Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wapack Race Report

Or as Ryan was calling it, the JV race :) HA! But seriously, that 21.5 miles was enough for me! It was one tough trail, but a gorgeous one. Despite my pre-race thoughts of being competitive, I really didn't have it in me today. In fact, I was the most stressed at the beginning of the race when I was in with a group of people ascending North PackMonadnock. Then once I lost most of them as they zoomed down the downhill while I was tiptoeing :) (theme of the day), I settled into my own pace and all was right in the world. I was still trying to move, but I was able to notice the flowers and appreciate the trail. It really was nice woods out there! I spent the majority of the morning leap-frogging with a few guys. I'd pass them on the uphills, they'd pass me on the downhills. I'd catch up on the flats, pass them again, and get passed back. Can you tell what my weakness is? ;)

The trail was a mix of very techincal, rocky, rooty stuff, some good runnable ridgeline singletrack, wide open ledges, sandy, rocky old roads, a bit of pavement and everything in between. But above all, it was dry. There was hardly any mud out there, and thankfully, all the rocky ledges were dry, which made things much easier. There were some great views along the way, and some good mountaintop breezes. Once the clouds/fog burned off, it started to get hot, but mostly it was OK, except when the trail turned into a heat tunnel, mostly along the wide roads headed up through the woods. And then, it was HOT! Particularly brutal was the long climb up Barrett Mountain after Windblown XC Center. Luckily, I had seen Ryan and John at the aid station 12.5 miles in right before Windblown, and was able to get my inhaler - had been having trouble breathing due to congestion from my cold/allergies - and get some cold water on my neck and a bit of ice down my back. That helped a lot!

As I didn't look at a trail map or do much research on the trail overall beforehand, I couldn't really tell you how I felt on which peak, but I know I had a bad stretch heading into the 12.5 mile aid station and then again after the climb up Barrett. Luckily, after the 18 mile aid station, the trail mellowed and was very runnable, being mostly old logging roads, with the final climb up Mt. Watatic and the long descent into the finish line. Despite feeling tired and hot, I still was able to run most of it and even caught a few people in the process! After being in the congo line with Ally back at the beginning on the way up North Pack, and losing her on the descent, I never saw here again. She finished about 15 minutes ahead of me. And Kristina, well, she was off like a shot and broke the course record, finishing in 3:57. Smokin'! Pretty amazing, actually. She sure is strong.

Overall, I'd say I'm pretty happy with how things played out. It wasn't a perfect day for me and certainly not my best day in the standings, but I never expected that. I didn't have the focus I did at Run the Rock, and spent a lot of miles with the theme song from Dragon Tales stuck in my head (damnation!) and a lot of time enjoying the flowers I passed. Add in the breathing issues and the heat, and well, it wasn't the best, but in the end, really this was intended to be a solid training run, and I think I achieved that. I didn't feel totally spent at the finish line but did feel like I gave a good effort without pushing it too much. And it was really cool to run a different race in a different place. I loved that the race traversed the whole Wapack Range!

The race was low-frills and low-key but with a great vibe and the volunteers were great. I did manage to get off course twice (both at road crossings and neither for too long), but I'd say that is pretty good considering the trail was only marked as a hiking trail with no additional markings. Oh well, what's an extra few 1/10s of a mile, right?! :)

Many thanks to the RD Jesse, all the volunteers and TARC for putting on this fun race! And of course, many many thanks to Ryan for putting up with my craziness, driving me to the start, fitting in his own run and still meeting me at the aid station with what I needed and for cheering me on. Also a big thanks to John for coming out in support of all the Trail Monsters today! You are awesome and it is much appreciated! And last but not least, thanks to Irene and Dana for hanging out with Sam for the day. She had a lot of fun playing bocci and mini golf :) Ultra running may not be your typical team sport, but it sure makes it easier when you have a lot of help along the way!

Overall, the Trail Monsters put up a good showing for the day, with Ally finishing 4th woman in the 21 miler and me 5th. John B. came in 2nd overall in the 50 (!!) and Ian, Joe, Nathan and Mike all got in solid 43 mile finishes. Our friend, Carolyn, also got in a 43 mile finish after 2 previous DNFs - woohoo! Great job, guys!

Flora and fauna sightings: Saw almost all of my favorite woodland spring flowers today! It was a great trail and time of year for it! Saw a few great patches of spring beauties, trout lilies, many bluebead lilies unfurling, goldthread, wild oats, solomon's seal, painted trillium, bluets, plus some blueberry flowers blooming on the bushes up along the ridges. Not much in the way of fauna, although I did see two garter snakes slithering across the trail, and then one rose-breasted grosbeak in the brush on the way home, which is cool since I've never seen one of those before!

A few photos from the day:

The Wapack Trail

Ally and I at the start

Coming into the 12.5 mile aid station

Coming into the finish. Still smiling :)

23/56 overall
5/20 women


Anonymous said...

Congrats D! Amazing! Great race report!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a pretty good run to me :) Congrats!