Friday, September 30, 2011

Pineland Farms 50k Race Report

Sunday May 29, 2011
(Grant and I Pre-Race)
Another great morning for a run at Pineland's.  I knew cloud cover would be key since i'd be out here for a long time today.  Grant, who'd been training and I decided that today we'd run our own races.  I knew my lack of training would only slow him down, my goal in finishing around 6:15 and his goal of 5:30 just wouldn't mesh.  After a mile i knew i'd never see him again except maybe miles and miles ahead of me on one of the foolish switchbacks.  

In the first field I found myself running next to a runner i'd run with in the past named Kenny.  We ran together and talked about the races we'd already run this year and had on our plate going forward.  If there is one thing i really like about running Ultra's in New England, it's the fact that the group of people is still so small you know just about everyone after a couple of years.   I was quicker out of the aid stations than he was, but he was a much quicker runner so I wished him the best of luck and watched him disappear out of site in one of the next fields. 

The course loops back past the start finish and this year I made it quick enough where i got to see off the 25k Runners in our club.  I snapped a quick photo, and wished them all luck, and told them not to drink all of the beers before i got back. 

Grant had run through almost 15 minutes ahead of me and was looking strong.  I knew i'd never catch him so i settled back into a leisurely pace and decided i'd just enjoy the rest of the day.  It was at this point where i met up with a fella named Eric Sherman.  He was very laid back and we shot the breeze for the majority of the rest of lap one and a decent chunk of lap two.  The clouds were starting to break up and the sun was cutting through.  This was terrible news, although the sun makes the scenery much nicer, the fields are simply brutal once the sun comes out.  I slow down more and decide to stop and take photos along the course whenever i needed a break. 

(Small waterfall 3-4 miles into each lap)

(One of the many fields we run in, around, and through)

As i come back through the grove on my second and final lap I'm greeted by Leah who just finished her 25k.  She gives me a kiss and tells me that Dustin and Heather aren't too far behind.  And that Loni was a bit further back taking her time as to not cause injury before her 50k the following weekend. I get to the final mile aid station and see Grant scream through in his last mile.  He's almost 4 full miles ahead of me.  Unreal.  I tell him congrats and to go get it.  He certainly did and killed his goal and set a PR by running a 5:14.  I see Loni through the woods a few turns later and holler some words of encouragement.  From here on in it was just left, right, repeat.  My goal on the inside was to not let anyone else pass me, and it worked for a little while.  Even the few runners that would catch up to me would give me a rabbit to chase for a few turns before they'd dissapear.  Soon I was back at the final mile aid station where i saw Grant almost a full hour prior.  I had caught up to Joe Hayes, another fellow ultra runner who we always seem to cross paths with.  He's in rough shape and tells me to keep going rather than slow down and chat.  As i get close to the finish line the rest of the team is waiting for me, beers in hand, and shouting encouragement.  I trot across the finish line at 6:13:23, a pretty decent time.  Nothing special, nothing terrible.  It's about what I'm used to running.  Within a few minutes I was enjoying a nice cold beer with my buds and talking about when we were going to start the plans for 2012.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

August Recap

Week - 1
Our schedules jam packed during the week, so when our plan to escape up to Maine for the weekend went awry we decided to make the best of our local destinations.   Saturday was spent Blueberry Picking at a spot in Weare that i drive by every day, but hardly make a note of visiting.  Leah would shake her head in amazement at the amount of berries i'd eat vs put into the bucket.  Needless to say i was very full once we left.  On the ride home we stopped in at Pats Peak to give the course another shot.   Unfortunately with minimal training and the terrain being as pitched as it is, we'd yet again have to cut the lap short.  A few beers and some icepacks later we decided a nice long run in Fox Forest on Sunday would have to be in order to make up for cutting Saturday's run short.  Loni had been out running the trails earlier in the day and left us a nice message 3/4 of the way through our 10 miler
(Loni left us a Sherpa John message)

Week - 2
After last year's successful First Annual Summer BBQ I had decided to throw it again.  Mostly as an excuse to cook a stupid amount of pork and have our quarterly catch up with many of my friends that i don't see that often. I had both sides of the grill rolling.  The smoker filled with two massive pork shoulders and 3 racks of ribs.  And the grill had a dozen ears of corn and enough zucchini to make a vegan proud.  When you bring any number of my friends together inevitably someone will say, "Hey, lets do shots."

(Another party, another round of Car Bombs)

Week - 3
We spent most of the middle part of the month out on the Long Trail.  Between last week's party and next week's fat ass it would be a much needed get away and recharge.  Or at least that's what i had hoped it would have been.  Hike Recap here

(A nice morning on the LT)

Week 4
Thursday night before Fox Forest FatAss V2 I got a message from my father.  Turns out he'd be down in the area on Friday and I convinced him that he should spend the night and run some of the FA with us.  He hesitated a bit at first saying that he'd hardly run a step since the Peak Snowshoe back in March, but decided to run the first 10 miles with us.   The run went off without a hitch, unfortunately it wasn't without incident.  He ended up locking his keys in his car and had to break out a window to get in.  Guess the running gods weren't pleased that he would depart before the end.

