Clint and Scott were supposed to meet us at 8AM for a preview of the Traprock course this morning. I got up and checked weather.com. It said, "7 deg F, feels like -12 deg F". Woof! OK, I better wear an extra layer...sure wish I could find that balaclava. The plan for the Goat and me was to do 2 loops on the course for a total of 22 miles. Folks could join for 1 or 2 laps as they wished. We arrived at 8. I did not see Scott, but did see a group of runners huddled together. They looked awefully cold. My car said it was 5 degrees and begged me to stay on the warm seat (with heater!). Goat and I sat in our cars waiting for a sign...I suppose. No sign. Car implored, but I had to get out. Once out of the car, one of the group members asked if we were there for the 11 mile run. I answered, yes, and we were all immediately friends. John, Todd, and Dave were ready to roll. They indicated that Clint and Scott were not coming, so we should get moving. As we started to leave the parking lot, a truck came rumbling up with our 6th member for the tour, Dave2. Dave2, reportedly, never runs with long pants, but he had long pants today. Someone questioned him on it, and he said, "It's cold!". I liked him immediately.
The only member of the group that I had previously encountered was Todd who is a long time member of the Hartford Track Club. He's a legendary CT runner. I was psyched that he was along with us for the trek. John mentioned that he had run with my friend, Scott Livingston, so I figured he was a strong runner as well.
We all started off together and the pace was conversational. John and Goat pulled out ahead on the single track and the rest of us fell in behind. At the top of the first hill, we re-grouped and then looped down and around the reservoir. I remembered that Todd had won the Colchester half marathon (former course record holder at 1:13 for a very hilly course), and asked him about it. He then proceeded to tell us a great story. Several years ago, his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend paid a Kenyan to come break Todd's Colchester half marathon record. Can you believe it? He said something to the effect of "Never tell your girlfriend you most coveted possession in case you break up!". We all laughed! That tale alone made the run in the cold worth it.
Halfway up the next hill, we turned left and I noticed that we had lost one of the Daves, ...Dave2. I let the crew go on ahead while I waited for Dave2. Dave and I ran the next few miles together, and I learned that he is a Middle School Science Teacher at a magnet school. Right on! He's done some trail races including Seven Sisters, and was plugging right along. We caught up with Todd who was looking for some company. Todd is still recovering from a hole in his spinal cord, and decided to stick with Dave2 and me for the balance of the lap. Todd told me of a run that one guy did annually from Castle Crag to Heublein Tower, and I immediately wanted to do it. He called it the "Tower to Tower". What a great idea! Put it on the list.
So, we wrapped up the first lap and took some photos with the crew. Todd's wife was kind enough to bear the cold to take our pictures. Everyone headed for warmth and the Goat asked if I was ready for lap 2. I was so cold I was in no mood for lap 2, and then I thought and said, "This could be epic!" I drank some fluids in my car, and then we headed out for more. I wore mitts this time and felt really comfortable after the first half mile. At the top of the first hill, Goat was hurting. His hands were frozen. He was wearing thin gloves, so I gave him my mitten shells. This did the trick and we enjoyed the rest of the loop. The sun was out and we coasted home.
What a day! It was an easy run considering it was 20.5 miles (we cut the second lap short) in the snow. My ankles were a bit sore, but otherwise no issues. It was great to have some other runners join us, and hope they come out for the Traprock 50K. I learned that Northern Nipmuck is scheduled for April 3rd, so we will probably be moving our race date. We will keep you all posted.
Have a great week!