I wanted to run more trail races this year and thus far, I have done 2 5Ks, 1 10K and today, I ran my longest trail race yet. Although it was advertised as a 9 miler, it was actually only 8.1 miles. I had a feeling that it would be a small race, given that there was also a 4 mile trail race as well as an endurance [6 hour] mountain bike race happening. A few days prior to the race, I received a link to check registration info, which I could sort by event. There were 8 people including me running the 9 miler. I started to get anxious for a few reasons:
1. This would be my longest trail run ever. It was!
2. There were a very small number of runners racing. Only 6 of 8 runners showed up for the 9 miler and no 4 milers
3. I didn’t know anyone racing and will be there solo. I met 3 nice ladies before starting.
4. I may come in last. I came in 4th!
5. I may get lost. Not technically, but I did not run the whole course because of poor markings.
6. It may be hilly. It wasn’t bad.
I traveled down to my parents’ home on Saturday night following Brenna’s performance at Peacock Players and arrived at 8:30. The race was scheduled for 8am on Sunday and my plan was to get there around 7:30. I went to bed around 10:30, but struggled to fall asleep. I could hear the chickens, cars driving by and my mom downstairs.[This made me appreciate our quiet home so much.]
On race morning, Sunday, August 6, 2017, I set off to Johnston, RI to
Snake Den State Park. Unfortunately, Google maps had trouble finding the right spot since the park is big and there is no clear main entrance. I finally read written directions on the Trimom production site and arrived, although it was still not clear I was in the right spot as I drove into a large field.
There were only a few cars when I arrived and a couple of people finagling setup. At check in, I was told to take a picture of the map as well as the 2 phone numbers in case I needed help while running. This was not comforting! I was also given an ankle timing chip, which was a first for me. The 2 porta potties were down the field towards where I drove in, so I trotted back there before starting my run. The wet tall grass left my feet damp before even starting. Ugh!
The start was so laid back and we all just gathered and then were sent on our way. The two men took off very quickly as did two of the women. The course was very poorly marked, and at one point I came into an area where there was no clear marking of a trail and I had to guess which way to go. I only saw 1 guy on a bike at two spots on the course. I was not expecting spectators, but at least some volunteers would have been nice. I ran the first mile or so with a woman following me, but lost her because I was just that much “faster.” It is all relative! At one point, I met up with the other ladies and we chatted. The other 3 ladies got lost and had to call for help. I was able to get us out of where we were and back onto the trail, but who knows if I was on the right track or not. I missed part of the course, and I fell hard and got bumps and bruises on my left side (head, shoulder, arm, knee). I was glad I was not alone when I fell and grateful that another runner decided to finish the race with me.
The course was pretty although scary at times, when I had absolutely no idea where the “trail” was. In the end, I did it, completing 6.7 miles (the course was actually 8.1).
Very poor communication with the race director via email as well as Facebook.
Limited post race refreshments – Gatorade jug w/ no cups, packs of cashews, 1 cluster of bananas, plate of cookies.
No medal, shirt, hat or anything else.
Registration Fee: $15.00 [but cheap does always mean better]
Would i do this race again? NO!!! Next trail race I do will be more established and better organized.
June 25, 2017 – Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton, NH
I arrived just after 8 and was lucky enough to be able to park in the business parking lot across from the Smuttynose Brewery. There were many people already on the property, but bib/shirt pickup was quick and there were no lines at The porta potties. It was 75* and sunny at the start, which is too hot for me! The lot around the brewery filled up as race time approached. A total of 1660 people finished the race.
I met up with Jen B., Kris, and Julie from LHS, but did not see Jen S. until the end. The course was nothing to write home about and in fact I don’t remember much of it, except that I was hot!
I ran by feel and it felt hard. 3.1 miles felt long and the last turn up the hill to the brewery was tough, but I pushed hard up that hill. Unfortunately, theprofessional photographer nor my friends got any pictures of me. ☹️ The post race party was fun with draft Smuttynose beer available. There was also pizza and yogurt samples. The line for the real food was insane.
As far as my results go, they are nothing impressive, but I was there for the experience and not to PR. This race is definitely more about the social aspect post race than about the course. I don’t know if I would do it again.
June 26, 2017
One of my goals for this year was to do more trail running and so, last minute I decided to run this one.