In honor of Hurricane Irene that was to hit us the following day Loni had mapped out the course to run down Hurricane road, a road that was created in the wake of a 1936 hurricane that came through hillsboro.  Of all of the time i've been in the area and run the trails i had never run Hurricane road from end to end.  And of course, our post run beverage of choice...the hurricane! 
(Even I can do this math)

By The Numbers(2010 Numbers in Quotes):
Miles Run: 49.4 (108.5)
# of Runs: 7 (22)
Average Miles:  7.1 (4.9)

Month Starting Weight:  165 (169) Lbs
Month Ending Weight: 172 (169)Lbs
Weight Change:  +7 lbs

Race Results:
Fox Forest Fat Ass Vol 2 - 7:35

Motivational video of the month:
Song of the month:

Book of the month:

Upcoming September Events:
Pisgah 50k
Vermont 50M

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pineland Farms 10k Race Report

Saturday May 28, 2011

(Pre-Race, still smiling)
In 2010 Grant and I had run the Barefoot 5k in it's inaugural year.  This year, since Grant had been training his butt off all spring and didn't want to jeopardize his chances of a 50k PR the following day, i had to find another partner to run with.  Mandiee had expressed interest months prior in running a 10k.  I figured this would be perfect.  Rolling trails, generally cool temperatures, and a silly excuse to get boozed up later that night.  For me, it was just getting out and putting in another handful of miles to add to my meager total on the year.   

(Looking a bit more nervous just before the start)

The weather was just about perfect. It was a big muggy, but that aside, the temps were cool, the sky's were overcast, you couldn't have asked for a better day for a first 10k.  Mandiee was full of questions, "Am i ready for this?"  "What do i do?"  "What should i be eating?"  Perhaps i'm not the best person to run your first 10k with, but i think my response of, "don't worry about it, you're going to do fine."  was really sufficient.  Less than 1/2 mile into the race she says to me between puffs, "You aren't going to make me run this fast the whole time are you?"  I simply smiled and said, "maybe, at least we'd be done faster right?"  

The ultra runner in me always wants to walk the hills, so of course i did at the first "major" climb. (Major in quotes because it's simply perspective and Pineland's is timid by comparison.  While I enjoy the break, i forget about how long Mandiee's legs are and she can easily out hike me.  Fortunately she's breaking into her own personal barriers as she runs beyond any distance she has run in the past.  "I can't do this, can we stop?" I give her a GU Packet and tell her to scarf it down, drink her water, and "Smile, it's a great day to be in the woods, soak it all up!"  How would i live to regret those words the following day. 

(Almost there)
With only a few climbs to go I ask if she can smell the BBQ.  Or hear the music or the roar of the finish line.  Poor thing, she's in her own little world.  I think trying to not lash out at my positivity in a time of great pain and suffering.  I tell her she's got plenty of gas left in the tank and we could catch that woman in the red shirt.  Next thing we knew we were picking off other runners that were burning out at the end.  I tell her that she's made it and all she's got to do is sprint it in.  "No f-ing way!"  and then takes off running.  Her long stride making me regret poking the bear.  

(Finish Line Sprint)

We crossed the finish line is a very respectable 1:09:06.   We grab our water bottles from the little boys volunteering at the end of the shoot and she finds the first open spot to lay down.  For a trail race, and a first timer running a 10k she did fantastic.  I think plans for the 25k are in the works for 2012!

(Can i stop running now?)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Long Trail Section #2 - Part 4

Emily Proctor Shelter - Lincoln Gap (9.7 Miles)

It's another late start from Emily Proctor.  As soon as i woke up i could feel the tension in the air.  It seemed like everyone was a bit stressed about the weather ahead and the long day planned for tomorrow (16 miles).   While i go about my morning ritual no one offers to pump anyone else's water.  I'm just watching to see how this will unfold because I've pumped the water for everyone, every day up to this point.   Loni pumps her own water and splits.  Leah is rushing trying to get her pack together so we can catch up. I tell her to relax and we'll catch her on our own time.  

Before long we're off down the trail. or in this case, UP the trail.  From Emily Proctor you start a long climb up to the top of Wilson Mtn.  Warmed up in the middle of the day, it probably wouldn't have seemed so bad.  But first thing, with cold legs and a sore back, it was a big of a wake up call.  I put some distance between myself and Leah figuring that the three of us would all meet back up at a vista that was a few miles into the hike.   I caught up to Loni and just that vista.  Looking back at Killington it was pretty neat to see how far we had come in a few days. Especially cause we didn't see half of it in the rain and fog.  Leah caught up about 5 min later and looks distressed.  "I've already taken 8 painkillers."

We tie up here knee and move on at a crawl of 1 mile per hour.  A yelp every now and again from Leah depending on how she stepped was all that was said in the next couple of miles.  We grumbled at the soupy muddy trail.  Soon we all spot Moose tracks in the mud.  And they are surprisingly fresh.  I ponder if Rocket saw him as he zipped up the trail earlier or if we were actually closer then we thought. 

