Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Running in the Berkshires 2

Another weekend, another big race photo shoot in the Berkshires followed by a fun mid-distance trail run. This time the race in question was actually three-in-one: the marathon, half-marathon, and 10K events of the annual Memorial Day Marathon Races in Lenox (there was also a 5K but the route didn't pass by my location near Stockbridge Bowl). The weather was ferocious for a marathon on Memorial Day in New England. There were decent temperatures (50s) and on-and-off drizzle (fine for a runner) but also a very strong wind that made it seem much, much colder. Hundreds of runners persevered without complaint, however, and demonstrated plenty of the grit and determination you have to have to be a distance runner.

Memorial Day Marathon Race

For my own running, it was a pretty sweet weekend (though only one of the three runs qualifies as "in the Berkshires"). I got a new 10K PR time (42:23) in chilly temps and light rain at the VFW-SMAC Memorial Day 10K in South Deerfield on Saturday. I completely owned the half-mile hill to mile 2 and felt great the whole way. After the photo shoot on Sunday, I parked near the Appalachian Trail crossing of the Mass Pike (on Rte. 20) and did a 9-ish mile out-and-back run south on the AT to Goose Pond Road. It rained almost the whole way, but that just kept the bugs and holiday crowds at bay and I had a blast. There were two significant climbs of about a half-mile each, followed by corresponding descents, one mile-long stretch of mostly flat trail along Goose Pond that was fairly soggy, and a number of rolling miles traversing side-slopes. And finally, on Monday, Jen and I ran along the Pocumtuck Ridge Trail in Deerfield. We started along Hillside Road (where we parked for a North Sugarloaf Mtn. run a few weeks ago) and went north about 4 miles to Pocumtuck Rock and back. Along the way we met and shared some good conversation with Oliver from the 413 trail runners. On the return leg we opted to do the last bit on road since the stretch between Stage Road and Hillside Road has some steep pitches and two significant patches of poison ivy (for some reason I've become VERY prone to getting to PI in recent years and really don't want to get it again anytime soon). In the end, a 24-mile weekend, and I'm at my lightest weight in years (172); bring on the summer races...

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