Sunday, February 11, 2018

Old Mountain Field 5K 2018

South Kingstown, RI
Saturday, February 10, 2018

This is the 7th year of the winter trail series, and my 7th year running this specific race.  This is my favorite race of the series, primarily because it's the most technical. 

I was bummed out that the snow we had in January is completely gone, as I had hoped for a good snow trail race and the chances diminish beyond mid-February.  What's the next best thing to snow for a race?  Mud!  Knowing the course terrain and all the recent melting snow and rainstorms, there was a high probability of mud and on this note, I was not disappointed!

As we pulled into the OMF parking lot at 9:30, even Pard remarked that we had arrived uncharacteristically late.  Totally my fault as I was working Saturday morning on sending out a work project status communication that was already behind schedule and I knew would be a relief off my mind to get finished and sent.  Anyhow, picked up my bib and went for a short solo run on the trails, before coming back to change into my lighter minimalist trail shoes.  Then off for Team WTAC pics and making my way to the starting line.
Team WTAC before the start,
less a few stragglers.  I really like our new green singlets.
(All race pics courtesy of Jana)

The start:  Lined up in 2nd row behind Brightman and Jackman, knowing they would lead it out quickly.  The start is always hectic, and hopefully RD Mike Galoob's admonition for younger runners NOT to fly out in the beginning helped to keep it somewhat in check.  Nonetheless, the first 200 meters or so, on the field before entering the woods, is a mad dash for positioning.  At the first corner around the ballfield, the muddy slide would be a harbinger of the course conditions yet to come.
Crossing the road just steps ahead of Ralph Lufkin. 
Ralph finished just ahead of me at Resolution, so I was conscious of
where he was at today's race and happy I stayed ahead of him for the duration.

Just before crossing the road into the trails, I passed a young girl to get into better position.  On the short trail scramble leading up to the stone steps, I went past one guy, and then afterwards it was a little tight on single-track as I followed closely to a guy in front of me.  On a downhill section that temporarily widened a bit, I went to the right to get past this guy but did not see two dogs in my way in the middle of the path until it was too late to correct.  I was going downhill over a rock, passing someone, while avoiding two labs.  I feared a gazelle/canine collision, but went as far right as possible brushing bushes and got by. 

The swamp:  I jumped in next behind Mike Daniels and when we went over the technical rocky stream bed, I caught right up to him.  Much like at Run for the Beavers, I sensed him slow a bit on the more technical sections and each time I would contemplate trying to pass him, but it would be tough to pass here so I continued behind.  Deep into the swamp we went.  I was truly enjoying splashing through the wet sections and muck.  Soon we caught up to a guy and fell in behind him.  As to wardrobe choices, to each his own I suppose, but it's hard for me to take male runners as serious or legit when they're wearing shorts over tights, especially when the temp is 45 degrees.  I bided my time jumping and ducking under trees, splashing through muck, and towards the end of the swamp, I found enough of a runway to go past both Mike and shorts-over-tights.  I gave frenemy Mike some encouragement as I went by.

The finish:  Emerging from the fun romp in the swamp, I saw a TNT singlet a ways ahead of me, but couldn't make out who it was.  The rain started anew here, and that was fine with me.  Climbed up the "mountain", where we took a 90-degree left down a steep hill to the bridge crossing the north end of the pond.  It was on the downhill that I went into gazelle mode and caught right up to the mystery turtle, Dave Principe!  Followed right on Dave's heels as we went over the bridge and started to make our way around the pond and over very slippery wooden bridges.  Unfortunately on one of the twisty turns near the pond, I slid and went down.  When I got back up, Dave was gone. Tried to catch back up to him and got him back in sight, but as we crossed the bridge around the south end of the pond, I felt he was pulling away a bit. Followed him on the twisty climb back up the mountain, and starting downhill I was hoping I could catch and pass him as I did here a few years back, but it wasn't to be.  He was a little too far ahead of me, and while I kept him in close sight, he was able to hold me off through the final twists and turns, and finish 7 seconds ahead of me.  I was able to hold off Mike Daniels this time.

Trailing Dave Principe

Around the pond, before entering the trails for the final 1/2 mile or so
Final trail section

Final results:  21:27, 6:55 average pace.  10th overall, 2nd in age group.  Full results here.

While I've certainly had much gorier runs,
was none the less happy to be called up for
"Most Mud & Blood".

