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Teresa Robinson's NH Runner: Addressing winter race slate

Never stop. That was the one piece of advice, as a mentor with the Team In Training program, that I would always give new runners who just crossed the finish line of their first race.

I didn't mean that rest or a break wasn't important. What I meant was the body has a funny (and sometimes frustrating) way of forgetting all of the hard work and training you put it. And it has a short memory.

It always amazes me what even a few weeks off from running can do you to your ability to run.

I've spent much of the last eight or so weeks building back my endurance and mileage to be able to complete the Manchester Half Marathon earlier this month. Now I need to take my own advice: don't stop.

My best winters, running-wise, have been filled with a consistent race schedule, something to keep me going during the cold, dark days when it gets even harder to find your motivation. But consistency and planning isn't the only key. You've also got to keep it fun.

Here are some of my favorite winter races that I plan on putting on my calendar.

-- Fisher Cats Thanksgiving Day 5K. I love a good turkey trot. For the past several years, I've tried to get in a Thanksgiving Day race. Somehow, despite the fact that the 5K only burns roughly the equivalent of a piece of pie, it makes me feel better about spending a day focused on food. I have done a few other turkey trots over the years, but the Fisher Cats event gets on my schedule this year since it is part of the Millennium Running series. I have completed four of the races in the seven series, so I only need one more. I plan on checking that off my list next week. The Fisher Cats Thanksgiving Day 5K starts at 9 am. at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

-- Jingle Bell Run(s). These two runs are part of a national series of events to support the Arthritis Foundation, a cause near and dear to my heart. They are literally jingle bell runs, with runners tying jingle bells to their shoes (in addition to the other festive and creative costumes). The sound of hundreds on jingle bells shaking down the street is really something to hear. There are two Jingle Bell runs in the state. A 10K version is held Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. at Little Harbour School in Portsmouth. A 5K is held on Dec. 8 at 10 a.m. at Rundlett Middle School in Concord. Both races have shorter distance options for walkers.

-- Santa Shuffle. If you don't opt for the Portsmouth Jingle Bell run (or if you're just feeling really ambitious - there's time to run both races that day), you can be one of 2,500 runners in Santa suits making their way down Elm Street in Manchester before the city's Christmas parade. The 3-mile race kicks off at 2:45 p.m. on Dec. 1 with a Kids' Elf Run, followed by the grown-up Santa-runners at 3:15 p.m.

-- Millennium Mile. This is the race that started it all for race director John Mortimer. The race - literally, it's a mile - is held on New Year's Day at 2 p.m. at Londonderry High School. And since it starts at 2 p.m., even the late-night New Year's Eve festivities shouldn't stand in your way. In addition to being one mile long, it's downhill. There is no better way to start off the new year than with a race.

Hope you see you out there. Happy running.

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Teresa Robinson&#';s NH Runner column appears every other week in the New Hampshire Sunday News. She can be reached at NHRunner123@gmail.com. Twitter: @teresakrobinson.

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