What’s better than doing a favorite trail race a 2nd time around? Doing it with your 4 cherished trail running friends and spending the weekend in a beautiful cabin on a creek that looked up at the Eastern States 100 trail.
|Bear Lodge in Waterville about 30 mins from the race|
|Enjoying the creek|
|Bunk beds galore!|
What went well:
- At the top of the last climb – aptly named “SOB” I felt really, really good. I looked at my watch and our time was 3:15. I knew that the rest of the course was mostly flat and there were some big downs. Could we break 4? HECK YEAH! I knew Michelle would be up for it. We chugged our drinks and I looked at her and said, “You want to break 4?” In her normally cheery and up for anything voice she smiles and said, “Sure!” and we were off. I really didn’t think we could break 4, but I felt AWESOME – my legs were springy, lungs were full, feet were fresh. We flew by a pack of very fit looking men and they cheered for us, which felt amazing. We looked at each other and gave a fist pump. Then it was all business. Our heads went down and we charged ahead. We made it in for a time of 4:00:36! The lesson here is that being smart about hiking the climbs leaves a good amount in the tank for a strong finish.
|Conga line before things got real on Humble Hill|
- Nutrition was just about perfect during the race. I had focused on hydrated well the day before the race and it paid off. I drank frequently during the race from my UD vest and took a couple small Gatorade cups at aid stations. I started with my 33 shake pouch at the 1st aid station – which was after the 1st big climb at mile 3. I would usually wouldn’t eat so early, but we were waiting for friends so I was filling time. I think this made a big difference. I ended up doing 1.5 33 shake pouches, a small cliff bar at mile 9, and Swedish fish at the last 2 aid stations (mile 9 and 12). My friend Amanda made homemade cinnamon buns for Sunday morning which were amazing and I definitely had seconds. The lesson here is eat early and start well hydrated!
|No feet on the ground!|
- From a pace perspective, I am really well paired with my friend Michelle. She’s faster than me, but she likes to run with a partner so it works. She has the best attitude and is delighted by all the sights and nuances of the trails which is infectious to everyone around her. There was a section of the trail carpeted in moss which felt like I was running on a cloud. I think I appreciated that more because running with Michelle has made me notice those things more. The lesson here is to enjoy every moment that nature hands to you and you will be gifted with a rich experience that will outlast any PR.
|Right before SOB - still smiling!|
|hard earned s'mores around the campfire!|
The lessons for next time:
- My heel spur has been feeling great (miraculous), but I still kept the inexpensive Dr. Scholls gel heel cups in my shoes. I think these were overall good, but they annoyed me on the downs at the end. I iced after the race twice and my heel is really in great shape. My quads are pretty fried though (as expected) – up the steps ok, down steps and sitting on toilet elicits a groan! I need to get my shoe/foot situation figured out before World’s End in May.
- Stupid underpants. Wedgies, chaffing, etc. = distraction. There has to e a better solution out there. I need to think about this and find underpants that work for me.
- We placed ourselves closer to the start line than last year strategically in front of a tree that I remembered, but it was still too far back. Next year we need to be even farther up so that we can get a bit more of a jump on our placement in the conga line for the 1st climb up Humble Hill. Next year be gutsy and get closer to the start