Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 GAC Fat Ass 50k Race Report

January 5th, 2013
Topsfield, MA
Bradley Palmer State Forest
9:00 AM Start
(All photos courtesy of Roger Perham)

This is right before I cut off about 20 people....sorry!!

With this being my third go-round at the GAC Fat Ass 50k, I knew what to expect. A fast, well-marked course, scrumptious aid station food and many smiling happy people out there to accrue some miles during the first week of the new year.

Ian Parlin of the Trail Monsters and my training bud, Jesse Veinotte en route to a  PR

My first running of the fat ass proved to be a challenge with the weather. My second was the best weather one could ask for and the third proved to be just as comfortable. The temps were generous, hanging mostly in the upper 30's with only some icy spots to navigate. I ended up wearing my micro spikes for three laps and ditching them for last two. Nutrition consisted of a water and coke mixture, one gel and two pretzels. I have been trying to transition to only liquids for my calories, and in retrospect, it may have bit me in the end during this race.

My college buddy Bill and his boy Eric finishing up a loop

The game plan going in (weather dependent) was to go sub-4 hours and get a PR on the course. My previous times were 4:29 and 4:03, so a sub-4 was in reach I guess. 48 minutes laps was what I needed to get the job done. Now if only I can learn how to pace myself...

Lap 1 - 47 minutes (not bad)

The first lap commenced with 3 gents taking it out rather hard, and then Eric Ahern, Anthony Parillo, Mr. X and myself in hot pursuit. I think I almost caused a collision from the get go on the bottle neck. Sorry if I forced anyone into the woods!!

It was nice catching up with Anthony and spending the next 3 loops together. We shall be spending some more trail miles down in GA soon enough at the Double Top 100 come March. Also nice to chat with Eric Ahern. I saw his name on the IRUNFAR.com Strava challenge over the past weeks and knew he was racking up the mileage and ready to go for this one. Eric, a foreign language teacher, bid us adieu and reeled in the leaders during the first lap.

Me and Mr. X (sorry forgot your name!)

Overall, the first lap felt a bit quick for me even though I was just about a minute short of my goal pace.  Considering last year's 44 minute first lap, I thought I was off to a better start.

Lap 2 - 46 (slow it down!!)

For some reason I don't like to run my own race. Not sure why. Mentally, I just need to run with someone else I guess. So, Mr. X, Anthony and myself put some time on the second loop and caught up with the second place runner. Eric was nowhere in sight during all the open field sections, so we knew he was flying. I started to feel a bit winded here and knew this could be a long day.

Eric Ahern smoking this course

Lap 3 - 51 (yup, that second lap killed you.)

I started to hurt here a bit. Anthony and Mr. X pulled away quite easily on this lap and I just didn't have any juice in the tank. I spent the next lap passing some folks and using them as targets to catch. Just tried to hang on during this lap. Somehow upon completion of loop 3, I was still on pace to go sub 4, though I knew my pace was slowly diminishing.

Lap 4 - 52 (yikes!)

Took the micro spikes off before the start of this lap. Felt some hot spots and needed to address it ASAP. I figured maybe a change in footwear may boost my pace?? Not so much. Ran solo for entire lap hoping to catch a glimpse of any of the top three dudes ahead. No such luck.  Four minutes off sub 4 pace.

Lap 5 - 54 (real nice...)

Last lap should have been dubbed the "death march". My legs were tired and I had serious trouble passing people out there. They'd let me pass, waiting for me to speed up, and it was ridiculously hard to do so. Again, questioned myself why I run these races during the fifth and final loop. This is something I do quite often now it seems. Yet I keep coming back...

All in all a fun run.  I'll take a 4:10 any day and was no way disappointed with the outcome. I think I'm growing as a runner and as a competitor. Normally, I would be tear ass and upset with myself (all internally). I have come to realize that it can't be a great run everyday and that some days, I'm just not going to have it in me.

It was awesome to see so many people out there and even better to share some miles with like minded individuals. Anthony continues to impress me with the sub-4 effort and his solid 2012. Watch out for him down in GA folks! Eric seems to be only starting his ultra running career and will no doubt make some noise at this summer's TARC 100.

Anthony Parillo aka Gas Man

Roger, Roger and Gil and the rest of the GAC should be commended for once again for putting on a great event. Thank you guys. It amazes me in just the three years how much this sport is growing.

Race Results Here


  1. Anthony = "Gas Man," maybe GM for short? Perfect moniker for him.

    Good way to start 2013 - pacing is such a hard thing to get a handle on because, at the end of a race, it still hurts! 7 weeks to go!

    1. Thanks Josh. GM it is! Time to jack the TM up to 15% incline!!!

  2. Nice job on the race! ...and well described recap.

  3. It was excellent to share miles and conversation with you and Anthony, Justin. Hopefully we'll meet again this year!

    Kudos to you on a great run and fabulous 2012!!!!!!!

    Lastly, kudos to awonderful GAC team for all their time putting together this great event.

    -"Mr. X"

  4. Jeff! So sorry I forgot your name. My apologies. You ran a great race and will surely do well in your first "official" ultra soon enough. See you out on the trails soon.

  5. Great report! I had a blast that day. Those trails are fantastic. It was my first real trail race (I did the marathon), but next year I'm planning on coming back for the full 50k!

    And I see you are doing the TARC 100! I'll be doing the 50 (it will be my first ultra, ohh boy!)

  6. Thanks Chelsea! Those trails are awesome and the GAC always does a great job hosting a race. Let me know if you need help with anything (training, nutrition, advice), as I'd be glad to pass along some info. See you in June!!