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Downtown Temple,NH

Monday, May 31, 2010

Pineland Farms 25k Trail Race

Pineland "Farms". Oh, I get it, it's an actual f-a-r-m...
NOTE: Long Post - This was such a great event with so much to talk about.
On Sunday I headed up to New Gloucester, Maine for the Pineland Farms 25k trail race. I have no idea where New Gloucester is, I just followed the GPS. This would be another acidotic RACING team event. Initially we were focused on knocking off the host team of Trail Monster Running. However, my thin skinned and apparently sensitive 'teammates' on my other running club (Gate City Striders) decided to put a team together as well, most likely to challenge aR. Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Needless to say, there were a lot of familiar faces in Maine this weekend. Pineland Farms is actually a 2-day Trail running festival, with something for everyone: a 5k, 10k, 25k, 50k and a 50 miler plus a barefoot 5k and a canicross 5k. Our race would be a single 25k loop starting at 10am. We'd be on the same course as the 50k and 50 milers (who started earlier in the day), so there were a lot of runners on the trail. The 25k alone had 320 finishers (results)
The overcast skies cleared just about the same time we were starting (how convenient). Although temps were in the high 70's, thankfully it was fairly dry and breezy. It was warm but not oppressive but it still made a few struggle.
Lovely fields if you're a cow)
Now if you've never done Pineland Farms and are thinking about it, I'll give you one word of advice - FARM. Ok, you've been warned. Now I knew we'd be running in fields. I just didn't realize how much running we'd be doing in fields. I thought we'd be crossing some fields to get to the woods. At times it seemed like we were crossing the woods to get back to the fields. When it's sunny and warm, running in a hay field is not the ideal spot to be. Ok, rant off.
Such a nice picture. Just wasn't nice to run in it.
When it comes to trail racing, the course footing doesn't get any better than this. The majority of the trails were XC ski trails (I think), wide and free of roots and rocks. The fields were dry. There was zero water crossings and no mud. That's not to say the course was easy. It was 25k of  non-stop roller coaster hills.
 I was feeling pretty rested from a fairly easy week (thanks to the 95+ days thank you very much), but I never like to race in the heat (heat means anything over 50 degrees in my book). My only plan was to try to go out easy, get acclimated to the temps and  then increase the effort. Race plans stink (or I can't follow them).I was trying to go easy, it felt easy but I always seem to go out too fast. Immediately I was surprised by the course. There were hills everywhere! We would snake down one section and snake back up. The course twisted all over the place and you could see runners in all different parts of the course. It wasn't always clear if those runners were in front or behind you. The first 5k probably had a net loss of elevation but felt good.
I hit the 5k mark in 20:17. I think Justin Soucy went by me before the 5k mark. There wasn't a chance I was hanging with him today and he was out of sight in no time. Denis T caught up to me shortly after the 5k mark. We'd run together for the next 5k or so. This section seemed long but in reality it was probably because it was mostly uphill (and slow), and also had a ton of fields to run in. We hit the 10k  in 44:32 (24:15 for the 5k).
Early in the race (I'm still ahead of Justin)
Not long afterwords Denis decided he didn't want to be my friend anymore and left me in the dust. I tried to stay close (30-50m) but I wasn't reeling him in. Occasionally  I'd peek behind me on one of the many 180 degree turns. Teammate Ri Fahnestock was always just a few seconds back. I crossed the 15k mark in 1:05:25 (20:52 for the 5k) and eventually passed the start/finish area to head out for the last 8k or so. I was warned this section would be difficult, especially the last 5k. There would be a lot of climbing and it would be coming at the end of a 25k race. I think this might have been the only 5k section without any significant fields to run in (I'll keep that in mind next year). Denis was now closer to 100m in front but I could still see him on the trails. I just couldn't close on the bum. In reality he was picking up the pace and increasing his lead on me, so I just focused on the next runner instead. I reached the 20k in 1:26:20 (20:54 for the 5k) and the course was pretty easy in this part. We were gently heading downhill. Of course all I could think about was 'we'd have to come back up'. Sure enough we began the long switch back ascent...sort of. We'd climb up for a while and then turn around and head back down again. All that work for nothing! We did eventually make it back up the hill and with about a mile to go I peeked back once again and there was Ri, right on my heels. He asked me to 'pull' him to the finish but in reality he was 'pushing' me. We had one more 'field run' before the finish. I think we probably passed 3-5 runners in this section. I picked up the pace as best as I could and tried to hold off Ri to the finish. I took one last look with about 100m to go and cruised in for a 1:51:44 finish (25:23 for the last 5k), good for 21st overall. Ri finished just a few seconds back.
Post race chillin with Austin (photo credit Richie Blake)
Overall I was pretty satisfied with my race today. I didn't cramp up and I raced hard, in spite of the heat. This was a fantastic event and I had a lot of fun out there, trading spots with several runners throughout the day. The post race was totally relaxing as we all (acidotic and Gate City) sat around enjoying the day, cheering on runners and hanging out with good friends. In the end, acidotic decided to give the team victory to the boys from Gate City. It was the least we could do. You're welcome GCS! I'm pretty sure all of us will be back next year to battle it out again.

Photo credits - David Colby Young

There are a bunch of photos and video from the various races that took place this weekend. They can all be found here.

Update - Blaine Moore (TMR) has a nice summary of race reports and photos  here.


Blaine Moore said...

Great job! You guys handed it to us by over 17 minutes.

And while it might seem like short trail sections to get back to the woods, there's actually only about 3 or 3.5 miles of fields.

Thankfully we had that breeze this year.

Here's my view of how it went:

Steve Wolfe said...

The breeze definitely helped in the fields, no question. If you asked me after the race I'd swear we ran 5-6 miles in fields. It probably seemed longer because it was so much slower running than the trails. TMR was a great host and everyone we met were so nice. Already looking forward to next year. Great run BTW!

GCS said...

You have to admit you wouldn't have had nearly as much fun up there without us.

Steve Wolfe said...

Um, that would be incorrect. If you weren't there aR would have been first in the team competition :-)
Next year stay home, you bums from Cow Hampshire! At the very least don't enter as GCS, it's hard to trash talk my own teammates!

Michael said...

Hey wait. You've been trash talking me for years! Didn't seem to come too hard for you all those times. :)

BTW, you couldn't pay us to stay home next year ...

... why not re-join us. Richie did!

Steve Wolfe said...

Details, details.
And you couldn't pay me to join you!
You got lucky this year and came in under the radar. Next year will be a beat down. Enjoy your temporary course record...oh, and bring your own darn tent next time (and team photographer).
That's it for now :-)
See you at track on Weds!

sn0m8n said...

Glad you came over for the race, Steve, even if you did whup us and "invite" the winning team! If you liked those hills, wait until you see Bradbury!

Steve Wolfe said...

I'll have to look into the Bradbury ones a bit closer. I think I may be 'busy' during one of them (the one you described to me). Shucks.

Denis said...

I've been telling my wife all week that I beat Steve Wolfe. I break out grinning each time. Thanks for pissing Mike off and having him field a team.

Steve Wolfe said...

Enjoy it while you can. I don't like to lose. Now wipe that grin off your face!

Mohammad Yousuf Mulaifi said...

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