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Stone Cat Trail Festival - RunUltra Marathon

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Ipswich, Massachusetts
United States
52F / 11C
Total Time = 8h 47m 1s
Overall Rank = 5/59
Age Group = M30-39
Age Group Rank = 4/22
Pre-race routine:

Woke in the COVID infested hotel room, had oatmeal, and headed to the school.
Event warmup:

None, just set up my bag drop area and chair.
  • 8h 47m 1s
  • 50 miles
  • 10m 32s  min/mile

Boy did we get lucky with the weather - ranged between 45-57, cloudy - can’t ask for better in early November.

Loop 1 - 2:02:38 - I was so not prepared for running 2 hours in the dark. Within 10 minutes twisted my ankle and got real timid. Luckily I got scooped up by a couple guys with way more experience (and brighter lights), and just hung with them. They seriously saved me, can’t thank them enough! When first light started appearing I felt a lot of relief, I was running so tense.

Loop 2 - 2:02:28 - My favorite lap. Sadly I lost my buddies at the bag drop by the start/finish. The sunrise was incredibly beautiful - such vibrant colors! Might as well have been running on new trails, finally got to see it all. Lotta fun with the other distances out here now, ran with a half marathoner for a bit. Started get some aches towards the end - a bit early? While I wasn’t hot by any means, realized it may have been a mistake not starting salt pills yet.

Loop 3 - 2:17:32 - Took a bit longer at the bag drop here. Sat down, refilled pack and bottle, had some snacks and a bit of Pepsi. This lap started off pretty good, but didn’t stay good. Was much lonelier this time. Fell once. Pooped during a race for the first time. Towards the end things got really dark, I was just not feeling good in general and was very negative mentally. Was pretty concerned about having 1 more to go…

Lap 4 - 2:24:23 - Took some more time to sit and recharge (and reflect on the choices that brought me to this point - see pic). Ditched the pack and went handheld only the rest of the way. Hoped the Pepsi and Keebler cookie would bring me back to life. It seemed to work, along with knowing I was on the final lap. A slower time but a much much better lap, spirits improved. Still lonely, but those rare moments when I passed someone and we exchanged IRL kudos were really nice. By this time I was pretty familiar with the trail and looked forward to the really pretty sections (abundant). Made a game of saying goodbye to the memorable landmarks (may have been losing my mind). The final aid station crew (6mi from finish) asked me what I needed. I said “a hug?” “We have pickle juice”. I’ll take it. I knew when I saw the old broken down car in the middle of the woods (how did it ever get there?) I had about 1.5 miles to go. Despite everything hurting I picked it up (slightly). Such relief to pop out of the woods (‘Are we out of the woods yet?’) and see that sweet sweet finish line.

Incredible adventure for sure.
What would you do differently?:

Perhaps start salt pills earlier. Practice running in the dark more. But in general, I think I managed by first (real) ultra well! I climbed the standings each lap, so results agree.
Post race
Warm down:

Got changed quickly and ate some food (cheese quesadillas - yum!)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Inexperience perhaps. Probably to really go after one of these would require way more volume than I put in.

Event comments:

Incredible experience, one I'll never forget. Volunteers, supporters, and other races had such great energy. The trails were great and weather ideal. Not sure about an ultra, but might come back for one of the other distances in the future!

Last updated: 2023-11-07 12:00 AM
08:47:01 | 50 miles | 10m 32s  min/mile
Age Group: 4/22
Overall: 5/59
Performance: Good
Course: A (roughly) 12.5 mile (more like 12.7-12.8 most like, some GPS error going on) loop on trails. Very dry. Some roots and rocks, but not bad. Mostly single track, some double track. Rolling but not long or super steep climbs. Overall very friendly trails.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2023-11-07 6:44 PM

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Niskayuna, New York
Subject: Stone Cat Trail Festival
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