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Downtown Temple,NH

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Applefest Half Marathon Pictures

I was in Hollis,NH this morning for the Applefest Half Marathon, not to run but to help out with course setup and work the water stop just after mile 6. For the 2nd year in a row I had a fine crew from the Hollis-Brookline High School sophomore class helping out (Harry Potter theme this year). Heck, they were so good I didn't hand out a single cup of water and instead decided to take some pictures.....a LOT of pictures!

700+ pictures, the most I've ever taken. If you ran Applefest chances are I got a photo of you right after the 6 mile mark. Previous years I've been at mile 10 or 12 and at times the race can look like a death march. Not this year. The first half of Applefest is mostly flat or downhill so the runners were in fine spirits by the 6 mile mark. Lots of smiling, happy runners!

Applefest Photo's

Patrick Moulton was the first runner through, with Scott Rowe about 1 min 20 sec back (at the 6 mile mark). They stayed that way until the end (results).

The race has sold out every year since 2003 (1200+ runners this year), but this year I noticed only 900 finished. Seems like a pretty high dropout rate. Odd.

Applefest does have some special meaning for me personally. I started running again (after nearly 10 years of being a slug) in August of 2000. My first mile back was around a 12 min pace. About 7 weeks later I signed up and ran my first half marathon (Applefest). What the heck was I thinking?? I finished in a respectable 1:41:44 (7:46 pace) and promptly told my wife never to let me do that again. Later that month I signed up for my 1st marathon (Vermont City). I've had this running problem ever since. I blame my wife :-)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stone Cat Course Preview

In November I'll be doing my first trail marathon (Stone Cat), put on by the folks at G.A.C. The marathon is actually the short race of the day, with a 50 miler going on at the same time. I am told if you want to do your 1st 50, this is the place to do it. The volunteers and support crews are top notch and the course is very runnable. Well just because I was told that doesn't mean I'm going to do it. I mean, it's 50 friggin miles! So, I opted for the shorty.

The course is a 12.5 mile clockwise loop run entirely in Willowdale State Park in Ipswich,Ma. The marathon does 2 loops (plus a little extra at the start to spread runners out and get you to 26.2 miles), and the 50 milers do 4 loops. I emailed the RD to see if he had a course map (Mike Wade and I had planned to run the course on Thursday) and he offered to run with us instead. Even better!

I headed over after work and met up with several folks who were running the course. We would start at the south side of the forest (around the 4.5 mile mark). There were seven of us total, and I think 4 were G.A.C. members. Marty Sullivan (RD) was our guide and led us around the course, providing tons of detail about the course (aids stations, hills, wet sections, etc). The G.A.C. members were full of stories and kept us entertained for the 2 hr run.
We were joined by Chris, Al, Jim, Mae and Peter.

The crew heading down one of the carriage roads

As trail races go, this course is pretty tame. It's a nice mix of single track and carriage roads, but I'd say a bit more single track. The trails weren't overly rocky or rooty (except a couple of short sections), and only 1-2 spots that were even remotely wet. One section you could run around the water/mud, the other section was a little tougher (about 3 miles in). Other than that, the trails were dry. This course is 100% runnable.

Typical single track

There were a couple of short climbs up small hills, but most of the course was relatively flat. There were plenty of turns though. I am told the course is extremely well marked on race day (even though we got off course 2-3 times during the run).

Afterwards Marty handed out a new course map along with wheel-measured turn by turn directions. I think he plans to post these on the G.A.C. website but I've included them below just in case. He also is planning a couple more training runs on the course over the next few weeks so if you're interested keep an eye on their website.

Stone Cat Course Map

Stone Cat Course Directions

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mind Games

I stumbled across this video on Youtube and it got me wondering. Is this for real? Does our stride really change this quickly just by taking off our shoes?? The audio isn't great but I find the video fascinating. I love the side by side analysis.

I know I run like that with shoes on. I have plenty of race pictures to prove it. I don't know for sure how I run barefoot. In my mind I think I run this way, but maybe it's just my brain playing mind games.

In my continued quest to avoid getting injured, it does make me wonder if our shoes are at fault. Doesn't mean I'm going to be racing barefoot anytime soon though.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reach the Beach 2009


Mine Falls Milers - Team #8

Another RTB is in the books (my 5th)! This continues to be my favorite race (event?) of the year and this year it was pretty darn near perfect. Sunny, cool temps, no injuries, no lost runners, no complaints (well, except for that dumb ass van going 5 mph, refusing to pull over even with a parade of vans piling up. I think I remember yelling words of encouragement as we went by.)

