For the last 2 years my friend (and co-worker) Dave and I had kicked around the idea of a long run home from the office the day before Thanksgiving. The office frequently is sent home halfway through the day, and we thought what better way to kick off Thanksgiving than a 23 mile adventure run.
Unfortunately, the last 2 years it's either been actively snowing a fair amount or there had been enough snow to make the rail trail we were planning to run not particularly passable.
This year of course had it's own challenges, with Dave leaving for a new job and my accident making it seem like I wouldn't be running very far this year. By Thanksgiving though I was running plenty long miles, and the weather seemed near perfect - no snow leading up to it, and around 40F day of.
I caught a ride into the office morning of with a co-worker who lives near me so that I wasn't leaving my car at the office over the long weekend. For clothes to wear on the run I went with my long sleeve Manchester Marathon shirt from this year, since it's a nice bright orange and I'd be on trail 20 of the 23 miles during hunting season. For shoes I went with the obvious choice of Altra Olympus trail shoes, great for longer runs.
For water and food I wore my Nathan VaporAir hydration vest. It's the way to go for long self supported runs like this, I've found it's far more comfortable than a belt, doesn't bounce (as long as it's the right size, go on the small side if unsure), and keeps things in easy reach with lots of compartments. It's also got a good place to keep my phone at the ready for taking some pictures.
For food I brought a couple sleeves of margarita Clif shot blocks which I don't normally use for running, just biking, since I'm just not very good at chewing while running while still breathing. Since I wasn't going for speed I was planning to just walk when I ate, so those would be fine.
Having my phone with me also made it easy to use the Garmin 920xt Livetrack feature so my wife could keep tabs on where I was at.
And miles to go before I sleep
I headed out around 12:30pm from Dyn in Manchester, up Hanover St (and past Runner's Alley, which would be convinent if I needed anything else for the run) and up to the Rockingham Recreation Trail off of Candia Rd near Lake Massabesic.
A nice bonus was that Betsy happened to be over running an errand on Hanover St, and was heading out to her car just as I headed by. That was a good start to things, and kind of the story of our relationship running into each other unplanned like that.
A scenic run
The Rockingham Recreation Trial was a great choice for this run for several reasons - one is that it's the shortest route to home, at 23 miles vs. a little over 26 by road. That said, it also is steady easy climbing and descending rather than any real hills since it was once a railroad track, and not having to deal with any automotive traffic is a huge plus for just tuning out and crusing.
The Trail goes past a few lakes, and some generally beautiful quiet places. There's often deer and wild turkeys on the trail, though being hunting season they all seemed to be hiding this time around save a few chickens at one point. Here's a few more pictures of what I'm talking about.
Being an old railbed, there's also some historic sites along the way, like this one in Raymond.
Overall, it was super quiet and peaceful. Once I was on the trail I only ran into 2 walkers, 2 cyclists, and a couple of hunters in 20 miles. The trail takes a tunnel under the route 101 highway which is too short to run through, I have to hunch over a bit to not hit my head. A long dark tunnel requires a suspicious photo of course, and I brought my headlamp for it but didn't end up needing it with the sun setting behind me lighting it up well enough.
So is this the start of a tradition? I really hope so. I think now that I've done it once, I'll be more apt to try to make it happen even if the weather isn't perfect to start a streak. We'll see if I can rope anyone else in next year as well. Not only is it a fun adventure at a speed that lets you take everything in, but you burn off enough calories to eat plenty of pie the next day with no guilt. It's a win-win!