Sunday, January 04, 2009

Frosted on New Years Day
at the 2009 Peanut Butter Chip Chase

There's an old saying (I think its an old saying, but don't ask me where it originated from!) that goes something like this: Whatever you do on New Years Day, you'll do all year. So trying to live a healthy and outdoorsy life, I run a race every New Years Morning. For the last five New Years Days I have been heading with my wife Heather to tiny Temple NH (population 1,500) in the Monadnock Highlands of southern New Hampshire to participate in the annual Peanut Butter Chip Chase 5K. The race has been going on for 31 years. We jumped in five years ago. Heather and I used to run in the Hangover Classic 10K in Salisbury Massachusetts on New Years Day, but ceased since they moved the race course from the Salisbury countryside to Salisbury Beach, a God-forsaken place where rows of ramshackle beach homes, ticky-tacky shops, and 1970s era dance clubs sporting smoke stained disco balls and mystery stained carpets don't exactly sit well with me for ringing in the New Year!

I grew up in small town New Hampshire and my idea of inspiring scenery is rolling pine, maple and oak covered hills, black-shuddered white trim colonial homes, two-hundred year old meeting houses, churches with cloud-piercing spires, babbling brooks, pastoral byways, picture-postcard surroundings and plenty of friendly folks. I found it in Temple!

While the race can always be counted on for delivering a great experience with lots of friendly volunteers, and ample amounts of home made hot soup and scrumptious home baked cookies afterwards. What can never be counted on is the weather. You just never know what the New England Weather gods have in store for you. This year's race was yet another meteorological surprise. Ten degrees with -15 degree wind chill! Brrrr! And with a storm that dumped 6 inches of dry white fluff the day before, meant that once again I'd be running a course that never saw pavement! But, boy does all of that snow make it pretty.

I finished 1 minute faster than last year when the race was actually held during a snow storm. Never broke a sweat on the course both times. And once again no matter the weather nor my race time, I had a great time! We'll be back again next New Years- you can count on that like you can count on the weather not being something you can count on! To Race Director Bill Moore (a former Washingtonian- hey Bill, we traded places!) and the Souhegan Lions Club, the race's sponsors, thanks and may you have a happy and prosperous New Year! Thanks to your event we have already started our new year on the right foot!

(photo- Brrr is it cold! Race volunteers try to stay form at the finish line)

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