The trail loop was a 10.0 miles, which would go by Summit Field twice every loop as well as Turtle Back Parking area. This course had a little bit of everything; long stretches of double-wide woods road Meandering single-wide trail, about a mile and a half stretch of pavement, and miles of soft dirt interlaced with ankle twisting rocks. If there was rain leading up to the day of the race or during the race, it would be almost impossible to avoid certain patches of mud. Good combination of level patches, rolling hills, moderate climbs, and a few very steep ascents and descents.
Distance : 50K
Finish : 6:16:13
Rank : #23 (overall)
I woke up with a 75 years old man coughing that I was that close to bail on it. Since I had not trained that much for Monument Valley 100 that coming up in a few weeks, so I obligated myself to brace this freaking cold. This snow and winter drove me crazy. So I packed 3 sets of clothing, jackets etc and drove down to Mapplewood NJ.
It was really cold that morning, probably below -25 C. The starting line was next of the parking lot, where the aid station located. I wished they had a heated covered tent for us. I ended up using my car as my drop bag and rest area. I actually hopped into my car for 10-15 minutes on every loop to change into a dry cloths and warming up for a little bit.
When I got into the starting line, I saw a few familiar faces, most of them were the Trail WhippAss-ers. I started the race with Mike Bielik (he won 1st place), who was my house mate at the TDS/UTMB 2014. We started with a really easy steady pace on the pavement, talked about upcoming races and planning to meet up at Leadville.
When we got into the trail, it was a pretty steep downhill, specially with the snow. But we did not slow down and picked up some runners. It was kinda more pain for me to run slow and careful than blast the trail and let the gravity took me. From the junction to the next aid station was a rolling hill. At that moment, I could not keep up with Mike. My ice maker nose and coughing constantly blocking my lungs’ intake. Probably this race was the most power hike/walk that I ever done in a 50K race.
After we hit the 1st aid station, which was the start and finish point, we hit another short pavement before turn left to the trail led into the Turtle Back trail. Between this point to the bridge, the course was a rolling hill which most of it was downhill. Again, I was just riding the gravity at the cost of exploding lungs and coughing. Just before the bridge, I think we got the longest steady uphill. Then, between the bridge and the 2nd aid station, I think it was the hardest part. Not because the elevation or technical trail, but it was caused by the deep soft snow where my short legs needed to do high lunge. On every loop, I had to do power hike in this section.
When I got into the 2nd aid station, there was Otto taking picture of us coming out from the trail. And there was also Elaine in the aid station table cheering us and help us with refuel our bottle and out stomach. They were awesome, they braced themselves in this frigid cold to help us to finish this race. I think they stayed and supported the runner for almost 12 hours.
The last section had a really good amount of flat section before we climbed back up into the bridge. I met with Jun Bermudez at this section on my 1st loop, and he took the 1st place for 50 milers. Again the course become an easy rolling hill until I got into the start and finish area. The point of interest I remembered from this section, was a small frozen waterfall. I wished I could stop there and did a quick climbing break.
Over all, the course was a pretty fun course. There were a plenty rolling hills that were run-able, specially if there was a less snow, so it definitely not a boring course. I just being sucky at this race, I walked more than I should be, specially on the last loop when I got the snow fall rubbing on my eyes. But I glad I managed to finish it despite the arctic weather and had a cold problem.
Who Lets The Dog Out
Quick footnote, not sure why those hikers let their dogs without leash, when they knew there was a running race. I wouldn’t mind if they could control their dog, but I don’t know if it was only me, I got jumped by dogs at least 4 times. I ended up had to stop and walked when I met those crazy dogs. Once, I got snipped by that crazy little mutt. Luckily, it only got my warm pants. Maybe they saw me as a walking skeleton, or they smelled my bacon outburst from my buttocks.