Monday, September 28, 2009

Race Report - Vermont MUDder Frackin' 50 Mile


This was a cruel joke, a complete mud-fest.  Surely it wasn't the worst trail conditions ever, but I have never seen as much mud on a trail as I saw at Sunday's Vermont 50 Mile.  There were times were it was almost impossible to walk without slipping all over the place.  It started raining late Saturday night, and continued through the entire race.  The 650 bikers that started ahead of the runners helped to make the trail conditions even more challenging.  The good news - I had a blast with Paula (for the first half) and Susan for the last 10 miles or so, only fell 3 times, escaped somewhat injury free, did not lose a shoe and finished.




Steve Tursi (he ran the 50k) and I drove up to Vermont Saturday morning and met up with G.A.C. friends Chris (he was awesome in the mountain bike race), Susan and Paula, and Tammy Massie.  Eddie Murphy (no, not the comedian) joined us all for dinner and drinks (that's not a fish, but some sort of stromboli that a few folks ordered).  When we woke on Sunday morning we all knew that the trails were going to be mud-soup.  I started with Susan and Paula.  The road sections of the course were fine, but once we turned into the single and double-track trails portions, it got difficult to run (especially the down-hills) without slipping or sticking in the mud.  Soon Paula and I pulled ahead of Susan, and we were actually running well.  At some point I ducked into the woods for a quick pit stop, and told Paula I'd catch up with her.  I'd spend a good 40 minutes to an hour trying to catch her, only to learn from another runner that she had pulled off into the woods right after I did.  She would soon catch me, run for another hour or so with me, and took off.

The trails seemed to get progressively worse with each mile.  The few times I fell weren't the types of falls where you hit a rock or root and go flying.  It was either on a down-hill - I'd lose my footing in the mud and just slide to right or left - or an up-hill, where there was no traction and I'd just slide down the hill.  There were quite a few mountain bikers that were playing leap frog with the runners.  They could barely ride in the mud, and had to walk their bikes up the hills.  This made it somewhat difficult, but I really felt for those bikers.

After doing the first 25 miles in about 5 hours and change, I knew the second half would be a long haul.  Ultimately I hooked back up with Susan at around the 40 mile mark.  The trail from this point on was just silly.  There were several spots where the mud was ankle high, and one or two where we had to go through knee deep puddles of mud and water.  Nevertheless, we pressed on and both finished together.  This was quite the experience.  Despite 3 showers, I still have some remnants of the Vermont mud on me.  Overall it was a miserable trail run, but still it was great to see so many friends and have a blast with what were given to work with.

[ Update 9/28/09 @ 7:52 PM ]  I neglected to mention blister.  Well, that is because I have none whatsoever.  12 hours and 50 miles of soaked muddy feet, in Drymax Trail Running socks and not a single blister.  Thanks again DrymaxSocks.

10 comments:

  1. Way to tough it out, Tony! Your post brought on some nasty flashbacks of the Cheat Mountain 50 last month...why do we do this to ourselves!?!
    Your reward for slogging through the VT mud will be a dry and fast Javelina course next month, I'm sure of it!

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  2. Way to hang in there. Nice job.

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  3. Wow! What a race! Tough, tough conditions! Congratulations on surviving!:)

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  4. Nice Report. It was my first 50 miler, and I really felt like I got my money's worth. It was like a giant mud Bob sled ride.
    Glad you enjoyed the ride!

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  5. Thanks all.

    Dan - I didn't even think twice about not trying Utterli on the trail...I'd have probably lost the phone.

    Art - I think I slid farther than I actually ran !

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  6. i can think of better words than "mudder frackin", but if this is a kosher blog (this was posted on yom kippur after all) i'd better keep it g-rated. (:

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  7. Ankle-deep mud is not a lot of fun, but it certainly sounds like you made the most of it. And amazing that the socks kept the feet dry when the terrain appeared to be anything but.

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  8. Fun time running with you Sunday, it made those last 10 miles far more enjoyable. I agree on the socks - considering how wet and muddy my feet were for 12 hours, not a single blister. Best socks ever.

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  9. Sounds like crazy conditions! Way to stick it out...

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  10. Thanks for sharing some miles with me on Sunday. Wish we could do it all over again this weekend (sans mud).

    Socks=Awesome

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