Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Winding down for the winter

Well, time to update things. I've been going through a cycle where weekends have been burdened with commitments that have prevented me from getting out to any of the few remaining races this season. I missed the "Ghost Train" race on an abandoned railbed in Brookline, N.H., and also the Manchester Marathon (half marathon for me) last weekend, and this weekend I'll be out of town for an odd annual race in Grantham. (Next year for sure!)

But I'm still running -- more than usual, in fact. Lately, as the days have been growing shorter, I've been fitting in hour-long runs with two of our dogs through the streets and woods of Bedford, N.H., our hometown. We have a heckuva time, first running fairly aggressively on trails through a nearby patch of woods, and then, when the initial excitement dies down, in formation along the sides of roads. Abby and Inca have turned into a good and responsive team, at least after they've calmed down a bit.

Partly, these runs are self-preservation. If the dogs didn't get the exercise, they'd go crazy. (Come to think of it, so would I.) But it's also a reflexive response, I think, to the shortening days at this time of year, and the desire to get in as much outdoor activity before the weather really turns and you have to start thinking of what to wear to not freeze to death or be hit by a car when the roads are narrowed and lined by snowbanks.

So as we enter the home stretch of 2011, I feel I'm in pretty good shape overall. Started by bagging Antrim as Town #113 this past April, and got as far as Lempster as Town #129 last month, passing the half-way point (to #234) along the way somewhere. I may still be able to notch a coupla three races around Thanksgiving, although one of them involves a slog all the way up to Whitefield, N.H., something like two hours one-way. We'll see.

And before you know it, we'll be planning out races for 2012. There's still a sizable number of towns with races that I haven't yet run, but we're getting to the point where I'm going to have to start doing "freelance" races (making them up myself) in some towns to keep the momentum going. After, all it's not likely that the town of Odell (population: 0) is about to hold a 5K anytime soon.

Geez, though. More than half-way there. I might actually finish this quest one of these days...

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