It’s hard to believe another Chesterfield 100k has come and gone. This race is put on by the fabulous Amy Rusiecki (Vermont 100 and Seven Sisters RD) and friends and is set along the beautiful Chesterfield Gorge, in West Chesterfield, MA. Saturday brought a 100+ runners, choosing distances from 50k to 100 miles (Sunday also hosts a lovely 25k course as well). The terrain is gentle, enticing you with mild elevation, but you will soon notice hills on your third loops and beyond. It’s a 7.75 mile out and back, bringing you to the boiler room (aid station at 7.75) as it’s affectionately called and back to the start. So we were in for four loops that day!
Friday evening hubs and I got into Northampton, MA and enjoyed a pre-race movie date night. I’ve been an Elton John fan my whole life (I have fond memories of my parents playing his old records and me singing “Crocodile Rock” till my lungs gave out) and couldn’t wait to see “Rocket Man” when it was released. WOW! A brilliant film, about an even more brilliant musician. We were blaring Elton John songs all the way back to the hotel. After finishing up final prep work for our race, we settled in with some Netflix and pizza!
We arrived early to set my nerves at ease and took comfort in seeing so many familiar faces and smiles. It was nice to see all my fellow Team Run 2 Empower teammates. Thank you Faith for organizing a team photo! What a great group of people!
Off we went at 6a.m. on the dot. As I settled in to mile two, I heard a booming voice from behind, “Hey buddy!” It was Matt Klein. We interviewed him in early December and were blown away by his story (check out his story if you haven’t yet, it will motivate and inspire you). We formally met him minutes before the race, it was like we had already known him for years. The next two loops, hubs, Matt, Dan (Matt’s buddy and friend) and I ran together. We laughed, reminisced about 80’s and 90’s pop culture, and chatted about family life. The miles flew by, literally I kept checking my watch and secretly saying to myself, “Don’t push too fast, you are running 62 miles today! Easy does it” Hubs and I were going to run the race separately, but I think all the training we have been doing together, race day just seemed like any other training day (with amazing friends sprinkled in).
By loop three, the hills seemed a bit larger, like “where did that hill come from?” Hubs and I kept a great pace and mostly relied on Tailwind and Spring Energy. We didn’t eat as well as we would have liked, but we managed to get down some watermelon and potatoes and we kept stuffing ice into our ice sleeves to keep us cooler. I believe my biggest achievement was wasting WAY less time at the aid stations, we were super efficient getting back out on trail quickly.
Loop four, the hills were larger even though we were on the same loop as one, two and three. We ran, we shuffled, we tried to solve all of life problems and we kept saying, “how do our bodies keep going?” I think this is the theme of my life, gratitude. Gratitude that my body can keep pushing, keep going, even when it’s truly tired and worn out. I’m so thankful for being able to keep doing these crazy adventures with the man I love.
As we crested the hill the last .2 miles, that magical feeling rushed over me, knowing the finish line was within reach and we were able to get another day in the woods together. Matt’s resonating words from earlier in the day, “DF” for DID FINISH. No matter the time on the watch or placings, we got around another day. Another day to enjoy the woods with friends, the ones you love, I’m forever thankful for that. Congrats to all the runners, your strength, determination, and will power is so contagious! A big congrats to Emily Weld for crushing her first 100k and to Kevin Draper for qualifying for the VT100. A huge weekend for all.
One added highlight was rounding the corner during the race and seeing a young boy with his hydration pack on with the biggest grin on his face. We yelled to him, “Whatcha running?” He replied “The 50k!!” High fives all around…..I love this sport. Young, old, and anywhere in between. There is something for everyone. Running is where it’s at………