Oct 242014

2014 Big Brad Ultra 50 Mile Run Race Report



The progression to this day had really been set up by my TMR running teammates. My race scheduling really is NOT predetermined, it always just seems to evolve through my teammates and listening to what is going on for races and events and what sounds like fun and exciting to share.


I had a lot of time to think about my 2014 running season while running Big Brad Ultra this year as I found myself alone at segments of the race. For me, having that much time in my own thoughts can be dangerous. I tried to keep it all on a positive level and think back about how the season had gone, the goals I had reached and the goals still to be gained.


This race report is dedicated to all my running friends. As it is them, that have gotten me to where I am. If it were not for their support, lashing, drive, encouragement and motivation it would not have been such a great 2014 season.


The countless training runs, adventure runs, races, gatherings, volunteering….. Bradbury, Thorncraig, Bowdoin Commons, Cathance River, mountain climbs at Sunday River and Lost Valley, Blackstrap, Falmouth trail sessions and races I have run are engraved in my mind and I draw from every one of them. So, this is for all of my friends that put up with me…lol.


Big Brad Ultra 2014


It was a good week of getting in the spirit of the Big Brad. Being so close to Halloween, I had decided to find a few perfect pumpkins and carve then with the theme of the race. Trail Monster Running & Big Brad Ultras. I spent time sitting on my couch drawing out the TMR art work and the Big Brad Ultra stamp to transfer to the perfect pumpkins I had chosen days before. I had a great time carving them as it was all about thinking of everyone who would be there volunteering and who would be battling it out on the course. I thought it might be a fun thing to have lit up prior to the 6am 50 mile start as it begins in the dark and besides, who doesn’t like a carved pumpkin???


October 19, 2014. It was a cool and slightly windy day after a previous day of rain and leaf dropping. I was happy to see the cool temps and just as equally happy to see the rain had come as they anticipated and the actual race day forecast was dry and cool as the 2 years prior was questionable at the time for race day.


It’s morning of the Big Brad….I should be thinking about my run ahead but found myself thinking about the races I had run so far this year and the friends that have supported me and given me their time. I thought of all their races and events that they had chosen to run in and the successes they had with their seasons as well.


These are some of the things I remember about the run…..


I packed my things for the 50 miles ahead and set out to the race to pick up my race bib and see my teammates and friends. On the way to the start line I set a goal to meet at least one new runner on the course, that person would be Jesse. Jesse was a 21 year old Big Brad 50 mile runner. It was his first 50 mile event and he was very positive about the day and had many wonderful things to say about the race and its organizers. He really liked the atmosphere and what he knew of the course already. Jesse lives in Vermont but originates from Cumberland, Maine. The one thing he made to me that stuck in my mind is how he misses running in Maine which is why he registered for the Big Brad.


As we all sat in the middle school gymnasium, it was light conversations and quite somber as I am sure everyone was thinking of the day ahead. It was small talk and questions of how training went, what we were expecting to do, and if we had even run the event prior. I remember I woman that entered the gym carrying a video camera. She worked her way around the gym asking if she could ask individual runners a question!!!! My comment was “Will everyone get the same question or will everyone get a different question”, she responded, “The same question”. Her question was simply “Why do you run?” I had the opportunity to listen to a few runners answer the question before she got to me and I was uplifted by the answers she was receiving. It was very evident that most runners in that gym have a love for this sport, a love for the outdoors, a love for the unknown, and a love of pushing to the limits…..but when it came to me, I had to be a wise guy, my response was “I don’t run”. I can’t remember exactly what I said after that but I’m sure it was gibberish….


As we sat and awaited the call to the pre-race meeting, I chatted with another runner. As we chatted he mentioned that he had forgotten to bring a headlamp as he thought it would be light enough at the start without one, but realized it was going to be dark and treacherous without one. I looked for my handheld but couldn’t find it until after the race as it was buried at the bottom of my backpack. It turns out he ran the first loop without the headlamp but after that loop he thanked Jamie and I as he stayed behind us for the light on the trail. Eventually he moved ahead of me and I didn’t see him until later in the race when he had fallen several times and needed help getting back to his feet. He was tiring quickly and having trouble keeping his footing. He did complete the run, which I was happy to see him cross the finish line.


