Tuesday, November 6, 2012

MMTR 50 mile: Serenity

To any typical onlooker, the scene a half mile from the finish line of Mount Masochist 50 miler looked pretty bleak this past Saturday. A windy mountain road, snow atop the surrounding mountains--the scene must've been dim with gray colors of the cold afternoon. But I was cooking a 6:18 mile, catching 12th place, hyped on caffeine, the leafless trees vibrant with brown, the sky emitting warmth. Trying to keep my breath under control, blaring one hell of a remix in my headphones, I passed a man to land myself 12th place, took out my headphones, and crossed the finish line. 51 miles, 8 hours, 40 mins, five seconds.

It's been three days since, and my head is still foggy with lingering endorphins.  I think these ultra things make us better people. Daily tasks seem so insignificant after embarking and completing a journey like MMTR. These really really long runs force you to be patient, force you to be present, and force you to relax. On one hand you're so hyped up and just focusing on running the next step, but on the other hand you're at such peace. I've spoken a little about peace in past race reports, and I'll say it again: I have this strange sense of peace about me.

Anyway enough musing, to the race report.
UltraVT repped hard at MMTR this year, with six of us running and six of us finishing! Even though I placed higher than Guy Love I think he had a better race, still breaking 9 hours in the snow course less than a month after Grindstone 100. Incredible. Rachel Corrigan had high hopes for the race this year, but with a stress fracture still finished and completed the LUS. Incredible. My man Earp chilled all day and completed his first 50. Dmack died hard and still finished. Kelly Summers threw up before the first aid station. And still finished. Incredible. My team is so inspiring!

Even after my best training block ever, getting up do decent mileage and maintaining it (70-75 mpw), I found myself sitting at the pre race dinner Friday evening not very confident. I didn't really want to run. Reported knee deep snow in places on the course, coupled with some external (and internal) pressure to run fast and place high left me not really wanting to run. But I slept really well in my tent Saturday at the start line and woke up feeling good to go.

The gun went off, and a mad dash to the first turn around. Glove went out ahead, like I knew, and David stayed by my side which I was stoked about and didn't realize till 5 mins in.
Runners around the little pond. 630 am
Creek crossings, soaking feet, running by headlamp, and not trying to spend too much energy summed up the first hour and 15 mins. The sun came up and was stunning. It boded well. I kept telling myself aloud that it was going to be a good day, but in my head I kept having slight doubts. The temperature was cold, but I felt comfortable and was almost 2 hours in without realizing it. David and I yo-yoed with AJW for a bit and he remarked that we were running a smart race starting slowly. That boded well. It didn't feel slow, but it didn't feel fast. I told my doubts to "shut the fuck up. you're doing great. it's going to be a good day." I didn't have any doubts the rest of the day.

David and I had a super smooth transition with our crew at mile 11 (Mike and Darren and Fletcher--THANK YOU!) and plugged along and starting having some good conversation. We soon caught Glove and started climbing, mostly running. Dmack started breathing too hard and wisely backed off. Glove and I ran the next 17 miles or so together, which really made the time go by quickly as we've run together so often this semester. We ran fast too, almost missing our crew at mile 22. 

Mile 26, halfway, and the climb started. I pow-hiked it all basically, just keeping at a good clip. Saw a friend Chris and chatted. Started to get really cold, and started seeing snow. Went ahead of Guy and got to THE LOOP (mi 33). AND SNOW. 

Super super snowy. Completely different course than the first half. I was under sub 8hr pace, but the snow really slowed things down. I think the snow made people mad, or maybe I can just run through snow (doubt it), but I started to catch people here. I knew the loop was the place to begin to slowly start working, and I caught Krissy Moehl (pro female, winner, she's awesome) and yo-yoed with her for awhile. I whipped out my headphones and listened to some good tunes. Starting to get out of the loop (mi 38) and I was breathing just a tad too hard. I knew I had to calm down. Coming out of the loop, Fletcher perfectly in his chill manner calmed me down, got my pack filled, and I stuffed my face. Fletcher asked if I was gunning for top 10. Before the race that was a very loose and somewhat unrealistic goal. I asked if I was even remotely close to top 10 and he said, "I dunno, just catch mofos."

So I started to work. I started to caffeine and was running on my own. I took out my headphones for a section, and found out I was 16th. Climb. Fell going uphill fiddling with ipod. Then really started to race. Blared rage music and just went. 13 miles left. Leggo.

Ran, ran, ran, caught people and people, lots and lots of snow (4-9" my estimate). Got to the last aid station and found out I was in 12th. 10th was only a min up. I only drank coke and sprinted, too fast, got a side stitch, and backed off. Got passed which was a little deflating. Really just got into the music and started running really fast. Felt confident. My legs were working really well. Booked the rest, all downhill, caught a guy in the last 3/4ths mile, and beat my crew to the finish line. 12th. A little surprised :)

Post race UltraVT runners!!
Training run a couple weeks ago, atop Mt. Pleasant.

I flowed the last 13 miles. I flowed all day really, just in two different ways. The first half was just getting the miles through, the second half was racing, which, like I've said, isn't always as fun as just running, but it was def enjoyable and the right time to do it. Looking at race splits, I might've gone out too conservatively? But that's how I like to race. We'll see. Perhaps I'll gun it from the start in the spring ultras.

Here's an awesome video the Doc compiled. I've gottan appearance coming out of the loop at 5 mins! Woo

It was a great day, continually remarking how incredible it was that we're able to do this sort of thing. Running thankful is the best. I'm stoked about our team and my recovery is going really well. No soreness, just a little ache in the right ankle but it's getting better. Next up is HELLGATE baby, yup I got in! Glove and I are the youngest two people entered. I HAVE to finish and I'm going to. I'm super excited for it. It'll be a very long night and day, but I'm going to love every step. 

Post race at the finish line. Tired. Pure serenity.
See you around the mountain.
With Serenity.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work bud. Excited to rock out Hellgate with you a Glove!