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.

A Picture Perfect Trail Run

It’s been a mighty long month or two. And by long, I mean Lord of the Rings on repeat long. Shit has been eternal. I solemnly swear I will finish the two race recaps that happened forever ago- one being the 2013 New York Marathon (awesome!) and the other being the Spartan Sprint at Fenway (off the chain fun!) before year’s end. Pinky swear. Talk about dropping the ball. Nice job Colby. Nice.

Work, LIfe and a Running Hangover. Yeah. That’s what happened. I took a week off after running New York. (Shock! Horror! Gasp!) And guess what? I didn’t spontaneously combust or suddenly become an amorphous, bloated Sack of Lazy either. I simply took a long-overdue, much-needed a rest. Actually My Ankle really needed the break. Shit. She was so thrilled, she sent me an Edible Arrangement. (“It’s about time, Bitch!”) Since The Break, I’ve been happily cross-training. Mountain biking with My Other Half, road running, spinning, weight training, burpee-ing, jumping rope, tabata-ing— A smorgasbord of weird workouts that have been kicking my ass. I love it. I needed to mix it up.

And guess what happened? I have found a new love.Trail Running. It’s been like a jolt of adrenaline for me. Completely energizing. Grounding. Peaceful. Serene. Whoop out loud, shit eating grin FUN. Now that’s RUNNING WILD! What a blast! I feel like I’m 10 again, whipping through the woods with nary a care. I want to harness that feeling. Bottle it up and open it when Work and Life become more stressful than I care to admit.

There are tons of great trails around these parts which I am discovering. Actually, WE are discovering. There is nothing better than doing something you love, with someone you love. It’s perfect. Today we bundled up and headed over to Rockland Preserve in Madison, Connecticut. What a beautiful spot. If you’re near, check it out. Lots of single track for mountain biking and tons of beautiful trails for running. We divided and conquered today. I felt like running and My Other Half wanted to mountain bike. Seeing as how he’s a Demon on a mountain bike, I figured I’d let him shred the gnar, while I got my run on. When we crossed paths from time to time, we laughed and high fived, smiling from ear to ear, love so crazily palpable. “You look great Baby!” He yelled. It was a Perfect Day.

Into the woods.

Into the woods I go.

Right turn Clyde.

Trails! Glorious Trails!

Me.

Shameless Selfie in my new Marmot. I LOVE this jacket.

My Other Half.

Oh hey look who I found! My Other Half, shreddin’ the gnar.

No hacks allowed.

I’ve got no business riding here, but running? I’m all over it.

Swirl.

Swirl. Such beauty you find when you wander.

20131228-185213.jpg

Quiet and peaceful.

Trails.

Trails with a side of trails.

Duckface Selfie on the Run.

Duckface Selfie on the Run.

Get Lost.

Such fun to get lost.

Slippery.

Just a touch of ice.

Babbling.

Pretty little brooks pop up from time to time.

Zippy.

So zippy in my bright kicks!

Shhhh.

I took a “wrong” turn and found myself here. Something beautiful about it though.

Give Paws.

Great, well tended, awesome trails at Rockland Preserve. Including this. My favorite find of the day.

Skinny Fat

In short, the progression from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Christ.

Truth

#truth

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