-mile loop by 3:00 pm, you have the option of a SINGLE-USE, out-and-back to the 1-mile marker FINAL partial loop (for a total of 2 additional miles). This option is available ONCE to each runner and you MUST tell the start/finish table of your intentions BEFORE heading out or it will not count. A race official will be at the 1-mile marker. At the end of your partial loop you will complete your race event by running through the chute and reporting to the start/finish officials.

Sign up on our "TARC SPRING THAW 6 HOUR" Facebook Page for updates:

See you very soon Trail Animals!
Emily "Trail Pixie" Trespas, Race Director


October 19, 2014

Marathon Training at the TARC Fall Classic

This fall I'm experimenting with re-entry into running; it must be a slow and careful process considering my hip health, which from now on will be an important factor. My seventh (?) Stone Cat Marathon is in early November and I've been building up my long runs cautiously.
A few weeks ago I tested my fitness at the Harwich Cranberry Harvest Half Marathon, which was a rolling course on roads. I ran better than I expected, power-wogging, to average a 10:54 pace per mile. In the past, my 13.1 mile road finishes were under two-hours. Times are different; A major, side-lining, hip injury like FAI (look it up) will change one's pace and perspective. Today I am happy to gambol through the woods at any speed.
Taking training precautions —so my November trail marathon isn't a complete "slog fest"— I devised a long run of 18+ miles for this weekend. In doing so, I signed up for the TARC half-marathon (in Great Brook Farm, Carlisle, MA) and planned on completing the race before heading back out for an additional loop of 6.2 miles or more. During the half I was mindful of my objectives and did not run too hard in the final quarter. (2:46 finish.)
I felt good at seven miles (when I usually wish to call it a day) and still solid at 13 miles. What a relief. In contrast, last weekend's long run in Ward Reservation (Andover, MA) was difficult on my hips, lower back and confidence. I ran alone (which I usually love), got intentionally lost (as a way of adding more miles), and negotiated with an upset stomach (due to a waist pack).
Yesterday was refreshingly wonderful— I found myself in the zone a few times, not poo-pooing myself, and ready to go out for a third loop. With the company of Julie O and Michelle R, 13-19 miles was a treat.  We caught up on life;  I felt nostalgic, grateful, and ooby. We rolled into the Start/Finish area and Julie and Michelle were in the 50k so they scampered off for another lap. I ran out to find Peter, who was in the marathon, and as I left the abundant aid station, I spied him along the large field. What great timing. Running a section of his final lap with him was a gift. He was strong and positive; I wish I could have accompanied him on the whole loop but I was at my training goal distance and didn't want to test my luck. 
In the end I tallied 22 miles without feeling like ripe horse manure. If I play it smart these next three weeks, I can head into Stone Cat healthy and with my training homework complete.

A big thank you to the TARC community! The RD's (Josh and Jerimy),  an army of volunteers,  Norm S with his timing system, and all who make the day run smoothly. Thank you, too, for that guacamole.

August 14, 2014


I spent this morning in my plot at the Abbot Phillips Community Garden. With the end of summer near, I a decided to plant a few rows each of beets, turnips, and kale.  I felt sore about evicting a few bees from what was left of my zucchini crop.  Luckily, they have plenty of other plants in which to play and pollinate.
 Waiting for a taste
New crop: beets, turnips, and dwarf blue kale.

One of my goals this summer was to learn how to make jam— check. 
A bee visiting my berries!

I gathered enough blueberries for a batch and picked up a box of Pomona's Universal Pectin at Whole Foods; I was ready to rock and roll.

 Yum! cannot wait to try some!!
 A straight forward and clear video on making Low-Sugar Blueberry Jam by The Crafty Gemini can be found at ( and below. 

Note: I was short on jam mixture for a full four (half-pint) jars, as the recipe estimates; I had enough for 3.5, 8 oz/half-pint jars. Having a sterilized 4 oz jar ready is a good idea. Also, I sterilized my jars and lids for longer than the video recommended (30 minutes at a simmer).