Sunday, May 9, 2010
Morfun Wapack Trail Race
After this week, I promise not to mention Seven Sisters again (at least for a while). The memories of that dreadful race are seared, SEARED in my mind. Ok, maybe it's not that bad but it really was a stinker. I guess more importantly, it hurt physically. My legs were toast and I couldn't muster a run until Wednesday of this week (and even that was painful and slow).
But I had a dilemma: the Big Lake 1/2 Marathon was this weekend and I really like this race. However, I didn't want to attempt it unless I felt like I could do ok (which I didn't). My confidence was shot and I didn't want to run a race I've done before, you know, just in case I stunk up the joint. So I did what any abnormal human being would do: I signed up for a 21 mile insanely challenging trail race instead :-)
Trust me, it made sense at the time I signed up on Monday.
On Saturday morning, I headed down to Ashburnham, Ma. to pick up my number and park my car. This would be a point to point race so you really wanted your car at the finish. They would bus us to the start for a roughly 9am start. I chatted with my fellow racers waiting for the bus. Surprisingly the topic was Seven Sisters (again). About a half dozen or so folks had also done this race last weekend and all felt exactly the same way as I did. Misery loves company.
The actual race is a 21 mile point to point adventure along the entire length of the Wapack Trail. The trail starts in Greenfield,NH (about 5 miles north of Pack Monadnock). It then travels due south crossing North Pack, Pack Monadnock, Temple Mt, Burton Peak, Barrett Mt, New Ipswich Mt, Pratt Mt and finally Watanic Mt. Yes, it's a very hilly trail and since it would rain nearly the entire day, it was also wet and muddy.
Clayton dropped back during this section and Ken took off ahead. We'd stay that way to the finish. The trail from Windblown to the next aid station at Binney Pond (approx 5 miles away) is pretty technical (ie rocky). Wet rocks, steep ascents and descents and tired legs are not a good mixture. Thankfully I did not fall. Stumbled yes, fall no. My descents slowed to a crawl. Another 1hr and 13 minutes and I was at the next aid station. Approximately 17 miles were in the books, I've been running for over 3 1/2 hrs and I was getting tired. The trail gets much easier at this point, following old fire roads nearly to the summit of Watanic Mt. I couldn't see any runners in front or behind at this point but I definitely didn't want to get passed in the last few miles so I kept the pace up as best I could. My hydration and nutrition has been going great all day and nothing really hurt. I was just tired of running. The rain finally stopped during the climb up Watanic (the last mountain of the day). I took off my soaking wet windbreaker for the first time all day. A few minutes later I would reach the finish. I stopped my watch. It read exactly 4:15:00. Are you kidding me?? Talk about nailing your goal! I was also surprised I ended up 4th overall. Not a bad days work.
Results posted here.
Note: Photo credits (I think) go to Steve Latour. Steve ran the 42 mile version last year and took a bunch of pics along the way.Gives you a great idea of what the trail is like. The rest of his photos can be seen here.