Ouch! Today was the second Traprock 50K in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Debbie and I both ran the three-loop 50 kilometer (31 mile) race at Penwood State Park. I’m a baby when it comes to the ultra distance. Meaning that I complain a lot and I don’t even run beyond 30 or 40 miles. The third lap was very painful. I took one hard fall on lap two that left me a little scraped up, but the worst injury was to my troublesome big right toe. I just can’t figure this thing out. Any time I race longer than 12 miles or so, I pound it. Today, it looks and feels like someone smashed it with a hammer. Imagine that.
I’ll refrain from posting a photo, but it isn’t pretty and I won’t need to get toenail polish for a while. I keep losing the nail, and I’m going to lose it again after today’s run. With my throbbing toe on my mind, I struggled to the finish after fading badly on the third lap. I kept stubbing it on the traprock, after which this race is name. With six miles to go, I jammed my toe on a root and saw stars for a few moments. The course is on rugged trails on this amazing traprock ridge. Debbie did the first Traprock 50K in 2010 and came back for more punishment.
She has been training heavily and has raced three weekends in a row (Bimbler’s Bash, Northern Nipmuck, and Traprock), so her third lap was nothing special, but she built a good lead on laps one and two and held off an impressive Sheryl Wheeler, for the win in 5:09, a nice improvement over last year’s time. I ran most of the race in sixth spot, but the “powerfade” put me back in tenth at the finish. I ran 4:51. My GPS data shows 4,307 feet of elevation gain and loss. That is a lot considering that the low point on the course is 410 feet above sea level and the high point is 757. That is a lot of up and down!
When I finished, I found a chair and sat down immediately. My legs were shattered. My face was encrusted with salt. I was satisfied, but beat up. My last epic was the Ironman Hawaii last October, but this was harder on the legs. After all, Ironman runs are only 26.2 miles. I can swim, bike and run, but running ultra-distance always hurts more. After the race, I told Debbie that I have no desire to go longer than 50K. I’ll leave the true ultrarunning to her.
The men’s race was exciting to watch. I got to see the top three runners several times. Dane Mitchell, Ben Nephew, and Brian Rusiecki waged a tense battle for several laps before Mitchell and Nephew pulled away. Mitchell eventually prevailed in 3:55, a stellar time on this course.
Race Directors Steve Nelson and Kevin Hutt led a fine group of volunteers. The course was marked very well and the aid stations were stocked. I survived on pretzels, bananas, and water. I carried Clif Shot gels and Clif Shot drink. The weather was nasty. Fortunately, it was dry. If it had rained like last year, it would have been a nightmare. It was unseasonably cold with the temperature hovering in the low-40′s (Fahrenheit) with a stiff wind that was particularly harsh on the open ridges. The race started at 8:30 A.M., but by mid-day, the temperature actually dropped just in time for the third lap. I was a bit uncomfortable in my sleeveless shirt and shorts.
The race drew a fantastic crowd of nearly 150 runners. There was a one lap 17K option and several runners did just one lap. I was proud that my youngest Roy Family first cousin, Danny Roy, came down from the University of Maine to run his first trail race. He took a few tumbles in the 17K, but had a blast. The hard-core 50Kers were also out in force and I saw a lot of smiles despite the cold. The trails were in good shape. It was fun to run on the Metacomet trail, which is part of the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails system that we love. Nelson and Hutt got strong support from our club, the Shenipsit Striders and also from the Bimblers Sound running club.
The Striders were out in force and we had our fancy new tent erected at the finish line. All of the runners got a nice t-shirt, the finishers got beer glasses, and the traditional traprock plaque went to the winners. I’ll be nursing my sore legs for a few days. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I’m building some endurance and I’ve got the 2011 adrenaline pumping and endorphins popping.