Monday, October 27, 2014

Babies, Beer and Ghosts

What a fun weekend!

I was originally going to take a Plymouth State class but for some reason did register/totally forgot about it. What remained was a nice three day weekend where I was able to visit my goddaughter, brew some beer and pace an ultra.

The Baby
No offense but my god-daughter is the cutest. I realize that there are probably some irritate(and mis-guided) mothers out there thinking that their children are cuter, but you would be mistaken. I am sorry that a combination of seeing yourself in your child, pheromones and genetics makes you think that but, trust me, Olivia is the cutest:)

My dad and I drove down mid-day Friday to baby-sit and we spent the afternoon playing with her.

Sporting a hat that Amber got her from Kona

Olivia and her grampy

After having dinner with my parents and brother, I headed into Boston for the night stopping at several of my favorite bars from when I was at Northeastern.

Something's a brewin'
The next day I headed out to Hopsters in Newton where my good friend, Kendra, had bought me a brewing session for my birthday. If you have never heard of, or been there, and you like beer, you are missing out!

There is a book of various beers that you can brew and they actually take you through the whole brewing process, from picking the correct hops and stirring the wort. In all, it takes a little over two hours but there is enough down time where you can order yourself some food, or drink of course...
Don't be surprised if many of you will be receiving a custom beer for your Christmas present this year:)
A guide to the grains
The brewing process
The beers of Hopsters

It was certainly a fun and educational day and I didn't realize how little I knew about beer until I got there. Just the variety of hops used is amazing.

I then headed up to Nashua where I had booked a hotel so that I could be close to the aide station for the Ghost Train 100. This race would be my friend, Michael Wade's, first attempt at running 100 miles. He was running for a good cause and had definitely put in the mileage. I was to pace him for the last ten miles.

From 9am on, I had been receiving text updates from the other members of his crew. Michael had made a chart estimating his paces so that we could best plan how to pace him. The amazing thing was that he was almost exactly on if not a little ahead of his pacing. He went through miles 67.5 averaging 12 minute/miles but apparently that included a few bathroom breaks as well as planned eating breaks. I didn't want to possibly miss him so I headed over to the trail head at 2:30am. As I was shivering while waiting, I realized just how cold it was and ran back to my car to get a space blanket, hat and gloves which I shoved in my pack. 20 minutes ahead of schedule, I hear Michael come to the check point, yell Danny let's go and continued to move. Throwing down the coffee I was sipping on, I sprinted off to meet him.

You may recall that I once ran the Vermont 100 and dropped out at 88.6 miles. Michael seemed to be at that point too, really struggling to keep himself motivated and not stop. I know just how hard each of those miles are and how insurmountable that remaining distance can feel. I also knew that Michael wouldn't be someone who would quit easily. Sure enough, despite telling me that he felt light-headed, was cramping, and had a generalized apathy for running at that point, he kept on moving. We went through periods of silence and conversation, with Michael probably motivating himself far more than anything I could do. The 100 mile distance is a race you do for yourself but also for others. Michael needed that internal drive to put in all those miles of training and to get to that 90 mile mark. At that point however, he had used up all of his internal drive and wasn't doing it for himself anymore. That's where I quit at Vermont. However, Michael wasn't doing it just for himself but for Sam and everyone who had believed in him.

It's always darkest right before dawn
Michael mentioned this just as the darkness started to more closely envelop us and also as the temperature dropped another few degrees. Luckily I had those gloves and hat which Michael wore for the next hour or so. And just like the temperature and light, Michael's mood which once appeared to be darkening now started to brighten. In fact, by the time we had reached mile 95 we were running at a steady clip again. We actually ran the last 5 miles over 6 minutes faster than the previous five!

Despite reaching his nadir in the race at mile 90, Michael was able to pull through, run strong for his last five miles and finish within 13 minutes of his predicted race time: 22:13.

Yes you are reading that correctly:  22 hours and 13 minutes! That is a very long time to be running but also a very fast 100 mile time. I know he has said that he is one and done but with the awesome first 85 miles he put together, I can see a sub 20 hour 100 miler in his future:) Just saying.

After congratulating Michael and sending him off by his children and loving wife, I headed home where I proceeded to sleep away the majority of my Sunday. It was probably the weekend catching up to me but it was actually a great leisurely way to end a fun weekend.


  1. Thanks for the props, Danny. But, you probably could have titled this blog post "Babies, Beer and more Babies". ;)

    1. Nope. I think it is correctly titled. I caught you at your worst and it still wasn't bad. Awesome job!