Monthly Archives: August 2010

FJG Race to the Top of Vermont

The FJG Race to the Top of Vermont is one of my favorite mountain races. Its winding auto road feels much like Mt. Washington…but it’s only 4.3 miles (vs. 7.6 to the top of Mt. W.) so even on a very hot day it won’t wear you out the way Washington will. After the race you can recharge and relax with a BBQ and raffle. Well worth the drive to Stowe, VT.

Come! Run with me now



(I took these photos while running.)







All right! Let’s get to the good stuff–an HD video that puts you right in the middle of this race. Go ahead! Click the ‘Play’ button below. (And be sure to view the video in Full-Screen, so you’ll see the race in panoramic, high-resolution.)

Were you at this race–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the race…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2010 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.

Cranes Beach Sand Stride

I know there’s wind…but it’s sneaky. Just tip-toeing along behind us as we run through mist and drizzle on this long, long beach. You can hardly tell it’s there.

Wind? I’ve already put it out of my mind. I’m not even feeling it. Just filled with the pure joy of running barefoot on this packed wet sand, through puddles and streams of rippling sea water.

I am puzzled by one thing. Almost all the other runners are wearing shoes, and in a road race or trail race I would understand that. But this is a BEACH RACE! We’re running on the sand. Why wear shoes here? People walk barefoot on the beach all the time! So why are these runners around me in shoes? In those shoes and socks, they’ve got to jump over rivers of water and detour around small lakes. I just run through! But they’re enjoying this race as much as I am, and that’s all that matters.

Ah! The turn-around point. We’ve run a mile and a half down Crane’s Beach, and now we’ll run back to where we started. I check my watch. 13:21. Good! Slightly better than a nine-minute pace. On a typical 5K I’d expect a sub-nine pace, but running in sand takes a lot more work, so I’m pleased it hasn’t slowed me down much.

I follow another runner around the pickup truck that marks our turn-around point. As we clear the truck, something SLAMS me in the face. Like running into a wall! An enormous, invisible hand pushes me back to the pickup truck. No, you don’t! I lean forward and push against the wind, digging into the sand to make headway.

Like trying to push a piano.

So I lean down more, trying to get under it, but I’m six foot three and there’s no way I’m slipping under THIS wind.

Okay. So this is how it’s going to be. The wind snuck along in my shadow for a mile and a half, hiding, taking a free ride behind me–but now it’s leaning into me as I try to run back to where we started. Am I even moving? I dig one foot into the sand and hurl myself forward. Take THAT, wind! It gives a little. I work my arms a bit. A left jab. A right. Take that! and THAT! It doesn’t notice.

So I kick back hard against the beach and drive myself forward. Yes! It’s giving way. Still leaning on me. Pushing back. But giving way.

Oooff! It threw a shoulder into my chest. I don’t even think. Just head-butt it in the gut. Ah. It backs off for a moment. Okay then. I showed it.

Nope. It kicks a spray of sand in my face and I shut my eyes. Still sneaky.

A long struggle. Slow. One short hard step after another.

A mile. A mile and a half. I’m squinting into the wind and baring my teeth. Angry? No. Laughing! Laughing and shouting at the wind. I can’t imagine a better run.

Photo courtesy of Preston Curtis

© 2010 by Ken Skier.  All rights reserved.

Freedom Trail Run

The Freedom Trail Run is not a race. It’s an easy jog that takes you through Boston’s early history, along the famous Freedom Trail.

Tour Guide Ed O’Connor is a runner and history buff, and he leads a group of runners along the trail each Saturday morning. We jog from point to point, and Ed tells us a story about what happened at each site. I can’t thinkof a better way to see Boston.

Today I’ve got my camera, of course, and as I run I take photos of the other runners and the sights. Come! Join me now on the Freedom Trail Run…



We run through Boston Common...

(I took this photo, and the others below, while running.)



...to the State House...



