Summer postings have been nonexistent partially due to the fact that I didn’t do a whole lot of racing but the bigger reason is that I have a new training partner. She isn’t particularly fast due to frequent naps and milk breaks.
I was still able to get into the mountains with some frequency to build a solid base for fall trail racing. Exploring some new-to-me trails on Moosilauke, the Kinsman Ridge, two Pemi loops (one a personal best of 7hr 49min), and an adventure in the Presidentials were some of the bigger days.
September brought cooler weather and it was time to put my training to the test. I won the Pisgah Mountain 23k in NH for my first trail victory (preceded with a 20 mile training run the day before and bookended with a Pemi the previous and following weekend). I hung around the finish line and chatted with Nina after she won the women’s race. Hopefully we will see her on the New England skimo circuit. A short time later Scott crossed the line in triumphant fashion to take the 50k win just a minute shy of the course record.
The TARC 50k was a few weeks later and would be my last tune-up before Stone Cat. Without going into too much detail a group of 8-10 started off in the lead pack including Scott, Eric (last year’s victory), myself and some other local talent. The pack slowly dwindled before Scott stopped toying with us after 2.5 laps. Eric and I hung together for lap 4 (after I picked up my pacer, Bailey). The weather was quite warm and inadequate fueling left me to employ a run/walk strategy (along with pounding Coke) to get over the wall and struggle to the finish in 3rd place. Post race we hosted some of the runners and volunteers at our house for some food and socializing.
My trail season finale would be the Stone Cat 50 mile, my first attempt at anything over 50k. Not knowing what to expect, my goal was to finish under 8 hours. The first half of the race went by smoothly running almost the entirety with a few walk breaks through the aid stations. The start of lap 3 was the low point mentally with two wipe-outs and a stubbed toe to get the full trail experience. Great support from friends and family kept me going to the finish line in a time of 7hr 53 min.
Bring on the snow!