169 Towns #85: Ansonia

June 14th, 2019 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #85: Ansonia

169 Towns #85 Ansonia

2019 has been a busy year, to say the least. Beginning in March, I was traveling every few weeks, which left precious little time for weekend races. If I wasn’t out of town, I was making sure I was actually present at home, rather than taking half a weekend day out to run. I didn’t want to let the whole summer slip by without race, though, and wanted to give Grace a chance to run again, so we picked off one of the last nearby towns, Ansonia, for an evening 5K this week. She’s gotten quicker (and less in need of breaks) with every race, and still seems to be enjoying herself. Aimee and Lucy did the 2 mile walk, and Lucy ran along with us for the last quarter mile or so, staking her claim to run a race with me soon.

Valley YMCA Sunset 5K | 5K | 6/12/19 | 31:20 | 85/169

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France and Austria

June 11th, 2019 · Comments Off on France and Austria

A planned trip to Vienna for a conference in early June made me wonder if this would be an opportune time for a long-awaited visit to the beaches of Normandy. The timing—on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion—seemed right, and my dad accepted my invitation to come along. We had a great time touring Normandy, with stops in Giverny, Mont-Saint-Michel, Le Mans, Chartres, and Paris, as well. After a week in France, I headed to Vienna for a short conference, and then back home to remind the kids that I exist.

Giverny

Sainte-Mère-Église

Pegasus Bridge

Étretat

Honfleur

Arromanches

Bayeux

Mont-Saint-Michel

Motor Museum of the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral

And Vienna, more film and, of course, photobooths:

Vienna 2019

Vienna 2019

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Switzerland

April 21st, 2019 · Comments Off on Switzerland

My first international trip in a year that promises to have more than a few brought me to Switzerland for the annual FIAF Congress. I landed in Zürich and then made my way down through Lucerne, where I’d never been before, and finally to Lausanne. Funiculars, cinemas, photobooths, and chocolate; not a bad way to spend a week or so.

Switzerland 2019

Switzerland 2019

Switzerland 2019

Switzerland 2019

Switzerland 2019

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169 Towns #84: Branford

November 24th, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #84: Branford

#84 Branford: Rotary and YMCA 5K

This was a really massive race. Only the first…850 registered runners got the tech tee, while the rest got a cotton shirt, if that’s an indication of the scale. Inside the middle school where registration took place, sponsors had their tables set up, and hundreds of runners were stretching and socializing, to avoid the deep chill outside. The race was really well organized, and managed the one thing that almost no other race seems capable of: a race official who was well-miked and amplified, so everyone could hear what he was saying. It’s the little things… I managed third in my age group, which felt pretty good for a race of this scale. One of the last of the very local races to check off the list.

Rotary and YMCA 5K | 5K | 11/22/18 | 23:56 | 84/169

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169 Towns #83: Union

November 12th, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #83: Union

#83 Union: Strides for Scholars 5K

Right up at the northern edge of the state, not far from Massachusetts, this race took place on a lovely, if slightly chilly day. We parked in a state park parking lot, about a quarter mile from the start, so I was glad to arrive in time to get registered. We started along the entrance road toward the parking lot and not long after starting, we were passed in the opposite direction by Piotr, the one of the fastest of the regular 169 crew, just arriving from the parking lot. He managed to get a number and chase us back, passing all but one to come in second, despite giving everyone a head start. Impressive. It was a lovely trail run, not the fastest 5K, but a nice day out.

Strides for Scholars | 5K | 11/11/18 | 24:53 | 83/169

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169 Towns #82: Brookfield

October 29th, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #82: Brookfield

#82 Brookfield: Well-Adjusted 5K

It’s been a few weeks since my last race, with travel and sickness getting in the way. I was hoping to do the magical four races in one weekend and get to the halfway point in the list, but the nor’easter yesterday meant that it was a really unpleasant day to run, so I didn’t. The race had a lovely small town feel, and despite not being able to reach my goal by the end of the weekend, I was happy to get at least one run in, and in a decent time.