I remember the smells of fresh fallen leaves, the smell of wet undergrowth from the rain the day before, sounds of leaves blowing on the ground and the occasional limb falling to the ground due to the wind.


I remember the words from Ian at the start….”Follow the fire” as he and Andy paced the front runners up Lunch-Break.


Jamie and I talking fly fishing next season and the fact that I am going to get outfitted with gear this winter and chatting it up with several of runners we had not met prior.


There were several times during the run I found myself alone. Even in the first full loop. On the east side, I was alone for parts of it and it seems to make the distance longer and tougher to run.


I remember seeing Joe do the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen on the trails, he was 20 yards ahead of me and I saw what looked like he had come up lame and was waddling down the trail at a pretty good clip. I was ready to yell ahead and ask if he was ok only to realize he was urinating while running. he never missed a beat in stride……Iron Joe was on a mission.


The distinct smell of Bacon, descending into Ryan’s Bacon Station is a smell that any runner loves to have. I love Ryan’s Bacon Station.


I heard Nathan yelling “Slow down John”. Hearing those words was keeping me in check. I heard the words “Too fast” from Ryan which kept me in check.


The volunteers were right on it, always right there ready to assist with any need a runner might have. Offering supportive words and encouragement and kindly setting you on your way making sure a runner was not lolly-gagging around.


I again took time from my run by helping others. Several runners had fallen and were slow getting up, so I helped. Several runners were off-course so I assisted in helping them back track to get back on course while leaving my water bottle at the spot I left the course so I could retrace myself.


The conversations I had with Tim, Jamie, Joe, Jesse along the way.


Seeing Emma, Laurence, Mandy, Signe and Mike tearing it up as they busted the 50k course.


Laughing at the stream crossing thinking of a training run I did with Emma on a very hot humid day and literally laying down in the stream to cool down…..


Emma’s voice in my head when the pavement section came. I dislike running the pavement and had decided I would walk the pavement, but Emma had planted a seed in my mind that I could run it and should. Her voice echoed in my mind “Run the pavement” and you can imagine it in her accent as I did….hahahaha


Soup, candy corn and Coca cola at Boucher’s Buffet AS, man that soup was awesome.


The bacon, turkey rollup wrap at Ryan’s Bacon Station, man that was delicious.

My melt down and pitty-party on the third loop after Jamie cruised by me after what appeared to be a miracle at the start/finish AS. He and Zak seemed like they were fresh out of the box as they ran past. I felt terrible about my outburst at the AS and my negativity.


Realizing how happy I became to see Jamie work through the demons that were tugging on his mind and body and finish the run in style.


All the volunteers on the course and how it was apparent they had worked in shifts as the faces changed slightly at each loop.


Seeing Valerie on the course at critical points directing runners and offering supportive vibs.


Several trip and falls from toeing roots or rocks and just lifting up and charging ahead with laughter like a kid.


Seeing the massive pile of horse droppings at the trail entrance into the woods off the powerline and thinking holy crap I hope Jamie found some good moss to take care of that pooping. I laughed every time I saw it.


Passing the final AS at Ryan’s Bacon Station and realizing I was almost there and the feeling of energy I felt at that point and how good I felt physically.


Getting to the top of Lunch-Break and knowing it was a descent to the finish and deciding to run the descent with reckless abandonment until I see the opening in the field at the finish. It was one of the funnest  Lunch-Break descents I had done.


And finally, seeing the field opening and hearing the cheers of all at the finish as I got to the finish line and had Ian awaiting with the hoodie in hand and a hug to offer and a congrats from all my teammates and it was before dark. Lol.


After I had a few minutes to settle down after finishing, I realized I had improved my race time greatly from last year, nearly an hour and a half. I am happy with my run.


I ate 19 Honey Stinger Waffles, 1 every half hour roughly, 7-9 cups of Coca-Cola, 2 cups of soup, a handful of bacon, a bacon turkey wrap, candy corn, 1 salt tablet every hour or so, 7 IBP, 6-7 bottles of water and 5-6 bottles of Cytomax. This was much better as far as nutrition. There were times where I was forcing myself to eat even when I didn’t feel hungry. It seemed to work as I felt great during and after the run.


Thanks to all that take the time to involve themselves with this event in any capacity. It is you who really go the distance and make it all possible. I hope to see you all again at the 2015 Big Brad Ultras.


Congratulations to all that ran the Big Brad Ultras.












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