Last weekend (Oct. 28) I was the Newton Hills Ultra Trail Race, a 50k, 30k and 20k trek through the state park near Canton.

Running trails at Newton Hills is tough because there are some long climbs that require walking, or a kind of exaggerated power hike. Much of it is also just beautiful, winding hiking trails. It's a true test of endurance.

So I didn't race.

I tended the fire.

You may be thinking that it sounds like soft duty. You'd be wrong. First off, it's cold, and even though you're standing next to a fire, your feet get cold.

Also, you have to keep finding fuel for the fire. It's a long race and the imported wood we had soon burned down so it was out in the woods to forage for wood. It was like being a homesteader out there.

Then there's the smoke in your eyes. That stings.

Monitoring temperature for various tastes and needs of the spectators or participants. Keeping the water pot boiling but not burned down.

Staying hydrated.

You get the picture. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and hungry, having only warm chicken soup and bananas and chips and cookies and gummy bears to keep me going.

It was good to get home and peel off the layers of wool I'd put on to try to stay warm.

Most of it went right into the washing machine to purge the smoke smell. But my coat and gloves remain unusable for now.

Thanks Newton Hills Ultra. Now what am I going to do?

See you next year.

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