Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Traprock 50K 2012 Race Report

Traprock 50K Race Site
Less than a week after the Northern Nipmuck Trail Race I was on the road again to CT.  This time for my first visit to run in the Traprock 50K Race held at the Penwood State Park in Bloomfield, CT.  It was a quick week in VT but I still had training miles to get in.  This was key training time for the MMT 100 so again no time to taper except that I did manage to only do a short easy run on Friday before the trip down to CT.  For this race I decided to spend the night before at mom's being that she was less than an hour away and I hadn't discovered any great place to car camp the night before the race without being interrupted by the local authorities.  The five hour trip down was uneventful and I had my dinner on the fly as I drove non-stop.  The main course was a rice pesto/pasta with assorted veggies mixed in along with some garlic bread and a tossed salad.  Dessert was my home made apple crisp.  When I finally arrived at moms, I was hungry again.  It was getting close to 10 PM.  I saw a freshly baked cake with frosting.  That looked good!!  So for a bedtime/pre-race snack it was chocolate cake with a bit of tequila to simmer my brain down after the ride and it was just what the doctor ordered :)

I woke up not too early and had a waffle breakfast to get me going and then on the road for the 8:30 AM race start.  I had organized a drop bag to put at the start finish area of this 3 loop course.  I'm not wild about loop courses but it does make it easier when you are self supporting.  I had my GU Brew drinks all ready to go and my GU gels and electrolytes all pre-calculated for each loop.  I also had an extra pair of Drymax socks and a spare pair of Pearl Izumi shoes, just in case.  For the race I was wearing the Pearl Izumi Peak II trail shoes.  I managed to get in a quick pre-race run up the first hill to get the heart pumping.  Then it was to the start line.
Pre-race briefing

The Traprock 50K Start
I was lined up with Ben Nephew, Ryan Welts and Nate Sanel, all raring to go.  But first the pre-race briefing and then some.  It was very nice and informative but did take a bit longer than I thought.  Long enough for the body to seize up and stiffen up.  Finally the start which was about 100 yards along a paved park road then on trail and up and up.  Ben quickly took the lead with Nate and Ryan not far behind.  I was following trying to catch my breath.  The heart was pounding and trying to regroup.  Typically I need a bit of time to either warm up or to allow my body to ease into the run.  There was no time for it here so I struggled to get up the first mile waiting to feel my heart slow down a bit.  Finally the trail plateaued and I regrouped and got into my own groove.  I stayed behind Ben, Nate and Ryan letting them set the pace.   By the time we got to the Stairway to Heaven, Ben had gained some distance but was still visible.  Nate and Ryan and myself were still fairly tight.  After getting to "heaven" the trail mellowed out a bit and rolled up and down.  I discovered what "traprock"was as I stubbed my toe.  Traprock is a smaller, sharp rock.  For the most part it's stable but you feel in under foot and occasionally if you drag your feet, you nail it with your toe.

Traprock Rocky Trails

For the most part, the trails were in great shape.  No mud, just nice New England trail running with a combination of rocks and roots.  There was definitely some climbing, I think they mentioned there was 2300 feet of climbing each lap which would add up to nearly 7000 of ascending for this 50K race.

Traprock 50K Profile

At the far end of lap 1 there was the lollipop loop.  This was a quick out and back where you could see where other runners were.  Ben was clearly ahead while the three of us, Nate, Ryan and myself where rather close knit.  On the return lollipop we had a chance to see quite a few other runners not too far back and Kristina Folcik being the first woman was looking strong.  Fellow Vermonter Nick Yardley was right there too.

The return trip back was not as hilly and more runnable.  At this point, Ben was ahead with Ryan leading our pack and Nate following.  Not long into this section I passed Nate and caught up to Ryan.  We ran together for a while until the next aid station.  From here the trail was along an old broken up paved camp road.  At this point I went into marathon mode and just ran at a good steady pace.  Ryan mentioned this was not one of his strong points and I quickly lost him.  After about a mile it was back up and climbing until the final descent to the start/finish turnaround.  On the descent I saw Ben cruising up looking strong heading back out on lap 2.  At the turnaround I quickly replenished my GU Brew, grabbed some more Gu gels and a new supply of electrolyte pills.  It was starting to warm and it would be crucial to have the right nutrition/hydration to get through the rest of the race.