This year we moved up into the 3:30pm start time (after getting annihilated in the 4pm start last year), but had similar results early on....DFL. Not a problem though and we took it in stride. Frank wasn't exactly dogging it, averaging 6:10's for the 8 mile opening leg. Although last in our start group early on, it wasn't as bad as last year. In 2008 we started with the last group of the day. Within 10 seconds of the start we were officially DFL in the entire race, acting as race sweeper, officially closing down the transitions as we went by. We ran alone (no runners in sight!) for nearly 7 hours before we finally passed our first runner. It was not fun.

Frank on leg 1, alone and last

This year we'd be starting with our competition, team Hey Bud! and team The Free Radicals. Hey Bud was a new team and we chatted a bit before the start. They were a bunch of Wake Forest Alumni runners, nice guys and they wanted to win (Mens Masters division). Most of us were pretty sure we'd be racing for 2nd this year.

The strength of our team is our depth. We have no ringers. We could probably switch 10 out of 12 guys to any legs and not miss a beat. Kind of makes it easy assigning legs. In fact, this year I think more effort was put into making sure we had different legs from previous years. We do put some effort into our magical spreadsheet and are generally slaves to the spreadsheet once the race starts. Every effort must be made to beat your predicted time otherwise you'll hear it from the 11 other runners. No mercy, no 'nice try', nothing but a beat down. On the flip side, if you beat your time by too much you'll be accused of sandbaggin' your 1/2 marathon time. If you need a pat on the back or words of encouragement to make you feel good, you've joined the wrong team. The key to success on this team is to run like we think you should run, not how you think. We'll let you know if you did a good job :-)

I know it sounds serious but it really isn't. Our motto is "We'll trash talk our team so you don't have to". It can be funny as heck sometimes. Run too slow and we'll threaten to send you to our retirement team: Grumpy Old Men. It's where Mine Falls Miler go when they get old and slow...well at least old (come on, it's a 50+ team, lighten up). Run too fast and you'll earn a trip to van 1 next year (van 1 runs about 20 more miles than van 2).

I was in van 2 this year (runner 7) since I didn't meet the height requirement for van 1. I'd also be running three brand new legs (for me), leg 7, 19 and 31. After a pasta dinner at the Spaghetti Shed, we headed over to Attitash Ski Area, the start of my first leg. Van 1 was smoking, averaging 6:09's for the first 37.8 miles, 13 minutes ahead of schedule. Unfortunately team Hey Bud was also smokin' and probably had 10-15 minutes on us, maybe more. I'd be running my first two legs in the dark. I headed out at 7:22pm for my 7.2 mile run down to Echo Lake State Park. No warm up, zero to max heart rate. I passed a few runners in the middle but mostly I was all alone. Most legs are like that. With 3000 to 4000 runners you'd think you'd have the opportunity to run with someone but it just doesn't happen. Being a relatively faster team we do pass alot of runners along the way but we rarely run with anyone. I personally like to be pushed (by other runners) and find these types of races very hard mentally. 45:40 later I was done, with an average pace of 6:19. Van 2 continued on through the night as we made our way to the Kenneth Brett School in Tamworth 31.6 miles away. Van 2 averaged 6:30's during our first set of legs, staying 13 minutes ahead of schedule. By this time team Hey Bud was clearly kicking our butts with probably a 20 minute lead. We were pretty sure we were in 2nd, with the Free Radicals not far behind.

Rest during a 24hr race is a relative term. Some sleep, most don't. There really isn't a lot of downtime when your not running. By the time you actually get to the next Vehicle Transition Area (VTA), get settled and ready to sleep, you really only have about 3 hrs until we need to get ready to run again. It was nearly midnight when we finally got to New Hampshire Technical College in Laconia. At 2:45am I would get my wake up call from van 1. Mike was due in at 3:05am so I had to hustle. Nothing gets me ready to run like sleeping outdoors in 40 degree weather, waking up and changing in the parking lot, and meandering down to the transition area in just enough time to see Mike coming in....all at 3am. No warm up, zero to max heart rate once again. Van 1 had cooled off a bit, only managing 6:43's over the last 38.7 miles and dropping to 11 1/2 minutes ahead of schedule. We were no longer watching for team Hey Bud. Maybe they thought we needed more rest. I guess van 2 would have to make up some time.

