Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nipmuck Marathon

On Sunday I ran the Nipmuck marathon, which is considered the preeminent trail race in the area. It's been months since I've run single track trails, and running the Nipmuck race was a good welcome back.

After parking on the access road I was making my way to check in when I saw someone bent down and liberally applying lube to his inner thighs. "He should be well protected, he looks familiar, it's Mark." I checked in, dropped off my gallon of water (entrance requirement) and briefly looked for Dave who would be pacing in the VT100. I was looking for the opportunity to meet this stranger who will be guiding me 30 miles through the darkness of VT. The registration folks gave me his bib # with hopes of connecting later. As Mark and I finished prepping, Clint came through and it was time for the race director's pre-race instruction and warnings. Nipmuck Dave does not let the opportunity to entertain pass by, as this year he, and his back up singers, performed a parity of Michael Jackson's "Black and White" called "Fast or Slow".

Photos courtesy of Nipmuck Dave. Unexpectedly received via email. Thanks Dave.

The race starts with about 50 yards of pavement to spread the pack a bit before hitting the trails. Mark, Clint and I cruised the early section to avoid the impending bottleneck. We ran right along, my breathing heavier than expected, not sure if the pace was quicker than I realized or just some struggles. After a few miles we moved well at a comfortable pace and found ourselves behind the lead pack and in front of the remainder of the field, so not seeing others except for some time running with and sharing plans and experiences with Frank. We hit the 6 mile mark and first turn around at about 55 minutes and started retracing back, going the opposite direction of oncoming runners, which is fun stuff. We continued to cruise and I fell off the pack which was fine as there were still many miles ahead. I came through the start area at about 1:54, refueled and headed out the next out and back section of 7 miles. I moved along fairly well without others until about the 17 mile mark when the slight inclines seemed to a challenge to climb. My pace slowed and I started to see others now headed my direction so the next turn around could not be far. I made the turn and the course continued to slow my pace more than I thought it should. I continued to look for Pacer Dave by his bib #, which was 246. or was it 234, or 242? Mental capacity waning, I'd get passed every once in a while, but pressed on to the finish at a diminishing pace.

Nipmuck is a challenging and fun course. I came into the race feeling strong, expecting to shatter last year's time of 5:04, I left with a time of 4:54 wondering what happened....Regardless, it was Nipmuck, great to be back on the trails, running trail races, and having a great time. Mark finished at 4:01 and Clint at 4:50.

PS..Dave...Look forward to meeting you in VT. Thanks in advance..

1 comment:

Scott said...

Nice job at Nipmuck. Wish I could have been there. Looking forward to a long run on Sunday...