I'm either going to stick with blogger, but make sure all of my posts are backed-up on Word, or as many have suggested "don't use blogger!" I am exploring all of my options including Wordpress (which has always scared me). But I've also been putting a lot of though this week into podcasting. I've thrown the idea around before but I honestly just don't know where to start. I'm just finding it harder and harder to sit down at the keyboard and keep churning-out blog posts, but I never seem to have a problem talking (excessively, even to people who don't care) about my running experiences, lessons, philosophy and adventures.
So, anyway, without too much further ado, here's the restored and "fixed" to the best of my recollection race report from the Wapack and Back Trail Races (part 1)...
|One of the first climbs|
For obvious reasons, the race organizers let 50-milers drop-out and give them "credit" for a 43 mile finish should they choose not to leave the relative comfort of the finish line/aid station to tack that extra 7 miles on. From what I saw, this is the finish that most of the 50 mile runners opted for. There were 35 entries this year in the 50-miler and only 9 finished. 16 others opted for the 43 mile finish, which means 10 runners dropped completely. There were 65 entered in the 21.5 mile version, and 56 finishers. Said Steve Pero about the race:
"Wapack is without a doubt one of the most difficult trail 50 milers in the country...and I've run Zane Gray, San Juan Solstice (my absolute favorite), Jemez,Bel Monte and Pittsfield Peaks for comparison."Indeed the toughness of this race was far beyond what I could even imagine. It was also by far the most rewarding race I've ever run! As we forged-ahead up and down 5 peaks, walking some, climbing some more, running the "runnable" (loose definition) downhill sections (at first because we could, but later because it hurt too much not too). My Garmin 405 read 10750 feet of elevation gain and 11500 feet of elevation loss. Jeremy's Garmin 310 gave him 7500/7800, so even if it were say, somewhere in-between the two (or if Jeremy's was more accurate than mine) holy crap! That's some EPIC shit right there.
|The view from North Pack|
Everything started-off well enough coming off of Mountain Road in Greenfield, NH and hitting the trailhead going up and down North Pack Monadnock, everyone was keeping-up a good pace, some friends we met on the bus (yes, I said friends, it's funny, but at an event like this everyone is talkative and becomes fast friends) were hanging with us, keeping-up a good pace. When we hit the first climb up Pack Monadnock, the trail got decidedly trickier and some of our new friends took off ahead of us and some dropped back. Jeremy and I settled into a group of about 8 runner's who were keeping the same pace (generally) and kept moving forward making small talk as we passed some on the climbs and some passed us on the descents. This is where we met out nemesis of this race. We called him... Santa Claus!
Santa Claus was a sixty-something mountain goat. Running in broken-down, beat-up old running shoes, gym shorts and a cotton shirt, and carrying no hydration or nutrition. Every time he's pass us on a descent he was huffing and puffing so hard I thought he was moments away from a massive MI. I imagined we'd be carrying him off of the trail at some point. His small talk focused on the weather and conditions of years passed (he was obviously a seasoned Wapack veteran), how he hadn't trained enough this year, or how he had "nothing left in my legs for these climbs," and how he's "just not gonna make it if I keep up this pace!" We passed him on the treacherous descent of Pack going down into the first aid station, and thought we'd seen the last of him and I swear I heard him say he was going to "drop at Miller."
|The "trail" going up Pack Monadnock|
(notice the yellow triangle blaze marking the "trail")
|Summit of Pack Monadnock|
Mount Monadnock in the distance (I think)
|It's all downhill from here...|
|Coming into Miller|
As we stopped and lingered probably longer than we should have, Santa Claus came in grabbed a cup of Coke and headed back out. He was a wily veteran! We didn't give it much thought as we figured it wouldn't be a problem to catch-up to him again. We ate a couple of pb&j's which were heavenly. It was here that we were introduced to the potatoes! Plain boiled, quartered potatoes which you dip into a vat of salt and eat. Apparently they are a staple of this race (or maybe of ultra endurance events in general, I dunno) and as bad as they sound, they were awesome! Something to look forward to at each of the other aid stations...
|The Santa Claus|
Once we crossed the highway we headed-up what appeared to be an old ski area. Most sections of this trail up looked deceptively runnable. Compared with what we'd been navigating it was wide and clear of rocks, roots and debris. But it was steep! Too steep to run most of it. As we were climbing, we'd catch glimpses of Santa claus that would give us hope that we were actually making progress. At the point that we headed back into the heavily wooded trail heading up Temple Mountain, the trail became rocky again with lots of roots and heavy pine debris. The thing about Temple was that it actually has two peaks we had to summit.
|Climbing up Temple|
I recall Temple being one of the more mentally challenging sections. On the way up to what appeared to be the summit, we discussed the formation of our new team and somehow our surroundings and "Red Team" turned the conversation to the movie "Red Dawn" and we went screaming "WOLVERINES!!!" down just far enough for us to realize we had another climb steeper than the first. This was also where I realized my shoes were getting full of pine needles and starting to get a bit irritated. At one point during this summit attempt we all caught a glimpse of Santa Claus. We all thought we were going to catch him on this climb, until at once he looked back over his shoulder gave us a wink and a hearty "Ho, Ho, Ho!" as he disappeared down the other side. I swear.
(to be continued...)