Trail 2 Trail Series: Kettletown State Park Race Recap and a Zombie Pinky

T2T SeriesI’m just FINALLY recovering from my weekend which consisted of a “Wine and WOD” Ladies Only Crossfit Night (Stay Tuned!), a 10K Trail Race (EPIC!) and a kick ass training ride that turned into a time trial after I played cat and mouse with a disgruntled dude on a bike (Winner!). The weekend was fantastic. And left me totally glycogen depleted. Oh. And with a broken pinky finger but I’ll get to that in a few. Nothing an ice pack, a massage and copious amounts of beer couldn’t cure. That’s for sure.

The Start Pre-Monsoon. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

The Start Pre-Monsoon. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

I (happily) discovered the Trail 2 Trail Series, a competitive racing and endurance trail running series, a few weeks ago. Ever since I fell in love with trail running, I have been on the lookout for local races. The transition from road to trial for this broad has not been, shall we say…Graceful?  Yeah. No. Girlfriend needs practice. And confidence. Enter Kettletown. These races are fortunately right in my backyard. Well, not exactly. The T2T Series is in Connecticut. Which is practically my backyard as nothing is really more than an hour or so away. Their slogan is “We Won’t Do Easy.” And?  They’re not lying. Easy, it wasn’t. Fast, winding trails, very decent climbs, lots of rocks, single track and simply BEAUTIFUL. I suspect it would have been ABSOLUTELY beautiful if Saturday’s race wasn’t in the midst of a monsoon, but there you go. Trail Running is the Original Obstacle Mud Run. Hands down. Thank god I love mud because Saturday’s T2T Series Race in Kettletown State Park, was a greasy, challenging mud fest.  And I loved every slippery second of it. How could you not? Look how pretty it is.

Photo: www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

I would have snapped my own photos, but I feared my iPhone’s life in that rain. Photo Courtesy of T2T’s Facebook Page. http://www.facebook.com/Trail2TrailSeries

I decided after eyeballing the forecast, that I would run the 10K. They had other options available: 5K/10K/20K/50K all of which consisted of partial or multiple full loops of the 10k route. I was happy with my choice. Kettletown-SP-10kEspecially seeing as how I bit it crossing the one river on a patch of ice rock. After a string of profanities and a potentially broken pinky, I brushed myself off and continued on my merry way. Let’s be honest. It’s not trail racing unless you fall and have some sort of flesh wound. (Trail, 1. Colby, 0.) There were several pretty steep climbs coupled with leaf and rock strewn descents which the rain and humidity had made pretty slick. After my earlier fall, my Pinky and I turned into total Chicken Shits and were a bit more cautious. It is the 1 Year Anniversary of that long run where I fell and wrecked my face, so you can imagine, I was in full yellow-flashing-light mode. Feel free to relieve the horror here.

Along the route there was also really scenic, pretty views of Lake Zoar. The place where as a kid I learned to water ski. Ah. Nostalgia. The best part? I didn’t get lost. The course marking was excellent. Red flags on your left and you were golden. The only time they were on your right was if you were taking a sharp right turn, then then they went back to left. Very simple to follow. The race was sponsored by Energybits and Hammer Nutrtirion, two of my old favorites. I love Hammer Nutrition’s Enduralytes. They have saved my dehydrated ass on many occasions. There was plenty of grub afterwards and a swag bag with a few odds and ends. I think if you pre-reg’d far enough in advance, you could have gotten a race t-shirt. But as a Last Minute Nelly, I was shirtless. (Not topless, shirtless. Silly Fools.)

Such a great course.

Such a great course.

