Apr 292012

Ryan asked me last evening if I had gotten the email about the change in course for the TARC 50k. Hmmm. Nope, hadn’t realized that. Turns out they had decided to change the course to make the loop a “certified” 10k, meaning the 50k would be in fact a true 50k and not the 32.7ish miles I had been anticipating based on research from last year’s results. OK, a slight change in plans, but hey, I’ll take 31 versus 32.7 any day!

After getting up at 5:30 with Sam this morning, we headed over to Weston from his parent’s house, leaving them gulping cups of coffee in anticipation of a long day with an energetic 2 1/2 year old 🙂 Thank you Grammie and Grampie! Sam had a great day and we really appreciate you watching her so we could go run and have fun!!

It took us no time at all to motor down the quiet highway and get off in ritzy Weston, winding our way through some serious houses on our way to the start of the race, in a field/horse riding ring at the edge of Jericho Woods. The Trail Animals put on a really nice race, well-organized, with lots of nice volunteers, a huge aid station piled with food, and a well-marked course that wound through some lovely woods. It was cool and windy, and I stayed in my long pants and jacket as long as I could. Brrrr. Still, the sky was bright and blue, and the sun was warm. I shivered a bit as we waited for the start, but warmed up and got comfortable once the race got underway.

My goal was to run the loops comfortably, shooting for 10 minute miles for at least the first few laps. Of course, being me, I started out too quickly, spending the first few miles chatting with a fellow thru-hiker named Fedex, who hiked the trail in 2007. We had fun talking trail for a while and it made the time fly by. Around mile 3, Nathan sidled up next to me and said, “Hey, when do you think we’ll catch up to Blaine?” Ha. Funny man! We stayed together until around mile 4, at which point, I realized he was going slightly faster than was “comfortable” for me at this point, so I let him go. It would have been nice to stay with him, but it was early yet and I had to run my own race. Even with my attempt to slow things down, I came through lap #1 with the clock reading 55:xx. Ryan, who ran the 10k, had quickly organized my things and ever-so-nicely set up all my stuff right at the edge of the field near the aid station, all ready for me to easily pick up what I wanted for the next lap. What a good hubby! 🙂

As I set off for loop #2, Ryan called after me, “Take it easy!” Point noted. I made an effort to slow down, although I was a bit loathe to do so, especially on the wide and even carriage roads which simply begged for quick running. I ran mostly alone, passing a few people here and there, getting passed, etc. I saw Nathan up ahead at a few points, but he slowly disappeared. I ran along enjoying the scenery and glad to be out on such a nice day. The woods down here are much greener than up our way, and the forest floor was filled with greenery and wood flowers – we ran through a big section of blooming lily of the valley, there were lots of purple violets blooming, as well as some wood anemone and a few flowering trees. Of course, there was also a lot of poison ivy, and I was very conscious to stay in the middle of the single track. I definitely didn’t want to bring home that sort of souvenir! The loop was a nice mix of wide carriage roads, some twisty but friendly single track, and just a few small stretches of rhythm-stopping mud and rock, all rolling up and over small hills, along the edge of fields and through this wonderful tract of conservation land. I came through loop #2 somewhere around 1:54.

Loop #3 passed in a similar fashion, and for the last few miles, I was slowly but surely catching up with who other than Nathan! We came into the aid station with me right on his tail, but somehow I got back out faster than he did. I am fuzzy on the numbers on the clock at this point, but I know I was doing the loops in under an hour, even if just. I passed Christine near the beginning of lap #4, asking her to tell Nathan to come find me. I figured he would catch up to me soon enough.

Although the loop was a good one, at some point in loop #4, my legs were starting to let me know that they were a bit upset with my pace, and my stomach was starting to make itself known as well. I had been doing really well up until mile 18 with my fueling, eating every three miles and feeling pretty good energy-wise. During lap #4, I took a Gu at mile 22, but it was a struggle. Ah well, I wasn’t going to give up at that point. I was just going to keep on pushing, or at least try to not slow down too much 🙂

I was aware as I was coming to the end of loop #4 that I was on pace for under 5 hours, but when I did the numbers in my head, I knew, unless there was some sort of miracle, I wasn’t going to get a 50k PR. Still, I thought I could do pretty well if I was able to keep going at a decent pace. I didn’t really want to eat anything, so I grabbed 3 chips from my aid station and headed back out quickly for the final time. One more lap to go! The day had warmed up and I could tell I hadn’t been drinking enough, as with each bite of chip, my mouth felt really dry. I think those three chips lasted about 2 miles and it was all I could do to get them down. But no matter. Onward! Last time through! The benefit of the loop course was that I knew where I was, and had noted when I had around a mile to go. I picked up the pace as much as I could, but had to slow dramatically to get through the final crossing of the muddy rocky stretch before attempting to get my legs moving again for the last 1/2 mile push. Ryan had been telling me all along that the girl is 3rd place was a few minutes ahead, and although I was steadily passing people in the last lap, I couldn’t quite tell if I was lapping them or if they were people I was catching up to. I passed a number of women, but in the end, the woman in 3rd beat me by about 1:30. Shucks! Still, I can’t be too upset – I finished in 4:52:12, as 4th woman, and feeling strong most of the way. I’m happy with how the race went, how I felt, how my body held up and how I was able to keep steady and keep pushing even at the end. Definitely a good race, and a happy surprise to come in under 5 hours! I’ll take it!

Happy runner

The Trail Monsters were out in full force today, with Ryan and Erik running the 10k, Blaine rocking the 50k, Nathan finishing about 9 minutes behind me and George, using the race as his final long run before Massanutten, finishing strong around 5:30. Brenda, Christine, Ann and Kate all had great marathons – with Kate putting in an impressive finishing kick at the end! We were set up in the field in style – Ryan grilling sausages and burgers, with lots of beer flowing, and as always, the wonderful camaraderie and support that comes with a great group of friends. After the race, I kicked back in a chair, eating, chatting and resting, and just soaking up the energy of the day while I enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my back. It was a fun day, for sure!

The Trail Monster crew post-race

RESULTS (preliminary)
50k (Garmin read 30.78 miles) – 4:52:12
23/92 finishers; 4th woman

 Posted by at 8:28 am

  One Response to “TARC Spring Classic 50k – Race Report – Danielle Triffitt”

  1. Cool, nice Job and nice Race!!!!

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