Sunday, December 20, 2015

Old Mountain Field 5K

Wakefield, RI
Saturday, December 19, 2015

36th and final race of the year.  Stepping out of the car at Old Mountain Field, one of the first people I ran into was teammate Jonny.  He extended me a greeting of something like, "Welcome to the 4th season!".  And thus began another fun winter trail racing season.

A 36-degree start should seem warm relative to past years of deep snow and absolute frigid temperatures down into the single digits.  However, with temps into the 60s of late, it seemed a little cold.  I wanted to see as much of the course pre-race as possible, as RD Mike Galoob had significantly revamped it this year.  Ran the first two miles as a warm-up with Jonny and new WTAC member and WMS runner Aaron Tallardy.  Upon our return, a 10-minute delay was announced due to some issue with race registration entry.  This gave me enough time to swap out my long sleeve shirt for a singlet and to get a thinner pair of gloves (I actually brought three pairs of gloves, two hats, and two pairs of socks; one can never be too prepared at a winter trail race.).

Frenemy Fox was already talking smack and telling me how I'll probably fall in the mud during the race, Crutch brought his usual upbeat attitude, and Johnny Woodmansee wanted to tell me how much he really didn't like trails "this year" (so why exactly did you come here?).  Pulled away to catch up with happier teammates BLS, Jeff Huckle, and Jeff "I don't run trails" Vuono, who was out for his 3rd trail race in as many months.

The start:  The start was in the same place as recent years, except this time we ran clockwise around an adjacent field, crossed the park road where we parked, and then I entered the main trail just ahead of Turtle Bob Corsi and behind teammate Seth.  A 1/4 mile or so of uphill double-track ensued, with a stair climb up to the big rock and the top of the "mountain".  Already huffing and puffing.

Start of the race.  Conspicuously absent is snow and frigid
temps from past race years.  (All pics by Jana)
Crossing the road with Seth early on in race.
The swamp:  Now heading downhill on twisty single-track, it was clear that the young runner ahead of Seth, clad in blue Level garb, was struggling and even stumbling a bit. Fortunately, at the next opportunity Seth blew by him and I followed suit.  Seth was running well, but at a subsequent downhill section, I forged ahead.  And now there were four ahead:  Jonny leading, with Lonergan, Jackman, and Brightman on his tail.  At a rather technical rock garden, I pulled up right next to Brightman and contemplated trying to pass him.  The contemplative moment was gone, and back on to more solid ground, he pulled ahead.  The next mile or so was downright soggy, including trudging through mud, and running through ankle-deep puddles.  I tried to hang on Brightman's tail for a while, but the mud bogs were slowing me down and eventually he pulled away.
River rock crossing leaving the
wet swampy section
(Pic from previous day, but largely unchanged)

'Round the pond loop:  After leaving the swampy area for higher ground, at a 90-degree left turn I glanced back to see who was following me.  Was hoping it was still teammate Seth, but unfortunately it was Fox!  Hoofed it on the downhill single-track to the bridge crossing, and was thrilled to see the gap had widened a little. Unfortunately that didn't last, as after the bog bridge and roots section, he was just behind me entering the fields and re-entering the trails.
Dag-nabbit, I've got a Fox on my tail.

Around the pond before heading back into single-track

The finish:  Heading back into the trails, we have about 3/4 of a mile to go.  I can see Jackman ahead of me.  Jackman missed a sharp left turn, and by the time he turned around and took the turn, I jumped in right behind him for the short, but steep, single-track ascent.  The pace seemed slow as I trailed Jackman and Fox was right behind me.  It wasn't a question of if, but when to make my move to try to pass Jackman.  I decided I'd hold off until after we reached the peak, to avoid expending too much energy passing uphill.  After the climb up the stairs and to the "peak", it was time.  Whatever Jackman mumbled was incoherent, but it was clear he wasn't challenging me.  As I suspected and feared, Fox went with me as I passed.  OK, now what?  The downhill was short and now we were ascending again, this time on very twisty single-track.  I am getting really tired and decide to hold off picking it up to the top of the hill again.  At the switchback, I pick it up hard downhill and held Fox off on the downhill, even around the back of the skate park, but then on the dash across the field, I have nothing left and Fox outkicks me to finish two seconds ahead of me.  He actually was so much of a gentleman to say "Come on, Jeff", as he was passing me.
Trying hard to stay with Fox.   Can't someone just trip him?

Alas, I'm out of energy.

Still very happy with a top 5 finish.

Final:  21:16.  5th overall; 1st in age group.  Full results here.

WTAC women's team won; men's team took 2nd after Rhode Runner. Good to see so many WTAC brethren out there today.  In retrospect, knowing the chances of trying to outkick Fox, I should have pushed it hard on the final uphill for what ever chance I had to open the gap.  Hindsight.  A fun event, as usual.  I missed any cool-down and awards, as I had to head to Providence for Matthew's indoor invitational.   By then, my soaking wet feet were starting to get quite cold anyway.  A hot shower and change of clothes at the nearby South County Y hit the spot.  My legs were sore the rest of the day, and I slept well!


  1. Nice race Jeff!

    It was great to see so many WTAC shirts! Alas, I was WTAC shirtless as my laundry was left undone all week and while the well marinated WTAC shirt may have given me either an edge in my competitive bracket by people dropping way back to get away from the fetor (or it could have also caused me to lose more ground by those around me speeding up to get ahead of the miasma), it wouldn't be a very nice way to represent the team.

    Still have that unclaimed green singlet for purchase?

    1. I am embarrassed to admit that I needed to look up both "fetor" and "miasma"; although truly appreciate the opportunity for vocabulary enrichment.

      I am presently train-bound en route to Beantown for a holiday gathering with my ex-Fidelity colleagues. I shall check at our storage facility for available green singlet sizes in the next few days and get back to you.

    2. Always good to trump you on vocabulary! My year is now complete. Thank you for checking! I won't be back in town till the 28th. Hope you had a lovely get together!

  2. Excellent race, Jeff. You and Fox have developed quite the rivalry. I look forward to seeing how the next chapter turns out.

    While you're looking at your green singlet inventory, please check for me too. The fetor and miasma of my white one is getting too strong to bear. :)

    1. I was told to soak the item in 1 part white vinegar and 10 parts water for 30 minutes and then wash. My usual measurements are filling the washing machine up with water and fetid athletic wear (an especially ripe laundry basket full) and dumping in half a gallon of vinegar in the washing machine and using the soak setting and leaving the lid up (so it doesn't drain) and then eventually remember I'm in the middle of this process and close the lid so it drains and then wash the load and hang to dry. Usually everything smells better. This then prompts a massive smell fest of everything in the running gear drawer as I wonder how horrific it is to run with me (other than my constant bitching and slow pace) with this putrid smelling gear. Usually a few smell fine and they go back in the drawer or I go for a run because now I'm a little stressed.