Well Adjusted, LLC 5K | 5K | 10/28/18 | 23:46 | 82/169

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169 Towns #81: Salem

October 1st, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #81: Salem

#81 Salem

This was a bit of a last-minute decision, and I arrived at the site with just a few minutes to spare. The race took place on a farm, with horses around, and a bit of a hike between parking and the start. It as mostly meadow-running, with one mile of the race a pure trail race in the woods. As a result of the recent rainstorms, the race was slightly shortened due to mud, but it still felt long enough. I ran hard and felt good, coming in 13th, and was happy to walk away with a really nice t-shirt, especially for a debut race. Thanks, race organizers!

Salem Run in the Woods | 5K (2.5m) | 9/30/18 | 19:36 | 81/169

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169 Towns #80: Enfield

September 23rd, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #80: Enfield

>#80 Enfield: LEGO Systems Inc. 5K

The LEGO 5K at the company’s US headquarters in Enfield is notorious for selling out very quickly, because it’s also known for having some of the best race swag around, if you’re into toys featuring DC Comics and Ninjago characters. I knew I wanted to do it once, and it finally worked out this year. When we actually ended up there, among the crowds, the bags of swag, and the fancy t-shirts, the race seemed almost incidental.

The whole family came for the race, and Grace was excited to run with me. She had just done a 5K in Woodbridge less than a week before, which went well, but involved quite a few breaks, walking, negotiating how long we were going to run before resting, and so on. This race was a different scene altogether: she was amazing. We ran a nice, steady pace, and ran 1.7 miles before even talking about a break, which ended up lasting about 5 seconds. She was really strong throughout. We took three small walk pauses, none longer than ten seconds. She made a great strong finish over the last two tenths, and a set a new PR again. I was so proud of her consistency, her drive, and her fortitude. She did great.

LEGO Systems Inc. 5K | 5K | 9/22/18 | 32:02 | 80/169

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169 Towns #79: Colchester

September 21st, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #79: Colchester

#79 Colchester: Race to End Hunger in Our Community

A nice little race in Colchester, up the coast and inland. It featured a flat course that quickly got out into farm country, past what looked like tobacco barns, perhaps? I pressed the whole time, and came in 8th, finally managing to win my age group. I was pretty beat at the end, and the post-race goodies featured lots of…pies. They looked great, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Oh well.

Colchester Race to End Hunger | 5K | 9/15/18 | 22:55 | 78/169

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169 Towns #78: Suffield

September 10th, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #78: Suffield

#78 Suffield: Parks and Recreation 5K

This race took me up north of Hartford, past the Bradley airport terminal, past the airport runways, and the air museum. All of the sudden, things got quiet, and I came into Suffield, a nice little town, and to its high school. Farm country. Hilly. The 10K runners left a half hour before on a loop, which we went out in the reverse, so we saw the fastest finishers coming toward us us as we went out the loop the other way. I managed 6th place in a small field, but as is my curse, that only qualified for fifth (!) in my age group. What do I have to do?

Suffield Parks and Recreation 5K | 5K | 9/8/18 | 23:08 | 78/169

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169 Towns #77: Stamford

September 5th, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #77: Stamford

#77 Stamford: Give a Child a Jump Start 5K

At this point, I’ve take taken care of nearly everything between New Haven in the New York line, but Stamford and Greenwich, my old stomping grounds, remain. Today’s Labor Day race, at the JCC of Stamford, was very well attended and obviously a big community event. It was a warm day; I’d have preferred it start at 8:00, because by the time I got there at 8:30 for the 9:00 am start, it was definitely starting to get steamy. For the first time in many races I’ve run, the organizers had us grab a chip separate from the bib to strap on our ankle. That used to be the norm, but I haven’t seen it in ages. It’s funny how you forget about these things. A nice race, and it always feels good to run the 5K while there’s also a 10K going on that you don’t have to run.

