Monday, June 16, 2008

The Scuffle: A Bradbury Race Report

In the east we don't have too many cool, epic mountains to race on. What we do have is plenty of rain and mud. Yesterday's Bradbury Scuffle 6-Mile Trail Race had both. The morning started cool with a slight drizzle, adding to the moisture on the ground from the previous night's rain. Bradbury was somewhat quiet and sleepy when we arrived after 8 AM for the 9 AM start, but by 8:30 the place was hopping.

At the start line were many buddies and faces I have seen around. Total registrants for the race were around 70. No doubt had the morning dawned bright and shiny we could have expected more to toe the line. Not bad for a first time race. Racing with me would be my wife, Kelly, lining up for her first trail race. And I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to my great in-laws, Phil and Boo Boo (honorary in-law), for coming out in the rain to help with the kids. Real troopers they are!

Ian did the introductions and shortly after nine the cowbell went off. Out of the gate we went fast, with me falling somewhere in the back part of the top 10. Despite shouting for the front runners to "wait for me", they kept going leaving me to actually work for my position. During the first mile I caught a number of people, including my old buddy Steve F., who I trained with quite a bit leading up to last year's Vermont 100. It was great seeing Steve back out doing some races after recovering from a running injury last year. I am sure he'll be back to full strength in no time. Joining us in that first mile was a runner who I later found out was only 15 years old. Pretty remarkable.

To this point in the race we were running on snowmobile trail, leaving plenty of room for two abreast. As I saw the single track approaching, I picked up my pace to ensure I was in front when we entered the woods. Once on the single track, my primitive "Natty Bumpo" instinct kicked in and I was off. After running solo for about a mile I caught the only other runner I would pass and saw no one else the next four miles, with the exception of faint glimpses of runners behind me as the trail snaked its way through the woods. There were a few slippery spots and plenty of deep mud and puddle as the rain increased its frequency to just short of a downpour. Still I laid out all I had and at the end was rewarded with a 3rd place finish in a time of 42:40. In front of me was talented runner Blaine Moore (check out Blaine's photos) by 1:40 and strong runner Patrick Cote (apparently of NENSA) 1:20. Good, clean fun was had by all with no injuries or mis-navigation (sic?) to speak of. Kelly finished well also, and as always, with a smile barely looking like she had run. She was happy with her time and even came in speaking of chasing some guy down during the race. Go get 'em Kelly.

My average pace was 7:04 for the race. Not too bad for having run 24.5 miles the day before in preparation of my pacing duties at the Western States 100 and my July attempt at the Vermont 100. As for splits, I was a little over the map but that is to be expected on a course with as varying terrain as the Scuffle. First mile was 6:42 (snowmobile trail), with the next few at an average of 7:20, followed by 6:41 and 6:38 for the last two miles (also on snowmobile trail with some slight undulations). I am feeling good for the Mount Washington Hill Climb on Saturday. I can't wait to see what that does to my legs. And then I am off to CA to help Jamie achieve ultra running glory!

Finally, my thoughts and prayers go out to Trail Monster Chris Douglass who died a couple weeks back in a car accident. He obviously meant a lot to Ian, Jamie, Emma, and many, many others. Ian's moving dedication at the beginning of the race really served to motivate me during the run to make sure I hit every mud puddle in honor of Chris, who I didn't know but whose presence I felt in every drop of rain. Godspeed Chris.


Jamie said...

Congrats again on the race, oh speedy one.

Just think, in a little more than a week, we'll be in Californ-I-A.

Blaine Moore said...

I heard you yell at me to slow down, but the only reason I went out as fast as I did was so that I could run whatever pace I wanted and not have to worry about somebody blocking my view of the trail.

It was a lot of fun.

sn0m8n said...

Nice report! And an even better run based on your Saturday mileage. Great to meet you. Hope to see you on Saturday on the big hill.

mindy said...

I wish I could run that fast on the roads! Awesome race and you are more than ready for CA and VT!!