My second leg (leg 19) was relatively short, finishing the 4.3 miles in 27:21 with another 6:19 average. Van 2 would cover a lot of ground during our second legs (39.5 miles) as we ran through Belmont, Gilmington, Barnstead, Pittsfield, Epson and finally Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown. We would average 6:41's. It was 8:30am and we were hungry. We did manage to get our overall time back up to 17 minutes ahead of schedule, however.

Tim finishing up leg 23

Steve 1/2 way thru leg 24

Tent city at Bear Brook State Park

After we left Bear Brook we headed over to the Henry Moore School in Candia (T26) for some breakfast. In my opinion, this is one of the best food stops on the course with the local fire dept cooking up a mighty fine breakfast. With the help of GPS we then made the quick trip to Kingston for our final rest of the day (T30) arriving shortly after 9am. Most of us laid down in the grass directly across from the transition area and watched the other teams come through. We would pay special attention to the faster runners, checking their team numbers and then checking their start time and race category. With a staggered start, you don't always know who your competition is. Around 11am we saw a fast runner. A quick check and we discovered they (Haverford College Honor Goats) were a masters team that started at 3pm (1/2hr before us). If Mike didn't get here by 11:30am we'd be in 3rd place.

Mike arrived at 11:36am. Van 1 had run 37.4 miles with a 6:34 pace, increasing our time to 20 minutes above predicted. They were done for the day. Once again, van 2 would have to be the hero's and reel in the Honor Goats if we wanted 2nd place. No friggin way we were going to make up 6 minutes....I was happy with 3rd place. Surprisingly I was still feeling pretty good. My legs were a little stiff not but really sore.

My final leg (leg 31)

I was ready to run as the freakishly tall Mike handed off to "I look smaller in the photo than I really am" me. I had 6.7 miles to go, mostly with a tailwind. Apparently I was so fast that Denis wasn't quite ready when I got there 42:35 later, (with an avg pace of 6:21). As Steve T would say, we danced around a bit at the transition, not the best example on how to hand off.
We had our van 1 drop off our next 2 runners in advance. We were concerned our runners would actually beat the van to the transitions since the legs were only 2.2 miles and 2 miles respectively. As it turned out we made it in time (barely).

Denis handing off to Brad at T32

John finishing leg 34

We were all running well during our third legs. Well, everyone except Denis. He had a brutally hard 2.2 mile leg (which he claimed was hilly). Maybe he was just going slow so he wouldn't beat the van to the transition. Thanks Denis! Everyone was running well above predicted pace (except Denis). Brad, John and Tim all had nice runs. Steve T was running our anchor leg. After a slow start on his first leg he seemed to be coming around. We all hoped he had a good run otherwise he was off to the glue factory (aka Grumpy Old Men). Steve would run his fastest leg of the day and finished strong averaging 6:20's. Van 2 would run a measly 22.4 miles in the final 6 legs but we would average 6:23's.

Just before 2pm we finished at Hampton Beach State Park. Hey Bud got the Masters victory in a time of 21:55:15 (6:20 avg), 6th overall. We managed to make up some time and finished with a respectable 2nd place (3 minutes ahead of the Haverford College), with a time of 22:29:11 (6:30 avg), 8th overall out of 400 teams. There was a little drama at the finish as Hey Bud was initially hit with a 2hr penalty. It took nearly an hour to find out where the penalty allegedly took place (T34). However, a phone call to T34 found no record of an infraction so the penalty was dropped. We were glad since we didn't want to win because of a penalty. They beat us fair and square, plus they seemed like good guys. Congrats to them.
Complete results can be found here.
I took a bunch of photos, mostly of van 2. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: Although we (me) give the Grumpy Old Men a hard time, they are in fact a very talented 50+ team made up of fellow Gate City Striders. They finished this years race 25th overall, 1st in their division and would have placed 3rd in the 40+ teams (Super Masters) and 5th in the 30+ teams (Masters). Pretty impressive for a bunch of old farts!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Reach The Beach - Early (unofficial) Results

Updated with unofficial results:
These were the results as of 3pm Saturday. I think we probably ended up in 8th overall since team Hey Bud! initially was whacked with a 2hr penalty (as shown below). After an appeal the penalty was dropped, and they should have moved up to 6th overall. Official results have not been posted as of Sunday morning.
NOTE: pace is also off on these unofficial results. They are based on a 200 mile course. The official RTB distance was 207.4 miles.

unofficial results as of 3pm Saturday

The Mine Falls Milers finished 7th overall out of 417 teams. We were outmatched by a bunch of Wake Forest Alumni runners (Team Hey Bud!) in the masters division but did manage to squeak out 2nd place with a come from behind effort in the last 6 legs. Congrats to Team Hey Bud!, nice job.

