Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mountain Masochist 50 Mile Trail Race...Nov 1,2008

About Mountain Masochist Trail 50 Race:

“Lynchburg is the place for “real” mountain runners to be in October. But MMTR is not for everyone. If you are slow, as this reporter now is, the cutoff times are brutal. At my speed, you have pressure all day. Also, you need a sense of humor. If it bugs you that a course is longer than advertised, you don’t want to do MMTR.”
“Many people, this reporter included, repeatedly forget that the bottom line about MMTR is that it is tough. There are many uphills, not all steep but several are long and frustrating. The two trail sections are tough, technical, and beautiful. To finish MMTR is a significant accomplishment.”
“Masochists is a brutal reality check. If you are not prepared for it, David’s course will slap you around. Such a reality check is a very good thing. It’s just not always fun!”

Anstr Davidson

This past weekend, I completed the "painful" Mountain Masochist 50 Mile Trail Race...and what you read above is ALL TRUE...too bad I didn't read that until after I did it!! I think the name speaks for itself and you won't get any argument from me there!! It's widely regarded as one of the toughest 50 milers on the east coast and once again, no qualms with that claim as well.

I had just run the MCM the week before...and as I mentioned in the post before, fortunately I took it easy there. The MMTR had been full, but just at the last minute, some spots opened up and so I only got into it about 4 days before the race. I'm heading to Antarctica in a few weeks for another 150 mile stage race, and since I had gotten a bit lazy in the last couple of months, I thought it might be a good idea to kick it up a notch, and do some back to back long runs... so I decided to go for it.

The weather was once again perfect, although a bit chilly in at the 6:30 start. The 260 or so runners had to board buses at 5am in Lynchburg, Va in order to be transported to the start of the race. The gun went off and I was anxious to get moving in order to warm myself up since it was about 40 degrees and I was in shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I always warm up fast and run hot, so I deal with the cold early in the race because I know I'll warm up and don't want to have to shed clothes and carry them for miles and miles.

I carried my big Camelback which can last me for about 4 hours. So I never stopped at any aid stations for the 1st 4 hours or so and made steady progress. I wanted to run a smooth and steady race, and my only goals were to get a good workout, finish, and not injure myself and thus screw up my upcoming race that I had paid a small fortune to get into. I felt great up until about mile 31 when in a span of about 10 minutes, I went from feeling strong, to feeling like someone just poured concrete into my legs. This race has 9,200 feet of elevation gain and 7,000 feet of loss. After being in Leadville, Co., these hills didn't seem steep, but certainly were never-ending and finally after going up and down and up and down, I finally got to another up-hill and my legs just didn't want to move. From about 31 miles to near 40, I REALLY struggled and cycled through a number of different pains, coupled with having no energy...and once again I questioned my decision to ruin another perfectly good weekend by running a 50 mile race!!

After a few hours of gut checking, I managed to re-group and find some reserves of power, and kicked it back into gear for the remainder of the race. The last 5 miles or so, I really ramped it up passing about 15 or so people, and finished very strong. It's still amazing to me how the human body can come back from such lows and rebound while still being stressed, to feel strong again. But when you're at such lows, it's always hard to imagine feeling good without quitting... but quitting is never an option, so you just have to keep plugging along and remember that if it doesn't hurt, than it's not worth it!!

I finished in 10 hrs and 37 min and in 79th place out of about 260 people. After the finish, since the race was a point to point race, we all had to board the buses, and rode an hour and a half back to the hotel, and then I had to hop in my car and drive the 4 hours home...NOT FUN!! Although I still have swollen ankles from all the beating they took, I seem to be recovering and hopefully I didn't do any damage that might jepardize my Antarctic race!!

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