...through historic cemeteries...



...to the Old North Church... ("One if by land, two if by sea")



...to the Bunker Hill Monument.

All right! Let’s get to the good stuff–an HD video that puts you right in the middle of this run. Go ahead! Click the ‘Play’ button below. (And be sure to view the video in Full-Screen, so you’ll see the Freedom Trail Run in panoramic, high-resolution.)

Were you at this run–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the experience…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2010 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.

Bridge of Flowers 10K

For years I had heard about the Bridge of Flowers 10K–a challenging race in Shelburne Falls, MA. (Hint: any time a town has “Falls” in the name, you know there will be hills!) I knew it was a great race, but it always seemed too far away, so I had never run it.

This year my friend Dawn, a 2009 USATF-NE Mountain Goat, invited me to run it with her. (Thanks, Dawn!) So we joined about 700 other runners and ran through a bright scrubbed town that was postcard-perfect.

As you can see from the photos and HD video below, the Bridge of Flowers 10K is a beautiful race, But the photos and video won’t show you the great warmth of the town: it feels as if everyone in Shelburne Falls is thrilled to have us join them in their home. They cheer and applaud from their front yards and all along the main street of the town.

Come! Run with me now…



(I took this photo, and the others below, while running.)









All right! Let’s get to the good stuff–an HD video that puts you right in the middle of this race. Go ahead! Click the ‘Play’ button below. (And be sure to view the video in Full-Screen, so you’ll see the race in panoramic, high-resolution.)

Were you at this race–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the race…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2010 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.

DAM Trail Race

After running up six mountains from May through July to become a USATF-NE "Mountain Goat"…I found myself once again among my trail running friends at the DAM Trail Race in Oxford, MA. The course, in rolling wooded country just south of Worcester, is mostly singletrack. It has lots of sharp turns but very few steep climbs–all of them short.

The Central Mass Striders set a new standard for Marking the Trail, by posting numerous big arrows prominently at every turn–so even when I found myself running alone, I never wondered whether I had gone off the course.

I ran the 5.3-mile race, which overlapped at times with the 11-mile course. This gave me the rare opportunity to find myself ahead of elite runners such as Jim Johnson and Thor Kirleis! (Only for a moment, of course. Each time I heard the rapidly-approaching footsteps of an 11-miler, I stepped off the trail to let them fly by.)

Come! Run with me now, at the DAM Trail race…







All right! Let’s move on to the good stuff–an HD video that puts you right in the middle of this race. Go ahead! Click the ‘Play’ button below. (And be sure to view the video in Full-Screen, so you’ll see the race in panoramic, high-resolution.)

Were you at this race–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the race…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2010 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.

Good Times 5K Bikini Run

The Good Times 5K is a flat, fast 5K along the banks of the Merrimack River in Lowell, MA, followed by a party at a bar where thirsty, hungry runners can enjoy burgers and beverages. (Bring your wallet. The refreshments are great, but they are not free.)

Each week the race has a different theme. Tonight it’s the “Bikini Run”…and most of the runners are wearing swimsuits. (Sometimes mighty small swimsuits!) You can see why it’s called the “Good Times” 5K!

I’m running barefoot tonight, and I’m taking pictures as I run so I can bring you along with me on this evening race in Lowell.

Come! Run with me now…



(I took this photo, and the others below, while running.)







Here I am at the finish line. (Photo courtesy of Preston Curtis.)

All right! Let’s get to the good stuff–an HD video that puts you right in the middle of this race. Go ahead! Click the ‘Play’ button below. (And be sure to view the video in Full-Screen, so you’ll see the photos in panoramic, high-resolution.)

Were you at this race–and if so, what did you like best about it? What could be improved?

(If you weren’t there, I hope these photos and HD video gave you a taste of the race…and I hope I’ll see you at a race next week.)

210_x_10_transparent.gif © 2010 by Ken Skier. All rights reserved.