Give a Child a Jump Start | 5K | 9/3/18 | 25:05 | 75/169

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169 Towns #76 Newtown

August 21st, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #76 Newtown

#76 Newtown: Newtown Road Race

This was an interesting one: as I drove up to park, I came across a car in a ditch, with a police car directing drivers around it. By the time the race started, it became clear that the removal of the car, which had been driven off the road early in the morning by a teenage driver who thankfully was uninjured, would alter the race course, so we had to do some extra loops and avoid the area while the crane dragged it out.

On another note, it was bound to happen eventually: I finally got bib #169. There weren’t any trumpets to fanfare the moment, but it was nice. The start was located at a beautiful park, with a nice playground, though the race was too early in the day to bring the kids this time. Also, the ice cream place we’d wanted to try wouldn’t be open by the time the race was done, so another day, perhaps.

The weather was cooperative: it was the first cool day in awhile after a week of unseasonably hot days. The race was good, and I felt like I was pushing it the whole time. With a big pack ahead of me, I reeled a number of people in, and didn’t get passed by too many, but still, there were a lot of fast people out there today. I came in 30th overall, naturally fourth in my age group.

Newtown Road Race | 5K | 8/19/18 | 22:56 | 76/169

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169 Towns #75: Shelton

August 19th, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #75: Shelton

#75 Shelton: Sunset Run For The Warriors

This race was a little different in a few ways—first, it was part of a nationally-organized event, and the registration table took credit cards, which almost never happens. And second, it was an evening run, the first one of those I’ve done in a long time. My body didn’t quite feel up for it, but I eventually got warmed up. I felt like I was moving pretty well, and managed to re-pass the younger guys who passed me around mile 1.5—that never happens—but still, when I finished, I was a little dismayed to see my time. Turns out there was a good explanation for it: the course was about more like 3.33 miles, which I’m using to justify the extra two minutes or so in my time. I’d never been to Shelton before, though it isn’t very far away, and it was nice to see the little town green where the festivities took place.

Sunset Run For The Warriors | 5K (3.33m) | 8/19/18 | 25:05 | 75/169

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169 Towns #74: Clinton

August 18th, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #74: Clinton

#74 Clinton: Bluefish 5K

This race wins the award, so far, for most complicated and well-organized offsite parking scheme. I parked my car in a school parking lot and was driven to the race start, in another school parking lot, by school bus. I was the only passenger on the bus when I rode over, so I got the entire explanation of where the money went, who was running bag check (very trustworthy, mind you) and a rundown of the race course. Of course, I decided to walk my stuff back and just leave it in the car, and then catch another shuttle back to the start again. The race had a nice course, and the weather was great, though I was on the slow side.

Steward’s Ace Hardware Bluefish 5K | 5K | 8/18/18 | 24:27 | 74/169

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169 Towns #73: Oxford

August 12th, 2018 · Comments Off on 169 Towns #73: Oxford

#73 Oxford: Belly of the Hog 5K

I’ve run races in most nearby towns, but a few still remain, and it’s nice to be able to travel just up the way a bit to knock one out. Oxford is one of them, and I was excited to run a race put on by Black Hog, the great brewery somewhat incongruously located in a business park in the middle of nowhere. It had been awhile since I’d been to the brewery, and they’d changed the layout, moved things around inside, and, if I’m recalling correctly, built a bathroom, which was a useful addition, especially on race day.

The field was made up mostly by 169ers, it seemed, and apparently this was actually the third date the race had had. The first was postponed due to weather, and the second cancelled because it wasn’t approved by the town, or so I heard. We weren’t able to run the race on the trail route that had been planned, thanks to the trees that were still down from the hurricane earlier this year. It stayed dry during the race, and we all gathered at the brewery for a complimentary pint afterward, which was a nice treat.

Belly of the Hog | 5K | 8/12/18 | 26:48 | 73/169

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