The thing I love most at trail races- even trail races in far less than optimal conditions like this one- is the general vibe. Trail runners are chill. Competitive, but friendly and relaxed. It’s been my experience that there is zero to very little pre-race hysteria more commonly found at road races. You know what I mean, right? The high knees. The sprints. The obsession over Garmins. The occasional attitude. I’ve never experienced that at trail races. And this race was no exception. Everyone here from the race directors to the runners themselves was just plain nice. Gotta love that. In fact, I registered for their next race as I was tending to my wounds from the first. I’m hooked. (And next time I’m getting a t-shirt!) This race very much seemed like it was for trail runners, by trail runners. It was well done and well run. Well, it would have been run well by me if it was drier and I was gutsier, but that didn’t even matter. I loved it. Busted zombie paw and all. See you next time guys!

Have you ever run a trail race? Do you have a local trail racing community? What’s the worst fall you’ve ever taken while running? I think we know mine! 🙂

Zombie Pinky conveniently obscured by awesome Janji singlet.

Zombie Pinky conveniently obscured by awesome Janji singlet.

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31 thoughts on “Trail 2 Trail Series: Kettletown State Park Race Recap and a Zombie Pinky

  1. This is awesome! I had no idea they had races like this in CT! Something I am definitely going to investigate further! I’m not much of a trail runner, but feel like it would be great cross changing and a much welcomed change of scenery. Hope you have a great day!

  2. You are a total badass! I’m not surprised you’ve taken to trail running. There is such a great vibe at the races, and the runners are so laid back and friendly. Can’t wait to read about your first trail ultra one day!

    • Every time I run in the woods I am always so impressed by how damn pretty it is around here. Rattlers?!?! Good grief! I would FREAK. And probably just run on a damn treadmill. 🙂

  3. i want to go trail running!! i’ve never run a trail race — okay, i’m not sure i’ve ever really gone trail running? — but i want to! ouch about the pinky! worst fall i’ve taken….ugh last winter i hit some black ice on the west side highway path and slammed down, ripping right through my elbow on my fave winter running shirt and getting quite the scrapes and bruising on my right side. gross.

  4. I haven’t really done any trail running except for two random miles in the middle of a half marathon last fall. I’d love to try it more, but a) I don’t know where to go, and b) I’m afraid to go alone. Oh well. Looks like you had a lot of fun 🙂 I’m kind of disappointed you didn’t include pictures of zombie pinky, though…

    • No paparazzi! Giggling. It’s pretty dead looking. At least I can bend it. Touching the side of it makes me jump off the couch. 😦 I’m kind of a chicken shit myself, but I drag my other half along when he’s not riding. I will say I am getting more comfortable on trails. I just need to stay upright! Ha!

  5. I love trail races and would prefer to run those over a road race any day. I’ve even planned my own trail race up here in the mountains because we don’t have enough – recall I live in the middle of nowhere. We have 30 people signed up! I have had a few wipe-outs. One where I tripped on a piece of metal and one where my dog tripped me. Both left some serious gravel rash and I learned I could curse worse than a trucker. Good times! Hope your pinky finger is feeling better!

    • Angie you have NO IDEA how foul my mouth can be. I swear I was a Pirate. And yes I absolutely recall that you live and run among predators! 30 people?? That’s awesome!! I LOVE trails. I’m bummed it’s taken me this long to have discovered it. My pinky sends its thanks. It’s currently being iced by a cold beer. 🙂

  6. Sounds like a great race! I’m just getting into trail running myself. I ran a 17 mile trail last month and just registered for a 10k trail race next Tuesday. Looks like the course was gorgeous!

  7. Wow, looks like a beautiful course! I haven’t really done any trail racing for the simple fact that I am completely uncoordinated and would probably have a spectacular-looking fall as well!

    • I am SUCH a mess on the trails. But, I freaking love it. I am getting a little more coordinated. I’ll give you that much. But I’m still good for at least one fall per run. #mess

  8. Finally the zombie pinky story! And you call me a hot mess. Way to have fun! Looks beautiful! And a #sexyhighangleselfie no less. I do quite a bit of trail running, but I’ve never run a race. I was registered for my first one last month, but with all the rain we’ve been getting, the water was knee deep so it’s currently postponed. If I ever get to run it, I’ll be sure not to break my face or finger!

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