First of all the race was 15 miles, not 14 miles! And, it was the first day in weeks that had not been 80-90% humidity and hot. BONUS. I woke up at 4:15am, ate some breakfast and was in my car by 5am to head to Goshen, Vermont for the inaugural Moosalamoo Ultra. I signed up for the 14 miler and was ready to go! I have not run many trail races and those that I have had been with friends so I was doing this solo and was a little nervous. But, once I got in the car and headed out, I was fine. I got to the Blueberry Hill Inn, race headquarters at 6:30am...thought it was going to take me longer to get there but that was fine. I went in the ski center and checked in, got my race number (19), tshirt, GU, and hand carved moose (!). All of a sudden I turn around and I felt like I was in the midst of rock stars. Joe Desena of Spartan Race walks in with Chris Davis and Don Devaney, people I have been wanting to meet. Joe is one of the two founding members of Spartan Race. The other founder is Andy Weinberg who I have mentioned often in my posts, who has helped me in past races and who also ran the race. Chris Davis moved up here from the south, at one point weighed 700 pounds and is currently down to 300. He carried a 25 pound sand bag through the entire race. Don Devaney is a Death Racer and Vermonter and carried a 100 pound sand bag throughout the race, switching mile for mile with a 60 pound rock with Joe. Insanity. I saw other familiar faces from the Peak Races, met Nick Yardley, a Vermonter who completed Western States this year, my friend Margaret Schlachter of Dirt in Your Skirt, Michelle Roy, a Death Racer and who completed 380 miles of the 500 mile Peak Ultra Race this year, and the lists keeps going. Any nerves I had going into the race were gone. I was so excited to meet these people and embraced it! I went up to them and introduced myself and chatted with them before the race. I was not intimidated by the fact that I was a back of the pack runner compared to these people. I let their experience and strength fuel me for the day.
At 7:50am we all gathered for the pre-race meeting lead by race director, John Izzo. He gave us the scoop about the flagging along the race, aid stations, stinging nettle warnings, etc. And, then we were off!
|cloudy, cool 55 degree morning. Perfect weather!|
|Race headquarters. Have not been in a few years!|
Great cross country skiing.
|John Izzo, race director giving the pre-race scoop.|
Quickly, the pack separated into fast and slow runners. I tried not to let my ego get to me "shit, I am near the end of the pack!" I quickly reminded myself that I had not trained extremely hard for it and that I my running "career" is only two years old. So, I kicked myself in the ass and said "move on". So, I chatted it up with some people in the back of the pack for a bit while we ran the first 2ish miles on the dirt road and separated once we hit the trails. At that point I was on my own and loving the trails. Immediate blast of energy once I got into the woods. On the way up, I passed Chris Davis who was carrying the sandbag, stopped and took a pic of him and said hellos and kept on trucking up Mt. Moosalamoo. The temperature was so cool and it was shady in the woods with a light breeze. It was so refreshing to be in that environment after being in the heat and humidity for the past couple months.
|Chris Davis and the 25 pound sandbag! He carried it the whole way|
and finished his first half marathon. Nice work!
Finally, I got to the summit and then it was time to go down the mountain. I am a downhiller and love cruising down the slope! I passed a few people and eventually saw Don and Joe with their million pound sandbag which at that point I had no idea was 100 pounds. It looked effortless so I thought it was 25-30 pounds or maybe 50. Yeah, they don't mess around so it makes sense that it was 100 pounds. They asked if I had seen Chris and said yes but it was a while back and was not sure if he had made it to the ridge yet.
|Summit view. Vermont is awesome.|
|Don Devaney and Joe Desena with the rock and sandbag. Wow.|
They had gone 11 miles at this point.
I got going again and made it to the first full aid station. All the volunteers of the race were so helpful and pleasant. I had a few chips and continued a couple more miles to the campground. This was a beautiful section along Sucker Brook. My legs were tiring a bit...it was about 8 or 9 miles at this point. So, I ate some of my snacks and walked a bit. This is where I wished I had done more training because this section was fairly flat and I wished my legs were more fresh to run it. I eventually got to the road and came to another aid station. Here we were to run a one mile out and back on the Catamount Trail through the only mud and stinging nettles on the course. The only bonus of being towards the end of the pack was that the nettles were trampled down and I did not get stung, BUT the mud was thick because of 90 other people running through it before me and I sunk up to my shins a couple times. What's a trail run without nettles and mud, right?
|My green and orange sneaks after the mud pits.|
|Boring picture of a road? Yeah, heading back to the finish.|
Vermont roads are pretty but I was ready for the road slog to be done.
| Margaret, Andy and I after I finished. These guys|
are big inspirations in my trail running life.
This was a day to remember Faye and to try a solo race. I had a couple moments on the trail remembering the experience of Faye's birth and death. I came away from the day happy for what I had accomplished and a list of things I want to work on. And, I was happy I got home in time to have dinner with my sweet family and tell them about my day. Gratitude.
Goals for running:
1. Get a better hydration pack! The one I have is too long for my torso. And too bulky.
2. Don't carry so much! Rely on the aid stations more. I know this slowed me down. I am so used to hiking and carrying stuff that I forget this is a different gig.
3. Train harder. I know I can finish these races, at least so far I have, but I would like to get a little faster now.
4. I want a running coach to help me!
5. Keep signing up for these races to keep me healthy and to meet awesome, inspiring people!
Gratitude, and that's right....