Eat to run, Run to eat
Rather than hijacking the Sloppy cuckoo thread anymore, here is my RR for MoMa (Which was lost since The-Sight_which_Must_Not_Be_Named Erased it.)
Thi is not a new RR!! I ran this last September!!!
LONG.. Race descriptionSkip to the end for results)4th annual Mountain Madness 50K (aka “MoMa&rdquo is run in and around Ringwood state forest in Northern New Jersey. The course description claims about a 7000’ climb and descent, and rocks of all shapes and sizes on all the trails. The single loop course was run in the reverse direction this year, which put the easier “Mountain bike Loop“ section at the end of the race, instead of at the beginning. Everyone was predicting a fast run this year., though the reversal did put a pretty steep and long climb at mile seventeen, on the Green trail. Three racesdistances were offered: 7.7 mile on the pink bike loop; 25K which ran AS1/3 -> AS4-> AS5-> finish, and the full 50KTrainingAfter sustaining an Achilles injury at the NJ Marathon in May, I took a month off for rest and Physical Therapy, and then added 5 miles per week, until reaching peak weekly miles of 57, but with a Sunday half marathon immediately before that week, my seven day mileage reached a peak of 70. That week ended with a 19 mile run on the MoMa course with NJ trail and Ultra runners club, but ended badly after so much mileage, and I had bonked badly during that run. Symptoms were odd though, I just could not run fast enough to raise my heart rate (which was only about 70), even though I was breathing heavily. One hill seemed impossible and I had to stop ever y few steps as I climbed it. I think the combination of poor fueling, a heavy running week, and a too fast start contributed to the trouble.Flash forwards two weeks to my next training run on the course. Finished strong and had more in the tank even after 20-1/2 miles, including the famed green trail hill. I fueled this run with a good breakfast, and gummy bears and trail mix along the way, since I had misplaced my box of gels and didn’t realize it until the night before. But, even on this good run, my pace of 17:00 was two minutes slower than the minimum I’d need to finish under the 8 hour cutoff for the race. Pre-raceI stayed the night with my brother who lives near the race, and got a good sleep for 6 hours or so. Had a light breakfast of Wheaties and toast, and would get a last minute refill from the aid table at the race... I thought. When I got there, I found No snacks were available, and feared a repeat of the fueling disaster. I was also debating whether I should use a camelback, or just a handheld. Since the aid stations were pretty close together (max of about 5.5 miles to AS1), I decided that the handheld would do, and left the camelback in the car. Temperature was about 50 degrees with overcast skies, and forecast was calling for 30% chance of rain, so I bagged my phone and wire a baseball cap to keep the forecasted rain out of my glasses. Rick the race director gave the pre-race talk (including specific instructions about NOT taking all the water from the unmanned water drops at AS#5 and 7, since there was only a limited supply dropped there), and (as usual for his races) started at 9:00 on the dot.To As1: A quarter mile around the lakeside road helped spread the field a bit, but all too soon we were climbing the first hill. Note that for MoMa, many of the hills are steep single track; step up on a rock or root, and then step up the next one, so all of us were hiking up hill in single file. I fell in behind Mike, Jay and Jodie, three runners from NJ trail and Ultra. After about two miles we were all crossing the top of a hill, solid rock. I saw there was some commotion ahead, and soon came across a woman with a camelback very red faced, walking back to the start line, wishing everyone a good run. I figured she had fallen on the hard rock and was hurt, though I didn’t see her limping at all. I thought about her throughout the race, and regretted not encouraging her to turn back around, if she wasn’t seriously hurt. It also reminded me to watch my own steps. There were two scout camps in the forest, and both of them had campers this weekend. We passed our first bunch of scouts hiking with backpacks, skipping over the rocks they were laboring up. I checked my heart rate and found that it was 163 vs the 150 I wanted. I knew I did not want to bonk as badly as four weeks ago, and so reeled it back a bit by walking up slopes I could run up. Soon reached AS1, and stocked my ziplocks with Gummy bears and trail mix, the same mixture that got me through training two weeks ago. The volunteers filled my handheld, and off I went.To As2: This section of trail was familiar to me, having run it two times already, easier running than most of the previous section, the Cannonball trail still had some sections that required a mental switch from “avoid the rocks, step on the dirt and lift your feet ” to “ step on the rocks, but don’t twist