Warwick RI NE Challenge Day 6

The final day of the NE series was in Warwick RI. The venue was City Park. As you can see it was stunning. Our opening photo is the very happy posse of runners ready to take on the day. Charlotte  C, the costume champ is of course wearing a very detailed replica of the RI flag.  We were all ready for another epic day.

A side note for 50 staters aspiring to this series regarding  the host hotels on this series. The race rates were great, the rooms were spacious, clean,  and there was great hospitality. That included breakfast at o’ dark hundred for our 6am starts. I had some trepidation as these were not my usual loyal brands but I would use them again in a heartbeat. I would return to Boston to see the sights and the JFK library etc. Logan airport is not the easiest especially by car but come on now it’s Boston !

The day began with much self induced excitement. I refused to follow my navigation NOR master the roundabouts and barely arrived at the venue on time.  Of course dragging the unwitting Hank  L into the commotion. My usual philosophy is that arriving with anything less than an hour before race time is living completely on the edge. This is why a room share is not advised. The alarm has obscene numbers on it ! Of course adding to the angst was looking at my feet rather than the unique flour arrows marking the path. Late and off course ! Madness ! It all worked out as life usually does. Funny thing about life isn’t it ?

How about the grammar on that sign for the Obesity  event ? I puzzled on it for many miles.  They had a great DJ, lots of gift baskets lots of enthusiasm, and whistles and bells for the cause.   We got to circle the festivities  for a few hours.  There was also  a softball league next door. Many runners remarked this was a first -to enjoy a game during an event. This is the advantage of a looped course. Immersion in the local life.  I was so slow I enjoyed 2 full softball  games and even identified a few favorite players.

Since there was no tomorrow there was intense chatting on the route.  Not intense running on my part-CHATTING. I completely forgot to run. Do not tell the pace police. Here were the people/chats  I can recall :Denis McCarthy, Larry Macon, Frank B, Haywood C, Charlotte C, Connie P, Mary Harris, Aaron, Adan C, Tina and Jeff H,  Hank L (who dashed off to do 2 more races that day in 2 more states !!!) Tina, Regnata, Sandy,  Clyde and on and on ! Clyde is getting us all to believe in a big way in CBD as he got faster everyday. Clyde’s list of worn out parts is among one of the best so I am going all in on the CBD to be just like Clyde. Perhaps the  Fireball is also key.

The Warwick City Park and the bay views were outstanding. I  even got to watch the entire tide go out . This my friends is the gift of the back of the pack.  On one occasion at a winter event  even a sunrise AND a sunset. Do.Not.Judge. ūüôā

Special shout out to my neighbor Jayne D who is from Warwick. Your hometown is a winner. Here is a little known fact about our smallest state: Providence has more doughnut shops per capita than anywhere else. My unscientific  observations verify this. It is challenging to go more than 10 feet without stumbling on a Dunkin.   Starbucks: stay out !

JC’s race crew treated every runner like a true champion. Great bling, swag and of course top notch food and beverages and day long support for a whole week. Did those folks even get a wink of sleep ? Thank you race crew.

My overwhelming takeaway from this trip was the immense pride for the 6 day finishers.The greatest joy of the week was to watch Mary H from Seattle cross that line to the cheers of her BFF, Mom and all our race posse finishers. What a great moment and the pride in taking and making the challenge complete was incredibly emotional. My friends I cry for you to this day. You did it. You did not back down. You stayed cheerful,  optimistic, made every mile fun -all 157.2 of them. Wow just wow.

On day 5 my getaway day from Boston I did not want to get on a plane, I wanted to go to a great park and do another one. I craved the camaraderie (easy for YOU  to spell) the fresh air and the exertion.

I think that nothing is impossible when you want to fulfill a dream. A lot of people will tell you that you can’t do it, that you don’t have what it takes, but if it is in your heart and you feel it, there is nothing that will stop you. It is like the sun – you can’t block it: it will shine regardless, if that is what you want.

Thalia

Here are my thumbnails for each state.

VT-Rugged,beautiful unspoiled, charming.

MA-Historic, pristine, charming towns and rural areas.

CT-Charming, great food, beautiful rural areas

RI-Water everywhere, compact, charming, beautiful.

How can one area be so consistently charming mile after mile ?

I love it even more for the second time around the states. Sorry  not sorry to my Midwestern roots and adopted FL home.