This is the most economical race series ever. You can sign up the day of the race for $5. Of course, it is also a no-frills event – no medal, no shirt, no swag. You even turn your bib number in after the race, so you can re-use it in the future. There are no timing mats, but there is a clock at the start and finish area, although it’s not really clear where the start line is. You start behind the Nashua YMCA in the parking lot, in front of Stellos Stadium. From there you run towards the river and into the park through a narrow entrance. It is kind of crowded as you take a right to enter the trail, but the crowd dissipates as the trail widens.
I arrived about 20 minutes before race start so I could use the restroom in the Y as well as do a quick warm up and register. The sky looked ominous, but I decided to go ahead and run anyway. It started sprinkling as soon as we entered the trail and quickly turned into a steady rain.
I went into this race with no time goals, but was pleasantly surprised with my pace. I am sure that the cool temps helped me run faster and it felt so much easier than the day before when I also ran a 5K.
I told myself that I would run by feel and that is what I did. I wore my new trail running shoes and they worked great. I was glad to have them since the trail was pretty muddy. The rain picked up after mile 2 and I could feel myself being more cautious. My contacts were swimming in my eyes and I was so scared that they would just float away with all the rain. I knew that I was slowing down because of the rain and although I knew that my pace had nothing to do with whether or not my contacts stayed in my eyes, I couldn’t help myself.
As soon as I was finished, I saw this.
181 runners total
While I typically plan out my races weeks and months in advance, this one was different. Although I knew about this small local race for months due to a co-worker’s involvement in rotary, I had no intention of running it since my plan was to run the VCM [which was 1 week earlier]. During the Memorial Day weekend, a discount code was offered and I took advantage of it given that the race is close to home [about 3 miles], inexpensive [final cost $22.75] and a trail race, which is something I want to do more of.
So, on Sunday, June 4, 2017, while Brian’s parents were visiting, they stayed home with Brian and Brenna while I went off to race on my own. I have gone to a race without them, but either have gone with friends or met up with friends. For this race, I was totally on my own. Shortly after leaving the house, I realized that I had forgotten my headphones. I had prepared for the race by charging them and inadvertently left them hooked up! Even though I was probably less than 2 miles from home, I decided not to go back since I had not left much time to park, get my bib, use the porta-potty, and such. I almost never ‘run naked.’
I arrived around 8:30am at Alvirne High School and parked in the main parking lot, assuming that is where I should be, given the few people i saw parked there and then walking down the road towards Historic Hills House. There were maybe 20 cars in the lot and I thought to myself, “OMG. This is going to be such a small race.” Last year, 27 people ran the 5k and 15 people ran the 10k. Before leaving for the race, I had joked that I might come in last for the 10k!
Packet pickup was so easy with only 1 table and virtually no line. I quickly got my number and pins, a Gatorade water bottle as well as a reusable shopping bag and jogged back to the car to drop off the bottle and bag. With little time to spare, I jogged back to the start area to use 1 of the 2 porta-potties. There were less than 10 people in front of me, but nonetheless it was not quick. My co-worker came up to see me and brought me a water. He told us that they would not start the race without us. Good thing because it was a gun start – no timing mat at the start.
All runners started together in the field. We faced a hill almost immediately that had people walking up it. Once we did a loop around the house on the field, we entered the woods. We ended up doing a similar loop many times with us going back into the woods at 2 different spots 4 different times. Honestly, I would have preferred more time in the woods on the trails and less time running on grassy fields. As far as the trails go, they are used by the high school cross country team and apparently they don’t like for others to use them because they are technical and students have gotten hurt on them. I did not find them very technical but they were hilly (239 ft elevation gain) and muddy at times.
There was one water stop on the grassy field loop and a few gentlemen in the woods on the course. The course was well marked, so I had no problem running alone for the last few miles. Once the 5k runners finished, there were very few runners on the course. 63 ran the 5k and only 30 ran the 10k, with most of the 30 in front of me. At one point, I did think that I might be last, but then I saw a women in pink ahead of me and I eventually passed her at 4.5 miles. Only 6 runners finished after me!
