Post Nipmuck & DOMS

When the endorphin rush wears off and the adrenaline surge subsides, you are left with leg pain. Yes, good old leg pain. Two days after a long run is always the worst for me. The Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness sets in. Can you believe it? DOMS even has its own Wikipedia entry! And I thought I was the only one that couldn’t walk downstairs on Tuesday mornings.

Nipmuck does a job on your legs and back. It is nothing like running a road marathon and it isn’t as bad as running an ultramarathon, but it still hurts. Of course, this time around, for me, it hurts so good. I was quite pleased with how I felt afterwards and this particular DOMS episode isn’t nearly as bad as past runs.

I glanced at the results and was really pleased to see that two age group records were set. Jack Pilla, who is 50, had an incredible 3:25:49, good for 2nd place overall. His Grand Tree percentage was 93.35%, which is amazing considering that the winner, Ben Nephew, is 17 years younger. At about the five mile mark, I chatted up 55 year old Rob Higley, who is no slouch. We talked about Jack and how darn fast he is. Rob called him a “real runner.” Rob finished 4th, so no one is crying for him. Heck, compared to Rob, Jack is a puppy. They are both real runners in my book!

The second age group record was set by 62 year old Laura Clark. She ran 6:28:23 good for 49.47% of Ben’s time. She almost got that 50%. Of course, Ben has 29 years on her, again, almost 50%. She was closer in percentage to the first woman, 41 year old Donna Utakis. Laura has been getting better with age. You know the methaphor…like a fine vintage.

Scan the list of finishers. The average age looks like it is over 50. Maybe they know something about the Nipmuck Trail that others don’t. Could it be the fountain of youth? Regardless, I have two observations. Long distance trail running can be done by anyone, no matter the age. Trail running can keep you vital. My second observation is that we have to expose more young runners to the joys of trail running. They are missing out. I hope they aren’t all on the roads and tracks. That will just lead to repetitive overuse injuries. Then, they will quit running in despair. I guess the road or track would be better than parked in front of a TV or monitor.

This is a serious matter. We need runners to keep these races going. We need race directors and volunteers too. They aren’t getting any younger. Debbie and I have been around the New England trail running community since 1999. We have gotten 10 years older and are no longer the baby faces. Let’s all encourage young runners to join us in the fun.

Michelle Roy did just that on Sunday. She paced 15 year old Kelsey Taylor, who became the youngest finisher in Nipmuck’s 26 year history. It was so much fun to pass those two gals twice on the double out and back course. They were chattering and laughing so much (the first time) that I chided them to “focus” on the trail. Best to warn them that there are rocks and roots out there and that all that gossip might lead to a fall.

The oldest starter was 79 year old Richard Busa. Unfortunately, I don’t see Rich’s name in the finish results. I hope he missed the time cut, but finished, and that he wasn’t the victim of a DNF or injury.

A lot of folks have cited Livingston Family athleticism as a source of inspiration. We often cite the efforts of our more “senior”  running friends as our inspiration. Seeing  a Busa with his number pinned to his head, a Laura Clark with her fierce determination, or a Jack Pilla with his killer speed; is enough to get us motivated.

Race Director, Nipmuck Dave, is a sage. You may not have noticed in the photographs from my race update, but the bib numbers had a simple saying printed on them, “Don’t Matter if Your Fast or Slow.”

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