Caught up with Chris, Dave, and Mike post-run, before going out on a WTAC/TNT group cool-down.  Afterwards, Mike told me he's training for Providence Marathon.  Hmmm ... should I really be giving up a spring marathon?  Unfortunately, I couldn't persuade Jonny to go back into the swamp again, but it was a good run and catch-up regardless.  Caked in mud and blood and a bit shorter on time today, I opted to pass on the group lunch at Mews this time and went to the nearby South County Y for a hot shower and change into dry clothes.  What a great race; so much fun!

Bonus:  while I generally prefer Saturdays to Sundays for racing, I was going to have to miss the next race, Belleville, due to a conflict.  BUT now that he just switched Belleville to Sunday, the race is back on the table for me.  Now if Mother Nature could only do us a favor and dump some heavy snow on the course before the next race ...

Weekly Log 5-Feb to 11-Feb-2018

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  0
Why run, when you can work 13 hours a day instead?  Ugh.

Wednesday:  0

Thursday:  5
Finally!  Ran the deserted trails of Westerly Town Forest.  While it's not my favorite trail system in the world, mostly due to erosion and flooding issues, it's still a nice piece of property that I'm glad is preserved.  Many of the trails were dry, but also ran through frozen muck, mud, and icy puddles.  Just great to get away from civilization, even for an hour, during an otherwise hectic week.

TMI alert (skip this paragraph if you desire):
Last fall amidst some groin and lower back pain I ended up going to four specialists, spent the better part of the day in the ER at South County Hospital, and endured a number of tests.  What I played a little close to the vest was a scare with a sharply rising PSA reading, which among other items, can be an indication of prostate cancer.  Coupled with the facts that my father's father died of prostate cancer and my father's brother is being treated for prostate cancer caused me to panic a bit.  I was told to come back in three months and if not reduced, I should go for further, more invasive tests for cancer detection.  Well, today was that follow-up day, and it was a big relief to me that my PSA reading has in fact gone down.  Not enough to close the case completely, but it is highly likely that I do not have prostate cancer, and it's more likely elevated from the prostate issues I've been having.  I need to come back in six months to see that the reading continues on a downward trend, but today was a good day.

Friday:  0

Saturday:  5
Old Mountain Field 5K.  See separate write-up.

Sunday:  5
Fun solo run at Paffard Preserve and Stonington Cemetery, in the pouring rain.  Flooded trails, dicey water crossings, and mud.

Weekly mileage:  15 (3 trail runs, 0 road runs)

Weekly synopsis:  Pretty pathetic.  The rut and work stress continue.

Weekly highlight:  The OMF!  Great run in challenging conditions.

Weekly lowlight:  Continued dearth of running in general.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Weekly Log 29-Jan to 4-Feb-2018: Fleeting Snow Runs

We're into February now.  It might be about time for me to plan out some races.  I'm been having some motivation issues running this winter thus far, so hopefully some race goals will help.  The latter half of the year is more a placeholder than anything, and is quite malleable.  I would like to run something long in the fall, but haven't given it much thought yet.  Conversely, I have given some serious thought to the winter, spring and summer, however, and while I won't run all of these, hope to get the majority in.  Here is my first draft of races.

Random observation #1:

[Runners World, Jan 2018] Different strokes for different folks, so
not trying to proselytize anyone or provide TMI, but this gave me a
measure of personal vindication.  What works for me is minimum layers,
and minimizing chafing and bundling up.  Had never thought about infection.
Random observation #2:
It's official:  Punxsutawney Phil emerged and saw his
shadow this Groundhog Day, thus six more weeks of winter
remain.  This is obviously proven science, so I'm psyched for more snow
 on the way, hopefully in time for OMF.

Monday:  0
Monday is often my day off, but it made for a really easy decision for a rest day when I woke up this morning with very heavy and mildly sore legs.  Two days after a 5K; is that what it's from?  Is that what my lack of running has done?

Tuesday:  11
AM:  5 miles.  1-3" of snow had been forecast overnight, and we ended up getting over 6" of snow in Westerly!  Yes!  I always get really excited when it snows.  Went for a solo run through Champlin.  Loved it!  (At a team lunch that day, of the 7 people having lunch at Bridge, I was the only one that was happy about the snow.  The rest were all whining about it.  Get outside and enjoy nature!)
The majesty of winter

Fresh snow all around me;
I am a happy boy.

