As part of my extreme year I took on the Mount Washington Road Race. Was I crazy? Maybe, but it was a challenge I couldn't pass up. 7.6 miles up one of the highest points on the east coast. The first time I would run above the tree line. The inclines were from 12% to 22%...daunting.
I won the lottery as part of a team from 169 Towns Society. We went up the night before because of the early start. We met our "rides back down" at the bottom before the race so they could carry our bags up. It was a clear morning with temps in the 40's but crystal clear skies. Standing at the base and looking up was mind boggling. I thought to myself "how are you going to maintain any kind of pace all the way up there?"
There were 1,000 runners ready to go. Many were veterans of the race but many like me were first timers. We started off on flat ground which quickly became a very steep incline. By the quarter mile mark I was sweating but still running. Regardless of the steep road I ran most of the way. After about a mile we felt our first cold breezes. I remember noticing the pine smell in the air. Fresh and clean. The road became even steeper with occasional breaks in the trees where I saw the summit. Just kept my head down and plowed forward. After about 4 miles we started above the tree line.
|Above the tree line..runners were showing the stress.|
|The final hill-a 22% grade.|
|After the finish at the peak.|
This race is one I will remember for a long time. Glad I did it and amazed I could finish it. Will I try it again?....probably!
Nipmuck South Trail Race
Today was my 3rd running of the Nipmuck South Trail Race in Mansfield CT. After a rainy night the course was wet, muddy, but cool. Best conditions yet. There were several 169ners there as well as my neighbor, Dave. This was his first real trail run of significant length.
The whole day got off to an odd start as the state did not unlock the gates to the park which resulted in many cars lined up on the main road until a ranger could arrive. After they opened we all piled in the park and the race officials set up quickly.
|Pre-race...L-R Dave, John, Marc, David, Bruce|
I slowed a bit in the second half which resulted in a time of 2:48. A bit slower than 2014 but OK for me. Glad I decided to run it again as good trail races are not common in CT. Based on my run today I might consider the Nipmuck Marathon in the Fall.