Sundays training plan called for 7 miles and I thought, perfect! Hartford Marathon Foundation puts on The Summer Solstice Trail Run every year and it just so happened to fall on that day.
I opted to do the 5.5 Mile course (other option was 3.5 miles) that follows a red blazed loop through Gay City State Park in Hebron, Connecticut. This trail has a mix of single/double track, some technicals spots and about 400 ft of elevation gain. I figured I could do a warmup half mile and cool down mile to get to seven, maybe more if I was feeling amibitious.
This trail wasn’t completely new to me since I’ve run it once before but got lost as usual.
Packet pickup was at 6AM and I was still recovering from a late night of house guests and poor recovery foods. I dreaded getting out of bed when my watch alarm almost gave me a heart attack but I pushed through.
I quickly dressed and made my way to the park realizing that I could have slept in another hour since I was the first car there. The weather was chilly so after grabbing my bib I hung in my car and tried to nap. No luck.
I spent the next hour listening to The Ginger Runner Live podcasts for some inspiration. As time got closer to the start I got out of my car, put on some bug spray, stretched, and began my warm up. The legs were feeling fresh and I was going to use that to my advantage.
As the RD began explaining the course, the runners approached the starting line. Before I knew what was happening, he shouts “go!” and we were off.
We began on some roads, through grass, and finally onto the trail. We were instantly engulfed by a sea of green and I loved every minute of it. There was a small bridge that over looked a pond, ferns, tree roots, and since I wasn’t a front runner, I didn’t have to clean the cobwebs!
The miles flew by and before I knew it, I had a half mile left. I began sprinting to the finish line where, to my surprise, my fiancé was cheering me on.
I placed 3rd in my age bracket and won a pretty cool tin mug with a carabiner for the handle.
It was overall a fun race and a great way to kill some nerves before my first Ultra at the end of the week.