Monday, September 28, 2015

Race # 40 - Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50 Miler

Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50 Miler
Race #5 of the 2014 Beast Series
6:30 AM
Lynchburg, VA
Time: 11:25
Place: 99 out of 188 finishers (245 starters)

Almost 11 months removed from the race, I finally get around to writing about it.  That's what having a second kid will do.  This race report won't be as detailed as those of mine in the past due to the lapse of time since the race. Essentially, I don't remember a lot of it but here's what I do remember:

One month after Grindstone, the MMTR awaits as the fifth race in the Beast Series.  Everything I had heard about the race said that it gets harder as you go and "the loop" can make or break your race.  You didn't want to be close to the cutoff time going in to the loop.  I took all of this into consideration going in to the race.

Jon and I headed up the night before for the pre-race dinner.  While we gathered our things in preparation for the race, Jon realized he forgot socks.  Lucky for him I had several pair.  We headed to bed for an early rise.

It was dark and cold as we rode the bus to the start of the point-to-point race.  I stayed on the bus as long as I could before heading to the start line.  Soon it was time to go.  Standing out with the other runners, I saw a group of guys all from around Pilot Mountain and said hello before we headed off.  

As a typical Horton race, we ran through a creek in the wee hours of the morning.  The water was cold and the bottleneck of the beginning of the race kept us from speeding through to avoid getting completely soaked.  Just as I got out of the water there was another part we had to go through and at this point my feet are so cold that they actually felt warm.  Soon though, the bottleneck thinned out and we were running trails via headlamp.

The sun eventually rose and with it came the wind.  I remember coming down a gravel road in some beautiful countryside about halfway through the race and the crosswinds were so strong sometimes it would literally blow me side to side.  I eventually made it to the bus that took us to the start and my drop bag.  I grabbed some food and went on my way.

Not long after the halfway mark I caught up with a friend, Earlie, who was running his first 50 miler.  I decided to run with him for a little while to see how he was doing and if I could help him along the way.  I had been running alone just as I always do so it was nice to have a change in scenery.  So we were entering the loop but had plenty of time ahead of the cutoff.  It started to get cold as we got higher in elevation and eventually it was spitting snow/sleet as we got to the top of the mountain in the short out and back section.  We made our way back to the loop exit and downed some goodies at the aid station.   They had hot food (I believe it was pork) and it really hit the spot.

As we departed the aid station and headed down a gravel road, we ran in to Earlie's parents who were there crewing for him.  After exchanging some pleasantries and taking some pictures, we kept moving as we were getting closer to the finish. 

The gravel road seemed to descend for a really long time.  I remember at one point we passed a group of people that were being pulled behind a truck and I think they were on a hayride.  Don't quote me on that but we both thought that was really odd to see.  Maybe they were just riding in the back of a truck but either way we thought it was too cold to be out doing that but then again we were the crazy ones running 50+ miles.  

The last section before we hit the road to the finish was through desolate wooded area with rolling hills.  The fatigue was setting in for Earlie and I kept reassuring him that he was going to finish and I was not going to leave him even though he told me to go on ahead.  At Grindstone, I was in the same boat and Regis stayed with me almost to the very end.  Without him, I might still be out there!  

One of the oddest things that I've ever seen while running occurred in this section.  Another friend Jenny came  up alongside us and then went ahead but before she got too far in front of us I hear this noise but was unaware of what exactly it was at first sound.  Then all of a sudden it happened.  A tree fell right near us.  The three of us looked at each other and Jenny actually said it:  "Did that just happen?".  Yes, a tree fell in the woods just as we were running by it.  It was weird.

Soon enough we came down a good descent onto a paved road and were headed to the finish.  Earlie's mom was there cheering us on and she ran the last mile or so alongside her son.  I congratulated him on a job well done and pushed ahead a little to let him enjoy this moment of finishing his first 50 miler.

We crossed the finish line in 11 hours and 25 minutes.  I felt like I could have gone under 10 hours but the way things worked out it was almost as if I was meant to be there with Earlie and get him to the finish before the cutoff.  It was the least I could do after my race at Grindstone.

Five down, one to go in the 2014 Beast Series.....