Monday, January 12, 2009

1st Adventure of the Season

When the cold New England winter settles in, days grow short and nights grow long, trees are bare, grounds are covered in snow and the average temperature hovers in the 20’s, you’ll notice most people head indoors, run on treadmills longing for the spring sun but one running club keeps the passion alive by hosting an event in the dead of winter and their spirit draws all who search. It caught my curiosity and on Saturday January 10, 2009 I drove over to Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield, Massachusetts for the notorious 11th Annual GAC Fat Ass 50K a traditional No fee, No prize, No wimp event. The funny part is as soon as I stepped out from the warmth of my car and the cold air wisped my breath away I wanted to wimp out and crawl back to bed. With family activities on the mind I got an early start and broke trail a little after 7AM just as Roger Martell the RD finished marking the 6.2 mile loop. I told him I was serious about a marathon 26 mile run and pending time of 4 loops and my copping body 50K optional. Fortunately it doesn’t take long for the body to heat up and I begin enjoying the winter landscape of white. Since I was the only early bird except for the deer the 1st loop was spent closely navigating the course following one orange flag to the next. I’m still amazed at how close I could get to the deer before they went leaping through the brush. Crunching my way along the crest of frozen snow and ice I finished my 1st loop and was looking forward to the sunshine as the day warmed to a high of 28 degrees. By now the 9AM race crowd of hearty winter runners were gathering and the central Aid Station was filling with goodies as the inviting smell of pancakes on the hot griddle floated in the air. But no time to stop it’s out for anther loop. The 2nd loop is entirely spent enjoying the surroundings. Running in winter requires lots of layers and plenty of zippers for ventilation to keep your core temp cool but warm enough at the same time. I must have zipped and unzipped my Polartec jacket 50x.
My gear -
Smartwool hat, gloves and socks
CW-X Tights
Polartec Jacket
Brooks Podium 1/2 Zip
Stone Cat 50 tech-t : )
Montrail Highlander offers great traction for snow/mud
Loop 3 I push past the wimp out thoughts and moved on to the 4th loop changing my water for Red Bull hoping it would give me wings. The last miles of any long distance run are always pure adrenaline. The day ended a “Not so Fat Ass 50K” after 4 loops and 1 ½ miles I was happy to say I completed my 1st marathon of 2009. The name lived up to it’s expectations and a round of applause goes out to GAC and Roger Martell for their support and spirit, thanks for getting my post holiday Fat Ass back on track.

Results - Fat Ass 50K
Some Trail Monster reports - Jamie & Danielle Breakheart Trail Running Report

Next Adventure:
More fun in the snow Friday January 30, 2009

Winter overnight Hut Hike in the White Mountains -
AMC conveniently keeps Carter Notch Hut opened year round, a hut which sits at 3,288 feet tucked in to Carter Notch between the 4,832-foot Carter Dome and Wildcat Ridge. The trip involves a moderately easy hike up to the hut and then if weather and conditions allow, summit Mount Hight for spectacular views of Mount Washington across the valley. Enjoy a nice warm meal and slumber in the hut. On Saturday we head out from the steps for a strenuous climb to one of the Wildcat Peaks. I just hope we get good weather that weekend, lot’s of sunshine and clear skies.

Now to get ready for this cold front