Monday, June 25, 2012

2012 Mount Greylock Trail Race

This was my first go on this trail race. I heard 2 reports prior to the race, a very tough and not so bad. My version goes with the first, Mt Greylock is a tough bastard of a race and the other guy who thought it was 'not so bad' was obviously messing with me.

The race starts with a 3 mile scramble up thunderbolt trail climbing over 2000 ft. A tough climb, i fared well holding a position in the top 15. As the climb got steeper, my run transitioned into a fast hike. I noticed how the more experienced trail runners hiked more efficiently and faster than i could. I was greeted at the summit with a couple of teenagers in traditional Mexican dress ringing cowbells and hollering ye-haaaas. Their cheers were very welcomed. At the first rest stop I grabbed a handful of trail mix, drank some powerade and began the 11 mile descent (more or less).

My goal for the race was completion, I had no intention to compete, so as I began the downhill portion, my plan was to take it easy and not break an ankle. Regardless the downhill portion was to be proven quite technically. Fast, steep, single track covered in rocks and roots, there was a certain amount of  'fear factor' as i ran down those trails. As i focused one step ahead of the other, I was being passed by runner after runner in blazing speed. Even though I practice on trails once a week, my experience does not compare to these seasoned trail runners. There is a certain level of skill that I need to develop in running these rocky paths. 

At around mile 8 or so, the trail opened up to a beautiful field with the Appalachian Mountains in the background. Over the next grassy hill the teenagers from earlier were ringing their cowbells. I love these kids. I gave them a few high fives, stopped at the rest stop, drank some water, and enjoyed the view.

I finished the race in 2:09 minutes, 28th place out of 178 runners. Given my average road half marathon, this race took almost an hour longer. 

WMAC puts on a fantastic race. Like their other races, Monore and Savoy, the Greylock Trail Race is a classic grass roots race. No fancy arches to run through, hi tech computerized timers, massage tables, or finisher medals, just a great course with great food, potluck style from the race organizers.

Left:  On the menu: hot dogs with all the toppings, 2 types of pasta salad, various cookies, all sorts of potato chips, bananas and other fruit, double fudge brownies, pastries, bananas, chocolate milk, soda, and beer.

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