2009 Mine Falls Milers
Denis, Brad, Bill, Frank Mike, Tom, Tim, Steve, Steve, John, Earl, Mark

This was probably our best team performance as well. Our finishing time of 22 hr 29 min and 11 seconds (for the 207.4 mile course) converts to a team average pace of 6:30 min/mile. Pretty impressive for a team who's average age is north of 40. More later once I get some rest.

Oh, and Team Hello Kitty won with a time of 20:22:58 (5:54 avg). Nice job guys.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reach the Beach - Masters Division (Men's) - UPDATED

UPDATED with runner profiles

Tomorrow our team (Mine Falls Milers) heads up to Cannon Mt for the start of the 11th annual Reach the Beach Relay. Last year we won the Mens Masters division with a narrow victory over The Free Radicals. They return again this year along with 33 other teams, all looking to knock us to the curb. Not so fast guys, we've returned and we've reloaded with 4 new members this year.

2009 Mine Falls Milers:
  1. Frank Pilhofer - Last years fastest runner, stealth trainer, claims to be German.
  2. Bill Newsham - Member of GBTC, lives in Ma. and we still let him on the team. He must be fast. Part of the van 1 6'6" club.
  3. Mark Wimmer - For the first time ever Mark didn't get the hardest leg. That just means he's not the fastest anymore. Doubles as a weatherman, says it won't rain. Also part of the van 1 6'6" club.
  4. Earl Thomas - We had to go all the way to Rhode Island to get our newest runner. We hope he has short legs since his freakishly tall van mates will occupy most of the van space.
  5. Tom Varick- Normally part of GDTC (the evil running empire across the mighty Merrimack), Tom leaves his colors behind in the Derry area (ba da bump, get it?) and joined our team without meeting us (which was key to getting him to sign on).
  6. Mike Wade - The true architect behind the team, our captain who's responsible for signing on the new guys (so we know who to blame if they suck!), part of the van 1 6'6" club.
  7. Steve Wolfe - Allowed to run in spite of his weak ass attempt of a blog, winner of the "I run closest to my predicted time" 3 years running.
  8. Denis Tranchemontagne - Runner up in the fastest runner from 2008, once called Mr. 5k, still can't spell or pronounce his name, makes great cookies!
  9. Brad Pechacek - 2nd year MFM, still waiting for him to speak his 1st words, the only guy who hasn't given me crap about something (although he's in my van this year, that may change!)
  10. John Green - Pulled out of retirement for one more chance at the title (I think we got him when we told him the prize was a pack sack), referred to as The Snowman.
  11. Tim Burke - Got him to sign on early before he had a chance to know us. The new Mr. 5k, thinks 5 miles is a long run, has short legs so he's in van 2.
  12. Steve Tomasi - He knees no introduction, our own senior moment, he tri's hard all summer (I got a million of them!), the true anchor of the team
Looking forward to a competitive crawl to the finish!

11 teams return from 2008 (18 total teams ran in 2008, compared to 35 this year). 11 different states are represented in the masters division alone.

I believe there are over 400 teams signed up to run this year as this race continues to grow in size and popularity. The race actually sold out in March, believe it or not.

I've done 200 mile-24 hr relays in Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin and this is still my favorite race. It is also one of the hardest (course wise). You would think running from the mountains to the ocean would be all downhill. Ha! Guess again. It's nice to have a race like Reach the Beach in our own backyard.

Good luck to all the teams!

The competition:

