Westfield MA was the next stop in the New England Challenge.
The event was held in Stanley Park. The town was doing lots of things to celebrate their 350th anniversary. The festivities included hosting this glorious event with runners doing a stop in six day six state series as well as a 5k 2 days with invited top shelf runners. Let’s revisit that 350th concept. That was 1671. There was a town up and cooking 100 miles from Boston in 50 years after the pilgrims arrived. Wow.
The park was blooming and the carillon played a few numbers during our day. The race support all day each day was the rotating snacks at the aid station. There was actual cooking going on. Grilled cheese, breakfast burritos, homemade egg rolls, an energy ball rolled from lots of healthy and decadent things, potato chips, pretzels, sweets etc. The previous day the culinary endurance world gained a new sensation with the invention of the Nancy. It is an oreo with a coin shaped dill pickle on top. The perfect treat to get yourself down the road. I do not have a pic as assembly/ consumption required focus and 2 hands.
I was very fortunate to spend most of this day with Ila Brandli who is a legendary record setting senior runner from Mesa AZ. Ila is very prolific in racing and drives to most races and eschews sleeping in her car to taking a hotel as there are many races on her schedule. I hope to do in my lifetime to do what Ila accomplishes in one year. The miles and time passed quickly with Ila. At mile 25.5 a pair of adorable welsh ponies appeared walking down a residential street. Was it the fantasy version of a 9 year old birthday ? I thought it might be a hallucination.
After a quick pic in front of a cherry tree Hank Lopez my New England running husband brought last night’s dinner leftovers, ice cold chocolate milk along with a car full of any supply a human could need and we enjoyed a picnic. The daily routine went something like this : Start race at 6am,- Hank finish 13.1 and hangs out at finish line,- Hank goes to store for Nan’s post race chocolate milk -returns to hotel and soaks in epsom salt bath, -packs up and returns to race with a cooler of delights. Nan is finishing 13 more miles. How could more food be needed after the aid described above ? Something about big miles and a calorie deficit. I suppose the excuse is that there was a 2 hour drive most days to the next event and eating and driving is not safe. Since lights out was 8 pm the whole day was basically running, eating, driving, cleaning up. Repeat times 6 for most, just 4 times for me.
Here is a link to the really neat multi use picnic mat, blanket, sleeping bag, back pack. It is the absolute coziest fabric on the planet. You are welcome.
After the race there was a bucolic drive through the countryside over to Hartford CT. I believe these were tobacco barns.
Hartford took awhile to get settled in the hotel. One wing had loud music, cigarettes and smoking that stuff that rhymes with need. We respectfully requested to move to the runner’s wing of the hotel. Next door was a seafood place that had great food. You know it had been at least 2 hours since the picnic so the posse was in a starving state !!
PSA: No lobsters were harmed in the completion of this race series,
Dr Seuss was born and basketball was invented in nearby Springfield. There are lots of great quotes from Dr Seuss but we will wrap up with this one.
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
Thank you for following, choose to steer yourself in the direction your dreams,
Love to all,