your ankle” Sections like this, with large fields of rocks to traverse, were very common throughout the race. The previous runs helped here; a large downed tree was quicker to clamber over than run around, turns in the trail were not unexpected. I also found the missing connecting trail I couldn’t find in my last training run. Yellow trail split off, and I climbed up the hill that gave me so much trouble four weeks ago. Then the most technical descent of the course, a 20’ slither down through a crack in the rock, and over several jagged chunks of boulder, holding scrubby trees for support. A few hundred yards brought me to AS2AS2 was at a parking lot at the top of skyline drive, where I planned to meet my brother and his kids between 11:00 and 11:30. I had been watching my time, and knew I was on schedule, and popped out of the woods at 11:05, right on time. A quick high five or two, a refill of snacks and a gel, and off I went back down the mountain on the orange trail. To AS3: With the mental boost of meeting family on course, a familiar trail, and a nice long downhill to dance, this was my favorite part of the course. Stepping quickly over rocks and picking a line downhill is like skiing moguls to me, and is the thrill of trail running. But of course, more climbing is the price to pay for the thrill. A fine view awaited us on the orange trail as we came to a local peak of the ridge. We met a few of the rescue workers in bright orange jumpsuits. Then back down the hill. Headed back to wards camp and AS3. At one point we came across some bikers trying to grind up a steep rocky slope, (no bikes allowed on this trail, I thought the sign said) Two of them stopped to let me pass, but the third managed to drop his bike right across the trail I was running down. Fortunately I had enough time to stop and run around him. As we came to camp, we discovered that a few of the trail markers had been taken down by mischievous campers, but soon found the way. Then for some reason, the race course was bushwacking straight through the woods, instead of sticking to the roads and trails. Another gift from the race director, as if he hadn’t made it hard enough already. Turn the corner and there was AS3, with more gummy bears.The trail then was mostly downhill To AS4, So down the hill we go, dancing and ducking and so forth. For 3 miles it is mostly downhill, and by now my quads are aching. I like downhills, but really how much can a person take?? Three times on this section previous training helped, since I knew the trails. At one spot there were five runners standing around wondering where to go, and I just ran to the right and said “follow me”, and led the pack into the marsh by the side if the Ramapo river, at the lowest elevation of our run. As4 is ahead and the volunteers remind us that AS#5 is only an unmanned water drop, so stock up on food. And fill up completely before leaving. And of course there was THE climb. The one that was always mentioned during discussions, the dreaded green trail of mile 17. About now I check the time, and see that just over four hours have elapsed, I’m at mile 16, and I have three hours to go until the cutoff time at mile 24. A quick Calculation by a running addled mind tells me that I can easily make the cutoff, and with luck, will make the 8 hour mark. One worry in my mind was that the race had an official eight hour limit, so would I get a recorded finish if I went over that?I pondered this as I ate my second gel, and jogged past various dog walkers, hikers and bikers at this end of the park. A right turn by the lake, and then a left turn onto the green trail…..This lived up to its reputation; steep even with the switchbacks, this was an long climb, thankfully broken up by a few short flat or down hill sections to give the climbing muscle set a break, but still up it went. A large rock near the top called me and I just had to climb up it to shout into the air below. But still more climbing was to follow. As we head back down, I pass a section of trail that is built up as a ledge on the side of the hill, one false step and… At last I stumble upon a pile of empty jugs and paper cups.. What was left of AS#5. The runners before me had used up all the water, despite Ricks instructions. I was now left with a bout a cup of water to last for 2.5 miles. Time check: If I do this right, I just might make 8 hours. Up over the top of the ridge (for the highest elevation of the race) and back down a long series of quad- thrashing fire roads to bring us back to the start. At one switchback we passed several bow hunters, spraying who knows what on their camouflage suits to make sure the deer can’t tell where they are. I’m not sure how many deer would have been around after 70 runners come racing through the forest. The last half mile of single track before AS6/ finish line is shared by both inbound runners like myself, and finishing runners, a few finisher passed me, looking strong as they pressed to the