2017 People’s Forest Trail Race

Today, Debbie, Shepard, and I ran the People’s Forest Trail Race in Barkhamsted. It was race number six in the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series and race number 12 in the New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series. It was the first time we’ve been to this race since 2011, and the first time that I ran it since 2008. I didn’t come close to the sub-56 minute time I ran that year, but I was still happy to be in the woods.

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A few weeks back, I was out this way for a Horst Engineering Senior Leadership Team offsite meeting. We rented a lodge on the Farmington River, just down the street from People’s Forest State Park.  People’s is a beautiful park. Even though Greystone Racing only charged $8 entry fee, I was bummed about the $9 fee that the State of Connecticut DEEP charged to enter a barren and waterlogged park. You can bet that they knew there would be an influx of runners that they could “tax” for the day. I wouldn’t have a problem if the fees stayed with the DEEP for reinvestment in the parks and trails, but the way our state is run, I’m sure that the money will go to some general fund that is squandered.

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Anyway, back to running. Today dawned very wet. It poured the entire drive from Bolton to Barkhamsted, and the humidity was 100% at the race start, but amazingly, the precipitation stopped during the race. It would probably have been better if it rained. The rocky and rooty trails were mucky, slippery, and slimy.

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Unfortunately, Debbie and Shepard made a bad wrong turn. The course markings were quite weak. That’s too bad. There are a lot of trail junctions, intersections, and forest road crossings on this course. They used chalk to mark the turns (instead of ribbons or flags), and it was washed away in many spots. They missed a turn on a big descent. Two other runners were with them. Debbie knows the course, but even for a veteran, it is still confusing. The four of them ended up at a road crossing that she didn’t recognize, and they had to hike back up the hill. It cost Debbie and Shepard 25 minutes.

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She said that he was running strongly, but after the wrong turn, he was really bummed out. She decided to stick with him and they finished together, but well off the pace. It was good learning for him. Dahlia hung out at the van. She is deep into the Harry Potter books, and is happy to just read, read, read.

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I felt OK, but I haven’t had any short race speed in 2017. I was five minutes slower than 2008, which isn’t much of a comparison. My beard has a lot more grey in it and the trails were super-slick. I did get my heart rate up to 194 in the final sprint (I lost to another runner by one second), which is a level I haven’t seen at all this year. Maybe this “speed work” will help me turn the corner with my running fitness.

We hung out a bit and washed off in the river. It was fun to see some of our Shenipsit Striders and other running friends. Shep said he is “done with this race” but I doubt that. He will be back in the future to give it another go.

Race Results (link will be updated when results are live, but this is the Greystone Racing results page should they show up before I return to this post)

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