This is just the "break" in needed! After 4 consecutive weekend races, and 6 out of the past 8, the thought of another 2 to 6 hour race was not a pleasant one. Then along came Trav's Trail Run to the rescue (race # 5 on the Eastern New England Trail race series). This 3 mile race on wide, tame trails covered with pine needles and wood chips (wood chips, are you serious?) made me want to come back again to explore the trails of Maudslay State Park at a more leisurely pace. This was more of a cross-country race than a trail run but no matter what you call it, it's a FUN race.
RunninRob made the drive with me and we met Pixie and Vivian (one of Pixie's students) in the parking lot before the race. The sun was breaking through the clouds and the temperature climbing as we made our way out onto the course for a 20 minute warm up. By the time we returned the race was about to start. I was standing in back talking with Pixie an neither one of realized the race started without us. We both shouted "Oh, Crap!" and off we ran in pursuit.
The race started on an open field and quickly descended on a sunken, washed out path that had the trickiest footing of the entire course. I worked my way though the field looking for Rob but with my bad start and 260+ runners I couldn't find him. After crossing short bridge the course made it's longest climb up a loose gravel path. It leveled off and then made another short climb onto a sweet, wide cushioned trail. Having to work my way though the field for the first mile really slowed my pace and I went thought the mile in 8:24.
The second mile was nearly flat and I continued to pass runners even as the field thinned out. The running here was the best I have ever seen in a trail race with long stretches of trail covered in pine needles or wood chips. I increased my speed gradually throught the second mile and ran a 7:47 split for mile two. Still no Rob in sight!
I was starting to feel a little hurt coming on after mile 2 and was contemplating slowing down a bit but I told myself this is only a 3 mile race and you're supposed to hurt in a 3 mile race! With all the long slow stuff I've been running lately I forgot what it feels like to run short and quick. Sort of like getting tossed directly into the fire instead of being slowly roasted over the coals!
The last .75 miles of the race was the same as the first except we ran it in the opposite direction. Coming down a long hill I saw Rob crossing over the bridge ahead. He had a good lead on me and I didn't think I had a chance of catching him but I put my head down and motored on. When I crossed the bridge and made the turn up the final climb to the finish I could see Rob had about 50 yards on me. The only way I could catch him is if he really slowed on the climb. He didn't.
Cresting the hill I sprinted to the finish but Rob put it into another gear and pulled away. I crossed the line in 23:23 for a 7:12 split on the final mile. Vivian wasn't too far behind with Pixie about 2 minutes behind Vivian. (Pixie also ran the Wachusett Mt. race the day before). We hung around for the huge post-race raffle but we all struck out there! Oh well, still a great time and a welcomed change of pace from the longer Grand Tree events of the past several weeks.
NO races for me for the next 2 weekends and I'm looking forward to the rest. Well, not exactly rest. Rob and I have already planned a 20 mile training for next Sunday. And to Nipmuck Dave if you're reading this. I'm happy to help fill in any holes in the entrant list for the Nipmuck Marathon on June 7th. You can even charge me double and I'll bring a gallon of water!
Race results HERE
Use it or lose it....