Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Goat of a Different Color


1996, The New England branch of USA Track & Field started a challenging race
series called the “Mountain Circuit”. The brain-child of legendary mountain man Dave Dunham, the circuit initially consisted of three all uphill mountain races: Wachusett, Kearsage and Pack Monadnock. All 3 races were run primarily on paved summit roads and varied in distance from 4.3 to 10 miles. Over the years new races were added such as: Ascutney, Northfield, Cranmore & Loon. And some were taken away, such as: Kearsage & eventaully Northfield. Some of the newer races featured courses run on hiking/skiing trails and a few of them added the extra challenge of having to run back down the mountain! In 2006, I finished the entire circuit (plus Mount Washington) and wrote about my experiences HERE.

This year, the USATF-NE Mountain Circuit consisted of 6 races: Sleepy Hollow, Wachusett, Bretton Woods, Ascutney, Loon & Cranmore. And had a good mix of: road, trail, all up, up/down & down/up. Pretty much all you could ask for. Also, any runner who completed all 6 races received a coveted Mountain Circuit T-Shirt, a By-Pass to the 2014 Mount Washington Lottery and the all-important designation of “Mountain Goat”.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Half Life

Ever since I was I child, I always thought that 90 years old would be a fine age to live to. Somehow 100 seemed like far too much to ask for, and 80 seemed like far too little.  At the time, and for whatever reason, 90 seemed just right. This Sunday I turn 45 years old and can hardly believe that I’m halfway there!

Looking back, I have to admit I’ve had a pretty good life so far.  Sure, I’ve had my share of heartbreaks, mistakes and abject failures.  Who hasn’t?  But I’m healthy, I’m married and I have 4 great kids.  I even have a dog, a house, and a white picket fence. Who could ask for more?

Sure, in my weaker moments I have done just that - asked for more.  But, then those moments pass and I realize how foolish I am to consider myself anything but truly blessed to have the  life I've been given.  In fact, I think if I could have 45 more years of the same stuff, I’d definitely take it.  No questions asked!

The only problem I’m having right now is the perceived acceleration of time relative to age. As a child, the gap between birthdays, Christmas, etc. felt interminably long.  Now, it comes and goes in a blink.  It seems like just yesterday I was lamenting the sands of summer slipping through my fingers.  Now November's nearly gone!  I simply cannot abide by this rapid reduction of my remaining days.

Therefore, starting on Sunday, November 17th (the occasion of my 45th year on this earth) I will endeavor to reverse the river’s flow by counting my birthdays back down to zero. Should I live beyond my established goal age of 90, then so be it.  I’m sure a pre-conception twinkle will be worth much more than a decade of today’s warped chronographic currency!

Anyway, that’s a story for another day.  In the meantime, here’s a fun look back on how much I’ve changed in my 45 years.  And, here’s to hoping for 45 more - just like the last!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Long Range Plans

I think it's safe to say that I’m less goal oriented than I am goal obsessed.

It’s now been almost 2 full weeks since Baystate (my last goal race for 2013) and I’m already chomping at the bit for a new set of challenges.  I don’t know about you, but I find that if I don’t have something to work towards, I end up just going through the motions without any real purpose.  And, while I do realize that it’s all part of the recovery process, I find it wholly unsatisfying.

And so, as this year comes to an end, I’m starting to plan out what I hope to be working towards for next year.  Building off of the success I had at last year’s Stonecat 50, and the fun I had during this year’s Summer of 48, I’m going to spend 2014 primarily focusing on Ultra-Marathon races and seeing just how far I can push myself and the limits of what I think I can do.  Long story short, it’s shaping up to be a VERY interesting year!

Below is a preliminary list of the races that I’m eying for next year, with a brief description of each.