Bib # Start Time Team Name Location State
326 7:30 AM Team Kate Pembroke MA
81 8:20 AM Carpe Beachem Hampton NH
215 8:40 AM Moose Tracks 2009 Litchfield NH
5 8:40 AM Running Revelers Rochester NH
342 9:20 AM Team Sufferfest Cos Cob CT
332 10:00 AM Team Motherhaus South Boston MA
273 10:20 AM Run Rest Repeat Sunapee NH
187 11:00 AM Krulik's Revenge Cambridge MA
234 11:00 AM One Track Minded Bedford NH
249 11:00 AM Plodding Buffaloes Bethlehem PA
64 11:20 AM Better on the way down Brooklyn NY
282 11:20 AM More Cowbell Rutland VT
246 11:20 AM Pimp my Stride Charlotte NC
403 11:20 AM WDH Barrington NH
340 11:20 AM Team Solid Cambridge MA
111 11:40 AM Dead Last Ducks Fairfield CT
219 12:00 PM Muddy Bisquits Duxbury MA
360 12:00 PM Kicking Asphalt Granby CT
222 12:20 PM Night Crawlers Sudbury MA
300 12:40 PM Sons of Beaches Each Greenwich RI
95 1:00 PM Commotion to the Ocean North Andover MA
132 1:20 PM Fellowship of the Bubblewrap Somerville MA
266 1:20 PM Old School West Hartford CT
194 1:20 PM Liquid Carb Road Racers North Reading MA
264 2:00 PM River Runners Class IV Exeter NH
352 2:20 PM The Chronic Waltham MA
77 2:20 PM Bushwacker Wells ME
30 2:40 PM Rank and Vile Ipswich MA
191 2:40 PM Lehigh Alumni Buffalo Soldiers Convert Station NJ
123 2:40 PM ERC - The Beach or Bust Glen Ridge NJ
11 3:00 PM Haverford College Honor Goats Rockport MA
75 3:00 PM Broomcorn's Uncle Winchester MA
163 3:30 PM Hey Bud!!! Moscow ID
8 3:30 PM Mine Falls Milers Nashua NH
3 3:30 PM The Free Radicals Portsmouth NH

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pisgah 23k Trail Race

Update - added elevation profile and overview map
Today was my 4th consecutive weekend of trail racing (10m, 6k, 17.5m and 23k distances). I'm not a big believer of tapering for my weekend excursions so during this period I also maintained my typical weekly mileage. I have to admit, I'm a little tired, and felt it today early on in the race. Reach the Beach is coming up at the end of the week so I'm going to have to force myself to take a couple of days off (not taper) and rest up. Ok, now on to today's race!

The Pisgah 23k takes place in New Hampshire's largest state park, and one I've never heard of. Heck, I can't say I've heard of Chesterfield either (the location of the start/finish). In case you were wondering, Chesterfield is about 10 miles due west of Keene, and just a couple of miles from the Vermont border.

There were two races today, a 23k short course and a 50k long course. I opted for the short course today. Since both races started together and followed the same course for the first couple of miles, there was no way to tell how many runners were doing the 23k or 50k. It was a safe bet that most of the folks up front (who shot off like it was a 5k) were doing the 23k. Ben Nephew & George Adams, who probably had the closest finish EVER in any trail race back in 2006 (when they finished the 23k in near identical times of 1:33:57), Josh Ferenc, and a bunch of young guys who all had their heads shaved for some reason (I'm guessing they lost a bet) all rocketed to the front on the fast downhill start. So in a 14.2 mile trail race my position was essentially set in the first 10 seconds.

Most of the first 2 miles of this race was on paved and dirt roads that lead up to the Pisgah trail head. There was a short downhill at the start and then a couple of decent climbs (one on pavement and one on dirt). The 50k folks split off to the left not long after entering the Pisgah State Park and the shorties continued straight on the Reservoir Trail, which was a very runnable doubletrack trail. The course was so well marked with pink ribbons that it would be impossible to go off course. Even with the rain the previous couple of days there was very little mud and my feet never got wet the entire day. Nothing overly technical, just the same ole roots and rocks we've come to love in New Hampshire. The Reservoir Trail was lots of short ups and downs sprinkled with a ton of moss-covered wooden bridges strategically placed at the bottoms of the downs (at least it seemed that way). In general I'd say the net effect was we were climbing more than we were descending.

23k elevation profile

At mile 6.7 we came to the first of two manned aid stations. Temps today were in the mid 60's and my hand-held water bottle was doing just fine so I motored on by. The course then heads up the Pisgah Mt Trail (gee, I wonder where this trail goes?) and the serious climbing began. If I remember correctly this 2 mile trail was the only single track we ran on all day and some of the most difficult running (up and down). I just had nothing for the climbs and felt very tired (not a good thing at the half way point), losing a couple more positions. I don't like getting passed in general and I HATE getting passed after the 1/2 way point of a race. I always interpret this as me fading as opposed to the other runner surging. As I struggled up Pisgah Mt trying to maintain contact with the runner in front of me I could now hear another runner coming up behind me. Oh crap, there goes another spot. I held him off for nearly 2 miles but shortly after the second manned aid station at mile 9 I was swallowed up. Anyone else care to pass while I'm suffering?

