May 28, 2009

Trav's Trail Race 2009

The 2009 Trav's Trail Race was held Sunday, May 24 in Maudslay State Park, Newburyport, MA. This three-mile cross-country race is hosted by the Winner's Circle Running Club and Newburyport High School CC Team.

All proceeds benefit the Travis Eliot Landreth Memorial Scholarship Fund. If you aren't running too fast you can see his memorial rock with a plaque around the race's mile mark.

The 480-acre Maudslay State Park boasts wonderful meadows, pine forests, 19th century gardens, wide trails along the Merrimack River, and "one of the largest naturally-occurring stands of mountain laurel in eastern Massachusetts." I love running here not only for the park features but also for its permanent "aid station" water-bubbler and bathroom.

I brought Vivian W from Phillips Academy (via Oregon) to have some fun and we met up with Running Rob and Breakheart Dan. When I headed for my bib number, I heard the familiar voice of Double-d, "Look at that outfit!" I couldn't resist wearing my animal-print running skirt!

While I am not fast like cheetah—I am

Wachusett Mountain race was the day before so dd and I compared notes on our fatigued quads. I deduced that his were a lot more sore than mine because he ran over 20 minutes faster than I did at Wachusett and then posted a sub-17 Trav's. These mountain cats! (Inset below: Cathy D and Trail Pixie pose in a small coalition.)

Having put in a good effort up the mountain the day before, I was realistic with my goals for Trav's. I told Dan S I planned on 9 minute miles. Success. I was not sucked into the "racing vortex" and stuck to my pre-plan. Considering I was never winded on the ascents, finished comfortably with a smile, and earned ENETRS points, I felt happy about this being my most leisurely Trav's yet.

I will test the 70-mph speed of my cheetah skirt in another venue! RRRrr-OOwwww.

Trail Pixie's Trav's Times:

2006—23:58 (photo)

Trav's 2009: Results.

Here are three videos from the day from muisephoto via youtube.

Link to youtube video clip of finishers: 14:31 to 20 minutes.
Link to youtube video clip of finishers: 20 to 27 minutes.

Some Lynn Woods folks (Mike and Paul) with Dave Menosky (in the middle), owner of Beverly's NE Running Company. I'm not sure what the Adidas guy is describing to the Somervile RR woman.

May 23, 2009

Wachusett Mountain "Road" Race: A TRAIL MIX

Wachusett Mountain is the first of six races in the 2009 Inov-8 USATF-NE Mountain Circuit. If you choose to run all six races you earn 2009 Mountain Goat status, which enables you to bypass the 2010 Mount Washington Road Race Lottery (refer to above link for details). The Circuit races prior to June 20th also help prepare runners—just a bit—for The Hill.

The NEW (and improved) Wachusett Mountain "Road" Race is 5.2 miles on a combination of pavement, single and double track trails with a dash of grassy ski slope. It's Trail Mix. I love that it challenges both road and trail runners over a variety of terrain. Heads up to road warriors: you will find more earth than asphalt.

Aspects of this course felt like the Northfield Mountain Race (which is also part of the mt. series) mainly because Wachusett, like Northfield ascends up the mountain before shooting down. One trail treat was the nearly half-a-mile stretch up Old Indian Trail. It's rocky, rooty and runnable though most of the folks I was near, including Trail Pixie, speed-hiked this part and ran in short bursts along the flatter sections. Along with the USATF course description, Double-d also detailed it in his Mountain Preview. I hope the RDs keep the course as it stands even after the road work is complete! Change can be good.

Photos by Scott Mason
Photos by Ken Skier

I went to Wachussett in Princeton, MA with Susanne, who is an avid cyclist, road marathoner & trail-curious. She's eager to try MWRR in 2010 so what better way to introduce her to trails and uphill running than through this series! Two Legs, One hill. (My play on: "two birds, one stone.") She pointed out how social the pre & post race is. I cherish this aspect of running and look forward to catching up with folks who also love the outdoors, trails, and have fascinating interests and stories to share.

Many races have a reunion quality to them; this one was no different. I caught up with Richard & Jackie (newlyweds!), Donna & Fred (also newly wedded), Dima F & his posse (NETT), Brian G & Diane L, and Dan P and Melissa M, Tom P, Bob Sharkey & Sheba. While Sheba is a staple at the races, I spied some new feline fans. Heading to the start (sans camera) I fell paw-over-heals in cat-nip crazy love with two nearly identical DSH cats in a car. Their lucky driver was taking them to Maine for an adventure. Me-yow!

As planned, I linked up with kZ and Joy, who was running her first (?) mountain race. We chatted with Michael, Ginger and Tim VO (, as we each savored a delectable raw cookie-creation by Michael. He took these taupe-colored treasures from a wheelie cooler.
Raw-on-a-Roll. Raw & Roll!

Michael, thank you for saving us from the Hostess HoHos.
Here's a little video of a young NETT finishing goat:

See you at the back of The Pack Monadnock.

May 11, 2009

G.A.C. 6-Hour Run & Ice Bath

On May 10th, G.A.C. hosted their 15th Annual Mother's Day 6-Hour Walk/Run to raise money for The Hunt Breast Center. Participants repeated the three-mile loop in Bradley Palmer State Park as many times as they wished (or were able) during a six-hour window from 9 am to 3 pm. G.A.C. events are relaxed and thoroughly planned with well-stocked and evolving aid tables, cold water out on the course, friendly volunteers and nice T-shirts!

