Monday, April 5, 2010
Saturday I ran the 16 mile Northern Nipmuck Trail Race starting at Bigalow Hollow State Park in Union, Connecticut. I love this race. It is very low key, but attracts some fast trail runners because it is part of the Grand Tree series. It is a no frills kind of event. Race director, Jim Campiformio keeps it simple, yet well organized. We're there to run on a great stretch of trail, how complicated does that need to be?
The Nipmuck Trail is rough and technical with constant steep ups and downs over ledge, rolling rocks, roots, and mud. This year there were more blow downs across the trail, but most had been trimmed so they were easy to jump or climb over. There was only one big pine that I needed to leave the trail to get around. There was a lot of mud and water in places, due to the heavy rains the previous week. Northern Nipmuck is an out and back, and the turn around is at the far end of the Nipmuck Marathon course. So the two race courses don't overlap.
Kevin and I drove down on race morning and made it with plenty of time to spare. We took a little walk around the park to kill some time before the start. Finally it was time to go. With little fanfare, we were off! I paid no attention to pace or position, I just wanted to have fun and enjoy myself. It was quite warm and I took Succeed caps twice and drank gatorade at each of the three aid stations. I carried one water bottle and emptied it between each aid station. Still, I started to cramp up in the last 4 miles! I wasn't alone. A lot of people were complaining of cramping. For me, it wasn't too bad. I have been brought to a screeching halt with leg cramps in the past, but my cramps at Northern Nipmuck were just little twinges that I could continue running through for the most part.
I had one good fall and I went off course for about five minutes, but otherwise my run was pretty uneventful. I may not have beaten many people, but I did beat Kevin back to the truck. The trails he mountain biked became very messy and he ended up walking the bike for miles. When he got back, we visited with some of the other runners at the refreshment table and then hit the road for home.
On the way back we stopped for a pitcher of Harpoon IPA and a greasy burger at the oft-spoken of, Mickee's Bar. This is near where Kevin works and he and his co-workers are frequent Friday visitors. I was warned that it was "a dive," and it was. It was great! Then we stopped for a walk and a rest in the nice green grass of Hilton Park. We figured we might not make it home in time to enjoy the sunshine, so we should stop on the way. All in all, it was a great day.