I warmed up with the SRR crew to get a feel for the terrain as this was my first time at this race. One lap/loop for the 5K, and twice for the 10K which I signed up for. Deer flies were in abundance but they were kept at bay during the race. I caught a glance of CMS'r Chris Mahoney before the race. It was good to see him racing again. I settled in behind Michael Paulin (Wicked Running Club) and Chris Mahoney about 800m into the race. There were a few ups and downs to work out. Some downs had some mud - where I usually run through with no worries. Yet, 1.5 miles in, for the first time for me, I lose a shoe in said mud. $%#!@? I run back for it as SRR's Sean McDonough and Jon May fly at me and past. Jon was willing to wait but I told him to get back into the race. He did. A few other guys zipped past on the trail while I am fighting to get my right shoe back on. It is harder than it looks. I may have lost 45 seconds. I roll past Wes Lassen and David Long. I did not panic but it was clear I lost sight of the front pack for good. I laugh as the sole on the other shoe ripped half way off and is flapping in the air with each stride - slapping my right calf in the process. The guys behind me must have been laughing their ass off with my technical difficulties. I continue on with no sense of urgency, really flat and beat from losing the pack. I wait until the half way point of the course at Pingree to stop. I see Chris Smith taking off into the 2nd loop which catches my amusement with hope to reel him in - anything for motivation. I throw a water down, laugh with the volunteers, and rip the sole off my shoe and left it at the park bench to the statement of "this is for the hall of shame." I set off for the 2nd loop, same as the first but much tougher. I chase but fail to see Chris. There are so few straight sections on the trail that it is hard to see if your in touch with anyone further than 150m ahead. The 2nd pass on this loop was tough. I wondered how the front line guys were shaking out. I slogged through to wrap up this mess. Then I see Chris up ahead with about 1000m to go. I woke up and sprinted after him. I passed him about 200m from the finish and encouraged him to come along but he was zapped. I came in 5th place, 40:09. Full results. Chris Mahoney came in 1st, followed by Sean McDonough, Jon May, and Michael Paulin (his first trail race). Chris was six seconds behind me. My two loops were pretty close to each other in terms of time. 20:13 for loop one (includes time for fighting with lost shoe and water stop at 1/2 way), 19:56 for loop 2. After the folks got their awards, SRR's Diona Fulton (1st place female - just a week removed from top female honors on a tough Vermont trail Marathon), Jon, Sean, and I headed out for a cool down over to Appleton Farms. I show off a few loops and proceed to get us all turned around, tired, thirsty, hungry, and exhausted. We finally find a driveway back out to Highland Ave. We ran over 65 minutes for a cool down. Hey, it's all about the journey, right? Many photos taken by Roger Perham.