Sunday, August 16, 2015

Release Your Inner Moose

Time for the annual Moose 10 mile relay at Nashua's Mine Falls, where as any regular reader of this blog knows, some of the greatest E Streeter victories in the annals of running history have occurred.
In case you forget, or in case you're folks who try to blot out the crushing defeats of years gone by, you can recap here:

Days of Moose Gone By

and here:

Revenge of the Moose

Alas, this year, some of the past victors were unable to return to the trail to mark their territory again, so it was time for a new E Streeters foursome to emerge.

And we held our own quite nicely, thank you.

Here we are pre-race, from left to right, Captain Awesome, Tom Hickey, Andrew, and an 11th-hour pinch runner, Stephanie Finn.
The next generation of Greater Lowell Road Runners brought a veritable ARMY to the outing
Complete with Moose ears
Waiting for the race, Andrew, Stephanie, and Tom size up the competition
Under the shelter of the Dunham Running Club canopy local running legend Dave Dunham and his team
What happens when you find out you're racing head-to-head, mano-a-mano against one of the greatest and fastest runners the Merrimack Valley has ever seen?  You'll have to ask Dave.
Seriously, what are we even doing in the same picture?  Maybe I have a chance....
As always, the Moose relay features the craziest running togs to be found anywhere - and this guy did the ENTIRE 10 miles!
Here's Dave finishing one of his laps.  Notice he's not looking over his shoulder to see where I am.
In case you haven't been up Mine Falls way, it's definitely worth checking out.  A great network of trails, and some serene vistas
The trail less travelled
With Steph taking the first lap and passing the baton, I stepped in for my throwdown with Dunham
And came back a LOT sweatier than I went out
And passed the torch on to Tom
Who took off like a cannon
Leaving the final loop for Andrew the Anchor, though truth be told, I think I was the anchor dragging the team down.
And he's off for the final leg!
And of course, he finished strong.
We came in at a respectable 1:14, or a 7:40 pace for the foursome on a blistering hot Sunday morning.
Here Stephanie swaps out the after-picture with her sister Alyssa, along with the rest of Clan Hickey.
And with a fourth place finish, and a cumulative age nearly triple that of the teams that bested us, we once again came home with the hardware.
That means medals, and of course, the wondrous Moose mugs - much coveted, hard to win.
So while they couldn't join us today, this mug's for the Moose of Years past - Donna Corbin, Mary-Jo Griffin, Caitlin Campopiano, Rebecca Newell, Scott Spence, Carlos Borges, Barry Scanlon, John Piekos, Jonathan Crockett, and Nate Tenczar.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A California Adventure, Disney Style

So we decided to take a detour on the West Coast romp to see one of our favoritest people in world - not talking Mickey Mouse here, we're talking Heather Spence, our West Coast Bestie!
The road trip detour south to Anaheim meant we were going to have a bit longer trek the following day, but it was worth it just to spend the day in one of the Happiest Places on Earth with one of the Happiest Peeps on Earth!
After a solid 10 or so trips to DisneyWorld in Orlando, it was time for us to notch at least one pass through the Left Coast version, where it all started for the Mouse back in 1955.
And there, waiting at the gate for us, was the Belle of the Ball herself!
As anyone who's ever seen Clan Cook take a trip to the House of Mouse, you know it all starts with a mother-daughter skip down Main Street.
Heather West, it turns out, is the Queen of Ride Selfies, as evidenced by the succession of her photos here,  Jackie pretty much keeps those thumbs up for every ride.
Back outside under blue skies, it was a visit to Radiator Springs.
So who knew?!?!
Disneyland, it turns out, has an ample supply of Churro carts and stands!
Natch, Andrew made the rounds.
After all those Churro pitstops, Andrew was understandably tired. 
Any fellow Disney aficionados know the name of this rock formation? 
Heather East does the heavy lifting
When the Fantastic Four became Five
No, I'm not flipping the bird in Disney.
Just pointing out that Heather West's hair was rocking the ride. And we have no idea who's seated in front of me.  She crashed our road trip.

Big guns, big geeks
Jessie's Girl.  And Guy.
Bonus treat:  a special preview of Marvel's newest flick Ant-Man, which took over the Bug's Life attraction.
Never mind the geeks in glasses, check out the authentic Ant-Man gear behind us, on loan from SHIELD and Hank Pym
With the guy that started it all
And suddenly, BOOM!  There he was!  Unleash the hugs.
You just can't help but smile
Halfway through our whirlwind tour, it was time to shift to the other side of the park, Disneyland itself, celebrating its 60th birthday
Three Amigas
Yeah, more skipping.  This time, on the REAL Main Street
Not going to make an elephant joke here.  Value my continued health too much
Boom boom boom boom
The Night Side with Walt and his buddy
Hanging with the Mother of Dragons
Some exit skipping
And other than having to part ways with our Disney Bud, Heather West, this was undoubtedly the saddest sign of the day - we would not be there for the Avengers' return the following morn, as Yosemite beckons!
We'd have to assemble another day.
Now it's time to say goodbye to all our company, but most especially the best West Coast Host you can find, our fellow Mouseketeer, Heather!  Thanks for putting up with our insanity and indulging our Disney fix for the day, Heath!  You rock!  Now go climb a mountain or two or three!