The next 4 miles were back on doubletrack trails (Davis Hill Trail and Hubbard Hill Trail). The only thing that made these trails slow were my tired legs. Otherwise they'd be some nice (maybe even fast) trails to run on. The terrain was a bit easier now, with mostly small rollers to deal with. The last mile or so to the trail head exit on Winchester Road was mostly downhill and once we hit Winchester Road we had about 1 1/2 miles of dirt and paved roads to the finish at the Chesterfield Fire Dept.

23k overview map - race goes CW

At the time I didn't know how long we had to go once we hit the road (I was guessing maybe a mile). The dirt road was all downhill so I picked up the pace but it went on and on before finally turning to pavement. Ah, I must be close now I thought so I kept up the pace, trying to get in under 2hrs. I was not about to let anyone pass me at this point either. I glanced back a couple of times and was ready to run myself into the ground to avoid someone passing me in the last mile. Luckily for me there was no one back there. Then my pace came to a screeching crawl as the course threw us one more hill. As I shuffled up the hill, checking my watch, I was just about to throw in the towel on my sub 2hr attempt when I reached the top and saw a stop sign off in the distance. That stop sign was on Rt63 and the finish was only 100m down the road from there. As I started running hard again all I could think about was how pissed I was going to be if I came in at 2hr-anything. Heck, in the end it wasn't even close. I finished in 1:57:52, 12th overall (2nd master) and could have dogged it a lot more in the final mile :-)

early results board

Josh Ferenc won the race and set a new course record ( I believe) with a time of 1:30:45, followed by Ben (1:33) and George (1:40). I didn't hang out long enough to see any of the 50k'ers come in so I don't know how that went. As of this morning results were not posted yet.
Update: results posted

view from the finish

I'm not sure how long they've been running this race but they had a cool display setup with photo albums, maps and results from all previous years (some were hand written in notebooks). To me it's always helpful to see course maps, elevation profiles, pictures or just race reports from previous years when I'm deciding what race to run. The more info the better. This is a great race, well supported and run by some of the nicest people I've seen so far. Scan all this history and get yourself a website already!

Friday, September 11, 2009

47 Days

47 days ago I ran the Pemi Loop and developed a blister beneath my big toenail. After a painful 10 days (with no running) I finally had it drilled and drained. Since then I've kept a band aid wrapped around my toe....waiting.
Last week's run up and down the Wapack was the final straw.
47 days. That's how long it took for my big toenail to finally fall off. Cool huh?

What the heck are toenails for anyways?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wapack Trail Race

Well that was hard...
I headed over to New Ipswich, NH yesterday with Mike Wade (who made a last minute decision to run, and I'm sure is regretting it now), arriving nearly 1 1/2hrs early and not being the first ones there. There were no plans to do a warm up run or even check out the course so we just chilled for a while. Lots of familiar trail and snowshoe race faces.

The Cliffs Notes version of the course:
The Wapack Trail Race is a 17.5 mile out and back run from the Windblown XC Ski area in New Ipswich,NH to Asburnham,MA, 8.75 miles away. It climbs 4 mountains (each way), Barrett, New Ipswich, Pratt and Watatic and is run entirely on the Wapack Trail.

The trail is a typical New England hiking trail with rocks, roots and more rocks. Did I mention there were lots of rocks?There was indeed lots of climbing (anywhere from 3700ft to 4200ft depending on who you ask), most were relatively short climbs (10-15 minutes of torture). They were steep and you were forced to walk at times. A good portion of the trail was runnable but was brutally hard on my feet ( the only part of me that really hurt). The way back was much harder, not only because you had nearly 9 miles in the bank by the turn around but because you had two pretty serious climbs up Watatic and Pratt to deal with. The Wapack Trail has sections that can be very hard to follow and it helps to be running with someone (especially someone who has run this race before).

Mike and I ran together for most of the way out, reaching the turn in 1hr 27min. The way back would be a different story. We managed to stick together to the Binney Pond water stop (12+ miles in), but Mike was 'in the hurt wagon' by then and we parted company. I wouldn't see Mike again until the finish. The return trip was much slower, taking 1hr 39min, finishing in 3hrs and 6 minutes in 13th place overall. Results can be found here.

This was definitely a love/hate type of race. Weather wise it was perfect! Mid 60's, dry, clear, sunny with views on the summits that went on forever. I felt great for about 10-12 miles and suffered a bit near the end. Plain and simple this course was tough on my feet. As with most trail races the volunteers were great, plenty of them and very supportive. The post race spread was nice as well with pizza, fruit, cookies, sodas and water. A well run race.

Photo Credit - Trail Pixie