It was 64* and sunny, which felt quite warm to me and I was grateful to get some relief from the sun when we were in the woods. I ran with a water bottle, which I drank half of. I had no expectations for this race and just ran by feel. I was confused at the end when I was finishing and I only had 5.86 miles recorded on my Garmin. I yelled at one of the timing people and he just looked at me. It may be that my Garmin lost GPS while I was in the woods and therefore my mileage was off.
Thanks to the race organizers I got free pictures through RaceWire, which had photos and results easily available.
The final results are funny. I won my age division!!! [I have sent them the correct information since the initial results were posted.]
Sunday, April 9, 2017
We stayed the night in Somerset and drove down to Middletown, stopping at Dunkin Donuts and arriving at 2nd beach around 7am. The Middletown 2nd beach parking lot was fairly empty with few cars and some police officers. There were some canopies set up with tables for registration as well as packet pickup. This all went very quickly, since it was so empty. It was cold so we stayed warm by siting in the car except for using the porta-potties and a quick warm up just before the start. The start was not quickly identifiable, but we just followed folks down to the other end of the parking lot where everyone gathered. It was 43* and sunny at 8am when the race started. I started with a hat and gloves, which over the course of the race, I removed.
What I liked about this race:
- easy parking
- easy packet pick up on site
- familiar route elicited memories
- low cost – $45.44
- start and end at the beach [2nd Beach]
What I was disappointed in:
- short sleeve t-shirt vs. long sleeve tech shirt [as listed]
- no clinch sack or water bottle [as listed]
- very small and cheap medal
- limited race photos
- only 4 porta potties in parking lot
- no real time splits at 4, 6, and 8 miles [as listed]
- could not hear/understand the opening announcements
All racers started together which was a bit confusing, since I could not hear the announcement. We went out to Sachuest Point and then back towards the start area before heading inland. The course was much hillier than I expected. The online course description said “no climbs to speak of,” but that was not the case with a 1/2 mile climb at mile 2.5 and a 1 mile climb starting at mile 7.5. For a race that started at sea level, a 488 ft total gain was more than expected, especially for how it was advertised.
I was hoping to meet some New England BAMRs, but only saw Adriene M. as she ran by me as I was coming back from the point. She never saw me. Later I learned that I was running very close to a Shelley S., who was a couple of runners behind me for a good chunk of the race. She ended up passing me within the last 1/2 mile.
This race was a training run for me [with a goal of <2:15] since my goal race is the Vermont city marathon in May. That will be my next race and after that will be Hollis Fast 5K.
at the finish
Date: Sunday, January 15, 2017
Time: 9:15 am
Location: Copper Door Restaurant • Bedford, NH
Distance: 3 miles
Alarm was set for 6:30 and our plan was to leave by 7:35. I made some old fashioned oats with banana and peanut butter and had a cup of coffee before we left. This was a first for us, since Brian and I don’t run races together just the two of us. It is either one or other other of us or the whole family. We arrived in Bedford and parked by 8 and hopped on a shuttle bus to cross 101 and get to The Copper Door. Traffic was light and we got right on a bus, which dropped us off at the start area. It was 25 and sunny at the start. We got our bibs and sweatshirts and then went to the porta-potties. Unlike last year, the lines were short, although the number of porta-potties was less than 20. We walked around to try and stay warm and checked out the booths (maple water, muscle milk, apple therapy, immediate care, Stonyfield farm yogurt, and an insurance company).
We dropped off our bag around 8:45 and went for a warm up run together. Lots of runners were still coming in on the buses when we returned to the start area and got ready to get into our corrals. We said our good-byes and each went to our own pace area. I started at the 9:00-10:00 min corral. I was ready – Bluetooth headphones ✔Garmin ✔playlist ✔and we were off. I passed quite a few people in the first ¼ mile even as we ascended our first hill. At about 1 mile, I came upon a person who had collapsed and there were a number of runners assisting. For a moment, I thought about Brian and whether I should stop to check and see who it was, but I did not.
I had decided to try and race this race and come close to last year’s time (28:09.4), which seemed challenging since I have been heart rate training and my average pace is close to 14:00 on most runs. I ran hard and really wanted to stop and walk on the hill at 2 miles but did not and pushed up the hill past many people walking. I saw Luis (a friend from running group) and just behind him was Brian.
In the end, I was pretty happy with my results and glad to see that I still has some speed. My average heart rate was 197! My average moving paces were fairly consistent – 9:14, 9:25, 9:22.