Trailer Trash


Ironmaster's 50k RR (Read 31 times)


Follower of Forrest

    Short Version

    Jamezilla completed his first 50k in 5:34:XX, met AT-runner, had a great time, and finished 7th OA, first in age group


    Long Version

    Pre Race Travel and Ironmaster’s Mansion

    On the way out to this race I made a stop off at my parent’s house for a visit.  My mom asked me where the race was.  When I told her “Pine Grove Furnace” she asked me if I remembered the ill-fated camping trip we took to the park when I was 8-9 years old.  We had been planning on spending a week at Pine Grove Furnace camping out and exploring Gettysburg.  On the third night of the trip, a tropical storm moved in and soaked us.  I can remember the whole family squeezed under a tarp hung up over a picnic table in our campsite.  After a few hours of that, my dad made the decision that the vacation was over and we packed it up, sopping wet, and made the 2.5 hr drive home.  This story brought back a lot of memories for me and it added to the significance of this race as my first 50k.

    When I arrived at the Ironmaster’s Mansion on Saturday I was among the first ones there.  The place was bustling with volunteers making their final preparations for the next day’s events.  As I was checking in I met a fellow Mark who was also going to be doing the 50k on Sunday.  We chatted for a bit as we set up our bunks, then went our separate ways.  The rest of the day I spent talking to volunteers, seeing if I could be of service…the resounding answer was no.  I spoke to some members of the local radio club who would be handling communications for the course.  My dad is a “ham”.  It was great to include those guys in the event…I’m sure they had a blast (is this common?  They were certainly the best group to run communications).

    After dark I sat out on the porch chatting with Mark and a few others about the course.  Another bunk-mate Jeff’s ears perked up and he quickly pulled out a very neat looking folder containing his knowledge of the event…he looked serious and he started talking about last years winners.  A quick “internet stalking “of Jeff revealed that he was the third place finisher at the VT 50k with a 4:30…this guy had some speed.

    The lights went out in the bunkroom at about 10 o’clock.  There wasn’t much to distract me, and Mark and Jeff were already in bed so I followed suit.  I got about 4 hours of solid sleep, which was better than many.  At 3:30 a group of 15k’ers went to bed and woke everyone else up.  I dozed on and off until the alarm went off at 5.  It was cold out so I headed down to registration in my jeans and sweatshirt…the game plan was to change and get ready in my car.  Somehow I lost track of time talking to runners and volunteers at the registration and I had to get changed, prep my back, and mix perpetuem in a hurry.  I missed the pre-race announcements, but made the start time.  As soon as I lined up we got a “3-2-1-Go” and we were off.


    Start to AS1

    The first mile of this course was runnable uphill…after that, not so runnable.  As I fell in with the conga line walking up the hill I found that Mark was a couple of people ahead of me.  His hiking abilities were a good match to mine so I fell in behind him and we hiked past a good number of people on the first climb.  At the top of the climb is a short section of bouldering…nothing too intense, but you needed to use your hands at about 4-5 spots.  Mark made some passes in this section and I could not follow him through it.  After that it was a downhill run on a gravel road.  I relaxed and let my legs carry me and I passed about 5 people coming down this hill.  “You must be a road-runner” one guy said to me as I cruised by.  “Not today” I told him.  We turned back onto the trail, which continued to descend until it didn’t.  I walked up the second steep climb nice and easy.  At the top was AS1.  Many of the volunteers I had met the day before or at registration and they gave me some encouragement as I headed back out.


    AS1 to AS2

    This section was a lot of downhill and some rolling hills.  I caught up with Mark again and we started chatting as we were going.  We descended a really cool ridgeline on the way down and passed through some pine stands and rhododendron groves on the way.  Before I knew it we were at AS2.  When they asked me what I wanted I must have given them a blank stare.  Fortunately, one of the girls recognized what was going on and took my bottle and started filling it.  I got it together enough to open my hydration pack for a top off also.  I thanked everyone and was off.


    AS2 to AS3

    I don’t remember many details from this section of the run.  For a good portion of this section I was on my own.  There was a water station and I think I just dumped a cup on my head and left.  I do recall matching up what I was seeing with AT-runner’s scouting report, which was a nice mental boost and I knew I was coming up to the aid station when I got there.  AS3 had drop bags.  I could feel a hotspot in my shoes so I changed shoes and socks.  It felt good to sit.  My game plan was to mix another flask of perpetuem at AS3, but I was making much better time then planned so I decided to postpone that until AS4.  I got passed by a bunch of people through here.



    Leaving AS3 I fell in with Mark and Red Bandana Guy and we were more or less together for the duration of this section.  Together we hiked up Pole Steeple, which had a really great view at the top.  I stopped and took some pictures.  Mark took a picture of me also.  After that it was back down the hill and into AS4.  We were greeted at AS4 with “you’re #3, you’re #4, you’re about 5 minutes off the lead and 1 minute out of second”.  I looked at Mark and I’m sure his blank stare was a perfect reflection of my own.  By my estimate we were about 10 back…what I did not account for was that there was a 20 mile race that was going on at the same time.  I didn’t mix another flask of perpetuem here either and decided that I would survive on Gu’s for the next 1.5 hours.