Ryan and Jack

Lap 2 I was on my own for most of it while passing some of the 17 K runners who started an hour later.  I kept the pace up and at the lollipop loop saw Ben again, with a comfortable lead but not too far ahead.  On the return of the lolliop loop I saw Ryan and Nate not that far back.  The rest of lap 2 I was just in cruise mode, trying to focus on hydration and electrolytes knowing that lap 3 would be the most demanding with the heat increasing.

As I pulled into the end of lap 2 I refueled again and back out for the final lap.  Ben was still comfortably ahead but I was told at the turnaround we were 8 minutes apart.  I kept moving along.  Ryan and Nate were farther back now too.  By the time I got to the lollipop I didn't see Ben which meant he was at least 10 minutes ahead and no sign of Ryan or Nate or anyone else which meant I was at least 10 minutes ahead of them.  With that in mind, I decided to back it down a bit.  No need to push it as I had more miles to do the next day and a big week ahead.  So I maintained, made sure I was hydrated, had sufficient electrolytes and fuel to get me to the finish.  The temps had risen maybe to the low 70's but it was dry so almost no sweating.  But, I could see my body was crusted over with salt.  Still, no cramping or even a hint of cramping which for me, is amazing.  It must be the bikram yoga I'm doing for heat training or maybe it was the cake and tequila snack the night before??

The Rock
Finally I arrived at the finish in a time of 4:23:57, claiming second place overall, 1st master and winner of my 50 age group.

Ben was first with a time of 4:05:56.  Ryan finished shortly after me with a time of 4:41:28.  Nick Yardley came in 5th for the men in a time of 5:04:56.  Kristina captured her second victory in a week after winning for the women at the No. Nipmuck the previous week.  Here she won in a time of 5:14:26.  Another fellow Vermonter running two 50K's that weekend including the "Don't Run Boston 50K" was Paul Sulva finishing Traprock in 7:34:09.  And Alison Aiken finished in a time of 6:39:59.

Full Results are available HERE.

The Gear:  Pearl Izumi Peak II Trail Shoes were awesome!  As were the Drymax light hiker sock for some added cushioning on the sharp rocks.  The Headsweats Super Duty Race Cap with it's Coolmax sweatband helped keep the sweat under control.  And for nutrition, the GU Brew Blueberry/Pomegranate with 2's the sodium did the trick for me again and no cramping!!
And thanks to Scott Livingston for some of the race day photos.

And thanks to Kevin McMahon for providing a special Thursday pre-race meal, cooking lesson and humor.
Tofu Powered Pilla almost Picks Off Punk
Jack just missed taking the gold from a 33 year old on this 50K last weekend.  Boggles the skull to see the split times posted and realize they are 10-mile splits. Shoot me.
Because Jack has quit eating meat, the meal I fed him on Thursday night might have powered him along. 
On my long-standing invite, he finally dropped in after his Thurs Night Running Group in Essex. 

It was with some team-spirited joy that I anticipated feeding one of our own Nat Champ Team, and full-time World Beater. 
So,  as I was about to serve him a first course of delicious lasagne, he pulls the 'meatless stare' on me and mumbles something about past lives, glycemic index, more energy...
So, I pull down the wok and set-up a short course on meatless Chinese cooking. 
I show him the ming-bean sprouts: 'You've had these, right?: I get the Pilla grin and I read:"never".
I show him the tofu: 'You've had tofu, right?: I get the Pilla grin and the raised eye brows: I read: "Never, never".

In a few minutes I've got a mound of never never say 'meatless' Chinese fare in front of him. And he says: "I can't eat all this!"
Here's a guy who looks for food stops on a 5K and he's telling me he might over eat. Hmmmm.
I cut it in half and make up a little side salad to help him rough out the roughage, force another Bass Ale on him and catch up on why we do what we do.
Scratch that: why he does what he does.


On to more training!  See you on the trails,


"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination".

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