finish. I followed them in, but headed for the aid table instead of the finish line. With parched throat by now. I down several glasses of water (since the HEED was gone) and wonder of wonder the best tasting dumplings. I head out of the aid station at 6 hours and 18 minutes, with 7.7 miles to go.The only thing left is the “easy” mountain bike loop. This was not quite as easy as I had pictured, instead of dirt trails, I found mostly fire roads strewn with baseball sized rocks. It was more runnable than some of the other trails, and the elevation did not change that much, so it was something. I kept an eye on the time, and my pace, trying to average about an 11:00 pace when running. Finally came across AS#7, and found to my surprise that there was still a half gallon of water left, so I took about a cup or so and left the rest for whoever might be behind me.So, with three miles to go I can smell the barn, and pick up the pace a bit since there is nothing left to save energy for. I really put the speed on for the any dirt trails, but am still on fire road a lot of the time. There a few bikers here and there, and as usual I say hi. Suddenly after passing a group of bikers, I no longer see the pink ribbons marking he bike loop… Am I off course?? Running for another minute confirms that I missed my turn, so I head back up hill until I find the turn, cursing my mistake. I head down the switchbacky dirt rail where I was passed earlier, and pass Angie, who I had run Round valley with six weeks ago, stretching out a cramp. I keep on, and check the time: 7:58, with the finish no where in sight. Keep pressing, and pop out onto the lakeside road. Sprint to the finish and up the final hill to the line… 8:01:18! The race director puts a medal on me, and I am relieved to find out that he is not quite as strict as I thought… at least this time! Lots of congratulations from the NJ Trail and Ultra guys, and some more of those dumplings and turkey wraps and hamburgers and etc…To FinishEpilogue: After saying good bye, I change my shirt standing next to my car, then get in and drive away. A quarter mile down the road I decide to look for my finishers medal, and pull over to find it, but cant. I get out and find it still on the car roof where I left it. My bib blew away though. Back to my brother’s house for a MUCH NEEDED shower, and then to an all I can eat pig roast! After two plates full of food I head back home. Results:38 people finished the 7.7 mile Bike loop only section; fastest was 54:1678 people finished the 25K section; fastest was 2:46:2571 finishers for the full 50K; Fastest was 4:39:43I came in 65th, at 8:01:18, 8/9 in AGAll in all, I found the race incredibly satisfying, and consider my self blessed to be able to complete it as planned. Should I try for 50 miles?
Stone Mill 50m 11/16/13 12:42
Febapple Frozen 50k 2/22/14
CRAP... where is the delete button!!!
Follower of Forrest
Thanks a lot! Great description...I'm sure that will help me out.
PS...I ran at that park the other day and the parking area closest to where I live is AS4. So I got out of the car and started running and I thought "Green trail looks good". I was about ready to quit the race before I even signed up by the top of the hill. Glad to hear thats the worst of it.
4/5 - Lost Brook Trail 10mi Work conflict...grrr.
4/27 - Ironmaster's Challenge 50k
6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 56mi
These were my thoughts from this past weekends run (I did just about the whole course minus the MB loop and I screwed up some of the turns):
I was impressed by the difficulty and steepness of the Red trail at the start.
White trail was a little tricky to navigate compared to the rest of the trails in the park...glad I got to take a look at that. The hike up to the peak wasn't so bad.
First trip down cannonball and back up orange. While I walked up everything uphill I found myself saying "I would have to run this if I was going to be competitive in this race". After the 20th time of thinking that it became pretty funny.
Still have not seen the last loop...maybe Wednesday.
Reflections: This is a hard course. I just wanted to be stepping on solid ground by the time I got back. The winning times from past years are much more impressive than I originally credited them with. I wish I would have trained better .
I was wondering where you ran to get 20+. I was going to do the bike loop, but we just ran the 17.8 mile "25k" course instead.
The bike loop is easier, but still has a lot of uneven rocks to trip on, and some decent hills to climb.
I agree, the 700' climb up orange and then the extra 200' up white were not as bad as I thought. though the section of C between the aid station and white was much more rugged than I remember. I'm not sure how all those boulders appeared there, right in the middle of the trail.
Did some maniac REALLY run that in 4:39 last year? like a jet powered billy goat with wheels...
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