Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brrr-lingame 10 Mile Trail Race

March 21, 2014

1:08:51.  9th overall of 62, 2nd in age group.  Full results here.

Arrived over an hour early as I was bringing 4 boys to help volunteer.  Shortly after 9, most of the usual WTAC crew was arriving.  Noticeably absent was Nate (any confirmed sightings after his return from across the pond?), Tommy 5K (running Holyoke 10K), and Mike B (some more important mission that he needed to be home for a dishwasher delivery?  Did I get that right? :) ).  Went out for a warm-up with the usual suspects, plus Greg down from NH to throw his hat in the ring.  I asked if we could run the last mile or two of the course, as that was the only portion I wasn't really familiar with, so that's what we did.
Cold waiting for the race to start

Lap 1:  At the starting siren, the front-runners flew out.  Not wanting to be stuck back on the trails, I pushed it to get a better position, just passing WTAC teammate Josh before the trail start.  I didn't ease up on the trail, and after 1/4 mile or so went past Seth and then passed three noisy teens through the brush.  I was just behind Muddy now, and followed him closely.  Watch beeped mile 1 - 6:37 - Fool of a Took!  Fortunately no Balrogs came out to chase me, but I would pay for this blunder the rest of the race in terms of oxygen debt and declining paces.  Crossing the main campground road, I could see Muddy, Jonny, and Chris for a while on longer stretches, but soon there was no one ahead of me.  Making the sharp left switchback to start the ridge trail, I could see two runners close behind me.  I was hoping at least one would be Seth or Jeff Duda, but it wasn't to be.  By the time we rejoined North-South trail on the double track running past the cabins, I had one of them right on my tail.  Thought he would pass, but he didn't.  All through the bog bridges and campground, he was breathing down my neck, and as I was breathing much harder than him, I wished he would just pass me.  Finally, with about 1/4 mile to go on the 1st lap, I made a slight wrong turn and he called to me and passed me.  I could now see it was Todd Bennett, who is in my age group.  So be it.  Coming to the finish line, I stripped off my hat and gloves and threw to Matthew (tending the water stop), took a drink, and was passed by "Green Shirt" who I didn't recognize but was clearly much younger.  33:29, 6:42 pace.
Mile 4:  The fight for the 40s age group:  Todd right on my shoulders
(Photo courtesy Scott Mason)

Lap 2:  Mentally tough to start another lap as I knew it would be.  I saw Todd and Green Shirt for a while, but then fell on the first hill climb, one of the few muddy sections on the course, and by the time of the road crossing, I was back to "no man's land".  Glanced back at ridge trail switchback, and saw no one.  Once on the ridge trail highline, I saw Seth below running towards the switchback.  I couldn't gauge how close behind me he was, so I picked it up a bit and didn't see him again.  The next section from the end of the ridge all the way to the cabins is pretty fast, with the exception of the hill climb away from Klondike Road.  The bog bridges were really tiring this time:  jump up, jump down, jump up, jump down, watch the rocks, watch the roots, repeat 19 times.  Now into the campground, I just keep telling myself to try to keep the pace I was running.  Now I start passing people - it's the lagging end of the 5 milers.  They're all very polite, step aside to let me pass, and offer words of encouragement.  Down by the pond now, really running out of steam, but is that Todd ahead of me that I can see again?  Half a mile left - let's pick up the pace again.  Crossed the finish line completely spent.  2nd lap was 35:22, 7:04 pace (22 seconds per mile slower than first lap, ouch!)
Approaching the Campground main road
(2nd lap, about 7 miles in now)

Immediately just lay down on the ground, completely shot.  After several people came over to ask if I was OK, decided this wasn't a good idea and at least sat up.  After many drinks, a cookie, and some oranges (thanks Mike!), I thought I had enough energy to run a 2-mile cooldown with the crew, but truth be told, even then I was suffering to get it done with.  So surprised to see Jeff Duda running; the last time Mike B and I dragged him on trails through Barn Island with hunters shooting and giving us dirty looks, I thought he'd never run on a trail again.  He asked since he made the trail race, where was FiveK and Mike B (see above).  As for coming in 2nd in my age group, it turns out Todd slowed quite a bit as well in the 2nd lap and I ended up just 35 seconds behind me.  Publicly on the megaphone, Mike G said "Todd just edged out Jeff Walker" and privately he said to me, "Looks like you got your a#% kicked in your age group today!".  Sounds like Mike, right? :)  My solution to that should be "run faster", but I think instead it's "hurry up and get out of the 40s age group"!

As always, running with all my awesome WTAC teammates.
Ran a decent (not great) race overall and willed myself to stick with it 2nd half when I really just wanted to crawl up into a bush and die.
Beautiful day!  Despite weather warnings, was sunny and temps rising to close to 50 by Noon.
Another great race put on by the Galoob family.

Just went out way too fast.  For Big River, I'm going to have to keep reminding myself to run my own race.  Push it, yes, but not as hard at the beginning, lest I suffer and fall apart.


  1. Ha, sorry Jeff, immediately after teasing you about that I realized how spent you looked and felt bad. I think you would have easily won had your pacing been more conservative. (You had a tough week leading in, too) If you run with the wisdom on your years, you'll be back at the top of the standings at Big River, I'm sure of it. Not that 9th isn't already impressive!

  2. Another strong showing Gazelle! You may not have had your best day at Brr-lingame but you still ran strong and tough. Pushing through that second lap will pay off in some other race down the road.

  3. Nice work out there! The second lap was spirit-crushing!

  4. Great result and perseverance out there, not an easy race, in spite of the deceivingly benign looks of the course. I was feeling it on Sunday, for sure. Thanks for the recap!

  5. Good seeing you, Jeff. "Fool of a Took!" Ha Ha, I loved that line. Way to fight hard the whole race. I always feel that going out too hard might result in a sub par race, but it's a heck of a workout and there are a lot of fitness gains. See you in a couple of weeks at Big River.

  6. That photo of you and Todd coming through the woods is awesome. You guys look like you're flying. (And you were!) No doubt you will get him back at Big River.