A few years back, I was visiting a friend in Hartford when I met two super rad guys while running, Steve (aka Pretty Boy) and his friend Kevin (aka Goat). They mentioned wanting to start a 100k or 100miler in CT bc they were disappointed at the lack of one in their state. I encouraged them and told them I would come up and run it for sure. I ended up visiting them a few other times when I journeyed up to Hartford.
They started the Traprock 50k two years ago, and racing Umstead and other races interfered - and I'm glad I was finally able to do it this year. I convinced my boyfriend who has only done one 50k to do it as a good training run for Bear Mountain 50 Miler, and Mary and Erin jumped into it too. Unfortunately, Mary woke up sick and couldn't run, but the three of us started the 50k, along with Jess who ran the 17k version of the same course.
Wayne and I started out running about 10 meters and then, like everyone else, we walked up an incredibly ridiculous and steep and rocky hill. My asthma was NOT behaving and this made every single climb horrible. Instead of my usual two puffs before I run, I ended up taking 18 puffs or so the entire day. Pretty horrendous.
And then we had some ups and downs and Wayne hammered the ups and the downs and really anything with rocks. My goal was to have asthma attacks, tell stories, and push it on the flats and fall on my face or trip multiple times. We make a good team, as you can tell.
As the ultra started, I was reminded of why I love ultras. The camaraderie, the jokes, the chill atmosphere, the fun. This is what's lacking in a lot of road running so I feel like I could never go back to just running marathons. That's not for me.
Then we hit the stairway to heaven. Rocks, uphills, rocky "stairs" at times tumbling down...Someone began shouting about why has the good lord put this stairway here as we climbed it the first time, to everyone's laughter. And then when we got to the top, someone was singing "Stairway to Heaven." Yes, this was my kind of race...fun, good atmosphere.
The first three miles are HARD, lots of ups, lots of ups, lots of rocks...but once that's done, you know the rest 7 or so miles of the loop aren't quite as wicked. So that makes you have a smile on your face when you reach the top. Then another mile or so and you hit the first aid station (Mmmmm strawberry Heed, mmmmmmm), then you do a "lollipop" loop which was appropriately marked with giant cardboard lollipops. That's about a mile, you hit another aid station, and then up, and a few more miles ups and downs and then the "rock n roll aid station" which was sans Elvis despite some who sang in hopes of that. We got to see Mary there twice, which was nice...
And then a few more miles back down, down, down the same way we struggled up, to the start/finish/aid station. I sucked down coconut water, joked around.
It was nice because there were a few spots where you got to see people going in the opposite direction.
And then we did one loop and another. I ran the whole thing with Wayne, despite him being faster and my asthma and other issues making me slower. Some days are just not my days, but I'm glad my hamstring behaved.
After, I sucked down some more coconut water while the Goat narrated the finishes. When I came in, he announced to everyone that I was the RD of the Burning Man Ultra and that everyone should run it. He announced that this one guy finishing was only here because he is a rocket scientist who was kicked out of North Korea after his nuclear rocket failed to launch. Some other woman was "known for eating raw penguin" which was news to her. I helped him with our friend Erin, and invented that she was the only person to ever be raised in Antarctica on the science base and she wears black all the time because it helps her stay warm, as is a habit in Antarctica. So yes, it was very fun.
The race was a blast - besides the crew I came with, I got to see my RD friends, Chippywich, Scott, people from the Jay Challenge (I swear, that race is so special - I constantly am running into people who ran it, even in Argentina - that was my 1st and 3rd ultra). It made me happy to be part of such a fun and amazing community...despite the bruises from falling, the blister on my big toe, and the dirt everywhere!