Race six, the finale, of the mountain series was completed today in Mt. Ascutney State Park. The runners from last year's race spoke up and voted in a race course change to extend to the summit this year. The race previously followed the automobile access road to the parking lot about a half mile from the summit. I ran the course two years ago placing 4th with a time of 33:01.
Today, I placed 11th with a time of 43:56. The last 1.7 miles were different with the race leaving the road and onto the Futures Trail and to the summit. The footing was standard technical New England trail: mud, thick ground fern, boulders, streams, and stone steps along a single track. I am sure that this is the typical fare for the trail runners so they must have eaten it up. I on the other hand tip-toed through some sections. However, the trail was a blast and in usual fashion reduced me to a few walking sessions in the tougher portions of the trail. I gave up some time in the tough spots but just focused on staying on my feet as it would have been easy to trip up. I can't wait to see some photos of the runners. When Raina, the race director, officially solicits feedback, I will suggest the all road course back in and or see if a trail section could be worked into the course from the parking lot, previously mentioned about a half mile from the summit.
I'd like to congratulate the 100 or so runners who achieved Mountain Goat status by completing each of the six races in the Inov-8 USATF-NE Mountain Circuit 2009 Schedule. This allows the runners to bypass the 2010 Mt. Washington Road Race Lottery (they still need to register). I think it is a great program and has been a boon for each of the mountain races which have been close to or exceeded record entrants in 2009. In addition, I'd like to acknowledge the fine performances of my CMS teamates who no doubt, fared well in the individual point system.
Good times were had by several folks (too many names to remember) taking in a soak at the stream under Rt. 91 leading into the Mill Pond. Tim Van Orden advised that it was the place to go. Over twenty race folk managed to bring suds, food, and spirit as we hung out underneath a cloudless sky. Thanks to Todd and Laurie for the organic fruit salad, Tim Mahoney for the Harpoon offerings, and to Tim Van Orden for the "fresh out of the garden" greens. All I know is that for the next mountain race (next May), it will definitely be about where to hang out after the race.
Finally, I would be remiss without thanking Kristen for her company and support at each of the races in the series that came without complaint with early morning, multiple hour drives around New England. She volunteered at races, took photos, took the wheel, and brought some sanity to each turn on the road.
Lastly, as much as I need a break from the racing (I don't mind but am glad that the mountain series is over), I am signed up for the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl 5 miler on Thursday evening in South Boston. This is an out an back, flat and fast 5 miler put on by the L-Street Running club. I have been running a lot along the bay from UMass Boston to Castle Island so it will be another routine run except at goal, 5:30 per mile pace.
Frost on the fairway 2.5 mile XC race
2 hours ago