Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Chills Are Alive

A cold one this morning,with temperatures in the low teens as we ventured out to the Vineyards in Bolton and Lancaster to log a 10 mile run to help the member of E Streeters nation who has crazily set her sights on running the Boston Marathon this year.  *cough* looking at YOU, Heather Cook! *cough*
For those of us who've done this particular run, we know it's anything but a flat course.  In fact, it's got some of the more challenging long hills we encounter in our training runs.  And atop the final hill, we're presented with a vista that hearkens back to a certain nun-in-training frolicking in the fields of Austria.  We'll be back to this reference a bit later in the blog.
So what kind of hills are we talking about?
Via Runkeeper.....
Kinda wish we coulda spent a bit more time around the 6 mile mark, but so be it.
Anyone who knows us knows we're big fans of the Vineyard.
Downtown Edgartown is looking a bit different in the winter time.
Scaling the first of the Grant Tetons of Bolton, Andrew and Heather are all biz-ness. 
Nothing like a sibling Town Line race.  The image is a bit blurry, so it's hard to tell who claimed victory, but I was there.  Congrats, Heath! 
At the five-mile mark, we picked up a couple of those Lads from Lancaster, Ben and Josh.
 Ben wasn't quite sure what he was in for, running with us.  Pretty sure he wasn't expecting the mountain climb ahead.  Josh, who ran track in high school, had already conquered the course a number of times, so he was raring to go. 
Hey look, another town line!  And while it appears Andrew claimed victory with his Town Line Lunge, do I need to point out that SOMEONE had to already claim the Town Line in order to take the picture?  Ahem.... 
Finally, we made it!  After an arduous climb, we reached the apex of the run, the hilltop from which on a clear day, you can see forever, or at least to Boston.  Wasn't a lot of talking on the way up, but the satisfying feeling of victory at the top quashed any of the anguish quickly.
Climb every mountain!
How quickly?  Well quick enough for Andrew to launch into his best Maria Von Trapp imitation.
Might have been the lack of oxygen at the high altitude, I dunno.
Whatever it was, it was worth catching the Lonely Goatherd on film. 
From there, the rest of the run was all downhill, and we were running too fast to take any pictures.
But a solid 10 miler in the books, and all of it logged before the first snowflakes fell!
'Course, now that the storm's set in, we've got coffee aplenty, the beef stew is simmering, and football playoff games are on, it's pretty obvious what's next.
So long, farewell!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Still Souper After All These Years

January 1st, a time of rebirth, of renewal, of hope, of getting reinvigorated, of starting the year off keeping those healthy resolutions. 
And for anyone who knows anything about our band of rogues, it's a time for soup.
For more years than this blog documents (its previous life pre-2009, is alas, lost to time), a loyal group of friends and their family members have been meeting atop an icy crag in Westford, Massachusetts, to remind one another of long-lasting friendships, rivalries, and of course, to consume copious amounts of soup at the home of John and Karen Piekos.  A couple of times over those years, we took a detour to join with 700 other runners in the Lowell 5K, but for the most part, it's been a Westford rendezvous for these rugged runners.

Don't remember our past exploits?  Here's a quick trip down memory lane:

There's nothing like documenting the march of time than with a series of pics showing the evolution of a running tradition, at least via the last few years, so here goes a quick flashback:

Whew!  That's a lot of souperstars!
Okay, we'll be back to revisit this lineup at blog's end.
But now, it's time for the First Run, 2017!
Featuring among other stars, pasta fagioli and chicken spinach stew
A slow start doing some off-roading as we try to navigate the icy straits of Everest, and we were off!
Featuring, first time Soup Runners, Steve Vachon and this year's wonder woman warrior, Heather!
Posing proudly at the first town-line along the historic course.
It was a wild pack logging the miles in Westford and Tyngsboro this year.  Some can stand being in the spotlight.  For others, the constant glare of the media lights can be blinding.
Heather kicked butt along the mostly hilly 6 1/2 mile scenic course.
John was all laughs, because he knew a different road lie ahead for him (to get in position for the epic videos to follow)
Good thing these pics don't come with sound, you'd hear Heather cursing out her fellow runners for choosing this hilly course.
How hilly?  This hilly:
Remember how I said John ran ahead to get in position for the epic movies?  Here you go....

As the crowd begins to winnow, Carlos took a moment to help psyche Heather up for the back half of the winter run
It helps to stop and appreciate the views all around you while you're out there, too
Back on Dunstable Road, the soup, inappropriate jokes, and plans for the long runs ahead abounded.
Thanks again to John and Karen for hosting.
Thankful, also that we're all able to gather in one place to celebrate our friendship, health and prosperity every New Year's Day.
Yeah, it's a run, but it's a lot more than that.
It's a reminder that Mark Twain and Clarence the Angel were right - no man is a failure who has friends. And soup.  Always, the soup.