PM:  6 miles.  A double!  First in a long time.  Met up with the two Jonathans and Chris for a snowy headlamp run in Burlingame.  Ran VG, Sammy C's, and Lenny's Lane.  Fun!
Left to right:  Chris, Jonny, Jonathan

Wednesday:  5
Jonny had predicted I would be sore after two snow runs yesterday and he was not wrong.   But with snow still on the ground, I couldn't resist getting out there on snow covered trails again.  This run was in Hale Reservation in Dover, MA.  Never saw a soul on any of the trails, but when I was finishing up on a short section of snow covered road, I saw a guy getting out of a Hale maintenance truck to talk to me.  I know I went behind closed gates, but I'm pretty sure it's still open to foot traffic.  It turns out that he just came over to say "Good morning", warned me about some slick spots, and said glad to see me out using the facility.  Really nice!
With YakTrax, even running the short road portions were fun!

All is quiet and pristine on Noanet Pond

Single-track snowy fun!

Thursday:  0
Brought my running clothes and headlamp to run after work,
but didn't have a strong conviction with the temps in upper 40s and melting snow,
so when my colleagues invited me to Flip Side, that was an easy and fun choice.
Where else can you find pinball machines and jukeboxes these days?

Friday:  0
Nope.  Long work day; didn't happen.

Saturday:  6
Hit up the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center trails in Mystic.  Crunchy snow run.  The trail markings could be better, and I ended up inadvertently getting off the Avalonia Trail (orange) and onto roads for a longer section than I was happier with, but it was all good.

Post-race, went up to watch Matthew's Class B indoor meet.  While he's not back to running his longer 1500 and 3000m distances yet, it was cool to see him anchor the Westerly High School 4x800, and the team won in it 8:28.  Class B champs and a new meet record!

Sunday:  12
Got an invite from Tommy to join him in running with the nascent Sunday Avondale running group.  I always appreciate the thoughtful invites I get, but I had just run this same route last Sunday, and as I'm having enough motivational issues to run as it is lately, I really to need to mix it up to avoid boredom.

Instead, I went to Bradford Preserve and had a great solo trail run.  The surface on the trails today varied between crunchy shallow snow and frozen dirt, both of which were fine by me.  Ran CCW from BP south to Wahaneeta, east to South Woody, and north around the Woody Hill Marsh and onto the new RINEMBA trails.  Encountered a couple of mountain bikers riding the Captain's Daughter.  (Hope the Captain didn't mind.)  Otherwise, it was just 1,200+ acres to myself.  A few short sections of double-track cobbled together with about 1/3 mile of ugly asphalt, but all the rest was great single-track.  Finished up before a rainstorm will inevitably erode the last bit of snow. :(
Well signed new mountain bike trails.

Weekly mileage:  34  (5 trail runs, 0 road runs)

Weekly synopsis:  No whining here this week.  With a spring marathon off the table, it's refreshing not to fret about training.  I'm looking forward to upcoming trail races, and will put in a modicum of training, but nothing structured.  By early April, when my stressful and time-sucking work project is over and daylight hours are in abundance, I'm confident my weekly mileage will increase and give me a good base for summer races.

Weekly highlight:  The group headlamp run in the snow!  With the darkness and headlamp reflections, it's as if you're running completely different trails, and even though these are the Burlingame trails I know and love (Vin Gormley, Sammy C, and Lenny Lane), at times I had to really focus and think to get my bearings on where we were.  Great fun!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Charlestown Chili 5K

Charlestown, RI
Saturday, January 27, 2018

Background:  This was the 3rd anniversary of Charlestown Chili 5K.  I had never run this race before due to conflicts, but the calendar worked for me this year.  Asphalt 5Ks are no longer my mainstay, but I wanted to run this both to support Jonny's efforts as course designer and to participate in the first Clamshell race of 2018.

Warm-up:  I arrived about 45 minutes ahead of race start and was surprised how few runners were there.  Of the runners that were there, I knew almost no one.  I got my bib, and instead of giving out shirts, we received goodie-bags with hot chocolate mix, chocolates, and a nutrition bar.  Works for me; I don't need any more shirts.  One thing was odd, though; my goodie-bag had a Luna nutrition bar for women.  Is my new winter beard not manly enough?  :)

Ran into Jonny, who directed me to the course start, and I went off solo to check out the course.  I ran almost the entire course and when I came back there were many more runners there, including a dozen or so WTAC'ers.

