After plans to head up to Maine for the Millinocket Marathon fell through, I signed up for the WTF 15-Miler to run it as a workout. I figured I'd get some quality mileage in amidst a six-week training phase that involved a ton of uphill intervals at maximum effort. Halfway through the six-week phase, 15 miles on dry trails would be a welcome reprieve from shredding my calves on 12 percent road inclines.
December 9 came around—the same day I'd planned to run Millinocket—and thankfully the park was snow-free. It was quite a bit warmer than the advertised 0° Fahrenheit. In fact, it was pretty
close to 0° Celsius, which one may argue is guaranteed implicitly via the event's title. But if the temperature is accurately advertised in SI units, why present the distance in USCS units? (Hey Eric, there's no consistency here!) Anyway, there was no snow or ice on the trail, but instead a uniform layer of leaves to romp through.
|40% incline. PC: #TrailsRoc|
Three miles into the loop there's a short, very steep incline with a ton of roots and trees jutting out every which way. I've run a handful of true mountain races before—of which the WTF is not one—but this was the first trail race where I encountered fixed ropes on the course. Pulling myself up the slope wasn't terrible on the first loop, but by loop 3 it was absolutely exhausting. Each loop I'd reach the runnable trail at the top and still have to walk a bit to catch my breath and let the lactic acid dissipate.
I came through the lap area to finish loop 1 in about 43 minutes, still in the lead, and in time to get heckled by Dan Lopata—a scene that would repeat at the end of the second loop. Dan was insistent that I get moving to finish under two hours, yet he declined my offer to let him pace me to a fast finish!
Loop 2 was more of the same, only slower. This time I had to weave around the 5- and 10-mile runners who'd started later than the 15-milers. At least this lap I could zone out more and get into a groove without fear of missing a turn and going off-course. Lap splits weren't recorded, but I ran something close to 47 minutes for loop 2.
|Running with 10-miler Chris O'Brien |
late in the race. PC: #TrailsRoc
Thank you to #TrailRoc for putting on a low-key, high quality trail race. I don't know the names of everyone involved, but a hearty handshake goes to #TrailsRoc board members Eric Eagan and Michael Valone for all their hard work with this race.