Monday, July 13, 2009

Mt. Ascutney Challenge 2009

file this under "what the h$#^ was i THINKING?".

but then again, i had a blast, and can't wait to do it again.

those of you out West will easily laugh at our hills here in New England, but what they lack in height, they make up for in roots, mud, and rocks.

Saturday night we had one DOOZY of a rain/lightening/thunder/wind storm, and i was half-hoping that the race would be postponed. Sunday dawned bright and sunny, almost no clouds in the sky, and with a light breeze. Perfect racing weather.
T and B woke up and were ready to join me in this, my latest hair-brained idea. The ride was enjoyable, and we had no trouble finding the location. Cars lined the road on both sides, but we found a good spot not too far from the park's entrance. T/B waited in the car while I got my packet and their ticket for the road up the mtn. I was disappointed in the swag at all. Hammer Nutrition was a sponsor, and i kinda wanted a sample bar or something. mebbe even a sticker for my nalgene collection. nada.
i hung out with my 'crew' for a while longer, then sent them off to the top. i milled around the start area, found a sunny dry spot under a huge white pine and stretched. turned my music up and 'meditated' to DJ Sasha.
an announcement was made for all 'mountain goats' to come get their t-shirts, and i was surprised and impressed at the number of goats. i would say close to 125.
we lined up for the start around 950, and listened to the pre-race briefing, during which we were told that we had a record turn out. nice. fun to be part of that sort of thing, ya know?

at 1000, we were off. i started in the back of the pack, figuring that i would just run this at my own pace, and try not to get caught up in the rush.

++++note to self: before doing something like this again,

the road is paved, and i hate pavement. thunk, thunk, thunk. no need to think, think, think. good thing that it became OK to use headphones....
i kept looking for the 1 mile mark, thinking that i could do a 10 minute mile pace up the hill, giving me a 40-45 minute time (insert riotous laughter here). Eleven minutes, no marker, just lots of sweat and heavy breathing.
twelve minutes. maybe i missed it while wiping my eyes.
thirteen minutes.....wait. what is that little brown sign? Mile Marker One. yep. just under 14 mins for the first mile. man, this is going to be a LONG morning....

++++note to self: ummm...WATER!++++

i foolishly thought the following about water: nah, it is only 4 miles. nah, it is morning, how hot will i get? nah, i have @ least 1.5 liters in the car/backpack. nah, i haven't run with my bottle belt, so races aren't a good time to try new things, so...nah.

well, i shoulda brought flippin water. there was water at some point, mile 1.5 i think, and it was refreshing for a little while, but not as much as i needed.

I alternated between running and walking, making a VERY SLOW fartlek out of it. When i stopped running, it was for cardio-vascular reasons, not muscular fatigue. this was interesting to note.....i will have to work on cardio (bleck). i expected the trail running portion to start at mile 2, but it didn't come until mile 2.3ish. it was a mental thing at that point....i just wanted to get off the tar!
we turned off the road in a group of about 7 runners. i took off the tunes so that i could here runners wanting to pass me, which kinda bummed me out. nothing like a little Cyprus Hill or Disturbed to kick you in the butt!

The first part of the trail was downhill, which was a bummer. you KNOW you are going to pay for it, especially since the finish is at the TOP. several muddy streams, rocky scrambles, and rooted switchbacks later, we figured we were near the .75 miles to go mark. 4 of us broke away a bit and ran. i made it my goal NOT to lose this group, as about 6 runners had passed us on the trail already. I managed to keep up, and with about .25 miles left, i moved to the front and kept running. seems I had a bit more left in me than i thought, and the last quarter mile flew by. i did help that i had been on this part of the trail last fall. I passed 4 people in this last part, and managed to get across the finish line in just under an hour and ten minutes.
from the official results: 1:06:46 Gene 40 M 552 Hartford VT.

It was fantastic seeing B and T at the finish. Really made it all worth while. Turns out that they had a nice walk up, and B saw a snake. he kept talking about it all day.

Thanks for bearing with me through this recap. Next lesson learned is to bring a camera. Mebbe Santa will bring me one!

Daily total=6.5k
Month to date 27.9/100

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