Mile 1:  There was an odd moment at the start where the RD directed us to run in the wrong direction and the timing company blocked off part of the course, but Jonny got them back on track and with the sound of the horn, we were off.  The course would be almost entirely on bike paths, and for the first half-mile or so, was fairly twisty.  Jonny took it out from the beginning, and I followed Jonathan Short out onto the bike path.  It was pretty neat to have a trio of green WTAC singlets lead out the race. Jonathan and I traded places a couple of times, before a Rhode Runner in blue pulled up alongside us.  After a little while, I moved ahead of both, but there was someone on my shoulder that I couldn't shake.  Towards the end of the first mile, he came up alongside me and it was Eric Ciocca from western MA!  He had recently joined WTAC and was starting to tell me about it.  The fact that he was able to talk while I was in oxygen debt gave me concern.  Mile 1:  5:46.

Mile 2For the next few turns, Eric and I were lockstep, with one slightly ahead of the other depending upon which way the course was turning.  As we crossed a parking lot and headed towards the tennis courts, I pulled just slightly ahead of him.  Getting onto the bike criterion course, I could hear his footsteps falling slightly behind.  Meanwhile, Jonny Hammett's gap on me continued to increase.  The bike criterion course was tough as it's wide open and we were going into the wind for most of this part.  Mile 2:  6:11.

Mile 3:  Leaving the criterion course now, the rest of the course was entirely on the narrower and more protected 2-lane bike path, and with wind no longer a factor or at times even a slight tailwind, I could pick it up again.  Approaching the Senior Center for the final section, there was a 90-degree right turn which allowed me to glance back.  I could see Eric, but he was a ways back.  (Maybe I shouldn't have looked and I would have run harder?)  Ran through the finish, very happy with my 2nd place.  Mile 3:  5:56.

Final results:  18:16.  Average pace 5:58.  2nd overall, 1st in age group.  Full results here.

Post-race, three of us (JH, JS, and me) ran the course as a cool-down and flag and arrow pickup.  We came back just in time for the awards ceremony, and afterwards I went in for some chili.  There were about ten different varieties.  I sampled the vegetarian and white chicken chili.  Both were excellent.  The turkey pumpkin chili looked interesting, but apparently others thought so as well, as it was gone by the time I got there.

Coming into this race, I was in the doldrums and had severe running apathy, and feared a finish north of 19 minutes.  To finish with a sub-6 average pace closer to 18 minutes, I was really happy.  Not that I'm about to revert to a weekend regular 5K runner, but it's good to mix it up and I enjoyed myself out here.  There ended up being 19 runners from WTAC today, so that's a great club turnout as well.

Weekly Log 22-Jan to 28-Jan-2018: Week of Non-Running

New week, new blog post.  Last week I whined too much about lack of motivation and the lack of preparation or even desire anymore to run a spring marathon.  Alright, move on, and figure it out:

Monday:  0
Planned rest day.

Tuesday:  7
51 degrees and pouring run.  Great recipe for a trail run, right?  Absolutely.  Solo run in Woody Hill traipsing through deep puddles, sinking mud, and COLD stream crossings.  And I loved it!  Really.

Wednesday:  0
Unplanned zero.  Stayed up late the night before, slept in lazily and lost my only window all day to get out there and run.  Need to turn this around.

Thursday:  0
Pretty simple:  I had zero motivation to run, so I didn't.  Worked nine hours at the office, and then came home and worked four more.  Ugh.

To further dampen my mood, I received e-mail notification that someone had stolen my Via Della Nocetta Climb CR in Italy.  Again.  So I had to flag it.  Again.  This must be the 4th time I've had to go through this.  If someone is even close to legit, I'll kudo them and move on.  Last time I Google-translated the person's post that took the CR and he actually wrote in his description something to the effect of "the last mile or so was driving in my car.  haha"  (the trail segment climb parallels the road he drove on).  Yeah, hilarious.  Why can't athletes have the common sensibility to fix/flag their own runs?  Argh.  This latest violation came from a runner that actually looks like he ran the course, but as his post shows he has purportedly world record smashing times in consecutive miles at sub-3 pace, yeah, I don't think so.

Friday:  0
Same story.  Triple zero; the first since June 2016 when I was sick as a dog with the triple whammy of tick diseases.  I have to face reality that at least for the next two months, for weekdays I can run in the dark in the morning or I can run in the dark in the evening.  Getting to bed earlier and becoming good friends with my headlamp is the best possible solution.

Saturday:  7
Charlestown Chili 5K.  Fun way to pass a few hours on a Saturday.  Write up to follow.