(Moose tracks in the mud)

While snapping the above photo another NOBO screamed passed us.  He said we must have been at Emily Proctor last night because our tracks were pretty fresh.  Then he noticed the moose track and said, "hmm, those too actually."  I told him to scare him off the trail for us and before the next turn he was well out of sight.   A mile or two later a couple sectioning south updated us on the trail ahead.  "It's not any better up there is it?  Nope, Dang it, well i won't lie to you and tell you the trail gets any better behind me either."   The climb up Cleveland is brutal, but nothing compared to how quickly it descended.  There wasn't even a nice vista to enjoy at the top.  One minute we were climbing, next we were descending.  Another disappointment of the peaks in this southern section, the lack of vistas.  A few quick steep switchbacks later we were eating lunch at Cooley Glenn.  The decision had been made. We would leave the trail at Lincoln Gap.  So i decided it was time to gorge and ate my biggest lunch of the week consisting of tuna, a cliff bar, AND beef jerky.  It was quite a treat sitting there in the sun.

(The Gals at Cooley Glenn Shelter)
After convincing Leah to NOT take more pain killers it was a .8 mile climb to the top of Grant Mtn.  The last significant climb of the day.  I'm in good spirits, full of food mid-day for the first time all week. I blast ahead knowing the end is near.  I no time we're on the rock outcrops of the summit of Grant mountain.  Although, if you didn't know you that these were at the top, you'd keep hiking and start to descend like i started to.  Leah tried called a few people in hopes to bail us out. No luck.  I'm torn. I feel bad that her knee is hurting as much as it is, but when i suggested we call people last night when cell service was actually good i was scoffed at.  And now, cell service is spotty at best and no one is answering and part of me is like, good, see, told you so. We drop down from Grant into a couple of neat groves.  You can tell there are old pastures or orchards as the trees were widely spread and ferns were three feet high.   We'd pause from time to time to snack on trail mix and point out a neat tree.  Before too long were were climbing up the last small climb to Sunset Ledges.  A viewpoint that opened up vastly to the west and where we hoped we'd be able to get a hold of our taxi out of the woods.
(Snack at the  Sunset Ledges)
No answer, then no service, then full service, then no service.  It was frustrating at best.  I looked to my old buddy Ramon up in VT.  Thinking he might be able to come down and help us off the trail.  Having lived only 3 miles from where our destination was originally going to be and he was semi familiar with the area.  That and he had some LT experience when several years before he roomed with a LT Thru hiker and did a little Trail Angel-ing at the time.   After leaving him a voice mail we plunged into Lincoln Gap.  I knew we'd have to walk one  way or another out of the gap to get service. I looked at the map and made the call.  To Lincoln we go, turn your phones on and we'll hope for the best. It was 3.4 miles to Lincoln. Down a long gravel and pavement road. 
(Death March down Lincoln Gap Road)

Thank goodness a mile down the road we hit a Verizon pocket and got service for five feet.  Ramon was an hour away and heading to pick us up.  Hot dog.  Things were looking up, even though Leah's gate had gone from a painful full stride to a short limp with a lot of tears.    An hour and 3 miles later we were just outside of Lincoln and Ramon drove up in his rescue vehicle.  Good thing too, as there wasn't a THING in Lincoln aside from the post office.  It would have been a long walk to the next town hitching.

Quote of the day:
"Don't take this the wrong way, but you guys fucking stink"


Much Like the 2010 Section hike on the LT the last day post-trail wasn't without incident.

After Ramon dropped us back off at my truck and gave us virtual hugs (we stunk too bad to hug us directly).  We headed south.  The pace of people was unbelievable.  Even in podunk Vermont the pace was out of this world.  After almost getting into two accidents for doing nothing but driving the speed limit in a lane that i had every legal right to be in we got off the highway.  Berlin had a restaurant, i recalled it from my years at VTC and i was right.  Within 5 minutes we were at an Applebees for some real non-dehydrated food for the first time in 4 days.  Now sure, Applebee's isn't AMAZING, but after eating space food that you needed to add boiling water in for 4 nights straight it was bliss.   After we had dominated the appetizer combo and put a dent in each of our entree's we were Killington bound to pick up Loni's car.

The Girls tried to nap while I tried to stay awake crusing down I-89.  I was zoning out behind a truck and trailer when...BAM!! A piece of cord wood kicked up from the trailer's tire and smashed into my windshield.  I thought for sure it was going to shatter and we were going to get into an accident.  It was very much like a youtube video from earlier this year (   Thankfully somehow my windshield didn't bust, but my chest certainly felt like it did.  That a wake up call you can't get from any Dunkin Donuts.  The wood hit it just right and bounced off, if you can call it that, although i did get a nice dent and scratch on my hood.  By 2am and without incident we finally pulled into the driveway.  It was nice to be home.  Overall it was a rough stretch of trail this year.  So bad that I wonder what will happen in the future.  I know i'll thru-hike again, but boy, this week left a terribly bad taste in my mouth.