Sunday, May 18, 2014

It's that Pittsfield Time of Year....

I have been lucky enough to head to Pittsfield for the last three weeks to get out on Joe's Mountain and train, run, haul heavy backpack full of bricks, eat at the Pittsfield General Original Store for lunch and chat with amazing folks.

Its that time of year!

The town of Pittsfield is blooming with the greening of Vermont! This is my 3rd year heading to this town to run on the trails. When I first started going there, I was only running a few miles to get ready for a 10 mile fun run put on by Peak Races. Now, I am training for my 4th Death Race in a year. My idea of what an adequate training session has definitely evolved in those three years, from running/hiking a few miles, to hiking hours with a 50 pound backpack up and down the Stone Stairs that 200+ people and myself helped build during a long night last summer during my first Death Race.

Stone Stairs we built at Summer 2013 Death Race
(Photo: Chad Weberg)

Yesterday, as I was warming up and running for a couple hours, I saw the familiar pink flagging that appears every May, marking the approaching Peaks Ultra races. The 500 mile race starts next week and I was imagining these amazing, brave souls leaving everything they have out there on this mountain during those ten days, suffering and achieving whatever their purpose is for jumping into this amazing feat. In less than two weeks, I will be part of a crew that will be pacing/crewing a friend, Mark Leuner, as he tackles the Peak 200 mile race. What a privilege to be a part of that experience!

As I was listening to the birds, hauling that heavy backpack up the stairs for the third time, I was thinking about all of the racers, including myself, who have suffered on that mountain, who have laughed and cried, made lifelong friendships, had life changing experiences, whether it was via a Death Race, the Ultras, the Death Race Camps, or the Peak Snowshoe Race in below zero temperatures. There is something so very special about Pittsfield and those who have participated in any event there know exactly what I am talking about. And, a majority of these folks keep coming back.

Stone Cabin on the summit of Joe's Mtn.
A gorgeous, cool, cloudy morning  last week.
What I love about that mountain is that we are graciously welcomed to Courtney and Joe's change our lives there. Everything is turning green again, Matt "The Trail Master" was out there cutting a new trail, I saw a super bright red Cardinal, I heard owls hooting and the wild flowers were in bloom. The rain came and went and kept me cool as I was working hard. Every time I summited the mountain, I took my pack off and took a deep breath and pictured myself out there, again, with a Death Race bib on, giving it my all. And, I thought of those 500 milers who start in a few days, competing against themselves and their inner voice.

Pittsfield is about to change people's lives, yet again, for another season.

Here's to pushing limits! And, here is the link to sign up for one of the races! There is still time to sign. There is a 15 mile run...go for it. Challenge yourself and come to the town that enhances people's lives.


Private and National Forest trails that make up some of the
trail system for Peak Ultras and Death Races