Pretty stoked to have this weekend off! It seems like it’s been happening less and less but I figured I’d take advantage of it.

Saturday called for a long run of 18 miles and I was itching to check out some trails that would be new to me as well as meet some new faces. I started lurking on Facebook and stumbled across something that would fit in perfectly! I joined the Dark Sky Trail Runners at Pachaug State Forest for two 9.25 mile loops at a comfortable pace.

I’d describe the trail as Jeep roads so nothing too technical and the climbing was also pretty fair. The group was super friendly and I made a few friends! Aren’t you proud mom? Hopefully I’ll meet them again soon for more runs.

One of the runners Peggy mentioned a race that was coming up the following day. King of Pain. I hadn’t known much about it other than it was supposed to be hilly and 10 miles which sounded like a good time.

I needed to get some miles in on Sunday so I said I’d keep it on my radar pending my IT band situation since it flairs up after anything over 12 miles. (this thing sux)

After that run I learned a few things…

Figgy Pops are Amazing

Dark Sky Trail Runners are legit

Pachaug State Forest is huge

The next morning was game day. I decided to race regardless of my IT band pain. I stretched and rolled for an hour before heading to registration. Surprisingly, it helped!

I arrived at the school where the race was set to start, signed up, got my bib, swag and a 2 Mile Warm Up on some near by trails.

I was feeling good but was going to make a conscious effort to stay consistent and not burn myself out.

I got to the starting line where I saw a few familiar faces, and exchanged greetings.

Once the race started we formed a small conga line getting out of the chute. I was positioned towards the back of the pack so my pacing wouldn’t be influenced by any speedsters. Once again, my main goal was consistency. I chatted with some runners about other races we have done and goals which helped distract my mind from the tightening of my leg.

So far the race was going pretty well. I had hit a few of the higher points on the course and couldn’t imagine many more were to come. I took a gel at the 4th mile marker to keep my energy flowing and then we began, what I believe was the highest climb in the course. Belltown Road.

This road has a long incline that leads to a vineyard overlooking the Hartford skyline. I had been to this vineyard a few times before but never realized how much of a climb it was.

As Peggy and I crossed paths she shouted, “I found my hill to do repeats! All I need now are some Briars!” She was accepted into the BFC and I’m a waitlist hopeful but I couldn’t help but think that it was so true. I need to step up my hill game quickly.

The run down that hill was much quicker and my watch clocked me at a sub 5 minute pace for 30 seconds. I was happy to make up the time that I lost slogging up those hills.

The rest of the race went by rather quickly after that. I came upon a group and we see sawed for a bit until I was able to overtake them.

A friendly local and I ran the last mile together with her providing commentary on the scenic views of beautiful South Glastonbury. We also raced the last quarter mile for a strong finish!

Finishing time was 1:37:45 which I was pretty happy with. 81st place, 13th in my age group, nothing to write home about but I was still pleased.

The awards ceremony took place in the cafeteria where each age group winner was given a crown. The overall male and female wore robes with crowns to be dubbed the Kings of Pain.

Long story short, I would run this again and the Glastonbury River Runners Club has also sparked my interest. Maybe looking more into them so stay tuned…