Ultra Runners


2008 Jay Ultimate XC Marathon RR (way too long) (Read 235 times)


    Hi Everyone, here's my race report from last weekend. It's really 33 miles (50+K) long even though it's called a marathon. I know it's long-sorry-skip to the last couple paragraphs to find out the end result. The Jay Ultimate XC Challenge 2008 July 26 turned out to be sunny with the temperature around 60 after a week of seemingly never ending rain. The 300 hundred or so people gathered at the start of the Jay Ultimate XC Marathon (even though it's really 33 miles) listened to Dan, the race director, go over the few course changes and reassure us the river had receded to a safe level to run in. The start of the race is mostly uphill on an ATV trail that was all mud and it wasn’t long before my feet were wet. I started towards the front so that I wouldn’t get caught in the line that forms to go up a section of trail that is so steep and slippery there are ropes to hang onto and pull yourself up on. I got to the first aid station in about an hour. My feet were heavy with mud and my quads were talking to me already from being cautious on the few down hills. The thought of quitting was crossing my mind however I couldn’t stop here knowing Jack was waiting for me at the next aid station. After plowing through more mud, I reached the first river section. The water was knee deep and feet numbing cold. You don’t really run up the river it’s more like picking and choosing your way-shallow water is easier than deep and if you can get out of the water and onto dry rocks that’s even faster. The only reason you wouldn’t run on the bank is because it’s full of poison ivy. New this year was going through two culverts about 50 ft long each. They were kind of tricky to climb up into with the water coming out but I just followed the path of the person in front of me which seemed to work. Even though the pipe was 6 ft tall, I still hunched over and straddled the stream as I ran up it. At the end of the second culvert, we climbed up the bank to a road at the base of Jay Peak Ski Resort where the next aid station was and Jack. I got to Jack and didn’t know what to do. Do I sit or stand, empty the mud from my shoes or not, keep going or quit. I mentioned quitting to Jack and he told me to sit down so he could empty my shoes and have some Coke to drink. Quitting wasn’t an option. Once my shoes were back on and the guy next to me said I couldn’t quit I got up and started the walk up Jay Peak. It made me feel better to see everyone else walking too. I even passed a few people along the way. I made it to the top and the third aid station just under 40 minutes which was good considering this was another course change and it was a steeper way than last year and it went to the actual summit where in the past it fell short by about 50 ft. I looked around for Jack and he was just making to the top as I was about to head down. I started down slowly so he could catch up. I was all set so I kissed him good-bye and started running down the mountain. I recognized the course from last year and some of the trails from having skied here in the winter. From the ski trails to more mud filled single track being sure to look up and follow the surveyor’s tape. I was mixed in with some guys and one was nice enough to help pull me up a slippery steep bank. It was starting to get warm and at the fourth aid station at the bottom I filled an empty bottle with water to make sure I had enough to get to the fifth aid station where Jack would be. It was more of the same ATV trails, dirt roads, single track and river (now going down stream which is much easier). I was starting to get hungry even though I had been trying to eat GUs on a regular basis. I got to the fifth aid station and ate half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and had some more Coke while Jack restocked my fuel belt. I left the aid station and started across some fields towards another river crossing. Up the bank and down some stairs made of flat rocks and wood and back to the river basically around the corner from where I climbed out to avoid a waterfall. However, where I had to get back in was fast moving and deep. I stayed to the edge and let the current take me a little to where I could stand again. Following the surveyor tape in the trees seemed to mark the path of least resistance. After about a mile or so we were back on land. I was still with a group of guys that I had been in the last river section with and we were moving comfortably along together over slippery hill and dale to the Beaver Pond. In the past, I’ve been able to follow the trail through the six foot tall grass and jump over the canals that weave through the pond. This year it was wading through thigh high and sometimes waist deep water. The bottom was squishy mud with a log or two lurking beneath to get caught on. The thought of leaches briefly crossed my mind and I was glad to finally climb out of there. After the Beaver Pond, it was an uphill walk through the yard of an old, one room camp and I took the opportunity to have a GU. A couple of the guys I was with took off on the logging road we were on and eventually got to the last river crossing where there is a rope strung to pull yourself across on. There’s a ladder on the other side to climb up the bank on and about a quarter mile to the next aid station at a blueberry picking area. Jack was waiting for me and taking pictures of me crossing the river. We walked up to the aid station and I sat and ate the other half of my sandwich while he changed my shoes and socks. While I was changing, I noticed a woman sitting on the ground changing as well. She was my motivation to get going again and keep moving. I had nine miles with one more aid station left to go. This section of the course included a long uphill through a field that can be pretty hot. I passed a few guys walking up the hill and then it was back into the woods on logging roads and trails with a sand pit thrown in for good measure. The seventh aid station was across the road from a corn field where Jack was waiting for me. A little bit of Coke, an Ecap with a couple of potatoes and it’s ‘see you at the finish Honey!’ The last few miles weren’t as muddy as I thought they would be and there was no sign of the woman I saw at the blueberry aid station. Of the couple of guys I had been running with, one took off ahead and I left the other behind. I knew once I got on the cross country ski trails I was close to the finish. From here it’s mostly downhill and a nice cruise in. My quads weren’t bothering me so bad that I couldn’t finish strong and pound down the hill we had started on crossing the finish line at 7:16:43. I finished about six minutes slower than last year which I attribute to the tough course conditions. I was the 2nd Female Master and the woman at the blueberry aid station finished 3rd. However, the there is a question about the woman who supposedly finished first in that she either ran the half marathon and was listed incorrectly or someone else ran in her place (possibly a man) thus making me First Female Master. Big grin Kelly Pictures will be along soon
    If you never go fast, you'll never go fast.

    Into the wild

      Great run Kelly, you are lucky to have someone like Jack; it makes all the difference having that support throughout a race and particularly at the aid staions. Of course I've heard of Poison Ivy but, after your having mentioined it, I googled it...nasty critter eh! Well done on a difficult course. I look forward to your pics Smile

      Shut up and run

        Great report, Kelly! Are they still working on figuring the "First Fe-Male?" Nasty course, but you did a great job. As always, you're my trail running heroine. Big grin PS - Just saw a program on PBS about leeches. They look nasty, but actually cause no harm and are even used for some medical procedures. Not my cup of tea, but if it kept me from losing a finger or something, I'd suck it up. Wink

        Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain


        Trail Runner Nation


        2018: Mendocino Coast 50k - April 21


          If you never go fast, you'll never go fast.

          You'll ruin your knees!

            congrats, Kelly! That's one race in the East I'd really like to do someday! Nice pics! Lynn B

            ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)

              Wow - great report. That race sounds awesome.

              Speed my steps along your path, according to your will.