Wednesday, March 3, 2010

RR: No Power? No Problem! 50K

No Power? No Problem! 50K
Saturday, February 27, 2010
32 Miles Through Epping, Nottingham and Raymond, NH
Runners: Sherpa John, Josh, Loni, Steve, Leah
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This is a picture of the storm that struck New England on the Thursday Night prior to our run. An epic storm that ravaged our area with Hurricane force winds. Nicknamed a "Snowicane" before it even formed, the storm wreaked havoc across New England. 2-3 FEET of snow fell in the mountains while here on the seacoast, 6-7 INCHES OF RAIN fell over a two day period capped off by ferocious winds above 65 MPH. 5 Miles off shore at the Isles of Shoals, winds were clocked at 90+. The morning of our run, it was snowing here in Epping. A fresh sloppy and slushy 4 inches covered the ground and still fell at varied intensity. I got power back at 2AM after having gone without it for 28 hours. As we stepped outside to start our run, the air was ripe with the fumes and sounds of the hundred or so generators pumping power throughout the neighborhood. 256,000 were still without power and we were soon to see why.

The run started with quite a group of folks trotting down the road. Leah and Loni were resolute in joining us for a few miles to start us off and Steve promised a full first lap. Our route consisted of two 16 mile loops through the towns of Epping, Nottingham and Raymond. As our group easily trotted up the street, not more than a quarter mile from my apartment, we witnessed natures destruction first hand. The road was absolutely littered with power lines, snapped telephone poles and downed trees and branches. Our little slice of New Hampshire landscape was once again a mess. A state of emergency had been declared and a storm, only rivaled by last years devastating ice storm, had once again made a mess of our place. As we made our way down the street, we found ourselves ducking under power lines, jumping over power lines, around power lines... and the same for trees and branches. The run, all ready, was more dangerous than any run I'd ever been a part of. And then the name for this little parade came about.. No Power? No PROBLEM!

As the road I live on turns to a gravel road, the slush continued to splash up and over our shoes. Not but two miles into the run and my feet are soaked and cold. We ran along old rock walls that have stood the test of time. Tree's are tapped and buckets collect maple sap soon to be transformed into syrup. The hillsides are still home to many a plowed field, ripe for crops and farming. The history in the area is often forgotten and over looked, yet today we had no choice but to see it, smell it and live through it. As we climb up to mile 3, Leah elects to turn back. Upon her arrival back at the apartment, she'll have run 6 miles... her longest ever. We continue on, gossiping to those who have been out of the loop, filling in the blanks and getting a good laugh. At mile 4, Loni turns back.. and then there were 3.


Josh Steve and I topped out in Nottingham as snow once again began to fall. The sky was a wide array of color. The sun had just been out giving us a little bit of blue sky for the first time in many days. Now, deep dark grays crowded over head and the snow began to fall. As we turned onto 157, the snow really picked up as we headed for Raymond. Up and over many hills, past many homes, still echoing the sound of generators galore, we enjoyed each others company, told stories and jokes.. and overall just enjoyed life and adventure together.

In downtown Raymond, there is still no power. The size of the generator powering the local super market is beyond ridiculous. The snow is coming down to beat the band now. Raising my head to look down the street was impossible. Visibility was down to about 10 feet, if you could open your eyes long enough to see it. Snow game down so fast and hard that it blinded us. I fixated my head on the white line that lined the streets. I knew this line would lead us back to Epping.. so we followed. Up ahead, the road was closed thanks to four snapped telephone poles and a crew who'd been working for many hours to restore power to this neighborhood. The road littered with pine needles and branches resembled what might happen if a giant had sneezed.


We passed a road sign and wondered what it meant. Fat kid on teeter totter? Skinny kid needs help? There was no playground to be found so that wasn't it. Maybe it was Beware of Teeter Totter? We found nothing.. and presumed the sign to be random. We crossed over a few bridges and marveled at the flooding that plagued the area as well. Ponds were dumping into small streams and tributaries. Back in Epping, the water almost came up and over the bridge in town. We crossed and made our way back to the apartment. Loop 1 was over, 2 Hours and 50 Minutes. We headed inside for a 15 minute break. Josh slumped in a chair while I made a quick sandwich. We refilled bottles. Leah had left, Steve was heading home. Loni... she got ready to join us once more. She questioned how long she'd go for.. I knew how long... we'd sucker her into a full lap. After 15 minutes.. we got up and headed back outside, said goodbye to Steve.. and began loop 2.

Just up the road, electrical crews from as far away as Connecticut had begun work on the downed lines on my street. We thanked them for their work as we ran by to which they happily replied with a you're welcome. Just past them was a horse barn. Two gorgeous horses stood out in the pasture shaking their heads as we went by. I decided to stop and say hello. They came right up to the fence and happily nudged me with their noses. One even tried to eat my hat and jacket. I had a great time and a lot of laughs for the next 5 minutes with these horses... snapped a few photos.. and headed back out on the road.



As we topped out once more in Nottingham, it was evident that Loni had decided to go the whole lap with us. Worried about slowing us down, we eased her mind. I didn't care how long the run took us. It was all time on our feet. I had no obligation except to get in the miles.. all 32 of them. We talked, laughed, shared, joked, etc etc the entire way. Our feet pounded the frost heaved and pot holed pavement through Raymond. The snow came down to beat the band once more, as if Raymond was the only place in the state having a white out snow squall all day. As we ran along, Josh and I tried to catch the huge snowflakes on our tongues to a mixture of success and failure. It's always great to feel like a kid again.

Josh kept asking me how I felt, how I was holding up. I felt like a million bucks, honestly thinking about another lap to make it 48 Miles total. I was feeling amazing. Not tired, not sore.. only a little tight in the legs. I could have gone forever. Perhaps a testament to my streaking followed by ample rest heading into this run. As we headed out of downtown Raymond and back for Epping, I was starting to open up a lead on Josh and Loni. I enjoyed running the slower pace, but I felt an immense need to stretch it out a bit. However, as I got closer to Epping, I decided to walk a mile or so to allow them to catch up so we could all finish together. Back into town, over the flooded Lamprey and back to the apartment. The snow had melted, the sun was once again out yet the temps were dropping. The run was over. 32 Miles in 6 hours 40 minutes total.

No Power? No Problem!
SJ