Afterwards Gilly invited folks back to the store for R & R! That was wonderful because I had a chance to thank and t
alk with some of the people who made the event possible and so enjoyable. Thanks also to the usual suspects pictured below—like Kenny (in black), quad-stretching Kevin, as well as, Sheryl (#45), whom I'd just met. It was also great to catch glimpses of familiar faces that were a blur at the time because I was in the zombie zone.

I lost my "ultra-virginity" at the 6-Hour in 2008 wh
en I completed my first 50k. Snap, Crackle, Pop! I was excited to come back and clock a few loopy loopsfor old times sakeand pace Running Rob. My promise to him was 2-3 laps, rain or shine. Rob's wife Jen was also there with their two boys; it was so nice to have a surrogate cheering section! As the course is a lopsided figure-eight, we saw many familiar faces heading out again...and again. (Above: Rob's boys testing their GPS Alien Space Travel units.)

Rob and
I ran a comfortable T r a i l—S n a i l P a c e for the first 18 miles after which I set out on my own. By mile 17 I'd rearranged my May running plans and committed to run long(er) at Bradley Palmer that day, forgo Soapstone (for which I hadn't pre-registered), and stick with Wachusett and a fun wog at Trav's.

At Mile 19—real math began & numbers were crunched—how much
time remained to complete 9 laps (27 miles)? As is usually the case, my final miles during longer distance events are often my fastest and I had a comfortable cushion. I ran miles 22-27 at just under 10:45/mile pace so I had 20 luxurious minutes to add on an additional mile. I milked those 20 final minutes of the Mutha. I enjoyed watching Rob cross the finish line and see the lead runner Amy L finish 41 miles in 5:59:08, which was thrilling; she placed first overall to tie the women's course record!

** * ** * ICE BATH *
* *

On the way home I stopped by the grocery and bought a 15 Lb bag of ice. The man behind me in the check out line asked, "Sooo, you havin' a big party?" I chuckled, "No, just an ice bath." Here are two PG-13 movies of my
wicked cool party


Ice: $2.49,
Recovery benefits
and bragging rights:

Ingredients: body, ice, tub, cold water, and guts.

cat trained in dialing 911. The more cats, the better.

Place 15 Lb bag of ice in empty tub. Get psyched—get naked (or v/v) and sit in the empty tub. Fill the tub with cold water as it covers your thighs and more. Empty the bag of ice around your lower extremities. (Expect the first 90 seconds to be "awkward," perhaps painful.) Watch the clock for 10 minutes as you "soak." Allow tub to drain as you sit and regain composure. Slowly move and bend your legs in an attempt to stand. Get the "H," "E," "double L" out of the tub. Author's note: wait a bit before attempting a follow-up hot shower.

May 04, 2009

Overlook Trail Race

The North Medford Club hosted the Overlook Trail Race out of Saima Park in Fitchburg. It was the fourth race in the 2009 Eastern New England Trail Race Series.

This was my first visit to the area and after asking for directions, I was intrigued by the instruction to "veer right at the large boulder in the town's center." Well, there it was! Thankfully I also spotted the small red sign for the park. Thankfully, the bridge was out on the opposite side from where I needed to drive. And, thankfully, other runners arrived before me so I knew this was the place. Saima Park is unassuming and home to The Finnish Center, which also touts cross country skiing and cyclocross events.

Like many New England trail races, this registration area indicated little abo
ut the actual trails. The course incorporated a mixture of Audubon, Land Trust and City of Fitchburg properties. An advertised highlight (on T shirt below) was the view at the mid-course water stop along the Overlook Reservoir.

Of course, I was dee-lighted to spot that the T-shirt also had five owls on it. Hooo wouldn't be?! Yes, another addition to my woodland critter t-shirt collection! Trail Pixie gives the Overlook a "5 out of 5 Owl Rating."

The start/finish area were a piece up the road from the parking area (about 1/4 mile) and both the 7-mile and 5k races started together and quickly spread out along the flat start and soon trail ascension.

Run on doubl
e and single track trails, the surfaces varied greatly from rocky, rooted and rugged to hard-packed dirt and pine needles. There were two small water crossings: the first over well-placed rocks and the second right through the drink. My favorite section was a terrific stretch of smooth flat rock between low pines before a thunderous descent! Runners with technical trail and uphill proficiency should not overlook this race.

I started out with Dan S and Running Rob but they'd put in fresh Energizer batteries that morning so I dropped back and stuck to my 10 min/mile training plan. Basically I walked all of the up hills, wee-haaa'ed the downhills and ran the flats. Not the springiest performance but Trail Pixie needs to pace herself for the season and mountain series. Results of this uphill walker & downhill roller: 66:25.
For O'All Cool Results: here.

Additional Highlights:

  • Running with friends in new areas;
  • Catching up with trail-racer inductee Sara M;
  • Earning ENETRS points;
  • Long-sleeve colorful shirt with OWLS.
  • "Wet Gaiter" contest with Rob in stream;
  • Meeting many little dogs.
More photos by Running Rob: Oh, Looky Here.