When I look back on this race, 3 months later, the only word that comes to mind is: broken.
I felt myself burning out in the run-up to this race, and I scaled back my training to try and compensate. It didn’t help; I felt undertrained in the race, and broken afterwards. It was somewhere around 15.2 miles in length, and the only flat parts were on the last mile or so. Everything else was rolling, so that coming down off of the mountain was as brutal as going up. Not that any portion of it was truly brutal, but it was way more than I was expecting. There was a touch of technical stuff near the summit, but nothing terrible. There was a guy running with what appeared to be running crutches, and he managed to get through the technical stuff, and beat me by at least an hour.
I don’t know what else to say about it. It took 2.5 months for me to enjoy running again after this race. It broke me, badly. It took another race to rebuild me. I’ll get to that in about 5 more posts.
Putting aside my personal difficulties, this was a very cool race. The people were pretty laid back, and they had a big picnic waiting for runners as they finished. The view from the summit of Spruce Hill was pretty, as was the view from the drive in: my route took me over the Petersburg Pass and along the hairpin turn on Route 2. Just past thexperience hairpin turn, I saw the BNRC trailhead for the Hoosac Range Trail, and the tables for water stop #3 set up in the parking lot.
A few other thoughts stand out in my mind…
- The Hoosac Range is moody. For the first several hours the threat of rain dominated the course, but nothing fell aside from some mist in the air. After that, the sun came out and stayed out.
- The course crossed over two power line cuttings on the way up to the summit of Spruce Hill, and then again on the way back. On the way back, as I was running toward one of the cuttings, I heard a cacophony off to the left (downslope). I thought, nay hoped, briefly, that the finish line had been moved up to here, and there was a magical shortcut to bring me back to my car. No such luck; it was a hoard of 4x4s and their drivers, who had come up the service road to have a party, apparently.
- The out-and-back format meant that I got to see every other runner on the course; I had just cleared the photo area coming off of the summit nub when the leaders came tearing past from the opposite direction. I did my best to encourage everyone.
- I need to so a lot more training before I tackle anything this hard again.
- Topos never give the full picture. The terrain looked fairly simple. It wasn’t.
- I don’t want to race anything I haven’t already seen for a long time. I had thought about reviewing the course ahead of time but never actually got around to doing that. When I was recovering at the end, I joked with one of the other runners that I was glad I hadn’t run this course in advance, because there’s no way I would have come to the race. In hindsight, I would have known it was too much, and I would have saved myself a lot of trouble. Live and learn.
- My salt strategy for this race was insufficient, and that contributed to my pain. On the last third of the race, I felt my energy draining, so I kept taking in fuel, but I never recovered. As it turns out, I had switched fuels a week or so before the race, due to some intestinal issues, but I hadn’t noticed that the fuel I was now using didn’t have salt in it. By the time I realized my mistake, it was to late to correct it.
Well, that’s about it. I will be back to this race, and I will do better. Since I’ve had time to think about it, I’ve decided is time to push myself harder in training, and to start winning my age division in racing.
Until next time, be excellent to each other.