Sunday:  7
Avondale/Watch Hill group run on a rainy Sunday morning.  Jeff V has been putting on these weekly runs, posting on the nascent WTAC Yahoo run board, and having great success.  Most of the group runs at 8:15 pace, he has recently added a 10+ pace group, and when he advertised this past week that he was looking for a faster pace group (faster than 8:15) this week, it sounded like a possibility.  I reached out to Tommy 5K and he was game.  Met up at Avondale Farm Preserve where 10 runners showed up!  Ran the first mile with most of the group before Tommy and I continued at a mid-to-high 6s pace down to the Watch Hill Lighthouse and back Ocean View to Browning.  Between being all asphalt and the same route every week, I won't likely be a regular at these runs, but it's nice to have as an occasional option.

Weekly mileage:  21 (yeah, that's pretty embarrassing)

Weekly synopsis:  No valid reason for barely running at all, and missing 4 of 7 days.  I'm not going to whine here.  A week off never hurt anyone.  Let's use it as a learning lesson, plan to get to bed earlier, rise earlier, and get out there.

Weekly highlight:  The Charlestown Chili 5K.  I went into the race feeling in the doldrums, fearful I'd run 19+ minutes at the 5K.  Ran faster than I expected and had a good time in the process.

Weekly lowlight:  Continued lethargy and torpor.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Weekly Log 15-Jan to 21-Jan-2018

Monday:  7
MLK Day.  Lolly-gagged around in the morning trying to figure out what to run, and hoping the temps would warm up.  A text from Chris inviting me to an afternoon run in NK made my choice easy, and allowed me to keep working on refreshing the club website for 2018.

Chris and Nate (run organizer) were both saying how it was a haul for me, but really, it was a 35 minute ride in a heated car with heated seats and listening to Tom Petty, the ride flew by.  It's worth it to drive a bit to vary up the routes and participants.

The run itself was pretty neat.  We ran trails in King and Benson Preserves, both of which looked relatively new, and neither of which I had ever been in.
Chris' "Tempting Fate" picture.
Some day I'll grow up.  Today is not that day.

Tuesday: 0

Wednesday:  5
Post-work run at Barn Island.  Ran out of daylight and in the dark, slipped in mud and broke through ice I couldn't see.  How I remained upright is beyond me.  I should just put my headlamp in the car for times like these.

Thursday:  5
Snow and ice at Noanet Woodlands, Dover, MA.  Ran 1 mile in trail shoes, but just slid all over the place.  Put on Yak-trax for another 2 miles, which while better, still slid a bit before grabbing onto the ice.  Came back and ran final loop in snowshoes, which worked really well with no sliding.

Cool ice formations at the remains of the old Dover Iron Works.

Friday:  0
Another raw day.  Just didn't feel like running.

Saturday:  14
West Greenwich and Coventry, RI.  Finally got in a good run.  Planned this out the night before using a combination of MapMyRun, others' Strava runs, and online trail maps for Tillinghast Farm Management Area.  A nice mix of snowy single-track, very rural country roads, and dirt roads through forests.  Felt sore afterwards; likely indicative of my low running quantities of late.
Overlooking Tillinghast Pond

Neat ice floes at a brook in Tillinghast Pond Management Area
Am I still in RI?  Was wondering if I would get bored and hate the road
portion of today's run, but it was a very rural (as you can see) mostly car-free
run on scenic country roads with hills and distant views.

And yes, of course I'm still in RI.  Sand Hill Road in West Greenwich,
to be specific.

Bucks Horn Brook, Coventry.
Along the trail; looks beautiful in snow.

This sign speaks for itself. 
First time here.  I found it kind of neat.

Forestry clearing is going on in a number of preserves,
including in Westerly.  This sign was at a large
clear-cut area in Nicholas Farm Management Area, Coventry.
I still find these clear-cut areas to be ugly and question
their need, but this sign provided the best brief and concise
explanation I have ever seen.

Sunday:  7
Ninigret Park, Charlestown.  Mix of manicured trails, bike paths, and roads.  A very rare (for me) average 6:31 pace.

Weekly mileage:  38

Weekly synopsis:  Once I get out there I'm fine, but I'm having trouble to find the motivation to get out there and run.  Seasonal affliction with less daylight hours?  Stress at work?  No race goals?

Weekly highlight:  The 14-miler I ran on Saturday.  Adventure run in new areas really kept me interested.  Despite being my longest run all week, that was the only one all week where I wanted to keep running further and explore some more.

