Northern Nipmuck

The New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series kicked off yesterday, with the 16 mile Northern Nipmuck Trail Race. The gloomy New England weather has continued into April, but that didn’t prevent a good turnout for the race. Bigelow Hollow State Park had traces of snow left from winter, but the Nipmuck Trail was in decent shape. Friday’s rain made the trail wet and slippery in spots, but overall, the course was in really good condition.

Northern is one of Debbie’s favorite races, mainly because it is so rugged. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I’ve improved in recent years, but six years ago, this was my first long trail race and it was a DNF in my first try. Fortunately, since then, I’ve been able to pace myself better and make it to the finish without blowing up as badly as that first time. This year, I faded a bit after the turnaround, but that gave Deb the opportunity to catch up to me. We ran together for the last four miles. We were in hot pursuit of Beth Kraseman, who dropped me like a wet sandbag around mile 10. She said something like, “I’m going to surge now.” I replied something like, “I’m not.”

Beth had a fine run and was first woman. Deb left me for dead on the final descent and came in second. We weren’t able to close in on Beth. I was happy to finish. I only fell on my injured left hand once. A week ago today, I had a wrestling match in the kitchen with two stuck glasses and ended up with a trip to the ER and five stitches. I wore one glove in the race to pad my hand and protect the laceration. It was also in homage to Michael Jackson, who memorably wore one white sequined glove for most of the 1980’s. It was great to see some of our friends from the trail running community at Northern, and it was good training for some of the tough races ahead.

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