    Mark, Red Bandana, and I hiked up that last steep ascent.  About halfway up I looked back and saw a familiar face.  “Jeff! What happened? got lost?” Apparently Jeff had done a couple of bonus miles all the way back at about MP2.  The four of us hiked to the top and wished Jeff luck as we let him through.  At this point I realized that 3rd place had just passed us and he was probably going to catch 2nd place.  I went with him.  My legs felt reborn and I chased Jeff down the hill and caught him.  This got him motivated and we both started moving pretty fast.  Before to long, 2nd place was just ahead of us up a short hill.  I stopped to walk and Jeff kept running, yelling at me the whole way.  I just didn’t have it in me to run any hills at that point.  Through the last 2 miles, the wheels came off for me (maybe not having perpetuem for 1.5 hours?).  I still had #3 in my sights when I looked back and saw a female runner bearing down on me.  I let her through.  She looked so fresh, I was sure she was doing the 15k.  I continued moving to the finish, but got passed by 2nd place female and Red Bandana who was sticking with her.  That put me in 7th and that’s how I crossed the line.


    Post Race

    There was a nice picnic type event at the finish line.  I stuck around a couple of hours enjoying everyone’s company and a couple of delicious beers before heading out for the 3 hour drive home.  The post race celebration really was a great time also.



    I showed up at the event with the goal of breaking 7 hours.  Breaking 6 hours was my top secret, don’t even mention it out loud goal.  My finish time was 5:34:XX.  I am sure I couldn’t have done it without running with Mark.  It was really fortunate to “kind of” know the person who’s abilities best matched up with mine and we pushed each other to better finishes than either of us anticipated.  I finished 7th overall, but I was in the ballpark of breaking into the top 3…fitness is not quite there yet, but close!  I was awarded 1st place in the 16-29 age group.  If I wanted to be super critical, there are things I could have done differently in this race, but overall I couldn’t have asked for a better debut 50k.

    The event was awesome and really well run.  You could tell the volounteers cared about the event, knew what to do, and did it.  It was really neat to reach the top of a peak and look across the valley to a distant point and realize that you were going there.  I never experienced being able to truly witness the distance you were covering in a run.


    Thanks again to AT-runner who provided me with a lot of info about the course.  Info that was just not available to anybody else.  Really provided a mental boost and I knew what I was up against ahead of time…tough to beat that.

    6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 54mi


    A man may never run the same trail twice for it is not the same trail and he is not the same man



      Nice work and congrats on the finish!


      Follower of Forrest

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        Ironmaster's Mansion


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        Mens Bunk Room


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        2nd Climb


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        View From 2nd Climb


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        On Top of Pole Steeple


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        Age Group Award

        6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 54mi


        A man may never run the same trail twice for it is not the same trail and he is not the same man



          Great job out there and glad I could help.  I always love sharing my back yard playground.  Local knowledge is a big help on this course and I hope my advice about the false summit on the way to Hammond Rocks was a help.  It still fools me once in a while.


          DW and I got to help out some injured and troubled runners.  We ended up leading EMS up Blueberry Hill to a woman in distress.  She had gotten in over her head and that climb did her in.  She was able to get to AS #1 and EMS drove her out from the cabin on a 4 wheeler.  Then we made our way over to 15k course (helped hike out a runner with a ankle sprain) and then made our way up to Hammond Rocks.  All in all a good day for us, but I would rather have been running the whole thing.


          FWIW, I think the elevation that they use is a bit low.  If I add up all the major climbs, I get close to the elevation that they use.  Last year one of the finishers had 6800' on his Garmin. I don't use a Garmin, but his number seemed about right.


          Note: The mountain behind your left shoulder on the Pole Steeple picture is the top of Hammond Rocks.

            Awesome job jamezilla. it's great that you found someone to run with around your pace. Some people can run alone but I really enjoy company during ultras. Thanks for sharing.


            Faster Than Your Couch!

              Congratulations, well done! Awesome to be that close to the winners, and place first in your age group!


              Thanks for sharing the report, and the pictures. Looks just like real Central PA trails, with all the rocks and hills!

              Run for fun.

                Nice job Jamezilla , 7th overall, 1st age group and you smashed your super secret goal, congrats!

                Le professeur de trail

                  I have to admit, when you first said you were doing this event as your first 50k I was wondering why.  I would have thought you would pick something closer to home (I also had envisioned you more than 3 hours from there). But I now see why you picked it and it appears to have been a great fit.  Congrats on a great finish.  For that kind of trail and elevation change, the time is outstanding.  The hardware you got looks nice.  Good way to start things off! So.....what's next?

                  The incarnation of peacefulness and patience



                    Awesome job! Great work on crushing your goals. It's always nice to run with someone, especially in a new distance or event. Gives you confidence and makes the whole thing feel more manageable.

                    My Blog:

                    I Run for Oiselle


                    Hyner 50k:  4/18/15

                    Laurel Highlands 70M: 6/13/15

                    Uh oh... now what?



                      I showed up at the event with the goal of breaking 7 hours.  Breaking 6 hours was my top secret, don’t even mention it out loud goal.... 

                      Uh, that is copyrighted and trademarked stuff ... we used to have conversations on

                      the way to the starting line, each trying to get the other to divulge (say it out loud)

                      the goal for the day.


                      That was some good running.  Thank you for the pictures.


                        Awesome 50k debut! I'd say you kicked some ass!


                          Congrats on finishing your first 50k and smashing your goal time! Looks like a fun race and you ran it well. Its always nice to finish a race with no regrets about your performance.


                          Follower of Forrest

                            Thanks everyone for taking the time to read and for the nice comments...I'll work on the whole brevity thing for the next rr.

                            AT- I made the course viewable in my log...reads 6200 of elevation.

                            John M- I'll be more careful with the trademarked stuff. The night before the race we had a "try to get the other guys to divulge" conversation. I think we could have all benefitted if we would have told ahead of time.

                            Boyjame- I'm thinking about Mountain Madness 50k in September...that ones only 30 mins from my place.

                            6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 54mi


                            A man may never run the same trail twice for it is not the same trail and he is not the same man