Last weekend I packed up the family and headed up to Wolfeboro, NH for two very special events. The first was a memorial service for my Step-Grandmother Arlene “Gigi” Jillette who passed away earlier this year at the ripe young age of 98. And, the second was the Muddy Moose 14 Mile Trail Race. This race was one that I’d been eying for a few years and since we were going to be in the area anyway, it seemed like a good a year as any to do it. Unfortunately, as it turned out, I’ll need to make a return trip to the “Borough of Wolfe’s” if I’m going to check this race off my to-do list.
I’ll start with the race since it’s a relatively short report. We stayed at a hotel just across the street from the start, so it was a nice easy walk to the Kingswood Elementary School to get my number and my awesomely funny “What Could Go Wrong?" Muddy Moose 2012 race shirt. Classic. My warm-up was basically me shooting the breeze with the other Gate City Striders in attendance including: Steve Wolfe (and family) Justin & Emily Soucy, Kurt & Terry Berna, Jim Eden, Richie Blake as well the other usual Trail Race nut jobs.
The race started quick and downhill. Then, about a half mile in, all heck broke loose. We hit a ½ mile section of thick heavy mud (which I was expecting given the name of the race) covered in a layer of tree cuttings from a recent logging job (which I was not expecting). The result was sheer chaos. Runners (from both the 4 & 14 miler) were hopping all over the place to avoid the shoe-sucking mud while kicking up (and tripping over) heavy / sharp tree branch remnants which posed a very real impalement hazard!
It was during this section that I leaped over a branch (that was hurtling toward me at great speed) and I landed awkwardly on my right foot. I felt my calf twinge but kept going for fear of being sucked down into the muddy abyss. Later, on a stretch of dirt road, I could feel the calf starting to tighten up. That "tightening" turned into a full blown "throbbing" on the climb and decent of the “escarpment” part of the course and I knew my day was done. I tried to stretch it out, but it was no use. So, I turned and left the race to run its course – without me. Needless to say, it was a very cold and cranky walk back to the school!
So, my race kind of sucked. But, on the bright side, it was a great weekend for quality family time. The memorial service was a very nice and fitting tribute to an amazing woman who had an amazing life. She lived for 98 years and had 2 husbands, 3 children, 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. During the war she drove a forklift at the GE Plant in Lynn, MA and was pissed when her driving license was taken away at the age of 85 – after a run-in (literally) with a police cruiser. Even pushing a century old she was spry and sometimes downright ornery. Her family meant everything to her and she squeezed every bit of life out of those 98 beautiful years. Quite an inspiration!
Following the service, my immediate family had a fun time swimming in the hotel pool, playing hide-and-seek, swinging on the swing set, jumping on the beds, chasing birds, picking flowers & clapping for golfers on the neighboring Kingswood Country Club. The highlight of my 5-year old daughter’s weekend was dunking her head under water for the first time without crying. And, the highlight of my 2-year old son’s weekend was “sleeping” in a big-boy bed followed very closely by pulling a 35-pound TV down onto his head - for fun. Good times!