As we speak here I am scrambling to pack up and head out to St. Regis MT for #42. The forecast is for rain, snow, cold and a definite 33 miles to complete the event. Luckily Mr. Dave Bell and his running wife Val S will be along to chuckle up the weekend.

Say yes. Just say yes.

Thanks for reading and following the blog.

Love to all,

NW

Hartford CT New England Challenge

Day 3 of The NE Challenge traveled to Hartford CT. The venue was Goodwin Park.

Above we have the fun girls from around the globe: Renee from very exotic Sarasota FL, Tina from Anchorage, Regnata from Indonesia, Sandy from California, Connie from Arizona. If I had a dollar for every encouraging word and YOU ARE A BAD A$$ from this crew I could buy the whole world running shoes. What a great crew.

The dawn was spectacular and each loop was 2.8 miles around a golf course and the park. Ending each loop in a parking lot was an uphill grade that ended at the spectacular aid station. The start of each loop was a gradual downhill that had a choice of rocky trail or the shoulder of the paved road. I think the rocky trail was a bit shorter than the paved option. My shins were not happy with the down exertion. The day stayed gray and eventually started to rain just as my long day wrapped up. Honestly the day was a bit of a grind but the companionship and chats with the other runners were…. as always wonderful.¬† Larry Macon and I solved the current political problems of the US and I had a great lap with Adan Chinchilla from California¬† and learned about his world travels and charity organization¬† for school supplies in Africa.¬† I heard an interesting recap of Haywood Crowder’s week. Haywood has been at this for a long, long,¬† long time and did lots of¬† marathons¬† (approaching 700) when there were not lots of marathons or multi day series in existence. What longevity.¬† ¬† He ran Day 1. Passed on Day 2 because he was still chilled from Day 1. He showed up at the wrong venue in the wrong state on the wrong day¬† so he made all RIGHT and¬† enjoyed the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield MA.¬† What I like best about Haywood is you can hear his hearty laugh from really far away. He spends most of the race laughing up a storm with great stories of marathon and life antics. Sorry if we ran in Hartford and I left you out of the blog. A few weeks later writing this up it has become a bit fuzzy.

On one of my final laps I ran right through a cell phone filming of a rap video after a near perfect rendition. If someone wins a Grammy video¬† with a hunched over old lady in yellow shuffling through…… GUILTY !! After escaping getting wet in the rain by minutes it was off to Warwick RI.¬† It was then pouring pretty good but the ride features had lots of great snacks supplied by my sous chef Hank Lopez.

I guess this is part of the Hartford story -the night before the race we relocated from the party wing of the hotel to the early curfew Рyes-I-am-dead-in-this-bed wing. On the recommendation of Maria from the Phillipines (folks came from ALL  over for this series) we grabbed seafood from the place next door and it was extraordinary.  So fresh and tasty. The lobsters were huge but none went home with us.

Here is a hotel dining tip. The desk can be made into a great dining room table with a few disposables from the hotel breakfast area.  No wait, no tip, no fancy clothes. Bam.  The week was a blur of eat-run-drive a little-soak in epsom salts-eat-sleep repeat. I loved every minute of it and took no chances in the speedy race pace department so states #38-39-40-41 went into the book without a hitch.

Hartford has a great capital building and is the home to America’s oldest art museum, oldest publicly funded US park and the oldest continuously published newspaper. Hartford was the site of the first witchcraft execution in 1647, 30 years before those at Salem. If you enjoy Mark Twain and Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer those books were published during Twain’s 17 years in Hartford. You can even tour his home.¬† Harriet Beecher Stowe and Katharine Hepburn are buried here.¬† Did you know that the Official State Animal of CT is the sperm whale ? And for all the women’s basketball fans out there, Hartford is home to the UConn Huskies. All they do is win-win-win. Special shout out to my beloved neighbors Marilyn S and Jayne D’A¬† who are¬† proud Husky fans.

It was then time to get ready for the last day in Warwick Rhode Island.

Here is a little quote  from James Michener for the end of this running series:

CHARACTER CONSISTS OF WHAT YOU DO ON THE THIRD AND FOURTH TRIES

What a pleasure it was to say yes to this challenge. Each day it became easier to just keep moving forward with this gang of adventure seekers who made the simple decision every morning to show up, shut up and say yes. I was a minor league rookie  doing 4/6. Most folks went for the whole enchilada 6/6.

Thank you for reading along. If you have not yet hit the follow button that will help send these to you without a Facebook link.

Make it a great life,

Love to all,

NW