Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ossipee Hill

One of the nice things about my job is that it takes me all over Southerm Maine and gives me opportunities to run on trails and roads that I otherwise wouldn't. I found myself in Waterboro for my last patient visit today. The timing was perfect for a sunset run up Ossipee Hill after I was done with the visit.

A Waterboro run always reminds me of Tom, my long time running friend. He and I used to meet in Waterboro for runs. It is hard for me to believe, but that was probably over 10 years ago. I still consider Tom one of my best running friends. We still get together for a run now and then. Tom collapsed with a dangerous heart arythmia the day after he ran the Sugarloaf Marathon several years ago. He is lucky to be alive, and very lucky to still be able to run. His cardiologist says he has to wear a heart monitor and keep his heart rate at a ridiculously low rate, so he can't run fast and he has to take walking breaks. But he is running!

It is one of my happiest running accomplishments to have accompanied Tom in the Clarence Demar Marathon the year following his collapse. Tom was a serious runner in his day and had run right around 3 hours for his marathon PR. I don't remember how long it took us that day at Clearance demar, but we were out there for most of the day. When we finally crossed the finish line and I saw the pride and happiness on the faces of his family, I cried. It was the most rewarding marathon finish I have ever experienced.

Waterboro is about half way between Tom's house in North Berwick and my house in Kezar Falls so we used to park at the elementary school and do a fast 8 or 10 mile loop on the roads. Sometimes we would do a more relaxed and enjoyable run up Ossipee Hill instead. There is a nice loop that can be run by going over the mountain and then returning on the roads. I didn't have time for the loop tonight, but the out and back was very enjoyable.

This is a really nice uphill, steep and long enough that you want to walk some of it, but not so steep and long that you have to. From where I parked my jeep it was about 2 1/2 miles to the lookout tower. It took me 30 minutes to get to the top and 20 minutes to come back down. The trail was well packed with some icy stretches. Stabilicers worked perfectly. I made it to the top of the tower just in time to see the sun set.

I really enjoyed the twilight cruise down the hill. Downhill running in the winter is so much more relaxing than in other seasons when you have to watch for roots and rocks. Don't get me wrong, I love the roots and rocks, but it sure was nice to just let my feet glide along on the dark trail without worrying about tripping. I think I was smiling all the way back to the car.

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