Weekly lowlight:  Seeing the reality that as each week goes by, the likelihood of me meeting my goal of running a spring marathon becomes less and less.  A number of reasons really, but the top ones include 1) I haven't signed up for a marathon, so I don't have a goal on the calendar, 2) no mileage base:  I was consistently running 50-60 miles per week from June through October, but then ever since some minor health issues in November, I have only run a single week over 40 miles, 3) stressful work project with a strict moratorium on days off until mid-April, working most days until after 5pm and then some evening work, and Saturdays at the office in late March means less daylight time available for running, and 4) perhaps the biggest reason:  I just don't have the drive and motivation this time around.

I've run 19 marathons and I'll run more.  But when I do resume them, it should be because I want to run them as opposed to some sort of self-imposed expectation that I should be running a marathon every spring.  I want to run London, and I want to run other marathons both near and far, but it needs to be fun.  Now in the meantime to snap out of my temporary run doldrums, I need to plan out a spring calendar, even if that is devoid of marathons.  A topic for next week ...

Friday, January 19, 2018

Resolution Beach & Trail Race 2018

Narragansett, RI
Sunday, January 14, 2018

This was the 7th edition of this beach and trail race at Scarborough State Beach.  I believe I have run the race every year, except last year when I had a conflict.  I haven't been training at all lately, and hadn't made up my mind to race this, until the night before when I signed up. 

I got to the race about 45 minutes ahead of the start.  The temps were cool, but not cold.  It was about 23 degrees at the start, but with a thaw, snow melt, and rain the previous two days, there would be a fair amount of ice.  On my warm up I ran into RD Mike G, who asked if I'd help put a few flags down.  I was happy to do so, but with the frozen ground, this was not an easy task!

The start:  With 23 and sunny and a very light wind at the start, I opted for short shorts and just a single layer on top.  It has certainly been much colder and windier at this race in some of the previous years.  Fortunately, there wasn't much standing around and according to my Strava post, the race started at 10:02am.  For the first time in the race's history, we started out going north, as the out and back southern beach section was nixed.  I followed Chris out at the start, but soon felt like I was breathing like a dinosaur and people were going by me handily.  Yeah, I really should do some speedwork.  I was really happy when we finally turned off the beach and momentarily out of the wind.  The lead woman went ahead of me here, and I cut into the sand trail just ahead of Leslie.

New trails:  I repassed the lead woman a minute or two later, and then at the point where we normally go onto Ocean Road, we took a hard right instead into some very recently cleared and still rough trails.  Good!  No roads at all on this race anymore.  The rough hewn trails gave me an advantage here, as I was able to pass three runners who slowed more than I did on the roots, holes, ice, etc.  One of them looked like a teenager and his previous nice stride turned into something more dainty here.  I couldn't wait to get past him.  Another one was a guy sporting a ponytail.

Icy shoreline trails:  As we exited this new section, we turned left back onto the old course and I knew a big patch of ice covering the width of the trail was coming up.  I had planned my route to hew closely to the left on the few clumps of grass to give me some traction.  It worked!  When we got onto the stone dust type of trails at Black Point (not my forte), I caught up to and passed Bob Corsi, but someone stuck with me and I couldn't tell if it was him or someone else.  I couldn't shake my shadow and he stayed with me the whole way back to the stone house.  At the ice patch, a woman coming the other way had stopped on MY grass clumps, my only safe passage.  NO!  I kept coming right towards her until she realized my intentions and fortunately gave me just enough room to pass.  Taking a sharp turn just before entering the stone house, I could see now that my shadow was Ponytail and not Corsi, the latter of whom I would later learn had gone down hard on the ice.

Beach return:   Coming out of the icy stone house foundation, you had to jump a wide stream, which was a really fun obstacle!  After the stream jump, Ponytail pulled up right beside and slightly ahead of me.  Youth - this was not going to work well.  I pushed hard and eventually retook him and even closed a bit on Turtle rivals Ralph Lufkin and Mike Daniels ahead of him, but alas I could catch neither. 

Final results:  16:22 (closer to 4K than 5K), 10th overall, 1st in my age group.

After cool-down and awards, met up at the Mews for lunch with a group of about 13 mixed Turtles and WTAC.  See, we can play nicely in the sandbox.  Lunch took just shy of two hours, so it's not something I have the time to do frequently, but it was enjoyable.  I can't believe I ever debated whether to not to run this race.  It was such a fun event!   Already signed up for the next event in the trail series:  Old Mountain Field 5K on February 10.