Northfield Mountain was my introduction into the USATF - New England Mountain Circuit. I've run a number of races this year where running up and over mountains was just part of the race course. Cobble Mountain Snowshoe Race, Wapack Trail Race and Soapstone Mountain come to mind. This race would be a little different in that you only have to run up one side of the mountain and down the other and then you're done. One and done! I like the sound of that. It was great to see a number of my trail running friends, Bill, Dave, Emily, Kevin, Michelle and Stas and to make some new ones including Eric, Susanne and Julie.
My plan for the race was to try to run as relaxed as possible for the first 3.6 miles to the summit to conserve some energy for the downhill and then hammer the final 2.7 to the finish. The race started in a flat grass field but it wasn't long before the climbing began. Once it started it was unrelenting. There were occasional short breaks in the climbing but they didn't help much. It felt great to reach the water stop at the top on the mountain and knowing the rest of the race would be mostly downhill. Although it wasn't hot, it was very humid so I dumped a cup of water over my head and felt instant relief.
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My goal for the downhill was to pass at least one runner ahead of me. I did much better than that and picked up 8 places before the finish. Some of the downhill sections were extremely steep and the pounding caused a lot of pain in my feet. By the time I finished the race, my plantar fascia was throbbing and begging for mercy. I finished with a strong kick which makes me think I could have run the uphill section a little faster than I did. I may have left a little something out on the course. Still, I'm happy with my time and I had a blast. My pace from the start of the race to the top of the mountain was 10:28. My pace from the top of the mountain to the finish was 7:38. Running over a mountain guarantees negative splits!
Photos: Here and more Here
I think I'll need to take it slow for a few days to see how my feet come along. They're still very sore as I write this post two days after the race.