So enough about my issues, on to the race.
TARC Spring Thaw 6 Hour - Andover, MA - Harold R. Rafton Reservation
First and foremost, I must thank Emily Trespas and her crew of volunteers (Scott J, Steve L, Paul Y, and a slew of others the I failed to get names from) for doing a superb job in a first year event. Logistically, things couldn't have been more in-line and on-time.
Seventy-five racers hit the trail at 9:00am with a howl to start the festivities (for this is a trail animals event!). Myself and Clint Morse took the lead up the driveway and onto the trail. We ran conservatively for the first mile or so, then I think we thought we were racing the 5k (oh wait, this is a 6 hour event....). Clint was right on my heels and kept saying, "you lead, I'll go way too fast if I'm in front". Me thinking, "I'm already going way too fast, what the hell am I doing???".
We finished the first four 3.5 mile loops in sub-30 minute blocks. I'm not completely sure of the splits, but I think a couple were even in the 27-28 minute range. The loop consisted of rolling single track, some mud, some old carriage road, more mud, a few power line crossings, mud, a campfire, and finally more mud on a lollipop shaped course.
Something to note, after the second loop, I needed to do a shoe change (which were conveniently located in my car!). I started with my trusty Tecnica Diablo Max right out of the box (this years' model) and began to get hot spots within the first loop (I know...idiot move). I knew I had to change out (grabbed last years' model) and ran fine the rest of the day. I did this once prior at the Ghost Train Ultra 100 (right out of the box, same model and make I had been training in all year) and had no issues. Not sure if they changed up the shoe but I need to address this.
During the 5th loop Clint tailed off and I had the lead to myself. It was nice to see friendly faces seemingly right around every bend in the trail. I'd see someone and try to catch up and pass as quickly as I could. I find, when I run alone in the lead or anywhere in the field, I tend to slow quite a bit, so this strategy worked quite well.
The temps got warmer around this point and it began taking its toll on me. I was almost crawling now when I caught up to my boy Ben (former student of mine) and we casually exchanged how terrible we felt (misery loves company at its best). We had done a 3 hour training run the weekend prior on some of our local trails and it felt very similar. Good conversation, some laughs, and we were both somewhat out of the funk.
I'm not sure what lap it was (must have been the heat!) but I pulled ahead of Ben and just took off. I knew my lead was shrinking and I started to feel real good. So off I went, solo again, but a break-neck speed. I think this lap (maybe 7 or 8) gave me enough time to get my 10th and final lap in. I hit the aid-station right at 5 hours after my 9th loop and new I could easily get one more lap in.
So, 38 minutes later I finished the loop and spoke with Emily to see if I needed to go back out to secure the lead. She said all racers behind me did a short one mile out-and-back and can no longer get any more miles. That was all I need to "tap out".
With my first timed event in the bag, I would say I'd definitely do it again. I had my doubts with the multiple loops and boredom setting in (it never did, which is interesting) and may search out some more in this area. Again, Emily and the TARC gang did an awesome job in this first year event. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to hit the trails for an extended period of time.
Got to give a shout out to my supporters Tecnica Trail Running and New England Backpacker. They helped my through this training period and another podium finish.
Other things to note for training purposes:
- Drank water the first 3 loops then switched to half water/coke for the rest
- Ate only two gels the entire race
- Ate a handful of chips, a few pretzels, and 5 potato wedges with salt the entire race
- Went from 160lbs race morning to 154lbs post-race
- Salt stains visible on shirt and face (possibly the worst its been)
- Ingested only 6-8 S caps total
- No cramping during race, slight cramping post-race
|A gift to myself post-race|
|My prize, a yeti, handmade by RD Emily Trespas. My daughter will love this!!!|